Christian who came out of the cults (especially out of the door knocking variety, like JWs and Mormons)...?
Have you ever given serious thought to what Paul says in Romans 10:1-4 and how it applies to the group you formerly belonged to? Do you now realize that:
1. Your former zeal was "without knowledge”?
2. The works-based gospel of your former cult was a paltry effort to establish your own righteousness instead of submitting to God's righteousness?
3. That Paul makes the point that those who do this are not saved, but are still in bondage because they cannot become righteous apart from God’s plan of salvation?
4. How filled with gratitude are you that Calvary saved you from the bondage of the works-based Gospel, allowing you to experience the true Grace of God?
Ok, for the benefit of those who don't understand the THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE of what is a cult, here you go (the sociological perspective also applies to these groups):
Members are taught that the cult is the sole beacon of truth and salvation and that they will lose their salvation if they leave it.
Christianized terminology is redefined in order to promote confusion and deception.
High doses of man-made, non-Biblical teachings are promoted as Gospel truths.
Doctrinal changes and extra-Biblical teachings may be labeled as direct revelation from God and regarded as on par with--or even superior to Biblical revelation.
Works-based systems of theology are touted as the means to “earn” salvation.
Jesus is perceived as a "way-shower" but not THE WAY.
Christ’s Deity is completely denied.
The last three points are of the utmost concern, for the Bible warns of accepting “another gospel” and “another Jesus” than those revealed in Scripture (2 Corinthians 11:3, 4)
I repeat: The question if for true CHRISTIANS who have come OUT of cults. The first two posters obviously don't even have a clue as to what the question, let alone Paul's words, even mean. When you experience GRACE, then you'll know and can answer with some authority. Maybe next time. . .
Oh, no, dear, not MY definition. You will get this definition from any Christian pastor or theologian who is well acquainted with cult theology and how it diverges from Biblical theology. It never ceases to amaze me how some people will trot out all of the usual accusations in an effort to remain steeped in denial.
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE (pt 1)
Cults and other spiritually abusive groups employ the same power and control techniques that abusive individuals use.
The following list contains many of the most commonly employed tactics.
Control members through rigid sets of rules and standards (legalism).
Require complete and unquestioning adherence to the demands of the leadership.
Use threats and fear of punishment to control and maintain the membership, (i.e. disciplinary hearings, expulsion, shunning).
Use shame and guilt to control members (i.e. public humiliation, questioning loyalty).
Restrict access to outside information or interpersonal relationships (encouraging total dependency on the group).
Prohibit independent thinking or study.
Heavily indoctrinate members. (Cultists tend to give automatically conditioned responses when questioned by outsiders).
Sweep errors and even unlawful/abusive behaviors of the leadership under the rug.
Thrive on secrecy, often having their own vocabulary, hand signals, or symbols.
Persecute those they perceive as a threat, especially those who have defected.
Expect or demand large financial contributions/relinquishing of possessions.
Facilitate an elitist mind-set (i.e. believe they are the only “chosen ones”).
NOTE: Due to the extreme mental and emotional duress caused by such methods, it is not uncommon for psychosomatic, emotional, or mental illnesses to result.
Thanks for asking, F.B! Now, any Mental health professional who is familiar with the cult agenda, will back me up on this, so this is not MY definition!
Think these passages do not apply to the cults? Get yourself a REAL Bible translation, such as the King James Version, read in context, and pray over these passages. If the blinders are truly lifted off, then the light of God's Word will shine through.
Thanks to all of the true Christians who responded with wonderful stories of how Jesus Christ rescued you from bondage. Remember that Paul said that where the Spirit of the Lord truly is, there is LIBERTY--not bondage. If anyone is lacking joy in their worship, trying to procure salavation thru a works-based gospel, and failing to feel that they have a close personal relationship with their creator, based on gratitude and grace, please think about these things and pray that God's Spirit of truth will lead you into all truth, just as Christ promised he would. Don't take man's word for it--take God'sWord ALONE.
- qman31500Lv 51 decade agoFavourite answer
Cult is a loaded word but accurate for Mormonism if you define a theological cult as being fundamentally different from the religion it sprang from or compares to. So you're right on. Sociological cults are a bit harder to define, but again for Mormonism, the authoritarian culture, public declaration of truth regardless of what you really believe for social acceptance, and yes, they're a cult on that level.
But are they damned? That's strikes close to home since my father who passed away just six months ago was a very active, true believing Mormon. Honorable man, very decieved, and I've felt his presence a few times since his death and feel that he's at peace now. So I'd love to believe God was mercyful, he knows the real Jesus, and is in heaven.
But the scriptures you cite are powerful indeed. Galatians 5 is one I quote often where Paul called those who add to faith in Christ their own requirements...are CURSED. Mormons believe that God called prophets, those prophets in turn instituted crucial ordinances for the salvation of man, and therefore, ya gotta have 'em or "the power of Godliness is not made manifest unto man."
But in the case of Mormonism, a quick scan of what their prophets have said is required to be in the highest Mormon heaven or the celestial kingdom and...literally no one can meet the criteria. Isn't that sad, that they've embraced a works-based gospel that literally no person can meet? Pray for them.
- 1 decade ago
Yes on all counts--a BIG, resounding YES! Praise God!
You've got some great responses here, as well as some . . . er . . . I don't know how to catorgorize some of these that are kind of off the wall, but I'd like to respond to some of those:
Ronnie T: I suppose it's a lie because YOU say it is? Well, then I suppose that the great Christians apologists such as DR. Walter Martin, Ron Rhodes, and Norman Geisler are all liars, too, then? As far as being commanded to knock on doors, there is no such command to be found anywhere in Scripture, including the usual Matt. 18:19, 20, which says nothing whatsoever about knocking on doors. There are many avenues of sharing the Gospel without being restricted to one method.
Anne: I think Simon stipulated that this is the theological definition of a cult. The dictionary is only going to give you a secular definition. Go to a Christian encyclopedia. Would you expect to glean a wealth of info. about cancer from a dictionary? Would you not go to a MEDICAL encyclopedia? What you propose is like going to a dermatologist for heart surgery.
Francesca: Christianity is NOT a cult. We don't follow man--we follow GOD. I thought even a Deist would know the difference.
Way: Prove Paul's ideas were completely different from Jesus' ideas. Show some discrepencies. Paul DID meet Jesus--the Risen and Glorified Jesus! Ever read the account in Acts?
Lavender: you are so off-base about what Christians believe and about Catholics worshipping the Pope, that your post is completely off the charts. I have other issues with Catholicism, but they do not worship the Pope. This is the same kind of Watchtower indoctrination that teaches that Christians worship the cross, which is completely ludicrous! When SOME of the extremely devout Catholics kiss the Pope's ring, it is a sign of respect and recognition of his authority, nothing more. They also do not worship the statues of the saints. As a Bible-believing Christian, what I disagree with is the praying to the Saints, because our Mediator is One--Jesus Christ. They are wrong in that regard. Your attack of the Trinity doctrine is a whole separate issue and one you are trying to force into the context, in typical JW fashion. I am not the least bit surprised at that as it is part of your WT indoctrinaton. Rather than disproving that the JWs are a cult, you actually reinforce the argument by showing how well-trained you are at skirting issues and remaining steeped in denial.
Hey, Simon, how about sharing the sociological perspective you mention? I'm quite sure there must be something about indoctrination psychology on that list.
Steve S.: The BIBLE is the authority on what is a cult and if the gospel being taught is one that is described in Simon's 2 Corinthians 11: 3, 4, passage, then it qualifies. There is no way to tap dance around that one, no matter how the cults try!
- Nina, BaCLv 71 decade ago
This is a great question!
I have never been a part of cult but I know how hard it is to have a change. I was baptized as a baby and when I made my decision to be baptized again, I knew that I was doing the right thing but I had this really weird feeling that I am going against everything that my parents had tried to do for me. I knew that this is a decision I needed to make for myself, and no matter how much my parents wanted to save me by baptism, my salvation is not about the baptism.
So, there is a lot of relearning even for the people who have been Christians from the childhood and stayed with it. I personally walked away from God once, and i am so happy He did not give up on me. It has been learning ever since. Intimate personal relationship with God is wonderful, I have so much gratitude toward what Jesus did for me on the cross.
- 1 decade ago
This is for Ronnie BT and Anne. First of all, Where is the lie?
and Anne, why don't you look up the word cult in the dictionary and the encylopedia, if you don't believe what the writer of this question has to say. Plus, What do you think is the meaning of a Cult? Do you just think it's a group of people like Jamestown or the Moonies or David Koresh, if you do, then I suggest you do some deeper research.
- What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
- 4 years ago
We Jehovah's Witnesses are a religion. I believe the same of the Mormons. Do you belong to a cult?
- Grey TowerLv 71 decade ago
It is impossible to realise you are in a cult when you passionately and trully believe you have "the truth". It is impossible to admit that you could be wrong, because that would destroy your entire life - spiritual and social. The penalties for questioning, challenging, doing independent research or saying, "No" are dire. Even if you do harbour doubts, you realise it would be futile if not downright dangerous, to voice them. So you keep quiet and carry on.
I was brought up from birth into a staunch JW family and I literally had to leave the country before I could free myself from their clutches. It was a painful and protracted process. However, the Holy Spirit led me to a place of repentance and Grace, and the freedom, the joy, the delight I experienced! Where had I been all my life? How could I not have realised the beauty, the divinity of Jesus? I had been blinded to the truth of the Gospel by false doctrine.
It is vital that we express our gratitude by sharing our testimony with others, by constantly, patiently reaching out in Christian love to expose error when we come across it. But we must always remember that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict others. We can only be tools, vessels used by God and it is never our place to judge or condemn.
It's funny but because I was so passionate about my beliefs when I was a JW, I am now equally passionate about showing up the false doctrines of the Watch Tower Society and trying to get people to see how they have been taught a different Gospel. Upon reflection, I must thank the JW's for all the skills they taught me in public speaking and going from door to door to spread the word. I wouldn't be half the witness I am today without some of their input!
- Carol DLv 51 decade ago
THERE is a difference—a big difference—between education and propaganda. Education shows you how to think. Propaganda tells you what to think. Good educators present all sides of an issue and encourage discussion. Propagandists relentlessly force you to hear their view and discourage discussion. Often their real motives are not apparent. They sift the facts, exploiting the useful ones and concealing the others. They also distort and twist facts, specializing in lies and half-truths. Your emotions, not your logical thinking abilities, are their target.
The propagandist makes sure that his message appears to be the right and moral one and that it gives you a sense of importance and belonging if you follow it. You are one of the smart ones, you are not alone, you are comfortable and secure—so they say.
Propagandist can be equated to cults and cultists
I find this view interesting, I will explain why later.
These words are quotes from the WBTS. Within its own writings are warnings about the same type of activities, coaxing, hypnotic speech, moral misdirection, promises of being the only way to salvation, a false sense of belonging, distortions of facts, emotional targeting, one-sided presentations, forcefully promoting ONLY their message (discouraging listening/reading/accessing any opposing (aka apostate) banning all other information.
Sounds cultish to me, does it not to you.
Like others' posts, while in the organization, one finds it difficult to realize just how their actions, thoughts, speech, activities are being manipulated, but once freed, it becomes quite clear. This is one reason why those who have escaped are so passionate about exposing the cult to those still trapped within its clutches.
- 1 decade ago
Oh, I absolutely did consider this comparison, when I finally came out of bondage, experienced grace, and stumbled on these verse. The Apostle Paul was speaking to the Roman Christians about the Jews who had not accepted Christ as Savior, but there is definitely merit to considering his words in relation to the cults. Paul's point was that while we are running around trying to do enough "works" to achieve righteousness and salvation, we completely miss the grace of God, which is the only thing that truly saves. I am reminded of the verse in Isaiah that says that all of our human righteousness amounts to filthy rags before God.
Without grace, we simply can never do enough or be good enough to effect our own salvation. That is the whole reason Jesus had to offer Himself up as an atonement for our sins. Nothing less would have sufficed. Without Calvary, we would be still under bondage to the Mosaic Law which was all about working to achieve righteousness in God's sight and continuing to fall miserably short of that goal.
The Apostle Paul also said that the true gospel would bring liberty. Jesus said it would set the captives free. And we are told that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". No more jumping through man's hoops for me! Today, I am truly free by the grace of God! Hallelujah, Lord Jesus! I now serve Him purely out of love and gratitude and not out of ulterior motives, such as to secure my own salvation or to please the powers that be!
- achtung_heissLv 71 decade ago
The Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses is not a cult.
An adherent of the religion is actually required to demonstrate accurate bible knowledge before he can qualify for baptism. Witnesses recognize that salvation is an undeserved "free gift" which cannot be "earned" by works.
It would seem that a true Christian would recognize the bible as the only tangible source of divine truth available today, and would submit himself to the bible's teaching on any matter. Of course, the bible does not teach as the questioner pretends....
- 1 decade ago
Eleven years after leaving the Jehovah's Witness religion, and five years after becoming a True Christian, I'm just beginning to understand the cultic mentality that has carried over into my current beliefs. After all these years, I now understand that the unexplained depression was rooted in the indoctrination of my past. With God's help, I'm now weeding out the legalism that stood in the way of experiencing the GRACE of God.
This is the beginning of recovery for me. I still have a long way to go, but I'm starting to find out who I really am and how much God loves me. I finally feel free and happy! But, of course, Satan isn't happy about this and likes to throw wrenches into my life. But he can NOT still my joy.
"The joy of the LORD is my strength!" - Nehemiah 8:10