Cults, religions...it’s all a matter of how large the following is. There’s a wide assortment of religious groups (I’d include LDS) that fall along a spectrum of beliefs and codes of conduct from the mild to extreme. Religions and cults socially evolve under various pressures and many of the things they promote are simply things that have allowed it to be more successful. You and Chris would likely get a tremendous amount of insight from the new book by Joseph Henrich called The Weirdest People in the world: how the west became psychologically peculiar and particularly prosperous. In it Henrich spends a fair bit of time showing how various western religions evolved and the drivers on how and why they changed in the ways they did. I think it helps to expose how the inherent nature of these religions or cults (call them what you will) develops in such a way that makes it more palatable that they ended up how they are. It’s easy to vilify them or make it feel like they’ve personally damaged people , but knowing why they’ve become this way sort of objectively helps a person separate the parts in a way that - at least to me - makes it more palatable or forgiveable. It is a bit more acceptable to know there are also some good things these religions did to our human psyche over hundreds or thousands of years and that it’s just our current scientific understanding that at least for myself, makes the current condition more distasteful.