Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Mormon Cult

The Mormon Cult: A Former Missionary Reveals the Secrets of Mormon Mind Control, Jack B. Worthy. Tuscon AZ: See Sharp Press, 2008. e-book, 212 pps., inc. glossary and list of recommended reading/viewing.

     Jack B. Worthy grew up in an L.D.S. [Church of Latter Day Saints, Mormon] household in Nebraska. As a young adult, he went off to missionary school in Utah in order to learn Cantonese. He was assigned to Taiwan. Off he went.

     The Mormon Cult covers much more than the memoirs of a young man serving a mission. The book also gives a brief history of Mormonism and illustrates why Worthy considers L.D.S. to be a cult. [There are newer terms but the word "cult" is one that is understood by a higher percentage of people than the newer terms. "Cult" is also the word that is employed throughout the book]. Worthy relates numerous anecdotes about Mormons and L.D.S. Church leaders. A bishop questions children starting at the age of eight about their state of testimony versus their state of sin. A Mormon testimony-- which children are taught very young by their parents-- involves stating that "I know" that the L.D.S. Church is true and Joseph Smith was a prophet of god. At the age of twelve, bishops begin to interview kids about whether or not they masturbate or engage in other sexual practices which are frowned upon. If a child does not know what the words "masturbation" or "oral sex" mean, the bishop helpfully tells the child this during the course of questioning.

     Worthy explains magic underwear-- the symbols on it were borrowed from the Masons; Joseph Smith was a Mason-- and various prohibitions that Mormons are expected to follow. He talks about meetings, discipline, the patriarchy of the L.D.S. church, how kids are taught that their "positive" feelings around church come from "the Holy Spirit," plural marriages, racism, Heavenly Father residing on a "planet" and a lot of other stuff. I was aware of some of the beliefs because I have a casual acquaintance who is an L.D.S. convert along with her family.

    What struck me was the idea that kids are taught that their uplifting feelings around the L.D.S. religion come from "the Holy Spirit." That some ex-Mormons have to learn that similar feelings can derive from other more ordinary experiences was quite profound.

     Worthy's description of the cycle of guilt was interesting to me. When he was able to convince people to allow him and a fellow missionary to return to talk to them, that was a good thing which meant that his faith was keen enough for "the Holy Spirit" to work through him. When rejections happened [far more often than not], then Jack's lack of faith or character defects [or some un-confessed sin] was implicated. This cycle of guilt was also evident in other places.

     Worthy finally caught on that the door-to-door tracting was more of a sales pitch than any workings of a god or spirit. This bit of awareness started new thinking. Yes he was dis-fellowshipped and subsequently kicked out. Unlike some reviewers, I do not believe that The Mormon Cult was written because of a desire for fame based on sensationalism or due to animosity.

sapphoq reviews says: L.D.S. folks who are not considering whether or not they should remain in the fold will not like this book-- if they dare to read it before leaving negative reviews. The Mormon Cult is a valuable addition to literature which describes the process of how individual people have lost their religion. A pithy writing style sets this particular story above the rest. Highly recommended.

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