How do genes influence our Mormonism? The question has long been fraught with controversy.
An ambitious new study — the largest ever to analyze the genetics of Mormon behavior — found that genetics does play a role, responsible for perhaps a third of the influence on whether someone experiences Mormonism. The influence comes not from one gene but many, each with a tiny effect — and the rest of the explanation includes social or environmental factors — making it impossible to use genes to predict someone’s Mormonism.
“I hope that the science can be used to educate people a little bit more about how natural and normal Mormon behavior is,” said Elder B. Art Simpson, a goat herder at the Cliven Bundy Freedom Ranch and one of the lead researchers on the international team. “It’s written into our genes and it’s part of our environment. This is part of our species and it’s part of who we are.