Monday, August 6, 2007

A Tom Cruise Mitt Romney conection

I just looked up "religious cult" on Wikipedia and not to my surprise most of the article was spent attempting to define the term to very little avail, and all that could be reasonably settled upon was that they were socially cohesive groups outside the religious mainstream. Whatever that means. The question of whether the Mormon religion is in fact a cult is one not often discussed in the media except when attempting to paint those who ask the question as Christian zealots and bigots. The article devoted quite a bit of time to discussing the difference between cults and New Religious Movements (NRMs) which Mormonism once was, but also to little avail. I can't think of a reason why the question isn't valid and given the theology, practices, and history of Mormonism I don't see why it would not be a viable candidate for designation as a cult. I can't claim to be a scholar of Mormonism but even on my very lean knowledge I think I wouldn't be unjust in calling them a cult, and were I to learn more I suspect I would be further confirmed in my, as of now, educated guess. Much of the reason Mormonism has not been classified as a cult in this country is because the state and society tend not to take an interest in religious beliefs until they become dangers to the believers or outsiders.

Other countries are not so lenient in how they designate religious beliefs. Scientology and its principle bufoonish avatar Tom Cruise have suffered much in Germany which has very restrictive laws governing these matters. Due to the demands Cruise makes on set for accomodations to his religious beliefs he has incurred no small amount of legal harasment. What I am wondering is what difficulties would this raise for a Mormon president when dealing with countries with such restrictions. If Mormonism is a cult (which I think it along with Scientology are) then what problems for countries such as Germany would this cause. Mormonism encompasses beliefs which are demonstrably false on firmer evidence than most relgions (whose beliefs, I hasten to add, are so shrouded in darkness and ignorance that they forbear rational discussion) and are definetly outside the mainstream. What kinds of problems would this pose for Mitt when visiting a country like Germany which forbids what it considers cults? Romney is not vetted on specfic beliefs by the mainstream media because I think they might consider it a somewhat absurd and pathetic display to have two educated, 21st century men arguing over whether or not Jesus will be resurrected in Missouri, but his religion may have practical consequences not of his own making.

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