|| Why Mormonism
is a Cult
A lot of people have misconceptions about what a cult
is. They think it is either some obscure cultural tribal like religions
in Africa, or completely whack religions with highly destructive purposes
like the Waco, TX incident or in March of 1997 with the Heaven's Gate
cult's mass suicide.
But every cult has similar underlining principles that draw people into
the cult and keep them there, despite how destructive the cult practices
are or how extreme, though they are usually very far from any norm that
exists in their society. Labeling any organization as a cult, or defining
cult is difficult, but an extremely common definition of cultism has been
used frequently that was defined articulated at an AFF/UCLA Wingspread
Conference on Cultism in 1985:
Cult (totalistic type): A
group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication
to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative
techniques of persuasion and control (e.g. isolation from former friends
and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility
and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management,
suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total
dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.), designed to advance
the goals of the group's leaders, to the actual or possible detriment
of members, their families, or the community. (West & Langone,
1986, pp. 119-120)
You would be surprised how much Mormonism fits to this definition.
To use their own words, let's look at the aspects of the definition.
Cult (totalistic type): A
group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication....
"Ultimately, what our Father in Heaven
will require of us is more than a contribution; it is a total commitment,
devotion, all that we are and all that we can be." Howard
W. Hunter, "Standing As Witnesses of God," Ensign, May 1990,
But this much I can tell you, that if ye
do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and
your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the
faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord,
even unto the end of your
lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish
4:29-30, from the Book of Mormon,
italics and bold added).
to some person, idea, or thing ...
The following is taken from the current
(1990) version of the endowment session, a ritualistic Masonic ceremony
performed in their temples. Elohim is the name of god to Mormons.
The posterity of Adam down to Moses, and from Moses to Jesus
Christ offered up the first fruits of the field, and the firstlings
of the flock, which continued until the death of Jesus Christ, which
ended sacrifice by the shedding of blood. And as Jesus Christ has
laid down his life for the redemption of mankind, so we should covenant
to sacrifice all that we possess, even our own lives
if necessary, in sustaining and defending the Kingdom of
All arise. Each of you bring your right arm to the square. You and
each of you solemnly covenant and promise before God, angels, and
these witnesses at this altar that you will observe and keep the Law
of Sacrifice, as contained in the Holy Scriptures, as it has been
explained to you. Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
Peter: You and each of you covenant and promise before God,
angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the
Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in
that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything
with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you,
to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the
building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."
... and employing unethically
manipulative techniques of persuasion and control ...
This is a handout that a mission president sent out to help us get
in doors after the usual freakout of having let us in for the First
Discussion. (taken from http://www.exmormon.org/mormon/mormon050.htm)
HOW BADLY DO YOU WANT TO TEACH A SECOND DISCUSSION?
You haven't done all you can and your duty is not complete until
you do the following:
Sometimes, even after a beautifully spiritual First Discussion and
an effective "I Care About You" call-back, we find people
who refuse to hear the Second Discussion. This is because the Spirit
has left them and they probably have been confronted by someone
who has challenged their interest in hearing more. First of all,
set the appointment no more than 48 hours after the First Discussion
and sandwich your "I Care About You" call-back inbetween....
If someone rejects you at the door with a comment like, "I
have thought about it and decided that I have my own religion and
I don't really want to hear more," say to them the following
(adapting the dialogue to your own personality without losing the
"We are truly sorry you feel that way. We felt so good when
we left your home after our first visit. We have looked forward
so much to seeing you again. We are excited about the message we
have prepared to give you today and know that it can really bless
your life. If what we have to tell you is true, it could be the
most important few minutes of yourlife. If it isn't, then you will
at least have learned a little more of what we believe. So, you
have everything to gain and nothing to lose. And we promise you,
if after you have heard the message about Jesus Christ that we have
for you today, and you still don't want to learn more, we will honor
that and not come back. Surely that sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
Please let us have just a few more minutes. May we come in?"
Then move forward as if to enter the home. When you enter the home,
show forth great love and warmth and concern for them.
Now, this is not going to get you into every home, but it will get
you into more homes than you otherwise would. If every team in the
mission were to do this it would add at least one more second per
week per team. That would add up to at least 60 additional Seconds
which equates to 5 more baptisms. Now, I ask you, is that worth
putting your heart on the line; is it worth a little courage and
putting your own personal comforts behind. There is not valid excuse
for not pleading with all your heart and soul to be allowed one
more chance to teach someone the Gospel. Do it! Every day!
The following is also taken from exmormon.org,
please visit this excellent site to view more on the transcript.
Consider this true story taken from a book by social psychologist
Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., titled "Influence" (Quill).
Influence is a study of compliance techniques and how and why people
agree to things.
A group of social scientists infiltrated a secretive, doomsday
cult based in modern-day Chicago that believed they were about to
be whisked away on a spaceship because the end of the world was
at hand. The scientists wanted to study the group's behavior in
its natural occurrence. The group sold or gave away its belongings,
students neglected their studies, people quit their jobs. They were
committed, they believed. When the time came to leave, the group
made public the coming disaster so the media came to watch. When
the saucer didn't show, an atmosphere of despair among the group
prevailed. The group had given up so much (property, money, jobs,
education) that they could no longer afford not to believe. Next
came a revelation from the group leader-because the group had cast
so much light upon the world, God had saved the earth. Then came
an instruction to publicize the explanation. What they had once
kept secret, they now felt the need to publicize in the grandest
Cialdini explains, "If they could spread the Word, if they
could inform the uninformed, if they could persuade the skeptics,
and if, by so doing, they could win new converts, their threatened
but treasured beliefs would become truer. The principal of social
proof says so: The greater the number of people who find any idea
correct, the more the idea will be correct. The group's assignment
was clear; since the physical evidence could not be changed, the
social evidence had to be. Convince and ye shall be convinced!"
The parallels between this UFO cult and the Mormon church are striking.
The Mormon church does not have physical evidence (even instructing
its people to stop looking for it) supporting its doctrines and
beliefs. So it seeks its support in the form of new believers in
order to make its existence credible. This explains why the church
is so actively involved in missionary work. Since the physical evidence
is lacking, the social evidence must be overwhelming. Every Mormon
can look at the steady stream of new recruits and feel their own
commitment is more validated. The principal of social proof makes
Cialdini discusses another concept which sheds some light on why
people will continue to believe what they believe (in our case Mormons
remaining Mormons) even after they become aware of its error.
... (e.g. isolation
from former friends and family, ...
When missionaries, mostly 19 year old boys serve their mission for
2 years, they are sent far away from home into a military like strict
environment where they work 74 hours a week. In their handbook, it
explicitly states they are not to contact friends, family, even people
in the small district the work in. They are allowed to write letters
once a week, and even then letters outside their immediate family
is discouraged. Twice a year they are allowed to call their family.
Recently that time has even been limited to a "few minutes"
by an announcement by Boyd K. Packer published to mission presidents,
stake presidents, and such in December 2001.
"Have good associates or don't associate at all. Be careful in the
selection of your friends. If in the presence of certain persons you
are lifted to nobler heights, you are in good company. But if your
friends or associates encourage base thoughts, then you had best leave
them." (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country: Our Three Great
Loyalties, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974, p. 241.) Base
thoughts would include things such as the possibility that the Mormon
church is not god's true church, contemplating of drinking coffee,
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not
to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance
against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter
in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of
his own household. He that loveth father or mother more. than me is
not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me
is not worthy of me." Matt 10:34-37
... debilitation, use
of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, ...
In the following quotes, be aware that the word murmuring is the
common Mormon word for expressing doubt or disagreement, or simple
expression of not understanding. Also watch the nature that the questions
are phrased in as to invoke guilt, and also that "prophets"
and "brethren" are leaders of the church.
We have sustained by uplifted hand our living prophets. We rejoice
in the privilege of hearing the revealed word of God in our day
from our living prophets. What do we do when we hear them? Do we
follow the instructions
of our living prophets with exactness, or do we murmur?
The simplest of instructions may reveal the tendency to murmur.
I attended a meeting once when the presiding authority invited members
of the congregation to come forward in the meeting room. A few stirred.
Most did not. Why not?
I feel sure there were those who questioned why they should leave
their comfortable position. "Why should I?" That question was, no
doubt, followed promptly by an excuse or rationalization as to why
it should not matter whether the seat was changed or not. I believe
there followed some irritation that the presiding authority should
make such a request. The last step, obvious to all who observed,
was slothfulness in responding. Few moved. Was that a small thing?
Yes. But it reflected a deeper, more profound lack of willingness
to obey. It reflected a spirit of disobedience. That is not a small
thing. (H. Ross Workman, "Beware of
Murmuring," Ensign, Nov. 2001, 85)
Observe the demands to find out and how the way
must include "dropping pride of your knowledge", ie ignorance:
He has given the key. You may know. You need not be in doubt. Follow
the prescribed procedures, and you may have an absolute knowledge
that these things are absolute truths. The necessary procedure is:
study, think, pray, and obey his commandments and teachings. Revelation
is the key. God will make it known to you once you have capitulated
and have become humble and receptive. Having dropped all
pride of your own knowledge and wisdom, having acknowledged
before God your confusion, having humbled yourself (lost your
feeling of self-importance) and having surrendered yourself
to the teachings of the Holy Spirit, you are ready to begin to learn.
With preconceived religious notions stubbornly held, one is not
teachable. The Lord has promised repeatedly that he will give you
a knowledge of spiritual things when you have placed yourself in
a proper frame of mind. He has counseled us to seek, ask, and search
diligently. These innumerable promises are epitomized by Moroni
in the following: "And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know
the truth of all things" (Moro. 10:5). What a promise! How extravagant!
May I repeat, the time will come when there will be a surrender
of every person who has ever lived on this earth, who is now living,
or who ever will live on this earth; and it will be an unforced
surrender, an unconditional surrender. When will it be for you?
Today? In twenty years? Two hundred years? Two thousand or a million?
When? Again, to you, John, I say, it is not if you will capitulate
to the great truth; it is when for I know that you cannot indefinitely
resist the power and pressure of truth. Why not now? Much time has
been lost. The years ahead can be far more glorious for you than
any years in the past.
You cannot cast off this appeal and warning without grave responsibility.
You will have to answer to your Creator if you ignore it,
just as I would have to answer if I ignored it. I am doing my best
to present it. I know that this is the only complete, divine, eternal
program which is recognized and approved of God! (Spencer
W. Kimball, "Absolute Truth," Tambuli, July 1979, 1)
"My dear brothers and sisters and family, can't you see what
we need to do? Be submissive-do not murmur-endure to the end. If
we will do this, the Lord will show us the way, if we will but follow
his prophets and Apostles. Do not question their direction! It is
as simple as that." (Waldo P. Call, "Follow the Prophets,"
Ensign, Nov. 1990, 82)
... powerful group
Here I will add a personal note. When I was on my mission, I had
a conflict, problem that I had been meeting with my mission president
about quite a bit. I had gotten to the point where I was completely
disagreeing with him and what he believed. I also had lost a lot of
faith and was talking to him about leaving. He very frequently pointed
out the fact that my great uncle was in the Seventy, that all my family
was in the church. "Think how disappointed they will be if you
leave the church," he said, appealing to group pressure and guilt
over logic and looking at the situation and discussing it.
I grew up in a small Mormon town. 98% of the people I knew were Mormon.
Before I left on my mission, my mother consistently bugged me to send
in my papers fast, thinking I would delay it, often citing "all
the other boys in your grade have filed theirs. You're one of the
last to go." Our seminary teacher pushed a lot to encourage our
friends not to date early.
When young Mormons serve missions, they join a huge force of 60,000
others serving. They have to constantly be with another partner, never
to leave their sight. Any deviation of the rules (which are extremely
strict, military like) is considered a sin. This is used to deeply
engrain the thinking of Mormonism without question, quickly quelling
any doubts or free thought. Any disobedience is to be reported up
through the chain of power and dealt with swiftly. In the Mission
Training Center, the theme was "Obedience with Exactness"
and not questioning ANY rule at all.
"In Alma 57:21 we read: "Yea, and they did obey and observe
to perform every word of command with exactness." (Italics added.)
They were totally obedient. Hence, they had unbelievable protection
and success." (Ted E. Brewerton, "Obedience-Full Obedience,"
Ensign, May 1981, 68)
... information management
Mormon missionaries are not allowed to read anything but scriptures
and church magazines, (even other Christian materials) watch TV,
listen to music, or use the internet. Members are also refrained from
reading material that is negative to the church, or anything that
would destroy their faith in christ.
... suspension of individuality
or critical judgment, ....
Remember that there may be many questions for which we have no
answers and that some things have to be accepted simply on faith.
An angel of the Lord asked Adam, "Why dost thou offer sacrifices unto
the Lord?" He answered, "I know not, save the Lord commanded me."
5:6.) There may be times when we are called upon to climb
Mount Moriahs and to sacrifice our Isaacs without a full and prior
explanation. Faith is the first principle of the gospel; it is a principle
of progress. (Carlos E. Asay, "Opposition
to the Work of God," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 67)
To Mormons, Faith in god is the key, to build that
in people is their purpose, and everywhere you look, they express
that obedience is a key to gain faith. Also, the opposite of faith
is doubt, thus we must surpress our doubt and just believe, just follow
and obey. You don't need to know, just fork over the money to them,
let all the old men's opinions govern every thought you have, everything
you wear, you watch and read, contradict what you've been taught and
any logic you might have left after giving them all your "might,
mind, and strength."
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