I was on the Mormon.org website reading some rather bland but somewhat interesting articles and came across this defense of Mormonism not being a cult. I thought I would share it here since my responses will never see the light of day on their site. My responses will be in bold italics inside their responses.
First here is their defense/ statement regarding being labeled 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.” No, it is seen as unorthodox because it was made up out of thin air by Joseph Smith. 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. Again, incorrect. The cult label is applied to the LDS Church because it behaves like a cult. (see my previous post on this for more evidence)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. Along with Joseph Smith right? 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.
What I really see when I read this is the following: LDS inc. does NOT address any of the issues behind WHY people label them as a cult. They don't deal with the facts that their BOM was plagiarized from the bible, that the Book of Abraham was a complete FRAUD. Nor, do they address any of the charges surrounding their being a cult and false doctrine to say the least.
Here are some of the comments defending Mormonism on the site:
Mormon's are viewed as a cult by some because we do not adhere to the fundamental creeds established by the other Christian churches, such as the Nicene or Athenian Creeds, and their view of the Godhead. Latter-day Saints are viewed by other Christians just like the early Christians were viewed by the Jews and Romans of the time, which was as a cult, because they strayed from what seemed to them orthodox Judaism. AND much like the early Christians and any other religion on the planet, IT IS A CULT. Much like the Pharisees and Sadducee's, who viewed orthodoxy through the lens of the rules laid out in the rabbinical law and their interpretation of the Law of Moses, the Christians of today view orthodoxy through the lens of the creeds that were established hundreds of years after the death of Christ under the opinion and counsels of men. Oh, and Mormons don't? Really? What about the "earring revelation" at General Conference a few years ago? What about all the ramblings of Brigham Young? What about the B.S that Joseph Smith spouted? All the "counsels of men" right?
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 I think that's where I was before. Some of the stuff can sound ODD? No, it is WEIRD to the maximum degree. Let me guess, you think all the throat cutting motions and talking to the 'devil' in the temple is normal right?
An example I sometimes use is: if someone told you that he had cut a man with a knife, from that limited piece of information, you'd probably report him for stabbing someone. But if you found out that this someone was a Doctor, and that he was preforming a surgery to save a man's life, having the full story completely changes your perspective on the situation. In that analogy possibly. What doctor in his right mind would just say "I cut someone with a knife"? NONE! Doctors wouldn't say that, only someone uneducated and not a doctor would say that. It's a ridiculous position.
In regards to the church I belong to, once I did have the whole story, You don't have the whole story. If you did, you would leave. Much like the 70% of converts do. I could see that Mormons were not cultish, but that they really are in fact Christians. Which by the way are a cult too. I've even found that I have a stronger love of the the core things I believed before I was a Mormon, like the Bible and Jesus Christ Good for you! You love your imaginary friends and fictional novels. Good for you.
To sum things up:
Mormonism like all religion is a cult. A cult designed to take your money, your time and your energy and in return give you a warm, fuzzy feeling. Not much of a trade off.
I cannot think of a single religion that doesn't display cultic behavior. If you can, please let me know.