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Monday, October 10, 2011

A Cult Like Any Other

Some numerous persons I either KNOW or have heard of through experiences of those I know have heard that I (we LDS folks) are members of a Cult.  Well... to determine the truth or fallacy of such a supposition, one would have to first define CULT.

So, according to the Merriam-Webster Free Online Dictionary, I think I am.  WHAT???!!  Well, are you?  I mean, if you're a religious person... then, by this definition you are.  And I am.  And we are!  YEAY!!!

Moving right along.  (Yes, I am going to require you to do a little bit of "extra" reading if you want to understand what I'm saying and where I'm coming from.  I'm not doing the spoon-feeding.  IF you want to believe I'm just agreeing with your fallacious assumptions, so be it.  You'd probably find a way to twist what I have to say about my heart and mind to make it fit what you believe anyway.  While I'm sorry about that... for you... I can't really do anything to change YOU... I can only (and only want) to change me!)

Just as a note on the #4 from the above link, I'm thinking of orthodox being the majority of Christians....  We LDS do, indeed, have some beliefs that seperate us from the group because Joseph Smith, Jr. actually saw God the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ, he knows (and I know) that they are two individuals who are one in purpose.  This differs from "orthodox" Christianity because the majority adhere to the definition of God agreed on in the Nicene Creed.  About that Creed... I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father has give us the tremendous gift of Agency... but just because a bunch of us punny humans get together and agree on something... regardless of how inspired it is, if it's not God, it's not.  Seeing God with our Savior... that is something irrefutable.

Next, I've found a definition on Dictionary(.)com, which site I like and turn to often for definitions.  I'll address each one here (they are almost the same as those found in the previous... so I'm doing it once now).  #1: Yes.  We have that, do that.  #2: Yes, if you realize that Jesus Christ is that person/idea (if you don't think He's a person as I do).  #3: Christ is the object.  The one born in Bethlehem, of course.  #4: Um... yep.  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  #5: Yes, we do this too.  The Catholics do.  The Baptists do.  The Lutherans do.  The Seventh Day Adventists do.  The Muslims do.  The Jews do.  Do you get my point?

Moving right along.

I like this NEXT one.  Perjoratively... LOVE that word!  Sounds so... funky and cool.  ^_^  Anyone can use the word "cult" to mock us LDS, or demean, or attempt to mislead others about our beliefs, but such use doesn't change  the object/person of our devotion.  The members (like me) of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints worship Jesus Christ, son of Mary and God (Joseph being his eathly father, but God being the Father of Christ's body).  We live to submit to His Will, the Will of the Father and the Son.  We live to return to their presence to live for eternity... This is our hope.

Yes, we "Mormons" are a minority in any given society (unless you narrow it down to localities and then "we" may be the majority in various parts of the West).

As far as the kind of 'cult' characterized (or opposed in anti-cult movements) by "brainwashing" and mind control or other agency removing efforts; we of the LDS Church and Faith are not a part of that group.  We know that angency in all its forms (the ways people choose to do good OR ill) are given of God and we would not remove it from anyone!

My Mom once said, many years ago, something like, "Oh, someone might think Jessie was brainwashed!"  I was too shocked to respond (which was usual for me at the time).  She paused for a moment, thought, and then said, "Well, I suppose that's not such a bad thing if his brain needed some cleaning!"  We do not attempt to exert control over anyone... though we DO encourage ALL to get to know God and then submit to His Will, which should anyone strive to do with their whole heart, might, mind, strength, and soul... such would result in those people who so strive to do similarly... to become ever more and more alike.  And this is the point.  To become one with Christ, even as He is one with God.  To be in Him as He is in our Father and the Father in Him; so then to be in God and God in us.  But this is all documented much more poetically in the Bible (and Book of Mormon), should anyone desire to read it and understand with spiritual eyes and ears.

Next and final... okay, so reading this page is good.  I'll direct you to where I begin to share about my religion based on this article's statements about "cults."  If you will scroll down to the fourth paragraph under the first bold title area of the article (within the article): Looking at the bold area of this paragraph I have to respond: ummm... this is all Christian denominations to one degree or another.  I mean, especially those denominations named the name of the man who originated the principles of the subgroup!

I like and prefer that next the Bible is invoked.  I definitely believe the part about defining Jesus differently than the Bible does.  Thankfully, you'll NOT find this problem with me and my religion since we believe the Bible to be the word of God so long as it is translated correctly (I read the KJV of the Bible).

Thankfully those of us of the LDS Faith do NOT do the second: proclaim salvation by workds.  We know, just as all Christians, that the good we do is by the Grace of God and that He, by Grace, overcomes the lack between that which we can do (carried in an by His Grace) over the chasm between what we can do in Him and what is required to live in His presence.  Praise the Lord for Grace and the Atonement!!!

Finally (of the three points) we of the LDS Faith believe in the Bible fully and strive to live the principles and precepts laid our for us all within it.  Deep doctrine in my church always aims us back to Christ and His doctrines.  We experience the testament of truth by the Holy Spirit of God.  I know the Bible to be the Word of God in the same way I know the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God to a disparate group of people who were once of the Jews in Jerusalem.  The Holy Spirit that witnesses the truth of these things to my mind and heart (and in my body at times) is the same that will witness these same truths to all other groups of Christians.  "By their works, ye shall know them."  I'm not perfect.  The other Mormons I know are not perfect, but we are trying to do good and to live as Christ would have us live.  If we are being led by the deceiver to do and live in this way, then he is a house divided against itself as Jesus described when He (Jesus) was said to be doing things by the power of the deceiver.  All good comes of God.  Nothing good comes of the devil.  Not one bit.

It's funny to me that the next paragraph describes the problem of religious extremism.  God said, Himself, in the Bible that He wanted us to be either hot or cold.  He will spit us out otherwise.    I'll not be spit out.  So, if someone declares I'm in a cult because I am Zealous for Christ, so be it.

I've already spoken about Agency and will move along to what comes next in the article.  So, my Church is directly, yet indirectly named within the article as a cult... *sigh*  You'll have to decide for yourself, obviously!  ^_^  One thing about how you make a decision... hopefully you already know how the Holy Spirit communicates Truth to you.  If you don't, then this is more difficult.  But if you DO know, then all you have to do is read the Bible, read the Book of Mormon, ponder on the Truths found validated from one (the Bible) in the other (the Book of Mormon) and then pray about it.  If you find, as I have, that the Holy Spirit witnesses TRUTH to you, too, then keep learning.  The deeper you go, the more full the hole in your heart that Jesus made just for Him to fill WILL be filled!  I know this to be true.  I've lived it.  I'm living it.  I will live it.

Some GREAT talks by some of oure church's leadership about the Book of Mormon and other truths:

The Power of Scripture
The Book of Mormon - A Book from God this is why I believe the Book of Mormon is necessary now
Personal Revelation and Testimony
You Matter to Him
A Witness
Teachings of Jesus  is this a different Jesus than the one you know??
The Priviledge of Prayer

If you liked these and would like to watch more of the General Conference from which I took these, click HERE.  ^_^   I'd love to know what you think after you watch the first two, especially.  :)

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