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The Church is a Cult


Abulafia

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1) Cult

I am making this statement on the basis that early christianity was also a cult, so the church is in good company.

Cult can mean to worship a divine being, person or thing, and to practice rites and ceremonies.

It can also mean a smaller relgious group within a larger more predominant one.

It can mean a more innovative, and fervent group, over a more conventional sect.

(see http://www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm)

2) Brainwashing

Again, I am using this term in a more subtle sense rather than the meaning associated with torture.

If you had asked me if I was brainwashed when I first left the LDS faith, I would have strongly argued against. Today, I feel that I was subtly brainwashed. I would argue that the following three pointers would indicate the same.

i) The information available to me (at the time - in the 70's - pre internet - outside Utah!!!) was controlled, and I was strongly discouraged from reading any non-mormon literature on the subject of the church. My mother was told not to read any books not written by a mormon, ridiculous, but that is another story.

ii) In order to be socially accepted I had to learn quickly to fit in. A big part of fitting in, meant that I needed a testimony of the church, to follow the rules of the church, and to learn the social mores specific to LDS culture.

iii) Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

If you agree/disagree with 1) Could you say why.

If you agree/disagree with 2) Could you say why.

I realise that my perceptions may be entirely different to others, and I am happy to have my points refuted.

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Abu said, in part:

1) Cult

I am making this statement on the basis that early christianity was also a cult, so the church is in good company.

Cult can mean to worship a divine being, person or thing, and to practice rites and ceremonies.

It can also mean a smaller religious group within a larger, more predominant one.

It can mean a more innovative, and fervent group, over a more conventional sect.

(see http://www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm)

I have no problem with this at all. I doubt anyone here would.

The only objection is its misuse by a smaller, more innovative and fervent religious group within a larger, more predominant and conventional one using the word as a rhetorical trick to get folks to dismiss LDS people, practices and doctrine as "non-Christian cultists."

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I think serving out of fear is wrong and will not produce the desired results. I don't know what brainwashing is but I choose to believe what is preached and no one forces me to do anything. I choose to read about the gospel, who I talk to or don't, what I wear, what I watch or don't watch. I have my agency. Incidentally I felt force to do things at school. I could only use these sources, come to class at this time or that, I had to write essays if I wanted to pass the class. I don't have to do anything like that at church. I can come and go as I please, I don't write essays, I don't read necessarily what others read.

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1) Cult

I am making this statement on the basis that early christianity was also a cult, so the church is in good company.

Cult can mean to worship a divine being, person or thing, and to practice rites and ceremonies.

It can also mean a smaller relgious group within a larger more predominant one.

It can mean a more innovative, and fervent group, over a more conventional sect.

(see http://www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm)

2) Brainwashing

Again, I am using this term in a more subtle sense rather than the meaning associated with torture.

If you had asked me if I was brainwashed when I first left the LDS faith, I would have strongly argued against. Today, I feel that I was subtly brainwashed. I would argue that the following three pointers would indicate the same.

i) The information available to me (at the time - in the 70's - pre internet - outside Utah!!!) was controlled, and I was strongly discouraged from reading any non-mormon literature on the subject of the church. My mother was told not to read any books not written by a mormon, ridiculous, but that is another story.

ii) In order to be socially accepted I had to learn quickly to fit in. A big part of fitting in, meant that I needed a testimony of the church, to follow the rules of the church, and to learn the social mores specific to LDS culture.

iii) Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

If you agree/disagree with 1) Could you say why.

If you agree/disagree with 2) Could you say why.

I realise that my perceptions may be entirely different to others, and I am happy to have my points refuted.

1)

&

2)

Don't all religions fall into these categories? I know that is the point you were trying to make with the 1st question (or at least early christianity), but I think that all belief systems could fall under your definition(examples) of Brainwashing.

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That was a deceptive, attention grabbing topic, and you suckered me into it. 

But better than Gospel Mimes! 

HiJolly

Thanks HiJolly!!!! Third laugh of the day!!!

I am not asking the questions to be contentious, but because I want to learn from your experience, which indeed may be very different to mine!

:P

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I'm always mystified when someone brings up "brainwashing" in association with the church. The church brainwashes us in the same way that good parents brainwash their children. We teach our children according to our belief system. We teach them the rules of the home, and of society. We teach them the consequences of not obeying the rules of the home and society. We do these things everyday because we love them, and want them to succeed. We don't stick their heads in the toilet or tie them up if they resist. Isn't there a difference between teaching through repetition and brainwashing?

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Here's my take on the word "cult" and it's tendency to be used in political ways by people who attempt to use it in some pseudo-scientific fashion. Sorry, if this doesn't exactly go by what you intended.

"Cult" usually is usually used by people to imply "*******." It's just a term to illegimitize something in essence. When you look at an objective definition of "cult" it's usually this very broad, benign definition. What happens when we start using it in a religious sense is that people begin to personalize and specialize the definition, usually to imply something new and subversive or deviant in some way from established religious forms. That's where you get the goofy "led by a charismatic leader" checklists of what a cult is, and usually you can fit George Bush, JS, Jesus, and Charles Manson under the check list at the same time!

But if you look at the word in historical or organizational ways regarding organized religion(or organizations or movements in general, religious or secular), then we see an interesting pattern. Cult becomes more of a term that deals with early movements, where you see characteristics that are inherent in early movements to survive. Enthusiastic(some would call zealous, others obsessive) followers, proselyting, strong networking within the community, a strong group identity. These characteristics are NECESSARY in many ways for survival because they keep the core strong and motivated, while attempting to drum up business so to speak with new followers. You could apply this to CHristianity in the early stages, Mormonism which is still in the early stages, and even some secular movements that we see(evironmentalist groups, feminist groups, animal rights groups).

So, to me the word "cult" is a benign term really. It speaks to early movements and the characteristics that help ensure survival. Also, it speaks to tendencies that can apply to any group, or at least factions of any group.

As for brainwashing-I'm all for it! I brainwash my kids on a daily basis, and think that's my job personally!:P

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Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

I disagree with this as expressed, but on the other hand, I don't see how this would not also apply to Islam, mainstream Christianity, Judaism, etc.

God wants us to do certain things. Doing these things has certain consequences. Not doing these things has other consequences.

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2) Brainwashing

Again, I am using this term in a more subtle sense rather than the meaning associated with torture.

So basically you have to change the definition so it applies?

Definition of Brainwashing:

Intensive, forcible indoctrination, usually political or religious, aimed at destroying a person's basic convictions and attitudes and replacing them with an alternative set of fixed beliefs.
If you had asked me if I was brainwashed when I first left the LDS faith, I would have strongly argued against. Today, I feel that I was subtly brainwashed. I would argue that the following three pointers would indicate the same.

I would argue that you are being silly.

i) The information available to me (at the time - in the 70's - pre internet - outside Utah!!!) was controlled, and I was strongly discouraged from reading any non-mormon literature on the subject of the church. My mother was told not to read any books not written by a mormon, ridiculous, but that is another story.

Fascinating and that's brainwashing? I know people who where homeschooled and are Christian (Can't remember which denomination this was back in Highschool time period.) She wasn't aloud to watch any television program not approved (she's 17), her literature was controlled, and her friends where highly scrutinized. Was she brainwashed or did she have overly protective parents? (I knew several people raise dlike this.)

ii) In order to be socially accepted I had to learn quickly to fit in. A big part of fitting in, meant that I needed a testimony of the church, to follow the rules of the church, and to learn the social mores specific to LDS culture.

Cultural norms are everywhere. Just because you chose to conform to social pressure doesn't mean you where brainwashed. It means you didn't have a backbone of your own.

iii) Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

That's ridiculous. Leaders share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and teach from the scriptures. If you don't like what the scriptures say that's fine, but your post here is inane.

Peace,

Adam

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Abulafia,

I guess I cannot say I have radical problems with either 1 or 2 (as you define them).

Of course let me play with #2 for a while.

2.i.

I have on very rare occasions been cautioned against my love for reading what our critics have to say. Of course the same folks who cautioned me came to me when their LDS friends were troubled by the words of our critics. I very much believe in Dr. Peterson

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iii) Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

This is guilty by all churches but in my opinion I dont believe this is true of the LDS church. From my experience I have never been told to fear our heavenly father nor been told that if i sin I will be damned for eternity per say. I think the message that i get is live your life the best you can and when you mess up repent and heavenly father will forgive. I got this qoute from the temple preperations class and it really impacted me.

Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

"When you come to the temple, and recieve your endowment, and kneel at the altar to be sealed, you can live an ordinary life and be an ordinary soul--struggling against temptation, failing and repenting, and failing again and repenting, but always determines to keep your commandments...Then the day will come when you will recieve the benediction: "Well done, thou good and faithful servent: though have been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter though into the joy of they lord" (Mattew 25:21)

ii) In order to be socially accepted I had to learn quickly to fit in. A big part of fitting in, meant that I needed a testimony of the church, to follow the rules of the church, and to learn the social mores specific to LDS culture.

Maybe im just lucky to have great leaders in our church where I live. When i returned to the church i did it on my free will as a humbled apostate. I wasnt judged as an apostate but as a child of god returning with open arms to greet me. I dont think I ever had the chance to be brainwashed. Being that I left the church when i was very young, and came back as an adult without missionaries or home teachers visiting me trying to open my eyes. I looked at other churches and they didnt fit me but I didnt deny that they do good things. Not even Pres Hinkley denied that the Pope John Paul was a man of God.

As for being told not to read certain things thats just good practice. Lets put it this way you have a friend he lies cheats and steals infront of you everyday. You dont say anything to him or stop it. Eventually you become numb to the activities and start doing it yourself not knowing intentionally that you are doing it. I think what they are trying to say is surround yourself with things that will strenthen your bond with our heavenly father not put doubt.

One night I was talking to my wife about my transgressions and how if I repented of my sins why do I still feel unsure if i repented correctly. Even with talking with the bishop about it. She told me that maybe its cause Satan is there showing you how you were/are a sinner even with repentance you are guilty of your sins and hence trying to make you doubt your worthiness of the blessings you recieve. And hence deny that their is atonement or truth in our testimonies.

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1) Cult

I am making this statement on the basis that early christianity was also a cult, so the church is in good company.

Cult can mean to worship a divine being, person or thing, and to practice rites and ceremonies.

It can also mean a smaller relgious group within a larger more predominant one.

It can mean a more innovative, and fervent group, over a more conventional sect.

(see http://www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm)

2) Brainwashing

Again, I am using this term in a more subtle sense rather than the meaning associated with torture.

If you had asked me if I was brainwashed when I first left the LDS faith, I would have strongly argued against. Today, I feel that I was subtly brainwashed. I would argue that the following three pointers would indicate the same.

i) The information available to me (at the time - in the 70's - pre internet - outside Utah!!!) was controlled, and I was strongly discouraged from reading any non-mormon literature on the subject of the church. My mother was told not to read any books not written by a mormon, ridiculous, but that is another story.

ii) In order to be socially accepted I had to learn quickly to fit in. A big part of fitting in, meant that I needed a testimony of the church, to follow the rules of the church, and to learn the social mores specific to LDS culture.

iii) Leaders use a subtle combination of modern leaders and scriptoral evidence to encourage a system that is fear/reward based.

If you agree/disagree with 1) Could you say why.

If you agree/disagree with 2) Could you say why.

I realise that my perceptions may be entirely different to others, and I am happy to have my points refuted.

This is quite possibly one of the dumbest posts this list has seen in a very long time.

C.I.

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This is quite possibly one of the dumbest posts this list has seen in a very long time.

That was downright mean...

And?

I'm well known on this board for being somewhat blunt in my assesments of certain arguments, now you know why.

The topic was silly and the arguments made in support of it were stupid.

I had a motion to withdraw a guilty plea the other day from a guy who claimed that he only accpted the plea because if he rejected it he would go back to jail.

Well DUH! It's the threat and discomfort of jail along with the prospect of more and longer discomfort should a jury find against you that acts as an impetus for people accused of crimes to cop a plea. They guy wasn't "brainwashed" to accept the deal and claims to the contrary are stupid, which is exactly what I told the judge.

C.I.

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I don't understand why people try to rationalize calling our church a cult. It might fit certain definitions, but so does every other religion on the planet. The word "cult" has a negative connotation. It is not meant as a compliment, but is meant to imply that our church is controlling and dangerous. When people tell me that my church is a cult and I get offended, they explain the definition to me, as if that's supposed to make me feel better. Then what was the point of them using that word? CRI defines our church as a "pseudo-Christian cult".

What do you think of when you hear the word "cult"? It makes me think of a group of people who are cut off from society, aren't allowed to see their friends or family ever again, and aren't permitted to think for themselves. This certainly doesn't describe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

For those of you who have any hope of converting LDS to another faith, you had better drop the word "cult" from your witnessing vocabulary.

MorningStar

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