Sacred Practices in Highly Religious Families: Christian, Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim Perspectives


family relationship, religious experience, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, qualitative research


Quantitative research examining linkages between family relationships and religious experience has increased substantially in recent years. However, related qualitative research, including research that examines the processes and meanings behind recurring religion‐family correlations, remains scant. To address this paucity, a racially diverse sample (N=24) of married, highly religious Christian, Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim parents of school‐aged children were interviewed regarding the importance of religious family interactions, rituals, and practices in their families. Mothers and fathers discussed several religious practices that were meaningful to them and explained why these practices were meaningful. Parents also identified costs and challenges associated with these practices. Interview data are presented in connection with three themes: (1) “practicing [and parenting] what you preach,” (2) religious practices, family connection, and family communion, and (3) costs of family religious practices. The importance of family clinicians and researchers attending to the influence of religious practice in the lives of highly religious individuals and families is discussed.

Original Publication Citation

Marks, L. D. (2004). Sacred practices in highly religious families: Christian, Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim perspectives. Family Process, 43, 217-231.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Family Process




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor