Cults & Heresies

Mormonism: Its Origin, Characteristics, And Doctrines

(About this series)

CHAPTER IX - MORMONISM: ITS ORIGIN, CHARACTERISTICS, AND DOCTRINES

BY REV. R. G. MCNIECE, D. D., FOR TWENTY YEARS PRIOR TO 1897, PASTOR OF FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

The writer has lived in Salt Lake City, the official headquarters of Mormonism, for over thirty years, and he has improved the opportunity to secure a complete understanding of the system. In the great Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, during a whole generation, he has heard Mormonism expounded and defended, again and again, by its chief officials—by President Brigham Young, and President John Taylor, and their successors, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith. In various Mormon meeting-houses, also, from Idaho to Arizona, he has heard the system set forth by many of its chief apostles, bishops, and elders. Read more about Mormonism: Its Origin, Characteristics, And Doctrines

Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

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CHAPTER VIII MILLENNIAL DAWN A COUNTERFEIT OF CHRISTIANITY

BY PROFESSOR WILLIAM G. MOOREHEAD, D. D., UNITED PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, XENIA, OHIO

Six rather bulky volumes, comprising in all some 2,000 pages, are published by the “Watch Tower and Tract Society” of Brooklyn, N. Y. The author of this work is Mr. Charles T. Russell. Formerly his publications issued from “Zion’s Watch Tower”, Pittsburgh, Pa. They then bore the somewhat ostentatious title, “Millennial Dawn,” (1886). The volumes now bear the more modest inscription, “Studies in the Scriptures”, (1911). Why the change in the title is made can only be conjectured. Some rather severe criticism and strictures of the views advocated in these books have brought Millennial Dawn into disrepute in the minds of many people, and accordingly we think the former title has been dropped and the later and less objectional one substituted for it. Some color is given to this conjecture by the fact that certain evangelical terms are applied to the movement of which Mr. Russell is the head, as, e. g., “People’s Pulpit of Brooklyn”, “International Bible Students’ League”, “Brooklyn Tabernacle”, “Bible House and Tract Society”, (Our Hope, Feb., 1911). The later title and the various names now freely used tend to allay suspicion and to commend the propaganda of Mr. Russell and his followers to the Christian public. Read more about Millennial Dawn: A Counterfeit of Christianity

In that peaceful Amish countryside... an outbreak of beard-snipping

“The beard is a key symbol of masculine Amish identity,” said Donald B. Kraybill, a sociologist and expert on the Amish at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. The women view their long hair, kept in a bun, as their “glory,” Dr. Kraybill said, and shearing it was “an attack on her personal identity and religious teaching.”

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Is Mormonism a "Cult"?

A media “firestorm” (mostly a “manufactured” controversy, I have little doubt) arose recently when Robert Jeffress, pastor of historic First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, and a strong supporter of Texas Governor and presidential candidate Rick Perry, declared that Mormonism, the religion of rival candidate Mitt Romney, was a cult. Some in and out of the media expressed concern, disdain, even outrage at this insensitive, even, some said, bigoted remark. Regardless of the response to Pastor Jeffress’ words, the real question is—did he speak the truth? Is Mormonism in fact a non-Christian cult?

The first issue in settling such a question is the matter of definitions. What is a “cult”? I have seen various definitions, but have settled on my own, which is more of a characterization than strictly a definition.

What is a cult?

First, cults claim to be “real” or “restored” Christianity, which had somehow been “lost” somewhere between the first century and the time of the founding of the cult.

Second, cults are almost uniformly non-Trinitarian (most are Unitarian, but some are polytheistic).

Third, cults teach de facto or de jure the inadequacy and incompleteness of the revelation in Scripture, and hence the need for two things:

  1. a new inspired prophet or prophets (usually beginning with if not limited to the founder of the cult);
  2. further divine revelations, which are communicated through that prophet.

Fourth, cults, as with all false religions, teach salvation by means of human religious works.

Fifth, there is no salvation outside the cult. Read more about Is Mormonism a "Cult"?

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