Reason #178: Growing Acknowledgment of the Role of Secrecy

Recently The Wall Street Journal ran a short article about the way that a religious group becomes a cult.

Here’s a quote:

The first is behavior control, i.e., monitoring of where you go and what you do. The second is information control, such as discouraging members from reading criticism of the group. The third is thought control, placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning. The fourth is emotional control—using humiliation or guilt. Yet at times these traits can also be detected within mainstream faiths. So I would add two more categories: financial control and extreme leadership.

However, the author settles on one universal cultic trait: that of secrecy,  being what the author calls “unknowable to outsiders.”

Surely Mormonism qualifies.

For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today (Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.


  1. Johnny Elmore
    Aug 2, 2011

    Dear Mrs. Scott:

    I just read your comments in the Christian Chronicle and looked up your website. I am enjoying reading your articles. I bought your book many years ago and I still have it in my library, along with all the other Mormon and non-Mormon books. I have studied the errors of Mormonism since the 50s and 60s. One of the most engrossing and well-written books I have ever read is Fawn Brodie’s No Man Knows My History. I have met so many Mormon missionaries at the door. I admire their devotion to their cause too much to mistreat them or slam the door in their faces. I read somewhere that our approach should be to politely “knock the polish off their testimony,” i.e. to raise that small doubt that might cause them to investigate. What do you thinks of this?

  2. admin
    Aug 3, 2011

    Thanks, Johnny! I appreciate your supportiveness.

    I think the thing that can cause them to think –these young men and women who come to your door — is a heartfelt and sincere declaration of your love for Jesus and His Word. I believed when I was a Mormon that all Christians were secretly unhappy and felt a lack that only Mormonism could fill. So when I met a Christian who expressed satisfaction and completion in his or her faith — it took me by surprise and made me think. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the HOPE that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. . .” 1 Peter 3:15

  3. Trebor
    Aug 5, 2011

    Except for #1. The Mormon church doesn’t monitor where people go and what they do.

  4. Sue P
    Aug 12, 2011

    I am from the UK and very new to your site and look forward to reading your books. I was an active mormon for 31 years before accidentally coming across the real historic truths about mormonism. Discovering the profound simplicity of biblical christianity has been joyful and liberating.

    If the chance presented itself, I would also refer the missionaries to Luke 5:32 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. The world is full of people who do not know of Jesus Christ.

    One of my sons served a mission (and is still an active member). I was always greatful to those who treated him and his companions with “gentleness and respect”

  5. admin
    Aug 17, 2011

    I am so glad that you are finding some peace after leaving Mormonism. For many of us, that peace was a long time coming!

    Thank you for your kind words.

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