Most Mormons Say Their Religion is Christian

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Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints still feel unaccepted and discriminated against in America, even as Republican candidate Mitt Romney, a Mormon, inches closer to becoming the GOP presidential nominee this year.

Results of the first national survey of Mormons by the Pew Research Center were released Thursday.

Researchers found that 68 percent of the Mormons interviewed said much of America doesn't accept their religion as part of the mainstream.

Forty-six percent said they face a lot of discrimination.

Still, 56 percent of Mormons surveyed said they believe the American people are ready for a Mormon president.

About 77 percent of Mormons in the survey identify with or lean toward the Republican Party.

Ninety-seven percent of the Mormons polled believe Mormonism is a Christian religion, which contrasts with a November Pew survey in which 32 percent of non-Mormons declared Mormonism is not a Christian faith.

Conservative Christians, including Protestants and Roman Catholics, generally do not consider Mormons to be Christian.

"There's a real recognition on the part of Mormons that there continue to be certain barriers to acceptance and incorporation into American society, but that's accompanied by sort of a sense of optimism that things may be changing," said Greg Smith, the lead researcher for the Pew Research Center.

"Most Mormons tell us that they think the American public is becoming more likely to see Mormonism as mainstream and that translates into upwards of half of the Mormons we spoke with who say the country might be ready for a Mormon president," he added.

The Pew Research Center interviewed more than 1,000 Mormons late last year when conducting their survey.

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