Mormonism is a Cult

This is a recent interview with Rev. Robert Jeffress by Anderson Cooper. Jeffress is an outspoken supporter of Gov. Rick Perry and pastor of a large Baptist church in Dallas. I think this is perhaps one of the worst definitions of “cult” I’ve ever seen. Even with a pre-qualifier that it’s a “theological definition,” it’s so broad that it becomes meaningless. It’s only use is as a pejorative.

I think Mormonism is in fact a different religion that Traditional Christianity. The Mormon view of God’s place in the universe and His relationship with man is so radically different than what Christianity teaches it’s hard to meaningfully align them unless you’re only looking at the most cursory comparisons. That being said, Jeffress does a terrible job here explaining the differences and an even worse job as an ambassador of Christ. His definitions and explanations appear to be for no one’s benefit except Rick Perry.

For a different perspective by a clearer thinking Evangelical, I recommend this article from the Washington Times by John Mark Reynolds: Why Evangelicals Must Stand Up to Anti-Mormon Bigotry.

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54 thoughts on “Mormonism is a Cult

  1. Tim,
    Thanks for posting this. I just wrote about the same. There’s also some good and balanced comments out there from Richard Mouw of Fuller seminary. Let me know if you need the link.

    In Him

    Mick

  2. The main neopagan news outlet has come out in support of Mitt Romney (well not support so much as “the lesser of evils”) precisely because he is not connected to NAR and Dominionist voices like Jeffress, and because theoretically, as a member of a religious minority, he will be more in favor of equal protection for minority religions as opposed to the sort of two-tier first amendment that some of the more extreme voices in the NAR have suggested.

  3. I saw the interview on Chris Matthews which was mainly focusing on the the way this is playing among Catholics, i.e. they see this as a later day version of anti-Catholic bigotry. Tim, I agree his definition of theological cult is ridiculous. Mormons can equally claim Jesus Christ as a founder, and the analogy to Joseph Smith would be someone like Luther.

    Anyway, people who self identify as Republicans are generally white evangelicals, and the vast majority of white evangelicals are Republicans. The Republican party, as long as it wants to keep its tremendous religious identification as essentially the white Protestant party has a problem putting a non evangelical as its head.

    That being said, I don’t think Romney faces any problems in the general. Obama IMHO is just as vulnerable on religion as Romney. Most voters don’t know much about UCC, and would disapprove if they did. I suspect Obama doesn’t want to go there.

  4. I agree that most voters don;t know much about the UCC, but I sincerely doubt most voters would “disapprove if they did.” Jeremiah Wright is a pretty extreme example of a UCC minister, and not really representative of the UCC as a body. Honestly, it’s just a pretty basic liberal mainline church, not really different from the Episcopal Church, the ELCA, the PCUSA, the UMC, or any of the others. Maybe it skews a little more liberal than some others, but that’s it.

    I’m sure that many conservative Evangelicals are not thrilled by the UCC (or at least are not comforted that membership is a sufficient shibboleth for their idea of faithful Christianity), but “most voters?” I sincerely doubt most voters are that troubled by run-of-the-mill liberal mainline Christianity.

  5. I loved the article by John Mark Reynolds, and very much agreed with it. If people like Jeffress want to continue to be stuck on the “Mormonism is a cult” theme, then so be it. It’s sad, but it is what it is. My opinion is, the general American public has moved on, and will not be affected by Jeffress’s remarks. I believe that, in the end, they will hurt Perry more than help, at least among non-Evangelicals. I admit that I am not exactly neutral in this matter: I am a Romney supporter, and will be able to see and hear him speak later on this month at a breakfast that is being hosted for him by some of his supporters in my state, and to which I have been invited. I guess the only question I would have for people who think like Jeffress would be: Do you want a theologically “pure” candidate or do you want to win the election? I know they would prefer both, but I don’t believe that is going to be an option in 2012. I believe that Evangelicals such as Jeffress should think long and hard about the consequences of losing this next election, and try to decide who they believe is the most competent person, and who represents Evangelical views and interests the best, regardless of whether or not said candidate is an Evangelical.

  6. Kullervo —

    It skews quite a bit more liberal than the others. Moreover it takes explicitly anti-evangelical positions while most other mainline denominations have quite a few evangelical pastors. UCC is proud liberal Christianity not the hesitant kind one finds in the other 6 sisters.

  7. It skews quite a bit more liberal than the others. Moreover it takes explicitly anti-evangelical positions while most other mainline denominations have quite a few evangelical pastors. UCC is proud liberal Christianity not the hesitant kind one finds in the other 6 sisters.

    Hmm. Fair enough. I’m still not sure that would be disturbing to “most voters.”

  8. I agree with Lisa that this incident has probably hurt Perry, and I actually think it may have helped Romney, especially if he should make it to the general election. Suddenly, Romney has gone from being a faithful member of a not-so-popular church to someone who is being unfairly attacked for his religion. In general, we’re a nation that values tolerance (even though we don’t always act like it), and it is those like Jeffress who seem unreasonable.

    And by not directly taking on Jeffress, as some Republicans such as Bill Bennett (to his credit) have done, the rest of the GOP field ends up looking intolerant as well.

    As to the UCC, I agree with Kullervo. While the UCC skews theologically and politically more liberal the other mainline denominations, the only people who wouldn’t vote for Obama because he’s a member (is he still?) of the UCC probably wouldn’t vote for Obama even if he joined an evangelical church. Jeremiah Wright notwithstanding, the church as a whole isn’t out of the liberal mainstream.

    I’m hoping this Jeffress episode will be quickly forgotten. I don’t think the discussion about who is a “true Christian” isn’t helpful for either our political discourse or for enhancing religious understanding.

  9. I’m hoping this Jeffress episode will be quickly forgotten. I don’t think the discussion about who is a “true Christian” isn’t helpful for either our political discourse or for enhancing religious understanding.

    I don’t know that I agree. Religion is fundamental in directly shaping the worldviews of a substantial number of Americans (and indirectly in shaping the others). Religious freedom and “no religious test” notwithstanding, I think voters can and should evaluate a candidate based on their values, i.e., what they believe is important.

    If you think that only a true Christian (in the Protestant theological sense, not in the descriptive sociological sense) is capable of being open to the divine inspiration that is necessary to be a good leader, then you need to sure need to figure out who is a true Christian.

  10. @Kullervo:

    Exactly what Mohler said:

    Beyond this, those who support any one candidate for the Republican nomination must, if truly committed to electing a president who most shares their worldview and policy concerns, end up supporting the candidate in the general election who fits that description.

  11. My point is, in a democratic election, everyone pretty much gets to decide for themselves what they think is important in deciding who to vote for. You can certainly try to convince others that your criteria are right and theirs are wrong, but they don’t have to be convinced.

  12. I think you should only vote for those who believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture. You can’t properly run a country without knowing how the rapture is going to go down.

  13. Of course, you will want a good Mormon/Pagan/Jew/Agnostic to be the VP to hold down the fort just in case you don’t get raptured.

  14. The story at this link,
    http://www.charismanews.com/us/32136-poll-pastors-say-mormons-not-christians
    says 75% of Protestant pastors strongly disagree or somewhat disagree with the statement that Mormons are Christians (I’m paraphrasing). A relatively small number said they somewhat agree, a small number said they don’t know, and 6% said they strongly agree that Mormons (the LDS) are Christians.

    More than 1 in every 20 Protestant pastors believe Mormons are Christians! They are right.

    My ancestor Abraham Lincoln was right about slavery. It’s better to be right than in the majority.

  15. I agree with Kullervo, people can have any number of reasons for voting the way they do, but this should not stop people of faith (or no faith for that matter) from critiquing the theology behind his declarations.

    There was a time when Baptists as Nonconformists and dissenters were not so enamored with civil power that they would try to bind the conscience of believers behind a candidate.

    Romney isn’t qualified to be an elder in my church but that isn’t the position he is running for. If he were elected President I would join with the other dissenting Protestants and “make supplications and prayers” for him, “and all who are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.”

  16. Jared, you crack me up! 🙂 I didn’t mean to get off topic in my post, but as I saw it, the questions of whether or not Mormonism is a cult/should Ev’s vote for an LDS are kind of intertwined. The Pastor in question made Romney’s faith alone the reason why no Evangelicals should vote for him. If the candidate who wins the election in 2012 has no interest whatsoever in carrying out policies that are in accordance with the Evangelical worldview, if he goes against Evangelical interests, then Evangelicals have lost the election, no matter how much they may feel they have “won” by nominating “one of their own.” Personally, I’m done with the whole “cult” issue. I know what I believe, but I also believe that it is an argument that will never be settled.

  17. I agree with Gundek.

    Lisa said, “. . . the questions of whether or not Mormonism is a cult/should Ev’s vote for an LDS are kind of intertwined.”

    Yeah.

    Then she said, “Personally, I’m done with the whole “cult” issue. I know what I believe, but I also believe that it is an argument that will never be settled.”

    It will probably never be settled on this blog, but any one of us can settle it in our own hearts because God is willing to reveal it. We are supposed to study the Word of God ourselves to find out what it says. It has the answer.

  18. It will probably never be settled on this blog, but any one of us can settle it in our own hearts because God is willing to reveal it. We are supposed to study the Word of God ourselves to find out what it says. It has the answer.

    I very much doubt that the Word of God is concerned with how modern Americans classify Mormonism as an organization.

    As I often told people on my mission, whether or not you or anyone else defines it is a cult has nothing do do with whether or not it’s God’s one true church.

  19. “I very much doubt that the Word of God is concerned with how modern Americans classify Mormonism as an organization.”

    But the Word of God is concerned with how Christians classify it.

    “As I often told people on my mission, whether or not you or anyone else defines it is [sic] a cult has nothing do [sic] do with whether or not it’s God’s one true church.”

    When did you kiss your logic goodbye, Kullervo? 🙂

  20. But the Word of God is concerned with how Christians classify it.

    Where in the Bible does it say that? Where in the Bible does it say that God cares how Christians define and classify organizations?

    When did you kiss your logic goodbye, Kullervo?

    Are you complaining about my typos or are you saying that my statement is illogical?

    If you’re worried about my typos, I make no apologies–I’m at work, my attention is divided, I’m a poor typist and don’t care because I have a secretary, and commenting here typo-free is honestly not a priority of mine.

    If you’re saying my statement is illogical, you are dead wrong. How people define or classify a thing doesn’t change what a thing is. Mormonism is what it is whether we call it a cult, a Christian denomination, or a fish. Whether a sociologist or a student of religion assigns Mormonism to one category or another does not ultimately affect the veracity of Mormonism’s truth-claims or authority claims one way or another.

  21. I don’t care about your typos. I put “[sic]” just to be cute.

    Christians should know the difference between evil organizations and holy ones. It’s very easy to tell the difference if one uses the discernment one has been given by God. First John 3:10 says, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
    First Corinthians 12:3 says, “I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

    It’s simple. Jesus appeared to a minister once and told him that His people make His gospel too complicated. Jesus told him to make it simple.

    (I agree with you that the nature of Mormonism doesn’t depend on what we call it.)

    I wish you well at work.

  22. Fascinating. For a record serving Texas governor, I’ve found Perry to be unbelievable disappointing so far. After this failure to unequivocally throw Jeffress under the bus, it’s clear Perry just doesn’t have the political instincts to go the distance on the national stage. Cain is better, but his lack of elective office experience is showing, and he’s not even close to the kind of money Perry and Romney are pulling in. Is there another candidate the anti-Mormon bigot vote can coalesce on and stop Romney? It’s very late and appears the Republicans already have their nominee. We’ll see what happens.

  23. — Hmm. Fair enough. I’m still not sure that would be disturbing to “most voters.”

    Things like they have a minister that is also an Islamic cleric (joint service).
    Sanctification of same sex marriages for many years.
    Classification of the Wilmington ten as political prisoners before international bodies. Most Americans rather strongly disagree with Americans taking our problems to foreign bodies.
    Their “God is still speaking campaign” which went after the Christian right openly.
    Strong anti-Israel positions

    etc..

  24. Right. Those things are definitely disturbing to conservative voters. Which is not surprising, given that it’s a liberal church.

    “Most” means over 50%. It’s quantifiable. For you to be right, not only would over 50% of voters have to disagree with the points you just listed, but over 50% of voters would actually have to be disturbed by them.

    I don’t have the data at my fingrertips, but I’m willing to bet that public polling results don’t match the point you’re making.

  25. Pingback: Mormonism: Christian Cult or Radical(ly Distinct) Religion? | Wheat and Tares

  26. All one needs to do is look up the definition of a cult. At http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cult , Webster’s defines it as a formal religious veneration, a system of religious beliefs and ritual, and a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious. Now how is Mormonism NOT a cult based on the dictionary definition??? It’s definitely religious, definitely places a lot of emphasis on it’s beliefs and rituals (think baptisms at a strict age in children, adult baptisms in strict clothing, sacrament meetings with the priesthood, Young Women meetings that are follow the same order every time, including repeating in a monotone the “Young Women theme”, temple marriages and temple divorces, sealings, baptisms for the dead…etc), and obviously to many religions, including Bible believing Christians, is unorthodox. Technically, a cult in is the eye of the beholder when it includes the opinion of “unorthodox”, and technically you could place any religion in the cult category. It’s also interesting that on the link to Webster’s, the synonyms for cult include audience, followership and follower. Must I say more?
    On a side note, I understand that cult has taken on a dark meaning as well. Things like witchcraft and satanistic things are considered cults. The Mormon church can be considered to be in this “dark cult” category as well. Things that are sacred are not secret, and nowhere in the Bible did Jesus speak in secret, or tell people to keep what He told them secret from others. It was actually quite the contrary, He said to go forth and spread the good news. But the Mormon faith hides many things from outsiders, and even insiders! I myself never knew exactly what happened in a temple marriage until I went there myself, not even my parents or best friends could tell me! But if it was a sacred thing, and we were all part of the same faith, why could it not be talked about with one another, if for no other reason to rejoice in how wonderful an experience it had been? Why did it have to stay secret and everyone act as if it never even happened? Why, if a young girl dreams of being married in a temple, can she not even know what takes place there? Shouldn’t it be spoken of to her so she can grow even more excited and place more emphasis on finding a man who can take her there? I often wondered if the number of girls who married men who were not able to take them to the temple would have chosen differently if they had known how wonderful the temple was?
    Further on the dark cult, you can consider many of the symbols on the temples to be the same as dark cults use. The sun and moon are typical of baal worship, and the inverted pentagram is one of the most recognized symbols of witchcraft. These symbols are all on the SLC temple as well as others, why is that? And why is it that the cross, the number one symbol related to Christians, is not embraced at all by Mormonism? Yes, the sun, moon and stars can be symbolized as the three kingdoms of Heaven, but why would they be used when they have so many meanings, when the cross, which has only one and is used to protect against evil and ungodly things, is not used at all?

  27. OK. I disagree on the fact that Mormonism is a cult. That being said if we are going to have this conversation here is the OED definition. Everything below this line is not mine

    _________

    cult, n.

    (kʌlt)

    [ad. L. cultus worship (f. colĕre to attend to, cultivate, respect, etc.), and its F. adaptation culte (1611 Cotgr.). Used in 17th c. (? from Latin), and then rarely till the middle of the 19th, when often spelt culte as in French.]

    †1.1 Worship; reverential homage rendered to a divine being or beings. Obs. (exc. as in sense 2).

       1617 Collins Def. Bp. Ely ii. ix. 371 You tell vs most absurdly of a diuine cult‥for so cult you are, or so quilted in your tearmes.    Ibid. 380 You‥referre it to the cult that you so foolishly talked of.    1657–83 Evelyn Hist. Relig. (1850) II. 39 God, abolishing the cult of Gentile idols.    1683 D.A. Art Converse 92 That Sovereign Cult due to God only.

    2. a.2.a A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies.

       1679 Penn Addr. Prot. ii. App. 245 Let not every circumstantial difference or Variety of Cult be Nick-named a new Religion.    1699 Shaftesbury Charac., Inq. conc. Virtue i. iii. §2 In the Cult or Worship of such a Deity.    1850 Gladstone Homer II. 211 While she [Proserpine] has a cult or worship on earth, he [Aidoneus] apparently has none.    1859 L. Oliphant China & Japan I. xii. 242 They are devoted in their attentions to the objects of their culte.    1874 Mahaffy Soc. Life Gr. xi. 350 The cult of Aphrodite.

    b.2.b Now freq. used attrib. by writers on cultic ritual and the archæology of primitive cults.

       1901 A. J. Evans Mycen. Tree & Pillar Cult 25 Aniconic Cult Images.    Ibid. 77 Cult Scenes relating to a Warrior God and his Consort.    1903 Folk-lore Sept. 264 The image of the patron deity, usually a simple copy of the cult statue.    Ibid. 269 Inscriptions found at various cult-centres.    1904 Hastings’s Dict. Bible V. 118/1 The female Divinity must be represented by the female animal, in order to carry out the mythological tale or the cult-act.    1906 D. G. Hogarth in Proc. Brit. Acad. 1905–6 375 Small objects dedicated in that temple, among which are several cult-figurines of the Goddess.    1928 Peake & Fleure Steppe & Sown 104 Already in Early Minoan times the double axe had become, not only a symbol of authority, but a cult object.    a 1930 D. H. Lawrence Apocalypse (1931) vii. 117 Cult-lore was the wisdom of the old races.    1950 H. L. Lorimer Homer & Monum. vi. 349 The earliest cult-image of the goddess.    1950 Scott. Jrnl. Theol. III. 368 The rôle of the king in the great cult-drama at the beginning of every new year.    1957 Antiquity & Survival II. 167/1 Near it a cult mask, made of clay, was still lying on the floor.‥ In a further room, we discovered a unique cult-standard‥made of bronze, with a tang to fasten it to a pole.

    3.3 transf. Devotion or homage to a particular person or thing, now esp. as paid by a body of professed adherents or admirers.

       1711 Shaftesbury Charac. iii. i. (1737) I. 281 Convinc’d of the Reality of a better Self, and of the Cult or Homage which is due to It.    1829 A. W. Fonblanque England Under 7 Admin. (1837) I. 238 These cults are generally to be found in the same house.    1879 Q. Rev. Apr. 368 The cult of beauty as the most vivid image of Truth.    1889 John Bull 2 Mar. 141/2 An evidence of the decay of the Wordsworth cult.

    ______________________________

    Draft partial entry September 2004

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

       1927 Appleton (Wisconsin) Post-Crescent 10 Oct. 18/1 Evidence that the strange burial of a youthful ‘priestess’ of the religious cult‥may have been preceded by ritualistic and unreported burials of other cult members‥sent investigators today to widely separated spots in the mountains of southern California.    1957 Amer. Sociol. Rev. 22 561/2 An opportunity to study public reaction to a man whose small band of followers regarded him as Christ (and who himself acknowledged that status) arose.‥ We were able to‥facilitate fairly systematic study of this embryonic cult.    1976 Newsweek (Nexis) 14 June 60 Unlike the Eastern cults that form around gurus, the Moonies make it psychologically difficult for their followers to leave.    1980 Amer. Jrnl. Sociol. 85 1377 Cults‥, like other deviant social movements, tend to recruit people with a grievance, people who suffer from some variety of deprivation.    1994 W. Shaw Spying in Guru Land (1995) p. xi, He introduced many of them to ‘astral travelling’; in mild trance states they would ‘leave their bodies’ and return with more dreams and myths to add to the growing lore of the cult.

    ______________________________

    Draft partial entry December 2001

    ▸ Designating cultural phenomena with a strong, often enduring appeal to a relatively small audience; (also) designating this appeal or audience, or any resultant success; fringe, non-mainstream. Hence: possessing a fashionable or exclusive cachet; spec. (of artistic figures or works) having a reputation or influence disproportionate to their limited public exposure or commercial success. Freq. in cult figure, cult status.

       1961 R. Heppenstall Fourfold Trad. ii. ii. 145 This is asking a lot of the general reader and helps to keep Ulysses in its curious position as a cult book.    1968 Punch 3 July 32/2 There has been a small cult-following for [Nathanael] West.    1970 Times 5 Nov. 14/6 There is some part of her in all of us, so that whatever our reaction to her, it cannot be one of indifference. It is easy to see how she could diminish into a fashionable cult-figure.    1976 Scotsman 20 Nov. (Weekend Suppl.) 3/1 The fact that it became something of a cult book should not be held against its author now.    1985 Music Week 2 Feb. (Advt. Suppl.), Bauhaus‥achieved the highest level of cult success in the UK from ’81–’83, with four silver albums.    1991 Twenty Twenty Spring 92/3 Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings‥became a major publishing phenomenon when its late Sixties Ballantine paperback edition attained campus cult status.    1993 Boulevard Spring 25 Eraserhead was a midnight cult movie, but Blue Velvet was the movie that made Lynch famous.    2000F. Walker in J. Adams et al. Girls’ Night In 39 Last year’s pop sensation Ruby ‘Red’ Richmond had been supposedly in lurve with cult actor Slim Tim Gorman for several weeks.

  28. Okay, the more video clips I listen to of this man, the more uneasy I get. I read that Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has written a letter of complaint to the IRS against this man. Any of the lawyers on here have an opinion about this? My one Evangelical pastor that I really respected believed that the LDS were a cult too, (I heard him say it) but I bit my tongue and forgave him because I had known him for several years by that time, and I figured that we were all sinners. In every other way, he modeled an exemplary Christian walk—AND he would never, never, in a million years do what this Reverend is doing. On the one hand he goes on about how he would never endorse a candidate from the pulpit, but he changed his mind about endorsing one privately. Yet he is saying this from behind a pulpit–that Christians should only vote for other Christians. I don’t know….would really like to hear an opinion from some of the lawyers who read this blog.

  29. The sun and moon are typical of baal worship, and the inverted pentagram is one of the most recognized symbols of witchcraft. These symbols are all on the SLC temple as well as others, why is that?

    You actually see many of these symbols as they are used in in Mormonism in middle ages Catholic churches as well. Many of them are Christian.

    For example the pentagram represents the five wounds of Christ. Pointing up it is frequently used for Christ’s ascension, so you will see it quite often with Ascension Thursday symbolism.

    The inverted one is often used to mean the opposite his decent from heaven, Christmas. Or it can be the decent to hell, Good Friday. It is doubtful that Joseph Smith, an American with little education, had any contact with the European aristocrats that were into the occult movement from which the occult symbolism you refer to emerged. You can’t hold him responsible for things that happened after his death.

    I think it is fair to say Joseph Smith was a hermetic Christian. And the symbolism you are talking about is part of Hermetic christianity.

    _____

    And why is it that the cross, the number one symbol related to Christians, is not embraced at all by Mormonism?

    First as an aside the cross is also used in pagan rites and predates Christian use. It really is no better than the sun, moon, pentagram symbolism in terms of pedigree just more conventional. The whole basis of Mormonism is that the true faith was lost to a bunch of pagan Catholic nonsense, the great apostasy. Joseph Smith is restoring “true Christianity”.

    The passion is not the central event in Mormonism that it is in orthodox Christianity.

  30. Olivia said:

    nowhere in the Bible did Jesus speak in secret, or tell people to keep what He told them secret from others

    Are you sure? Have you read the Gospels recently?

    She also said:

    Now how is Mormonism NOT a cult based on the dictionary definition???

    By the second definition given, any church or denomination is a cult. So what?

    Also:

    I myself never knew exactly what happened in a temple marriage until I went there myself, not even my parents or best friends could tell me!

    That’s unfortunate and sad. I’ve had one child married in the temple, and nothing in the temple came as a surprise because we answered all questions and gave a full explanation. There is actually very little (probably less than a minute of the ceremony) that is secret (and even that is discoverable online).

    Also:

    Further on the dark cult, you can consider many of the symbols on the temples to be the same as dark cults use.

    Non-LDS Christians often use the same symbols that pagans use as well. (I’ve even seen Christmas trees in Protestant churches!) So what?

    Finally:

    And why is it that the cross, the number one symbol related to Christians, is not embraced at all by Mormonism?

    Not at all? Did you know that our sacrament hymns frequently use the cross as a symbol of the Atonement? Did you know that LDS chaplains wear crosses? Our lack of extensive use of the cross is a cultural quirk rooted in the early history of the Church and has nothing to do with not believing in what it symbolizes. We actually speak of Jesus’ work on the cross quite reverentially.

  31. Lisa — I’m no lawyer, although I have studied issues related to church and state fairly extensively. I don’t think this pastor has stepped over any legal line here — and some churches (both liberal and conservative) have even allowed candidates to speak at worship services without getting in trouble with the IRS. As long as churches don’t make partisan endorsements, there’s actually quite a bit they can do without losing their federal tax status.

  32. Things that are sacred are not secret, and nowhere in the Bible did Jesus speak in secret, or tell people to keep what He told them secret from others. It was actually quite the contrary, He said to go forth and spread the good news.

    Umm. . . .Re-read the Gospel of Mark and then we can talk.

  33. Thanks, Eric. I think it’s very interesting, the vast differences in practice between different Evangelical churches. My old Ev church may have agreed with the Reverend in principle, but there is no way they would allow their pastor to do or say publicly anything like this guy is doing. The pulpit was for preaching from the Bible–only.

  34. To anyone must label Mormonism a “cult”, my question is, “to what end?” It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon in the post Jim Jones Jonestown world to know exactly how the word “cult” is perceived. The word has societal baggage that goes beyond a clinical description. You cannot use the word without bringing up connotations David Koresh or some other such nut job, and everybody knows it, no matter how hard they try to hide behind Webster. Is this some form of evangelistic tactic where you associate a couple of million people with the Branch Davidians.

    The good Dr. is opposed to Romney because his election will be an endorsement of Mormonism. How exactly does that work? By creating a spectacle about Romney and the LDS church Dr. Jeffress was himself forced to admit he would rather vote for Romney that President Obama (a confessed Christian) because Romney “embraces Christian values”. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot by throwing the moral argument for God out the window.

    The problem for me is that people like Dr Jeffress with a faith based politics are by there very nature going to have a louder microphone that people who are convince that the church and not the state is tasked with moral teaching, promoting faith, and worshiping God.

  35. [Hi, M-ism is a Cult. This jewel found on the web should calm the waters!]

    LDS a “cult”? What about the “rapture”?
    by Bruce Rockwell

    Mitt Romney, a Mormon, is “not a Christian” and Mormonism is a “cult,” according to Rev. Robert Jeffress, pastor of the Dallas (TX) First Baptist Church.
    His “cult” remark is based on his belief that the Latter-day Saints church (which didn’t exist before 1830) is outside “the mainstream of Christianity.”
    But Jeffress hypocritically promotes the popular evangelical “rapture” (theologically the “any-moment pretribulation rapture”) which is outside mainstream Christianity (Google “Pretrib Rapture Politics”) and which also didn’t exist before 1830 (Google “Pretrib Rapture Diehards” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty”)!
    And there are 50 million American rapture cultists (some of whom turn Wikipedia into “Wicked-pedia” by constantly distorting the real facts about the rapture’s bizarre, 181-year-old history) compared with only 14 million LDS members.
    The most accurate documentation on pretrib rapture history that I have found is in a nonfiction book titled “The Rapture Plot” which is carried by leading online bookstores. I know also that the same 300-page work can also be borrowed through inter-library loan at any library.
    Latter-day Saints believe in fairness, which is why I feel called to share this message.

  36. Making claims and then telling people to Google them is not the same thing as providing support for your claims.

    In any case, whether or not pre-tribulation rapture is a historically orthodox theological position is pretty much irrelevant, and has nothing to do with any definition of “cult” other than the most benign.

  37. I had said, “Christians should know the difference between evil organizations and holy ones,” to which Jared asked, “How about evil candidates and holy ones?”

    Yes. What kind of soldier would I be if I couldn’t tell an enemy from an ally?

    Eric, I want you on my team! If you want to write something for my website in defense of the LDS, let me know. I’d probably put it on.

    The word “cult” can be a distraction. The LDS is either Christian or it’s not. My view is that it’s a cultish Christian denomination.

  38. Michael, I’ll refer you to what I just wrote under the new post. I just happened to mention one definition of a Christian in my comments there.

    Have a great evening! 🙂

  39. Unfortunately, when people become Christians, they not only have their eyes opened to truth, but they also pick up the prevailing false traditions in the church as well. In the charismatic movement we call those falsehoods religious spirits.
    If Romney can get the Republican nomination in spite of the Christian conservatives who have those religious spirits that cause them to condemn Mormons, I don’t think Romney’s brand of Christianity will hinder him so much in the general election. The non-Christian swing voters that we need to get a conservative in the White House—and some godly common sense back again—don’t have those religious spirits that plague the church. Therefore, they won’t care that he’s a Mormon.

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