Cultist At My Door
by Fr. John W. Morris
Recommended by: Alex Goodwin
Creativity has always been one of America’s greatest strengths. American creativity has lead to advancements in science and industry, the arts, and a new standard of human freedom. This creative license, applied to theology however, has, in some cases, led to some of the greatest heresies of the modern era. Most notably amongst these heresies are the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
These sects, pseudo-Christian cults really, born of the American religious turmoil of the mid 1800s, now have millions of followers worldwide. With a rigid indoctrination of believers and an extreme strategy of evangelism fed by a nearly inexhaustible stream of capital, these belief systems are growing.
What makes these “churches” so dangerous? Aren’t we a nation of religious tolerance and freedom? The booklet Cultist At My Door by Fr. John W. Morris shines takes an unflinching look at these so-called religions. A study of the origins of the Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses reveals an intention of profiteering and deceit, not enlightenment, by their respective founders. Motives that are corroborated by court documents and eye witness testimony.
But churches are made up of people and people are not perfect, right? True, but in addition to serving as a historical narrative this short work also examines the outrageous claims made by these belief systems. Much of what is preached by Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses simply has no foundation in the Christian Canon or in Church dogma. For this reason they have created their own elaborate literature to support their views, a strategy that can be likened to printing ones own money to support claims of being a millionaire.
1 John 4:1-3 warns:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Those most in danger of succumbing to the seductions of the Latter Day Saints or the Jehovah’s Witnesses are those who exist on the fringe of their own beliefs. As a concise guide to these heresies, Cultist At My Door serves as a call to preserve the true Christianity. We as Christians must be equipped with a sound knowledge of our own faith and we must know Christ by more than His name only.
by Michael Whelton
The term New Age, for many people, conjures up images of healing crystals, tarot cards, and signs of the zodiac. But few associate this religious movement with the corporate boardroom, government agencies, or pop culture. From empowerment seminars to potential actualization meditation, corporate America has been subjecting its employees to the New Age religion since the 80's. You can’t open a celebrity gossip rag, some of the most circulated publications in the world, without reading about the New Age “it” trends like Yoga, Scientology, and astrology.
The book False Gods, written by Michael Whelton, illustrates the irony in the antiquity that is found in “New” Age beliefs. At its core the New Age movement is a recycled Gnosticism, simply in a different form. Just like all great heresies Gnosticism is rife with half-truths. But coupled with exotic eastern mysticism (made so popular by the baby boom generation) and the sexy packaging of a highly refined well-produced presentation (perfected by modern technology) this cult has bedazzled and drawn many followers. These followers do not come to the movement slowly lulled by a gradual deception but rather they come running with open arms, screaming like fans at a rock concert. Why? Because it unapologetically and enthusiastically tells fallen man exactly what he really wants to hear: that he is his own god.
By convincing adherents that they have the power to create their own reality the New Age movement promotes a system of self-reliance, self-centeredness, and ultimately self-worship. Gurus of this religion do this by telling believers that God wants what they want because they are god, a universe unto themselves able to control and manipulate a vastly powerful and impersonal energy to their own ends. There is no right. There is no wrong. There is only happiness through self-awareness or despair through self-delusion. Indeed, this deception has been with us since the beginning of time. It led us to disobey God in the Garden of Eden and resulted in our loss of a perfect relationship with God. It has cost us our own physical immortality and, even more seriously, the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son.
This is the message and the warning contained within the pages of False Gods. To this end the author writes,
The offering of the serpent in the Garden of Eden always holds a strong allure by appealing to our pride, promising salvation by knowledge or “revealed wisdom” rather than by faith. With this promise comes the self-realization of our own divinity – becoming godlike by knowing good from evil. The warning of Christ regarding the deceit and cunning of Satan echo down the centuries “He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. But if I say the truth, you believe me not” (John 8:44-45).
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Some of their
characteristics seem to be the following: “Obsessiveness”: they are very
intense in their belief and practice. “Exclusiveness”: they tend to
sharply divide themselves from the rest of society. “Sense of
Superiority”: they have the strong conviction of the qualitative
superiority of their beliefs over others. “Aggressiveness”: they push hard
to make converts by proselytizing persons from other faiths and religions.
“Financial Demands”: they have extremely high expectations for financial
giving by their members: some sects conduct aggressive begging, selling
and business operations. “Strong Eschatological Views”: the sense of the
impending end of the world, of imminent catastrophe, characterizes most
sects. “Leader Personality Loyalty”: an almost universal characteristic
seems to be a total and blind obedience to the charismatic founder or
leader of the group. All of these characteristics are also to be found in
some measure in the Churches as well, but not in the same intensity, nor
in the same combination. I hope that helps answer your question.
Q: What makes a religion a “cult” in the eyes of the Orthodox Church?
A: Your question is very difficult to answer. As you must be aware, the increase in activities of cult-groups has created much concern and disturbance in main-line denominations and historic churches. Determining what differentiates “cults” from other religious groups is difficult, even though most people readily sense the difference in these groups.
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