Growing up LDS may have more to do with personal success than you think, argues “Tiger Mom” Amy Chua and her co-author and husband Jed Rubenfeld. The pair’s recent claims statement that some minority groups are more successful than others has been stirring the pot on the internet of late. Included in the controversial list are two religious groups: Jews and Mormons. Why? The couple explains that three characteristics, which come as a natural result of the lifestyles of these groups, leads to increased drive and achievement.
Here are the three reasons they cite, along with our thoughts on why we think the LDS church made the list:
1) Mormons believe they have a responsibility to live and share the fullness of the gospel.
Chua and Rubenfeld describe this as a superiority complex, where a group sees themselves as exceptional, chosen, or superior. Hopefully we Mormons don’t view ourselves as superior, but in a way perhaps we do think that we are exceptional. As sons and daughters of God, we believe that all human beings have exceptional potential, exceptional knowledge, and as a result, exceptional responsibility. We collectively feel as if we need to set a high standard and be better examples, and that drives many Mormons to do more and be more.
2) Mormons believe that nobody is perfect, and that we can always strive to be better.
Chua and Rubenfeld describe these feelings of insecurity and inadequacy as a need to prove oneself. It’s natural to feel inadequate sometimes,, and though we may all go through bouts of insecurity, we Mormons are taught to be confident in our identity and in our faith. This helps us overcome our feelings of inadequacy. Maybe we are successful because we do feel the need to prove ourselves to God, to “lengthen our stride,” “raise the bar,” live up to our “exceptional” responsibility, and achieve our eternal goal of exaltation.
3) Mormon doctrine consistently teaches members good habits of self-control.
Whether it’s resisting food during fast Sundays, following the counsel to avoid debt, or obeying the Word of Wisdom, Mormons understand the concept of self-control and strive to live it. In terms of successfulness, Chua and Rubenfeld specifically identify this characteristic as “impulse control,” and define it as the ability to resist the temptation to give up or quit a difficult task in the face of hardship. Mormons are taught to not easily give up—think of our pioneer exemplars, our constant striving to “endure to the end,” our great faith that the Lord will carry our burdens, and our trust that He will not give us more than we can handle. It is this knowledge that encourages us to keep going and keep growing when others might give up.
Whether or not you agree with Chua and Rubenfeld’s conclusions, it’s definitely interesting to see how others view us. What do you think?