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Given how central the family is in LDS doctrine, divorce in the LDS community is a sensitive and complicated issue. To find out more about how Latter-day Saints experience divorce, I surveyed more than 1,000 active members who have been divorced or are currently going through the process.

For Latter-day Saints, families are not only the fundamental unit of society, but also of the Church. With the comforting doctrine that we can be sealed to our loved ones for eternity, divorce is a conclusion drawn with heavy hearts.

To help us understand what it’s like to be divorced in such a family-oriented church, I conducted a survey of 1,062 Latter-day Saints who have experienced divorce. It was truly amazing to see how sincere and willing to respond these participants were—which only emphasizes how much we still have to learn about divorce among Latter-day Saints.

There is much to appreciate about the honesty and vulnerability of the responses that were shared. These are truly touching and delicate experiences that members of the Church endured as they divorced.

These survey results provide an opportunity for personal reflection. All of us know someone who has been divorced. As you read through these results, pay attention to your own inner voice and emotional responses. Ponder what kind of support you have been, are, and can be to those you know in the Church who have experienced or are experiencing a divorce.

Why do divorces happen among Latter-day Saints?

The reasons for a divorce were many and varied. (Respondents could select more than one answer.)

  • Emotional Abuse, 49%
  • Infidelity, 48%
  • Pornography, 24%
  • Spouse Left, 23%
  • Grew Apart, 22%
  • Addiction Concerns, 18%
  • Finances, 17%
  • Physical Abuse, 17%
  • Mental Health Concerns, 14%
  • Parenting Differences/Struggles, 14%
  • Facebook, 3%
  • Other: 18% (This included: Anger, Apostasy, Sexual Abuse, Health [sick/disabled partner or child], Criminal Activity, In-Law Interference, and Homosexuality.)

Does divorce affect church activity?

Most respondents said they were active at the time of their divorce:

  • 83% active
  • 9% somewhat active
  • 8% less active

Many continued to attend church after their divorce:

  • 63% continued going to church in the same ward
  • 16% continued going but went to a new ward
  • 6% occasionally went
  • 8% had a short period away
  • 6% stopped going
  • 2% increased participation

Some shared why their participation decreased:

  • “The sisters of the ward blamed me for the divorce and told my girls that it was my fault. My girls did not want to go because of the way the adult sisters treated them.”

To read the full article on LDSLiving, click here