Cult (kult) n. 1. a system of religious worship
2. devoted attachment to a person, principle, etc
3. sect (a religious denomination)
(The Second College Edition of Webster's New World Dictionary).
So really your question could be broken down even further to determine the answer.
1. Are you a system of religious worship?
Yes, we are a formally organized religion under the name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
2. Are you devotedly attached to a person, principle, etc?
Yes, we are devoted to Jesus Christ and all His teachings, commandments, and principles.
3. Do you happen to be a sect (or a religious denomination)?
Yes, just as you might meet a Baptist or a Methodist walking down the street, you could also meet a Latter-Day Saint.
Now, when people have asked me this question in the past, "cult" seemed to take on more of a Charles Manson kind of definition. Based on their wary expressions and desperation to get away quickly, I think Webster and the common people need to have a little heart-to-heart chat.
As Mormons, we don't stand for evilness or wickedness. I would say we don't stand for peculiar-ness either, but in today's day modesty, fidelity, and morality seem to fall under that category. We believe in doing good to all men, in loving our neighbor, and choosing the right.We also believe that God is our loving Heavenly Father who sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us. We know that God still speaks today through a living prophet and that there is more scripture and more knowledge to be gained.Ultimately we claim anything that is virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy...sounds pretty uplifting to me!
If you side with Webster, then yes, we proudly claim that description, we are and always will be devoted to Christ. The scriptures say "By their fruits ye shall know them.", as Mormons we strive to live by this principle and serve and love others to the best of our abilities. In the end, I hope this, above all others, is the way people define me:
Miss Mormon (mis môr`mәn) n. 1. follower of Jesus Christ
I love my Savior and my Heavenly Father, more than my (or Websters) words can express. Hope this helps!
With much love,