As we begin our brief study on the next cult, Mormonism or Latter Day Saints,
it would be good to repeat the dictionary definintions of a cult:
1. A system or community of religious worship and ritual,
2. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or bogus
3. Obsessive devotion or veneration for a person, principle, or ideal, especially when regarded as a fad.
(Taken from The American Heritage Dictionary.)
These definintions accurately describe the cults we will be covering especially number 2, for the majority of the cults found in the USA have an obsessive devotion or veneration for a person, the one who began the cult and established the system of beliefs held by the adherents/members. This is especially true of Mormonism/Latter Day Saints.
It began with Joseph Smith in 1827 who claimed that a man named Moroni, who lived about 42 A.D., received a sacred record and was told to bring it forth in the latter days! Smith says when he was 14 years old a heavenly messenger name Moroni appeared to him and revealed the existence of engraved golden plates hidden in a hill between Palmyra and Manchester, New York. Four years later, on September 22, 1827 the plates were delivered to Smith along with instruments called 'interpreters' (Urim and Thummim) by which he translated the cryptic characters supposedly found on the plates into the Book of Mormon which was published in 1830.
Joseph Smith, a man of great superstitions, was born in 1805 to a father who sold blessings, and a mother who was a fortune-teller. Joseph Smith was a man of great immorality which he attempted to dignify by fabricating a religion which exalts polygamy as it was one of the first three principles. He had forty-nine wives and was imprisoned by the farmers whose daughters he had taken in polygamy. He died in 1844 when the farmers mobbed the jail and murdered him.
Brigham Young, who was Smith's successor, and later a 'prophet' of Mormonism, was born in 1801 and died in 1877. In 1837 he was elected one of the twelve apostles. When Smith was murdered in 1844, Young was chosen president of the Mormon 'church' and was expelled from Illinois which led to their journey to the west where he founded Salt Lake City. He had seventeen wives and forty-seven children. There was a split between the 'Josephites' and the 'Brighamites'. The Josephites, followers of Smith, established headquarters in Independence, Missouri and called themselves 'The Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints'.
Both still claim that Joseph Smith was the greatest prophet next to Jesus Christ, both regard the Book of Mormon to be inspired so both are considered Mormons. The word Mormon means both which implys their belief in the book of Mormon and the Bible which is based on a perversion of Ezekiel 37:19,20. This passage refers to the 'stick of Joseph' and the 'stick of Judah' which has been twisted to mean the Book of Mormon and the Bible which is never mentioned or even hinted at in the Word of God! Both have taught and practiced polygamy when permitted and list twenty-two doctrines upon which they both agree.