Why are so many people so urgent to criticize the mormon religion.
This I'm not really sure about. In the years of early mormonism, there were fears of things like the possibility of mormon block voting, concerns
over polygamy (which wasn't illegal, yet), concern over a new religion that presented some competition for other faiths, and economic reasons; the
early LDS would buy/sell almost exclusively with one another, and large communities of LDS meant that commodities like liquor were hard to come by in
Since the early LDS usually settled together in regions, forming large communities in new areas almost overnight, this tended to worry the residents;
they had no idea what to expect. The mormons would also try to change things in the communities, like ban alcohol or whorehouses or gambling
establishments (all things mormons find offensive), and some people didn't like that, especially when the mormons were usually the newcomers in an
area. Also, in politics, naturally, the mormons tended to vote for people who were either mormons or else friendly to mormons, and this bothered
those who weren't.
Some of these reasons may continue to cause criticism of the mormon church today, but except for a few regions like utah, idaho, and southern alberta,
there aren't that many places where mormons have enough numbers per capita to have much influence, so I don't think that's much of an issue,
the leaders force the members to go on a 2-year mission to spread the faith
Not so. The leaders DO strongly encourage people to go on missions, especially the men, but nothing forces them to, although there can be a strong
social pressure to go. I myself never went on a mission, though I am still an active mormon. When I was in the 19-21 year old range, I had some
people that would bug me, asking stuff like "when are you going?" but now that I'm 23, I think it's fairly obvious that I'm not. Also, at 23,
people who don't know me very well often assume I've gone and come back already, so they usually don't ask.
and also many people refer to the mormons as a cult
Yes, a lot of people do. Whether this is accurate or not depends on how you define a 'cult', since many people define it differently. One
definition is that a cult is simply any religion, so if you follow that, then obviously mormons, catholics, muslims, buddhists, and all the rest are
cults. A cult can also be a religion that is 'generally considered to be extremist or false' (www.dictionary.com). I'm quite certain mormons
aren't considered extremist, and I don't think they are 'generally considered false'; although I think more people believe mormonism false than,
say, catholicism, for example, I don't think it's anywhere near 'generally considered false'. Another definition for cult is 'an interest
followed with exaggerated zeal' (www.dictionary.com) and if you apply that to the LDS, I think that is accurate. Most active LDS are very serious
about their religion, and it is often a central focus in their lives. The other definition that I have seen some people use basically comes down to
cult=non-catholic, but the only people I see using that definition use it to bash all sorts of religions, not just LDS.
Ok, people are probably tired of seeing another long-winded dragonsdemesne mormon post, so I'll end here for now. I'll answer any other questions
you have, but due to my summer employment, it may take a few days before I see them, so be patient