Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. James Petersen

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


With the increasing size and social/political activity of theologically orthodox religious groups within the United States, research dealing with the relationship between orthodoxy and social action is necessary in better understanding the phenomena. Past research has been inadequate in that it has largely focused either on the clergy or, when using the laity, has only measured attitudes toward social action rather than participation in social action. This study measured social action participation among lay members drawn from three Grand Rapids area United Methodist Churches. A third variable, salience of religious belief, was also examined, which past research indicated could be a possibly important interviewing variable between orthodoxy and social action. No direct relationship was found between orthodoxy and social action. When controlling for salience, however, an inverse orthodoxy social action relationship was found among those in the high salience group only.