Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Mormon-Hater Show

Weston Krogstadt, a frequent visitor at Mormon411, is the author of The Mormon-Hater Show.  In this blog, he defends Mormonism and shares evidences of the church and the Book of Mormon.  I will respond to some of his claims and positions.  So in the nature of a good, respectful debate, here goes.
A recent post is one he has entitled "Cult?" where he defends the position that the LDS church is not a cult with two arguments. While there are far more than two cult charasteristics, I'll address the two that he did.
1) Cults tend to dissolve once their charismatic leader dies.
A quick internet search brought up several references to this.  However, I noticed that most of them are from religious groups usually thought to be cults that are defending themselves from this claim.  In fact, The Mormon-Hater Show was at the top of the list.  Now, I did not take much time to investigate further.  This finding is based upon the summaries brought up by the search engine.  But here are a few:  "Secular cult opponents... tend to define a "cult" as a group that tends to manipulate, exploit, and control its members."
While I would argue that the LDS church does indeed "manipulate, exploit, and control its members", I am sure that Weston would disagree. Sadly, cult members do not often realize they are in a cult and will defend it, as I believe is the case here. This website states, "Most cults do not last long after their leader dies. If they survive after their leader dies, the cult may eventually be accepted by society as a legitimate religion." (emphasis added)
So we can see, depending on how reliable this reference is, that just because the LDS church survived after Smith's death does disqualify it as a cult.  In fact, it seems to hint at the opposite, that it is a cult which has been "accepted by society as a legitimate religion."
2) Most cults become obsessed with their members leaving.
Frankly, Weston, I am not sure why you used this argument.  It work against you.  How many times did I sit in church or at home being taught that those who leave the church, "it would be better for them had they never been born."  This is taught in the Mormon's scriptures: D&C 76:28-38.  These verses paint a pretty horrible fate for anyone who dares to deny and leave the church. 
LDS church members are strongly manipulated into staying active with threats of damnation worse than hell.  They are manipulated using the tactic that they will never be able to see their loved ones if they don't completely conform to Mormonism their entire lives.
And for those who do wish to leave the church and have their names removed, it is a lengthy, drawn-out process involving interviews and more manipulation to stay.  Those who leave are painted as evil and angry (just like our friend Weston paints people as "Mormon-Haters").  The members are told that those who fall away were deceived by the devil and are now bitter enemies of god.  This is all completely untrue, of course, but the members believe it and this fear of being drawn in by the devil's sneaky tactics keeps them active and paying.

And the members who are excommunicated are removed from the church for the church's protection.  Anyone openly against it is removed so that the church can say that the person is not affiliated with them.  Anyone who dares openly question is immediately removed and painted up to be evil and angry.
The LDS church is very much obsessed with their members leaving.  And it's not a cult?
To sum it up, there is an excerpt from the holyrollers link above:
How do you tell if a group is a harmless fringe group or a dangerous cult? According to Margaret Thaler Singer, a cult expert and author of Cults in Our Midst, dangerous cults have most of these ten characteristics:
1. A leader who claims divinity or special relationship with God.
2. A leader who is the sole judge of a member's actions or faith.
3. A totalitarian governance.
4. Totalistic control over the member's daily lives.
5. Exclusivity and isolation.
6. Development of deep emotional dependence.
7. Prohibition of critical analysis and independent thinking.
8. Utilization of methods of ego destruction and mind control.
9. Exploitation of a member's finances.
10. Underemployment and exploitative working conditions.

My comments:

1. The LDS church leaders claim to receive direct revelation from god.
2. Members are often determined to be "worthy" by their bishops.
3. When the prophet speaks, the sheep blindly obey.
4. While not completely totalitarian, the LDS church is heavily involved in people's personal lives.
5. Members are taught that life outside of the church is miserable and only by being Mormon can one be truly happy.  Members are encouraged not to mingle with non-members as much as possible unless they are trying to convert them.
6. Members often state how lost they would be without the church.
7. Repeat after me: "I know it's true with every fiber of my being. I know it! I know it! I know it!".  Use feelings to determine truth, not thinking.
8. You are unworthy unless you follow all the commandments all the time.
9. Members are threatened with losing their temple recommend (a huge disgrace) and with buring in a fire if they don't pay their full 10%.
10. This one doesn't apply quite so much, but church members are expected to do all sorts of volunteer work for the church.  Temple endowed Mormons have given an oath to the church to give everything they have, or will have, to the church if necessary.

I resolve that the LDS church is indeed a mind-altering cult.  It's members believe they have the constant companionship of the holy spirit IF they are 100% worthy.  The male members believe they carry the priesthood, the ultimate power and authority to act in god's name.  They literally believe it is the only truth on earth and everyone else is fumbling around in darkness and confusion.  If that's not isolation and mind-alteration, then I don't know what is.

For additional reading on how a cult indoctrinates it's members, especially children, please follow this link:

More to come on my response to The Mormon-Hater Show...


Brad said...

Thanks for the post! I agree with you in that people who are in a cult do not realize that they are in a cult, because they believe that they are in the true path. I encourage everyone to watch "Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple".

I also think that this may be one reason why it is difficult to retain new converts. But I know that people can get caught up into it. I've been there. It's a euphoric feeling. Fortunately my love of truth won out. Now my euphoria comes from nature and the people I love.

Heather said...

Good post.

The church is cult. In the final stages of my un-testimony, reading about cults shocked and frightened me...I had been controlled for 28 years of my life. I wasn't going to let my kids or me, be part of it any more.

Mormon411 said...

It doesn't matter if the members will accept it or not... the church IS a cult. I too will never force it upon my children. I will never put the pressure to serve a mission on my son as it was put on me.

Sometimes the truth hurts. But I'd rather have the cold hard truth than a gently padded lie.

Anonymous said...

When I was baptized at the naive age of 18 the fist Sunday afterwards, the Bishop called me up to bare my testimony. I was HORRIFIED! I did not have a testimony! But there I was standing up in front of the congregation telling everyone "I know this church is true". The LDS Church has undoubtedly spent a lot of money on psychological research to show that members baring their "testimonies" in front of their peers makes them more likely to be beholden to their statements.

Mormon411 said...

MMC, that is typical Mormonism right there... fake it til you make it!

I had one additional thought for Weston:

Weston, do you believe the Catholic church is true?

I expect that he will answer "no".

Then you must be a Catholic-Hater!

Weston, just because people don't believe in Mormonism, it doesn't mean they hate Mormons. I would strongly suggest that you stop using this very dishonest tactic.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Sugar, hate is in the eye of the beholder. You be a hatin. Think of it this way, if someone created an anti-Jewish web page and talked about how wrong jews were all day, how seriously would you take them when they said they "were not anti-semites"?

Mormon411 said...

Do you have any idea how hypocritical you are? Your blog has the word "HATE" right in the title! You label everyone who doesn't believe in the church as Mormon-Haters and yet when I point out that you, by your own definition, are a Catholic-Hater, I am wrong.

I wouldn't think anything of it. I can disagree with Jewish dogma, but that doesn't make me a Jew-Hater.

You disagree with Catholics; therefore, you are a Catholic-Hater.

In fact, you must hate everyone EXCEPT Mormons!

If I was a Mormon-Hater, then I would have to murder my own friends and family.

When you defend your beliefs by trying to make the opposition look bad, anyone who is even slightly educated will see that you are using the argument from character assassination.

Read all about it and see why it gives you zero credibility!

Anonymous said...

Sure, you compare Mormons to dogs because of your great love for them.