“The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health” (Add Health),
- Found that conservative and evangelical Christian teenagers are more sexually active than mainline Protestants, Jews, and even Mormons. On average, white evangelical Protestants begin having sex shortly after turning sixteen, which is sooner than most other groups.
- Moreover, because of the widespread conservative and evangelical Christian belief that contraception is morally wrong, those teenagers were more likely than the other groups to become pregnant and contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- The surveys found that abstinence-only sex education is a total failure in stopping premarital sex, unwanted pregnancy, and STDs.
- Bush has made it governmental policy in the United States and around the world to support the teaching of abstinence-only sex education. According to a 2001 estimate, two-and-a-half million young people have taken a pledge to remain celibate until marriage. This has been done under the auspices of movements such as “True Love Waits” and “The Silver Ring Thing.” Sometimes the pledges are made at “purity balls” where girls in ball gowns exchange rings with their fathers who vow to help them remain virgins until they marry. The surveys show that 82% of those who take such pledges end up having sex before marriage.
- In addition, other surveys show that communities with high rates of pledging also have higher rates of pregnancy and STDs.
- The problem with teenage marriages is that they lead to higher rates of divorce by conservative and evangelical Christians than among other Christians, Jews, and Mormons. Social scientists have noted that the states with the lowest age of marriage have the highest rates of divorce.
- In 2004 the states with the lowest median age of marriage were the (then) red states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Utah, and Idaho. The states with the highest age at marriage were New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
- The highest rates of divorce were in the red states of Arkansas, Idaho, Wyoming, West Virginia, and Nevada. The lowest rates of divorce were in the blue states of Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
- The highest teen-pregnancy rates were in the red states of Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. The lowest were in Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Maine.
- The surveys also showed that there is an important social class and educational aspect to adolescent sex. The more affluent, better-educated blue state teenagers are more cautious about having premarital sex than conservative and evangelical youths.
- They are more likely to use contraception when having sex, and are less likely to get pregnant or STDs. Blue state young people are more likely to postpone marriage and children until after they reach emotional and financial maturity.
- According to Mark Regnerus: “They (blue state teens) are interested in remaining free from the burden of teenage pregnancy and the sorrows and embarrassments of sexually transmitted diseases. They perceive a bright future for themselves, one with college, advanced degrees, a career, and a family.”
Thoughts and Questions
- The Church encourages education and the correlation between education and unwanted teenage pregnancy is positive
- Abstinence seems to be working fairly well in our church doesn’t it? – I honestly don’t know?
- What is our stand on contraception for teenagers that are going to be sexually active do we bury our head in the sand or is it ever discussed where they could go get help.
- Mormons don’t think contraception is morally wrong but would we encourage it if we knew abstinence was not going to happen?
- It appears in the States where religion is practised less but education is higher their seems to be higher abstinence and less teenage pregnancy and STD’s
- Has the church supported President Bush on abstinence only sex education? Will Obama be advocating abstinence education as well ?
- Do we formally encourage in our wards and stakes for our teenagers to pledge abstinence?
- If their is a correlation between the younger you get married the more likely you are to get a divorce, should it be encouraged that members wait longer before they tie the knot?
- If its true that the trend for BYU students are waiting a little longer to get married will this improve future divorce rates in the church?
Final thought and Question Do you think the more we talk about abstinence the worse the problem will get?
Don’t think the colour red! Don’t think the colour red! Don’t think the colour red!
What colour are you thinking?
Notes: Jack LeMoult