For those who thought they heard it all, Reverend Robert Jeffress is bringing it on–it wasn't enough that he called Mormonism a cult, which it is not, but now he is playing the learned theologian and defining the Mormon "cult" further as a "theological" cult. The phrase "theological" cult means a cult of God, and we at GodDiscussion always thought that the word "cult" was associated with God anyway, without the splitting hairs:
It is clear that Reverend Jeffress is enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame. He defines Mormonism as a cult in the video by saying Joseph Smith is the leader, implying that cults are headed by one leader. With that kind of definition, every church in the nation could be defined as a cult because if there is no central leadership, the minister heads the church.
Joseph Smith certainly founded the Mormon church but perhaps the Reverend didn't hear that Joseph Smith has been dead for well over 167 years, he is not worshipped (Christ is worshipped), and the Mormon church is now headed by a President and a Quorum: (who are also not worshipped):
The LDS Church is organized in a hierarchical priesthood structure administered by men. Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus leads the church through revelation and has chosen a single man, called "the Prophet" or President of the Church, as his spokesman on the earth. The current president is Thomas S. Monson. He and two counselors (who usually are ordained apostles) form the First Presidency, the presiding body of the church; twelve other apostles form the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. When a president dies, his successor is invariably the most senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the one who has held an apostleship position the longest), who then reconstitutes a new First Presidency. These men, and the other male members of the church-wide leadership (including the first two Quorums of Seventy and the Presiding Bishopric) are called general authorities. They exercise both ecclesiastical and administrative leadership over the church and direct the efforts of regional leaders down to the local level. General authorities and mission presidents work full-time and typically receive stipends from church funds or investments.
At the local level, the church leadership are drawn from the laity and work on a part-time volunteer basis without stipend. Like all members, they are asked to donate a tithe of 10 percent of their income to the church.
Jeffress also defines the Mormons as a "theological cult" because of their use of the Book of Mormon along with the Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon is defined by the Mormons as "another testament of Christ," and in that respect is similar to the Nag Hammadi texts that didn't make it into the Bible, yet are other testaments of Christ written by various people. The Bible itself is a collection of books written by human beings who had certain views about the God they worshipped, yet Reverend Jeffress is acting as if the Bible was delivered by a giant supernatural hand from the sky and given to Christianity. When thought about this way, Conservative Christianity could also be seen as a "theological" cult as conservative Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the only head, with the ministers and family hierarchies following a male dominated structure directly under Jesus. Also, when we think of the word "cult," we think of someone like David Koresh or Jim Jones, a dynamic leader who led their flocks to their own demise. So far, GodDiscussion has not heard of any Mormons (LDS) leading their flock to drink poisoned Kool-aid as the so-called "Christian" Jim Jones did.
The Mormons have fought for years since their inception for the freedom to worship in the way they see fit. The Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, and his brother Hyrum, were assassinated by an angry mob for this ideal in 1844. Not much has changed since 1844. Clearly, character assassination is still in vogue with the Reverend Jeffress and other Christians who are not educated about the Mormon faith.
Theological cult. Seriously?