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Your take: Is Mormonism a cult?
The Rev. Robert Jeffress, who supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry, stirred a hornet's nest by saying he believes Mormonism is a cult.
October 11th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Your take: Is Mormonism a cult?

(CNN) - We ran a column Monday from Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical school in Pasadena, California, called "My Take: This evangelical says Mormonism isn’t a cult."

Mouw followed up on comments that the Rev. Robert Jeffress made at the Values Voter Summit, where he introduced and endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry.  After Perry spoke, Jeffress told reporters in the hallway and in subsequent interviews that he thought Mormonism is a cult and that evangelicals should not vote for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney because of his faith and a host of other reasons.

Mouw countered he did not think the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormonism, was a cult. He also said he was not ready to say it fit in with orthodox Christianity but noted there was dialogue between evangelicals and Mormons on a broad range of issues.

The piece drew out the passions of readers on all sides of the issue and racked up 11,000 Facebook likes and 2,500 comments.

Here's a nonscientific collection of your thoughts on the matter:

There were a number of comments from Mormons who appreciated the article and shared their thanks.

Tanner

As a Mormon, I appreciate your fair synopsis in defense of my religion, Mr. Mouw.

Mynamesmiketoo

Being a Mormon myself, I can testify that our religion is not a cult and Joseph Smith is not our head. Jesus Christ is the leader and he is the cornerstone of His church "built on a foundation of prophets and apostles." I also know it is through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. Romney is (definitely) a Christian. We are "the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints"; we are just nicknamed "Mormon" because of another testament we hold sacred and true. I ask you visit mormon.org for more info.

There were also a number of comments from Christians who said the Church of Jesus Christ of  Latter-day Saints fell outside the bounds of historical Christianity.

Jeff

To a Christian who believes in the historical Jesus and His church, the Mormon church is by definition a cult. It is in no manner offensive to say that to a true believer of Mormonism, for he/she understands the essentials of their belief system and how they differ. Mainstream Christianity shares in the beliefs about the essentials of our faith - who God is, the three persons within the godhead and their roles, what we are called to, and how one must be saved and live their life. None of this takes away the earthly redeemable qualities of Mormonism such as their commitment to taking care of each other, purity in worship, the role of the church in all matters, etc. But it is not the historical Christianity we know. And btw, many large and small denominations that purport to be part of mainstream Christianity have also distorted the historical belief system of the church.

ThsIsNotReal22

Mormonism may not be a cult, but it is a major heresy.

And as always there was a hearty amount of feedback from atheists and nonbelievers about how all religions were cults by definition.

Nodack

All religions are cults. Sorry.

Because this issue was raised in a political spectrum, it got a lot of people thinking about the intersections between religion and politics.

TheTraveler

Don't even care. Every election year we get the same stupid side-tracking non-issues. ...

Don

It is really a non-issue. We can have a Mormon president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly. We can have a Muslim president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly. We can have a Jewish president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly. Christians have no exclusive lock on love for country or responsible behavior. That should be obvious. I look forward (to) the day when our list of U.S. presidents is as diverse as our citizens. When we get to that point we will have been true to the promise of America that all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights and among these are the right to run for political office and be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their religious beliefs.

David M.

Speaking as a Christian, I'm not concerned about Romney being a Mormon. Nor am I concerned that the next president has to be an evangelical Christian. Jimmy Carter is a devout Christian, but I disagreed with a lot of his politics. I don't vote for someone just because they are a Christian, or not vote for someone because they are not a Christian. I'm concerned about their political positions.

The evangelical church in America thinks if we just get the "right" people in office, then all will be well. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is very clear in Scripture, calling out His people to turn from their wicked ways, call on His name, humble themselves and pray, then He will hear from Heaven and heal their land. It's clearly in the lap of the church, not the lap of the president. Speaking again as a Christian, we in the church have failed miserably, and God will hold us to account.

You can read more from the CNN Belief Blog here and keep the conversation going.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mitt Romney • Politics

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soundoff (693 Responses)
  1. DD

    True mormon insider stories at http://www.exmormon.org

    October 12, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  2. DD

    If your "religion" forces you to pay money to be in "good standing" then it's a CULT. If your "religion" forces you to ostercize your friends and family because they don't pay or speak their mind then it's a CULT.

    Perhaps the real test: if you are forced to pay money to reach the "greatest level of heaven" (essentially selling tickets) then it's a CULT.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  3. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and what spirit it serves we invite you to read the article Mormon Church ~ Cult and Spiritual Harlot of our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the issues that divide this world we have recently added the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ to our listing of articles.

    October 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  4. BL

    What's the difference between a religion and a cult? A religion is what I believe in. A cult is what you believe in.

    October 12, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • myklds

      NICE!!!

      October 12, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Mirosal

      Your post reminds me of the famous George Carlin quote ..."Ever notice how your sh-it is stuff and their stuff is sh-it? Hey, get that sh-it off of there so I can put my stuff there!!"

      October 15, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  5. David Johnson

    Look this is sort of stuff Evangelicals are made of. They are insane.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Luen04

    Cheers!

    October 12, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Carlies Saga

    @Hear This..

    It was just a mere thought at first until I read his/her post.

    However, if it was really an atheist's ceremony he/she was attending, then I stand myself corrected. Nobody else could make such idiotic acts he/she have mentioned except (atheists) them.

    October 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Excuse me, but what are you talking about?

      October 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      Above post was supposedly a reply to Hear this, I've been having trouble with the reply button. Kindly read his/her comments at the bottom of this page.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  7. Tim

    Hmmmm... are they a cult? Ahhh, well this guy went into the woods just outside of NY City and met the angel Maroni there. They had a discussion. That's where it all began. After the guy was murdered by his followers a magical golden seagull led the way to the promised land, East of Chicago. The big new leader later became the Governor of Utah..... big following.....fanatically dedicated people. Stop laughing..... I'm trying the explain something. OK, Ok, I admit.... it is goofy.... and... well...cultish I guess

    October 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • mcgrath

      Ok. Read a little bit. Find some facts. Don't sound like an idiot next time, because this time.... well you did.... sorry.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Raymond Takashi Swenson

      Why don't you read the actual history at mormon.org? Palmyra is hundreds of miles form NYC, near Rochester. Joseph smith was murdered by people who hated Mormons, not by his followers, who had to be restrained from marching out to attack the murderers.

      Mormons are people who serve in church leadership and teaching positions without pay. NO Mormon gets rich from being a Mormon bishop, he does it dopnating 20 hours a week in service to others, including giving financial aid and food to the poor, food that is raised on Mormon Church farms across the US, from Florida to Washington State.

      Your diatribe sounds like it was composed based on attending the South Park guy's distortion of Mormonism that is making them millions of dollars for making fun of people who are sincere in their worship of Jesus Christ.

      October 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  8. Anomic Office Drone

    Mormonism is silly and cult. That said, what religion isn't?

    October 12, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • debbie338

      That is exactly what I was thinking. The only difference between a religion and a cult seems to be the number of believers.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • BL

      You're right, they're all cults. If 100 people believed in the Truth of the Grasshopper King, it would be a cult. If a billion people believed it in a hundred years, it would be a religion. It's only the number of followers that makes it so.

      October 12, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  9. King

    "It is really a non-issue. We can have a Mormon president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly. We can have a Muslim president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly. We can have a Jewish president as long as he puts the nation first and acts responsibly."

    @Don

    Good thing you did NOT mention atheist in the list of the options. You would have been making a death wish for U.S!

    October 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  10. Carlies Saga

    I thought atheists would lie about anything just to further their cause.

    Thanks @AGuest9 for taking away my doubt.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • HellBent

      Care to state what the lie was instead of just making ambiguous random accusations?

      October 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      This is supposedly a reply to Aguest9, I've been having trouble with the reply button. Kindly read his/her comments at the bottom of this page.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Carlies: There was nothing in that post that was a lie. You obviously weren't there on Sunday, and I was.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • Riley

      There is a reason you swear to tell the truth in court. Lying just changes the facts to the point where they overlap. Start accusing someone of false pretense, and you have yourself a witch hunt everyone will pretend is real.

      October 13, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  11. Carlies Saga

    I thought atheists would lie on anything to further their cause.

    Thanks @AGuest9 for taking away my doubt.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Carlies Saga

      I've "visited" many Christian websites. The lies are unbelievable. The sad part of this, is that many people don't have the knowledge to know what they are reading is b.s. The read it on a Christian site, so it must be true. ? Pfui!

      "What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them." – Martin Luther

      There is no evidence Jesus ever existed; Prayer does not work; There is no soul; There is no devil; The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Feel free to refute any of these statements, or choose one of your own. I would enjoy exchanging ideas with you.

      Cheers!

      October 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      @ David Johnson et al,,,,,,

      GOD was the 1st and only Holy Sea of Nothingness called by the ancient Grecian Theologians as being 'Chaos' who did yawn and made manifest the elemental gods. The very 1st elemental god did never ever sway from doing the will of Chaos his Father. Even when the time came for Chaos to give to us a sacrificial lamb of manhood who was GOD's (Chaos) first born elemental god, this god did not sway from his Father's wisdom. So the 'prophecy' was fulfilled and GOD's first elemental god became Christ Jesus, the redeemer of all souls/spirits past, present and future. All the elemental gods rejoice in their King's death as a man and in so taking the cross, the first elemental god did redeem all things' souls/spirits toward the coming of a newer Heaven and upon a newer Earth to be built out of all the things of celestial matter. Thusly, do the elemental gods promote the welfares of all celestial Life no matter their shapes or forms. May the GOD who was once called Chaos ever be the unfaltering oceanic sea of Nothingness for the sakes of All Celestial Life in whatever form they are given and to take safe harborage wherever permitted upon the Universes’ Celestial Seas of Chaos's determinations.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      @DJ

      I have check my thesaurus but there's nothing there I could find "lie" as synonym for "dogma" (vice versa). You must be lying!

      (I just hope you've been able to get what I mean.)

      October 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Oh, I see. Car"lies" is just a believer troll...

      October 13, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  12. T's Grl

    Have read the Book of Mormon-and it was like J. Smith tried to re-write portions of the Old Test. to fit his visions/theology, and wrote it very poorly. It was just not impressive at all and its claims cannot stand up against the writings of the Old Test or apostloic writers. After reading it, I also cannot figure out why any Mormon could believe that the angel "Moroni" appeared to Smith in the 1800's and inspired him to write it. Since the claims in this book is the basis of their theology, which substantially differentiates it from Christianity, their beliefs must be labeled as un-Christian.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      Dumb rocks,,,dumb puddles,,,, dumb rain,,,,just plain dumb,,, people dumb down the logic of intellect,,, therefore, dump people some are,,,, long live dumbness! 🙂

      October 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      @ T's Grl,,,, Sorry TG,,, posted I did at wrong place,,, so dumb of me,,,,, 😦

      October 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • exmormon

      If you want to see some of the bizarre differences between Mormons and Christians, look at exmormon.org

      October 12, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Samsword

      One of the reasons why I emphasize only on the possibility of the existence of Intelligent Design, is because: IF there truly is the possibility of a Creator, then it also provides the framework for looking at other, more subjective experiences in a different light.

      October 12, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Samsword

      Ergh! that comment was supposed to be somewhere else...

      October 12, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  13. ItsHopeless

    A while ago, DesignerFabric posted a rather ingenious argument for the plausibility of Intelligent Design. And the best thing the silly "born again atheists" could come up with is: "Nuh-uh, you're dumb...." LOL Why don't you take you're own advice, and get a real education!

    Now obviously, DF's argument only argues the possibility of Intelligent Design, not that it's a proof. But even I have to say, his assertion makes sense, and that Intelligent Design, is not something that people should easily dismiss.

    Seriously, you guys are a disgrace to the atheist/agnostic position.... and this is coming from an agnostic.

    October 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • HellBent

      DF's foundation was built upon the premise that logic = intelligence. It's a flawed foundation – that statement doesn't even make sense. It might sound cute if you don't actually think about what it means – because it's meaningless. People pointed that out. There were also counter arguments. If you really think that all of the argument boiled down to "you're dumb" then you need to work on your reading comprehension.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post contains multiple instances of the Ad Hominem Fallacy

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

      October 12, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      No his premise was that Logic DEMONSTRATES intelligence... it's a component of it. Do you disagree. Are you actually saying that logical reasoning is in no way connected to intelligence? Suddenly that explains a whole lot.... LOL

      October 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      His premise was that since the universe could be described BY logic that it implied intelligence which is completely ridiculous. Logic is not a thing, it is a process used by an intelligent being. The universe may be logical, that has nothing to do with intelligence. A rock is logical.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      What areas of his premise are Ad Hominem? Just curious. This is ad hominem logic:

      "A makes claim X
      There is something objectionable about A
      Therefore X is false"

      Let me re-frame what He said:

      "Logic is an aspect of intelligence. If there is a logical explanation to everything in the universe, the universe is therefore logical. If the universe is logical, it displays an aspect of intelligibility. If the universe is intelligible, it suggests the plausibility of an intelligent origin."

      Where's the ad hominem logic?

      October 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      @MarkinFL I think that's his point... a rock is logical... If it can be approached through a cognitive approach like logic, then it demonstrates qualities similar to something likewise created intelligently. Because the processes that brought that rock into being are logical, those processes suggest an intelligent origin.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Just because something is "possible" is no reason to believe it is true. Many things are possible that never happen.
      When there is evidence of ID,THEN rational people will stand up and take notice.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • John

      "Just because something is "possible" is no reason to believe it is true."

      A great example of this is all those people that wanted to go to Pandora after seeing Avatar. It was scary that people actually got depressed they couldn't go there.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • HellBent

      "No his premise was that Logic DEMONSTRATES intelligence... it's a component of it. Do you disagree. Are you actually saying that logical reasoning is in no way connected to intelligence?"

      Ok, first, logic and logical reasoning are two different things. You're trying to make them the same. They are not. No amount of hand waving will make them the same.

      The statement 1+1=2 is logical. It requires intelligence to recognize logic. But the logic does not in anyway rely on, imply, or demonstrate intelligence. The statement 1+1=2 does not need intelligence in order for it to be true.

      This really isn't all that hard.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • HellBent

      "Because the processes that brought that rock into being are logical, those processes suggest an intelligent origin."

      Oh, wow.

      I'm not sure, exactly, how rocks are logical. But anyway. The process that brings a puddle into being is "logical" by whatever bizarre definition you're using. That process, in most cases, is rain. Rain does not require, imply, demonstrate, or even remotely relate to intelligence.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      Markin, markin, markin.... He IS providing evidence, logical evidence. This is not a proof. I don't know why everyone is getting so upset. He's making no claim as to the nature of a intelligent designer, simply that it's a plausible viewpoint. He's not arguing for Christianity, or Islam, or Ba'hai; he's simply arguing that ID is a logically valid perspective. This doesn't prove atheism false... it's simply a logical presentation that gives proponents of ID something to stand on. (Which is why I think you're so antagonistic towards it.... you don't want to consider the possibility that your position is wrong. Nobody does, Nevertheless, I have to conclude that he really does have a point.)

      October 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • HellBent

      @ItsHopeless

      No evidence was provided. Attempting to claim that logic is evidence of intelligence is not evidence. There was no logic in those statements and thus no evidence. Just a lot of hand waving and attempts to sound smart which fell completely flat.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      @HellBent Unless the natural physical processes that brought our world into being, and therefore the weather, were actually originated through ID... Once again, you rely on insults to progress your point. Further what are you saying? Are you saying that rain is illogical? That there is no logical explanation to rain? That's ridiculous. If you admit that rain is a logical process, his argument still stands... sorry. No amount of name-calling will increase your position.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • ItsHopeless

      @HellBent, actually his arguments DO demonstrate quite sound logic, unlike any of your refutations... I haven't heard ONE refutation that has logically upset his assertion. Anyway, I'm heading out. Y'all take care!

      October 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      There is no logic that "suggests" ID based upon the simple act of existing in the same universe as ourselves. The rock merely follows the same rules that we do and we can understand the rock in a way that makes sense to us. The only intelligence involved is in the perceiving of the rock. You are simply arguing that the fact that we can make sense of the universe suggests that it is artificial. What is your basis for such an assertion?
      I think I can better argue that a completely inexplicable universe would indicate ID and supernatural magic. This universe looks quite natural to most scientists.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Calling logical plausibility anything like evidence just shows that you have no grasp on objective reality.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • HellBent

      "Unless the natural physical processes that brought our world into being, and therefore the weather, were actually originated through ID"

      That's called speculation. Not logic. Not evidence. There is absolutely nothing to suggest, imply, or demonstrate that gravity is dependent in any way on gravity.

      So, all we're left with is speculation, which is essentially all the original poster attempted to do, but tried to call speculation logic, which it isn't.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @ItsHopeless,
      Hope this helps. I think there is some confusion, as someone alluded to earlier, between predictable behavior/reactions and logical reasoning. If something like the water atoms in rain react in a predictable manner, that is sometimes referred to as "logical," in the sense that the behavior can be predicted, to a certain extent, by logical reasoning, not that the atoms use logic in order to behave a certain way. As such the universe "behaves logically", i.e. reacts predictably, but does not posses the ability to "use logic" or perform "logical reasoning." "Using logic" or performing "logical reasoning," would be a possible indicator of a certain level of intelligence, but predictable reactions, such as Newtonian action-reaction physics, do not.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Samsword

      So... If, as you say, logic is merely a a tool the human brain uses that "makes sense" of the universe, (and I agree) then logic itself is therefore subjective. If logic is internal to the human perception, assuming that the Universe follows a similar form of logic is presumptuous. Therefore any mathematical or "scientific" approach to understand the universe is invalid, because they are based on human logic, which is subjective to human perception. Likewise we cannot trust "objective observation," because what we observe, would therefore be no more or less than what we THINK we observe, as it too would be bound to subjective human cognition.... So, congrats, you just argued that we can't trust logic or science. 😉

      October 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • HellBent

      "logic is merely a a tool the human brain uses that "makes sense" of the universe, (and I agree) then logic itself is therefore subjective."

      You're as.suming that a tool that the brain uses is necessarily subjective. I don't see why that would be the case.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Samsword

      Because it would mean that logic is based only on our perception of a pattern, and there would be no reason to believe that the pattern itself actually exists... it's only perceived.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Samsword,
      "Likewise we cannot trust 'objective observation,' because what we observe, would therefore be no more or less than what we THINK we observe..."

      To posit the non-existence of reality, is to assume the ability to posit in the first place, such has not been shown.

      If observations are not reliable to a certain degree, then the universe would need to structured in such a way as to be consistently unreliably observed. Such a universe would seem to be at least an order of magnitude more complex than needed if observations were reliable. Occam's razor would indicate that the simpler option is more likely.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Samsword

      Let me illustrate further. If I were to say, "I feel God's presence." You would say, that's not evidence, it's a subjective feeling. If we were to come across graffiti that says "God was here." We, based on past experience, would probably also refute that as evidence for God. We WOULD however assume that it was written by a person. Why? Why would we not assume it was "natural?" Well, because of previous experience and PAST perception, telling us that writing is of human origin. However, if you look at it, we are basing our logical assumption, based off of past personal experience... therefore our "logical" assertion is actually ultimately subjective.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Objective reality exists completely apart from our perception of it. There is a good reason we do not rely solely on our own perception. We also reserve judgement until there is reasonable evidence to support that judgement. If I saw a the message "God was here" spray painted on a rock I would not give it a second thought. That does not mean I know "god" did not write the message, I just have no reason at the moment to believe he did. However if the same message appears in 500 mile wide letters in the sky and persists for several days I might be inclined to actually try to verify its source. The fact that perception can be clouded by our assumptions is the reason for peer review etc.
      I doubt everything, including my own perceptions.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Samsword,
      "However, if you look at it, we are basing our logical assumption, based off of past personal experience... therefore our 'logical' assertion is actually ultimately subjective."

      I think it appears that way only because your example is based off of anecdotal evidence, i.e. personal experience. Granted most people would agree, but change the language in the example to Cuneiform or Linear B and you may not get the same results.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Samsword

      Your point is interesting. But, on the matter of complexity, what determines when something is demonstrating unreliable complexity. One could argue that the universe HAS done so. Have scientific theories changed, evolved, or even been discarded over time? Of course! Theories are often (relatively speaking) being discarded to allow for new ones. Couldn't this be seen merely as trying to "make sense" of an illogical universe. Every discovery leads to new complexities, which in turn leads to logical assumptions as to why such things happen. And then future discoveries destroy those theories. In short, we create theories, based on the assumption that the universe follows a logical order... But those theories are actually coming from internal past knowledge and experience, which may or may not be valid.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Samsword

      @Nonimus BTW good responses! Your answers provide good questions. Love the discussion! Unfortunately, I've got to run to class. But thanks again for the good discussion! Look forward to chatting with you again soon!

      October 12, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      As I've noted , the universe is what it is. Our perception just has to catch up with it. That is what science is all about. At this stage we can only say that there is more to learn and that we may(most likelyl) never be able to know all of it. So far, no evidence of design. And frankly, if someone designed humans, what an idiot.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Samsword,
      Sorry, what I meant by "consistently unreliably observed" is basically that 1+1=2 is wrong, but is consistently always wrong and always wrong in the exact same way, such that it always comes out 2.

      The complexity needed to always produce the exact same wrong answer is hard to imagine. This is the same with other observations such as the age of the Earth where multiple independent observations (radiometric, astronomical, plate tectonics, magnetic striping of rock, meteorite analysis, etc.) result in the same answer.

      October 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Samsword

      @Nominus. I see! Yes... and I totally agree on that point... But that's my point. We can reasonably as-sume that we can use logic to answer the questions of the universe. (As you said, they may be wrong, but they are "consistently wrong.") However, back to the original argument, I would say that such a consistency, would lead us to believe the Universe is in fact logical. Which if, it IS actually logical in it's order, then it could be the result of intelligent organization. I'm merely arguing the possibility of ID. (And more than just a slight possibility too.)

      October 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Samsword

      Really I think it just comes down to being open-minded. There comes a point where too much skepticism is unhealthy. Just as too much belief leads to gullibility, too much skepticism leads to too much doubt. I think a little bit of both (skepticism and belief) is the healthiest option. Atheist zealots are no more justified than religious zealots...

      Anyway, once again, great discussion! Thanks!

      October 12, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Samsword,
      Actually, I have to disagree somewhat. What I'm saying is that there are rational reasons to assume the universe is "logical" in the sense that it is not completely chaotic and unpredictable. That in itself does not provide any evidence for or against ID. So in one sense it does not eliminate the possibility of ID being true.

      However, it also does not support ID in any way. Primarily, because of the lack of any indication whatsoever that the universe was designed. And, secondarily, because of the false assumption that an Intelligent Design would create a logical universe, which is not in evidence.

      So, keeping an open mind allows the possibility, but also limits the plausibility. Because so many things can rationally be explained by natural causes, Occam's razor again indicates that the simpler version is more likely. And, the existence of a supernatural designer, despite appearences, is actually a lot more complicated than natural causes.

      October 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Samsword

      @Nonimus.. You say that a Creator is actually more complicated? How so? Please explain

      October 13, 2011 at 2:58 am |
    • Nonimus

      @Samsword,
      My thinking is that if there is a supernatural creator of our universe, by definition that creator would exist in an environment outside of the known universe. So, first, that requires two environments instead of just our universe and two is more complicated than one. Second, a supernatural ent.ity that is capable of creating our universe would need to be different from known life in significant ways and therefore adds to the total complexity. In other words, if the known or knowable universe is of complexity n, then the addition of a supernatural creator would be at a minimum complexity of n +1, or greater than n.

      My speculation is that the complexity would be more like n^2, due to two complete environments in addition to their interactions, i.e. miracles. However, I think a minimum of n+1 is necessary and sufficient for a "more complex" state.

      Many people seem to think that a god is a simpler answer, but in reality, I think it is hugely more complex. Discussions often degrade to name-calling around this point because many Atheists/Agnostics shortcut this thinking to something like, "Then where did God come from?" To which many Theists shortcut a response of, "He is eternal." Neither of which really get to the complexity aspect of the question. ... In my opinion, anyway.

      Good discussion!

      October 13, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Samsword, why does belief without evidence automatically have some kind of value?
      The closest I can even come to that is the concept described as "Trust, but verify"
      We can even choose to "believe" someone we care about with verifying something, but that is not really belief that is just accepting someones statements because we think it is more important to give that" trust" instead of verifying the truth.
      You can never be too skeptical, but you can ACT upon skepticism to a fault.
      I doubt EVERYTHING, especially myself and I trust no one more than myself.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Samsword

      @Nominus Okay, I can see how that's valid... However, when we look at quantum physics, an "outside" universe becomes very plausible.

      On the other hand, I'm not sure that I necessarily think that a Creator demands being "outside" the universe, (although that is the traditional view.) My PERSONAL view is that God(s) could work within THIS universe. It does require two suppositions though (which I acknowledge)

      It supposes there can in fact be a super-intelligence(s), and that said intelligence can affect the universe on a subatomic level. Through the "vibrations" of the "strings" in string theory (or bubbles or spheres, or whatever we describe them as now...) However, if there are multiple universes, that would also lead to the possibility of multiple Gods, which traditional monotheists might have a fit with. And also, such a being would not necessarily be "omnipotent" in the traditional sense, but rather "ultrapotent.")

      Of course I realize this is ENTIRELY just speculation... but I'm just pointing out, that if we redefine what a "Creator" figure could be, it opens up alternate possibilities.

      October 13, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Samsword

      @Markin Now you're just talking opinions. I can easily throw the question back at you: Why does an ultra-skeptical view have value? Even if my beliefs turn out to be completely wrong... if there truly is no Creator... what have I lost? In my view, my life is valuable, and my belief gives me hope and encourages me to live morally. If there really is no point, then does it really matter? I don't feel like I've "missed out" on life... so if atheism is actually true, then a skeptical life is no better than a "belief-filled" one. According to atheism, "value" is subjective, eh?

      October 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  14. Samsword

    hehe... silly "Born-Again Atheists" go get a real education! 😀

    October 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post is purely ad hominem, at best.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

      October 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Samsword

      I'm sorry, this was not the work of the real Samsword. 😦 I may disagree with athesim, but I prefer civil discussion and debate.

      October 13, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  15. Peter Knibbe

    Rev. Jeffress miss-spoke. Because Mormons are free to leave the CJCLDS organization, they are not members of a cult They are members of a body of people with distinct religious beliefs drawn from the Book of Mormon just as Christians' beliefs are drawn from the Old and New Testaments and Moslems' beliefs are drawn from the Qur'an.

    October 12, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • S

      They might be free to leave – but they are threatened with Hell for leaving. They also lose family ties and if they live in SLC they lose business relationships. And there are cults that force you to stay but there are cults that will allow you to leave. Research them all.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      "They might be free to leave – but they are threatened with Hell for leaving."

      That would pretty much describe a LOT of different xtian denominations. Are you saying they are all cults?

      October 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  16. S

    Yes Mormons or LDS or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints is indeed a CULT. They added additional scriptures. Teach doctrines not accord with the Bible. Were founded by a teenager known for being a magic glass looker, who broke the law in his state. Then the same founder had seven different versions of the first vision (seemingly ignoring Galatians 1:6-8). Brigham Young taught Adam was God, taught that a man could not atone for all his sins – see blood atonement. Even as recently as Gordon B Hinckley was quoted as saying his Jesus was not the Jesus of Christianity.

    Please do some research and dont be blinded or fooled by the LDS public spin.

    October 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Jimtanker

      And a bunch of nut jobs back in 200 CE did the same thing to Judaism. Now they're called christians.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      " Were founded by a teenager known for being a magic glass looker, who broke the law in his state."

      So, if your leader can supposedly perform supernatural acts and breaks the law, his followers are part of a cult? I mean, at least J. Smith wasn't executed by the state for his insurrections. And magic-glass looking is pretty tame compared with, say, alchemy.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The founders of Christianity wrote an unauthorized sequel to the Jewish Holy Book and the Mormons wrote a third book.
      Why is "Torah III – American Jesus" any less credible than "Part II – God's Son" ?

      October 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • ShellBell

      I'm afraid you are the one who needs to do his/her research! The trinitarian doctrine which is the centerpiece of all forms forms protestantism and catholicism is not to be found in the New Testament. It was made up by secular group of people for the purpose of enforcing a public agreement of what was to be the correct doctrine. This happened hundreds of years after the life of Christ and resulted in Nicean Creed which was later modified again and again. The doctrine of the Godhead which is the first article of faith of the LDS church is the only doctrine in agreement with the new testament....so when ministers or others like yourself like to rattle off the lds church not being consistent with historical christianeity, you are only corrrect in that our history goes back to the time of Christ and before and did not start with a manmande council several years later or are the result of the several breakoffs as a result of the reformations which didn't take place until more than a millenium after the Nicene Creed. Yes, the restoration of the fullness of the gospel as taught by Christ did not take place until the 1820's but when it did, it involved Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visiting a humble young man who was searchhing to know the truth. The truth and fruits of the church speak for themselves since that time.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Doc Vestibule,
      "Torah III – American Jesus"

      Love it. 😀

      October 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  17. eyesopened

    When we think of the word cult we think of weak mind people. people that are under control of. well the reality is God created us with FREE WILL and what do we choose to do with it? allow ourself to put it in this world system and embrace it as our parent or CULT, this is why the world is in the state that its in, a little bit at a time eachday we are getting futher and further from the truth and eachother as it shows in our relationship skills. We ALL are little spoiled brats or naughty kids including all those people in washington or any where in this world. The scary part is we are screwed and the politicians know this if the tables were turned youd be saying the same thing, You know they only gave us what we wanted so we cant blame them it our cult and they are the leaders and we are their spoiled subjects. God does say in His word judge not lest thou be judged, Every single time we pass judgement on someone we ourself are guilty of that same thing, its not the end of the world though you can choose to belong to this cult you were born into or you can exersize The free will God has to offer? your call free or slave – wisdom or ignorant- confident or helpless. john 3;16 thats not a cult thats freedom from it, look around stop all your gaming and all your debating and blaming and just walk around in sillence, and listen youll be amazed at how many people are lost gripping on to their cult with all their strength, missing out on life.

    October 12, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Jimtanker

      So you have free will and CHOSE to be ignorant, irrational, and delusional? Well, at least you're good at it.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  18. SATANATHAN

    dumb-dumb-dumb-dumb-dummmmb

    October 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • eyesopened

      see what the Lord means people? His word is flawless judge not lest thou be called out, Its ALL GOOD

      October 12, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  19. Chief Yookeroo

    Not only are mormons cultish, evil, devil-worshipping heathens; they also eat their bread with the BUTTER SIDE DOWN! They are not to be trusted in the least.

    October 12, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • LDSinSC

      Thanks for the best laugh I've had in days! I thought I'd heard all the crazy things about my church, but yours takes the cake! Or should I say bread? Just FYI, I eat my bread (usually homemade) butter side up.

      October 12, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Chief Yookeroo

      I would expect such devious lies from a mormon. There is no doubt that you worship upside down butter and the kinks in your soul allow lies implying the opposite to so easily flow from your tongue.

      October 12, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • LDSinSC

      Well I guess if I lie so easily, your the smartest person on here! Or is that the truth? I guess only my "holy" bread knows for sure!

      October 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Chief Yookeroo

      Your bread is most certainly anything other than holy. I look forward to the end of that terrible town full of those who eat bread with the butter side down.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      Butter Bottoms are the anti-Crust!

      October 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  20. Jessie

    I think I've posted too much b/c this is my second attempt to respond lol oh gosh...this is getting annoying lol there's a great article in the Washington Post written by John Mark Reynolds on "Why Evangelics Must Stand Up to Anti-Mormon Bigotry." Read it. It's really good

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/why-evangelicals-must-stand-up-to-anti-mormon-bigotry/2011/10/10/gIQA06PqZL_blog.html?wprss=on-faith

    October 12, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • hippypoet

      so..... no debate then?

      October 12, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Freethinksman

      "Why Evangelics Must Stand Up to Anti-Mormon Bigotry"

      Why not just ask everyone to stand up for reality? Why is it considered ok to claim that an unseen, omniscient spirit who exists outside of time and space is in control? The bizarre specifics unique to each religion aren't nearly as important as the fact that all this stuff is nonsense. Really. Grow up, children.

      October 12, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • AGuest9

      I had a thoroughly frightening experience this past Sunday. I went to support a family at their grand-daughter's "dedication". Not wishing to start a theological debate, I remained silent during the service, and was respectful of everyone around me. The singing, crying, "laying of hands", and the "waterfall of love" was WAY over the top. It was difficult for me to remain in the room, because I was waiting for kool-aid to be handed out. It was THAT scary that people seem to be overcome by something. The random, stream-of-counciousness babbling and rambling that occurred during the middle of the service made me feel like I should be running out of there and searching for a phone book to call the local mental health emergency line for those people. It was truly bizarre.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • MarkinFL

      I happened upon a religious program while channel surfing and out of curiosity I watched for a while. My daughter walked in asked why the people were acting so weird. (falling on the floor, babbling, swaying with hands in air, etc.) I frankly had a hard time trying to explain this behavior to a very intelligent 14 year old. When she finally got it, she was appalled and embarrassed for these people. That sort of behavior is completely bizarre and represents a total disconnect from reality.

      October 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • claybigsby

      "I happened upon a religious program while channel surfing and out of curiosity I watched for a while. My daughter walked in asked why the people were acting so weird. (falling on the floor, babbling, swaying with hands in air, etc.) I frankly had a hard time trying to explain this behavior to a very intelligent 14 year old. When she finally got it, she was appalled and embarrassed for these people. That sort of behavior is completely bizarre and represents a total disconnect from reality."

      You have a very bright daughter there....product of smart parenting.

      October 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • myklds

      "It was THAT scary that people seem to be overcome by something. The random, stream-of-counciousness babbling and rambling that occurred during the middle of the service made me feel like I should be running out of there and searching for a phone book to call the local mental health emergency line for those people. It was truly bizarre."

      I never know that atheists have been holding Sunday rituals. Now I know, thanks for the info. I'll try to find some time to attend and see by my own eyes how bizzare it is.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • claybigsby

      I never know that atheists have been holding Sunday rituals. Now I know, thanks for the info. I'll try to find some time to attend and see by my own eyes how bizzare it is.

      Nothing is as bizarre as Christianity

      October 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      thought atheists would lie about anything just to further their cause.

      Thanks @AGuest9 for taking away my doubt. You're a peach.

      October 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Hear This

      Carlies Saga,

      1. Your post makes no sense. You had no doubt, but AGuest9 took your no doubt away?!

      2. As others have requested, where is this "lie"? Do you think AGuest9 is not really the 9th Guest? Do you think that he/she didn't go to this ceremony? Do you think that he/she really didn't think that it was creepy/bizarre/insane?

      October 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      @Hear This..

      It was just a mere thought at first until I read his/her post.

      However, if it was really an atheist's ceremony he/she was attending, then I stand myself corrected. Nobody else could make such idiotic acts he/she have mentioned except (atheists) them!

      October 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Hear This

      Carlies Saga,

      I'm thinking that there is some kind of language barrier here... you really aren't making much sense.

      Maybe you don't know what an evangelical Christian baby "dedication" ceremony is? It is often, as AGuest9 described, a radically emotionalistic event, consisting of much hand-waving, chanting, looking piously skyward and all sorts of other ridiculous, magical mumbo jumbo.

      October 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Hear This

      p.s. There are no atheist ceremonies, rituals or anything like that. Do you believe in gnomes, Carlie? If not, you are an agnomist. Many people don't believe in gnomes. Do you all get together and have "dedications" and "baptisms" into agnomism?

      October 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Carlies Saga

      Should there's no atheist rituals or ceremonies, Aguest9 must have been talking about LDS's Sunday Sacrament meeting. Hence, he/she/its was lying.

      The only question there is, that if he/she/its an atheist or not.

      October 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I guess you weren't there on Sunday morning in Trucksville, PA, were you? Whose lying NOW, Carlies?

      October 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • myklds

      @guest

      I've been an active member of The Church of Christ in Latter Day Saint and been attending Sacrament meetings regularly for 37 years but I have never experience (except of the laying of the hand on the head) any of those "bizzare" you've had mentioned.

      I'm not in the position to say who's lying but apparently you were lil misguided or misinformed.

      BTW, I've never been in FLDS meetings, how about you, were you there? It seems that you've been there on Sunday morning.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Hear This

      myklds and Carlies Saga,

      I can't speak for AGuest9, but since I happened to see your posts, and am here at the moment, maybe I can clear up your confusion.

      The first post on this particular thread by @Jessie brings up Evangelical Christians and a few other posters followed suit with similar comments. I think that AGuest9 was referring to an Evangelical Christian ceremony, not an LDS one.

      I hope that AGuest9 stops by and sees this to confirm my take. Many times it's difficult to follow up on our posts here... unless I write down the article name and page number on a piece of paper, I am unlikely to find my previous posts.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      That is also my take. He describes weird Evangelical behavior perfectly.

      October 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • ironic

      @Hear This

      I would rather reserve my comments until Aguest9 confirms your take. Thanks for your thought.

      @Mark

      We (only) sing hyms, partake the Sacrament, listen to the speakers on regular Sudays and/or share/listen testimonies during First Sunday of the month. Yet, we are evangelicals.

      Generalizing is too much for this board, better keep it inside your shelf.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Not meant to imply all Evangelicals act like this. But, the ones that do tend to be evangelicals. I do consider them one of the fringe elements of Christianity.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.