Mormons: “Dangerous Cult”?

I’m inclined to think so.

Living in America’s second largest Mormon stronghold for many years, including two years in a predominantly Mormon office, I was treated to a bird’s eye view of the squarest, looniest cult in America. And I mean loony. They have every right to practice as they please and believe in whatever they choose to. It’s when they decide to meddle in the law and legislate discrimination that my feelings go from distaste (with just a dash of revulsion) to feeling the need to speak out.

It’s now the time to speak out, as those interviewed in the article make clear. And I don’t care how “icky” some may think the idea of gay marriage it. That’s not the issue. The issue is passing a proposition that is a pure, undisguised act of discrimination, wrapped in the canard of “the sanctity of marriage.” If that were so important to these hypocrites, they would have put all that cash behind a proposition banning divorce.

There’s a delicious irony to seeing all this moral indignation over the sanctity of marriage coming from the not-so-long-ago polygamous Mormons, whose sects in my own state still have multiple wives including child-brides.

Update: Good perspective here as well.


Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 58 Comments

All religions are cults, one thing I really like about China is that stupidities are officially illegal.

That’s a good one! If that were true, most shows on CCTV would be illegal and Yang Rui would have to find a real job.

I know, being stupid is a basic human right.

Exercised by quite a few regular commenters on this blog posting their diatribes against the evil “West” from English speaking democracies.

November 10, 2008 @ 3:30 am | Comment


First, the Chinese did not intervene in the Korean War until late 1950 (not 1949). Second, although the Korean War transformed the PLA into a modern force (thanks to the Soviets), it is absurd to paint an outcome that forced both sides to essentially return to the pre-war status quo as one side “forcing” the other to do anything. China was able to achieve a draw in Korea precisely because the U.S. was one of the two most militarily powerful countries in the world, and the other, the U.S.S.R., was China and North Korea’s ally. In other words, it was the Soviets (and Europe) who counted, not the Chinese! Finally, the cease fire went into effect on 27 July 1953 (not 1954). As for Vietnam, America spent 10+ years trying to build a Vietnamese Armed Forces that could defeat its Communist rival. The Americans no more fought the “Vietnamese” than they did the “Koreans”, they just had better luck with the latter, possibly because so many founders of the ROK armed forces came out of the Imperial Japanese Army.

Richard, you know that I respect the Mormons, and view them overall as a positive force in much of the world, so I won’t rehash that here. We will agree to disagree. I do understand that the civil definition of marriage touches upon a host of rights. Try visiting your critically ill or injured significant other in a hospital without some handy document that proves a “marital” relationship. Likewise, there are issues of inheritance, commonly held property, living wills, etc. Most of those can be addressed before some life-threatening event, but not everyone does so and so a single common identifier would certainly protect both partner’s rights. Gay Americans certainly deserve to have those rights recognized in the same manner as straight Americans. Thus I voted against Proposition Two (I believe) in the recent Florida election. Now, if we could only revoke the religious tax exemption for all churches, and do away with deductions for “charitable” donations as well. Let the churches stand on their own, and let those who give to charity (as I do) take it out of their income without getting a tax break.

November 10, 2008 @ 5:43 am | Comment


I actually agree with most of what you say on this blog, and I personally see no problem with legislating gay marriage. A devil’s advocate approach would claim gay marriage will damage the moral fiber of society, which I find questionable. While there are 18,000 gay couples in CA (obviously much more than that), there are millions of heterosexual families dysfunctional because of alcohol addiction, infidelity, verbal and physical abuse, etc, and pose a far greater threat to society than Adam and Steve. There is no legislation against being a selfish jerk in america, and yet all of the problems in america are caused by selfish jerks. My point is that if people truly wanted to legislate based on moral standards, there are a whole series of behaviors that are far more rampant and damaging to society than that those addressed in prop 8 (as I said earlier, divorce standards could really tighten up a bit, as an example). But since the law can’t exactly force people to be nice to each other all of the time, I personally find it futile to try to legislate moral standards.
I personally think we should all be able to “sin” freely, and let God sort it out.

And so while I personally see more good than bad could come from a more inclusive legislation, the gray area is that marriage is not just two people together in a relationship. It is a relationship that is acknowledged by the state, and brings with it numerous benefits and privilidges that are payed for by the state, and in turn taxpayers. And as we can see, a majority of taxpayers in that state are uncomfortable with the idea of giving marriage status to a couple that is NOT a man and a woman. Although I think it’s not that big a deal, the democratic process should be respected. Your arguement is flawed and immature in that you fail to acknowledge that the majority of CALIFORNIAN CITIZENS voted for Prop. 8. Since that is too huge a number for you to fight against in your arguement, you instead choose to attack the LDS church for campaigning for Prop 8. The LDS church did nothing illegal nor unprecidented, as various civic groups or churches have done so in the past. There were campaigners on all sides, and people have the right to free speech. You found a scapegoat for a decision made by 36 million people.

The thing I find most irritating about your argument is that you are pissed at California for voting for prop 8, but by attacking the LDS church, you’re implying that the citizens of California are too stupid to think for their own, and hence were brainwashed by the campaign brought by many churches INCLUDING the LDS. This implication is simply disgusting. Tell us what you REALLY think about the people who voted for prop 8, because so far you’re inferring that they’re too stupid to think on their own.

November 10, 2008 @ 9:39 am | Comment

Oh my!

Well, I think: Lisa and Richard, if youz think this is an important issue, (I think it’s pretty interesting…), then why not come up with a definition for cult that is a bit more up to date? The definition that Richard pasted is kinda not very interesting because what I can tell is that when people say “cult”, they mean something negative right? But in that definition, it does not denote anything wrong… I think the wrongest thing in that definition is the idea of it being “regarded as unorthodox”. But even that is stupid cause “regarded” … it’s like Richard might regard something as UNorthodox, but I might regard it as orthodox, so, what’s the deal?


“President elected OBAMA” will not have to stop funding Falun Gong, cause the US gov’t does not fund it, please do not just spread such silliness. Unless you know something I don’t?

November 10, 2008 @ 10:41 am | Comment

@Richard: ask an evangelical. Know any?

I say again: self-proclaimed atheists are generally angry people. Broad brush I know, just an observation. As my father in law says: God is love. All the rest is fluff.

Saw an interview with Gov. Scharznegger today (sp?). He was disappointed that the amendment failed. Said that the people had spoken. What is amazing is that Obama won by nearly 15% in that state, but the amendment failed. It’s more than LDS or the Catholics here. It’s the same people who voted for Obama, at least some of them. How fascinating. Care to criticize them — the blacks and Hispanics?

November 10, 2008 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Agnosticism…. Refraining from judgement… It’s like saying “I donno, so I ain’t gonna say nothin'”

Atheism…. BELIEF that there is not god?

Um, so what’s the difference in people who BELIEVE there is god and stuff, and people who BELIEVE there is not?

And agnosticism, don’t you have to BELIEVE in staying away from the issue?

Agnosticism, I can understand that, it’s safe, it’s sorta not being willing to go with the instinct to believe…Right?

Take Falun Gong, the stuff sounds weird and unbelievable, so you say that it is not true, but can you prove it? So then aren’t you believing that it is not true? You have the right to believe what you want, but I think it is only wise and humble to rationally accept our ways of reasoning.

I might believe that gay marriage is good or bad, or that the freedom for same sex marriage is good or bad, but it is all within the realm of belief, and that is something that should normally be within the religious community. Marriage is something done under gods isn’t it? ISn’t it something done by religious people? So it can be the religions decision whether they want to preform the marriage. And if Nancy and Sue can’t find anyone to accept their marriage, then I’m sure they will still go on living the same as before. Or there are plenty of more modern sects that will marry them. If people are so desperate to be married officially by the state for tax exemptions and other marriage benefits, then that’s not marriage that’s a business partnership.

I mean, who would care whether an atheist state recognized their marriage? And to take it further, who would even care if a religion recognized it? This depends on what marriage is.

November 10, 2008 @ 10:56 am | Comment

How can people who are atheists be so cocky and look down so much on believers?

Well, heh, there’s lots of reason eh. Like pervert priests, like the example M.Turton gave, like personality cults such as Mao and Hitler…, like people fighting against science, like so many crimes done in the name of some god, like dispicable, pathetic people who are lazy and sin all day and think they are saved from paying for their sins, like crazy people who put signs on their lawns that say God hates fags!

But, just cause all these things are horribly wrong… does not prove there is no god right? I mean, maybe theres a god and he loves atheists the best, ha ha ah, of course I’m joking, but just trying to say that it’s totally normal to be sour on many aspects of religions and religious people, but that actually, to me, is not much to do with god and whether it exists.

Saying that these examples rove that there’s no god is like looking at a bad child and saying that his grandmother must have had syphilis. She may or may or may not, but there’s a host of possibilities…

How can atheists be so cocky as if they are truly objective? I think if you look at the top top scientists and ask them whether it is scientifically feasible to rule out the existence of god, they would definitely not be able to concur. Look at quantum physics and stuff, other dimensions and stuff, all sorts of stuff, it is all very very weird and not at all something we can understand and none of it is provable to the end by our sciences. Are sciences have not reached any final conclusions, with each answer there is another question.

So that is to say that atheism is definitely not some kind of true objectivity, it is more like a religion, a way of life based on some mental patterns and assumptions, it’s a belief system. That’s what I think.

November 10, 2008 @ 11:14 am | Comment

Matt, yes there were those groups you mentioned that helped make Prop 8 pass. But it wouldn’t have passed without the $70-million push from our friends in Utah, which played on the fears of those very people.

Chip, I love California.

Snow, as usual I’m afraid I can’t make sense of your comments.

Bottom line: A group from another state funneled money to California to push for discriminatory legislation. They now will face the music. People who married because they love one another and choose to swear fidelity and make a lifelong commitment to the one they love have had their marriages rendered illegal. Maybe it would have happened without the LDS funding. Maybe. But the LDS did provide the funding and it’s our right to condemn them for it. This is not what religion should be about. The proposition will eventually be overturned by the Supreme Court as it is blatantly unconstitutional, unless there is an amendment in the US Constitution making gay marriage illegal. Since there is not, this proposition is ultimately doomed. Meanwhile, this whole episode confirmed my other, more personal beliefs about the Mormon cult. Like the FLG, they should be left to practice as they choose. If they choose to meddle outside of their cult and seek to swing gullible voters to follow their will for discriminatory purposes, I and many others are ready to call them on it. And that’s all.

Lirelou, you are and always have been just about my favorite commenter. Thanks as always for your intelligent contributions.

Thread closed, thanks to all.

November 10, 2008 @ 11:17 am | Comment

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