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Why Religion is More Than Just Church Attendance

Research suggests that we can live more satisfied lives if we practice religion at home as well as through church attendance.

Oftentimes attending church leaves us feeling enlightened and excited to put the principles we learned into action. But for me, bringing the gospel into my every day—not just Sunday—can be difficult. Most studies that research the benefits of religion on overall life quality focus only on church attendance. The Wheatley Institute, a research organization that focuses on family, religion, and constitutional government, recently published an article that shows that this research might be missing a crucial element: at-home practice.

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In their article “A Not-So-Good Faith Estimate,” researchers Jason S. Carroll and Spencer L. James show through their findings that research focusing only on regular church attendance underestimates the benefits of religious practice at home by 25–50%. They observe, “The extent to which one engages in religious practices is predictive of the extent to which one gains the anticipated benefits of religion. Separating those who engage fully in their faith from those who only engage partially in it makes this conclusion clear.”

When I focus on religion throughout the week rather than when I just go to church, I tend to feel more of the peace the gospel brings. The research supports that what I feel is true not only for me but also for all of us. So how can we apply this knowledge?

The Wheatley Institute lists practices like personal and family prayer, scripture study, and at-home religious discussions as examples of ways to bring religion home and not just relegate it to a church building. Other ways might include spending time in thoughtful meditation, journaling, and disconnecting from secular knowledge to focus on the gospel. But there are many ways to incorporate religion in the home! Taking small steps can improve your life drastically in ways that Sunday worship alone cannot.

Learn more about how religion improves life satisfaction in Jason S. Carroll and Spencer L. James’s article “A Not-So-Good Faith Estimate.”

Source: The Wheatley Institute

—Stefani Stewart, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

For more understanding of what it means for religion to be home-centered, read Quentin L. Cook’s conference talk “Deep and Lasting Conversion to Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Take a look at the Digital News article “Home Centered, Church Supported” to find out about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages home-centered religious practice.

Read Rebecca L. Craven’s talk “Do What Mattereth Most” to find ideas for how to bring religion into the home.

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