Mormon temple number fifteen is opening in St. Louis, and before its consecration, Gentiles (Baptists, Catholics, etc.) can walk through and see such things as the marriage sealing rooms and baptistries where surrogate Mormons are baptized for the dead. USA TODAY in May gave a whole, free page to the temple (I can't remember the last time the IMB was given a full page in USA TODAY). Atop this multi-million dollar structure is the angel Moroni, the golden revelator of Mormonism, who delivered the Golden Plates of Nephi to Joseph Smith in the first place.
So what's new in Mormonism? Not much, I guess. We've lost our intrigue with marriage sealing rituals, sacred undergarments, and transmigration of souls. But what is new is the feeling that Mormonism has at last outlived the word "cult" and that to be a Mormon is the feeling that Mormonism is now as acceptable as to be a Buddhist or a Baptist. Why is this such a transgression? Because all cults (Mormons included) define themselves by altering or ignoring the seven points of Christian Orthodoxy.
1. Heaven and Hell. The immortality of all souls.
2. The Trinity.
3. The Scriptures as sole authority of faith.
4. The blood atonement.
5. The Ordinances (Sacraments).
6. The Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Christ.
7. The Second Coming.
On all seven of these points Mormon teaching differs from all other Christians whether Roman Catholic, Orthodox, or Pentecostal.
Mormonism does not like thinking of itself as a cult. But how did it happen that we forgot they were a cult? Well, multi-culturalism has had its effect. Religions, politics, and sexual preferences are now seen by secularists as relative values, which originate from the center of individuals rather than any real standard.
During the Heaven's Gate suicides, the followers' L. Ron Hubbardish-view of the comet and the eternal Gate of Pluto roared into national interest. The plight of the two cults suddenly called to mind that these Hale-Boppers and Mormons shared a lot of similarities. Both believe that cult faithfulness is rewarded by granting believers their own planet to rule. Both have a bizarre view of human sexuality — Hale-Bopping Heaven's Gaters castrated themselves to keep their religious appetites focused, while Mormons exalt bigamy and focus their prowess in procreation to gain favor in the next world.
So the grand opening of temple fifteen in St. Louis ought to remind evangelicals of the true state of things. Atop fifteen temples, Moroni now glistens in gold as a recent angelic revelator.
As for the priesthood, it seems that God changed all that recently in Mormonism. Blacks were only recently allowed into the priesthood of the Mormon church, which is unthinkable in a world where civil rights should be extended to all persons. Women have never enjoyed equal status.
I won't continue the argument. But will somebody help me understand the real difference? If the comet Hale-Bopp was a sign to the Heaven's Gaters that the portals of eternity were opening on Pluto maybe we should see the Mormon interplanetary cosmology for what it really is.
Are there differences?
Only Moroni knows.