The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted a question on their official Facebook page, “What three words describe your faith as a Latter-day Saint?” on September 29, 2011.
The call for comments was already closed when we first learned of it from an October 4, 2011 post on LDS Media Talk by Larry Richman titled, Words That Describe Latter Day Saints. His post displays a word cloud (probably a wordle) of the responses that shows some very prominent single words including Love, Faith, Jesus, Hope, Family, Christ, Charity, and Truth, with several other responses in smaller fonts.
We started to wonder if the raw data might have more to offer and went over to Facebook and found the original post. The question, “What three words describe your faith as a Latter-day Saint?” received 577 responses.
Several members had trouble limiting themselves to three words, or to just one response. But the content of the responses was pretty interesting.
We noticed hundred of members (Mormons) chose to respond with phrases (like “Child of God” or “Faith, Hope & Charity”) instead of freestanding words like hope, forgiveness, Christ, Atonement.
We typed in all the two and three word phrases in their responses (and a few four word responses we elected to include) and decided to display them as word clouds. The phrases are larger or smaller depending on how many times they were submitted. The first LDS Members Describe Their Faith word cloud is a Wordle. The second one is a Tagxedo. Wordles increase word size at a 1 to 1 ratio based on the frequency of use. Tagxedo defaults to a .6 ratio which makes the very dominant phrases somewhat smaller, but did allow us to shape the result.
Just as the “I am a Mormon” advertising campaign stresses the diversity of our membership, that same diversity is portrayed in the responses of our members.
A high resolution version of each image is available from a link below it. You can zoom them up to explore the less commonly used phrases in this self reported survey of words that describe each member’s faith.
The Tagxedo word cloud below of the same phrases used to describe LDS faith is an interesting comparison to the wispy, almost galactic wordle image above.
LDS Members Describe Their Faith Tagxedo high resolution jpg download. Download the high resolution jpg then zoom it. It will be much clearer than zooming in the browser.
The colors and the multiplicity of responses to LDS members describing their faith created some interesting word cloud displays.
We combined all the versions of Faith, Hope, & Charity as “Faith Hope Charity” and similarly combined all the versions of Choose the Right as “CTR”.
The most commonly used phrases used by LDS member to describe their faith were in order:”Faith, Hope, and Charity”, “Choose the Right”, “Child of God”, “Families are Forever”, “Jesus Christ Lives”, and “Book of Mormon”. After those, many of the responses were only given a few times, or just once. One phrase we did not anticipate when members were limited to just three words, “Steadfast and Immoveable”, was listed a few times.
Please note our charts above do NOT include the single word responses to the question, What three words describe your faith as a Latter-day Saint? We only included the responses that used phrases. A quick comparison our our charts and the one on LDS media talk reveals “Love” was probably the most prominent single word response. “Love” is the largest sized word on LDS Media Talk’s word cloud and is not present in the common phrases identified in ours.
A big thanks to the Church for asking the question, to the members for responding, and to LDS Media Talk for posting the word cloud that inspired these charts. And thanks to Wordle and Tagxedo for letting us use their tools, and to Facebook for storing the responses.