It’s god’s word…until it’s convenient for them to change it.

Mitt Romney’s campaign just got an endorsement from Billy Graham.  I’m sure that will change the minds of all of the Obama supporters in his congregation.

There’s just this little hangup.  Until a few month’s ago, Graham’s website said…

A cult is any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith. It is very important that we recognize cults and avoid any involvement with them. Cults often teach some Christian truth mixed with error, which may be difficult to detect.

There are some features common to most cults:

• They do not adhere solely to the sixty-six books of the Bible as the inspired Word of God. They add their “special revelations” to the Bible and view them as equally authoritative.

• They do not accept that our relationship to Jesus Christ is a reality “by grace through faith” alone, but promote instead a salvation by works.

• They do not give Jesus Christ, the divine Son of God, full recognition as the second Person of the Trinity, composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Some of these groups are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, Scientologists, and others.


Billy Graham supports a cultist for President?  How will Jesus feel about that?

Today, the Sacramento Bee and other media outlets, including Graham’s own website, posted Graham’s statement endorsing Mitt Romney for president, and two commenters posted a link to the 2010 Graham statement classifying the Mormon religion as a cult. Hours later, that page no longer exists…

No worries!  Graham didn’t “change his mind,” his ministry is just a “growing revelation.”  Sadly, at least for Billy, the internet tends to remember things.  There was a time when religious leaders could scrub away facts and be done with the matter, but not so much nowadays.

You can’t run from the wayback machine:

A Google webcache of that page confirms its prior existence, and an webcache first crawled that page on June 5, 2010. Here’s a screenshot of the Google web cache:

Additionally, a search for the word “Mormon” on Billy Graham’s website identifies six pages, yet none of those pages have the word “Mormon” on them as of this writing, yet most of them still have the word “cult” on them.

Perhaps it was some other people at Graham’s ministry calling Mormonism a cult.  However, one doesn’t have to go far to find two things:

1.  Christian groups tend to suck massively at web design.
2.  Lots of Christians share the belief that Mormonism is a cult.

For those protesting that Mormonism is not a cult, isn’t it strange how god is whispering two conclusions to two different groups?  The big G has a history of doing that.  I could admire him for stirring up shit if I didn’t so adamantly oppose war over religious differences (like the ones clogging up our history).

More likely, “revelation from god” is a euphemism for what best serves religious leaders, and can be erased and supplanted at the will of a mortal whenever god’s word has grown inconvenient.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • M Groesbeck

    He does more than call the Mormons a cult; he defines everyone as part of a cult. Include more books (Catholicism, Mormonism) or fewer (Judaism…which also counts in the “more” category) in the canon, or just different books entirely (every religion other than the above and Protestant Christianity)? Cult. But even the Protestants don’t escape. To qualify as a non-cult, a religious group must adhere to the Protestant version of the Bible in its entirety, including the bits about people being judged by their works. However, one must also disavow the notion that people will be judged by their works.

    So apparently, according to Billy Graham, everyone who isn’t an atheist is a member of a cult. But why should we listen to an admitted cult leader?

    • Artor

      So basically, according to Reverend Billy, anyone who doesn’t believe exactly the same as he does, preferably in his own denomination, is a cultist. Who could have guessed?

  • iknklast

    My guess is the revelation that if you don’t accept Mormonism as not a cult, the scary black guy will stay president. Or maybe it’s the scary socialist Muslim Kenyan atheist, since Graham insists he has no racism, and that he was one of the first to integrate religious rallies (a sort of truth, but probably with a few little handy truths about expedience and feathering one’s own nest thrown in).

    Face with a choice between a Mormon and a Democrat (especially a black Democrat witha funny name), the religious are starting to worry, and they are starting to redefine Mormonism to be more palatable to them. Which is funny, since Obama has done about everything for the Christians that can be done without overtly violating the Constitution. He’s thrown money their way, he’s brought them into high power positions as advisors, he’s pushed the old canard that we need faith at every possible opportunity, and he’s mentioned Jesus, prayer, and faith so many times that one’s head swims. Can they be sure Romney will do as much for them? With Romney, it’s hard to tell, because he rarely says the same thing twice in a row.

    As for the business leaders who are afraid of Obama’s “socialism”, they don’t have anything to worry about, either. Obama has been more than just slightly friendly to big business, and in fact announced a plan to reduce environmental regulations (which are not currently stringent enough to protect either human health or the environment) so that business would have less burden. He has bailed out businesses and banks that were “too big to fail”, the regulatory moves he’s taken are quite mild, and his health care plan could actually reduce the cost of health care for businesses by spreading the pain around a bit more (single payer would be better; businesses fight single payer when they should be getting behind it to reduce what is currently one of their worst expenses – insuring their employees).

    This election is a telling lesson in the failure of critical thinking. It gives me a headache.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently Billy’s ministry is the minitrue.

  • Jaime Wise

    Out of curiosity, what is the technical definition of a Cult?

    • JT Eberhard

      A religion with fewer followers. :P

    • Anonymous

      Basically it’s just a derogatory word for religion with the implication that the religion is not legitimate and false.

    • Anonymous

      It’s not as simple as saying a cult is a religion with fewer followers. Let’s not minimize the damage that true cults can do in the world. A cult is an ideological organization held together by charismatic relationships and the demand of total commitment. Often cults have a charismatic leader who claims a metaphysical knowledge or prophetic reveleation that underpins the organization’s worldview. Often these beliefs include “end of the world” teachings that provide a tragic escape hatch in the case where the belief system breaks down when confronted with contradictory truths.

      • WMDKitty

        Yup, just look at the 12-Step cult. Their “leader” is the Big Blue Book, and they demand total commitment, they insist that you sever all ties outside the group, and teach that if you leave the group, you WILL die.

      • H.H.

        But cults can be thought of as proto-religions. Yes, cults are generally more controlling and restrictive of behavior than mainstream religions. But that is a function of their population. Religions get more conservative and severe as they contract, more liberal and tolerant as they expand. Small sects like the Amish are more restrictive than larger ones like Lutheranism. Most cults die out relatively quickly after the death of their leader, but a few do blossom into major religions. Both Mormonism and Scientology are modern religions which originated as cults.

    • Anonymous

      Mormonism is indistinguishable from Christianity or Islam in every real sense, except one: its beliefs are based on truth claims made recently enough in history, and in language plain enough, that it’s easier to debunk. The 12th-century belief that the sky is really the inside of a blue dome covering a flat earth is distant enough from our current understanding of the world that it’s easier to claim that it was meant as a metaphor, rather than a literal description of Mohammed’s best (and supposedly divinely revealed) understanding of how the world really works. Easy enough to forget that for hundreds of years, this was the literal dogma of Islam. In contrast, a belief that (for example) native Americans are directly and recently descended from Jews is a little harder to defend as metaphor, given that the people who said it was literally true said so fairly recently and within earshot of people who knew how to read and write and had access to printing presses.

    • Rando

      As the old joke goes, “ask the IRS.”

  • rmcbean

    when i was an evangelical student *shudder* we were taught that a cult was any religious group that was not evangelical in theology. a better social science definition includes things like extreme coercion, depersonalization and brainwashing. Mormons are coercive, but probably not a cult. i was at a billy graham rally one time and a crazy lady tried to throw a pie in his face. that’s all i remember about it.

  • Kevin

    I thought Billy Graham lost all credibility when humanity became enlightened?! Hold on…what’s that? Oh? I’m sorry, that wasn’t humanity. You guys are still a few years away from enlightenment. Carry on.

  • CC

    Graham has a pretty messed up definition of cult if it includes Unitarians, who belong to what is possibly the least controlling religious organization on the planet. Anonymous and rmcbean have it right. There is a standard definition of “cult” and it’s all about control. Not about whether the group shares the same beliefs as Billy Graham.

    “Growing revelation,” my ass.

  • Alli

    Fantastic story. Thanks for the info. ALSO +1 Internets to whoever added in the Dalek.

  • Monado

    In general, cults also have secret dogma known only to an inner circle of initiates. Church dispensation for lying to outsiders often goes with that. For example, the whole “you will become a god” part of Mormon theology was secret until a few people spilled the beans in the age of the Internet. With Catholic and Episcopal churches, anyone can read the whole of the belief system in a catechism book. With smaller, newer denominations, dogma is sometimes made up, as in “God wants me to have sex with you!”

  • Karyn

    Um, doesn’t Billy’s ministry enjoy a tax-exempt status? If so, isn’t it against the law for him to engage in any political campaigning? I think an endorsement qualifies as campaigning. The IRS should be climbing on him!

  • cag

    Graham Crackers.

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  • Charlie Sitzes

    Wait! Never mind.

    Since Romney lost the election, the Baptists have relegated Mormons to cult status again.

  • Jamie Richardson

    All religions are cults. Some are just more harmful than others.

  • Loqi

    Gigantic wall of text? Check. Random capitalization? Check. Misspellings everywhere? Check. Random disjointed bible verses? Check. Egregious misuse of punctuations? Check. Complete incoherence? Check.
    It hits every criteria. This may be the most textbook godbotting ever.

  • gratch

    It’s almost beautiful isn’t it? You start out with the honest intention to read it but then you start scrolling down and down and it just keeps going and going!