So, Mormonism is a cult?

Totally off-category:  This won’t be of interest to my regular readers of my travel blog.  Just ignore it or feel free to unsubscribe.  Maybe you found this by searching for “mormon, cult” though?  Since I know something about my religion, I thought I’d weigh in on the subject.  So, here’s a little info for you to consider:

When I think of a cult, I think of a group of people who believe in a person who professes to be authorized by God to lead them (a prophet).  That leader has convinced them to follow him (or her) without question.  For the leader to convince someone that way, and get complete compliance, would be a form of slavery or, at least, abuse.  So the leader would have to be very clever to convince them that they were “choosing” to submit to him.  This would require mental and emotional, or psychological, manipulation.  It causes an addiction of sorts; removing a person’s ability (or desire) to choose.  It has been called brain-washing.

A major characteristic of a cult is that the people need to be isolated from family and friends who are outside the cult.  This is so non-believers cannot influence their thinking or cause doubt as to the validity of the leader’s authority and teachings.

How are people able to “choose” to believe in such a person?  Are they weak-minded?  How would I make sure I don’t fall into such a trap?  How do I know what is true?  Is truth variable depending on the person looking for it?  I believe that truth, in all things, comes from God the Eternal Father.  Truth is not variable. God knows our individual needs.  He knows what we need at any given time during our life.  He knows what will bring us closer to Him.  If we are looking for the truth, about anything, we can ask God and He will reveal it to us through the Holy Ghost.  Ah, ha! …you say.  What does the Holy Ghost sound like?  How does he speak to us?  Now there is a life-long quest.  He speaks to me in many different ways; a peace of mind, a warm feeling, a thought, reading a scripture with the answer I’ve been looking for, advice from a friend.  It does not feel like fear or a threat or criticism or harshness.  Sometimes I’ve dismissed a prompting from the Holy Ghost; thinking “I knew better”.  I
later found out that it was a prompting that I should have heeded.  No one told me that, I just learned by experiencing the consequences.  It is this process that helps us use our gut feelings or best judgment to determine
right from wrong, truth from fiction and whether it is the Holy Ghost’s influence or some other.

So, getting back to Mormonism being a cult…the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ.  His mouthpiece on earth, in any dispensation since the beginning of time (check out the Bible) is called a prophet.  Keep in mind that a person cannot just proclaim to be a prophet.  Authority must be given from God.  (See above: How do I know what is true?)  Our prophets have never said anything to the membership without telling us to ask God to know if it is true.  The membership (individual or as a group) has never been isolated from family, friends, acquaintances or even enemies.  Even in the early days of the church, when they were moving to escape persecution, missionaries were sent out.  How many cults do you know of that would send out 2 19-year old boys to go into stranger’s homes to find new members?  NONE!  Because they’d lose them all!

If you need to enslave someone, without using drugs, you have to convince them that they don’t need to trust their own judgment but that they can trust you as the ultimate authority.

Well, the only ultimate authority, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint doctrine, is Jesus Christ.  Ask God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if something is true and He will tell you through the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him specific questions.  Should I apply for this job?  Should I be here with these people?  Should I read this article?  Should I read this book?  It doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out, prayer.  You just need to be sincerely wanting an answer and willing to act upon that answer.  If we are open to the influence of the Holy Spirit, “gut feelings” will lead us to the truth.  It doesn’t matter if the prophet says it or we read it on the label of the mayonnaise jar; we can seek guidance from the ultimate authority, Jesus Christ, when we need to know the truth.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a cult.  My study, prayer and experience tells me this
is true.  It is a religion that promotes the highest degree of freedom and liberty to the individual.  It’s chief cornerstone is Jesus Christ.  You’ll have to read the Book of Mormon to know what it says.  You can’t be brain-washed just by reading and sincerely praying to know if it is true.  The Book of Mormon doesn’t replace the Holy
Bible.  It supports it.  It adds a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ.

Here are the Articles of Faith of the church.

Here are some recent teachings from our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the Book of Mormon:

From the Book of Mormon come other precious promises, including promises of peace, freedom, and blessings if we “will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ” (Ether 2:12).

From its pages comes the promise of “never-ending happiness” to “those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual” (Mosiah 2:41).

From its pages comes the promise of “incomprehensible joy” to those who become “instruments[s] in the hands of God” in rescuing His precious sons and daughters (Alma 28:8, 29:9).

From its pages comes the promise that as we pray unto the Father in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, our families will be blessed (see 3 Nephi 18:21).

From a study of its pages comes the fulfillment of the prophetic promise that “there will come into your lives and
into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

And from the pages of the Book of Mormon comes Moroni’s promise that through prayer, real intent, and faith in
Christ, we may know the truth of these promises “by the power of the Holy Ghost” (see Moroni 10:4-5).

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