Mormonism is no different from Scientology. They are both based on the teachings, writings and ego-driven behavior of power-hungry men. The secrecy of the Mormon church, like their prohibitions against outsiders in their weddings, and the way they hide behind rules to justify sketchy behavior is reminiscent of how cults control the behavior of their members.
Dictionary.Com provides several definitions for the word "cult" the LDS Church meets the following definitions:
"a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies."
"an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers...."
"a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc."
"Sociology . A group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols."
"a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." (In the early days of the church)
Admittedly, any religion or sect meet some of these definitions as well. But yes, Mormonism is a cult.
The word cult implies a group of people who ignorantly follow someone. One of the biggest things that we are encouraged to by our leaders is to seek out our own understanding of things though. Cultism does not encourage people to seek out information and understanding. My religion does so.
No, Mormons are not members of a cult, but so little is generally known among the population about Mormons, that it makes it seem so to some. Also, there are some real oddities about the Mormon faith, such as having more than one wife, even if that is not common practice these days. Mormons also don't drink coffee, which makes them seem odd to some people, though that in itself shouldn't be thought of as cult-like. The things that distinguish Mormonism from other religions just aren't that well known, and when something is not understood, it can easily gain a reputation to be cult-like.
Mormons are definitely not any more of a "cult" than any other religion is. In order to be an actual cult, your organization has to not be recognized by the country as an actual religious organization (meaning they can't get tax breaks/etc.). Mormons may believe in some really weird far fetched stuff, but they as a group are recognized by our country as a religious group. Cults are not, that's the difference.
Mormons are not a cult. I know many Mormons, and they are some of the kindest people I have ever met. They try to live by standards that they make the choice to live. Polygamy is not supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). As far as I know, that was a one-time thing. They don't drink coffee or any sort of alcohol. I can't say that all Mormons are as polite as the ones I've met, but the general population is a non-contentious group. Their service organizations are always one of the first to help after a natural disaster. I don't understand how anyone could think Mormons were a cult unless they didn't know everything. Some rumours about Mormons that I've heard are just ridiculous.
I am a member of the LDS Church. There is nothing cult like about it. The church is all about love an acceptance. Also, a cult would not spread out the power among its members as thoroughly as the LDS church has. So, no the Momron church is not a cult.
You can not actually believe that morminism is a cult. Have you ever even met one???? You are free to leave any time you want. You can make all the decisions you want. However if you actually believe in their teaching you would feel bad about making bad decisions. What we believe in usually can fall under what most other christian churches believe in as well. Just FYI the lds and the flds churches are two totally different thing and have totally different beliefs.
There are so many easy arguments for this but here's one that isn't brought up a lot:
A defining feature of a cult is mind control and manipulation. The last thing a cult would want to offer its members is a university. The LDS church owns and operates Brigham Young University with its sister schools at BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii. These are highly acclaimed, world class universities that promote the study of many different ideas. It exposes young Mormons to all the arts and sciences and encourages its students to explore other cultures.
Mormons are good people. They want to live a good life like we want to. Considering Mormonism as a cult is just plain BS. That's harassment, and it's completely discriminative. I met some of them before, and their people aren't evil. My bond with them is very strong like with other good groups.
Those who hates mormons do have issues. Those who hate the mormons are former mormons who were kicked out of the church because they had abused the family, church and other things. So, in revenge, they started the propaganda against the Church calling it as a cult.
Those who hated the church who wasn't a former mormon were deceived by the former mormons, and they spread the same lies. I had read several anti-mormons literature, and they all are the same. Nothing new, and it had been debunked millions of times.
I would recommend a book called "Are Mormon Christians?" by Stephen Robinson, then you can see it for yourself.