Mark Silk just wrote a review of Senator Orrin Hatch’s new book: American Mormon Christian: What I Believe.
People are wondering “why now?” As Mitt Romney does not emphasize his Mormon faith, why would others choose this moment to explain it?
I find it helpful and have also been reading The Book of Mormon Girl by Joanna Brooks as way of learning more about a poorly understood U.S. religion that has long been feared by many as a secretive group with a fierce political agenda. And as a person known as religiously open-minded, there isn’t enough information in my own mind to form any solid opinions.
From their many changes over their short existence, Mormonism appears to be a much faster moving faith than many, which may sound like a great thing, except perhaps in the case of those trying to be comfortable with the “known brand” of religion that a presidential leader is. If religion moves so quickly that it makes the “predictability” of personal decisions less known, they can be feared less constant and less stable. With a succession of prophets still supposedly receiving orders from God, many wonder what happens if, based on new orders from God, our President is directed to change directions?
But why is Mormonism considered a “cult” by so many?
Last week I reviewed the film Hellbound? by Kevin Miller. In the film, the famous southern preacher Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church, called Mormonism a “cult” and said he would not “partner” with them. I have heard this now many times from mainstream and evangelical Christians.
Yet we see a lot of evangelical alignment with the Republican party.
It can’t be that a group of people who believe in a savior who is truly a man who is born of a virgin, performs miracles, rises from the dead, etc., are critical of another religion’s fantastical story. Many religions have hard to believe stories, including Buddhism, Islam and Judaism. So, what is it exactly about Mormonism that has so many nervous?
According to Author Bob Pardon, Director of the New England Institute of Religious Research (NEIRR) in Lakeville, MA, who appeared as a consultant on NBC’s national news documentary “Dateline,” Mormons top his list of the top ten groups Americans should be wary of today.
Generally speaking, a “cult” is a coercive social group devoted to certain leaders and beliefs that the surrounding culture considers crazy. Do people in 2012 still consider Mormonism a cult as they did when I was growing up?
For anyone who plans to learn more, here is another resource: This recent CNN video goes a step further to demystify Mormonism in 2012.
Tagged American Mormon Christian What I Believe, director kevin miller, hellbound movie, is mormon a cult, joanna brooks, Mark Driscoll, Mark Silk, Mitt Romney Mormon, mormonism cult, Senator Orrin Hatch book, the book of mormon girl