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TitleConclusions in Search of Evidence
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsGee, John
JournalInterpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
KeywordsCulture; Sociology
Review of Jana Riess, The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019). 312 pages. $29.95.
Riess’s book surveying the beliefs and behaviors of younger members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was supposed to compare the attitudes of younger generations with those of older generations. Unfortunately, flaws in the design, execution, and analysis of the survey prevent it from being what it was supposed to be. Instead the book is Riess’s musings on how she would like the Church to change, supported by cherry-picked interviews and an occasional result from the survey. The book demonstrates confusion about basic sampling methods, a failure to understand the relevant literature pertaining to the sociology of religion, and potential breaches of professional ethics. Neither the survey results nor the interpretations can be used uncritically.