“Wow,” he said, “that sounds a lot like the Shidduch Crisis.” I had never heard of it, but the Shidduch Crisis turned out to be a marriage crisis among Orthodox Jews remarkably similar to the one afflicting Mormons.Both of these socially conservative communities are suffering from marriage crises that are testing not only their faiths but social norms as well.“There might actually be a more promiscuous dating culture than there otherwise would be in the Mormon culture because of this gap.” Months later, still neck-deep in Mormon research, I got lucky again.
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But lurking beneath the Census data is a demographic anomaly that makes Utah a textbook example of how shifting gender ratios alter behavior.
The LDS church actually has one of the most lopsided gender ratios of any religion in the United States.
She shared stories of devout Mormon women who wound up marrying outside the religion—officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—simply because they had no other options. ”—who gave up on finding a husband and decided to have children on their own.
Said Hunt, “My heartstrings are pulled daily.” wo thousand miles away in New York City, Lisa Elefant knows exactly what Hunt is feeling.
On a lark, I emailed my friend Cynthia Bowman,* a devout Mormon who grew up in Salt Lake City and returns there often, and asked her whether Mormon sex ratios are as lopsided as the ARIS study claimed.
[Editor’s note: “Cynthia Bowman” is a pseudonym, as are other names denoted with an asterisk.Shidduch is the Hebrew word for a marriage match, and Orthodox Jews (including the more assimilated Modern Orthodox) now refer to the excess supply of unmarried women in their communities as the Shidduch Crisis. Or maybe it’s the women who are holding out for the Mormon or Jewish George Clooney?Mormon and Orthodox Jewish leaders alike fear that their respective marriage crises reflect some failure to instill proper values in young people. In fact, the root causes of both the Shidduch Crisis and the Mormon marriage crisis have little to do with culture or religion. The fact is that there are more marriage-age women than men both in the Orthodox Jewish community and in the Utah LDS church.I wanted to show that god-fearing folks steeped in old-fashioned values are just as susceptible to the effects of shifting sex ratios as cosmopolitan, hookup-happy 20-somethings who frequent Upper East Side wine bars. One of my web searches turned up a study from Trinity College’s American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) on the demographics of Mormons.According to the ARIS study, there are now 150 Mormon women for every 100 Mormon men in the state of Utah—a 50 percent oversupply of women.I called back to thank him but explained I was busy writing a book.