Comments about ‘Mormon Media Observer: Time for journalists to look more deeply at the 'countercult' movement’

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Published: Monday, July 25 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Colonia, Yap, FSM

I wish your article would make a difference in journalism's portrayal of Mormonism... but I doubt it will.

Idaho Coug
Meridian, Idaho

I agree with Lane Williams that the word "cult" should have no place in any conversation regarding Mormonism. Similarly the non-Christian label is lazy and uninformed.

I see a need for greater transparency both from non-Mormons who often exaggerate in order to criticize the Church as well as Mormons who often minimize in order to defend the Church. We can't criticize the way others describe us in order to create negative perceptions if we go to similar lengths in order to create positive perceptions.

I think Mormons simply need to openly say here is what we believe. It may be different than what you believe but here is why we believe what we do. And here is the way we live our lives because of what we believe.

Too often we lay out a very minimal, mainstream, apologetic description of LDS beliefs that can make us look like we play with facts as much as those criticizing the Church do.

Lehi, UT

Christ's followers have always been accused of all manner of evil falsely, and have been called much worse than a "cult" but I agree that the name has become a form of bigotry and those using it should probably try something else.

St. George, Utah

as long as there are people on this planet there are going to be those that attack and critisize what they dont know or dont understand and they will constantly refer to Mormanism as a cult and that will never change. we were at the town square yesterday when we over heard a conversation from a group of people and they refered to Mormanism as a cult.-- my opinion is I think its ignorant and uncalled for Im not LDS I have no use for religion but alot of my friends are LDS and it just disgusts me to no end that the LDS people get the negativity they do just for the simple reason people have no idea what is going on so they attack and crtisize what they dont understand. the sad part is this article will not change anything. alot of the so called Mormon haters all beleive that there is no differance between LDS and FLDS if they would take time to understand LDS people they would a great group of people.

St. George, Utah

the last line should of read-- they would find a GREAT group of people

Well Read

It is easy to see why the term cult is used by other religious groups. They are afraid of the success of the Mormon Church. They do not realize that the LDS Church is the only church that has authority from God. They are sincere in their beliefs and are unaware that Satan is using them to try and stop God's work on the earth. Satan will use any means and methods he can to try and stop the work of God. He has since Adam and Eve and will until the second coming of the Savior.

Provo, Ut

First - Is it not a fair statement to say "many Christians consider Mormonism a cult"? I think that accurately reflects many-a-Christian sentiment.

Second - Why would Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, or any of the others waste their time exploring the "counter-cult" activities against Mormonism? Naturally the topic interests the Mormon author, but he unreasonably expects that disinterested others should engage Mormon issues.

Third - We also should try and establish the basis for the "cult" label. Is it just whole cloth fabrication derived from competitive mud-slinging, or is there more to it than that? The fact is, Mormons place an inordinate amount loyalty into leadership veneration. It is for this reason they are often accused of "worshipping" Joseph Smith, or other leaders. Another case in which we squabble over words, when the idea is that Church leaders are held in higher esteem than what occurs in other social/institutional spheres. This observation hearkens to the leader worship of other groups whose cult title is less disputed. Another observation is Mormon temple ceremonies that are secret and sometimes quite disturbing, as reported by first time temple goers.

The best course would be to just ignore the issue altogether.

Sanpete County, UT

I just have to laugh at the ignorance this counter-cult movement displays whenever it talks about LDS beliefs. If you've ever read any of their tracts (and you're LDS with some understanding of doctrine), you understand.

The sad part is that ALL of their misunderstandings, and even valid concerns have been answered by LDS apologists for decades. That these folks never even read the LDS answers is telling.

It would be good if their scholars were to actually engage the LDS scholars in an honest scholarly discussion. (They do this by responding to each others' published articles with fact and source.) There are, in fact, honest differences in our beliefs, and genuine concerns the evangelicals have that could be discussed with intelligence and respect. There could be authentic learning that might take place, maybe not belief on their part, but at least understanding of what we DO believe (as opposed to what they THINK we believe).

Instead, they call names as if they were eight years old and refuse to engage in civil discourse. That the journalists in this country don't call them out on this is just wrong.

Salt Lake City, UT

The only ones that can get rid of the cult label are us. The vast majority of non-LDS who know practicing LDS well would not call us a cult. They see us as normal families with normal challenges who do normal things and try to be good parents, raise good families, be honest, generous, charitable, etc... It's up to us, especially those who live "in the mission field", to reach out to others and get to know non-LDS. They should join civic groups and take a more high profile position in their communities and let their light so shine.

Ward/stake public affairs officials need to be more pro-active. Wards/Stakes need to be more involved with the community. I've seen stakes solicit Nativity Scene displays and display them for the public to see. RM's returning from foreign missions should go to schools and offer to speak to foreign language and government classes.

Ignorance breeds fear. The counter-cult movement lives off of fear. If the public can know more about Mormons and Mormonism, they wouldn't fear it. I've been asked whether we LDS believe in Jesus. No wonder people believe that we are a cult.

Draper, Utah

Its folks like Well Read and his posting in my opinion who strengthens the Christians belief that mormans are indeed a cult, which is supported by his comments that they are the true and only church who have authority from God. Yeah, keep thinking that way, and fanning the fire. And Let's see the worlds population currently is 7 billion and the USA about 320 Million and live members in mormon church equal, well you do the math. Oh, and when doing the math, include all those dead non-mormons who after death were baptized.

Kearns, UT

Since the church never spends any time or capital in attacking other religions, this will never change.

I personally think that evangelicals don't have a leg to stand on historically, and I call them on it every time. I remind them that their belief in the Trinty (as espoused in the Nicean Creed) is exactly the same as the Catholics. Therefore their religion is in error because the Catholics started the whole thing. I also like to point out that the dictionary definition of a cult is basically a belief system or set of beliefs based on the teachings of one person. That makes every religion, including theirs, a cult by definition. So I don't see the big deal. Walter Martin's book has been debunked so many times it's not good for anything. Education is the key.

South Jordan, UT

If the word "cult" is offensive to Mormons, imagine how offensive "sin" is to homosexuals.

Whos Life RU Living?
Ogden, UT

Is the KKK a cult? They are christian are they not? What is the definition of cult that we are implying?

Sanpete County, UT


First - the idea that the Mormon Church is a "cult" came directly from the evangelical movement. Other than the Southern Baptist Church (which is actually mostly a part of the evangelical movement) , most other Protestant churches could care less. Most members of those churches had never even thought much about LDS, until it was something they heard from the evangelicals, or read in the papers by journalists too lazy to research beyond those evangelical tracts.

Second - Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are all evangelicals. They are ignorantly steeped in the idea that LDS belong to a cult and they spend LOTS of time talking about this, regarding potential LDS candidates. (Look at some of Huckabee's comments about Romney and LDS beliefs in 2008.)

Third - while it may be perceived by others that LDS worship our leaders, in fact we worship Jesus Christ. We respect our leaders. And, concerning the temple, ancient rites may seem odd, but they are not "disturbing." If you are LDS, you know that nothing goes on there that is immoral, harmful or painful. We learn about Earth's ecclesiastical history and we make promises to be good people in God's sight. Period.

gramma b
Orem, UT

The anti-Mormon arguments raised by these people are so stupid that they have to resort to ad hominem.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

Are the FLDS considered a cult? They are simply living the religion of Brigham Young.


RE: Well Read
"It is easy to see why the term cult is used by other religious groups. They are afraid of the success of the Mormon Church. They do not realize that the LDS Church is the only church that has authority from God. They are sincere in their beliefs and are unaware that Satan is using them to try and stop God's work on the earth. Satan will use any means and methods he can to try and stop the work of God. He has since Adam and Eve and will until the second coming of the Savior."

Quotes like that leave a REALLY bad taste in the mouths of Evangelicals and other Christians. It is a passive aggressive statement, that allows you to say I'm right you are wrong, I'm doing GOD's work you are falling under Satan's power. If you truly believe this than others will never stop defending their own churches, which means attacking Mormons.

Cedar Hills, UT

To Petra - If Bachman, Palin, and Huckabee spend LOTS of time talking about the Mormons being a cult, there would certainly be many examples of that, so let's hear some. The DN makes hay out of every conceivable slight against Mormons, whether real or imagined, so I don't think they're letting any of it slip past their readership. Outside of one very brief comment about Mormons believing Jesus and Satan are brothers, from Huckabee, and some follow-up backpedaling, I don't recall hearing anything at all from any of them about Mormons, for good or bad.

What are you talking about, because to me it seems like an awfully big chip on your shoulder.

Tucson, AZ

When your leader says only wear one earring and your women immediately remove any excess earrings it gives the appearance of blind following. The fact that you have to resign in writing and have it accepted or the church hounds you (personal experience)also creates incorrect appearances. I know thhe LDS church is not a cult. But it is controlling. So roll with it.

Lindon, UT

I believe that when our good evangelical friends use the word "cult", they are thinking "different". Different in a negative way, but still, different.

As we note the various definitions of the word cult, the LDS Church does not fit any of them. If one would only do a little investigation of the Church, they would find that it is a fairly large (13,000,000 members), well organized organization, which is world-wide in its scope, and is Christ centered based on the scriptures. It incorporates most main-stream Christian doctrines, except those that are not consistent with the scriptures. However, it has so much more, including prophets and apostles who receive revelation from our Father in Heaven. This one thing seems to concern people, as they tend to not believe in latter-day revelation, or at least do not understand it. They tend to worry that if a Mormon were elected as president, he would be influenced by the Church. This could not be further from the truth. Even among our church leaders, there are both Democrats and Republicans. The Church encourages its members to vote, but does not tell them how or for whom to vote.

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