It truly depends on the member. I'd say the ones who are culty are not representative of the majority!
If you look at the BITE model--absolutely. The experience of people within Mormonism varies widely based on race, gender/gender expression, sexual orientation, etc. I see the church as complicit in at least these indicators in Hassan's model:
- Dictates how/with whom/when a member has sex.
- Control clothing, hairstyles
-Manipulation/depravation of sleep (missions, early morning seminary in particular)
-Financial exploitation, manipulation, dependance.
-Permission required for major decisions
-Instill dependency and obedience
- Separation of families
- Deliberately withholding information
- Distorting information to make it more acceptable
-Minimizing or discouraging access to non-cult sources of information
-Compartmentalize information into outsider vs. insider doctrine
-Encourage spying on other members
-Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda (newsletters, magazines, etc.)
- Require members to internalize group's doctrine as truth (including black and white thinking, insiders vs. outsiders.)
- Change person's name/identity (Brother/Sister/Elder, new name in the temple)
- Stop critical thinking/reduce complexities with platitudinous buzz words
- Encourage only "good and proper" thoughts
- Thought-stopping techniques to only allow positive thinking
- Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
- Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed
- Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful.
- Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings (some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong, selfish.)
- Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt
- Make the person feel that the problems are always their own fault, never the leader's or group's fault
- Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness.
- Instill fear of things such as the outside world, losing salvation, leaving or being shunned by the group, other's disapproval
- Phobia indoctrination: no happiness or fulfillment is possible outside the group, terrible consequences if you do leave, never legitimate reason to leave (leaving means that you are weak, undisciplined, lazy, tempted by sin)
The Mormon church may come off as a benevolent, harmless group compared to organizations like Scientology or NXIVM, but the damage it does is real.
I don’t know that the whole religion is a cult. But there are wards, families, and communities that have become cults within the religion
Yes. Mormonism (LDS) exhibits the characteristics of a cult and/or "high demand religion" as defined by those who have significantly studied cult phenomena.