The Moses Cults, by Jim Baumgaertel
Many religious groups exercise unbiblical control over their people. They are authoritarian cults. Often there is a single leader around whose personality the religious group revolves. One way that such power and control is justified is by stating or implying that the leader has assumed the mantle of Moses. They teach that the leader is called to exercise similar authority among the people as Moses’ authority among Israel.
Mormonism (“The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints”) is such a religious organization that teaches its leader has the authority of Moses over its people. The Mormons teach that Moses came to earth to take part in giving the keys of the Kingdom to Joseph Smith in 1836. And they say that the gathering of Mormons in North America is, “… visible proof that Moses did return and that the keys which he first exercised in his mortal ministry are again being used by his successors in interest, the modern prophets.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 516, by Bruce R. McConkie, 1966)
The “modern prophets” are considered to be the succession of Church Presidents. Each Mormon Church President is considered to have the authority of Moses: “His duty is ‘to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses'” ( This is a quote from the Mormon Doctrine & Covenants as quoted in Mormon Doctrine, p. 592)
The Unification Church, the “Moonies”, are also an example of a Moses Cult. Their religious system revolves around the personality of a man, their founder and leader, Sun Myung Moon.
“Today, Rev. Moon is in the position of Moses.” (from the Unification Church website on a page entitled “The Words Of Rev. Sun Myung Moon” Subtitled, “Our Destiny” accessed 5/21/99)
In 1978 at Jonestown in Guyana, 913 people committed suicide or were murdered due to the “vision” and leadership of their “Moses”, Jim Jones. Jim Jones clearly considered himself to be the absolute ruler that a cultist would presume that Moses was.
Jim Jones began his ministry as a somewhat evangelical clergyman. His religious system, the Peoples’ Temple, revolved around the personality of a man: Jim Jones. After moving his congregation to San Francisco he began to blend his religious system with left wing politics. He gradually exercised increasing power and control over the people, culminating in the tragedy in Jonestown.
The Real Moses: Type of Christ
The writer of Hebrews gives the following overview of Moses’ life and ministry:
“By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned”
For any man to presume to take upon himself the mantle of Moses is not only a sign of an authoritarian cult, but it is blasphemy. God’s Word clearly teaches that Moses was intended to be a type of Christ, NOT of modern day religious leaders.
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
Church leaders are not to be Lords
While God certainly gave Moses unique authority over the people of Israel, Jesus gave clear direction that New Testament Church leaders were not to be Lords over the people.
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”