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Generalizations About Mormons Extracted From Utah Statistics


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Well, I went through the data a little and on a whim typed in my company's email domain. I do not know whether to be more concerned about how many people were on the site and how many are in positions of responsibility would cheat on their spouses or whether I should be more concerned how many stupid people I am working with who are dumb enough to use their company email for this.

Times like this I wish I had no moral compass. I could probably get a few blackmail raises out of this.

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So I did a little experiment with the AM data, as follows:

 

1. The AM data has a lot of problems with it, but I figured the most accurate data set was the spreadsheets pertaining to credit card payments, as these may be harder to fake (I really don't know, tho).

 

2. I chose a random week's worth of data: June 7-13, 2015.  For some reason, the version of the leaked docs I received only had data for four days during this week.  Here's what I found:

 

  • June 7 - Roughly 38 of 9,656 transactions had Utah addresses.  These transactions were by 17 or 18 unique users.  Of the 9,656 transactions, there were roughly 4,775 unique users.
  • June 9 - Roughly 59 of 12,099 transactions had Utah addresses (30 or 31 unique users).  Of the 12,099 transactions, there were roughtly 6,538 unique users.
  • June 10, 2015 - Roughly 65 of 11,704 transactions had Utah addresses (29-31 unique users).  Of the 11,704 transactions, there were roughtly 5,996 unique users.
  • June 13, 2015 - Roughtly 48 of 9,960 transactions had Utah addresses (23 or 24 unique users).  Of the 9,960 transactions, there were roughly 4,850 unique users.
 

3. The total number of unique users with Utah addresses for this one week period was about 207.  However, this number reflects duplications, that is, the same unique users using the site on different days.  If we are defining unique AM users with Utah addresses during this one-week period, then the number goes down to about 101.  If we likewise eliminate all of the duplicates of unique users using the AM site on more than one day, then the total number of unique users for this one-week period was about 20,453.

 

4. Keep in mind that the foregoing numbers are very rough.  Although I was able to eyeball the individual users with Utah addresses, I just ran a matching formula in the spreadsheet to guesstimate the total number of unique users.  Also, some of the user data is gobbledegook, and some users uses slight variations in their names (such as including a middle initial on one day, but omitting it on another) which would have messed up the matching formula.

 

5. With the foregoing caveat in mind, I think we can approximately state that, for the one week period set forth above, there were approximately 100 out of 20,000 unique AM users who gave Utah addresses.  This figure represents .5% of unique AM users for the week.

 

6. According to a demographer quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune, the activity rate for Latter-day Saints in the US is about 40%.  This is close to the number cited in Wikipedia (41.6%).

 

7. If we use the above activity rate, then we could speculate that of the 100 unique AM users who gave Utah as their billing address, 40 of them are active Latter-day Saints.  This figure represents .2% of unique AM users for the week.

 

8. It would take quite a bit of work to review the credit card data over the course of, say, a full year to figure out how many unique AM users have a Utah billing address and paid for AM services at least once during that year.  For example, the foregoing summary posits that perhaps around 40 active LDS Utahns paid for AM services during a one week period.  However, I am not sure we can use that number to extrapolate that 2,080 active LDS Utahns did so during a one year perior (40 per week for 52 weeks = 2,080) because some (many?) of the 40 identified users during the one-week period may have also paid for AM services many other times throughout the rest of the year.

 

9. I searched the AM data for the entire month of June 2015 and found approximately 370 unique users who gave a Utah billing address.  Of these, about 154 would theoretically be active Latter-day Saints.  If we extrapolated this out for a year and assumed that each month there were similar numbers of non-duplicative active LDS Utahns paying for the AM site, we would end up with around 1,848 active LDS Utahns who paid for AM's services.  Further analysis would probably show some duplication in unique users using the site at different times over the course of the year, so this number (1,848) would probably be the upper limit of the theoretical number of active LDS Utahns paying for AM services during a one year period.  For the sake of argument (since a lot of this analysis is speculative anyway), let's assume some month-to-month duplication of unique users and reduce the theoretical annual number of active LDS Utahns paying for AM services to 1,700.

 

12. The population of Utah as of 2014 was estimated to be 2,942,902.  Of these, 1,850,474 are adults over 18.  As noted above, 41.6% of these would be active Latter-day Saints, or 769,797.  If we assume that of this number, 1,700 were paying AM users, then we end up with .22% of Utah's active adult LDS population as AM users.  That works out to a little more than 1 out of every 500 active Latter-day Saints.

 

13. So what generalizations can be drawn from data and rough analysis indicating that perhaps 1 in 500 adult Utah Mormons pay for the AM site's services each year?  Not much, I think.

 

Thanks,

 

-Smac

 

Edit to Add: The foregoing analysis makes assumptions based purely on demographic statistics (the percentage of Utah's population that is LDS, the percentage that is active LDS, etc.).  The analysis does not take into account sociological data.  For example, nobody would seriously take a straightforward demographic approach to alcohol consumption in Utah and suggest that active Mormons represent 41.6% of the population, and therefore also consume 41.6% of the alcohol in the state.  The sociological behaviors of "active" Latter-day Saints would, of course, skew that percentage way, way down.  I think a similar consideration would need to be given to the assumption that "active" Latter-day Saints likewise have a significantly lower rate of marital infidelity.  The Mormons are pretty serious about abstaining from alcohol, and also from adultery.

 

So the 1,700 (1 in 500) number given above is, I think, likely a significant overstatement of the actual numbers of active Latter-day Saints paying for the AM site's services.

 

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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Regarding this Ashley Madison ("AM") thing, I was reminded of the Savior's counsel and warning in Luke 12:1-3 - "Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.  Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."

 

I'm not sure I would characterize the AM data dump as a literal fulfillment of this scripture, but perhaps a fulfillment in a Mosiah 13:30-31 kind of way: "Therefore there was a law given them, yea, a law of performances and of ordinances, a law which they were to observe strictly from day to day, to keep them in remembrance of God and their duty towards him.  But behold, I say unto you, that all these things were types of things to come."

 

I wonder if we can look at this event in a sobering, yet helpful, way. One of the most important themes in scripture is "remembrance."  We too easily forget our origins, our relationship with God, and God's omniscience.  Forgetting that last one seems to be particularly fraught with peril.  There are many scriptural exhortations about God, about His righteous judgment, and about the guilt we will feel if we don't "remember" that He sees and knows of everything we do.  "O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it."  (2 Nephi 9:20).

 

The shame being felt by many of the AM users who have been "caught" must be acute.  I'm thinking here of AM users who have used that website to facilitate gross wickedness in their lives, who have injured themselves and relationships with others, who have breached sacred trusts.  Others may have only signed up on the AM website but went no further then perusing out of idle curiosity.  These folks will still no doubt be very embarrassed, and their loved ones may still feel betrayed by even idle perusing by trusted people in their lives.

 

At the moment, this story is at the height of the public consciousness.  I therefore think it could be helpful for us as Latter-day Saints to humble ourselves, to abstain from judgment (this is often a toughie for me), and to "remember."  Remember who we are and our relationship with our Father in Heaven.  Remember why we are here.  Remember the vital nature of repentance and diligent obedience to the commandments of God.  Because as exquisitely embarrassed / humiliated / shamed many of the AM users will be, I can't help but think that this is but a type and shadow of the judgments to come, as evidenced by the following scriptures:

 

Jacob 6:9 - "Know ye not that if ye will do these things, that the power of the redemption and the resurrection, which is in Christ, will bring you to stand with shame and awful guilt before the bar of God?"

 

Mormon 9:3-6 "Then will ye longer deny the Christ, or can ye behold the Lamb of God? Do ye suppose that ye shall dwell with him under a consciousness of your guilt? Do ye suppose that ye could be happy to dwell with that holy Being, when your souls are racked with a consciousness of guilt that ye have ever abused his laws?  Behold, I say unto you that ye would be more miserable to dwell with a holy and just God, under a consciousness of your filthiness before him, than ye would to dwell with the damned souls in hell.  For behold, when ye shall be brought to see your nakedness before God, and also the glory of God, and the holiness of Jesus Christ, it will kindle a flame of unquenchable fire upon you.  O then ye unbelieving, turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day."

 

Mosiah 2:38 - "Therefore if that man repenteth not, and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which doth cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt, and pain, and anguish, which is like an unquenchable fire, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever."

 

2 Nephi 9:14-15 - "Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.  And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God."

 

These passages would seem quite grim, but for their being counterbalanced by the many other scriptures about the beautiful gift of Repentance.  Here are some favorites:

 

D&C 58:42-43 - "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more.  By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins—behold, he will confess them and forsake them."

 

D&C 18:11-13 - "For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.  And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.  And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!"

 

D&C 38:14 - "But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness."

 

Enos 1:4-6 - "And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul; and all the day long did I cry unto him; yea, and when the night came I did still raise my voice high that it reached the heavens.  And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed.  And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away."

 

So for me, now is not the time for schadenfreude (is there ever a time for that?).  Now is not the time for finger-wagging or tut-tutting or snickering or self-congratulation or mockery or sanctimony.  It doesn't matter that my name is not in the AM data.  I have other sins which, while not divulged by hackers in spreadsheets published to the world, are nevertheless known to God.  

 

For me, now is the time for humility.  For prayer.  For a renewed desire to repent.  For a renewed desire to live righteously, and to help and persuade others to do so.  Because at the end of the day, "there but for the grace of God go I."

 

Thanks,

 

-Smac

Do you think it reasonable to assume that sex addiction, not necessarily unhappiness in marriage, could be a key player?

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My bank card records indicate I have purchased sneakers from New Jersey.  But having never been to New Jersey or purchased sneakers from New Jersey, I reported it as a fraudulent transaction.

Suuuuuure!  You would say it's a fraudulent transaction!  I bet you wanted a pair of the latest and greatest sneakers endorsed by the Best Basketball Player in the History of the Universe, LeBron James, but your wife said, "What, with eight mouths to feed?  You are not getting those sneakers!"  But you said, "Hmph!  I'll show her!"  And then you asked yourself, "Where's the last place on earth my wife would expect me to go to buy those sneakers?"  And then it hit you: "Eureka!  By George, I think I've got it!  New Jersey, it is!"  So you sneaked off to New Jersey to buy a pair of sneakers.  (She thought you were away on a business trip!) ;)

 

By the way, I'm absolutely certain that none of those Ashley Madison credit card transactions were fraudulent, either!   :huh::unsure:

Edited by Kenngo1969
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Indeed.  I have a local copy of the AM member profile data that was posted online.   Without knowing how anyone else is pulling the data -- like are they using the CC transaction records and trying to tie those to users -- it is impossible to know why the numbers vary so much.

 

But as one tech writer said, it looks like this database was designed by a bunch of CS 101 students.

I'm off to work....but just in case no one mentioned this in the next 2 pages. THe data probably varies because of the controls that people put on it. (see the fusion article mentioned in a previous post). Such as weeding out duplicates, using only PAID subscribers (they note that all subscribers was around 37 million....paid subscribers was a tiny percentage of that). The reasoning behind that was simply that the other millions of users who didn't pay were likely to have a vastly different amount of motivations for subscribing....many of which were not to actually cheat. So the paid one were obviously a little more invested in the site and were more likely proactively seeking partners....thus the smaller numbers.

 

With luv,

BD   

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Is that accurate?  Then how did SLC rank as the 4th city in the nation for memberships on Ashley Madison (per capita)? (I'm obviously not great with stats :))  So I ask....

Because ex-LDS and never-LDS are inordinately & disproportionately engaged in such activities.  There's no other possible explanation here, folks---please move along...

;0)

 

--Erik

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Because ex-LDS and never-LDS are inordinately & disproportionately engaged in such activities.  There's no other possible explanation here, folks---please move along...

;0)

 

--Erik

Carefully read post number 77. Your sarcastic post is example of an LDS critic trying too hard to find fault.

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So anyone reporting on paid users MUST be using the CC info.  How they are matching that up to any specific profile information is beyond me.  I'm not doubting them.  But I'm also not seeing any easy way to do this.

 

ETA:  Ok.  I'm dumb.  I see how folks are lining up the confirmed CC info with the self-reported profile info.  They are matching up the email address in both sets.  For some reason I didn't think the email was stored in the CC transactions but there it is... plain as day.

The CC info has zipcode information so you can do state analysis just by the CC info.  It also has the state but I think the zipcode is more accurate because the CC processor verifies it.

 

Also, the CC info has actual member ids.  I've found 4 different types of rows.  One where the id is in the firstName.  One where it is in the merchantId.  One where the firstName starts with the memberId, and one where there doesn't appear to be a memberId.  The last appears to be fairly rare, though, and seems to only span a few days of data.

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I don't think there is any other state in the US with such a large majority from a single denomination. That does not however always mean that Utah stats = Mormon stats. Further investigation would be needed to make conclusions about Mormons from Utah stats. 

 

In my experience there also seems to be quite a different culture in the church in Utah compared to other places. 

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I don't think there is any other state in the US with such a large majority from a single denomination. That does not however always mean that Utah stats = Mormon stats. Further investigation would be needed to make conclusions about Mormons from Utah stats. 

It'll be interesting to see what sethpayne and Mola Ram Suda Ram find if they get the chance to do a more in-depth analysis of the data (but even then, it'll be difficult to tell, IMO).  How would you know the Ashley Madison member's religion?

Edited by ALarson
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It'll be interesting to see what sethpayne and Mola Ram Suda Ram find if they get the chance to do a more in-depth analysis of the data (but even then, it'll be difficult to tell, IMO).  How would you know the Ashley Madison member's religion?

 

I doubt there will be enough data to really find any kind of correlation

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It'll be interesting to see what sethpayne and Mola Ram Suda Ram find if they get the chance to do a more in-depth analysis of the data (but even then, it'll be difficult to tell, IMO).  How would you know the Ashley Madison member's religion?

 

If they used a purchasing card from an LDS Church headquarters account?

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sethpayne did post about some from BYU (post #2)

 

Yeah.  A few geo points from campus.  But as BYU surely blocks the AM site, I think the user would must have been using a personal mobile device.  So there is no way to say if those users are BYU students/employees etc...  

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If they used a purchasing card from an LDS Church headquarters account?

 

Now that would be stupid on a whole different level.

 

 

<-----[currently investigating a guy who failed to provide support for >$80k of purchases on his employer-issued p-card]

Edited by ttribe
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Now that would be stupid on a whole different level.

 

 

<-----[currently investigating a guy who failed to provide support for >$80 of purchases on his employer-issued p-card]

 

Those things can be evil.  Never mix personal and work funds!

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Those things can be evil.  Never mix personal and work funds!

 

I just realized, I forgot a letter in that previous version of my post.  It wasn't $80...it was $80,000!

Edited by ttribe
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Do you think it reasonable to assume that sex addiction, not necessarily unhappiness in marriage, could be a key player?

 

That's a good question.  This whole AM thing has bummed me out.  First, that such a service could exist and prosper.  Second, that so many people would have been attracted to it.  I am such an idealist that the whole thing boggles my mind.

 

The other question, is how many people paid for the service just to eyeball the "selection", as it were, but were only intending to window-shop and never anything more?

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Carefully read post number 77. Your sarcastic post is example of an LDS critic trying too hard to find fault.

 

No, no!  Erik does not need to try hard!  He's just naturally good at it.  Effortlessly, he leaves them all behind in the dust!

 

:D

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It'll be interesting to see what sethpayne and Mola Ram Suda Ram find if they get the chance to do a more in-depth analysis of the data (but even then, it'll be difficult to tell, IMO).  How would you know the Ashley Madison member's religion?

 

Perhaps they ask in the signup?  I mean, wouldn't a devout [insert religious adherent descriptor here] rather commit adultery with another of the same faith?  Or perhaps with anyone BUT someone of the same faith?

 

I don't know if religious faith is part of the profile on AM, and I think I'm going to stay as far away as I can from signing up just so I can discover this factum.  Although my curiosity is really pulling me in that direction.

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