Family and religion: a harmonious union

A Sutherland newsletter from last year noted the links between family and religion. It explained:

“Church and family are mutually supportive. Religious teachings about marriage, sexuality, obligations of spouses and parents, etc., bolster the natural affections of family life. Parents inculcate religious beliefs and religious morality in their children and family religious observance is at the center of the spiritual life for many people.”

There is plenty of empirical support for the proposition that religious practice strengthens family life. Dr. Patrick Fagan has collected some of the research for the Heritage Foundation here.

A very recent study notes that the beneficial influence of religion on family life holds true even in the most stressful family situations. The study of 1,134 single mothers found religious participation “was associated with greater involvement with children, reduced parenting stress, and a lower likelihood of engaging in corporal punishment.” The children of mothers who attend church frequently “were less likely to display problem behaviors.”

LDS readers will remember that these themes were mentioned in the most recent General Conference by Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder David S. Baxter.