A study released today reveals new insights about society's views on the Ten Commandments and lying in particular. In addition to evaluating how various political parties and age demographics view the Ten Commandments, the study shows how Mormons line up compared to the rest of the world.
The study was designed by Y2 Analytics and conducted by YouGov as part of the fifth annual Deseret News Ten Today project and drew 1,000 responses from Americans across a variety of demographics.
"It is revealing that Americans are more accepting of certain lies than they once were, especially as social media makes it easier for people to mislead others, whether to do harm or simply make themselves look good," said Allison Pond, editor of the Deseret News In-depth team and a former Pew Research Center staffer. "With Easter and Passover approaching, we wanted to examine how Americans viewed the Ten Commandments today and, in particular, how they felt about lying."
Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness
Although the study looked at perceptions of the Ten Commandments in general, it particularly focused on what people think about lying.
Mormons and Evangelical Christians were the most likely to say that lying is never okay, while those not affiliated with a religion are more comfortable with lying, especially when it comes to certain scenarios like calling in sick to work, inflating a resume, or lying to a child about a parent's past misbehavior.
In general, Americans see lying as more acceptable than they did in 2006, at least when it comes to calling in sick to work, exaggerating the facts of a story, or inflating one's resume. Most, however, are not okay with lying about an affair (87 percent) or cheating on taxes, parents lying to protect kids' grades, or appearing younger in a dating profile (70 percent). The study reveals that in these same situations, men are more likely to be accepting of lying than women.
When it comes to politicians' lies, most Americans still say they would not support a presidential candidate who "would lie to cover up the truth," even if they agreed with them on matters of policy. However, 55 percent of Republicans say they would still support a dishonest presidential candidate, while 70 percent of Democrats said it "would be a deal breaker."
The Ten Commandments
In general, at least half of Americans think it is important to live each of the Ten Commandments. Belonging to a religion, no matter which one, was the largest common denominator of those who indicated that obedience to the Ten Commandments is still important.
Compared to the general population, Mormons are more likely to believe in the importance of obeying the Ten Commandments. Overall, Evangelical Christians were the religion who placed the most importance on obeying the commandments while Mormons were second. The poll results show that Mormons place the least importance on the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy, as do those unaffiliated with any religion (84 percent of Mormons thought it was important, and 20 percent of those unaffiliated with a religion thought it was important). Mormons also lined up with the general population in indicating that the two most important commandments are "you shall not commit murder" and "you shall not steal."
Generationally, Millenials place the least importance on the commandments, while the Silent Generation places the most.
For more findings from the study, click here.