Is the FLDS church a cult?

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2bizE
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Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by 2bizE » Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:32 pm

Does anyone consider the FLDS church to be a cult? The FLDS church is very similar to the LDS church of yesteryear. In fact, if the LDS church had continued polygamy, there probably wouldn’t be a FLDS church and most of us would be polygamist as well. Thoughts?
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moksha
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by moksha » Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:37 pm

If we use the word cult in a dictionary sense rather than as a cudgel to hurt someone's feelings, then yes, it meets the definition of a cult.
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Just This Guy
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by Just This Guy » Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:38 am

Considering that Lds Inc. is considered a cult by almost all standards*, FLDS, being a more fundamentalist version of LDS Inc., would only rank higher than LDS Inc. on the cult scale.

*It may be a mild cult compared to things like Scientology or People's Temple, but it fulfills all the common definitions.
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Hagoth
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by Hagoth » Fri Feb 05, 2021 7:24 am

Yes, but they're a few notches down the list from the LDS missionary program.
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2bizE
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by 2bizE » Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:04 pm

Do general members of the church also consider the FLDS church to be a cult?
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deacon blues
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by deacon blues » Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:48 pm

Yes. I think the LDS Church was a c___ in the 19th century, and as you mention, the FLDS is essentially 19th century LDS. The LDS want to shed the c___ image, but keep the c____ power and obedience thing going. This makes the 21st century Church kind of like the 7 year old who can't decide which piece of cake he wants- so he's stuck between them. Wish I could find a picture for this. :lol:
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2bizE
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by 2bizE » Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:17 am

deacon blues wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:48 pm
Yes. I think the LDS Church was a c___ in the 19th century, and as you mention, the FLDS is essentially 19th century LDS. The LDS want to shed the c___ image, but keep the c____ power and obedience thing going. This makes the 21st century Church kind of like the 7 year old who can't decide which piece of cake he wants- so he's stuck between them. Wish I could find a picture for this. :lol:
So, you are saying a cult can migrate into a non-cult?
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Corsair
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by Corsair » Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:06 pm

2bizE wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:17 am
So, you are saying a cult can migrate into a non-cult?
I think it inevitably happens, but it may take a generation or two. The fervency of maintaining a strict community is difficult. The subsequent generation born under the restrictive group does not remember the before time where circumstances led to the cult-like atmosphere. I agree that LDS missionary work and the MTC in particular are cults. But at least the institutional church does not try to keep the behavior control in place beyond the mission experience. Certainly the BYU Honor Code keeps some of it and most of us think that the Honor Code is more than a bit controlling and cult-like.

The FLDS have attempted to keep the cult restrictions at a fairly high level for the entire life of their community. This is not particularly sustainable simply based on practical reasons.

Let's consider Is the average Catholic monastery or convent. This is some extreme control over behavior. But there remains a waiting list to only visit Mt. Athos in Greece, let alone be accepted into the monastery. However, a monastery will graciously let people leave if they cannot or will not abide by the rules of the Abbot. In contrast, LDS missions want the heavy restrictions and then the mission president does everything in his power to prevent missionaries from going home.

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deacon blues
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by deacon blues » Sat Feb 06, 2021 4:55 pm

2bizE wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 11:17 am
deacon blues wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:48 pm
Yes. I think the LDS Church was a c___ in the 19th century, and as you mention, the FLDS is essentially 19th century LDS. The LDS want to shed the c___ image, but keep the c____ power and obedience thing going. This makes the 21st century Church kind of like the 7 year old who can't decide which piece of cake he wants- so he's stuck between them. Wish I could find a picture for this. :lol:
So, you are saying a cult can migrate into a non-cult?
Yes. I think Christianity might have been a cult when it started, :o I'm not sure. I tend to like Jesus, :) but Paul sometimes seemed a little wacky. :? But now Christianity inspired everything from Westboro Baptist (cult) to Unitarianism (non-cult). I don't think the Presbyterians I used to meet with were a cult, nor are many mainstream believers. Literalist Evangelicals that worship the Bible might be considered a cult, but if they rely on common sense more than 2000-3000 year old morality I think they could be considered a non-cult.
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DPRoberts
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Re: Is the FLDS church a cult?

Post by DPRoberts » Wed Feb 10, 2021 1:13 pm

I listened to an interesting podcast series about the recent history of the FLDS. The series is called Unfinished: Short Creek. It is available on Stitcher and some other places (iTunes?), but I found it somewhere else for free. It was very well done with the principal reporter actually having lived in Short Creek for a significant amount of time in order to make contacts with those who had first-hand knowledge of the history.

To the OP, what I learned from the podcast was that the FLDS became much more cult-like when the Jeffs' took over leadership. Warren really took cult control to a whole new level by rearranging families of people who did not toe the line. A man could have his wife and children given to another man. Or, siblings would be split up with some of them relocated to the YFZ Ranch in Texas from Utah, while others remained. Jeffs took his most loyal subjects to YFZ, creating division between the "ordinary" members and the chosen ones at YFZ. The cultic control methods used by Jeffs, along with his extremes of sexual behavior, definitely put him in the company of those (Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.) who almost any observer would consider a cult leader.

I generally avoiding calling a group a cult. I prefer to talk about degrees of cult-like behavior, using tools like the BITE model to analyze a group. However, the actions of Warren Jeffs appear to push the FLDS into unequivocal cult territory.
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