Skip to comments.On America, Land of Cults
Posted on 04/15/2009 6:12:41 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
An American cult is what happens when radical individualism meets religion and philosophy.
A cult becomes cut off from the mainstream of traditional religion and the global community of faith. It begins to converse only with self. This dangerous isolation is an important topic, as American religious communities such as the Episcopal Church drift in this direction. Mainstream global Christians do not delight in this drift as they recognize the temptations of the cult all too well from their own temptations to isolation.
Extreme stories litter the paper every day that show the consequences of isolation. Cults begin to delight in their edgy behaviors and to call what the rest of the world calls wrong something good.
Why is America a particular breeding ground for cults?
The root is in a misapplication of good American ideas.
Americans rightly rejoice in their heritage of legal and political equality, but the usefulness of an idea can have limits. Positive political ideas can be toxic when misapplied to other areas. Treating the ideas of individuals equally is excellent for society in the voting booth, but not so good in the laboratory or the parish.
Liberty is a very good thing, but so is excellence, and there is noteworthy tension between these two goods. American society mostly has done a good job allowing for moral excellence, virtue, while being cautious about imposing too much virtue on dissenters.
There is much to fear when culture gets the balance wrong. Liberty can always devolve into the merely libertine while excellence can become the tyranny of the experts. Humane society cannot survive either extreme for long.
Traditional Christianity asserts the importance of both liberty and excellence. Christianity asserts the essential freedom of human to choose his path. God Himself let Adam and Eve choose and face the consequences of that choice. Christianity also asserts that while human beings are created equally in the image of God, all human ideas are not equal. Some ideas are true and some are false.
No king, rich man, or mob can decide what is true, good, and beautiful.
A cult gets the proper tension wrong in two ways. First, in its relationship to the outside world it is radically autonomous, defying dialogue with the broader community in the name of what it claims to know. Second, internally it often demands a rigid suppression of thought and dissent in the name of community standards.
This is dangerous, because religion, like any field of knowledge, is powerful, complex, and fraught with peril for small communities. Cults have at least two characteristics that make them likely to go bad: they refuse to defend their beliefs using reason and they never or rarely change their minds based on external ideas.
All of us are tempted to talk only to a small group of like-minded folk, but, as recent revelations about left-of-center media lists reveal, such conversations become dull and predictable. Fringe members of the community begin to press the envelope and if the community is not careful then dangerous ideas can be mainstreamed in the small group.
Too little dissent can create a groupthink that slowly allows genuinely frightening ideas to gradually gain credence. The lazy tolerance for anti-Semitism that manifests itself in certain leftist web sites is one example of how otherwise sane groups can be hijacked by too much conformity.
Much of the new atheism presently suffers from the perils of this intellectual inbreeding. Of course, traditional Christians can give this warning, because they have bitter experience of these dangers.
There is another danger in talking about cults for more mainstream religious and non-religious people. We can misuse the term by applying it to any person with strong religious beliefs, especially if they are in the minority. If cults are in danger of close-mindedness, some Americans avoid this error by going to the opposite extreme. They associate any strongly held religious opinions with close-mindedness or cultic behavior.
This is a dangerous mistake that can cut off valuable conversations.
For example, while most reasonable Americans believe in God, it would wrong to say that all strong-minded atheists are in a secular cult. A few extreme secularists may fall into the cult trap, as the founders of the American Atheist organization did, but their failure is not because they have unpopular views or express them forcefully.
Cult members are very opinionated, but that does not mean every religiously opinionated person is part of a cult. Thinking you are right is normal, having disdain for everyone who disagrees with you is cult-like. My own strong religious views have benefited by being tested by reading scholars who disagree with me, ranging from Pope Benedict XVI to Michael Ruse. Both the Pope and Ruse hold their views strongly, but reasonably, and are not isolated from a global conversation.
Overuse of the term cult in the public square sometimes substitutes for actual arguments with thoughtful dissenting groups. As a traditional Christian I have serious theological disagreements with my friends in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), but it is wrong to label them a cult.* Any quick search will show LDS are willing to defend their views using arguments accessible to non-LDS. These arguments have changed under pressure from counter-arguments from non-LDS scholars and improved. I am not persuaded, to say the least, by these arguments, but LDS willingness to produce careful and responsive scholarship is a nearly infallible sign that they are no cult.
America has long operated with hazy, but generally Christian, moral consensus. America has typically tried to provide maximum liberty to those who dissent in a way that is consistent with social order. For example, the government would not allow polygamous marriages, but would tolerate some types of religious dissent from forced government schooling.
Hopefully, if this consensus changes over time, the tension between religious liberty and social order will be maintained and continue to tip ever so slightly in favor of dissenting views. Todays cult, after all, might be tomorrows received wisdom. The humility to recognize that this is true is also an important part of a good and reasonable society.
*The word cult has popular, technical philosophic and theological uses. Some technical theological uses of the word cult might apply to LDS, but I am speaking of the use of the term in newspapers like the Washington Post. ExileStreet
He said — Some technical theological uses of the word cult might apply to LDS, but I am speaking of the use of the term in newspapers like the Washington Post.
Well, it’s good that he knows the difference from “cults” in a theological sense which are “non-Christian” — like the two biggest cults in the United States, Mormon and Jehovahs Witnesses — versus — the popular terminology for “cult” as in the newspapers. They are two different things.
I’m glad he’s able to distinguish from non-Christian *cult groups* (like Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses) and “cults” in a general sense (as in the newspapers).
What will be most awakening is that day of reckoning when those who denied those who were Christians LDS and for those who thought they were Christians and the Lord says I never knew you!
It’s been pretty well established that the teaching of “Mormon” church is not the teaching of historic, basic and foundational Christianity...
In addition to that, I’m absolutely sure that Mormons fully agree with that, too...
They agree with it so well, that they will assert that the “teachings” of historic, basic and foundational Christianity are simply the “teachings of man” and not from God, and that “they” (i.e., “Mormons”) have the true Gospel from God, via Joseph Smith, their so-called prophet, who *also* said that the teachings of Christianity (when he observed the various churches in his day) were *not* the true teachings.
It’s way beyond any dispute that the teachings of Mormonism are not the teachings of Christianity...
What will be most awakening is that day of reckoning when those who denied those who were Christians LDS and for those who thought they were Christians and the Lord says I never knew you!
Can you rephrase that. I'm having difficulty parsing it.
I often think restornu is obtuse on purpose. Basically I take her post to mean:
You will rue the day that you called LDS unChristian. For the day will come when you who call yourselves Christian will stand before the Lord and He will say, “I never knew you.”
Is that what you were trying to say, resty?
Its been pretty well established that the teaching of Mormon church is not the teaching of historic, basic and foundational Christianity...
In addition to that, Im absolutely sure that Mormons fully agree with that, too...
They agree with it so well, that they will assert that the teachings of historic, basic and foundational Christianity are simply the teachings of man and not from God, and that they (i.e., Mormons) have the true Gospel from God, via Joseph Smith, their so-called prophet, who *also* said that the teachings of Christianity (when he observed the various churches in his day) were *not* the true teachings.
Its way beyond any dispute that the teachings of Mormonism are not the teachings of Christianity...
Established by whom the opponents of world towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints?
No one has the right to speak for the Lord but those that Lord calls.
Just because one has a world collection of opinions do not make it so!
Have your opinion but it only your opinion!:)
As I said it should be a day of sobering!
Be carefull of what one says about another that it will not come back and bit them!
"You shall rue this day...well go on, start rueing!!!"
You said and/or asked — Established by whom the opponents of world towards The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints?
No, that’s established by the Mormons themselves, and by Joseph Smith. They have clearly posted here on this site, that those “doctrines” of Christianity, which are those historic, basic and foundational teachings *are not* the true Gospel according to Mormons and their teachings. It’s been said, right here on Free Republic that these are simply the “doctrines of men” (that’s a favorite phrase of some from Mormonism... it seems... LOL...)
And it’s also established that Joseph Smith, himself, has said that those teachings that he saw in the churches (in his day) and that he had to “restore” the Gospel (since it “obviously” wasn’t there in his time... :-)
So, this is pretty well established by Mormons, themselves...
What Do the Founders
of These Great American Cults
Have in Common?
Kabbalah - Founded by a former insurance salesman, Phillip Berg
(now known as Rav) - is a Jewish cult, based on "ancient secrets".
Scientology - Founded by a former vacuum cleaner salesman,
and frustrated sci-fi writer, L. Ron Hubbard.
EST - Founded by a former door-to-door salesman, Werner Erhard
"Prophet" Edgar Cayce - a former insurance salesman
Mormonism - Founded by a former treasurer-seeker, Joseph Smith
From chapter two of Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves*
*© 2000 by Steven Hassan; published by Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville MA
Destructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basic components, which form the acronym BITE:
It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mind controlled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently.
Note: The following information was submitted by a former Mormon
I. Behavior Control
1. Regulation of individuals physical reality
a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
Yes. The church first sends the missionary to a specific mission, and then that missions president assigns the missionary to a specific geographical area with a specific companion. The pair must seek permission to leave the boundaries of their area, and must be together 24/7. They must always be in the same room as each other, except when going to the bathroom.
b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
The church gives them detailed instructions on permissible clothing and hairstyles.
c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
Coffee, tea, alcohol and tobacco are forbidden. Whether or not you abstain from caffienated soft drinks is often considered an indication of your level of dedication. Missionaries are sometimes instructed to reject dinner invitations with members of the church, unless the member also invites a non-member to the dinner party.
d. How much sleep the person is able to have
Missionaries must arise by 6:30 A.M. and retire by 10:30 P.M.
e. Financial dependence
The church gives each missionary a small allowance of money on a monthly basis (each missionary is required to give a specific amount--something like $400 to the church per month. It is typically paid by the parents. The church then gives an allowance to each missionary based upon the cost of living in their mission. For example, a missionary in Japan might receive $1000 per month, while a missionary in Honduras might receive $65 per month.)
f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations
Missionaries are allowed 8.5 hours per week of Preparation Time. In this Preparation Time they are expected to wash clothes, shop, get haircut, clean apartment, write letters home, and if any time is left engage in approved recreational and cultural activities. No entertainment or vacations.
2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals
Missionaries are required to study from the approved material for 2 hours every morning, and have frequent meetings of further training meetings.
3. Need to ask permission for major decisions
Yes, permission must be sought for almost anything.
4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors
Yes. Detailed logs of the missionaries activities are kept and sent to the mission president on a weekly basis. They have monthly one-on-one meetings with the mission president, who interrogates them regarding their thoughts, feelings, worthiness, and so forth.
5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative).
If you obey the rules, are loyal, and work hard, you will be promoted to be a leader over other missionaries. A District Leader supervises a group of about 6 missionaries, a Zone Leader supervises about 20, and the mission president has 2 Assistants who help him supervise the entire mission. The higher you get in the hierarchy, the more benefits --prestige, automobiles, travel around the mission, and so forth. It is a lot funner to supervise people who are doing missionary work than to actually do it.
6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails
7. Rigid rules and regulations
8. Need for obedience and dependency
One of the primary purposes of life is to test our obedience to God--which in practical terms means obedience to Gods leaders. Financial independence is encouraged. There is a fair amount of talk about spiritual independence, but they are ensured that true answers to their prayers will always be in harmony with the mainstream church.
II. Information Control
1. Use of deception
a. Deliberately holding back information
b. Distorting information to make it acceptable
c. Outright lying
2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
a. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
The missionary handbook says, Read only books, magazines, and other material authorized by the Church and your mission president .Avoid watching television, viewing unauthorized videocassettes, and listening to the radio and unauthorized audiocassettes. (p. 13, 22) Including the scriptures, there are about 10 books that missionaries are allowed to read.
b. Critical information
c. Former members
d. Keep members so busy they dont have time to think
Kept very busy, with detailed instructions on how to spend every hour of every day.
3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
a. Information is not freely accessible
Unauthorized information is forbidden.
b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid
The leaders have more access to mission gossip, but in general the entire mission is governed by the same rules of no unauthorized information.
c. Leadership decides who "needs to know" what
Yes, the leadership decides what books and cassettes to put on the authorized list.
4. Spying on other members is encouraged
a. Pairing up with "buddy" system to monitor and control
According to the missionary handbook, Never be alone. Companionships generate strength and protection. Working two by two is the Lords way, you can protect each other from temptation and from false accusers. You can also support each other in bearing testimony (see Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) .
As companions, pray, study, and plan your work together each day. Take time at least once a week for additional planning and companionship inventory. Seek to be one in spirit and purpose, and help each other succeed. Always address your companion by the appropriate title (Elder or Sister).
You and your companion are to sleep in the same bedroom, but not in the same bed. You should arise and retire together each day; you should not stay up late to be alone. (p. 24-25)
b. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership
If your companion is having difficulties with the work or in personal matters, be sensitive to those problems and seek advice from your mission president. Although you should be loyal to your companion, you must realize that any indiscretion or violation of missionary standards may threaten his or her effectiveness and salvation. Care enough for your companion to ask for the mission presidents help before a problem becomes a crisis. (p. 24)
5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.
Yes--only expose yourself to authorized information.
b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources
6. Unethical use of confession
a. Information about "sins" used to abolish identity boundaries
b. Past "sins" used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
Not really--once they declare you are forgiven it is water under the bridge.
III. Thought Control
1. Need to internalize the groups doctrine as "Truth"
a. Map = Reality
b. Black and White thinking
c. Good vs. evil
d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)
Yes. The missionaries are given a very black and white view of the world, The Lord desires the conversion of each soul. (p. 3)
2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".
Yes. Must use titles rather than given names. Communication is typically forced into a specific speech pattern called The commitment pattern. They frequently bear their testimonies which mean assuring each other that they know the church is true.
3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged.
4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
Not in a formal or rigorous way.
e. Speaking in "tongues"
f. Singing or humming
Yes. They are often instructed to sing a hymn to themselves if they have an impure or negative thought.
5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate
Absolutely. One of the solemn covenants of the temple is to never speak ill of the Lords anointed.
6. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful
Other belief systems can be good and useful, but the Mormon Church is Gods one and only true church, and that the highest level of salvation is impossible without it.
IV. Emotional Control
1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a persons feelings.
Yes. If you are acting righteously then you will feel the spirit. Always strive to feel that particular feeling.
2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leaders or the groups.
Yes. The members arent perfect but the gospel and the organization of the church are perfect. Leaders might make mistakes, but they are given the benefit of the doubt.
3. Excessive use of guilt
Yes. The scriptures promise that you will baptize lots of people if you are righteous, (The field is white, all ready to harvest) But you must have faith and be righteous. If you dont have a lot of success and converting others, the problem must be your lack of faith and disobedience.
a. Identity guilt
1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
Individual Mormons are given special blessings in which they are invariably informed that in the previous life they were the valiant elect of God, and that that is why their spirits were sent to earth to fight for the cause of righteousness during these last days. The mission is usually a major part of their blessings, and they are often promised to have specific experiences as missionaries, including leadership and conversion experiences. These things will happen if and only if they are faithful and obedient.
2. Your family
Missionaries are promised that if they work hard and are obedient, their family will be blessed, both physically and spiritually.
3. Your past
Sexual sins are considered very bad in Mormonism, and it is sometimes taught that in order to be completely forgiven of such sins, you must bring many souls unto Christ.
4. Your affiliations
No affiliations to feel guilty about exist.
5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
Children in the church are constantly taught that your mission will be the best 2 years of your life. If you dont feel that they are the best 2 years of your life, if you arent productively converting people, and arent keeping your thoughts focused on righteous, faithful things, immense guilt will usually follow.
b. Social guilt
c. Historical guilt
4. Excessive use of fear
a. Fear of thinking independently
Thomas S. Monson, the number two man in the church, recently said in a church magazine, "Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts: 'I propose to stay with my faith... I accept God's word. I wasn't with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it. (Ensign, Feb 2001)
b. Fear of the "outside" world
Yes. Simple things such as leaving your area to go down town or going swimming are considered very major sins that will likely cause great evil.
c. Fear of enemies
Possibly--missionaries see themselves in a big fight of good against evil.
d. Fear of losing ones "salvation"
Yes. You must endure to the end to gain salvation--if you screw up the effect could ripple across generations.
e. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
Quitting your mission is leads to incredibly high stigma.
f. Fear of disapproval
Depends on the individual.
5. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.
Yes. Missionary life is often characterized by a few bursts of inspiration and success surrounded by months and months of drudgery. If you are righteous you should feel the spirit--especially as a missionary--so if you dont feel wonderful it is your fault for not being worthy.
6. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".
Every month the missionary has a private interview with the mission president where he is encouraged to confess his sins.
7. Phobia indoctrination : programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leaders authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
a. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
b. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
Absolutely. In a particular scene in the temple ceremony, the devil is about to be banished. Before he is, he says, Aah! You have looked over my kingdom, and my greatness and glory. Now you want to take possession of the whole of it. (He then looks at the people going through the ceremony) I have a word to say concerning these people. If they do not walk up to every covenant they make at these altars in this temple this day, they will be in my power!
c. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
d. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the groups perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.
Absolutely. The group is Gods one and only true church, and the missionary has the unique responsibility and opportunity of helping God save people. A huge responsibility with tremendous opportunity for blessings.
A story that is often repeated among missionaries and prospective missionaries is a scene of two pre-mortal spirits awaiting their callings to come to earth. One of the friends is thrilled to be called to a righteous Mormon family, where he will be born into the covenant and sealed to his parents upon birth. To both of their horrors, the other friend isnt being sent to a Mormon family, but rather to a non-Mormon family in a distant land. Right before they are born in their respective circumstances, the one spirit desperately pleads to the other Find Me!
The implication is that there is very little value to life without the church, and that you have a friend out there who is desperately waiting for you to bring them the gospel.
An alternate version of the story is after our mortal life, and a spirit who never heard about the gospel learns that he was supposed to hear about it, but the particular missionary who was called to bring the gospel to them wasnt faithful enough or obedient enough to find them. In utter despair, the spirit approaches the missionary who committed the faux pas and harshly reproaches him for not doing his duty and bringing him the gospel. The fallout of disobedience ripples out as this persons friends and progeny lose the opportunity to live and spread the gospel.
You want to assign words of the Lord as though they orginated with the Lord’s prophet Joseph Smith who only relayed it on to his children who have ears to hears their masters voice and eyes to see.
This knowledge is only receive by the power of the Holy Ghost.
many want to denied and dismiss that those they disagree with is not true.
One can denied and dismiss as much as they want it don’t change what is!
What you do have is free will not to accept it as the Lord has given all of His children.
Just like in Lady McBeth, one can grunt all they want “Out Damn Spot!” it sitll will not go a way!:)
That is a great analysis of the LDS mission program. I have a friend who just left his mission (5 months early). His mother is dying, and only expected to live a few more weeks, he asked permission from his Mission President to go home to say goodbye to his mother and WAS DENIED. The mission president is aware of the mother’s condition as he was the one who told the missionary.
So, he called another friend and had this other friend come and get him to bring him home.
Now this missionary (20 yr old kid) is facing excommunication from the LDS church, all because he wanted to see his mother before she died.
Yes, resty you are so careful about what you say about another, that often you're hard to understand.
Well, it ain’t me who says that the historic, basic and foundational doctrines of Christianity aren’t true...
It’s Joesph Smith and it’s the Mormons themselves.
I can’t dispute them about their own teachings, because it is the Mormon teachings themselves, that say that the “gospel” had to be restored — it’s not me that said that... I have to take the Mormons at their word that they *had to restore* the gospel and that it was not in existence at the time of Joseph Smith and had not been for hundreds of years (and even a thousand years) or more before Joseph Smith.
And there’s *no denying* that Mormons (*right here* on this board) will deny the doctrines of Christianity that come from the Council of Nicea (one of the “foundational teachings” of Christianity about the Deity of Christ, pertaining to the “Trinity”) — as *not valid* and as only the “teachings of man”... I’ve heard that from too many Mormons here and too many times for it to be denied by Mormons.
As I said — it’s *so obvious* from the Mormons *themselves* when they post here and *deny* those historic, basic and foundational doctrines...
One might wonder, if these cults had been formed before the BILL OF RIGHTS was written, whould we have the ...”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”...as it is written today or would it have been written to exclude these weird movements.
Today is Tea Party day because out constitution is so far removed.
And is the same point that is being made about the Bible it was so far removed from the original word of the Lord.
One is a spititual document Bible and the other is our document that was given from the Lord to our Founding fathers for a free people.
In the Bible the Lord warn many time that his gosple was being changed many are dreamers and want to believe the book the Bible is infallible.
The words of the Lord is infalliable but what men do with the Words of the Lord is not infallible to think that the designs of men could not happen.
You have warnings in various books and also in Galatians the Lord is telling Paul as he speaks the those around him are changing the Lord’s Gospel.
When there was no longer apostles on earth in the early AD’s what a picnic they many must have had.
One of he mission of Joseph Smith was to restore the Plain and Precious Truths that was removed or alterd in the Bible.
Since the official doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-Day Saints says that "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly", I was surprised to see that you failed to mention the Bible that the Prophet Joseph Smith himself supposedly translated to restore all these things that you claim were lost. Why wouldn't you want to advocate the most accurate translation known to modern man...
The LDS official website offers free access to this important work, yet Article #8 in your Summary of Beliefs still makes an Official LDS Disclaimer that the LDS should only believe the Bible "as far as it is correctly translated". Since Joseph Smith produced the JST, that means meaning a "correctly translated" version supposedly exists now! But it's my understanding that the website doesn't give access to the entire JST. It gives free access to the entirely of every other scripture held sacred by the LDS (including some not mentioned in the "Summary of Beliefs"), and the JST is similarly expurgated in it's printed form. Why does the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-Day Saints withhold this important scripture from it's members? Or at least make the appropriate changes to Article 8 to reflect the JST's existence?
For what it's worth, the official website says this about the use of the word "translation" as it applies to the JST:
"Because the Lord revealed to Joseph certain truths that the original authors had once recorded, the Joseph Smith Translation is unlike any other Bible translation in the world. In this sense, the word translation is used in a broader and different way than usual, for Josephs translation was more revelation than literal translation from one language into another."
Even with a supposedly restored and properly translated Bible, the LDS church still insists on offering a disclaimer that they don't know if the Bible (KJV, JST, or otherwise) is translated correctly or not. Not exactly the kind of assuredness I'd expect from an organization led by a prophet.
One might wonder, if these cults had been formed before the BILL OF RIGHTS was written, whould we have the ...Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...as it is written today or would it have been written to exclude these weird movements.
This thinking is dense to even ponder such contradictory thoughts it is called the Bill of Rights.
Some have such strong feeling against the LDS which has never been shown against Atheist or Satanist nor did the founding fathers infringe upon these views
Yet some today if could would recind the same rights to the LDS as was allowed to those who are Atheist or Satanist!