HOW TO IDENTIFY A DANGEROUS RELIGIOUS GROUP!
"If you can't think for yourself or make a decision, then you're in trouble. You are responsible for what you believe. If you can't walk away, then there's a problem, period." Those are the words of someone who has walked the descending staircase of a dangerous religious group.
There are thousands of cults and dangerous religious groups in North America, and one should be deeply concerned about their influence.
Almost all dangerous religious groups distort such basic doctrines as salvation by grace, the deity of Christ, or the principle of spiritual authority. Because of the public nature of the media I believe it is wisest to counter their distortions by teaching sound doctrine rather than directly attacking specific groups. Any attack on specific groups, no matter how tactful or well-motivated, can easily be misunderstood.
If directly asked regarding a particular group try to provide basic factual comparisons without judging the motives or character of its members or leaders.
CHARACTERISTICS ASSOCIATED WITH CULT GROUPS:
Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioural patterns commonly found in cult environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.
Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.
- The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
- Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
- Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
- The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
- The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
- The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
- The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, pastors, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
- The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviours or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
- The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
- Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
- The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
- The group is preoccupied with making money.
- Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
- Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
- The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
The evidence refuting Mormon doctrine is damning. The doctrine is so outrageous it should not even be an issue. It's like discovering that fire is really hot when you grew up believing that it was cold. What needs to be looked at is how our behaviour can be influenced by others, creating a false faith. We need to understand concepts like social proof, herd mentality, hypnosis, commitment and consistency, common sense and paradigms. People who understand these concepts probably have already left the Mormon church
This isn't about church-bashing. The Lord instructs us to be part of His body. GOD is everywhere and as I am the history of Christianity I had heard the grumblings from other religions about Mormons, the same churches that will also say, "It's my way or no way." I am more interested in being accurate than in being politically correct and the church did say, "of Jesus Christ."
I consider these statements to be fact: The Mormon church is a religion which was built on faith. This "faith" is often supplanted by a need to believe; this "need" can and will overtake logic and common sense; ignorance is based on fear. The Mormon Church is an organization which survives on social proof because, in view of the growing body of historical evidence that refutes Mormon doctrine, the Mormon people have become stuck in their own dying paradigm. The Mormon people are held to this dying paradigm by the employment of psychological compliance techniques.
Consider this true story taken from a study of compliance techniques and how and why people agree to things.
A group of social scientists infiltrated a secretive, doomsday cult was based in modern-day Los Angeles Hale Bop Comet Group that believed they were about to be whisked away on a spaceship because the end of the world was at hand. The scientists wanted to study the group's behaviour in its natural occurrence. The group sold or gave away its belongings, students neglected their studies and people quit their jobs. They were committed, they believed.
When the time came to leave, the group made public the coming disaster so the media came to watch. When the saucer didn't show, an atmosphere of despair among the group prevailed. The group had given up so much (property, money, jobs, education) that they could no longer afford not to believe. Next a revelation from the group leader-because the group had cast so much light upon the world. God had saved the earth then an instruction to publicize the explanation. What they had once kept secret; they now felt the need to publicize in the grandest scale.
"If they could spread the Word, if they could inform the uninformed, if they could persuade the skeptics, and if, by so doing, they could win new converts, their threatened but treasured beliefs would become truer. The principal of social proof says so: The greater the number of people who find any idea correct, the more the idea will be correct. The group's assignment was clear; since the physical evidence could not be changed, the social evidence had to be. Convince and ye shall be convinced!" or more like, “build it and they will come?”
The parallels between this UFO cult and the Mormon Church are striking. The Mormon Church does not have physical evidence (even instructing its people to stop looking for it) supporting its doctrines and beliefs. So it seeks its support in the form of new believers in order to make its existence credible. This explains why this Church is so actively involved in missionary work. Since the physical evidence is lacking, the social evidence must be overwhelming. Every Mormon can look at the steady stream of new recruits and feel their own commitment is more validated. The principal of social proof makes it so.
Another concept which sheds some light on why people will continue to believe what they believe (why Mormons are remaining Mormons) even after they become aware of its error.
"Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision." In another part he says, "Indeed, we all fool ourselves from to time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done or decided."
I remember when I was a young teen who still was searching for the truth I attending a meeting on Transcendental Meditation (TM) which was designed to recruit new members into the program.
At the question and answer period, a University of Calgary student "gently but surely demolished the presentation" that we just heard. He pointed out why the lecturers' complex argument was "contradictory, illogical, and unsupportable," leaving the discussion leaders devastated and acknowledging that the U of C’s points required further study. Later, the leaders were faced with a "crush of audience members submitting their seventy-five dollar down payments for admission to the TM program."
In questioning several new recruits in the reception area, I learned that all had understood his the comments quite well. As one of them put it, "Well, I wasn't going to put down any money tonight because I'm really quite broke right now; I was going to wait until the next meeting. But when this U of C student started talking, I knew I'd better give them money now, or I'd go home and start thinking about what he'd said and never sign up." Being poor, well I did go home so ended the TM lesson.
I did notice though that like myself "These were people have real problems; and they were somewhat desperately searching for a way to solve those problems...now, in the form of a U of C student, intrudes the voice of reason...or PANIC!...Something must be done at once before logic takes its toll and leaves them without hope again...Here, take my money...Whew, safe in the nick of time...No need to think about issues any longer...The decision has been made."
What I has shown is that when people want and need to believe in something they hope will solve their problems, they will commit themselves to it (for instance, by becoming Mormon etc.). Even knowing that their judgment may be impaired because of fear, panic or an extreme desire to solve any problem. They will then adjust their behavior to support that decision in order not to have to think about the problem, or try to find solutions, anymore.
One anti-Mormon in my church has his in box full of flame email from Mormons because he has successfully challenged their belief structure using common sense, logic, Scripture and historical and scientific facts. Their reaction is based on fear and panic. He threatens their way of life. He is making them think hard about being Mormon when it was far safer and easier not to question their commitment. As the bumper sticker says, "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts!"
A third concept needs to be better understood in order to get a handle on the workings of the Mormon Church. Most people have heard the word paradigm (A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline) but few really understand how it affects their thinking.
The concept of a paradigm was that the scientific community operates at any given time under a ruling set of beliefs and theories. This set of beliefs (or paradigm) is based on their previous findings and allows them to move forward and propose new theories, construct experiments and evaluate data within the framework of the paradigm. Which what it demonstrates is that while a paradigm helps a scientist by structuring his work, the scientific community as a whole is restricted from seeing evidence that is contrary to the paradigm. Then along comes a rogue scientist with a different theory, based on his results, that does not fit the existing paradigm. The response from the scientific community is usually denial. This is, however, the beginning of a paradigm shift.
A book titled "Paradigm" built on the idea of paradigms and usually applied it to the business arena. It is an important concept in understanding the psychology as it relates to the Mormon Church. Simply put, a paradigm is a belief system that has a set of rules which support that system. The Mormon Church is falling victim to its own paradigm.
Perhaps the best example of becoming victim to one's own paradigm is the Swiss. The Swiss once dominated (by far) the world's market in watchmaking, holding 85% of the market share. Then they invented the quartz-digital watch. Viewing it as a novelty, the Swiss exhibited this new technology at a trade show in Texas. So sure were the Swiss that the technology was of little significance, that they never bothered to legally protect it. After all, no one would want a watch that didn't have jewels and springs and needed batteries (the Swiss paradigm). Texas Instruments and Seiko thought differently and the rest is watch history.
A paradigm shift occurred, and today, the Swiss control less than 15% of the world's watchmaking market.
The Mormon Church faces much the same dilemma. In the face of mounting, indisputable, historical and scientific evidence, they must continuously change, modify, disallow, ignore, and create new explanations and doctrine to fit the old paradigm originally set forth by Joseph Smith. The 1st Nations North American was not the descendant of European man as claimed by Joseph Smith, the Egyptian papyrus was not the Book of Abraham as claimed by Joseph Smith, lions did not roam the forests of early America as claimed by Joseph Smith, etc.
Because the Mormon Church understands the losing battle they are fighting in holding on to a treasured but flawed belief, they promote the use of social proof. Social proof is group hypnosis. The most susceptible victims of social proof are the young and the ignorant, which explains the youthful age of the elders and the volume of flame mail from the ignorant. How nice it would be to be a low level god on my own planet with lots and lots of eternal wives for my own enjoyment. Unfortunately, Scripture just does not support this. Bummer, eh?
The Following are the things Mormon missionaries WON'T tell you when they come to your door:
1) Listed in their first "Articles of Faith," the claim is: "We believe in GOD the eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost," this is not the whole truth. What they do not say is that their belief is these are THREE SEPARATE gods. Christians believe in ONE GOD, in three persons.
2) Mormonism teaches that if a Mormon couple "seals" themselves in a Mormon, pagan, ritualistic ceremony, they too can someday become gods. They will rule over their own planet, if her husband allows her up to that level and if so the wife, or now the "goddess" will have spirit babies that will populate this planet for all eternity. Mormonism believes that there are billions and billions of gods ruling over billions of planets in the universe.
3) The LDS believe that GOD was once an imperfect man who attained GODHOOD, was given his own planet to rule over, earth, and now resides near the star KOLOB. F.Y.I KOLOB has never been identified with any modern astronomical object.
4) Mormonism teaches that the Bible is unreliable, missing parts, and is poorly translated. Yet Mormon scriptures, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price, are all GOD's perfect, pure word. Mormons believe that because the Bible is imperfect, there was the need for the Book of Mormon (or B.O.M) that was supposedly given to the "prophet" Joseph Smith by an angel called "Moroni." Mormons believe Smith put a stone in his hat, and translated this book from gold plates, by reading sentences through this stone. No one has ever laid eyes on these plates.
There is absolutely not one shred of proof that any of the places in the Book of Mormon, or any of the tribes or battles told of, ever existed on earth, no less in America. There is zero archaeological proof to support anything in the B.O.M. The Bible warns us of false prophets and tells us how we can test them.
One test is to see if the prophet's revelations or prophecies come true. (Deuteronomy 13 and 18:20-22, Jeremiah 28:7-9,16). Smith's revelations always failed. Also, the Bible forbids another gospel of Christ (such as the Gnostic's), yet the Mormons claim the Book of Mormon is an additional gospel of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 11:2-5, 13-15). Smith is a false prophet, therefore his Book of Mormon, based on what the Bible says, must be false.
5) Mormons believe, contrary to what the Bible says, that Jesus is not only Lucifer's (SATANS BROTHER) but that He was conceived by GOD who came in the flesh to Mary, and when they had physical relations, Mary conceived Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
There is absolutely no doubt that Mormonism is a false religion, and probably one of the largest cults ever. Following is more information concerning the true teachings of Mormonism and why it couldn't possibly be a Christian organization:
I was amused and astonished when speaking with couple of young missionaries at my front door one day. They all had name tags that said "elder." By definition "elder" means older age or higher rank, like me and elder who is almost older than dirt. Wrong; in the first instance, a pompous assumption in the second but these young men, with so little life experience, take themselves very seriously. Give them a name tag and they'll do anything. Where is the common sense in pinning an elder title on a nineteen-year-old kid?
Church is in one aspect a business, and it is the nature of a business to perpetuate itself or it will die. Churches live by recruiting new converts. Churches are run by men and men will always have a sin nature. Accountability is the key to maintaining a healthy church, assuming of course, that the doctrine is correct and the Mormon doctrine is not correct.
I hope that this information will be healing and offer some explanation to those former/current Mormons who are still hurting. For some they overcame social and psychological pressures that were very real in order to leave the church. They accomplished a paradigm shift into a new way of life (or thinking), which is always difficult and requires adjustment. They came to new realizations based from factual information that simply would not fit into the church's old paradigm. They are to be praised.
It could have been worse the dynamics of paradigms, social proof, and commitment and consistency have been exploited to destroy countless numbers of lives. The reverend Jim Jones of "The People's Temple," convinced 910 of his followers to wilfully and peacefully commit suicide with arsenic laced koolade, David Koresh another end of the world death cult or now Daesh, Fahesh aka isis. Joseph Goebbels was Adolph Hitler's close confidant and propaganda minister in World War II. Goebbels policy was based on the notion that a lie, repeated often and forcibly, gains the legitimacy of truth. As "the final solution," millions of Jews died, in part, because they believed that they were only being moved to relocation camps, when the evidence suggested otherwise.
Faith is an activity of the Spirit that cannot be defined by the mind. Behaviour is a product of thinking which; is an activity of the mind. Too often the church departs from the words of GOD to follow the minds of men. Too often, we confuse our faith with our mental activity. Men exploit mental activity. The church is full of cows, cowards and crooks that choose to operate in the comfort zone of the shades of gray instead of standing in the black and white. Jesus calls them lukewarm. Too much time is spent worrying about where we have been or where we will be when GOD wants us to enjoy him right here and right now. We keep placing conditions on ourselves when GOD 's love has always been unconditional. GOD is more than faith or belief. He is reality and the Mormon Church is not so much.
"Watch out for false prophets."
They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?
Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you “Away from me, you evildoers!”
Posted by Richard…