‘It Makes a Difference in My Life’

Young Adults’ Motivations for Reading Sacred Texts


  • Eric D Rackley Brigham Young University




reading, literacy, motivation, Latter-day Saint, young adults


Informed by social theories of literacy, religious literacy, and motivation for literacy, this article examines the motivations for religious literacy embedded in the lived experiences of 16 Latter-day Saint young adults. Several cycles of qualitative analysis of semi-structured and verbal protocol interviews with Latter-day Saint college students point to three primary motivations for reading sacred texts: reading to improve one’s self, reading to learn information about one’s faith, and reading to receive guidance. These religiosocial motivations grew out of participants’ everyday religious, personal and educational experiences with sacred texts and provide empirical support for the religiosocial influence of sacred texts in young adults’ lives. Findings have implications for religious researchers and educators working at the intersection of religion, literacy and motivation.

Author Biography

Eric D Rackley, Brigham Young University

Eric D. Rackley is an Associate Professor in Teacher Education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. His research lies at the intersection of religion, literacy, and young people.


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How to Cite

Rackley, E. D. (2022). ‘It Makes a Difference in My Life’: Young Adults’ Motivations for Reading Sacred Texts. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 35(3), 298–320. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.19964