Friendlier people and fewer school shootings?

Friendlier people and fewer school shootings? June 29, 2020


Paris LDS Tabernacle
Designed by Joseph Don Carlos Young, a son of Brigham Young, and built between 1884 and 1889 in a Romanesque architectural style, the Bear Lake Stake Tabernacle stands in Paris, Idaho. Many of those who worked on its stone masonry were Swiss converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The red sandstone of the building’s exterior was quarried in Indian Creek Canyon, almost eighteen miles away. It continues to be used for Latter-day Saint meetings, and was added to the National Historic Registry in 1972.


I offer two more items from Paul McFate, 52 Good Reasons to Go to Church, Besides the Obvious Ones (Chicago: ACTA Publications, 2004).  Both of them have been officially board-certified as appropriate for inclusion in your Christopher Hitchens Memorial “How Religion Poisons Everything” File:

  • Fewer School Shootings (page 58) — In his book Lost Boys, psychologist J. Garbarino found that one of the common denominators for child criminal behavior is a lack of moral development.  Delinquent children fail to adapt well at school, they suffer from low self-esteem (which makes them hypersensitive to criticism), they are physically and/or emotionally distant (or distanced) from their parents, and they themselves feel unsafe in their communities.  Each of these traits has been shown to be affected by religious observance and church attendance.  [J. Garbarino, Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them (New York: New York Free Press, 1999)]
  • Friendlier People (page 59) — Analysis of a 1992 sample of 2,107 black adults indicated that — even controlling for age, gender, physical characteristics, education, income, and self-esteem — those holding strong personal religious beliefs and looking to those beliefs for moral kindness, rather than being stern and judgmental, measured higher than average on attributes of personal friendliness, openness, lack of suspiciousness, and empathy.  [C. G. Ellison, “Are Religious People Nice People? Evidence from the National Survey of Black Americans,” Social Forces 71 (1992): 411-430]




The forepart of the day today was blustery and rainy, and we decided to drive around Bear Lake.  Then we headed up northwards to Ovid and Montpelier, Idaho, and over to Cokeville, Wyoming, before returning around the south end of the lake.  Ovid was founded by Scandinavian Latter-day Saints — notably, by a Thomas Peterson (no relative, I’m confident).  But there were clearly quite a few Swiss converts in the area, as well, as illustrated by their work on the tabernacle in Paris, Idaho, which is shown above, and in area place names like Geneva and Bern.


Posted from Garden City, Utah



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