Recently, I was interviewed by Clint Cooper, the Faith Editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He asked my thoughts on Mormonism, Christianity, the upcoming election, etc. Here is what I wrote . . .
Mormonism is a cult. However, the answer as to whether anything is a cult hinges on the definition of the word cult. The ESV Study Bible defines a cult with the greatest clarity of what I would consider the average evangelical would probably say regarding this important word:
A “cult” is any religious movement that claims to be derived from the Bible and/or the Christian faith, and that advocates beliefs that differ so significantly with major Christian doctrines that two consequences follow: (1) The movement cannot legitimately be considered a valid “Christian” denomination because of its serious deviation from historic Christian orthodoxy. (2) Believing the doctrines of the movement is incompatible with trusting in the Jesus Christ of the Bible for the salvation that comes by God’s grace alone (Ephesians 2:8–9). [p. 2631][i]
Mormons are polytheistic universalists who deny that Jesus is the eternal son of God. When people hear the word cult, they usually think of sensational followers of charismatic leaders like members of “Heaven’s Gate” who followed the Comet Hale-Bopp and committed mass-suicide by eating applesauce laced with cyanide and arsenic, with vodka as their chaser while wearing matching Nikes.
Don’t confuse cults for only being a part of the sensational or sociologically-inept.
Will Governor Romney’s theological waywardness make any difference in Christians’ decision in the voting booth on November 6th? To some, it may. I doubt it will make much of any dent, though. 40% of Americans don’t know what faith Governor Romney claims.[ii] Only 22% of Americans are uncomfortable with his theological convictions.[iii] Antithetically, less than half of Americans believe President Obama is a Christian, and 65% in that same poll are uncomfortable with the President’s faith.
As for me, I will vote based upon policy, leadership skills, and who I perceive will most likely lead the country in the direction I believe is best. My number one policy issue is overturning Roe v. Wade. Since 1973, there have been 30 times more babies aborted than the number of Americans lost in all U.S. Wars.[iv] Governor Romney is pro-life, and President Obama is pro-choice. I am not voting on a theologian-in-chief, I’m voting for a commander-in-chief who will set policy in motion to transition the trajectory of our country one way or another. I’d rather vote for a member of a cult who will prevent the murder of babies in the womb than for a President who would appoint a Supreme Court Justice to uphold the legalization of something that leads to more lives lost in two months than did the holocaust in twelve years.
[i] I gathered this quote from reading the article, “Is Mormonism A Cult” by Denny Burk, accessed 28 September 2012: http://www.dennyburk.com/is-mormonism-a-cult/.
[ii] “Little Voter Discomfort with Romney’s Mormon Religion”, accessed 28 September 2012: http://www.pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/2012-romney-mormonism-obamas-religion.aspx.
[iv] John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Facts On Abortion (Chattanooga: ATRI Publishing, 2011), preface.