What about the Mormon Cult?
Critics of the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) like to tell people about the Mormon cult. They use this expression to try to scare away people from seriously investigating the teaching of the Church.
In many dictionaries cult is a synonymous with "religious organization." But this is not the meaning attached usually by anti-Mormons when they talk about the Mormon cult.
Unfortunately, for the anti-Mormon, early Christianity also was denounced as a "sect" and a "cult" by its critics. When other Christian label the Mormon Church as a cult, they create their own special definitions of what is a cult, but they don’t realize – or at least seem not to realize – that nearly all of these definitions would similarly include Christ and the early Christians in the group of the “evil and suspicious cultists”.
The early Church was strongly persecuted and the Bible reports that it was called a "sect" (Acts 28:22). People thought they were serving God by persecuting and even killing its leaders.
Similarly, in our days, several anti-Mormon organizations operate in the United States and in other countries. In the 1987 Directory of Cult Research Organizations we can find more than a hundred anti-Mormon listings. These groups distribute anti-Mormon literature, provide lectures that attack the Church publicly, and even proselytize Mormons. For most of them Mormonism is a cult.
One of their favorite themes is to assert that Mormons are not Christians. The main basis for this classification is that the Mormon belief in the Christian Godhead is different from the traditional Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The anti-cultists proclaim that Mormons worship a "different Jesus" and that their scriptures (e.g. the Book of Mormon) are contrary to the Bible.
A current example of distortion of Mormon beliefs comes from Edward Decker, an excommunicated Mormon and cofounder of Ex-Mormons for Jesus. While professing love for the Saints, Edward Decker has waged an attack on their beliefs. His film and book, both entitled The Godmakers, are a gross misrepresentation of Mormon beliefs, especially when it relates to temple ordinances.
Though criticisms, misrepresentations, and falsehoods are offensive to Mormon, Church leadership has counseled members not to react to or debate but keep their responses "in the form of a positive explanation of the doctrines and practices of the Church" (Church News, Dec. 18, 1983, p. 2).
Two other prolific anti-Mormon researchers, who like to define the Mormon Church as a cult, are Jerald and Sandra Tanner. Their main strategy is to try to demonstrate discrepancies between current and past Church teachings. They operate and publish under the name of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Inc. Why all these people spend so much time attacking the Mormon Church and saying that it is a cult? Probably there are many reasons. Some of these people may even be sincere in their beliefs and perhaps they think they are “protecting” people from being deceived by the Mormon cult (think of Saul before becoming Paul in the New Testament). Others, however, are motivated by contempt or anger and clearly act with the purpose of damaging the Mormon Church. In short, they are not showing a true Christian spirit in their attitudes and behaviors.
At the end, all people will have to face their God and respond for their actions. We urge all people to examine the Book of Mormon and put it to the test as explained by Moroni, last prophet in the Book of Mormon: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:4-5).
We invite all people to investigate the teachings and practices of the Mormon Church (or Mormon cult, if you prefer) and discover all the good things that they can bring to their life. Intelligent people always try to know by themselves and don’t allow anybody to stop them from knowing the truth, including those who like to scare away people from the “terrible” Mormon cult.