October 24, 2011

"Why Do Southerners Call Mormonism a Cult?"

There's some history to it.

157 comments:

Sixty Grit said...
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Scott M said...

Does that suggest that southerners don't like pajamas?

Michael said...

Lived in the south all but a few years of my life and never heard Mormonism called a cult. Lived in the city south and the country south, the uppity south and the red neck south.

Peter said...

"He’s saying he believes in Jesus Christ and that his faith is central to his identity. That’s a message that people on the Christian right should be able to hear. "

I don't think "the Christian right" (assuming there still is such a thing) is going to hear that at all.

I think most Christians reject Mormonism on theological grounds- because it rejects the texts that they consider authoritative. BUT, that's not the same as saying they're bigoted, or that they wouldn't vote for a Mormon candidate.

Aside from that, I'd guess more than a few people have been annoyed by Mormon missionaries- and that most of these are not right-wing Christians, as these are more likely to tell the missionary in no uncertain terms that they are not receptive to the message.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Evangelical Christians of the South and the North are taught that Mormonism is a cult. I presume some have backed away from that in recent years, but many Evangelicals like the Values Voters embrace a regressive theology still. The Pastor was honest.

Michael said...

M-A: Evangelical Christians in the south are not taught that Mormonism is a cult.

ricpic said...

If a tree is known by its fruit who cares that Mormonism is a cult? On the other hand if Mormonism's cult status makes it near impossible for millions of Christian fundamentalists to pull the lever for Romney that should be considered by Republicans before they make him their nominee.

edutcher said...

The Mormon War, which grew out of the polygamy thing mentioned in the article and some of the fallout of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, was a Wag The Dog by the Buchanan Administration to try to take people's attention off its handling, or lack thereof, of the slavery and secession issues, so one could say the new uproar is also a Wag The Dog as well.

BTW, Mormons also had been active in Northern CA, mostly as merchants, since the Mexican War and one, Sam Brannan, is often credited with starting the Gold Rush after the discovery at Sutter's Mill.

The Mormon Battalion marched from IA to San Diego and helped secure CA in the Mexican War.

The article's mention of protection of Southern womanhood was also the justification for the Klan in the 20s it should be noted. Nice point she makes about Catholicism, although, if JFK was half the man he was supposed to be, he'd have told Norman Vincent Peale to cram it and Romney and Huntsman should do the same.

Alan said...

Michael,

I think making blanket statements like "Evangelicals are" or "Evangelicals aren't" taught that Mormonism is a cult certainly isn't helpful. The brush is too broad.

I know many, many Evangelicals who reject the notion that it is a cult--I'd say that that is probably the majority. However, I've also had other more "narrow-minded" Evangelicals make that "Mormonism is a cult" statement directly to me while they were proselytizing. However, when I told them I was a Methodist, these particular folk weren't very complementary of my chosen denomination, either. So I just chalked up their position to small-mindedness and went on my way.

Some people just have a real problem with Christian doctrine that embraces mystery, and they desire "certainty". That's a general struggle throughout Christianity--never mind the denomination.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Evangelical Christians of the South and the North are taught that Mormonism is a cult.

Source? I lived 42 of my 47 years in Dixie and I never heard this. In fact, I don't think I'd ever known more than an handful of Mormons before I moved to Arizona.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Paste Jeffress,, Southern Baptist Convention. pastor of one of Dallas' biggest churches. I was raised in the Assemblies of God churches, which had churches in the South and the North, we were most definitely taught Mormonism is a cult and that Catholicism was idolatrous.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Pastor Jeffress.

Michael said...

M-A: FYI, Dallas, Texas is not the south.

Brian G. Heyer said...

Christians reject Mormons because Mormons do not worship the Almighty God of the Bible.

Mormons use the words "Jesus Christ" but they do not mean the Redeemer Christ of the Bible. Romney, for instance, could not recite as a belief the Creeds of the historic Christian church, especially the Nicene Creed and the Athansian Creed.

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father..." is a part of the Nicene Creed, which protects the Church from error.

Mormons do not believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. They falsely believe that Satan is the brother of Jesus. Mormons reject the Triune teaching of the God of the Bible; they reject the full Deity of Jesus.

I'll have to leave it up to others to decide if the Mormon church employs any of the tactics and teaching of a cult, such as necessarily teaching the unreliability of historic Scriptures; introduction of 'novel' Scriptures and prophets (rejecting what has already been revealed to and accepted by the Christian church); persecution of those who leave the cult; demeaning and perverse practices during ceremonies intended to have the effect of personal shame and vulnerability.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I was raised in the Assemblies of God churches, which had churches in the South and the North, we were most definitely taught Mormonism is a cult and that Catholicism was idolatrous.

I was raised Southern Baptist and never heard such a thing. So I guess that should be "Assemblies of God members of the South and the North are taught that Mormonism is a cult." Or do you only work in blanket statements?

wv - briss (Yes, it acutally is.)

Mitochondri-Allie said...

http://truthandgrace.com/Assemblyonmormon.htm

Assembly of God statement on Mormonism.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

http://truthandgrace.com/Baptistonmormon.htm

Baptists on Mormonism.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13090&Itemid=53

Three out of four Baptist Pastors say Mormons aren't Christian.

AST said...

Very interesting piece. I'm LDS and though the church went through a period of strong persecution for a century after its founding, by 1930 that had pretty much ceased.

Than, as I've read, in the 1980s the Southern Baptist Convention discovered that about a fifth of its members had become converts to the LDS church, and began a program to inoculate its members against listening to missionaries. The main approach was to deny that Mormons are Christians using theological differences and putting our beliefs to scorn.

The "not Christians" claim is the most irksome because it's based on Catholic tradition and the concept of the Trinity as being one being with three different manifestations, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, whereas the LDS church believes them to be three distinct individuals, the Father and Son having resurrected and glorified bodies of flesh and bone, and the Holy Ghost having a body of spirit. I've always found it odd that protestants attack us for not upholding Catholic creeds, when they themselves teach that the Catholic Church had strayed from Biblical truth.

The "cult" claim is ironic since the Romans who criticized and persecuted the earliest Christians called them a cult and mocked the claim that Jesus was the son of God.

Personally, I think the main thing that really threatens Evangelicals is the fact that the LDS church has a lay ministry. The only church officials who receive a living allowance are those who work full time as general authorities traveling and overseeing local leaders.

Anyway the Baptists have been attacking us for 30 years, especially outside of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. They hand out leaflets, and used to use bullhorns to yell at people going into the temple that they will go to Hell, and harass wedding parties taking photos of the couples recently married there. They also formed lines to harass crowds of Mormons going to the church's general conferences which are held twice a year bringing leaders and members from throughout the world to hear messages from the church general authorities. The church has always counseled us to ignore this sort of thing.

Of course, they don't have similar crusades against Jews, Catholics or other protestant churches. It all seems pretty juvenile in this day and age.

As for believing that one's religion is the correct one, it surprises me that anybody would bother supporting a church they didn't believe was the right on.

Michael said...

M-A Your links are not to Assembly of God or Southern Baptist websites.

YoungHegelian said...

The Roman Catholic Church used to demand that all converts from other Christian denominations be re-baptized. They've lightened up on that requirement, but there are two self-proclaimed Christian faiths that the RCC still requires re-baptism for: Jehovah's Witnesses & Mormons.

IMHO, if Mormons are Christians, then Muslims are Christians. Mormon Theology stretches the already very elastic term "Christian" past the breaking point.

That being said, yes, I would vote for Romney for prez, and if I had the choice, I'd rather buy a used car from a Mormon than an RC.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Michael, they are Evangelical, not only Baptists and Assemblies of God consider themselves to be Evangelical. Even some Lutherans consider themselves to b Evangelical.

Michael said...

M-A: Would suggest you not link to amateurishly constructed sites with blue backgrounds. Very cultish. Detracts from already suspicious content.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

I so agree with you AST. Unfortunately, the right wing has Evangelical Fundamentalists in huge numbers. Romney won't win the Presidency, even if the GOP gives him the nomination. The Evangelicals won't hold their noses and vote for someone they think belongs to a cult, even if theythink he's a good man.

Mitochondri-Allie said...
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Mitochondri-Allie said...

Michael, you can continue to deceive yourself, but Pastor Jeffress was honest, unlike you. I'm not going to waste my own time looking for references, look it up for yourself.

AST is agree with you wholeheartedly.

Michael said...

M-A: Suspect that most evangelicals are independents or lefties despite the desire of the MSM to have it otherwise. I know a number of them and they are all Democrats. Like the authority angle I bet.

Oclarki said...

I don't see how any mormon could honestly say what the believe is Christianity in any sense understood by the apostles or early church. Which is fine, no one resents them for their beliefs. I mean look at evangelical fondness for jewish folks.

DaveW said...

That article is just a thinly veiled slam at southerners disguised as an explanation of why people think Mormons are in a cult.

The fact is, as a few others have noted above, Mormon belief differs significantly from Catholic and most Protestant formulations.

I don't know anyone that would characterize Catholicism as southern, but the Catholic church does not accept Mormon baptism as valid. And that's about as fundamental as you can get when it comes to Christian dogma.

This has nothing to do with southerners and the author's attempt to paint that picture outs her as a simple bigot.

YoungHegelian said...

@MA

"The Evangelicals won't hold their noses and vote for someone they think belongs to a cult, even if they think he's a good man."

I suspect you might be right about that. However, the social left has no love of Mormons, either --- witness the Prop 8 brouhaha in CA.

The Republican evangelicals have to 'fess up their dislike of Mormonism because they have to explain their "No" vote for Romney. The liberals get to hide their anti-mormonism behind their more general dislike of Republicans. It bugs me to see the press lay into the Christian Right over Romney's faith and ignore the fact that the left despises Mormons, too, just on different grounds.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

HA! Michael I knew you weren't an Evangelical,lol. I am a lefty obviously and no longer belong to any such regressive religions. Thank God.

TMink said...

Is it Southerners or Evangelicals and more conservative Christians? I mean, there are a lot of us in the south, and we see the claim of further revelation as heresy.

Treu

Michael said...

M-A: But you agree that the self righteousness of evangelicals and lefties is of a piece?

TMink said...

Alan, the problem is not our abaility to tolerate mystery, our scriptures are full of that. The conflict between Evangelicals and Mormons has to do with the Book of Mormon. Evangelical Christians do not accept this as part of God's word, so it is unacceptable to us. That is one of the defining beliefs of Evangelicals, that scripture is authoratative. No other texts are accepted, so religions with other texts than the Christian Bible are rejected.

This says nothing about Mormons, who are in my experience fine people. We just have a serious theological disagreement.

Trey

Mitochondri-Allie said...

YoungH, the left could not care less what religion a candidate is, unless maybe if they influence those in power to turn our Democracy into a Theocracy. Glenn Beck was. Mormon, and didn't do his own religion any favors with his lunacy, but if there was a democratic liberal Mormon candidate, his religion would not be an issue. Senate Majority Leader Ried is a Mormon is he not?

BarryD said...

I don't live in the South. I've probably spent two weeks in the South, sum total, in my life.

And I call it a cult, for a simple reason. It's a cult.

I live in a predominantly non-Mormon city that is a few hundred miles from some Mormon strongholds in a couple of directions. As a result, we have a lot of escapees here -- people who could really only leave the LDS church by leaving their communities. And yes, I've heard it called a cult, often, by people who are quite familiar with the LDS church.

I don't know what they do in the South. I don't know why they do it. And I don't care. But if they call LDS a cult, I can't argue with that.

J said...

Edu-Nixon has it wrong as usual. Buchanan was not the greatest president but the real fear was secession of the Utah territory, ie King Brigham's territory, along with polygamy, and the massacres, and other issues (Young himself threatened secession, and after the CW, imprisoned Fed judges). ..And in fact Buchanan sent the US Army out west and they ...decided not to engage Young's "Nauvoo Legions",and after winter or so headed back east--surrender by default at least.

Young himself had supported slavery at times (ie,a few mormons were..confederates) , and was a virulent racist (which the Brooks gal overlooks along with other issues--ie, LDS people were not just suspected of polygamy but of..being charlatans (ie, where were the Golden Plates??) , horse thieves, ...carpetbaggers. It wasn't southerners who killed Smith-- nor just rednecks who opposed them--see Mark Twain Roughing It for a fairly..objective account of Young's theocratic regime. The catholic church considers the LDS something like masonic heresy as well.

Joanna said...

I attended a Southern Baptist university in Nashville in the late 90s/2000s. It had a written, anti-Mormon hiring policy.

During the job interview process, professors were asked what church they attended and also had to sign a faith statement (about Jesus). There was a list of approved churches/religions. Mormons were not on the list. (Ditto Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc.) Only list-approved Christians were eligible.

This restriction applied to all full-time faculty positions (math, chemistry, P.E., etc) -- not just religion classes.

If I recall correctly, this policy was needed in order to receive funding from the SBC.

edutcher said...

As usual, J doesn't know what he's talking about.

Albert Sidney Johnston "decided" nothing; the Mormons, with a superior knowledge of the country, ran off Johnston's stock and cut his supply lines. He was unable to move until Spring.

The fact J mentions "Roughing It" as objective - Twain is being facetious, as he is throughout the book - shows how dull his knowledge of the subject is.

He needs to go back to the Speedy Gonzales festival.

Quayle said...

Brian G. Heyer said... Christians reject Mormons because Mormons do not worship the Almighty God of the Bible.

Why do people that know so little about Mormonism always claim to know so much?

Let's get the basic foundation in place for all to understand how the fissure between Mormons and others works.

1. Joseph Smith couldn't reconcile himself to the notion that there were or should be a lot of different churches teaching different things in Christianity. He said he felt there should only be one correct one.

2. He was utterly stumped on how to figure out which it was.

3. He reads in the bible that if you lack wisdom, ask God.

4. He decides to ask God, you know the rest of that part of the story.

5. But here's the point: The answer he claimed he got was that Christianity has apostatized from the true doctrine and authoritative priesthood, and had done so as far back as 100 - 150 AD.

6. Therefore, Mormons reject all Christian theology and history after about 150 AD, including the Nicene creed, and all those other conventions, creeds, conferences, etc.

7. But they absolute believe in the Christian theology and history before that, including an absolute belief in Christ referenced in the Bible as (a) the only begotten Son of God in the flesh, and (b) the savior of mankind, and the only savior of mankind.

8. A traditional Christian says that one must believe some or all of the Christian history or they are not correct Christians.

9. Mormons say, 'we believe in the Christianity of Christ and the early Apostles, but not the fallen-away church (neither Catholic, or derived Protestantism) after 150 AD.'

10. Mormons believe that Joseph was called and authorized to lay a new foundation for a restored Christianity.

11. Naturally the two sides can't agree, if one is right the other is unnecessary. I'm perfectly fine with that, as long as the criticism are honest and not carefully designed to deter people from doing their own investigation and decision making.

12. Mormons do believe in the Bible (scripture) but place revelation and the revelatory foundation of the church before scripture in the hierarchy. In other words, the books always came from the church, the church never came from the books.

Quayle said...

And I call it a cult, for a simple reason. It's a cult.

If you are honest in your declarations, then you'll be happy to define the word "cult" for us.

Then we can properly do the analysis on whether Mormonism fits.

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

"..if they influence those in power to turn our Democracy into a Theocracy."

You realize in using those words just how much you, as a supposedly modern lefty, echo words that would fit perfectly well in the mouth of a 19th Century American Nativist or Know-Nothing? They feared Popery and rule from the Vatican. You, rule from a fundamentalist pulpit.

What horrors exactly does this theocracy hold for you? The enforcement of the 10 Commandments (Damn Christians -- I've got people who need killin'!!)?

Let me guess: you see the Christians as getting in the way of a sexual choice (e.g. abortion) or lifestyle (e.g. homosexuality), and they just aren't very supportive, to say the least.

J said...

No, you don't know what your talking about Edu-trash. Buchanan was the Pres, dimwit--the Army was sent before the CW--maybe like start with the wiki Einswine. General AS Johnston was following orders--not in command. Either way the Army left mainly because they were underpowered.

And since you defend the LDS, regularly, what about the Golden Plates,Smith's bizarre history and archaeological claims (ie the Book of Mormon itself),which has no support whatsoever? Also untouched by the Brooks phony,another apologist for one of the greatest frauds of US History (and she also neglected to discuss Young's moral crimes--including the seizure of the Ute lands themselves and massacres of natives).

J said...

Twain is being facetious, as he is throughout the book

Wrong, Edu-whoreson. Twain mentioned the Mtn Meadows Massacre, and other crimes. It's not facetious in the least but savage satire and mockery.Then it's unlikely you can understand it, given your dyslexic reading abilities here, Edu trash.Got that wicca swine?

BarryD said...

"Mormons reject all Christian theology and history after about 150 AD, including the Nicene creed, and all those other conventions, creeds, conferences, etc. "

As well they might. Christianity as we know it was assembled, politically, by a committee. Later, those who didn't agree with the committee were burned or otherwise tortured for the audacity of thinking for themselves.

However, this doesn't by any stretch mean that Mormonism isn't a cult. This can and should be judged on the merits.

Quayle said...

However, this doesn't by any stretch mean that Mormonism isn't a cult. This can and should be judged on the merits.

Fully agree.

YoungHegelian said...

@Quayle,

So, what you're saying is that all of the other Christians sects should give the Mormons a break, even if the Mormons think all the other Christian sects are "not really Christian"?

Pluralism's a two way street, bucko.

The Protestant Reformers would probably weep bitter tears if they saw the fruit of their denial of Church history (e.g. claims such as no real Church after 150 AD).

traditionalguy said...

Mormons are just a different religion from Christianity.

They are not a cult unless the secrecy about the Temple in Salt Lake City offends folks.

Whatever Mormons do, it seems to produce good families.

The Muslims accept Jesus as a Divine Prophet... but fiercely not the son of God.

So too, the Mormons have their own version of the role of Jesus in their religions beliefs.

A later and more perfect Revelation by a Angel to a Prophet is behind both.

And one definition of a cult is to add one more rule or one more necessary belief to the Orthodox Christian ones. But that would expose many Christian Denominations as acting cultic on some point. Take the prohibition of alcohol for instance.

So lets give them all respect and not start holy wars. Jesus will explain it all when he comes.

J said...

No. Saying their good citizens (not so good when murdering non-LDS pioneers) doesn't make the Book of Moron true. It's bullshit, pure and simple. Actually Lil Jonny Huntsman was right-- it's a sideshow. That is, Joe Smith, theBoM, and LDS was the sideshow-- snake oil from the start (with boo-coo murder and rape as well). Conan Doyle also was on to LDS-masonic crimes and corruption.

BarryD said...

Quayle, first off, I don't really care about LDS doctrine, whatever I think of it. Religion is all a bunch of BS, and I sure wouldn't argue about which BS is the right BS. That would be patently stupid.

I'm using the word with its vernacular connotations. Social pressure to conform, separatism, social ostracism as a means to discourage people from leaving, secrecy, different "levels" of membership, etc.

Do other Christian groups fit the definition? Sure. That's not relevant to the question.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

Young H, you guess wrong. Religion has it's place and purpose and it's not in politics. Just think, what if some of those Evangelical Fundamentalists decided to make laws against worship in churches they consider cults?

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

"..Evangelical Fundamentalists decided to make laws against worship in churches they consider cults?"

What, so that they could have a religious war with 65 million American Catholics? That's so improbable an outcome as to be off the spectrum.

If religion has no place in politics, I ask you the same question that I ask Crack Emcee & other non-believers: where does your morality come from? I don't hear the left being real open about the philosophical foundations of their ethical viewpoints.

It's shooting fish in a barrel to criticize revealed religion. Developing an alternative system of morals is another story entirely, and it's called the history of philosophy. And the one thing it lacks is unanimity on much of anything.

BarryD said...

A consensus about morality and ethics has a place in government, and in all aspects of human affairs.

To the extent that this comes from various religions, we shouldn't look in the mouth of a gift horse.

However, wherever religion departs from this consensus, into areas of doctrine and belief that go beyond it, that should be the realm of religion alone. Politics should not interfere with religion, and religion must not be allowed to use politics to enforce its dogma on the unwilling.

YoungHegelian said...

@Barry,

"Politics should not interfere with religion, and religion must not be allowed to use politics to enforce its dogma on the unwilling."

You say that like the line is clear. The Catholic Church isn't trying enforce transubstantiation on the American populace, it's trying to enforce a ban on abortion, which it thinks is murder.

Do you think when a fetus becomes a legally protected person is a scientific question? How else could such an issue be resolved without being informed by a religious tradition?

J said...

Joanna---you claim to be a skeptic.The same questioning attitude you hold to Old and New Testament and biblical miracles (or..Koran) should apply to the Book of Moron er Mormon, should it not. We may be doubtful that so-called miracles occurred (ie parting of Red sea...or virgin birth itself, etc)--yet we don't doubt that jews and christians actually existed. Herod existed. Pontius Pilate existed. . A fortiori--what of the miraculous events of Book of Mormon, which have no historical support whatever? There were no ancient tribes of israelites in America. And no Golden Plates (Smith could not produce them,and changed his story numerous times)--all completely preposterous (as any Humean should realize). Jus say no to the Salamander People, no matter how sweet or sober some of the LDS womenfolk are.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

YoungH, your first mistake is assuming I'm a non believer. If I don't adher to Fundamentalism in any form , does that automatically paint me as a non believer?

Scott M said...

Trey Parker and Matt Stone did incredibly groundbreaking work on the Mormon origin story.

Cedarford said...

ricpic said...
"....On the other hand if Mormonism's cult status makes it near impossible for millions of Christian fundamentalists to pull the lever for Romney that should be considered by Republicans before they make him their nominee."

Fine. The same millions of Christian fundamentalists think it is impossible to pull a lever for a nigger, as well.
Even Mormons and niggers that dutifully say they love Jesus and know that Israel is our greatest ally, to please the Fundies.
Republicans should give careful consideration to the wishes and sentiments of the hardcore millions of christian fundies. You are right, ricpic.
Then say; "Fuck them".

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

"your first mistake is assuming I'm a non believer. "

Well, judging from this previous quote:

"...am a lefty obviously and no longer belong to any such regressive religions."

Most respectful believers nowadays try not to refer to other peoples' faiths as "regressive" vis-a-vis their own.

So you believe in a "progressive" religion? You're being very cagey about what faith you do believe in and just what is your issue with conservative Christianity.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

So the are no Christian Denominations that are not regressive? What about those Fundamental religions that consider Mormonism a cult, or think Catholicism is nothing more than idolatry? Assembies of God Churches think even Lutherans and most definitely Catholics won't see Heaven. Did you know Sarah Palin was raised in the AOG?

Why do you care what church I belong to? Does one's faith in God depend on what church they belong to?

The Crack Emcee said...

This is all too silly:

1) Most Americans don't know shit about Mormonism, relying on "Big Love" for what they think it is.

2) It is most definitely a cult.

3) Yes, Mormons produce good families. Good, secretive, isolated - and isolating - families.

4) The first recorded evidence of Joseph Smith's existence was a newspaper article announcing his arrest for fraud.

5) Mitochondri-Allie,

I am a lefty obviously and no longer belong to any such regressive religions. Thank God.

People such as yourself are the least reliable sources for "spiritual" information I've ever run across. What "regressive religions" ARE you a part of now?

6) The push to eliminate the word "cult" from the english language, because no one will cop to the title, is dumb. Has a cultist EVER claimed that's what they are/were?

7) Out of all the cults I've studied, Mormonism probably has more to recommend it than all the others - combined.

8) Quayle,

If you are honest in your declarations, then you'll be happy to define the word "cult" for us.

Why? Don't you own a dictionary?

9) I do not like Mitt Romney for the same reasons most don't (flip-flopping, Obamacare, etc.) but Mormonism isn't one of them - yet. In some respects, Mormonism could recommend him for the job.

10) I am writing this from Salt Lake City, while attending a friend's funeral. He comes from a large Mormon family that I am intimately familiar with. I have many friends here, who are in and out of Mormonism - most are "Jack Mormons" who drink, etc., but many are hardcore believers - so I'm not just talking from a hostile place. I own a Book Of Mormon from the main temple downtown ("Another testament Of Jesus Christ") and have not only read it but had many conversations with Mormons about their beliefs. My bottom line:

Mormonism is a cult, and - like all cults in America - it's flourished because of the squeamishness, and ignorance, of the populace in the face of the difficult questions cults present to society.

newton said...

"So too, the Mormons have their own version of the role of Jesus in their religions beliefs.

A later and more perfect Revelation by a Angel to a Prophet is behind both. "

Let me remind y'all that there was a huge curse heaped upon those who preached another gospel, even if it came from an angel - the curse came from the Apostle Paul. What impressed me about it was that he took it so seriously, that he imposed it upon himself and the other Apostles.

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

But, for the sake of things, let us not call the LDS a "cult". IMHO, it is too big to be called a "cult." (Heaven's Gate and The People's Temple were cults.)

Why don't we all call it an "esoteric" branch of "Christianity"? Or so such...

Besides, there is a good reason to call it an "esoteric" branch. Have y'all watched the latest episodes of "Ancient Aliens"? They're now theorizing that Joseph Smith got his "revelations" from aliens. Go figure.

J said...

Actually Scotty,yr right for once. And Trey and Matt no pals of the LDS, think Smith's story of the BoM was complete BS as well.

C4--n-word even a bit too much for me. Out of bounds.


And note the Byro-Mito-YH troll mumbling away with itself . How TP psychosis works.

The Crack Emcee said...

get your latest cult news here:

The Macho Response

newton said...

"C4--n-word even a bit too much for me. Out of bounds."

I concur.

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

"Why do you care what church I belong to? Does one's faith in God depend on what church they belong to?"

In a word, yes. Because one believes in SOMETHING, and that SOMETHING has to be articulated in some sort of creedal statement, even if it's your own idiosyncretic belief

Your fighting this waaay too hard, MA. This isn't difficult. I suspect your bs'ing me or yourself or both.

TMink said...

Fundamental and Evangelical Christians are not racists. We beleive that God created diverse skinned people because it pleased him, just like it pleased him to create different colored butterflies.

To call us all racist is bigotry of the highest order.

Trey

BarryD said...

YoungHegelian, you really ought to change your login name.

CrackEmcee knows his Mormonism. :)

"Yes, Mormons produce good families. Good, secretive, isolated - and isolating - families."

Ding ding ding.

Scott M said...

C4--n-word even a bit too much for me. Out of bounds.

Yes, even virulent anti-Semites have their limit, apparently.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

You my dear Young H are a prime example of a regressive Christian, if you ARE a Christian. I belong to a Methodist Church, so does that meet your approval of Christian ENOUGH?

TMink said...

As to not being friends of the LDS because I disagree with their theology, what tripe! My Lord died for Mormons, and gays and commies and rapists and perverts and presidents. Historical Christianity is about acceptance and diversity.

Trey wv = blogape!!!

Freeman Hunt said...

I've heard a couple women call Mormonism Satanic. Yow!

I agree with others who've said that it's not fair to say that "Evangelicals say..." That category is huge and encompasses a wide range of opinion. I've certainly heard people call it a cult, but I've also heard people disagree with that assessment.

BarryD said...

"I've heard a couple women call Mormonism Satanic. Yow!"

Well, if one believes that Satan is the source of all great deception in the world, even figuratively, and that Mormonism is a great deception, then that would follow.

I'm not going to quibble with metaphors. Joe the atheist says it's a "cult", Sally the evangelical Christian says it's "Satanic". Same statement, just different philosophical contexts leading to different ways of expressing it.

edutcher said...

J said...

Twain is being facetious, as he is throughout the book

Wrong, Edu-whoreson. Twain mentioned the Mtn Meadows Massacre, and other crimes. It's not facetious in the least but savage satire and mockery.Then it's unlikely you can understand it, given your dyslexic reading abilities here, Edu trash.Got that wicca swine?


Let's put it on the table.

J is a gutless, moronic, foul-mouthed pig who needs the anonymity of the Internet to find the nerve to even speak.

traditionalguy said...

That was funny watching C-4 go out of control and call Herman the N word out of fear of a man who would risk his conservative cred to back up Netanyahu's controversial move with the hostage Shalit.

But then Herman has caused the heads in both Parties to explode recently.

Herman also has Fox News and Karl Rove going for the jugular in fear of Herman's sudden popularity.

So which is it C-4: Should the GOP trash Cain because he will get 25% of the black vote and thereby destroy Obama, or should they stand on principle and exclude Ns like you advise?

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

I have no problems with Methodism. Why was that so difficult? Methodists say the Nicene Creed, and apparently mean it, do they not?

Have you discussed your use of the word "regressive" to describe your fellow Christians with your pastor? I doubt he would approve.

MA, I'll stop here. But something doesn't seem right here still.

BarryD said...

BTW I believe we all owe Mormonism a great debt of gratitude. Without Mormonism, there would have been no Orgazmo. And that movie is good for a lot of laughs -- even more so when there a lot of ex-Mormons around.

Rick67 said...

Well I serve at a Baptist church in Louisiana and am originally from New England. I'm sorry but in "evangelical" circles it is not uncommon to hear the Mormon religion described as a "cult". Hello? (In?)Famous book _Kingdom of the Cults_ which is frequently cited in conservative/evangelical Christian circles? My roommate in graduate school had a copy.

There are fine persons in my congregation who have said to my face something along the lines that "it's a cult isn't it?"

I generally reply along the lines that we should not call it a "cult" because what does that word mean? Does it describe? Or does it merely insult? Like saying "your sister is ugly" which doesn't tell me anything specific about your sister. One does not have to agree with the core convictions of the Latter Day Saints movement to think calling it a "cult" is insulting without being useful or descriptive.

Some think "cult" means any "false" religion. Okay. So it means "I think it's false". Very subjective. That would apply to every other religion including Judaism, Islam, and such. So what?

Some think it means "false form of true Christianity". Same thing. Okay. So you reject it. Subjective. Not very informative.

Some try to be more careful and mean a religion that has certain deceptive, coercive, or manipulative practices. Okay. But that's debatable whether the CoJCoLDS falls under that category and certainly whether a typical Christian denomination is all that terribly different.

So (1) don't know about *Southerners* but (2) yes more conservative Christians *do* say that and (3) it isn't a good use of the term and (4) I'd rather have a dead Mormon armadillo as a president that the incompetent disaster we have now.

Now Obamaism - that's a cult!

Joe said...

Given the bizarre beliefs of all religions, to say Mormonism is especially bizarre is to show rather extreme ignorance.

Yes, Mormonism is strange, but it does have a basic theology that is very appealing and hopeful.

ALL religions start as cults. So did Mormonism. But let's look at the definition:

cult/kəlt/
Noun:

A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.

BarryD said...

Why do you take two Mormons fishing with you?

If you take one, he'll drink all your beer.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm not going to quibble with metaphors. Joe the atheist says it's a "cult", Sally the evangelical Christian says it's "Satanic". Same statement, just different philosophical contexts leading to different ways of expressing it.

One of the women meant it as more expressly Satanic. She said that they performed all sorts of Satanic rituals.

Now I suppose that if she was referring to the doctrine within Mormonism that men can become gods, one could categorize that as technically satanic if drawing an analogy between that and fallen angels wanting the power of God.

Mormons vary so widely in their beliefs, however, that I don't know that it's possible to say anything meaningful about the theology of the laity.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarryD said...

"Given the bizarre beliefs of all religions, to say Mormonism is especially bizarre is to show rather extreme ignorance."

Mormonism is a cult.

That says nothing about OTHER religions. It doesn't even necessarily refer to theology. A cult, in the negative, vernacular use of the term, is a social phenomenon.

J said...

Edu-pig..Put yr addy up (and unlike you, coward I link to a blog--)


Speakingof cowards, the Amazing Cracki with his usual equivovating. Were he to read some of Brigham Young's actual racist proclamations he'd discover Young was beyond the rednecks, even beyond the usual klansman. E.g, Crack, representing for white supremacists. For thatmatter, the GOP is the party of fundamentalists, no friends of freethinkers,even of the milque toast Hitchens sorts. There's little practical difference between Perry's baptist wingnut pal, or LDS leaders (tho LDS people are usually sober). Cain and Bachmann biblethump as well.

edutcher said...

J said...

Edu-pig..Put yr addy up (and unlike you, coward I link to a blog--)

Because nobody goes near it, otherwise.

Palladian said...

I'm a direct patrilineal descendent of an important man in the early LDS church, who had 11 wives and 57 children. Most of my patrilineal relatives live in Provo, or St George, or Salt Lake City, Utah. But my grandfather didn't practice, therefore no one in my immediate family participated in Mormonism and I never had any exposure to it until later in my life. My mother's family descends from stern Scottish Presbyterians and German Lutherans. As a child, I attended church maybe twice in my life.

All that said, it's highly amusing to read people from one Mystery Cult insult people from another Mystery Cult. It's like the Judean People's Front fighting with the People's Front of Judea. Such nonsense. As a nation with a secular government, we're sinking down the drain and you people are arguing about conflicting ghost stories?

YoungHegelian said...

@Palladian,

"..and you people are arguing about conflicting ghost stories?"

Shame on you! You're far too educated in art, music, and cultural history not to know that those "ghost stories" are some of the primary drivers of Western Civ. Show some respect!

Do you think because it's 2011 we've somehow jumped over our own shadows?

BarryD said...

Palladin, I agree with most everything you post.

But I'm not sure I can see how someone who refers to the JPF and the PFJ can be considered free of the influence of a powerful cult!

traditionalguy said...

The real joke is who made up the golden plates and planted then where Joseph Smith would find them as a practical joke on Smith.

There are family stories in upper NY State by people who claim that they did exactly that.

Quayle said...
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Quayle said...

Let me remind y'all that there was a huge curse heaped upon those who preached another gospel, even if it came from an angel - the curse came from the Apostle Paul. What impressed me about it was that he took it so seriously, that he imposed it upon himself and the other Apostles.

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."


Logical fallacy alert!

Mormons would agree with Paul, and Paul's statement.

Your problem is that your conclusion has a gaping logical hole in it.

Before you can prove that Mormons have departed from the gospel Paul preached, you have to establish what exactly that gospel was?

And on this you are 2000 years removed from Paul, during which countless saints, scholars, sleazebags, and idiots have been hammering away on the Christian tradition and theology, and yet you still think know absolutely what Paul preached and can confidently say "if anyone teaches a gospel different..." and have it logically hold up?

By your own claim, then, the counsel of Nicaea would have to be accursed, because they established doctrine which Paul never preached.

And so would Martin Luther have to be accursed because he departed from the church that was handed down from the time of Paul.

And so would all the leaders of the sects.

So to suddenly say that Mormons are the only ones in 2000 years that have preached a gospel different than Paul, is really quite a lazy or ignorant claim.

Otherwise there would only be one Christian church, and one theology, and one priesthood.

Palladian said...

"Shame on you! You're far too educated in art, music, and cultural history not to know that those "ghost stories" are some of the primary drivers of Western Civ. Show some respect!"

I do have respect for religions, I'm not an atheist, and I consider myself a follower of Christ if not a traditional Christian. But I'm also a lover of reason and I'm allergic to dogma and intolerance, so I take shots when I see a target, even if there's the possibility of collateral damage.

"But I'm not sure I can see how someone who refers to the JPF and the PFJ can be considered free of the influence of a powerful cult!"

Oh dear. I guess you're right. And don't get me started on Apple Computer, Glenn Gould, Stanley Kubrick... I'm in serious need of deprogramming.

Quayle said...

The real joke is who made up the golden plates and planted then where Joseph Smith would find them as a practical joke on Smith.

Yeah, about as nutty as being raised from the dead, or of having a law inscribed on stone tablets by the hand of God.

Or of a bread like substance that actually appears out of nowhere every morning.

Or of water being turned into wine.

You're right. It is all nutty.

(Except you can actually read the Book of Mormon so it came from somewhere.)

BarryD said...

BTW a far more interesting question, with a far less obvious answer, than "Why do Southerners call Mormonism a cult?" would be:

"Why do Southerners call Moon Pies 'food'?"

J said...

Within the context of the catholic church the LDS is certainly heretical (and has been pronounced as such), Miss Hunt. It has many masonic elements as well (Smith was a freemason IIRC)...s*t*nic?? perhaps--probably why it continues to grow (prepare ye to travel to the Celestial kingdom, Miss Starblossom!). Back in the day, the Elders needed at least 3wives to be allowed in the Temple. Mitt's just ..a polliwog (unless he's got others tucked away).

Quayle said...

And let me just say categorically that as regards to Mormon history, policy, and doctrine, J spouts absolute nonsense here.

J said...
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J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanna said...

J said...
Joanna---you claim to be a skeptic...


Huh?

J said...

you spout nonsense, Danny Quayle--which part do you disagree with, polliwog? Point it out. Now, Joseph Smith spouted nonsense--or perhaps you have a pic of the golden plates, or some secret history to establish the BoM? You dispute that Brigham Young was a racist? The quotes are online, trash. Or the polygamy material/?Yr wrong on all counts. Finally you dispute the RCC judges the LDS as heretical? You're categorically wrong there too, greenhorn.

J said...

Well, are you a skeptic or not, Jo.? If you don't know what the word means, probably not. In brief, you question the truth of religion (and the Bible itself). So, same holds for BoM.

J said...

(Except you can actually read the Book of Mormon so it came from somewhere.)

Out of Smith's diseased, criminal brain, dumbass. The events have no historical support whatsoever. No Capn Moroni existed in the New World in biblical times.

Whereas the New Testament, whether one believes in the "supernatural" events or not, has plenty of textual and historical support (ie, Pontius Pilate lived). Thomas Jefferson himself would grant that (while not even affirming the Resurrection)

Joanna said...

J -- Where in this thread did I claim to be a skeptic?

J said...

Perhaps it was other threads. No sunday schooler are you? Whatever, but I seem to recall you ...dissing religion a few times.

Joe said...

Whereas the New Testament, whether one believes in the "supernatural" events or not, has plenty of textual and historical support

As far as actually history it doesn't. Quite the opposite. Moreover, while the epistles were likely written by real people to real people, that doesn't make them any more valid than Joseph Smith writing scripture.

This doesn't make the philosophy behind it all invalid. Though I don't believe Christ lived, let alone was who he (and others) claimed him to be, the basic ethos he taught is a nice melding of Judaism, Buddhism and Greek philosophy.

Religious belief IS faith, hopefully demonstrated by works.

J said...

Actually the NT does have support--far more than the say the myths of Abraham, Moses and early parts of OT, which are far more ancient and conjectural (ie, only record starts with the Septuagint, regardless what the orthodox claim). Christians are referred to by roman historians as well, early on (Tacitus for one, not only that blowhard Josephus).

Partridge said...

In the past thread, J has continued to spout off referring to people (both living and dead) using words such as:

diseased, criminal brain, dumbass, dyslexic, greenhorn, polliwog, trash, coward, "Salamander People", and "wicca swine."

And yet (hilariously!) he claims that using the n-word is out of bounds.

I hereby call on any reasonable-minded people to completely ignore J's further comments. Nobody who spouts this kind of name-calling repeatedly, which insults more than one group of people and the intelligence of anyone reading this forum, deserves to be given the time of day from any of us.

Joe said...

Who's J?

Mitochondri-Allie said...

YoungH,Methodists say the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene creed. Most Evangelical churches are non creedal.

J said...

T
ouched a nerve eh. I further call upon you, Byro Bendapen, the acidhead-troll with 50+ stupid names (partridge, mito, young H, sixty grit, quayle etc blah blah blah )-- upset that someone dissents from his little LDS-sunday school scams-- to produce a link to an actual blog... wait..here it is! Byro Bendapen! Now explain Subluxation to us, Byro-troll. Chiropractic itself was a LDS scam. Does that bother you too, bunko boy? Truth hurts, joto

J said...

HL Mencken was on to LDS scams, including chiropractics: "The Mormons who pour in from the prairies and deserts, most of them ailing, patronize these "hospitals" copiously, and give to the chiropractic pathology the same high respect that they accord to the theology of the town sorcerers." Whoa.

Freeman Hunt said...

Whereas the New Testament, whether one believes in the "supernatural" events or not, has plenty of textual and historical support

As far as actually history it doesn't. Quite the opposite.


Just because I'm curious: Where did you get this idea?

You can reject the religious claims of Christianity while asserting that the historical accuracy of the NT is generally good in the context of its time. That latter part would be accurate.

Cedarford said...

traditionalguy said...
That was funny watching C-4 go out of control and call Herman the N word out of fear of a man who would risk his conservative cred to back up Netanyahu's controversial move with the hostage Shalit.

---------------
Incorrect. What I was saying was that the same christian fundies that would never vote for a Morman feel the same about their "N-Word" peeps.

Though I do not see Herman Cain as having the experience and credentials to be a good President. Or the knowledge and judgment - lets say that his support of Israel and saying he would free all al-Qaeda to save one American prisoner was not one of his better cognitive moments.

Mitochondri-Allie said...

I hate to crash the J party, but Young H, I really must ask you, are you planning on bringing back the Inquisition, see yourself as the Inquisitor? Your "testing" me on my faith is utterly ridiculous.

Joanna said...

J said...
Perhaps it was other threads. No sunday schooler are you? Whatever, but I seem to recall you ...dissing religion a few times.


I've not said whether or not I am a "sunday schooler", nor have I dissed religion. Buzz off.

gutless said...

The "protect Southern womanhood" theme is over played and largely false, unless one is talking about Black Mormons (grin). The simple answer is that Mormonism is in fact a cult. That is descriptive, not an insult. It meets all the standards historically and currently. The unasked question is what difference does it make in the lives of non-Mormons? Other than being annoyed by young missionaries on your porch I'm guessing not much.

gutless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

I can't believe it, but J has made a valid point.

The Christian revelation is a unique account of historical events that happened among known actors in actual history.

If I did not believe that, Christianity would be a joke.

All other revelations are philosophy written about the best way to see the relationship between gods and men.

J said...

Beware the Salamander People!

Heh heh. Nice ring to it, eh Byro Bendapen. Holy flaming Newts of Moroni, ratman

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

Whose testing you on your faith or being inquisitorial?

I'm just wondering where the hell you think you stand that you can call other people's faith "regressive" multiple times in a thread, and not get called out on it.

Jeez, lady, when you go around insulting people, you might want to expect that you'll get some flak back (why, just look at our dear J).

I'm sorry, but you're a lefty stereotype: "Who, me, judgmental? Only right-wing troglodytes are judgmental".

Mitochondri-Allie said...

No one else here in this thread has harangued me on what religion I am or am not. Honestly what is it to you? Those saying Mormonism is a cult could be insulting to Mormons, are you also asking them about their personal faith?

YoungHegelian said...

@MA,

Look at the thread. Pretty much everyone who criticized Mormonism from a religious viewpoint made their background obvious from the context of their discussion (e.g. mine from an RC background, others from a evangelical Christian background, some from an atheistic/agnostic background). I didn't ask them where they stand because it wasn't germane to do so.

You, however, dropped a bomb ("regressive") not just on the matter at hand, the Mormons, but on a wide swath of the Christian community. When asked "well, what's a progressive Christian faith?" you toodle around until we get the anti-climactic answer: Methodism. An answer, by the way, that would no doubt surprise many a Methodist.

There's no mystery here, MA. There's no persecution. I started my exchange agreeing with you about the Repub fundies & Romney. But, you dropped a casual insult on a large class of the faithful in a public forum, and you got called on it, just as I have called out many other members of this forum on their religious/anti-religious views in the past.

If you want to post, have your say, but I'm way past done here.

Quayle said...

The simple answer is that Mormonism is in fact a cult. That is descriptive, not an insult. It meets all the standards historically and currently.

Just. Plain. Wrong.

Let's take one definition of cult and do the analysis:

"A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader."

First, "generally considered to be extremist or false."

Well, that's just a popularity issue, so that includes all minority religions, and therefore doesn't mean much. To Baptists, Catholics are a cult.

"with its followers often living in an unconventional manner"

Mormons live like everyone else. We don't live in enclaves, compounds, or camps. We live in neighborhoods in every major city, right next to the Jews, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Protestants. Doesn't fit.

"under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader."

So who is that authoritarian, charismatic leader for Mormonism?

Joseph Smith had been dead for more than 175 years.

Brigham Young for more than 120.

Gordon Hinckley wasn't President of the Mormon church until over 150 years after Mormonism was founded.

Thomas S. Monson (the current leader) can hardly be said to be either authoritarian or charismatic.

The label is just wrong.

But come to think of it, the mega-congregations that have been drawn to and assembled up around Rick Warren at Saddleback Valley, Joel Osteen at Lakewood, and Andy Stanley at Northpoint are all enamoured by a charismatic leader.

They seem to fit the definition of cult more than Mormons.

Quayle said...

Joseph Smith had been dead for more than 175 years.

Typo.

Joseph Smith HAS been dead for more than 175.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

The LDS does offer various unique features. Like you can remarry in the afterlife:

"A woman, however, may not be sealed to more than one man at a time while she is alive. She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after she has died."

Holy prayers for the dead, ratman. In fact, LDS members hold massive prayer-sessions for various groups of dead people (including victims of the nazis)

Quayle said...

"A woman, however, may not be sealed to more than one man at a time while she is alive. She may only be sealed to subsequent partners after she has died."

A woman is married, divorced, marries again, divorces again, and marries again.

This woman is your grandmother.

Joseph Smith talked about sealing the generations together - husband to wife, child to parent. It is about binding us all together - all of God's family. "Binding in heaven that which is bound on earth"

So if you're going to seal your dead grandmother to anyone, which husband should you seal her to?

Answer: When she's alive, her husband. When she's dead, all of them, and she chooses which she wants.

(Because, remember, the dead aren't dead to God or themselves, only to us live folk, until we're dead.)

There's a lot more to this doctrine of "binding in heaven that which is bound on earth" as the NT says, but you get the point.

When you don't know anything but a snippet, it can easily be spun as kookie.

When you know the entire story, at least it is motivated by a desire for all to live together in peace and harmony, where death can't sever the relationships we value and want.

Joe said...

Just because I'm curious: Where did you get this idea?

You can reject the religious claims of Christianity while asserting that the historical accuracy of the NT is generally good in the context of its time. That latter part would be accurate.


How? The gospels have very little to back them up. We have epistles with a claim of provenance by believers, but little evidence otherwise. There are also very clear historical errors in the NT which belie the claims of them being a contemporary account.

Most the "evidence" of the historicity of the New Testament are circular arguments.

J said...
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J said...

The gospels have very little to back them up.

the Old Testament has far less--pre-ptolemaic greeks, none in fact-- except may be a few potsherd. Joejoe the heretic. Ill trust St.Augustine over the heretic

J said...

No Danny Q, the "sealing" in this case happens after death, according to the bizarre doctrine of the LDS (and there's more--like various spirit worlds inhabited by LDS--the good and bad). And lets not forget a core doctrine (not only blasphemy, but weird as f*ck)-- God himself is a man. Adam was a God, according to the LDS.At times the LDS leaders suggested Smith and Young were gods.

Revenant said...

Evangelical Christians of the South and the North are taught that Mormonism is a cult. I presume some have backed away from that in recent years

A few points:

First of all, the Latter Day Saints movement started out as a cult. This is normal for new religions, BUT the vast majority of the world's religions moved out of the "cult" stage a dozen or more centuries ago, whereas with Mormons it happened about half a dozen generations ago.

Secondly, Mormon theology is different enough from the rest of Christianity that the claim "Mormons are not Christian" cannot be summarily dismissed.

Thirdly, the LDS church is fast-growing and extremely energetic in recruiting new members. That's not unusual in itself, but what *is* unusual is that it also actively recruits from among Protestant Christians.

So put yourselves in the shoes of a fundamentalist Christian. You've got a religion that (a) has distinctly cultist origins in the relatively recent past, (b) claims to be Christian even though it isn't, and (c) actively tries to tempt "real Christians" away from the correct path. Doesn't that sound exactly like classic behavior for a Christian-offshoot cult?

So no, I'm not surprised some people call it a cult -- although, like other commenters here, I seldom heard that term when I lived in the South. I heard "they aren't Christians" about a gazillion times, though.

JAL said...

Wow. Lots to pick at in the comments.

Some accurate information, some typical post-modern "everything is cool, everybody" stuff,a bunch of there is no such thing as a "truth claim" which needs to be addressed, 'cause someone's feelings will be hurt ...

As for the definition of "cult" -- there are several. A cult can be theological, sociological, political, behavioral. The word itself has fallen into disuse mainly because of the post modern sensitivities.

When I was proselytized by the Mormons while I was a college student I was prompted to read a lot of what was then caused "persecution" literature by my mother with a challenge to my intellectual integrity.

It was eye opening.

It was good-bye at this:

"Jesus Christ was a polygamist; Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, were his plural wives, and Mary Magdalene was another. Also, the bridal feast of Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned the water into wine, was on the occasion of one of his own marriages."
Brigham Young (the second president of the Mormon Church), quoted in Eliza Young's, Wife No. 19, Chpt. XXXV.

"We say it was Jesus Christ who was married [at Cana, to Martha and Mary] whereby He could see His own seed before He was crucified. I shall say here that before the Saviour died He looked upon His own natural children as we look upon ours. When Mary came to the sepulchre she saw two angels and she said unto them 'they have taken away my Lord or husband'."
Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, (Oct. 6, 1853). p. 210. Quoted in Gordon Fraser, Is Mormonism Christian? (Chicago: Moody Press, 1965), p. 63.

(From Wiki: Orson Hyde (January 8, 1805 – November 28, 1878) was a leader in the early Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

He was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 to 1875.)
-----------------

You see -- when a church claims to have The Prophet of God and The Twelves Apostles .... What they write in official church documents creates a difficult problem for them which leads to the "Squirrel!!" defense.

So just because Mormons (and Jehovah's Witnesses for that matter) *use* the name of Jesus Christ or Jehovah doesn't mean they make the cut as "Christian" in the doctinally orthodox Christian community.

Revenant said...

You can reject the religious claims of Christianity while asserting that the historical accuracy of the NT is generally good in the context of its time.

There's some good historical material about the structure of the early church that can be gleaned from the epistles and some of the books, sure. But the historical content of the gospels is basically a load of hooey.

JAL said...

@ Quayle -- I always wondered -- the pictures I have seen in Mormon presentations show heaven where there are parents and grandparents and children ...

Assuming everyone lives to 75 -- who is who?

As for the wife being sealed etc. -- the part where the wife has to wait and see if her husband "calls" her -- it probably makes perfect sense to you, but it means that the wife doesn't have a relationship with God and her eternal destiny apart from whether her husband judges it so.

Being a wife and not seeing my husband as god or a god in the making, that sure doesn't seem like a good arrangement, not to mention not being biblically based.

Retired Prosecutor said...

Just a point of information from a practicing Roman Catholic, since there seems to be a bit of "theological confusion" in this thread.

Roman Catholics do not accept LDS baptisms as valid, but we do recognize the baptisms of virtually all Protestant denominations. This is not as a result of particular antipathy to the LDS Church or its beliefs. Rather it is because of the absence of the Trinitarian formula in an LDS baptism, because Mormons do not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity.

Hope this helps.

rcommal said...

It's easy to get stuck at "Values Voter Summit," knowing that it's supposed to be read as "'The' Values Voter Summit." To heck with that "the" and the horse it rode in on.

The Crack Emcee said...

Quayle,

The simple answer is that Mormonism is in fact a cult. That is descriptive, not an insult. It meets all the standards historically and currently.

Just. Plain. Wrong.


Bullshit, and you're just using the ignorance of the others to assert it. Every, and I mean EVERY cult watching organization in the world follows Mormonism.

I won't pick Mormonism's cultish qualities apart point-by-point, but I will assert that I don't hoard food, answer to a bishop or any jackass declaring he's a prophet, have a NewAge "celestial" outlook about anything, or believe some illiterate fraud who snatched parts of all the world's major religions and cobbled them together, with that nonsense about the angel Moroni and golden plates, has any more credibility than the spoon bending marvels of Uri Geller.

Get a grip, dude, Mormonism is a cult. Not WAS a cult, but IS a cult, and all the pleading in the world, assertions to the contrary, or deceptive tactics like your lies of omission are going to change it.

As I said, no cult in the world says that's what they are, but that's what they are and trying to chase the word "cult" out of existence - because it either hurts your feelings or makes you feel like a rube - won't work.

I didn't swallow the bullshit, you did, and what being so gullible says about you is your problem, not mine. If anything, be smart:

You're supposed to have faith - so do so, and quit trying to debate in the realm of reality because A) the two will not meet, and B) it's the only way you'll gain or maintain any respect for your foolishness, if not your belief.

Timotheus said...

The confusion reigns because there are two usages of the word "cult": the historic theological definition, and the more recent sociological definition. An evangelical Christian might refer to LDS as a cult in the former sense with no intention of calling Mormonism a cult in the latter sense.

Bot said...

• Here are the characteristics of a cult:
• Small? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) has 14 million members in 132 countries. In America, there are more Mormons than there are Presbyterians or Jews.
• Excessive devotion? Mormons are devoted to the Savior, but in appropriate measure He would approve of.
• Unethical techniques? Ask the pie-throwers to name one.
• Control by isolation? Even if Mormons wanted to, this would be impossible with 14 million members in 28,000 congregations throughout the world.
• Control by threats? Again, evidence? Mormon missionaries may be exuberant, but do not threaten.
• Dependency on the group? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is just the opposite. Mormons want members to be self-reliant and independent so they in turn can help others.
• Powerful group pressure? Only if that’s the way the critics prefer to define love.
• Strange? Guilty as charged. Mormons plead guilty to all the strange things that were done by Christians in New Testament times that were lost during the great falling away in the aptly named Dark Ages, among them temple worship, theosis, vicarious baptism for the dead, definition of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as separate but united in purpose, salvation requiring both grace and obedience to commandments, prophets and apostles, unpaid clergy, and continual revelation to guide His Church.

J said...

note "Retired Prosecutor" a blatant lie--the usual troll-druggie Byro (bookmarked as evidence)--the mumbling tone, idiocy. Pretending to be cop, catholic, and to know something about the LDS heresy. No on all accounts.

Actually Byro-freak is LDS--Sac queer chapter.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bot,

The fact cultism has been so neglected and abused by cultists and cult apologists (such as yourself) when it comes to study - something I've said, and been ridiculed for, for years - leaves you at a distinct disadvantage when attempting to discuss the topic. Again - your assertions are old, and not helpful in the least, because your understanding of cultism is outdated and extremely limited.

Ever seen or heard of Tom Cruise being held in isolation? Why not? He is in "the world's most dangerous cult" is he not?

Cultism has evolved, my friend, and that evolution is a testament to how successful they've been in colonizing the minds of the West. Nothing to be proud of or to crow about.

BTW - anybody seen the latest study on yoga?

I ask you Althouse old schoolers: how many times have I asked so-called yogis why they don't just engage in stretching/good ol' P.E.? It seems that as the evidence continues to build, when it comes to understanding the subject of cults and cult practices, I can do no wrong.

But then, as I've said all along, I'm not the one deluding myself,...

Shanna said...

Why do you take two Mormons fishing with you?

If you take one, he'll drink all your beer.


Ha. My dad used to tell that joke subbing in Baptists for Mormons :)

In my experience, Mormonism doesn't come up all that often in the south, so I think this article was a little ridiculous. The one time I remember Mormonism being mentioned in a semi church setting (which was actually a christian school I attended in elementary) was when they showed the most cracked out cartoon about 'what mormon's believe' where people died and then somehow ended up on their own planets. No idea how that fits with Mormon doctrine, although I saw something similar mentioned more recently so maybe there is some version in there.

J said...

Cracki--yoga gals might bother you, but hardly a cult.--an exercise thing (tho may have Hindu roots--are hindus cultists too?). Now, scientology--that s a cult--take 'em on Krimefighter.

LDS--has/had cultish aspects, but ...actually a religion--even if based on false/bogus premises. Then you think Christianity's a cult too,don'tyou Amazing Cracki?

Note the stupid, meaningless anecdotes from "Shanna".Why it's Byro the failed Male Nurse! with his dress and make up on.

Joe said...

Seems to me that one aspect of a cult is that it's difficult to leave. Mormonism is easy to leave. I spent 40 years as an active member and stop going without a problem. If anything, I found it a little disconcerting how much they left me alone. None of my children attend church. My ex wife does, but because she chose to return, nobody forced her or even talked her into it. (I paid tithing voluntarily, my ex pays tithing voluntarily.)

Crack, simply repeating something doesn't make it so. Show HOW Mormonism is a cult. Show it. Mormonism is odd, but I find it less odd that religions that believe in the rapture or transubstantiation. Is it overly organized and too centralized? Yes, but that doesn't make it a cult, it makes it a bureaucracy and quintessentially American.

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

I'm breaking my protocol to talk to you, so don't blow it:

Any "spiritual practice" that causes serious practitioners to smear themselves in shit and the ashes of the dead (as the so-called "God Men" of India do) is not to be passed off as just what a bunch of overly-vain and semi-intelligent "yoga gals" in America do. And all the lies, excuses, and trouble caused to defend it are typical of cultists here.

I'm really not going to waste my time defining this for anyone anymore - I've got the blog - and the idea I'm mistaken, as the drip, drip, drip of information continues to back me up 100%, is also something I'm no longer willing to entertain or consider:

I know cults and cultish thinking - as well as religion - and, at this point, that's all I need to know.

The rest of you are coming around,...about 5-6 years later, but you're coming around.

Oclarki said...

Joe,

Pleas cite a instance where the NT doesn't comport with what we know about the history of the Roman Empire in the Levant around the year 0?

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

There was no census as described in the gospels. If there was, it wouldn't be done in the matter described. There was no slaughter of children.

That's a nonsense question anyway. Christian writers of the 2nd century had enough Roman and Jewish verbal and written histories to make something believable to other 2nd century Christians. (The gospels also get geography wrong in several places.)

Revenant said...

Pleas cite a instance where the NT doesn't comport with what we know about the history of the Roman Empire in the Levant around the year 0?

For starters, nothing like the census that required Joseph to return to Bethlehem is recorded anywhere else. The Romans didn't do things like that.

Secondly, there was no recorded tradition of Romans pardoning someone -- and they certainly wouldn't pardon someone accused of proclaiming himself a king. The Romans routinely executed such people during their occupation of Judea.

Thirdly, Pontius Pilate was such a vindictive bastard that the Emperor Tiberius himself had to tell him to stop deliberately tormenting the Jews.

Those are some of the more obvious problems.

Oclarki said...

Joe,

Tacitus mentions the census in his history as well as Augustus himself in "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus” published in 14AD mentions census taken in 28 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD. The 8 BC census being the most likely candidate for the gospel accounts.

J said...

Mumble away Reve-Byro--yes Tiberius talking to Pilate!!!! Heh heh. Must of spent an hour with the wiki-mistakes. You dont know fuck about roman history, you flunkie, phony bag of shit. Stick to the BoM.

J said...

your problem Cracki is you see a few cultists, and then assume all the people in the religion are like that--a typical hasty generalization (maybe check your skepchick sites for logical fallacies). Some hindus may have odd practices. Not all. Yoga babes, definitely not. Many are in good shape.

Moreover, the first Amendment applies to ALL in the US--even mormons, hindus, muslims.... baptists (and non-believers). A point the naive atheist often overlooks. So, even though I don't care for the LDS, or pagans (or wingnut baptists or jihadists), assuming they follow the law, and uphold the 1st Amendment--they're perfectly entitled to practice whatever religion they want to, and even..yikes... to do yoga. What a concept.

Revenant said...

Tacitus mentions the census in his history as well as Augustus himself in "The Deeds of the Divine Augustus” published in 14AD mentions census taken in 28 BC, 8 BC, and 14 AD. The 8 BC census being the most likely candidate for the gospel accounts.

The censuses you cite applied only to Roman citizens and did not require people to return to their ancestral homes. So no, they do not match the census in the Gospels.

The Crack Emcee said...

J,

So far so good:

your problem Cracki is you see a few cultists, and then assume all the people in the religion are like that--a typical hasty generalization (maybe check your skepchick sites for logical fallacies).

J, most - most - indians don't even do yoga, so if anything, it is you who are looking at a few "practitioners" and deciding they represent something.
Some hindus may have odd practices. Not all. Yoga babes, definitely not. Many are in good shape.

What does being in good shape have to do with being odd? Forget it. if you were willing to say it, you'll never understand why it doesn't make a lick of sense.

The first Amendment applies to ALL in the US--even mormons, hindus, muslims.... baptists (and non-believers). A point the naive atheist often overlooks. So, even though I don't care for the LDS, or pagans (or wingnut baptists or jihadists), assuming they follow the law, and uphold the 1st Amendment--they're perfectly entitled to practice whatever religion they want to, and even..yikes... to do yoga. What a concept.

What this has to do with me, or even the topic at hand, I have no idea,...

JAL said...

So, even though I don't care for the LDS, or pagans (or wingnut baptists or jihadists), assuming they follow the law, and uphold the 1st Amendment--they're perfectly entitled to practice whatever religion they want to, and even..yikes... to do yoga. What a concept.

Uhmmm I don't see anyone here stopping them. I see free speech / First Amendment in action as people talk about all sides of the question about whether a particular religious which is supposedly called a cult in the South but not elsewhere is perhaps a cult.

Who said anything about not letting them practice their religion?

Or is J talking about some other "First Amendment" which has something about not offending others?

(Maybe he has it confused with the Golden rule.)

Joe said...

Luke 2 NIV
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

Quirinius was governor of Syria from 6-7 AD. No census occurred those years.

Herod died in 4BC, so even if a census happened in 6 or 7 AD, it wouldn't have fit.

The KJV adds that the census was for taxation, yet Augustus didn't primarily do the census for taxation, but to count the number of Roman citizens.

Roman citizens were counted and they didn't go to their ancestral town (which would make absolutely no sense, even theologically, since the paternal line wouldn't matter.)