Mormons are Christians so why do some call Mormonism a cult?
Why do some call Mormonism a cult?
One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” Since the roots of Mormonism are not a break off from the Catholic or Protestant churches, it is seen by some as “unorthodox.” For example, the LDS definition of the Godhead differs from the Nicene Creed accepted by most Catholic or Protestant churches. The “cult” label is usually applied by Church opponents attempting to criticize or discredit the Church. However, sometimes it’s simply a matter of characterization that has grown up over time by the lack of understanding. Such misunderstandings often vanish when people begin to realize the commonality of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really teaches and believes. That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world whom we love and worship. When people begin to see and recognize these things about Mormons, then their opinion of the Church usually changes, and old beliefs are replaced with new understanding.
Read other answers contributed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Answers are the sole responsibility of the members.
- Lynn answered…
Some call Mormonism a cult because it is not a “traditional” Christian church. The primary complaint of the “traditionalists” (generally Protestant Churches) is that we do not believe in the doctrine of the trinity as it relates to the nature of the Godhead. The doctrine of the trinity was codified in the Nicene Creed in 325 AD, many years after the death of Christ and the Apostles. It basically says that the Godhead, The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, are one being in “substance.” Since Mormonism does not accept this doctrine, they say we believe in a different Christ than they do and therefore are a cult. It is curious that this “trinitarian” doctrine is not taught anywhere in the Bible.
Mormons believe the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible (and the early church established by Jesus and His Apostles) teaches that the Godhead indeed consists of The Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But, it teaches that they are: 1) three distinct individuals as expressed in Acts 7:54-60 where Stephen is being stoned. “He being filled with the Holy Ghost looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” And it teaches 2) they are one in purpose, not in substance (John 17 where Jesus offers his intercessory prayer, particularly verses 20-23.) This is what Mormons believe.
It is noteworthy that the early Christians were called the “sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) and were considered a cult by the Sadducees and Pharisees, the predominant religions of the day.
- Garth answered…
I just saw news footage where a minister called the Mormon Church a ‘cult’ and the news commentator turned around and said it wasn’t. The news commentator was right. One definition listed for ‘cult’ in Webster’s Dictionary is “a religion regarded as unorthodox.” ‘Unorthodox’ according to whom? Catholicism and over 2000 churches who broke off of the Catholic Church or the original teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ? We believe some of the original doctrines contained in … Show more
- Jeff answered…
I think some call Mormonism a cult mainly because they don’t understand what it’s about. Before I was a Mormon, I used to believe that Mormons did not believe in the Bible, in Jesus Christ and a good deal of other things. I didn’t realize how incorrect I was. There have been some pretty amazing things that have happened in conjunction with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and if you don’t get the whole picture, then some of the stuff can sound pretty odd, and … Show more
- Dan answered…
I grew up thinking, at one point, Mormonism was cult. I made this assertion based on nothing but hearsay, and didn’t actually know any tenets of the LDS faith. Now, as a person who has thoroughly investigated the sincerity and divine truthfulness of this Church, I can resoundingly say that the Church of Jesus Christ is by no means a cult. I find that the major reason why people think Mormonism is a cult is simply due to a lack of understanding of the Church. For instance, not …Show more
- Michael Johnston answered…
Because we believe in continuing revelation through Prophets as in the days of old, i.e. Moses, Abraham, this is uncomfortable for some people because media has made our Prophets seem like evil men leading people astray, when they are just trying to teach us correct principles so that one day we all may return to live with our Father in Heaven.Another reason is because we believe in the sacred nature of temples, meaning only worthy members may enter the Temple so people think … Show more
- Stephen Call answered…
In my opinion the real reason people say the Mormon Church is a cult because they don’t understand. saying that it is a cult is an easy way to excuse themselves from learn more about it. Its like saying “sushi is slimy raw dead fish” or “computers are of the devil” its easy not to try / learn about stuff if you pair it with a negative word like “devil” or ” slimy raw dead fish”
- Suzanne answered…
I don’t know. Quite honestly when labels are used I think this comes from someone’s desire to quickly explain away something that they don’t understand. If they really took a hard look at the church it would be easy to tell that Mormons do not blindly follow any human being. I think maybe someone who might use that label could look at the level of commitment and obedience found among the members of this church and casually explain this away as blind obedience. They certainly do not see the personal struggles and the effort that maintaining a personal relationship with God requires. Like most Mormons I think, I do what I do out of devotion and love. It may start out as duty and habit, but as I have come to know God and His mercy and love (the big picture) I can’t help but want to keep the commandments. I don’t follow a person, I follow God and His Son and they help me every step of the way.
- Kevin answered…
I suppose that new and different things have always been a challenge for some. It seems possible that the New Testament Christians might also have been called a cult: they were few in number, taught new, or at least different, doctrines and were lead by strong, charismatic leaders (a study of the early apostles like Peter or Paul bears this out).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often called the Mormon church) follows the teachings of Jesus Christ as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. We do not worship our founding prophet (Joseph Smith) or our current prophet (Thomas S. Monson). We teach that men are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrice on the cross and that as we strive to follow Him and keep His commandments, that redemption becomes personal.
If others persist in defining the Church as a cult, in spite of our rather obvious Christian beliefs and doctrines, then we will simply have to agree to disagree.
- Terry answered…
Mostly because of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the Church. It’s easier for people to believe what they hear from other people (who heard it from someone else, who heard it from another person that read it on the Internet…) instead of making an effort to find out from the source.
In addition, there are small, secretive groups that are not part of our Church that use a modified form of the name of the Church for their own group, and have practices that are similar to our worship services and practices. These groups may be involved in illegal activities, especially polygamy, and when the media reports on them, they do not make an effort to distinguish between these groups and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Elizabeth answered…
It’s funny, I used to call the Mormon Church a cult too. I just didn’t understand it.
Mormonism isn’t weird or strange. Its members don’t perform satanic rituals or brainwash teenage boys into walking around from door to door in suits and name tags (nor is anyone forced to — everyone who chooses to serve a mission does so out of their own free will and choice).
I used to call Mormonism a cult because it seemed foreign and unfamiliar, which I deemed scary. The same thing happened to Jesus’ first followers as well: they were accused of cult worship too! Others who understood little of what Mormons truly believe told me lies about so-called “practices” in the church which, in reality, were just made-up stories and falsehoods intended to give the church a bad name.
When it comes down to it, a lot of people just don’t understand this church, and lies about it spread like wildfire. Mormons believe that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world, plain and simple.
Is that so weird or cultish?
Today, there are close to fourteen million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide, and more live outside of the United States than inside. That doesn’t seem very cult-like to me!
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