Religious Stereotypes Venn Diagram According To Google: Expanded Mormon Edition

I’m still working on the expanded LDS-inclusive diagram la BLAME IT ON THE VOICES, but in the meantime, here’s the raw data for your perusal. Tip o’ the hat to Joe.My.God:

When you begin a Google search with the question “Why are [Christians, Jews, Muslims, fill-in-the-blank] so …” – you get the [below] suggestions.

For the purposes of this post, I filled in the blanks with Mormons, Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Catholics, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Buddhists. If you feel I’ve left anyone out, please let me know. Meanwhile, here are the results for my initial selection:

Why are Mormons so … weird, nice, hot, stupid, happy, good looking, secretive, attractive, rich, successful.


Why are Christians so … stupid, judgemental, mean, hateful, ignorant, intolerant, dumb, fat, annoying, gullible.


Why are Jews so … cheap, smart, successful, hated, rich, liberal, greedy, funny, ugly, powerful.


Why are Muslims so … violent, angry, stupid, crazy, sensitive, intolerant, easily offended, hated, backward, barbaric.


Why are atheists so … stupid, angry, awesome, intolerant, smart, hateful, mean, arrogant, annoying, rude.


Why are Catholics so … strict, stupid, arrogant, judgemental.


Why are Baptists so … judgemental.


Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses so … weird

Jehovah's Witnesses

Why are Buddhists so … happy.


Venn diagram comin’ up shortly. 😉

While I’m working on that, I’ll go ahead and mention that what really jumped out at me is how many positive stereotypes are attributed to Mormons compared to everybody else:

Mormons: 7 (nice, hot, happy, good looking, attractive, rich, successful)
Jews: 6 (smart, successful, rich, liberal, funny, powerful)
atheists: 2 (awesome, smart)
Buddhists: 1 (happy)
Everybody else: 0

UPDATE: Here it is. Thank you to Will_Power for introducing me to Venny, and a huge thank you to bradg for going above and beyond the call of duty by producing this:

Mormon Traits Venn

Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

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45 Responses

  1. Chris Smith says:

    Yeah, I’d say that as religious stereotypes go, Mormons are doing pretty well for themselves!

  2. Daniel says:

    Google doesn’t suggest anything for

    “why are ex-mormons so”

    but if you click through, here’s what actual web pages say:

    angry (and bitter)
    very angry
    set on teaching against Mormons

    Well, at least we got ‘interesting’.

  3. Kristine says:

    I just want to know why everyone misspells judgmental.

  4. Andrew S. says:


    Couldn’t all this positive association have something to do with how the church apparently rocks at SEO?


    Maybe it’s because judgmental may be alternatively spelled judgemental. I can see the allure of this, as it maintains the word “judge”, even if I prefer the standard “judgmental”

  5. chanson says:

    That is too funny! I thought surveys had shown that Mormons were among the most hated groups, but maybe people are just jealous of how successful and good-looking the Mormons are. 😉

  6. Donnell says:

    I suspect that a lot of LDS are Googling about themselves. Does anyone know the breakdown of Internet usage by religion? How many religious leaders have encouraged their followers to be active online as Elder Ballard did? There sure seems to be a disproportionate amount of more Mormon Mommy blogs.

  7. Alan says:

    Well, if you leave it at just “Why are Mormons” without the “so,” you get:

    so weird
    so nice
    not Christians
    so stupid
    advertising <—-
    so hot

    A Venn diagram without the "so" wouldn't work, though, because you get things like "Why are Christians boycotting home depot" and "why are Hindus upset with Avatar?" and "Why are Muslims afraid of dogs?"

    Oh, and you forgot Hindus and Scientologists, but they don't have anything if you include the "so."

  8. chanson says:

    Donnell — I’ll bet the Mormons google Mormons perhaps more than average folks google their own categories. Yet, I don’t think they’re numerous enough to throw off this calculation by much. Plus, I doubt they’d be googling “Why are Mormons so hot?” etc.

    My guess is that active Mormons are very good about giving the impression of being beautiful, happy, and successful, and random people want to know why. My opinion is that Mormonism isn’t very welcoming to people who don’t happen to make Morminism look good, and the fact that Mormons give the impression of being hot, happy, and rich is a consequence of that.

  9. Donnell says:

    Good points, Chanson. I agree that looking a certain way is an important part of Mormonism.

    I’m from western Washington state and I remember how relieved I was to step off of the streets of downtown SLC into the old mall and see people with tattoos and piercings. It was a bit of comfort amidst the clones.

    I hear they are taking care of that “problem” with the new mall, though. Bleh.

  10. Carla says:

    hmmm, why are Bhuddists so happy? haha

    I would also add that no religion like the Mormons spends so much time, effort, and money on their public image. Maybe if we didn’t have the commercials and ads and missionaries running around telling you Mormons are nice, or if other religions spent more time on their image, would we have a different result?

  11. Carson N says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Andrew. When I was at BYU I remember hearing a presentation about how the church needed volunteers for SEO work in order to make their online image better. The fact that Mormons happen to be a giant centralized corporation definitely puts them at an advantage in that arena.

  12. Chino Blanco says:

    Thanks for all the great comments. Whether it’s the fault of Google’s Suggest algorithm or simply that our huge fan base is too sophisticated to ask “Why are exmormons so …” — at this point, I think I’m mostly interested in determining how to rectify the unacceptable situation Daniel describes in #2.

    When I think of exmormons, here’s the list of traits that come to my mind:

    Why are exmormons so … trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, sexy.

    If others can make their own suggestions here, I’d like to gather those and settle on a final list of the Top Ten ExMo traits. Once that list is in hand, I hope some of you might join me in implementing the various strategies that will produce the Google Suggestions that we exmos deserve.

  13. chanson says:

    I concur — great list!

  14. Donnell says:

    Why are exmormons so funny, witty, clever, fun? That’s truly been what I have found in this community. Not at all what the LDS culture groomed me to expect.

    Oh, and the diagram turned out beautifully. Good work!

  15. Chino Blanco says:

    Thanks, chanson! By the way, all my tongue-in-cheekiness aside, there’s really no need to draw up a list. Anyone who’s interested in helping kick-start the process of influencing the Google Suggest engine can help by writing a post similar to the one I’ve just published here at MSP: Why are exmormons so sexy?

    In other words, if you’re an exmo blogger, all you need to do is choose your own adjective describing exmormons and title a post at your blog in the “Why are exmormons so ___________ ? format. The post itself can be a very short and simple answer to the question posed in your title. Once it’s up, post the link here in comments at MSP, and I’ll promote it. Ideally, since Google Suggest maxes out at ten suggestions, it’d be great to see nine more posts go up following this prescribed format.

    P.S. While I respect the talent that the LDS church has hired to manage its SEO, their online strategy is not all proactive management. There are plenty of examples of where they’ve simply reacted by piggybacking controversies over which they have no control.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If we had anything like a DOB (DAMU Office Building), and if I was working there, I’d react to the “Mormons are hot” Google suggestions by tasking our blogging staff with penning posts with exactly these titles:

    Why are exmormons so nice?

    Why are exmormons so hot?

    Why are exmormons so happy?

    Why are exmormons so good-looking?

    Why are exmormons so attractive?

    Why are exmormons so rich?

    Why are exmormons so successful?

    Because posting any of the above titles would handily exploit (i.e., piggyback) work that’s already been done.

  16. profxm says:

    Speaking of Mormon’s being good at SEO, did anyone else see this:

  17. Andrew S. says:

    That’s definitely what I was alluding to earlier; I should’ve thought to post the vid too!

  18. Michael Turton says:

    Wait a sec… shouldn’t Christians subsume Baptists and Catholics and Mormons and JWs? Seems there are some practical issues with that Venn Diagram….

  19. Chino Blanco says:

    As glad as I am to learn that Typhoon Megi didn’t drown Michael’s internet access, I can’t help feeling disappointed with his question. As I mentioned over at r/atheism, in my view, the Google suggestions for “Why are Catholics so …” and “Why are Baptists so …” merited their inclusion even if it resulted in a less-than-tidy categorization. Ditto for the J-dubs and esp for the Mormons.

    The purpose of the diagram was to illuminate some very specific Google suggestion engine behavior and/or Google user behavior — not settle any pesky theological arguments about who’s in and who’s out of “Christianity” …

    That said, considering that this was our view out the window a few days ago, I am truly very glad to find Michael’s comment here …


  20. Carla says:

    @ Chino #12 – Exmormons are sexy boy scouts. Got it.

  21. Chino Blanco says:

    @ Carla #21 – Should I have gone with the Girl Scout Promise and Law?

    Respect authority? Seriously?

  22. Carla says:

    @ Chino #22 – *shudders* I was a girl scout from kindergarten to senior year of high school. What a joke.

    How am I supposed to be “courageous and strong” while “respecting authority”?! I guess it’s a Cosmo version of courageous and strong:

    Reminds me of a Mormon version of women having authority: “you hold the priesthood every night when you put your arms around you husband in bed.” *gag*

  23. chanson says:

    I thought it was kind of funny to pick the boy scout list (with “chaste” improved as “sexy”). 😉 I’ve been trying to think of other qualities that fit us as well, yet it’s surprising how well the boy scout list works. (I guess it’s just lucky that they didn’t include that whole discriminating-against-gays-atheists-and-others into their motto…)

  24. carl says:

    Are you sure you guys did that right? I was think’n it sortta seemed like those circles oughtta intersect at Stupid.?

  25. Faye says:

    I like how the exmos are trying to sway google while no one else cares.

  26. Chino Blanco says:

    I like how Mormons think leaving snippy sarcastic comments somehow wins points for their cause.

  27. Faye says:

    I’m catholic…

  28. Faye says:

    And I apologize for my comment. It was out of place.

  29. Andrew S. says:

    I actually like these candid moments of reveal. But you get to hear what people REALLY think.

  30. Andrew S. says:

    Natch. Try “BECAUSE you get to read what people REALLY think. “

  31. Pedro says:

    It’s funny that just because mormons actually turn up a positive result on google suggestions that people feel the need to give reasons for why it’s not true and talk it down. It’s like mormons aren’t allowed to be seen in a positive light.

  32. Chino Blanco says:

    Did you even read the post, Pedro? This doesn’t strike me as “talking it down”:

    While Im working on that, Ill go ahead and mention that what really jumped out at me is how many positive stereotypes are attributed to Mormons compared to everybody else.

    Or the first comment:

    Yeah, Id say that as religious stereotypes go, Mormons are doing pretty well for themselves!

    I’m actually trying very hard to read your comment in a positive light, Pedro, but it’s hard, considering how whiny and defensive and inaccurate it is.

  33. dpc says:

    I don’t know if the search results are indicative of positive stereotypes. It seems like the use of the word “so” indicates that there is a missing clause of “despite having strange beliefs.” Maybe it could be seen as a “Grinch who stole Christmas” effect. I think most people connect strange beliefs with strange behavior and are puzzled when Mormons don’t seem to fit that idea.

  34. Bex says:

    You do know that Mormons are Christians…:)

  35. chanson says:

    You do know that that depends on your definition of Christian…? 😉

    If you’d like to discuss why this question is disputed, we talked about it some here, and in this really old discussion. Or perhaps take it up with the folks at Mormon Coffee (who care more about this question than our largely atheist/agnostic bunch here do).

  36. Elder Watson says:

    Hi all,

    Mormons often recieve such stereotypical assumptions concerning their belief structure, and how that affects the world’s perspective on those practices. I would invite you to find out for yourself, and come up with an opinion between you and your God concerning us. By going to, you can find countless resources that will help you to form an opinion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can promise from a compilation of my own personal experiences, and through similar experiences shared by now 14 million members of this Christian faith, that if you desire to know the truth for yourself, go to with an open mind, and an open heart. You will find answers- God Bless.

  37. Chino Blanco says:

    Hi Elder Watson,

    Will you be available to answer questions here after we get done checking out

    That’d be awesome.

  38. Brother Watson says:

    Hello again-

    Absolutely! If you would like a more direct means of communication, please feel free to email me anytime at [redacted]. I will definitely look forward to answering any questions you or anyone may have.


  39. profxm says:

    Brother Watson’s sarcasm detector appears to be faulty, Chino.

    Even so, I’m sure the folks at ITINERIS Early College in West Jordan Utah would love to know where Brother Watson is posting his professional email address. Brother Watson, a sincere suggestion: keep your professional and private lives separate. Unless the charter school where you work is openly pro-LDS, your administrators probably don’t want you using your professional email in the same post as you advocating your religion; kind of a conflict of interest. Just a thought.

  40. Brother Watson says:

    thanks for the advice- have a nice day.

  41. Chino Blanco says:

    That would seem to be the case, profxm. For his own protection, I’ve gone ahead and deleted the public display of his email address.

  42. chanson says:

    Does that mean that Brother Watson won’t be answering questions? There was an interesting one that just came up on another thread:

    According to a recent priesthood manual, Mormons are counseled not to marry people of other races. Then I found a talk by BKP listing off some examples of races that are supposed to marry among themselves:

    Weve always counseled in the Church for our Mexican members to marry Mexicans, our Japanese members to marry Japanese, our Caucasians to marry Caucasians, our Polynesian members to marry Polynesians.

    For me, it is not clear what definition of race he’s using, and how to determine from these examples whether two given people are of the same race or not. I did a search on for the topic “interracial marriage” but it didn’t turn up anything about what constitutes an interracial marriage, or whether/why it’s still discouraged. Brother Watson, can you clarify?

  43. kuri says:

    I was going to ask him if Eskimos are Lamanites…

  1. October 23, 2010

    […] Because we used to be Mormons. Duh. […]

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    […] like! Ziff did some current research on the “Why are Mormons so…?” question that Chino tackled a few years ago. Also, we learn that Mormonism remains decidedly American and wealthy adherents […]

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