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Breaking: Billy Graham Endorses Romney Then Scrubs Site Calling Mormonism A ‘Cult’

by David Badash on October 12, 2012

in News,Politics,Religion

Post image for Breaking: Billy Graham Endorses Romney Then Scrubs Site Calling Mormonism A ‘Cult’


Billy Graham last night endorsed Mitt Romney for president, and shortly thereafter, his website was scrubbed of a statement Graham or his organization made calling Mormonism a “cult.”

“It was an honor to meet and host Governor Romney in my home today, especially since I knew his late father former Michigan Governor George Romney, whom I considered a friend,” the 93-year old Christian Evangelist Southern Baptist minister said via a statement. ”I have followed Mitt Romney’s career in business, the Olympic Games, as governor of Massachusetts and, of course, as a candidate for president of the United States.”

“What impresses me even more than Governor Romney’s successful career are his values and strong moral convictions. I appreciate his faithful commitment to his impressive family, particularly his wife Ann of 43 years and his five married sons.

“It was a privilege to pray with Governor Romney—for his family and our country. I will turn 94 the day after the upcoming election, and I believe America is at a crossroads. I hope millions of Americans will join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms.”

As of June 5, 2010, if not much earlier, Billy Graham’s website stated:

A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect.

There are some features common to most cults:

• They do not adhere solely to the sixty-six books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They add their “special revelations” to the Bible and view them as equally authoritative.

• They do not accept that our relationship to Jesus Christ is a reality “by grace through faith” alone, but promote instead a salvation by works.

• They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.

[Bolding ours]

Today, the Sacramento Bee and other media outlets, including Graham’s own website, posted Graham’s statement endorsing Mitt Romney for president, and two commenters posted a link to the 2010 Graham statement classifying the Mormon religion as a cult. Hours later, that page no longer exists:

 

A Google webcache of that page confirms its prior existence, and an Archive.org webcache first crawled that page on June 5, 2010. Here’s a screenshot of the Google web cache:

 

Additionally, a search for the word “Mormon” on Billy Graham’s website identifies six pages, yet none of those pages have the word “Mormon” on them as of this writing, yet most of them still have the word “cult” on them.

Billy Graham is 93 years old and in frail health. He’s been in and out of hospitals as recently as August.

It is unlikely that Billy Graham actually wrote the statement his organization released in his name.

Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, earlier this year was widely condemned for comments he made on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when he strongly questioned President Barack Obama’s faith as a Christian. “I can’t say categorically,” if Obama is a Christian, the younger Graham stated.

Franklin Graham was present yesterday during the Romney visit, as the image, right, shows.

Billy Graham has been a spiritual adviser to numerous presidents since Truman. Unsurprisingly, Graham, a televangelist pioneer, is devoutly anti-gay, and in May, just prior to the North Carolina vote to ban same-sex marriage in their constitution passed, released full-page anti-gay marriage ads in 14 newspapers supporting North Carolina’s Amendment One banning marriage equality in that state permanently.

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{ 19 comments }

MormonsChristia October 13, 2012 at 7:41 am

Here are the characteristics of a cult:
• Small? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) has 14 million members in 132 countries. In America, there are more Mormons than there are Presbyterians or Jews.
• Excessive devotion? Mormons are devoted to the Savior, but in appropriate measure He would approve of.
• Unethical techniques? Ask the pie-throwers to name one.
• Control by isolation? Even if Mormons wanted to, this would be impossible with 14 million members in 28,000 congregations throughout the world.
• Control by threats? Again, evidence? Mormon missionaries may be exuberant, but do not threaten.
• Dependency on the group? The Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) is just the opposite. Mormons want members to be self-reliant and independent so they in turn can help others.
• Powerful group pressure? Only if that’s the way the critics prefer to define love.
• Strange? Guilty as charged. Mormons plead guilty to all the strange things that were done by Christians in New Testament times that were lost during the great falling away in the aptly named Dark Ages, among them temple worship, baptism by immersion by the father of the family, vicarious baptism for the dead, definition of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as separate but united in purpose, salvation requiring both grace and obedience to commandments, prophets and apostles, unpaid clergy, and continual revelation to guide His Church.

bresner23 October 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm
msgmoney7 October 13, 2012 at 9:35 pm

who cares who this man endorses. he is a dino..

TKnTexas October 14, 2012 at 3:05 am

He might be. But he is viewed as a sincere man of The Word. While he has had a strong following, he never comported himself as a "movie star".

msgmoney7 October 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Do you think That matters… they all have taken money to enrich their own lives.,…Pat Robinson and all of them…True Christians never love money as all these men have… Everyone has to answer for their what ever blessings…Jesus went into the temple and turned over the table of the money changers…..he preach the word of his father and Never had to build a large temple and live like a king.. What has been going on for decades is horrible from all the telli evangelist…Promise you this Jesus was crucified for what he did…..Romney and Ryan are lairs and men who will harm America…

jbsaxman October 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

MormonsChristia – I was born and raised as a devout Mormon. I was involved in the Young Men's program as a boy as well an adult where I was the adviser to the Deacon's Quorum and Scoutmaster. I was BIC and MIC. I am immensely familiar with the doctrines and teachings of the LDS Church and know significantly more about church history and doctrine than most of my family and close LDS friends.

However, you're assertion that the Mormon Church does not meet the accepted criteria for being a cult is inaccurate and incorrect. Allow me to share the accepted criterion:

1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

Members of the LDS church absolutely display veneration and commitment toward the leaders of the LDS church. Joseph Smith is practically worshiped by members and revered as one of the most important men in the history of the Earth, 2nd only to Jesus Christ. In my decades as member, I can most assuredly confirm that this criterion is met.

2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money.

The LDS church preaches and puts heavy emphasis on tithes. In order for a member to receive a temple recommend and be allowed to go through the temple to receive their endowment and to be sealed to their spouse (both considered to be saving ordinances and required for the highest level achievable in Mormon doctrine: exaltation), a member of the LDS church is required to contribute at tithe of 10% of their "increase". As temple work is a significant driving force in the temple, it can be said that it is required.

The LDS church has a significant missionary program which averages 50,000 strong at any given time. With the recent announcement that the age requirement for young men has been lowered from 19 to 18 as well as young women from 21 to 19, it can be expected that this number will increase.

3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.

One of the covenants made in the endowment ceremony, members are charged, via the Law of the Gospel, "to avoid all light-mindedness, loud laughter, evil speaking of the Lord's anointed, the taking of the name of God in vain, and every other unholy and impure practice"

Further, Boyd K Packer has said repeatedly (originally in an address at BYU in 1981 entitled "The mantle is far greater than the intellect") that only that truth which is spiritually uplifting is useful.

Additionally, several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have stated various times and iterations of the idea that "When the prophet speaks, the thinking is done".

4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members' doubts.

This criterion could be dismissed, though through the correlation program, classes taught on Sunday are now synchronized throughout the church. Teachers are discouraged from deviating from the lesson manuals. Also, the same lessons are taught repeatedly. Topics for sacrament meeting speakers are assigned by the bishopric. To the spirit of the criterion, I would say it meets the requirement; to the letter of the criterion, probably not.

cont.

jbsaxman October 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

cont.

5) The group's leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.

For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet is full of thoughts that dictate this very thing. It can be found in PDF form here: https://www.lds.org/bc/content/shared/content/eng

The LDS church very much meets this criterion.

6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader have a special mission to save humanity).

The endowment ordinance and temple sealing, whereby members are promised that if they stay true and faithful, promise that upon the judgment, members will be exalted and become as god. "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become" is an oft quoted reference to the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon. Additionally, members have been taught that they will be judged not only by Christ and God, but by Joseph Smith and the prophets that were alive during that individual’s lifetime. (This concept was published in Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R McConkie. Interestingly, he was chastised by David O McKay at the time of publication, but the book was never recalled nor the ideas publicly refuted by the First Presidency. Instead, McConkie was able to make some revisions and publish a 2nd edition under Spencer W Kimball)

7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

This point has been minimized in recent years, but for the majority of its existence the LDS church was very adamant that it was not a Christian church. In the early days of the church, the Mormons were driven from location because of a superiority complex and sense of self-entitlement that garnered a lot of ill-feeling from the local population. The Haun's Mill massacre was actually retaliation against the Mormons for a series of horse thefts conducted by the Danite sect organized by Joseph Smith.

8) The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

This has very much been the case throughout Mormon history, starting with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Again, in recent years it's been underplayed. Given the massive army of attorneys that the LDS church keeps on retention, it's impossible to know whether this still happens. The attitude of superiority is still there, though. In recent criminal proceeding regarding sexual misconduct, it has been revealed that often times when a woman, a teenage aged girl or boy have gone to their bishop with accusations of sexual abuse and assault, the bishops have often made attempts to sweep it under the rug and try to resolve the issue internally rather than alert the authorities, which is the proper course of action.

I don't place as much blame on the lay clergy for this as I do on the church as a whole, though, because the church does not provide any formal training in how to deal with this type of situation. A handbook of instruction simply does not provide enough training.

9) The group teaches or implies that its "superior" ends justify means that members would have
considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

I can't think of any points of the top of my head that meet this criterion, though I do recall some reading about this.

cont.

jbsaxman October 17, 2012 at 7:14 pm

10) The group's leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

The Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity are both BIG red flags here. The most effective method of controlling people is to control the need for nourishment and their need to reproduce. Even after many longitudinal studies have dis proven the assumed ill effects behind the driving force of the WoW, it is still a requirement for receiving a temple recommend. Additionally, until either Joseph Fielding Smith or George Albert Smith (I believe it was one of these two) made the WoW a requirement in the 20's or 30's, it was not observed very frequently by the Mormons. In fact, early pictures of the Salt Lake temple clearly show spittoons next to furniture.

Further, the prohibition of any form of sexual activity outside of marriage is another method of control. Not only is it heavily frowned upon, fornication and adultery have been called the sin next to murder in several publications (most notably "The Miracle of Forgiveness" by Spencer W Kimball). Additionally, young women in the church are taught that it is up to them to ensure that the young men do not have impure thoughts by dressing "modestly". Young women are taught to value their virtue and chastity above anything else, including their very lives. Young women who have lost their virginity and been otherwise 'defiled' are compared to licked cupcakes. These kinds of object lessons have led to a huge sexual dysfunction issue in Utah (where I live) and has been considered a significant contribution to both the extreme divorce rate in Utah as well as the amount of porn viewed.

To this criteria, I emphatically agree that the LDS church meets the criteria.

11) Members' subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goals and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups."

Members are expected to place a greater devotion of time to God/Church than to family. It is not unusual for a man to be expected to spend 15-20 hours per week in addition to the 3 hour meeting block fulfilling their duties and "magnifying' their callings.

12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

This is very much the case. I will concede that members *are* encouraged to spend time with non-members, but only in the context that the member is a missionary and the non-member is a potential convert. In fact, there is a lesson taught in every Sunday school class at least once a year regarding the very idea that every member is a missionary. Outside of this, as a youth I was encouraged to bring my non-member and less active friends either to church with me as an attempt to re-activate/convert them or bring them to the weekly scouting activities with a goal to do the same.

As an adviser and scoutmaster, I also encouraged this behavior.

The generally accepted number of criterion to be considered a cult is, IIRC, 3. In this case, I believe I have demonstrated that the LDS church does meet the majority of the criteria.

Is the LDS Church a cult? I submit that it is, but I leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusion.

MormonsChristia October 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

11 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (including several presidents) were non-Trinitarian Christians, as is Mitt Romney, who is as faithful as the most devout Founder.

Contrast Mitt Romney’s faith to that of Barack Obama: Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who was the Obamas’ pastor for twenty years, says “it is hard to tell if Barack Obama converted from Islam to Christianity”. Wright says “church is not Barack’s thing” .

Everybodhi October 13, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Mormonschristians, I rescued a Mormon woman and her child from your so-called, "Christians". Her husband was raping their fourteen year old daughter. She went to her "Bishop" for help, he told her if she was taking proper care of her husband, he would not be raping their daughter. I took her and her daughter to a safe house, and she was "ex-communicated".

TKnTexas October 14, 2012 at 3:13 am

From what I view of Pres Obama, I see a man that has seen too many religions that do not live the message they preach. The teachings of Muhammad are not what I witness from their radicals. But then again the US has Westboro Baptist Church as our extremist.

Pres Obama reminds me of my Dad. As the only parent who drove, he made sure we got to church on Sundays. He was there to pick us up. At Easter he and my Mom fought (usually every other year) that she wanted the family to go to church as a family. And we went, but were usually late.

I think VP Biden said it best in the debate. I prefer a Pres with religious values that act as his moral compass. But that is it. Don't bring your Bible, Torah, or Quran to work with you if you work in government. Leave it in the car or at home. You work for a secular government.

Alex_Parrish October 13, 2012 at 10:13 am

I don't give a rat's-ass whether mormonism is a cult or a religion. I just hope that if Billy Graham's ministry is tax-exempt it gets revoked immediately. Churches have every right to endorse candidate — but NOT if they are taking public money, and that is exactly what the tax-exemtion is — the right to use money which should be the publics.

Everybodhi October 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Both Romney and Ryan think the other is going to hell.

"The Roman Catholic, Greek, and Protestant church is the great corrupt ecclesiastic power, represented by great Babylon which has made all nations drunk with her wickedness, and she must fall, after she has been warned with the sound of the everlasting gospel." – Apostle Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.84 – p.85.

In 2001 the Vatican's doctrinal congregation issued a ruling that baptism conferred by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints cannot be considered a valid Christian baptism, thus requiring converts from that religion to Catholicism to receive a Catholic baptism. When issuing its 2001 ruling, the Vatican said that even though the Mormon baptismal rite refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the church's beliefs about the identity of the three persons are so different from Catholic and mainline Christian belief that the rite cannot be regarded as a Christian baptism.

EW8 October 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I doubt they think that. Mormonisms view of heaven is not near as restrictive as you think. Visit mormon.org.

EW8 October 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I'm a Mormon. This is an interesting development, and a good one. I don't know about Graham's taxpayer money, but I do know that the LDS Church is tax exempt and doesn't take public funds. Yet they still maintain strict political neutrality, though they take a position on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. A religion that can produce a Harry Reid alongside an Orrin Hatch (to name two of many) shouldn't be questioned whether they can successfully stay out of politics!
For the record, don't trust the media on Romney's character. They've pegged him wrong because he's Republican. How many anti-Obama headlines have you seen compared to anti-Romney ones? The answer doesn't say as much about the two men as it does about the bias of those who write about them.
Read both sides for balanced coverage because it doesn't exist in one place and both sides leave stuff out. How can you make an informed opinion on any topic if you consider only one point of view? You can't. Thanks for listening. http://www.conservativemormonmom.blogspot.com

Sunrise75 October 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I'm surprised that Billy Graham endorses Romey after defining Mormon as a cult. I really want to know now if he still considers Mormon faith a cult.

As a Christain I know better not to base my faith on a pastor or a Bishop.

SGRodenbough October 23, 2012 at 2:09 am

What BGEA has done is no less an act of prostitution than operating a brothel. His ministry has been made into a red light district.
They have sinned against the Truth and violated the Gospel.

Sharksbreath October 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

For a Christian. Romney sure does lie a lot.

I always wondered. Do Christians who were fooled into thinking God wanted Bush president and voted for the idiot. Ever ask for repentance for all the people that died unnecessarily thanks to your vote for Bush. Like the 5000 troops that were killed and the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's.

If God told you to vote for Bush, a ticket with Palin and now Romney.

You might want to find out who your really praying to.

Your problem with voting for Romney shouldn't be his Mormonism. Since it's harder for a rich man to get in heaven than it is for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. I'm pretty sure Jesus wouldn't want you to support the Christian that hides his money.

Dale Husband November 4, 2012 at 9:55 am

I find it incredible that:
1. Billy Graham would classify Unitarians as a cult. There is nothing cultlike about the Unitarian Univeralists, where freedom of thought is a basic value and we do not submit blindly to any leadership.
2. That Graham would endorse any Presidental candidate and thus risk alienating supporters of the other major Presidental candidate.
3. That the references of Mormonism as a cult would be removed due to Romney's being the Republican nominee. This is a form of selling out.
I wonder if Franklin Graham is behind all this. He is not nearly as respectable as his father and he may ulimately lead his father's ministry to ruin in the next few decades.

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