Editors Note: The following excerpt is taken from an article on RNS (Religion News Service). To see the full article, click here.

Naomi Schaefer Rileys new book Got Religion? looks at one of the big questions of religion today: Why are 20 somethings dropping out of religious institutions?

Because many are, in record numbers, across various religious traditions. But Rileys book is a glass-half-full look at the ways some religious communities are working hard to stem that tide.

The most successful, she says, will do several things for 20 somethings:

  • Provide stability during a period of transience (nobodymoves around as much as these folks)
  • Give them Actual Important Stuff to Do to make the religious community work, and
  • Help them form spiritual habits to last a lifetime.

One chapter looks at Mormon singles wards as providing crucial help in all three of these areas. I followed up with Riley with questions about Mormon dating and marriage, leadership opportunities, and the pros and cons of the singles ward system. JKR


What follows in the article is an interview with the books author, Naomi Schaefer Riley. Questions posed to her include:

How has the overall trend toward later marriage affected Mormons in their 20s and 30s?

You make the point that religions that dont provide leadership opportunities to young adults are doomed. The success stories are religious traditions that are enlisting 20somethings into service. How does Mormonism fit in to that?

You say that dedicated singles wards “can also encourage some of the self-centered tendencies to which young adults may already be prone.” Can you explain what you mean by that?  

To read her answers to these and other questions, click here.