Nearly 2,500 LCMS youth complete poll
They sounded off about the bible, sex, controlled substances
Organizers of last year’s LCMS Youth Gathering, a national event held every three years, gave participants the chance to register their views on a variety of topics. (A similar youth poll was conducted at the national gathering in 2001.)
The 2004 poll collected responses from 2,493 young people and young adults. That was up from 1,870 in 2001, a difference attributed to the fact that the polling spot may have been located in a “better traffic location” at the 2004 convention.
In the 2004 survey of LCMS teens, 85% were in the 15-19 age bracket. The rest were 20 and over. Asked whether they considered themselves to be actively involved in a local Lutheran congregation, 78% said yes (down from 82% in 2001).
Do LCMS youth rely on God when making decisions? More than 90% said yes. But reading the Bible appears not to be a priority for an increasing percentage. Nearly half (46%) admitted they do “almost no personal Bible study or devotion.” Three years earlier, the number was 31.7%.
On the other hand, 38% say they do spend at least a half hour weekly in personal Bible study or devotions. That’s up slightly from 2001, when 37.1% said they engage in such activity.
In 2001, 2/3 of respondents (67%) said premarital sex is always wrong. Three years later, the percentage slipped to 63%.
Fewer LCMS youth now believe premarital sex is acceptable if two people love each other (17% in 2004, 25% in 2001). But premarital sexual activity may be on the increase. In 2004, 65% said they’ve never engaged in sexual intercourse (in 2001, 68.7% said so). Fewer than 10% said they have had intercourse, but have since stopped this behavior (in 2004, 9%; in 2001, 9.6%).
Most boys taking the poll said homosexuality is “wrong” (76%); a majority of girls (69%) agreed. There were 18% (in 2001, 19.7%) who said it’s “nobody’s business” or that “it’s wrong to say that homosexuality is wrong.”
Nearly two-thirds (63%) said marriage is properly understood as a relationship between one man and one woman.
Three-quarters of respondents said they oppose abortion. Fifteen percent said they smoke tobacco; 86% said they never take recreational drugs; 41% said they never drink alcohol; 28% admitted they’ve been intoxicated once in the last year.
Fourteen percent said women should be permitted to be ordained (in 2001, 11.7%). Forty-one percent agreed with the Synod’s position opposing it (in 2001, 40.1% agreed).