For many years, skeptics have accused The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of being a cult. For accusers and defenders alike, this word has taken many vague definitions. Few of these definitions are correct. For some, it conjures images of weird ritual, torturous interrogations, hypnotic mind control, and drooling zombies. For others, a cult is any new or unorthodox religion that does not worship the “true God”.
The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) takes a few defensive stabs at this accusation. Before I offer a point-by-point rebuttal to FAIR’s position, it is important to illustrate what a cult is, and why it is harmful.
Firstly, secular cult experts have dismissed the idea that cults have anything to do with non-traditional practices or “incorrect” beliefs about God. Even non-religious organizations such as businesses and political groups can be cults.
Nor does a cult have to be outwardly obvious. Many cults are so successful because members seem clean-cut, friendly, happy, loving, and outgoing.
Dr. Michael Langone, a prominent author and researcher of the cult phenomenon, states:
“…cults differ from “new religions,” “new political movements,” “innovative psychotherapies,” and other “new” groups in that cults make extensive use of unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control to advance the leader’s goals. Of course some groups that cause concern do not meet all the definitional criteria, while others become more or less cultic over time.” He continues, “Cults differ from merely authoritarian groups…in that the latter are explicit about their goals, are contractual rather than seductive, and usually are accountable to authorities outside the group.” (Recovery from Cults, p. 5)
Of FAIR’s cult-related papers, only one seems to address the secular definition, Kim Siever’s “Is Mormonism a Cult?” (available on the FAIR website). This is the only paper worthy of rebuttal.
Siever compares Mormonism and mainstream Christianity to each other, against a checklist written by Dr. Langone. His paper seems to gloss over this complex subject, to the extent that I have to wonder if Siever has ever actually read about cults beyond Langone’s list. Siever still seems more focused on the Christian definition, which emphasizes non-Christian doctrine and unusual ritual.
By itself, Langone’s list is vague enough to allow an apologist to wiggle free on many points. One cannot fully grasp the cult dynamic in detail by reading a 15-point checklist. Research the topic in depth gives a deeper understanding of what is meant by each point, to an extent that it is difficult for many Mormon practices to be easily excused. Additionally, there are better, more descriptive checklists available, particularly Steven Hassan’s BITE model.
A study of cult dynamics will reveal more on how Mormonism keeps members in line, including social pressure, thought-terminating clichés, reframing, black & white thinking, cognitive dissonance, public commitment, groupspeak (loaded language), deception, the double-bind (loyalty/betrayal funnel), etc.
Purpose for Rebuttal
I am a former member of the LDS Church. Cults are psychologically damaging. I and many other ex-Mormons have experienced many of the same problems other ex-cultist have reported. I seek recovery through understanding, so I can live a healthy, free, and happy ex-Mormon life. And I am not alone.
Here are just a few issues many ex-Mormons and ex-cultists have in common, both prior-to and after leaving: phobias, loss of self to the group mind (pseudopersonality), loneliness, dissociation, indecisiveness, low self-esteem, distrust, unrealistic guilt, “magical thinking”, sexual dysfunctionality, alienation, and even mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
I write this paper so that other struggling ex-Mormons can better understand their experience, and to refute misinformation being passed off by FAIR. Unlike the Church, I believe information itself (including critique) is not harmful, and I am confident that readers can use their own intelligence to make up their minds about such matters.
Overall, Siever commits a logical fallacy by comparing Christianity to Mormonism. He attempts to find Mormonism innocent of culthood by saying, “Well, it’s just as bad as other religions”.
This tactic is the Tu Quoque fallacy. This is fancy Latin for, “You too!” Siever is saying that the Church’s similarity to cults isn’t a problem, because mainstream Christianity is similar. This approach can not, in fact, prove Mormonism does not “make extensive use of unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control to advance the leader’s [organization’s] goals”. Therefore, his argument is not logical, though it might seem to be. It is a way of distracting the reader from the main point — a “Red Herring” fallacy.
If you look like a duck, walk like a duck, and quack like a duck, you are still a duck, even if it’s another water fowl calling you a duck.
Siever addresses Langone’s list point by point, so I will follow this model, summarizing Siever’s views and offering my rebuttal.
The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
Siever focuses on the charismatic aspect of a living leader, and does not even address “excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment”.
Langone was seeking to simplify his list, and so did not have room to explain that some cults will focus on commitment to the beliefs, the organization, or multiple leaders. It is irrelevant that Mormons do not worship a single charismatic living leader. It is relevant that most members are extremely committed to the Prophet and other general authorities, and to their beliefs. The pivotal words are “unquestioning” and “excessively zealous”.
The Church sets Jesus Christ as its center, but then effectively transfers all of this commitment and power to Church leadership by the doctrine, “…whether by mine [the Lord’s] own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (Doctrine & Covenants 1:38)
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
Siever admits to the proselytizing aspect of the church, and excuses it because Christianity does it, too. A bit of Tu Quoque.
He also does ignores the fact that Mormons strongly emphasize this aspect of the Gospel, more so than most Christian groups. All 19 year old male members are expected to go on a formal mission. They are under enormous religious and social pressure to go. If they do not, they face lowered social status, fewer options for mates, being labeled judgementally as “less righteous” and other anti-virtues, fewer “blessings”, reduced spirituality, and probable scorn from family and friends. These young men and women postpone educational opportunities, leave behind fiances (who often dump them), and separate from friends and family for a duration of two full years.
“Every member a missionary”. Members are strongly encouraged to give religious material to non-member friends and invite them to church social gatherings. Uplifting spiritual stories are told of miraculous conversions. Strong promises are made concerning the afterlife: “And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!” (D&C 18:15)
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Again, Siever compares Mormonism to Christianity. He does not point out that the Church stresses tithing at many meetings, and that payment is required for church callings, temple entry, social status, reentry into God’s presence, and general overall “worthiness” (linked to self esteem). Members are interviewed once a year for the express purpose of determining tithe status. It is commanded that tithing should be paid before all other financial considerations, including housing costs, utility bills, and food. Yet Siever casually dismisses tithing by stating, “I wouldn’t label it as a pre-occupation”.
Members are made to feel afraid to not pay their tithing. This is known as a “cult induced phobia”. They’re promised blessings if they pay, and punishment if they don’t. Punishment includes social rejection, loss of financial stability, and burning. “…verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” (D&C 64:23)
Of course members will be pre-occupied with a commandment of such weight.
Because the Church hides their budget, there is no disclosure regarding how this money is spent. The Church claims it is used for building and maintaining ward houses and temples, administration overhead, missionary efforts, and helping people in general. However there do not seem to be enough legitimate expenses to account for the $5.9 billion dollar annual income, especially given that members are asked to provide for building maintenance, missions, and Church welfare with even more of their own time and money. It is known, at least, that the Church has purchased investment real estate and exerted political influence.
Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
On this point, Siever manages to make mainstream Christianity look worse than Mormonism by comparing medieval churches with modern Mormonism. Apples to oranges. He also emphasizes what the Church says but not what the Church does.
One aspect of mind control involves making a person believe they are free. The Church does indeed verbally encourage members to question. But they also encourage members to obey their leaders and to exercise faith. When a question can’t be answered to a member’s satisfaction, they’re told to accept it on faith. Faith is held as a high virtue, so not accepting something on faith is “bad” and makes the member feel less worthy. This is a very effective means of silencing doubt.
There is also the social factor, which is a very powerful force in a cult. Questions that presuppose the church is true and that the Prophet is called of God are generally acceptable and are never punished. It’s ok to ask, “How can I be more faithful?”, “What is the Celestial Kingdom like?”, and “How did the Liahona work?”
Questions that could undermine faith are socially discouraged. Many ex-Mormons report experiences of social shaming and scorn for asking edgy questions. They are made to feel as if something is wrong with them for not automatically believing.
This is known as a double-bind or loyalty/betrayal funnel. If the member does not ask their “forbidden” questions, they are betraying themselves. If they do, they are “disloyal” (or unfaithful), and are judged “guilty” by the group. The organization can therefore appear blameless, because they are openly encouraging questions, while in action they are discouraging them.
Members are strongly admonished to avoid “anti-Mormon” material. They are told this will weaken their testimony. The label “anti” denotes something very negative, and members believe apostates and anti-Mormons are angry, hateful, pushy, and inspired by the devil. Antis are out to persecute and destroy the church. Their motives are never pure or legitimate. Seeking this material will cause the Spirit to flee, leaving an inability to discern right from wrong. Members tell personal stories of reading anti-Mormon books and “losing the Spirit”, being filled with fear, or becoming “confounded” or confused — all feelings caused by Satan. This is yet another cult induced phobia.
Worthiness interviews attempt to insure members have a testimony by asking if they know the church is true, if they sustain church leadership, etc. If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, callings and temple recommends can be denied. Worthiness is also linked to social status and self-esteem.
Siever states that the only time members are excommunicated for their doubts are when they encourage dissent among members. Well, isn’t that what Langone says here? Dissent is discouraged and even punished by the Mormon church.
This is where loaded language comes in. Dissent is a “bad word”. To a member, this dissenters “murmur”, “contend”, “rebel”, and have the spirit of the devil. It conjures up stories of Laman and Lemuel, who were the evil brothers of the Book of Mormon protagonist, Nephi. These brothers were judged and cursed.
“…he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” (3 Nephi 11:29)
In a secular setting, the word “dissent” is fairly benign. The American Heritage dictionary defines “dissent” as “v. (1) To differ in opinion or feeling; disagree, (2) To withhold assent or approval. n. (2) The refusal to conform to the authority or doctrine of an established church; nonconformity.”
A non-Mormon would usually see dissent as a good thing. Allowing disagreement is a part of the nature of freedom and individuality. Admitting that your organization has excommunicated people for encouraging “disagreement” or “differing in opinion” is admitting your organization is exerting authoritarian control over your member’s beliefs, thoughts, and feelings.
Many members have been disfellowshipped and excommunicated for writing and teaching on topics such as Mormon feminism, evolution, genetic science, and unauthorized church history. These have been in forums such as universities and intellectual conferences and publications, forums apart from general church membership. It does not matter how much supporting fact or documentation exists, or that these papers were written by sincere, yet concerned, believers. Questions and doubts were expressed to other members, therefore, the “guilty” member is punished.
Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
Siever picks a few Christian sects who practice speaking in tongues, etc., to make mainstream Christianity appear more cultlike than Mormonism. He claims that of these, Mormonism only practices prayer.
Prayer, in and of itself, has not been demonstrated to be a mind control technique. Excessive prayer has. Mormons are encouraged to “Pray always and not faint”, and that you shouldn’t do much of anything without praying first. (2 Nephi 32:8-9).
Langone’s list of mind-numbing techniques should not be considered exhaustive. Members are also encouraged to fast once a month and as needed for special purposes. Fasting weakens the will, and makes one more suggestible. It is in this state during Fast Sunday that one listens to personal testimonies of others. Fasting is also encouraged during the testimony-gaining process. If one is concerned with a specific church doctrine, is struggling to know if the church is true,is making a major life decision, or is hoping for a miracle, they are encouraged to fast while praying and reading the scriptures.
It should be noted that extreme durations of fasting can result in hallucinations. Native American vision quests require several days of fasting and isolation. I can’t help but wonder how many “revelations” were the result of highly suggestible and delusional mental states brought on by fasting.
Another well-known mind control technique known as “the thought-terminating cliché”. This is a phrase or activity designed to stop undesirable thoughts. Mormonism employs this regularly. The most dramatic examples include:
- Instructions to hum or sing a hymn when an undesirable thought enters the mind
- Pray when an undesirable thought enters the mind
- “Get thee behind me Satan” and other phrases which label the undesirable thought as evil so that it cannot be considered
There are many other thought-stopping clichés that apply to specific situations, such as “Endure to the end”, “Be of good cheer”, “I will not be tempted beyond that which I’m able,” “Do not harden your heart”, “Do not crucify the Savior anew”, and “Is this [question, reading material, speculation] necessary for my eternal salvation?”
Siever also does not point out that many members feel overwhelmed with the work they need to do. Many are exhausted and depressed. Many members also report they do not get enough sleep. If this is in doubt, try making a list of the number of commandments and “shoulds” given by the Church. It exhausted me just thinking about it. This would count as a “debilitating work routine”. Overwork and exhaustion is another form of mind-numbing used by many cult groups.
There are many more subtle thought-control techniques employed by the Church, but these would require more lengthy exploration than this space allows.
The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).
Siever points out that members are encouraged to wear modest clothing and he mentions the temple recommend process.
He completely ignores the other points here, both the obvious and the subtle.
He does not mention Mormon dietary restrictions or the required wearing of garments. He does not mention that young members are strongly discouraged from dating non-members, that Mormonism dictates sexuality, that it directs women to stay at home to raise a family, and that it proscribes instructions for almost every other area of a member’s life.
While Mormons do not need to ask the Bishop for permission regarding every mundane daily act, members are always encouraged to “Choose the right” in every aspect of their lives. A wrong choice is said to have dire, long-lasting consequences. Even for non-religious life choices, members are instructed to seek council in the scriptures, in fasting, and in prayer. Because of this reliance on “The Spirit”, many members are afraid to make even the simplest of decisions. Members become susceptible to following “revelations” (promptings, visions, and dreams) from fellow members, leaders, and parents, especially in the realm of marriage and careers.
The Church doesn’t seem to care about career choices for men, which specific returned missionary you should date and marry, what kind of non-caffeinated non-alcoholic dinner you should eat, what house you should live in, or which wholesome consumer goods you buy with the remaining 90% of your income. But beyond this, the Church has many recommendations for an “upright” Mormon life. Read you scriptures daily, hold family home evening, raise your children well, wear dresses and suits, dress modestly, short hair for men, don’t get too many piercings (none of the face), seek after virtuous things of good report, do not watch R rated movies, listen to uplifting music, keep a clean home, do not work on Sunday, do not masturbate, do not have impure thoughts, serve your fellow man, avoid all appearances of evil, develop your talents, be productive, write in your journal, be careful who you associate with, date worthy members, sex is for procreation only, bake cookies, keep a garden, work at the cannery, don’t swear, convert your friends, don’t be alone with members of the opposite sex, do your home/visiting teaching, and magnify your calling.
If this is not dictating, I don’t know what is.
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 has a special mission to save humanity).
Again Siever ignores the main point of the item. He focuses on the example used, not the statement.
Mormonism is very elitist. Members believe they are elect, the most valiant servants in the pre-existence. Mormons born in these last days are called of God, his chosen people, to be his servants to prepare for the Second Coming. Saturday’s Warriors. “…among all these [intelligences/spirits] there were many of the noble and great ones…These I will make my rulers.” Abraham 3:22-23.
Mormons identify themselves with most references to Israel in scripture, and “The World” (everyone else) is equated to Babylon. All the responsibilities and good things promised to Israel are promised to Mormons, while the bad things that happen to wicked Babylon will happen to the rest of the world. The LDS Church is the one and only true Church on earth.
While Mormon rhetoric claims everyone is equally loved in the sight of God, other doctrines — and more importantly, attitudes and actions — contradict this. Mormons believe they have a birthright so long as they continue to keep the lengthy list of commandments. Non-members and less active members are looked down upon as weak and sinful. They are usually treated with less respect. Members who leave the church are labeled “apostates”, which has many negative connotations. Ex-Mormons are encouraged to return in condescending, often pitying tones. The “righteous” are exalted, the wicked are smitten.
It is difficult to deny that Mormons believe they are special. It is drilled into their heads in church lessons, conference talks, and hymns. Many hymns use battle imagery to show the righteous slaying sinful enemies. Mormons are to be in the world, but not of the world.
Many of these points also apply to the next item.
The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.
Siever admits to this one, stating that members tend to congregate geographically and when possible, use professional services of fellow members.
He does not stress the “us-vs-them” mentality, which is prevalent in Mormonism. Mormons have a persecution complex, and believe many people are out to destroy the church and make life miserable for innocent followers of God. The attitude seems to be, “You’re either with us, or against us.”
The outside world is shunned, is considered less desirable to Mormon spirituality. Mormons are proud of being “a peculiar people”.
Conflicts arise when Mormons flaunt their self-righteousness, disrespect boundaries, condescend to wicked outsiders, treat non-members and ex-Mormons with disdain, and try to push their beliefs on others by knocking on doors.
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).
Siever states that both Mormon and Christian leaders are accountable to God. This of course assumes there is a God to be accountable to.
Langone did not intend this item to mean “accountable to the deity which the cult worships”. It means living, earthly authorities. Cult leaders do a lot of unethical things in the name of their deity, holding themselves above the law. When they are only accountable to their God, then they can justify doing anything they claim their God is in favor of, even if such actions are harmful, unethical, and illegal.
Modern Mormonism attempts to follow government laws, however historically Mormon leaders have often been in defiance of worldly authority. Since this is not the forum for discussion of historical Mormonism, I will leave it at that.
The modern Mormon organization keeps many things hidden from their members and the world at large. Because of this, it is difficult to say to what extent the Church is abusing its powers. Because of its non-profit religious status, there is much the church does not have to report, including financial records.
By way of example, there are valid accusations that the Church is practicing for-profit activities with its money such as high salaries and personal perks to upper-leadership and purchases of investment real estate and malls. There are hundreds of reports of sexual abuse by Bishops and other leaders that have been suppressed or brushed aside by internal Church authority. The Church has involved itself in political campaigns without informing members and in defiance of their religious non-profit status.
Through its deception, Mormonism also escapes accountability to its own members. By hiding the church budget, lying about aspects of its history and past doctrines, discouraging or discounting reports of negative experiences of members (especially missionaries), and obfuscating many of its political activities, members are lead to falsely believe an image of their organization which is simply not true. Mormons are not giving their fully informed consent to remain active.
The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).
Siever completely dismisses this. For the most part, he is right. The actions members make for the Church are generally considered ethical, or at worst, in the margins.
Many rapes and sexual molestations are dismissed by local church leaders for the higher good of keeping up appearances, as are high-profile affairs and physical abuse. Victims are left doubly-abused, because trusted clergy will minimize, ignore, or worse… place the blame at the victim’s feet.
Boyd K. Packer (an Apostle) said, “there is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful. [Emphasis added]” Hiding truth, even if it be in the name of “faith promotion”, is very unethical and often even harmful to real human beings.
Many members do not respect the wishes of ex-Mormons who have asked to be left alone. Others do not respect the individual member’s autonomy to make good choices, and will intrude.
Many Mormon scholars, especially BYU professors, are “asked” to restrict their teaching and writing of certain subjects, in defiance of personal and academic integrity. Those who have disobeyed have been fired and/or excommunicated.
Young members are taught that it is better to die than to lose their chastity, and that sexual sin is second in severity only to murder. This has caused many a struggling youth to commit suicide over what they perceive to be unforgivable thoughts and actions.
The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
Siever does not attempt to deny this one, either. He claims guilt comes from the Holy Ghost to help with the repentance process.
This is a great example of “reframing”. Reframing is a cult technique of explaining something in such a way that it “proves” the organization to be true, even though there may be another plausible explanation.
Guilt can be caused by repetitive guilt-inducing statements and doctrines. If you repeatedly tell someone that eating chocolate is a serious sin, then when that person eats chocolate, they will feel guilty. It is not proof that eating chocolate is immoral, nor is it proof that an unseen spirit is causing the feeling.
Guilt and shame are very effective means of control used by most cults.
According to Mormon belief, if one sins, one loses the Holy Spirit because they’re not worthy. So how can it be the Holy Spirit causing the guilt? You’ve just sinned, so the Spirit has fled. It must be something else causing the guilt. It’s not Satan, because he wants you to sin. So that leaves your beliefs as the source of the guilt. Your beliefs come from the Church.
Members’ subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.
Siever states that members give up goals that are not in harmony with the Gospel. He states that converts are often disowned by their families.
Many Mormon women give up career goals because of the Church’s teachings, essentially sacrificing their entire lives. Young men put careers and relationships on pause for missions (during which they are allowed minimal contact with family). There are a great number of activities that are “off limits” because they are not virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or because they “appear evil”. Members are encouraged to be careful of their associations.
Because of the “us-vs-them” and elitist mentality described above, many friends and family members treat apostates with disdain or condescension. Often ex-Mormons are disowned, especially gay ex-Mormons or members claiming sexual abuse. Ex-Mormons in areas highly populated by Mormons will lose their jobs or businesses and will be treated terribly by members, even former friends.
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
Siever mentions church callings, but does not list the many “service opportunities”, church meetings, potlucks, and the lengthy list of time-consuming commandments.
If a good member is to spend the minimum amount of time per week attending their duties, they will devote about 22 hours. This includes a three hour block on Sunday, an average of eight hours for their calling, two hours for miscellaneous meetings (including home/visiting teaching), one hour per day reading scriptures and praying, and two hours for Family Home Evening.
If there is conference, you may spend up to ten hours in a single weekend. If you are a youth, you can count one hour per weekday for Seminary, plus firesides and Mutual activities.
If you are really faithful, you will be involved in service projects and a more time-consuming calling. You may also be reading Church magazines, novels, and non-fiction books. You will also be pursuing Church-approved talents, such as music. You will spend most of Sunday at home, keeping the Sabbath holy by reading the scriptures and listening to uplifting music (that’s 16 waking hours right there!) Not to mention Scouts and Girl’s Camp, genealogy, temple attendance, and full-time missions.
10% of your time at work is actually going to the Church, in the form of money.
Usually members do not consider this to be an inordinate amount of time, because they never stop to add it up. Ex-Mormons are often surprised at how much free time they suddenly have.
Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members
Siever recognizes that Mormons are encouraged to associate with upstanding people, and to date within the faith.
In reality, most Mormons associate only with other Mormons. This separation is sometimes “commanded”, but this division is more likely a natural side-effect of the “us-vs-them” and elitist mindsets. Additionally, the Mormon-specific jargon and culture makes non-members feel confused, uncomfortable, and excluded. This is one purpose that “groupspeak” serves for a cult.
One symptom of the cult mind is that it cannot conceive of a legitimate reason for criticism. Siever seems caught up in this, concluding that the cult label is merely used to produce an association to the occult and Satanic. To the Mormon psyche it seems difficult to comprehend why people would waste their time “attacking” the Church, unless such people are somehow malicious or evil.
Langone’s cult checklist never once mentions Satanism, witchcraft, or soothsaying, but Siever does. Those who seriously study cults are not interested in the doctrines. Figures like Dr. Langone, Steven Hassan, and Margaret Singer are not interested in what deity the religion worships or what rituals they perform. They are interested in the controlling aspects and unethical actions of the organization.
Siever is attempting to discredit serious consideration of the question, “Does Mormonism control and deceive its members?” This question is important and worthy of consideration, because if it is true, millions of lives are being adversely affected. Millions of people are trapped, spiritually abused, shamed, deceived, repressed, and depressed for no greater cause than one organization’s increased power and wealth.
Allred, Janice M., My Controversy with the Church, http://www.lds-mormon.com/controve.shtml
Beck, Martha Nibley, Leaving the Saints: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Life, New York: Crown Publishers, 2005
Benson, Steve, Good-bye to God: Editorial Cartoonist’s Journey From Jesus to Journalism– and Beyond, http://www.lds-mormon.com/benson2.shtml
The Book of Mormon, written or translated by Joseph Smith, 1830
Giambalvo, Carol, Post-Cult Problems: An Exit Counselor’s Perspective, in Recovery from Cults, ed. Michael Langone (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993)
Hassan, Steven, Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves. Somerville, MA: Freedom of Mind Press, 2000.
Hassan, Steven, Freedom of Mind Center http://www.freedomofmind.com
Kline, Diana, Woman Redeemed, Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2005
Langone, Michael D., ed. Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993.
The Official Internet Site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, http://www.lds.org
The Pearl of Great Price, written or translated by Joseph Smith, ed. Elder Franklin D. Richards, 1851
Siever, Kim, “Is Mormonism a Cult?”, FAIR, http://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/siever-is-mormonism-a-cult.pdf
Singer, Margaret Thaler, Cults in our Midst. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1995
Smith, Joseph, Doctrine & Covenants, 1829-1842
Stricker, Marion, Life After Mormonism and the Double-Bind, http://www.exmormon.org/pattern/index.htm
Van Biema, David, Kingdom Come: Salt Lake City Was Just for Starters Time Magazine, Aug. 4, 1997
The Official Internet Site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, http://www.lds.org
Numerous personal stories at exmormon.org and postmormon.org, specifically: