| 11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. |
April 11, 1844 Joseph Smith was anointed and ordained by the Council of Fifty of the Mormon church as King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on Earth. It is also around this time that he makes his plans known to become President of the United States. Theocracies are not well-known for religious tolerance. In the 1835 edition of the Millennial Star page 358 it states “A theocracy has been decreed and will surely transpire.” The Millennial Star was a Mormon publication in the British Isles. One may look to the modern day theocracies around the world to see examples of how these governments suppress individual human rights and also suppress the dissemination of information.
It is a known fact that Mormon intellectuals who have made any statements about the Mormon Church that cast the church in an unfavorable or imperfect light, have been ex-communicated or at a minimum, sanctioned in some way. The most famous of these excommunications are referred to as the September Six. For information on this topic please refer to the web site http://www.lds-mormon.com/sepsix.shtml. The following is a quote of the first part of that page:
“'THE LDS CHURCH SANCTIONS SIX PROMINENT SCHOLARS'
Such was an example of the one of the headlines reporting the disciplinary action which covered newspapers throughout the Central Western States of the United States of America, and also reached as far as New York and Washington during the months of September and October 1993.
Relatively old news now - but still indicative of the mainstream Church's move to the restriction of scholarly and strong historical study for its membership.
Why the newspaper headlines? Well, the only reason that these individuals made headline news is that they were prominent scholars - many, many others, hundreds and thousands in fact, have received the same treatment by the mainstream Church, not just in Salt Lake, but throughout the world, but, because in the main, these were not well known, the press, and people in general have not heard of them.”
A few of the individuals sanctioned by the church include D. Michael Quinn, historian and former BYU Professor, and author. Paul Toscano, Attorney and author. Lavina Fielding Anderson, author and former editor and writer for the Mormon Church’s Ensign magazine. Maxine Hanks, ardent feminist and speaker/author. Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, president of the Mormon Women’s Forum. This philosophy of sanctioning authors and intellectuals continues today. At the time of the writing of this book Grant Palmer was sanctioned for his work in An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins.
In my own case I know from personal experience that Mormon church leaders will try to use guilt and spiritual blackmail to keep a person in the church and under their control. Mormon church leaders have attempted to do this to me personally. This is a cult tactic, and it is my belief that the Mormon Church is a cult.
The following quote by Thomas and Jacqueline Keiser was telling for the time it was written in 1987 and I would say is even more telling today. . .
“The modern world has its own unique frustrations and challenges. Keeping a marriage together and vital, raising children with at least rudimentary values, staying abreast of job responsibilities and maintaining a comfortable sense of self-esteem keep most of us busy. . .
For many, the idea of a loving, communal group whose members share similar values is a refreshing contrast to the competitive, stressful demands of society. It is predictable, therefore, that those groups offering radical alternatives to traditional institutions and goals will appeal to idealists searching for a better world.”
A Christian religious institution should be there for the benefit of the individual as well as the family. However, in the case of the Mormon Church I do not believe that this is the case.
People searching for this better world will latch onto a likely institution that promises answers to questions relating to our ultimate concern. The Mormon Church does this on three levels; the missionary/investigator level, the active Mormon church attender level, and the Mormon Temple initiate level. The new investigator is taught the simplest of doctrines and is told how the church is family oriented and how the family can be together forever. Once a person or family has joined the church and become regular attenders, they are typically given jobs in the church to help keep them active. Once they have gone through the Mormon temple ritual they are then typically committed members of the church.
I have talked to a number of people who believe the Mormon church is a cult. I agree. Keiser and Keiser stated “members of anti-cult groups accused the new religions of existing solely to brainwash and exploit members”. I do not think the Mormon leadership overtly considers exploiting the members, but when you consider the amount of time that Mormons are required to give for church service and the amount of money asked of the membership, even of those members who are financially strapped, the possibility of exploitation is feasible.
Andrew J. Pavlos in his book The Cult Experience detailed 10 attributes of a cult.
1 Cults have living leaders and the cult’s religious doctrine is based on the leader’s revelations and ideology.
2 A cult’s religious leader has absolute authority over his members.
3 Cults promise converts that through hard work and loyalty they can save humanity from sin and eventual destruction.
4 Cults require that members do “demeaning work” for the cause.
5 Cults promise everlasting salvation for faithful followers.
6 Converts must remove themselves from greater society – jobs, schools, families and friends – and devote full-time effort to the cult and its leader.
7 Cults indoctrinate through elaborate and extreme personality, attitude, belief, and behavioral change techniques.
8 Cults discourage critical thinking and suppress alternative views of social reality.
9 Cults create strong feelings of dependency on the group and demand absolute obedience to cult norms or standards for behavior.
10 Cults practice religious rituals or meditative techniques that are psychologically unwholesome to their members.
This list was initially formulated by the journalists Carroll Stoner and Jo Anne Parke (1978) as a list to help parents and their children ascertain whether a religion was a cult or not. In my survey of information on cults I found a number of different references that contained slightly different lists of the attributes of cults. I use a list with 13 attributes that I will discuss later.
But what type of people become interested in cults or even in non-mainstream religions?
Andrew Pavlos noted the following on the kind of people who become involved in cults:
1 Idealists who want to know God better.
2 The innocent who naively believe that a cult messiah is God's divine representative.
3 Inquisitive young college or high school dropouts who suffer from severe or and demoralizing family and personal problems.
4 Independent young people who run away from home seeking freedom from parental restrictions and authority.
5 Identity seekers having trouble believing in themselves.
6. Insecure youth looking for new experiences and a clarification of their own identity.
“C. Eric Lincoln and Lawrence Mamiya (1980) have proposed that there exists three general characteristics of most cults necessary to convert people totally to a cult lifestyle: 1. Communicative isolation, when cult members are told not to disclose the “esoteric dogma” of their cult to “outsiders.” 2. Social isolation, when the cult members reduce extracult contacts and live in an autocratic cult group. 3. Physical isolation, when cultists are required to live in communes and are forbidden to leave without the cult’s permission.” Anyone familiar with the Mormon church will note these characteristics in the modern Mormon church and from its past. Mormons are taught to only teach the “milk” to investigators, that is, the simplest doctrines that are closer to mainstream Christianity. Another example is the Temple ritual. Mormons are taught not to even discuss the ritual between themselves outside of the temple. And even in the temple the ritual is very rarely discussed. Characteristic number 2 is not as overt unl
ess one is speaking of the full-time missionaries. Characteristic number 3 is not seen much today except in the cases of fundamentalist Mormons who still practice polygamy such as the group in Colorado City, Arizona, USA. However, in Joseph Smith’s day he attempted to set up a commune type system called the United Order which failed, bankrupting many families and businesses.
You may have seen lists of traits of cults and are able to fit many of them to the Mormon church. However, the Mormon church is not quite as overtly a cult as say the Unification Church or Scientology. And lately with the push to look more mainstream the Mormon church does not come up on the cult radar like many of the other hard core cults do.
On the internet and in university libraries it is easy to find sites and books devoted to countering cults. The following are a list of the characteristics of a cult that I use and my comments on how the Mormon church fits them.
1. "The group focuses on a living leader to whom its members appear to be extraordinarily committed."
The prophets are almost deified. They are said to be infallible. Many Mormons even seem to put Joseph Smith higher or of more importance than Jesus. Then there is the adjuration to obey the prophet and church leaders above all else. This is what cults do.
It may also be surmised that Joseph Smith may have thought himself greater than Jesus. "Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." What does this quote by Smith say about his beliefs about himself? How does it compare to quotes by leaders of other cults?
2. "The group focuses heavily on recruiting new members."
The Mormon church has a well organized missionary program. Prospective members are not given a full disclosure of Mormon Doctrine. The meatier or more esoteric beliefs are completely left out and avoided. Also, there appears to be of late a move to sanitize and rewrite church history. The current video being distributed by the church on the First Vision has left out portions from the official version of the supposed event.
3. "The group focuses heavily on making money"
Tithe or you won’t make it to the Celestial Kingdom (the Mormon highest part of Heaven where God dwells). However you look at it, this is paying for indulgences and was one of the things that Christ spoke against when he was preaching against the Pharisees. “Under the guise of religious faith, destructive persuaders seek to promote a hidden agenda. This agenda which is usually economic or power seeking is carefully concealed behind illusions. The need for concealment arises because cults compete with traditional institutions for members and resources”. During the Kirtland period of Mormon History Joseph Smith made petition to start a bank in Kirtland. It was denied and instead he set up the Kirtland Anti-Banking Society and began to mint his own money. This adventure was a disaster that bankrupted a number of investors and resulted in Smith having to flee the state. Today the Mormon membership is asked to simply accept that the church leaders are spending church monies wisely, with no accountability or disclo
sure of finances.
4. "Members who question, doubt, or dissent with the group's beliefs are discouraged or punished."
It is common knowledge that a number of Mormon writers have been excommunicated for their writings (as noted above). Even when these writings were in obscure journals that the general membership of the church does not read. Dr T. W. Murphy was recently threatened with excommunication over his paper on DNA and the Book of Mormon. It was only after bad press for the Mormon Church that the excommunication was dropped. Grant Palmer was called into a church court and sanctioned for his views in his book An Insider’s View of Mormonism.
Any institution that tries to suspend rational thought may be deemed demonic in nature in a systematic theological sense. In regards to the Mormon Church the following quotes show their stand in this regard:
“When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done."
"When the Prophet speaks the debate is over.”
In his message to church educators in 1981, Apostle Boyd K. Packer stated that the church is biased in its representation of itself and that it was the sacred duty for church educators to present a one-sided version of church history (“The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect, BYU Studies, Vol 21, No 3, pp 259-271). During his speech at the April 2005 general conference of the Mormon Church, Packer stated, “This year we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the organization of the Church and the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In the Church, much will be written and said to honor him. As usual, there will be much said and written to discredit him. There always were, are now, and ever will be those who stir into 200-year-old dust, hoping to find something Joseph is alleged to have said or done in order to demean him.
The revelations tell us of "those that shall lift up the heel against mine anointed, saith the Lord, and cry they have sinned when they have not sinned before me, saith the Lord, but have done that which was meet in mine eyes, and which I commanded them" (DandC 121:16). They face very stern penalties, indeed.“
I believe this kind of philosophy coupled with the previous quotes foster a closed mind and a destruction of reason, thus leading to what is termed demonic possession in systematic theology. Now whether this is believed to be simply a state of mind or an actual influence by a being from another realm is up to the individual. However, I believe that the psychological result is a closing off of reason and the ability to think and so displays this cult trait. “Ironically, while the church claims to possess the full truth, the current generation of Mormons is taught a selective view of church history, omitting what are considered to be the less faith-promoting portions”.
Keiser and Keiser stated “In an acceptable research article, an author is careful to point out existing problems in his or her design, limitations on generalization or other shortcomings. We have not found this kind of qualifying statement in the published works of cult sympathizers. Instead, we have noticed that there is a tendency among them to quote each other’s works as though they were independent authorities rather than variants of the same ideological framework. A number of defenders of new religions are known to have cult affiliations themselves, and sometimes their “research” has been totally or partially funded by a major cult.”
This is true of the FARMS group, a Mormon apologetic organization, that is housed at Brigham Young University. Manipulative cults control information.
The following is a story recounted by Tal Bachman, son of the Rock and Roll Artist Randy Bachman (used with permission):
“I once attended an institute class taught by one Brother Durham. At the time, I had never heard of him. I only signed up because the class sounded interesting.
Bro. Durham was a friendly guy, with something of a sardonic sense of humour. Being a flaming member at the time, I was eager to learn everything I could about every aspect of the church, so I often lingered after my institute classes to chat with my teachers and ask them questions.
So, one day I was hanging around after class asking Bro. Durham about a few things he had mentioned in class about the temple. There were a few other students there, too. In the course of answering this question, he began to tell us very freely that he had once publicly delivered a paper about the parallels between Joseph's endowment ceremony and masonic temple rites. He wryly said it immediately had generated a lot of controversy, so much so that a General Authority asked to speak to him about it (though he didn't say which one).
He said that after being reprimanded by the GA, he had replied, "But everything I said in my paper is true", after which (I swear an oath this is what Bro. Durham told us), the GA had said, "Well, you're worried about the truth, but we're worried about the members". After this, Bro. Durham chuckled, and said he had then been "asked" in fairly forceful tones to compose a letter "mitigating the damage he had caused to the church", or words to that effect.”
1 Corinthians 4:20 states “Do not be children in your thinking (in your minds), rather be infants in evil, but in thinking (understanding) be adults”. Think as an adult; do not simply be believing in anything that you are told, but research it out and look for the truth. Origen of Alexandria in the 3rd century stated that it was better to accept teachings with reason and with wisdom than it was to accept merely on faith alone.
Doubting is considered to be a tool of Satan and so members are cautioned not to let doubt creep into their lives when it concerns the church. On 11 February 2005 I was reading reviews of the new Book of Mormon edition at Amazon.com and ran across the following in one of the reviews:
“There is one thing, a warning that I will leave to any half-hearted browser of this book. That is the corrupting influence of doubt that can cause one to forget the reason for pursuing truth and righteousness.
Satan has many masks, and through doubt, and outside influences he tries to keep even the most sincere reader out of the habit of regular study. I saw this influence at work every day when I gave away free copies of this precious book. Those initially contacted would feel and recognize the beauty of the Gospel contained in it, but would later let criticism and doubt creep in and lose their faith.”
Yet doubt and critical thinking is very important in our lives. Doubt is what helps a person not fall for swindles or get rich quick schemes. Doubt is what keeps the average person from falling for a cult’s claims. Doubt has kept average people from buying into the claims of such people as David Koresh or Reverend Moon. Doubt assists in countering blind trust. Doubt is what assists an average person from accepting that the holocaust did not occur. Doubt and critical thinking are not a tool of Satan but a tool to help in our survival. In the October 2004 General Conference of the Mormon Church, Elder M Russell Ballard in his talk Pure Testimony stated “Doubt and fear are tools of Satan.”. Cults will tell you that doubt is of Satan to demonize it and to convince you that only what they say is the truth. Are the ones that tell you not to doubt, the ones that should be doubted the most?
5. "The group uses techniques that numb the mind to suppress doubts about the group and its leaders. These include long work routines, denunciation sessions, meditating, chanting, or speaking in tongues."
Suppression of doubts and free thinking is readily apparent in the church. Frequent meetings for the lay clergy that keeps them from their families also helps to numb the members. The first Sunday of each month is called Fast and Testimony Sunday. Members are expected to go completely without food and drink for a 24 hour period starting the night before. During the Fast and Testimony meeting members are encouraged to get up and witness to each other about their beliefs. This type of activity can have numbing effects.
The Mormon Temple Ceremony also does this. The following is a quote from the temple ceremony that shows that the temple participant is not to talk out against church leaders.
“JEHOVAH: It shall be done, Elohim. (Jehovah turns, and approaches Peter, James and John.) Peter, James and John, go down in your true character as Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ to Adam and Eve and their posterity in the Telestial World. Cast Satan out of their midst. Give unto them the Law of the Gospel as contained in the Holy Scriptures; also a charge to avoid all lightmindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice. Cause them to receive those by covenant. Clothe them in the Robes of the Holy Priesthood, with the robe on the left shoulder, and give unto them the Second Token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name and sign. Then return and bring us word.”
Near the end of the Temple Ceremony the participants are put under a covenant to give all to the church, not to God.
“You and each of you covenant and promise before God, angels, and these witnesses at this altar, that you do accept the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants, in that you do consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.
Each of you bow your head and say "yes."”
As I was a temple worker for many years I know that these covenants were made by the participants. It is my conviction that the temple ceremonies most valued aspect is the binding of people to the church itself.
6. "The group's leaders tell members how they should act, think, and feel. For example, members must get their love life and jobs okayed. Leaders may tell them what kind of clothes to wear, where to live, how to raise their children, etc."
Church leadership has been known to look into the personal lives of the members. Yearly worthiness interviews are held with members and at least for the youth very personal questions regarding masturbation, sex and other personal questions are asked. Adults go through at least yearly interviews as well, where questions of a very personal nature are asked.
Church leaders counsel youth not to date non-members. In the past it was clearly dictated that mixed race relationships were not condoned. The current President of the church also has stated that earrings for men, multiple pierced ears on women and tattoos are forbidden.
Clothing styles are also highly regulated. The Mormon Church even goes so far as to specify what type of underwear members of the church who have attended the temple may wear. On Sunday young men a male adults are instructed to wear white shirts and ties. Men are told that suits are the appropriate Sunday dress. Women are instructed to wear dresses and not pants suits to church.
A church should be there for the members. “The movement is as important as its parts: the community is nothing without the individuals that make it up; and only within the assembly, in turn, can those individuals fulfill God’s will as limbs of the Anointed’s single, united body”. I know from personal experience that the church, or I should say, Church Leadership, is more interested in itself and its rules and regulations than the needs of the individual members. When my children were younger the ward (similar to a parish) that we were assigned to did not have a good youth program. We began to attend a different ward that we were not assigned to, and when we met with the Bishop of that ward he indicated that it would take First Presidency approval for us to attend a ward that we were not assigned to. Without this approval we were told that we would not be able to receive Church callings or obtain a temple recommend. Control of the membership is important to the Mormon leadership and this is one way to effect t
7. "The group sees itself as especially and uniquely blessed; for example, the leader is believed to be a Messiah or avatar, or the leader and the group have special orders to save the world."
The Mormon church sets itself up as being better than everyone else. Church members are taught that the Mormon Church is the only true church of God on the face of the earth. That all other churches are founded on lies or are the church of the devil. The following quotes are indicative of this:
"This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth..."
- Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165
"And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this (Mormon) church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth..."
- Joseph Smith speaking as Jesus Christ, Doctrine and Covenants 1:30
"...all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels."
- Prophet Joseph Smith , The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60
"The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God"
- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171
"Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness. For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation ...Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the 'Christian' churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men."
- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.282
As a youth I was taught that Mormonism and thus Mormons were special. And that the priesthood in the Mormon Church was the only authority on Earth to act in God’s name. “In addition to manipulating ordinary needs, cult leaders also strive to create abstract needs by suggesting that supernatural powers can be cultivated by participating in groups rituals”. Being ordained to the Mormon priesthood and taking part in the Mormon temple rituals are said to give access to the powers of heaven and eternal life in the celestial kingdom. Mormon young men are ordained at the age of 12 to the priesthood. As a youth I was taught that as a 12 year old deacon, I had more authority and power of God than the Pope of the Catholic Church.
8. "The group has an us-versus-them outlook, which puts it in conflict with mainstream culture."
Since the move to Utah, and even before in Nauvoo, Il and Kirtland, OH, the Mormons have considered themselves to be a persecuted people. Even today, I have seen an us-vs-them mentality in the Mormon church.
9. "The group's leaders are accountable only to themselves and are not guided by or disciplined by any higher authorities as are, for example, military officers, and the ministers, priests, and rabbis of mainstream religions. The group believes its goals justify methods that members would have considered unethical before joining, such as raising money for fake charities."
The church does not report church finances to the membership. I do not know of any reputable business or charitable organization that takes part in a similar practice. Also, the top Church leaders have no one to account to. They run the church with an iron hand and excommunicate anyone that questions them.
10. "The leaders manipulate the members into feeling guilty in order to maintain control."
No one is ever good enough in the Mormon church. I felt guilty all my life until I freed myself from the mind-control of the church.
In the spring of 2004 I had a meeting in my home with one of the Stake Presidency. He asked me many questions about my beliefs and then asked me “what of your temple covenants?”. I felt he was trying to guilt me into staying active by holding me to promises I made without full disclosure of church history and doctrine. After I told him there was no covenant because the church lied to me he asked about the welfare of my family, trying to use my family against me. I told him that I was a good father, that I loved my wife and children and that I did not need a church to help me raise my children to be law abiding and responsible adults.
This type of action on his part is a form of spiritual abuse. And, spiritual abuse is prevalent in the Mormon Church. A web site by the name of Mormon Alliance (mormonalliance.org) is devoted to publishing accounts of spiritual abuse in the Mormon Church including child abuse and authoritarianism (spiritual abuse) in the church.
Spiritual abuse is very damaging:
“Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or deccreasing that person’s spiritual empowerment.”
As emotional abuse affects a person emotionally, or physical abuse affects a person physically (and emotionally), spiritual abuse affects a person spiritually. Fear and shaming is used to control people in some way. Instilling fear may be used to keep someone active. Religious leaders that take part in spiritual abuse typically are trying to dominate or control an individual. Mormon leaders receive no training in counseling. They are called to the leadership role and are simply thrown into the position. Without proper training on ministerial duties it is very hard to know how one is to avoid falling into spiritual abuse.
Spiritual abuse hass probably been around as long as religion. Even in the New Testament Jesus speaks against spiritual abusein Matthew 23:4, “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders;”. Jesus talked of peoples’ heavy burdens and it was he who told all that were weary and heavy laden to come unto him for rest. A Christian church should be restful, it should not cause heavy burdens.
The following are points of shame based relationships:
• God rewards spirituality with material goods.
• “If I am spiritual enough, things won’t affect me emotionally.”
• “I can never say no to those in religious authority.”
• Everyone in the ministry is called by God, is appropriate, and must be trusted.
• “God needs me to do ministry.”
• “The existence of trouble in my life indicates a lack of faith.”
• “talking about problems will make God ‘look bad.’”
• Unity means agreeing about everything.
Shame based relationships can have a very dramatic and negative affect on an individual. In the above list bullet 7 is especially prevalent in the Mormon church but it is not God that they talk about but the church itself. "My duty as a member of the Council of the Twelve is to protect what is most unique about the LDS church, namely the authority of priesthood, testimony regarding the restoration of the gospel, and the divine mission of the Savior. Everything may be sacrificed in order to maintain the integrity of those essential facts. Thus, if Mormon Enigma reveals information that is detrimental to the reputation of Joseph Smith, then it is necessary to try to limit its influence and that of its authors."
11. "Because members become subservient to the group, they cut ties to friends, families and the personal goals and activities they had before joining."
I have been told by church leaders that it is better to divorce a spouse that becomes inactive than to stay together. A friend in college asked me if I would drop them as a friend if they did not join the church within a year. I was completely surprised by this question until I really thought about it. I had been taught throughout my life to associate only with the best, and that was Mormons.
12. "The group expects its members to devote inordinate amounts of time to it."
The Mormon church expects its members to all take on church duties. They are assigned. People do not volunteer. The church meetings and duties take parents out of the home for inordinate amounts of time.
13. "The group encourages or requires its members to live or socialize only with each other."
I’ve seen this plenty over the years. I’ve also seen Mormons get friendly with someone and then drop them like a hot potato when they would not join the church. As I have noted previously, I had a friend in college that one day asked me if I was still going to be their friend if they did not take the discussions and join. I was floored by this but in time came to understand why they said it.
I believe that the Mormon Church is a cult. Although there are many teachings within the church that may be considered Christian and that foster goodness in people, the bad outweighs the good.