TEN REASONS WHY SUNSTONE IS NOT A CULT, by Linda Sillitoe, and ‘OH BOY! MORMONS’ AND OTHER DISCOVERIES: AN UNSCIENTIFIC SURVEY, by Ardean Watts TEN REASONS SUNSTONE IS NOT A CULT. Of late, the symposium has been criticized for its cult-like influence. But Sunstone lacks the characteristics of a cult or charismatic group, often held suspect for exploiting members’ resources and dominating their lives. For example: (1) Sunstone holds few meetings; charismatic groups meet often, sometimes even meeting to plan meetings. (2) Symposium participants express diverse beliefs while a cultist group resists questioning, let alone question-answer periods. (3) Sunstone does not monitor and punish sexuality, not even among the young. (4) Symposium participants do not endow Sunstone leaders with powers of inspiration and authority. ‘OH BOY, MORMONS!” AND OTHER DISCOVERIES: AN UNSCIENTIFIC SURVEY. More than 200 attendees at the 1994 symposium took Ardean Watts’s “Orthodoxy Test”, 36 statements on fundamental LDS beliefs. Respondents were invited to score yes, no, or in-between. The results have been ripening in a forgotten corner of my library for five years. During that time, the test’s flaws became apparent and the results more surprising. The question “How do you describe your religious persuasion?” brought more than a hundred different answers including: “good for weddings and funerals” and “Oh, Boy! Mormon.” Attend this session if you are curious about the beliefs of the Sunstone community and for a light-minded look at the notion of orthodoxy.
Linda Sillitoe, Ardean Watts, John Tarjan