When Christian evangelical leader
Robert Jeffress told
the crowd at the Christian right Values Voter Summit that
presidential hopeful Rick Perry is "a genuine follower of Jesus
Christ" and later said Mitt Romney is not a Christian and that
Mormonism is a cult, he opened a can of worms that should cause
"revealed" religious people to reflect.
First off, what is a Christian and "a genuine follower of Jesus Christ?"
There are about 38,000 different Christian denominations and sects. As the great freethinker Robert Ingersoll said, "Every sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed his will to man. To each reader the Bible conveys a different meaning." The ambiguity of the Bible causes ambiguity in Christianity. This is an embarrassing fact that Christian leaders don't usually address publicly. For example, in the Christian classic, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Lewis does not confront this problem as is pointed out in An Answer to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity (for the Kindle version click here).
When Jeffress said Perry is "a genuine follower of Jesus Christ," does that mean that Perry has followed the command which the Bible says that Jesus said at Luke 18:18-25 to "sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me"? Of course not! And neither has Jeffress nor any of the well known Christian evangelists!
The popular definition of a cult is "a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre." (I prefer the definition of cult as, "an embracing of unreasonable beliefs by a group of people.") To say that the Mormon "revealed" religion is a cult but Christianity is not, Jeffress needs to do severe mental gymnastics. For example, believing that a virgin teenage girl is pregnant with the son of God is a bizarre belief. And when the story was first told, it was probably considered abnormal.
The Mormon "revealed" religion would also be considered a cult in that it, too, has "abnormal or bizarre" beliefs. The Book of Mormon itself is based on nonsense. The founder of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, claimed that an angel showed him the place where golden plates were buried. These golden plates had written on them "sacred" texts written in a make believe language of "reformed Egyptian", according to Smith. Smith "dictated a translation using a seer stone in the bottom of a hat, which he placed over his face to view the words written within the stone." When asked to show the golden plates to others, Smith said the angel told him not show them to anyone. However, he eventually, and allegedly, showed them to eleven men who were his close associates. He then returned the golden plates to the angel. Smith's translation of the alleged golden plates is the Book of Mormon.
The Mormons exhibited cult like actions which would be inline with the cult, the Manson family, operated by Charles Manson. Manson's brain polluted followers committed eight murders on orders from Manson in 1969. The Mormons murdered 120 men, women and children in Mountain Meadows, Utah on September 11, 1857. It is known as the Mountain Meadows massacre.
Like the other "revealed" religions, many people have left the Mormon Church because of its unreasonable claims. One such person is Richard Williamson. Richard was a High Priest in the Mormon Church. He explains why he left the Mormon "revealed" religion and describes some of the profound benefits of leaving it behind. He wrote, "The greatest thing about my journey out of Mormonism is the new truths I have learned along the way. I have become one who is hungry for knowledge of new things. It feels good and right to jettison the old myths that are not productive in the least, in helping me in my quest for enlightenment. Until one finds the courage to take the journey to learn the truth on their own, to challenge and investigate with an open mind, setting aside their fear of the truth, they are confined to live a life of self imposed limits."
Hopefully people currently trapped in Mormonism and other fear based "revealed" religions will follow Richard's example and value their God-given reason over man-made religions.