I offer the following email exchange that will clarify Dr. Richard Land’s views on Mormonism and my response:
First message from Sam Dahl:
Dr. McKissic, just wanted to send you a quick FYI about Dr. Land’s position on Mormonism. Here are a few quotes from the article linked below that he wrote for The Christian Post that might give some clarity.
When the theologically uninitiated hear this answer (that Mormonism is a cult) they immediately think “Branch Davidians” or “Jim Jones,” and there is a cognitive disconnect. When most people hear Mormonism described as a “cult” they think, “No, that can’t be right. A Mormon is president of my Rotary Club or coaches my children’s soccer teams.”
The problem is that while Mormonism may technically be a cult theologically, in that it has moved well beyond the parameters of orthodox, apostle’s creed Trinitarian Christianity, it does not behave as a cult culturally or socially.
For nearly two millennia the basic Trinitarian formulation of the Christian faith has been accepted by Catholics and Protestants alike and it is not open to self-definition or reformulation. Christianity has objective, theologically defined parameters which Mormonism has clearly moved well beyond.
This quote from another Christian Post article, Mormonism Debate: What Is a Cult?, may also shed further light on his position.
Due to the misunderstanding that could result from the two different definitions of cult, Land explained, he does not use the word “cult” to describe the LDS Church, “even though it’s theologically accurate.””
Please let us know if we can serve you in the future.
Thanks for the “Richard Land on Mormonism” email. This is a more complete expression of Dr. Land’s stand on Mormonism.
While I believe that the timing is inappropriate to come forth with the distinctions on Mormonism (leaves one open to the charge of pushing a political agenda) and the designation of Mormonism as a “fourth great Abrahamic faith” is historically, theologically and biblically inaccurate, I do see now where, clearly, Dr. Land views Mormonism as a cult, but simply prefers not to use the term for the reasons stated in the email.
To the extent that my comments on this matter at SBC Voices and my blog have misrepresented Dr. Land (not being heretofore apprised of the information contained in the aforementioned email), I sincerely offer an apology for stating emphatically that Dr. Land was denying that Mormonism is a cult.
Finally, I would like to post this email I’m sending you and the one you sent to me on my blog and submit it to SBC Voices (both unedited) requesting they publish it also. Without your approval, I will not post it. But with or without approval, again, please accept my apology.
Final Response from Sam Dahl:
Dr. McKissic, thank you for your email; Dr. Land appreciates your response and apology. You certainly have his and my permission to publish those emails in the aforementioned places. As another FYI, when it comes to the question of timing, the first time we can ascertain that Dr. Land suggested that perhaps the most charitable way to view Mormonism is as the 4th Abrahamic religion was at the end of 2007 when he was interviewed on December 26 for a documentary titled Article VI that was released in 2008. We appreciate your gracious humility and certainly have no hard feelings or ill will toward you. As always, we stand ready to serve you if there is any way we can. Thanks,
Office of the President
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission