There
are different types of groups that you can branch off of your religion, there
are sects and cults. A sect is a group of people with some different religious
beliefs from the group larger to where they actually belong, like a Church. A Cult
is usually a small group of people who have religious beliefs and practices observed
by others as bizarre. A cult is founded by a powerful leader also known as a charismatic.
Sects have a high degree of pressure with the surrounding society unlike churches.

Sect
determines from the Latin word “secta” which is characterized as “school of
thought”. It too comes from the English dialect from the Old French “secte”
which is alluded to as a particular framework of convictions. While a cult is a
completely different interpretation. Cult comes from a Latin word “cultus”
which implies “labor, adore, veneration, or culture”. It too entered the
English dialect through the French word “culte” which is characterized as “specific
form of worship”. At that point later on in the English dialect it came to mean
“devotion to an individual or thing”.

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There
are many differences between a sect and a cult. One difference that has stood
out is that a sect is a small group that follow a different doctrine than the
larger group they separated from. While a Cult is small wannabe religious group
that has very untraditional beliefs, rituals, and practices.  This shows that a sect just derived from a
larger group and they branched off by themselves to practice a different
doctrine, some of the sects I found are from Islam they have Sunni and Shia
sects, Judaism has the Karaites, and Hinduism has Shiyaism and Shaktism sects.
While cults are looked at weird and unusual because of how they practice their
own type of religion. Cults have leaders and their leaders make their people
follow them and be obedient.

Another contrast between a sect and a cult is that a sect is a department from a certain religious organization, while a cult is a completely diverse organization and not inferred or branched off from any other religious organization. Another big difference between
sects and cults is how they live. Sects live in modern society, while cults are
isolated. Cults isolate themselves not just from other people but from their
own family as well if they don’t believe in the cult. Cults can more often than not without their leader, they are totally submissive and subordinate on their leader, while sects are not at all.

Another
difference between these two is that sects are usually accepted and recognized
by other religious groups and even some governments, but Cults are not at all.
Cults are usually not accepted by the society because of their different types
of rituals and traditions. I tend to shy away from cults more than sects
because of the history I have read about cults, like the KKK across the US, and
the redskins in Germany and the UK. These cults have had a big impact on society’s
outlook on cults. Cults follow the instructions of what their leaders say, so
as in the KKK their leader claims “white power” the followers will do the same
and create controversy between the societies they are in. Cult member always
seem to think that their thoughts or views are supreme and always think it’s us
vs. them.

Ultimately,
cults imitate religions but it denies god and control of Christ. While with
sects it is a subset or branch of a major religion that just have some
different viewpoints then the big religion. Cults and sects really do not have
much in common except that they both derive from a religious point. Sects being
different from a certain religion while cults being completely different and
following a leader who is found to “brainwash” his followers into believing
everything they say to do is the right thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.     
Identify and describe the Mormon Church as
an offshoot of Christianity

 

Christianity
is based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, and his beliefs and practices.
It is a monotheistic religion that beliefs that Jesus is the son of God and
their savor. It is the belief that Jesus was resurrected from the dead after he
died on the cross.  Christianity is the
most wide spread religion throughout the world. The Mormon Church is known as
an offshoot of Christianity.

The
Mormon Church is known as a devout body established in 1830s in Fayette, Modern New York by
Joseph Smith. It is known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are right now around 7.7 million Mormons around the world. Mormonism is the depiction of conventions of the Church that were reestablished back to the soil from the
Prophet Joseph Smith, the originator of the Mormon Church. The Mormon Church
believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and the Son of our loving
Heavenly Father, Christ’s Repentance allows mankind to be saved from their sins
and return to live with God and their families forever, and that Christ’s
original Church as described in the New Testament has been restored in modern
times.

      Mormons do consider themselves part of
Christianity but they don’t have a relationship with certain branches of
Christianity and traditional Christianity. They have claimed that they have
branched off of Christianity but they differ from their beliefs and status of
God. They believe that Mormons truly are the same as Christianity but they just
perfect and restore Christianity. As they claim they are truly the same, they
have some differences as well, like the doctrine which has caused some trouble
between Mormons and modern Christianity.

      Christianity was originated from Roman
province of Judea, while Mormonism was originated from Upstate New York. They
both study the Holy Bible, but Mormonism also use the book of Mormon, The
Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price and sanctioned words of modern
prophets. Christianity believes that there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy
Spirt. While Mormonism believes that we can do what our Heavenly Father has
done, but since we are not perfect, we need a Savior, Jesus Christ.

      Mormonism believes that Jesus Christ
restored the church and that he formed anciently by revelation to Joseph Smith
the founder of Mormonism. While Christianity just believes that the Lord Jesus
Christ was the founder of Christianity. As Christianity and Mormonism are somewhat
similar as Mormonism is an offset of Christianity you will only find Christians
following Christianity while you can find Saints, Latter-day Saints, and
Mormons following Mormonism. They both celebrate Christmas as the celebration
of the birth of Jesus Christ, and Easter for the resurrection of Jesus. They
both worship on Sundays because it is the Lord’s Day, but Mormonism do teachings
in the home throughout the week. They both believe that Jesus resurrected and
they believe that he will be coming again.

Mormonism
is not really as well known as Christianity and it truly is an offset of
Christianity. Many people see them as the same but there are many different
things about them that makes Mormonism in my opinion a Sect of Christianity.
Mormonism believes that is a form of Christianity with more of an in depth
believing. Mormonism I believe is a stricter practice than Christianity with
more beliefs in different things and more extensions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Discuss Neo-Paganism,
pointing out the role that nature plays in this new religious movement.

 

            Neo-Paganism is a modern religious movement that seeks to
combine beliefs or ritual practices from customs outside the main world
religions. Neo-paganism also known as “earth Religion” practice an
earth-centered religiousness. “The perception of the divine manifest in the
physical world is the quintessential component of a Neo-Pagan identity”. (“Neo-Paganism
as a Nature Religion”) People who practice Neo-Paganism are seeking to regain a
sense of being one with nature. To make sure this is done they have seasonal
festivals called the “Wheel of the world”.  

            The Wheel of the World is the most important tradition in
Neo-Paganism. It is a year-long mediation that is made up of the eight seasonal
celebrations. It includes the rhythms of nature and consistent rise and fall,
and flow of our central lives. This is one way that the Neo-Pagan get connected
to nature. They use rituals to make sure they are making a connection to the
natural world. They have many different types of rituals, they include stylized
actions, mytho-poetic languages, and evocative imagery. They also do
sacramental acts such as lighting candles.  

            Neo-Paganism want to recover rituals of ancient cultures
and faithful pantheons. They make their dramatic rituals around the time when
the season are changing. They also have different holy days depending and
motifs within their religion depending on which their own groups. They also
believe that the representation of nature as a full of earthly life.

            If you’re like me I have never even heard of Neo-Paganism
or what it even was about. But there was parts of Neo-Paganism that were found
in Europe before WWII, but it truly came out and was bigger in the 1960s.
Neo-Paganism was influenced by Carl Jung a psychiatrist and a writer Robert
Graves. The main thing that they are now interested as a Neo-Pagan is nature
and archetypal psychology, they are not interested in nationalism. During the
post way Neo-Paganism thrived in the United States, United Kingdom, and
Scandinavia.    

            Neo-Paganism is different from many religions that we see
every day. They do not have an organized religion. They also do not have an official
guideline, belief, or association. They follow many different spiritual paths
and different beliefs on things like human nature, and afterlife. One thing
that all the Pagans believe in is the cycle of seasons, being an expression if
the divine and model for spiritual renal and growth. They believe that the
Earth is sacred and most of them have strong environmental concerns.  

            As like other religions Pagans believe in a higher above
force. They do not have one certain “God” that they all believe in but they all
believe that there is an existence of other gods. Besides the Gods they believe
in they also are found to honor family and locational spirits, they include passed
relatives, local hero’s, and spirit of the home. Most but not all Pagans
believe that once you have passed your soul joins your passed ancestors who you
will continue to watch over your family with.