Is the Pandemic Sparking an Online Religious Revival?

Daniel A. Cox February 4, 2022

One of the very first things the Internet accomplished was allowing people to bypass traditional gatekeepers. For religious Americans, the rise of the Internet meant unfettered and unfiltered access to information about their own faith. A 2001 Pew Research Center report found that one of the most common online activities for “Religious Surfers” (religious people who spent time online) was simply gathering information about their own religious tradition or denomination.

But for some churches, the Internet quickly became a source of headaches. Church leaders could no longer control their own narratives and history, including the uncomfortable parts. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this newly-acquired information led to difficult questions. Many asked why Black men were excluded from the priesthood until the late 1970s, while others questioned Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy.

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Survey Reports

An illustration of the side profiles of four people. From left to right: a young white man with blond hair, an older Black woman with short, curly Black hair, a young woman with tan skin and black hair with a blue streak, an older man with darker tan skin with curly grey hair and a mustache.

Daniel A. Cox, Beatrice Lee, Dana Popky
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bridge between college graduates and those without a degree

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