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Autor: anton • October 1, 2010 • 1,822 Words (8 Pages) • 573 Views
With the advancements in the study of social sciences, there has been a somewhat parallel growth of cults which though have their foundations in the original Bible and the Christian teachings, yet one may observe that the majority of the present day cults not only deny the essential doctrines, they openly emphasize and present their own personal reinterpretations of the biblical scriptures. The following paper will present two such cases, those of Christian Science and the Mormons, and strive to present some of the comparative elements, their beliefs, customs, religious ceremonies and leadership aspects.
Christian Science - Leadership
Founded by a woman named Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) in 1879, the cult of Christian Science primarily bases its beliefs on the personal healing experience of its founder, after suffering from various illnesses. Eddy later embarked upon a detailed study and research mission of the Bible, paying particular attention to the various healing methods mentioned in the Biblical Book of the Christian followers. Perhaps inspired by a healing method, which Eddy dubbed as Christian Science, she authored a book titled "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures". The launching of this book provided for the emergence of this new cult, which she duly named "Christian Science", followed by opening of a college, a church, a publishing enterprise and a newspaper, "The Christian Science Monitor" that later found considerable fame amongst the followers of Christians as well as believers of other faiths. Though the faith did not emerge until after 4 years of the publication of the first issue of "Science and Health", it was only in 1879 that a proper metaphysical college was opened followed by the opening of the first Church for the followers of Christian Science. (Slick, 2003; Kramer, 2004; Meyer, 1961)
Christian Science - The Faith
The primary set of contradictions present in the Christian Science are that though God's creations including human beings are flawless and appear to be the spiritual likeness of the Divine, yet evils such as disease, death, and sin are not a part of fundamental reality. The faith further teaches that the said evils are the result of staying away from the original teachings of God. To overcome such a dilemma, the Christian Science offers prayer as the primary and central measure to eliminate the distance between God and healing the current spate of ills, which have encompassed mankind.
Christian Science - The Customs
Some of the salient customs of the Christian Science include a daily prayer ritual which serves to bring realization of God, and God's Love as well as assist others in experiencing the harmonizing and healing effect of the primary understanding of the Christian Science. The cult also emphasizes on the spiritual healing effect and gives more than a mere emphasis as compared to the medical treatment of the ailing humanity. The cult has nor formal ministers, and instead the Bible, Science and Health are its pastor and preacher.
With its headquarters in Boston, duly called the First Church of the Christ, Scientist, or The Mother Church. It is assisted with a number of local churches, which serve as its branches. Run under a Manual of the Mother Church, the Christian Science has a Board of Directors, which governs the Church on a democratic system, and is duly assisted by its branches. (Slick, 2003; Kramer, 2004; Meyer, 1961)
The Mormon Cult - Leadership
Founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 in New York, the cult of the Mormons is yet another faith that derives its teachings from Biblical scriptures. Though most, if not all the elements of this cult are founded in the original Biblical texts, followers of the Christian belief due to some of the extreme contradictions and deceptions in both the books of the Mormons as well as its teachings largely oppose the faith. The cult has some 7 million members, out of 5 million are residing in the United States of America.
The Mormon Cult - The Faith
Some of the strongest contradictions found in the "Book of Mormons", which is the given the official status of the cult's book, are the addition of some 125 new verses in the New Testament and the changing of some 1,475 verses in the Bible. Another strong belief of the Mormon cult is their book, which they believe and consider it to 'their Bible', hence also inviting stern opposition from the followers of the Christian faith. Furthermore, though 'Jesus Christ', 'Father' and 'Trinity' are terms commonly used by the Christian followers the world over. Yet, for the Mormon followers, all these are interpreted and in a totally different manner and present a more than a new version to the Holy Scriptures and the said terms. For example the birth of Jesus Christ according to the Mormons was through sexually cohabiting with Virgin Mary in a physical and flesh relationship, which is entirely contradictory to the original beliefs of the Christian followers. The Christians rightly believe that Jesus Christ came into this world through a Holy Ghost.
The Mormon Cult - The Customs
Some of the salient customs and beliefs of the Mormons aside from the coming of the Jesus Christ are found in the practice of polygamy, as also followed by its leader Joseph Smith who is said to have had some 27 wives officially and 60 unofficially. This was followed by its second in command, Brigham Young with 25 wives and more than 56 children. Such is the strong emphasis on the practice of polygamy that Mormon belief proclaims that "he who rejects the doctrine of polygamy shall be condemned and the only men who become gods are those who enter polygamy". The practice was however abolished by its third leader in the year 1904. (Slick, 2003; Kramer, 2004; Meyer, 1961)
With its headquarters in the state of Utah, the Mormon followers forbid women to become priests, church leaders or even gods. It is also widely believed that women of the Mormon cult perhaps have the highest rate of suicide, the highest percentage of being incarcerated in mental institutions, and the highest percentage of divorces in the nation.
Salient Differences Between the cults of Christian Science and Mormons
One of the first and perhaps strongest difference found is that the cult of Christian Science claims that the Bible has a number of mistakes, and further that a number of sections Are untrue. The Mormons on the other hand only consider their own