Sunday, October 9, 2011

Is Mormonism a Cult?

Today, I am missing Sunday services at Washington National Cathedral. I like to listen to them for the quality of the service, the sermon, and the music. I will miss Cathedral Dean Lloyd's leadership.

Please give generously to Washington National Cathedral as they make repairs following the earthquake and subsequent hurricane.

Is Mormonism a cult?

Cult: a system of religious beliefs and rituals regarded as unorthodox.

The latest assertions of a Republican saying that Mormonism is a cult has me thinking. Even though I am not a Republican, and it matters not who said made this accusation, I am a Christian.

I also believe church and state are separate entities and should remain such. Wars have been fought over that division. At the same time, this is my platform to discuss my views on Mormonism, and you are most welcome to visit.

Mormonism has certain givens up front, aspects many mainstream Christians, including me, find very disturbing:

1. It's not inclusive and this picture illustrates:

Even if a few diverse groups have joined recently, I remain skeptical. Assertions to that effect wouldn't cut it with me.

2. Why is it not ever going to be truly diverse?

Mormonism is elitist at heart and in principle, and only allows certain people to join because of their genetics and family history. It does not allow those who simply want to join if they change their beliefs. Newcomers would not be accepted into the inner sanctums with their children. 

3. Mormonism believes in Prophets alive until recently. That doesn't happen in Christian denominations. All our prophets died thousands of years ago...

4. Some of the initiation rites, the marriage bed pictured in online photos, if true, and marriage practices of taking multiple wives, if true, are still  rumored to be going on.  These practices are illegal, and can be unconstitutional and hurtful to under-age or female participants.

5. Certainly, Mormons might consider themselves different children of God by choice and aspiration, but how free are they in the eyes of the world if they aren't allowed in principle to do normal American activities inside America? What's so wrong with drinking coffee or tea from Starbucks,  for example, or drinking a bit of wine?

6. No other church gets involved in uniforms and undergarments for general participants. To me, that makes it suspect and leaves it outside the Christian umbrella. God is supposed to love us at all times.

6. Mormons look at The Book of Mormon as their primary authority. Christian churches, in stark contrast, use the Holy Bible as their primary authority.

I am not going to delve any more deeply into the religion and invite quibbles. Any one of the above reasons would be sufficiently major to make most individuals around the world eschew it and take it out of consideration if they wanted to make a change.

Ultimately, I do not think Mormons are free enough to be happy and flexible,  either, even if they are children of God (as we all are), because freedom to change and join religions is an important and useful value.

To conclude, even if the religion works for some, and Mormons feel cozy in their beliefs, nevertheless, in my final analysis, yes, ultimately Mormonism is a cult as well as a religion. What it is not is mainstream Christianity, and most American Christians I have spoken to believe it is not Christian. What do you believe...Is Mormonism a cult?

Again, please give generously to Washington National Cathedral.

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