What Is a Cult?
Vatican, Mormonism and Islam fit the definition
By Greg Szymanski, JD
Mar. 25, 2009
The Vatican and their secular followers in Freemasonry likes to throw around the word “cult” when it refers to “fringe” Bible believing ministries that have broken away from mainstream Protestanism.
However, when looking at the definition of the word “cult” it better describes the Roman Catholic Church and other major religions like Mormonism and Islam.
The word cult can be defined in the following way:
“A cult is a group of people basing their beliefs upon the world view of an isolated leadership which always denies the central doctrines of Christianity as taught from the Bible,” according to scholars who have studied the occult.
Knowing the Vatican, the LDS Church and Islam directly contradict the Word of God in the Bible, doesn’t logic demand that these organizations be labeled as “cults” instead of Bible Ministries who follow the Word of God?
The Bible warned of this confusion in Isaiah 6:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
To decide whether the organized religion you belong to is a cult ask yourself if it fits the following description as provided by the folks at The Christian Expositor:
“It is important to recognise that the ‘isolated leadership’ have the last word on everything and are ‘a law unto themselves.’
“They are incapable of error and answer to no man, despite their many and inevitable contradictions.”
Without question, the Vatican can be considered one of the largest cults in the world, considering the Pope claims to be infallible and the Vicar of Christ. Besides the Vatican, according to the Christian Expositor, “some of the more established groups of the last 150 years who have laid claim, in some form, to the title – ‘the only true Christian religion’ – are the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, the Worldwide Church of God (Armstrongism), the Unification Church (Moonies), Christadelphians, and the Children of God. Our intention is to honestly examine the claims of these, and other, groups by comparing the writings of their leaders – their sacred writings, teaching magazines, and books – with the teachings of the Bible which they all claim to adhere to in some form or degree. Nothing will be quoted from that cannot be proven by reference to the original work or the best surviving version of a work.”
Further, let’s look at the Expositor’s (www.thechristianexpositor.org) examination of Mormonism, claiming to be the fastest growing religion in the world, and how it fits the definition of a cult:
More commonly known as the Mormons, and abbreviated to LDS in the following passages, this American religion has always been presented by its leaders as the ‘only true church’ on earth today and challenges us to examine it in the following ways:
1. ‘If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be EXTENSIVELY published to the world as such; the evidences & arguments on which the imposture was detected should be clearly & logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived may perceive the nature of the deception & be reclaimed, & that those who continue to publish the delusion may be exposed & silenced…’ (Orson Pratt, ‘The Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon’).
George A. Smith wrote (in Journal of Discourses, hereafter abbreviated JofD, Volume 14, p.216): ‘If a faith will not bear to be investigated, if its preachers & professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak.’
These quotations by men recognised as apostles by the Mormon church endorse & encourage the investigation of the church.
2. In discussions with members of the Mormon Church in Cardiff there have been suggestions that it is wrong for us to question their teachings & the basis of their beliefs. The implication that the Mormon church never criticizes other churches & their beliefs needs examination.
‘ALL OTHER CHURCHES ARE WRONG -THEIR CREEDS AN ABOMINATION’
The founder of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith, wrote that there was a revival involving the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, in the area where he lived in New York during his boyhood in 1820. He claimed that he was confused as to which church to join & therefore went off into the woods to pray. It was there, he claimed, that God the Father & His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, appeared to him. When he enquired of them which church he was to join he was told:
‘….none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that ALL THEIR CREEDS WERE AN ABOMINATION IN HIS SIGHT; THAT THOSE PROFESSORS WERE ALL CORRUPT; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’ (‘The Testimony of Joseph Smith,’ 2:19)
‘THE CHRISTIAN WORLD…ARE HEATHENS…AS IGNORANT AS BRUTE BEASTS’
3. Smith’s successor was Brigham Young and, as the second president of the Mormon Church, he endorsed this view:
‘The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to their knowledge of the salvation of God’ (Journal of Discourses, 8:171) & ‘With regard to theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world’ (JofD,8:199).
John Taylor, who succeeded Brigham Young in 1877, expressed these views: ‘We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense….the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century (JofD, 6:167); ‘What -are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast (JofD, 6:25); ‘WHAT DOES THE CHRISTIAN KNOW OF GOD? NOTHING….WHY, SO FAR AS THE THINGS OF GOD ARE CONCERNED THEY ARE THE VERIEST FOOLS; THEY KNOW NEITHER GOD NOR THE THINGS OF GOD’ (JofD, 13:225)
‘THE GATES OF HELL HAVE PREVAILED…’
4. It seems that the early Mormon leaders were queuing up to express their adverse opinions of orthodox Christianity. The Mormon apostle, Orson Pratt had this to say: “All other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives Baptism, or the Lord’s Supper from their hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people” (“The Seer,” p.255) & in his “Pamphlets,” (p.112): “THE GATES OF HELL HAVE PREVAILED and will continue to prevail over the Catholic Mother of Harlots, and over ALL her Protestant Daughters;…the apostate Catholic church, with all her popes & bishops, together with all her harlot daughters SHALL BE HURLED DOWN TO HELL. …”
“Apostle” Orson Pratt stated, with regard to the churches of Christendom (JofD, Vol. 16, pp. 175-6):
“I said their baptisms are illegal. Now let me go a little further, and say that the ordinance of marriage is illegal among all people, nations and tongues, unless administered by a man appointed by new revelation from God….”
‘ONE CHURCH OF THE LAMB….THE OTHER OF THE DEVIL’
Should we be surprised at these statements? Not if we look at the original vehicle of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith’s ‘Book of Mormon,’ for there we read (1 Nephi 14:10): ‘Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.’ (cf. 1 Nephi 13v26-29)
Interestingly, in a recent conversation with Mormon’s in Cardiff this argument was applied the other way round – and offence was taken by the Mormons!
It is an interesting assertion by Orson Pratt: ‘The gates of hell HAVE prevailed….’ The KJV of the Bible states: ‘….upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell SHALL NOT prevail against it’ (Matt 16v18). We will consider the LDS excuses for this contradiction in another place.
5. Until April 1990, the Mormon religion included in their temple ceremony part of a dialogue between a character playing the part of Lucifer (the Devil) and a man portraying a Protestant ‘preacher’ shown to be in the pay of Lucifer. The temple ceremony was protected with Masonic intensity for over 150 years and, according to their Doctrine and Covenants,124:40, the Lord revealed the ordinances for these temple ceremonies. However, He has now apparently changed His mind and the ceremony was dramatically reduced to half an hour, instead of the previous hour and a half. Masonic oaths installed to protect the ceremony have also gone – do you think that this could have anything to do with the fact that the temple ceremony was secretly recorded without the knowledge of the Mormon hierarchy and had been distributed to the world, BEFORE this change was made? These recordings are still widely available and Mormons who we have shared this information with feign horror that one of their sacred ceremonies should have been shared with the world – there is no point in showing horrror because (a) the ceremionies were largely ‘borrowed’ without permission from the Masons, and (b) the Book of Mormon speaks out against secret societies, oaths, priestcrafts, and blood atonement (I Nephi 20:16; 2 Nephi 9:9; 28:9; Alma 37:22-31; Helaman 6:25; 3 Nephi 10:33; 12:33; 16;10; 21:19-21; Mormon 8:27,40; Ether 8:14-22; 10:33; Ether 11:22; 14:8-10) and yet Joseph Smith introduced all of these after claiming the Book of Mormon to be the ‘most correct of any book on earth’!
6. The Mormon church still claims that all other churches are in a state of apostasy and more than fifty pages of the introduction to the ‘History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ are devoted to proving that all churches except the Mormon church are in apostasy. For example, the following quote is found on page XL: ‘Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.’
‘THE ONLY TRUE CHURCH UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH’
In more recent LDS writings we have the appearance of a softer attitude towards orthodox Christianity. However, ‘The Ensign,’Dec., 1984 (p.9) had this to say in an article entitled ‘Early signs of the Apostasy’:
‘To say that SATAN SITS IN THE PLACE OF GOD IN CHRISTIANITY AFTER THE TIME OF THE APOSTLES is not to say that all that is in it is satanic. Indeed, Latter-Day Saints should rejoice – as the heavens undoubtedly do – at the great works of righteousness and faith, and the leavening influence on the world, of those whose lives are touched in any degree by Him whose gospel THE SAINTS ENJOY IN ITS FULNESS. Still, ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16) is ABSENT FROM ALL BUT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, WHICH THE LORD HIMSELF HAS PROCLAIMED TO BE ‘THE ONLY TRUE AND LIVING CHURCH UPON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE EARTH’ (D&C 1:30). Satan’s goal of hindering many of God’s children from returning to their Father’s glory is thus realized. How appropriate, therefore, is Paul’s description of him SITTING IN THE PLACE OF GOD IN THE CHURCH OF THE APOSTASIA.’
‘THERE IS NO HALFWAY HOUSE, NO MIDDLE PATH ABOUT THE MATTER’
7. John Taylor, the third president of the church, set forward the challenge of the Mormons in the following way:
‘….if God has not spoken, if the angel of God has not appeared to Joseph Smith, and if these things are not true of which we speak, then the whole thing is an imposture from beginning to end. It is either one thing or the other’ (JofD, Vol. 21, p.165)
Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth president of the church, made a similar statement:
‘Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who wilfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false….I maintain that Joseph Smith was all that he claimed to be’ (Doctrines of Salvation, 1959, Vol. 1, pp.188-189).
‘MORE PEOPLE SAVED…BECAUSE OF THE BOOK OF MORMON…’
Regarding the Mormon connection to Freemasonry, according to http://www.geocities.com, the first five presidents of the Mormon Church were all heavily involved in Freemasonry:
The first five Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were all members of Nauvoo Lodge;
Hyrum Smith – the brother of Joseph ‘the prophet’, also served as patriarch of the church after the death of their father, Joseph Smith, Sr., who was also a Mason. Hyrum was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge at Palmyra, Ontario County, NY. He later served as the Senior Warden of the Nauvoo Lodge at its founding in 1841 and as Worshipful Master from November 10, 1842 to June 27, 1844 when he was assassinated at Carthage, IL with his brother;
Brigham Young – second president was a Member of the Quorum of the Twelve under Joseph Smith, and became a Mason at the Nauvoo Lodge: Initiated 4/7/1842, Passed 4/8/1842 & Raised 4/9/1842. According to the Official Lodge Minutes, Joseph Smith was present at the 1st and 3rd of these degrees. Young was known to have worn a Masonic stick pin on his shirt at various times for the rest of his life. The pin has been edited out of all official LDS images of Young but exists on some images (see link below);
Willard Richards – Apostle, Church Historian & personal secretary to Joseph Smith received his degrees in Masonry at the Nauvoo Lodge at the same time as Brigham Young;
Heber C. Kimball – member of the First Quorum of the Twelve under Joseph Smith & a counsellor to Brigham Young during his presidency. Kimball was made a Mason at Milner Lodge in Victor, Ontario County, NY in 1825. He was reported to have petitioned the Royal Arch Chapter in Canadigua, NY in 1826 just before the Anti-Mason sentiment sparked by the Morgan Affair shut down most lodges in that region of the country. Kimball served as Junior Deacon of the Nauvoo Lodge.
John Taylor- apostle under Joseph Smith, made a Mason at Nauvoo, succeeded Brigham Young to the presidency of the LDS church;
Parley P. Pratt – served as a Branch President in Missouri and later as an Apostle. He served several missions for the church, including one to England. Also editor of the Millennial Star, a Mormon newspaper. Made a Mason at the Nauvoo Lodge – Initiated 7/10/1843, Passed 7/13/1843 & Raised 7/30/1844;
Lorenzo Snow – Like Taylor & Woodruff, an apostle under Joseph Smith made a Mason at Nauvoo and became the fifth president of the LDS church;
Orson Hyde – an Apostle who served several missions for the church, including one to Palestine to dedicate the Holy Land for the final gathering of Israel, received his 1st and 2nd degrees in Masonry at Meridian Orb Lodge No. 10 in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason at the Nauvoo Lodge on January 18, 1843.
Orin Porter Rockwell – close friend and bodyguard of Joseph Smith, member of the Danites in Missouri, accused of the attempted assassination of Lilburn W. Boggs, Governor of Missouri, was a Mason at the Nauvoo Lodge – Initiated 3/9/1844, Passed 3/11/1844 & Raised 3/29/1844.
In the next news-letter we will consider the claims of the ‘prophet’ Joseph Smith, and in due time the claims of the ‘scriptures’ of the Mormons and their version of the gospel which led Ezra Taft Benson (who became president of the LDS in 1985) to state in ‘The Ensign,’ November, 1984:
‘Men can get nearer to the Lord…and can gain a better understanding of the doctrines of salvation through the Book of Mormon than they can through the Bible….THERE WILL BE MORE PEOPLE SAVED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD -TEN THOUSAND TIMES OVER -BECAUSE OF THE BOOK OF MORMON THAN THERE WILL BE BECAUSE OF THE BIBLE.’ (quoting Elder Bruce R. McConkie -Address at Book of Mormon Symposium, Brigham Young University, 18 Aug. 1978)
‘THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS GONE…WITHOUT SHADOW…’
8. How to summarise the long held Mormon view of orthodox Christianity? Mormon Penrose stated their case in the following way:
‘The departure from the order, doctrine, ordinances, and spirit of primitive Christianity commenced at a very early period…The Church of Christ was gone, without even a shadow of its presence to be seen upon the earth…After a time came the reformation…Yet there was no inspired prophet, no gifted seer, no appointed revelator through whom the will of God could be made known. Therefore, the ordinances of the gospel could not be administered acceptably to God, and all such ceremonies as were established among the various sects were of necessity void and without virtue in heaven…Joseph Smith was the chosen instrument in the hands of God to receive the glad message and direct its promulgation to all the world.’ (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 33-38)
The Mormons have given enough reasons to examine their religion – and have clearly claimed to be the only true Christians on earth. We have supplied enough evidence already to show that the Mormon Church is neither Christian nor anything but the product from the Gates of Hell. We provide more evidence on the following pages showing that THE LDS HAVE NOT BUILT ON ROCK, BUT ON SAND!