Subject: Cult? What's your opinion?
Date: Mar 21 17:27
Author: Michele
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Some of the signs from the American Family Foundation:

Cults are usually headed by a charismatic, all-powerful leaders who often believe they have a direct, exclusive line to God.

They psychologically, if not physically, isolate the followers from the rest of society.

They use mind control to make members believe the world is divided between absolute good(the group and its ideology) and absolute evil(all else).

The group is the "elite"; outsiders are "of the world", "evil", "unenlightened," etc.

I have always hesitated to use such a strong word for the church, but it certainly fits some of the characteristics.

Subject: The missionary program especially seems to fit a lot of the cult checklists n/t
Date: Mar 21 17:46
Author: Exmaria
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Subject: I think the Mormon Church is a cult....
Date: Mar 21 17:56
Author: Casio
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It fits every definition in my dictionary.

From the American Heritage Dictionary:

Cult: (1) A system of religious worship and ritual; (2) A religion or sect considered extremist or false; (3a) Obsessive devotion to a person or principle; (3b) the object of such devotion. (Derived from the Latin word "cultus" meaning "to worship".

There is no question that Mormonism fits definition (1). There is also no question that it fits definition (3a)--although the members may quibble over the applicability of "obsessive" most outsiders would say that the devotion to Joseph Smith, Gordon B. Hinckley and the General Authorities is a bit obsessive. Likewise the devotion to the odd temple rituals, the Word of Wisdom, and the Church generally. And as for definition (3b), it also can be said that Mormonism or the Mormon Church is the object of devotion. (Even though TBMs will tell you that it is the "Saviour" they are devoted to, I don't buy it. As a practical matter it is the Church organization that is regarded as the savior and redeemer by most Mormons.)

Definition (2) above is the one that we most often think about when we use the word "cult" in modern times. The word conjures up an image of a group of lunatics chanting zombie-like and blindly following a charismatic leader. We think of cult members as people who are incapable of thinking for themselves and who are prepared to commit any act, no matter how bizarre or destructive, that they are commanded to do by their leader or cult organization. I believe that this definition of cult can encompass a range of organizations--from the somewhat extreme to the very extreme. I believe that Mormonism can be called a cult under this definition, but that it is a the mildest end of the range. Compared to the really screwy cults that many people think of, the Mormon Church is pretty mild. It screws with people's minds a bit, but you can get out of it if you really want to and they won't hunt you down to kill you or kidnap you. The really extreme cults will demand that you fork over everything you own and then become completely dependent on the cult. The Morg demands 10% of gross plus a lot of time and other donations, but they'll let you keep your day job and the punishment for not complying is just occasional dirty looks from the Bishop and being barred from the secret handshake learning center.

So Mormonism is a bit bizarre and can be called a cult. But it should be distinguished from the violent, really extreme cults that most people think of when the word "cult" is used in conversation. Now, if you're talking about the Mormon Church under Brigham Young, that's another story. That was about as extreme as they get. Polygamy, Blood Atonement, Brigham Young as virtual king...

Subject: As my Grandmother use to say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Date: Mar 21 18:40
Author: Saddlesore
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You can't make a Silk Purse out of a Sow's ear. Mormonism started as a CULT, It is still a CULT.


Subject: Re: Cult? What's your opinion?
Date: Mar 21 18:39
Author: mravel
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My opinion is that the Mormon Church today is a quasi-cult. It has many of the badges of cult status, but not all, and in varying degrees of strength. It is certainly too cult-like for me, and it is a manipulative organization which engages in some of the subtlest and most insidious forms of manipulation. So to answer yes or no to your question, without further comment or clarification, I would have to answer "yes."

The Mormon Church in the days of Joseph Smith was certainly a full-blown cult. It was practically the very definition of a cult. Same under Brigham Young. Joseph Smith was, quite possibly, the most successful cult founder in American history, which is saying something. Other cult leaders like David Koresh and Marshall Applewhite were just too whacked out to be very popular or ultimately "successful," although the "success" Jim Jones had in finding believers is horrifying.

Subject: lots of Xian bookshelves have books labeling Mormonism a CULT
Date: Mar 21 18:43
Author: SusieQ#1
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which is a clear indication of their agenda.. snage the Mormons for their $$$!!! Save them from a CULT!

Kinda funny really...all a "cult" of sorts, loosly speaking- Xians are the pot calling the kettle black.

Mormonism takes a lot of $$ away from the main Xian churches and they will stoop to anything to get their membership up!

Who cares what it is? What it is labeled? It is all about $$$$$$$$$$$$!!!!!

"Recovery" is BIG BUSINESS.
The Jesus Business is Big business also.

Subject: Cult nt
Date: Mar 21 18:42
Author: MMI
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Subject: Stole the phrase, The Difference Between a Cult . . .
Date: Mar 25 21:41
Author: SL Cabbie
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and a religion is that a religion survives the death of its founder. I know my old Egyptology prof won't mind, but now that I think about it, sometimes education is a useful way of avoiding thinking (Adolf Eichman also said the same thing about obedience).
This thread deserves another trip to the top. Thanks Michelle.

Subject: "isolate the followers" -- absolutely!
Date: Mar 25 21:57
Author: RichardP
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Boy I think that is a REALLY good point. The isolation, I think, is maybe the most defining characteristic. That was the biggest difference that I saw in Utah compared to California. The "non-Mormons" were definitely "outsiders". I never fully felt at home there, or part of the society.

But I think that more than "mind control" is used in Utah to convince their followers that the world is divided between "absolute good" and "absolute evil" (People who can't be befriended, only punished). I knew people who claimed that god blessed the LDS and the non-members would have to join to receive similar blessings in their lives -- and then went and did dirty things to those non-members to make sure they wouldn't appear "blessed". They were the first to be laid-off. They were the last to be considered for a promotion. And trajedies in their families, such as a child dying from cancer -- was sort of blamed on their being non-Mormon.

Subject: My level of understanding of the mormon church soared
Date: Mar 25 22:00
Author: Bad_Religion
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when I came across this website called cultwatch, I would presume I'm not the only one that has seen this, but, the definitions and relentless explanations are uncanny and similiar I think, to the church, although possibly a bit harsh, but right on if you think about it. The section is Mind Control, and it's

Subject: It is easy to see why many Christian religions consider Mormonism a cult
Date: Mar 25 22:29
Author: Violotron
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No surprise there, and it's not because of money. It is because of the Cult like demands the the Morg makes. Below are examples for what MOST christian churches do vs. the mormon church:

Most Christian churches: Financial statements to members
Mormon church: No financial accountability

C church: Most don't require any sort of dress code, and NOTHING about what underwear is required
M church: Dress code and special underwear

C church: Revear/ obey God/Jesus, not man
M church: Revear/ obey man (prophet, bishop, GA etc) then God. And of course Joseph Smith above all.

C church: Worthiness determined by God
M church: Worthiness determined by man. Must pay tithing, wear garments, regularly attend, etc.

C church: No scheduled interviews with youth & adults about worthiness
M church: Regularly schedule interviews with youth and adults about worthiness, including asking MINOR CHILDREN about their thoughts, actions about sex (sick, sick, SICK!). Plus frequently 'trangressions' are recorded and brought up for discussion in FUTURE interviews (even if you go to another ward!)

C church: Much historical/archeological evidence of the Bible (as far as names, places, what people ate, drank, ethic groups, etc. go)
M church: No more historical/archeological evidence than any other book of fiction

C church: A person can invite ANYBODY to the wedding, regardless of religios affiliation.
M church: Very restrictive of who can attend weddings. Excludes parents, siblings, anyone not "temple worthy" Hardly family oriented.

C church: No restrictive buildings to non members
M church: Lots of restrictive buildings (temples)

C church: History, good and bad, is well known and written in history books.
M church: Attempts at historical coverups galore.

I could go on and on. I am not trying to promote Christianity here, just show the HUGE differences between it and mormonism. Why one is cultish and the other isn't. After I left mormonism, I didn't think it was a cult for many years. But the more distance I got, the more I saw it for what it was. A very controlling cult.

Free your mind.

Subject: Well, "charismatic" is not a word I'd chose to describe Boyd K Packer, but....
Date: Mar 25 22:45
Author: Pt Loma
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....some aspects of LDS are common to cults: isolation of members from the rest of society, difficulty in leaving (easier now than it used to be, but that's the result of the Hancock lawsuit), claim to be the only true church/means of salvation, tithing requirements, secret ceremonies.