Did I get your attention? The “cult” word sure seems to do that to people…
Now, before you get all huffy with me, hear me out. Did anyone else catch this story on Slashdot about the LDS Church trying to force wikileaks to take down a 1999 version of the Church Handbook of Instructions? I’m not sure anyone will really take the position that the LDS religion is NOT secretive about some things (e.g., finances, accounting, handbooks of instruction, and whatever they have locked up in their vaults). And I’m not saying the LDS religion is secretive about everything – the internet is making it increasily difficult for Mormonism to hide things like Brigham Young’s teachings (e.g., men on the moon, Adam was God) or claim the BofM is the record of the Native Americans – Mormonism isn’t really “hiding” that stuff anymore.
But when they start threatening lawsuits to keep information confidential, that does kind of give the impression that they have stuff to hide. Taking off my Sociology hat for a second and using the term cult in the popular language way (to refer to a secretive group that controls its members, etc.), hiding information gives the impression that Mormonism is a cult.
Now, putting my Sociologist hat back on, one could just as easily argue that what Mormonism really is doing is revealing its corporatism. Banks have sued Wikileaks to keep their practices confidential. Now LDS Inc. is doing likewise. This follows, of course, on this remarkable article by Joseph A. Cannon claiming the FLDS are spoiling the LDS “brand.” It’s the most glaring admission of corporatism of a religion I’ve ever seen, even though the corporatism is ultimately denied.
Your thoughts? Why is Mormonism trying to squelch the spread of its handbook? What does it have to hide?