Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Straight Answers to Fox’s 21 Questions about the Mormon Church today published 21 questions that it says represent “some widely held beliefs and misconceptions about Mormonism” and answers provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since some (not all) of the Church’s answers were less than forthright, I will offer straight answers to the same questions. Fox’s questions appear first in bold type, followed by the Church’s responses in italics, and then followed by my answers.

Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?
A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like ‘cult.’ Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don’t personally happen to like. We don’t believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.
The above answer makes no attempt to understand why some people call the LDS Church a cult. The term is characteristically used by evangelical critics of Mormonism to denote a religious group that professes to be Christian but that deviates from essential Christian doctrine in one or more areas. By “essential Christian doctrine” evangelicals mean those teachings that historically Christians of all of the major denominations have taught: monotheism; God as Creator of all things other than himself; the Trinity; the Incarnation; salvation by grace alone; and the virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus Christ. Since Mormonism departs from historic Christianity on some of these doctrinal issues, we have no choice but to conclude that it is a “cult” as defined above. If you don’t like the word cult, feel free to substitute in your mind an equivalent expression, such as “heretical sect” or “unorthodox church.”

Click here to read Rob Bowman's response to the rest of the questions.

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