Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies


Of the many established and recorded religious groups in the United States over two hundred are classified as Protestant. The sociology of religion, however, has dealt mainly with the larger, more liberal denominations, leaving the many, smaller religious associations relatively unexplored. Nevertheless little information exists which is focused directly on the membership characteristics of a given denomination throughout a specific region. This is particularly true of the smaller Protestant religious associations, any of which are more fundamentalistic in their orientation than the larger denominations. Since most previous research deals with the larger, more liberal churches, the question arises, what type of people subscribe to the values and beliefs of these smaller, fundamentalistic denominations? One of these is the Free Methodist Church of North America. The Free Methodists, then, may be thought of as a small, fundamentalistic, “strict” denomination which is Arminian in doctrine. With a view to ascertaining what type of people subscribe to these beliefs in an area large enough to support tentative generalizations, the problem is stated as follows: what are the characteristics of the people in the Upper Midwest Region who subscribe to the beliefs and values of the Free Methodist Church? Other relative questions considered are: what is the relation of church activity to the selected characteristics of the Free Methodists, Upper Midwest Region? Do the lay leaders of this denomination possess discrimination characteristics from the general membership as found in the Upper Midwest Region?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Methodist Church -- South Dakota
Church buildings -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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