Nonfirmands: Danish Youth Who Choose Not to Have a Lutheran Confirmation

Isabella Kasselstrand* (Corresponding Author), Phil Zuckerman, Donald Westbrook, Robert Little

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Most Danish youth participate in the traditional Lutheran ritual of confirmation. However, a growing minority does not. Based on survey data collected in 2011 from over 600 Danish pupils, this study examines the ways in which Danish ‘nonfirmands’ are different from their peers who participate in confirmation in relation to religious background, personal religious beliefs, intellectual engagement, and demographic factors. We further explore key motivations for ‘nonfirmation’ expressed by the nonfirmands in the sample. Broadly speaking, our findings highlight secular socialization and individual beliefs about God as key elements in understanding the nonfirmand and his or her reasons for opting out of confirmation. We expect confirmations to continue to decline in popularity as nonfirmation gains social acceptance, as nonfirmands raise their own children, and as Denmark becomes increasingly secular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-105
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Secularization
  • nonreligion
  • Church of Denmark
  • confirmation
  • youth


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