By Eric Johnson
On Friday, April 25, 2014, the leaders at Liberty University invited Glenn Beck–advertised as “one of America’s Best Known Media Personalities, Author, Radio and Television Host, Patriot”–to spend the day. Among other things, Beck hosted his nationwide radio show from the top of the Vines Center and spent the morning in his friend President Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s suite. He also pledged a $50,000 donation from his nonprofit organization. It wasn’t the first time Beck has spoken at Liberty, as he delivered the commencement address at Liberty’s 2010 graduation where he received an honorary doctorate degree.
The most egregious invitation, though, was allowing Beck to man the pulpit at a chapel-like gathering for Liberty students called “convocation.” Liberty University was started in the 1970s by Jerry Falwell—one of the founders of the Moral Majority. It claims to be the world’s largest Christian college, with more than 100,000 students, including 12,000+ who attend the Lynchburg, Virginia campus.
Saying he woke up “with a different message planned for you today,” an emotional Beck said he knelt down at his bed along with his staff and “begged the Lord for forgiveness” because he believed he “should dedicate all of my time to pour over His Word.” In his talk, Beck asked the students, “Are you taking your scriptures as seriously as you should?” Saying he is a “recovering alcoholic” and was once a “man who was lost and hopeless,” Beck said he couldn’t hold his sobriety until the “atoning power of Jesus Christ,” which received an ovation from the audience.
Beck then used the personal Bibles of King Louis XV of France and King George III of England as props, both of which are in excellent condition. He stated,
If you look through this, it is absolutely perfect. I don’t think the pages were ever turned,” Glenn said. “What do your scriptures look like? Will someday somebody say, ‘This was my sister’s scriptures. Look, they are in perfect condition,’ or will they have been pored over, dog-eared, written in? That tells the story of your life and your path. This is what freed the world. And this came at a great price.
Showing that he is more than a “media personality, author, radio and television host,” and yes, a “patriot,” Beck explained,
I share your faith. I am from a different denomination, and a denomination quite honestly that I’m sure can make many people at Liberty feel uncomfortable. I am a Mormon, but I share your faith in the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, this admission isn’t a surprise. In fact, Beck–a convert to his LDS faith– has spoken freely on his shows about the topic of Mormonism. For example, one of his favorite issues is discussing the evidence for a North American setting for the Book of Mormon.
Despite Beck’s clear LDS history and beliefs, some try to reason that Beck somehow deserves a free pass because he’s a political conservative. I have even heard it argued that Beck–who is said to be a regular temple-attending Mormon–must be coming “our way” because he attends Saturday night services at an Evangelical Christian church near his home.
In his talk, Beck made it appear that biblical Christianity and Mormonism are somehow compatible. He received rousing ovations; many in the audience even appeared spellbound at the charsmatic speaker’s voice inflection, which seem to have an almost hypnotic effect.
With this as a background, it is unfortunate that Glenn Beck did not provide full disclosure about the teachings of his church. Consider the following quotes from church leaders, apologists, and publications that, somehow, were left out of his talk:
Mormonism teaches in another God
Beck declared, “God is our God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the God of peace, of comfort, of miracles.” What is the God of Mormonism like? According to the LDS scripture D&C 130:22,
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”
Consider these quotes from church leaders:
“Our Father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a Father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father, until we come to a stop where we cannot go further, because of our limited capacity to understand” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:47. Italics in original).
“The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given to us so that we may do the same” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 64).
“The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that man is an eternal being, made in the image and likeness of God. …These truths are generally well understood by Latter-day Saints. Less well understood, however, is the fact that God is an exalted man who once lived on an earth and underwent experiences of mortality. The great prophet Joseph Smith refers to this as ‘the great secret’” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 129. Ellipses mine).
“As shown in this chapter, our Father in heaven was once a man as we are now, capable of physical death. By obedience to eternal gospel principles, he progressed from one stage of life to another until he attained the state we call exaltation or godhood” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 132).
“The doctrine that God was once a man and has progressed to become a God is unique to this Church” (Brigham Young, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p. 34).
Questions to ask Glenn Beck
- You mentioned “Heavenly Father” in your address. Do you believe that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones, as your scripture (D&C 130:22) says he does?
- Was God a “glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man” who had to “work out his salvation” in a previous world?
- Why did God have to die in a previous lifetime? Is it possible he was a sinner?
Mormonism teaches in another Jesus
In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul said it was possible to have another Jesus. The Jesus of Mormonism is certainly different from the Jesus of the Bible. In a Liberty University newspiece about Beck’s talk, it said that Beck “urged them [the students] decide who they will follow. He encouraged them to choose Christ.” They then quoted Beck’s talk:
“Hear these words: the Gospel of Peace will be the only thing that saves us. Choose today who you will be. Who will you serve? What is it you want to be remembered as?”
Who is the Mormon Jesus? Consider:
“We worship Elohim, the Father of Jesus Christ. We do not worship Adam and we do not pray to him. We are all his children through the flesh, but Elohim, the God we worship, is the Father of our spirits and Jesus Christ, his first Begotten Son in the spirit creation and his Only Begotten Son in the flesh, is our Eldest Brother” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:106)
“The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer, son of the morning. Haughty, ambitious, and covetous of power and glory, this spirit-brotehr of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind” (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)
“And virtually all the millions of apostate Christendom have abased themselves before the mythical throne of a mythical Christ whom they vainly suppose to be a spirit essence who is incorporeal uncreated, immaterial, and three-in-one with the Father and the Holy Spirit” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 269)
“It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Bernard P. Brockbank, “The Living Christ,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1977, p. 26)
“As a church we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say” (Gordon Hinckley, “We look to Christ,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2002, p. 90)
“Christians speak often of the blood of Christ and its cleansing power. Much that is believed and taught on this subject, however, is such utter nonsense and so palpably false that to believe it is to lose one’s salvation. Many go so far, for instance, as to pretend, at least, to believe that if we confess Christ with our lips and avow that we accept him as our personal Savior, we are thereby saved. His blood, without other act than mere belief, they say, makes us clean” (LDS tract titled “What the Mormons Think of Christ,” p. 31)
“In a strict sense nothing in the Latter-day Saint doctrine of Christ has changed in the last 175 years” (BYU professor Robert L. Millet, “Joseph Smith’s Christology: After Two Hundred Years,” John Welch, ed., Worlds of Joseph Smith; A Bicentennial Conference at the Library of Congress, p. 238)
Questions to ask Glenn Beck
- Do you believe the students at Liberty who maintain the biblical position of Christ as God in the flesh worship at a mythical throne? If not, why did one of your apostles think this is true?
- Is Jesus our “eldest brother”? If so, could you explain what that means?
- Romans 10:9-10 says that a person becomes a Christian by confessing the name of Jesus and believing in his/her heart. What is your take on this passage?
Mormonism teaches that people can become gods in the next life
“Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods, and that man by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a god” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:98).
“Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225,000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do it. I think he could make, or probably have us help make, worlds for all of us, for every one of us 225,000” (Spencer W. Kimball, “The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1975, p. 80).
“Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop. As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real possibility” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 28. See also Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Religion 430 and 431, p. 52).
“Can you see the reasonable basis for belief that you can become a God like he is by progressing here and hereafter?” (Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 58).
“Consider this fact: Your marriage is a laboratory for godhood” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 65).
Questions to ask Glenn Beck
- When you die, do you believe that you will become a “god”? Why or why not?
- Is marriage in a temple required for godhood?
Mormonism claims that salvation by grace alone is a “fallacious doctrine”
“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 206. See also The Book of Mormon Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 36).
“Certain saved-by-grace-alone fanatics flatter their followers into believing they can be saved through no act other than confessing Christ with their lips” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 287).
“Salvation comes by obedience to the whole law of the whole gospel. Joseph Smith said: ‘Any person who is exalted to the highest mansion has to abide a celestial law, and the whole law too.’ (Teachings, p. 331.) Thus, a man may be damned for a single sin” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:256).
“Many people think they need only confess that Jesus is the Christ and then they are saved by grace alone. We cannot be saved by grace alone, ‘for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do’” (James Faust, Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2001, p. 18).
“God our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as they are perfect (see Matthew 5:48; 3 Nephi 12:48)” (Thomas S. Monson, “An Invitation to Exaltation,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1988, p. 54).
Questions to ask Glenn Beck:
- Is it possible to get the very best your religion has to offer (the Celestial Kingdom and living with one’s earthly family forever) through grace alone?
- Some of your teachers have said you have to have “obedience to the whole law of the whole Gospel.” How are you doing at that?
- If you were to die right now, which kingdom would be your destiny? The celestial kingdom?
Mormonism does not teach that “other” Christians are true Christians
“Modern Christians, as part of their various creeds and doctrines, have inherited many myths, legends, and traditions from their ancestors — all of which views they falsely assume are part of true religion… Indeed, it would be difficult to assemble a greater number of myths into one philosophical system than are now found in the philosophies of modern Christendom. Except for its ethical teachings, so-called Christianity does not come much nearer the truth in many respects than did the Lamanite legends uncovered by Cortez and his followers, or than the Greek, Roman, or Norse mythology. A myth is a myth whether it parades under Biblical names or openly acclaims itself to be the figment of someone’s imagination.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 525. Ellipses mine).
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many beliefs in common with other Christian churches. But we have differences, and those differences explain why we send missionaries to other Christians…” (Dallin Oaks, “Apostasy and Restoration,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1995, p. 84).
“I think the evangelicals have engendered a suspicion about Mormonism. They sincerely believe we’re wrong, just as we sincerely believe they’re wrong” (Jim McConkie, PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, April 22, 2007).
Questions for Glenn Beck
- In your Liberty speech, you made it appear that you as well as the people you addressed are Christians. I believe in the Trinity and that a person is considered a child of God only through a belief in the biblical gospel, which means my works cannot be part of my justification before God. Are my views right or wrong?
- While I reject such ideas as Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, the necessity of getting married in the LDS temple for “eternity,” and coffee should be rejected, do you mind if I classify myself as Mormon just like you?
- Why does your church send missionaries to “other Christians” who don’t belong to the Mormon Church?
Mormonism does not view the Bible in the same way Christians do
Beck made a case for the Bible and why it should be read. I, for one, agree with his assessment. In fact, Brigham Young stated, “Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 126).
Yet quotes throughout the years show that Mormonism’s leaders have disparaged the Bible, including Apostle Bruce R. McConkie:
“As all informed persons know, the various versions of the Bible do not accurately record or perfectly preserve the words, thoughts, and intents of the original inspired authors” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 383).
“The Book of Mormon is translated correctly because an unlearned man did it by the gift and power of God. It took him less than sixty translating days. The Bible abounds in errors and mistranslations, in spite of the fact that the most learned scholars and translators of the ages labored years on end over the manuscripts of antiquity to bring it forth” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Bible: A Sealed Book,” a BYU speech given to LDS Seminary and Institute teachers, August 1984).“We could be saved without the Bible, but we cannot be saved without latter-day revelation” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Bible: A Sealed Book,” a BYU speech given to LDS Seminary and Institute teachers, August 1984).
Listen to what Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt said:
“What shall we say then, concerning the Bible’s being a sufficient guide? Can we rely upon it in its present known corrupted state, as being a faithful record of God’s word? We all know that but a few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost, and it is quite certain that there were many other inspired books that even the names have not reached us. What few have come down to our day, have been mutilated, changed and corrupted, in such a shameful manner that no two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know, were written by inspiration. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainly of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? Who knows how many important doctrines and ordinances necessary to salvation may be buried in oblivion in some of the lost books? Who knows that even the ordinances and doctrine that seem to be set forth in the present English Bible, are anything like the original? The Catholics and Protestants do not know, because tradition is too imperfect to give this knowledge. There can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire some one to re-write all those books over again, as he did Esdras in ancient times. There is no possible means of arriving at certainty in any other way. No reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation” (Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of Book of Mormon, No. 3 (December 1, 1850), “The Bible and tradition, without further revelation, an insufficient guide,” p. 47).
“What shall we say then, concerning the Bible’s being a sufficient guide? Can we rely upon it in its present known corrupted state, as being a faithful record of God’s word? We all know that but a few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost, and it is quite certain that there were many other inspired books that even the names have not reached us. What few have come down to our day, have been mutilated, changed and corrupted, in such a shameful manner that no two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know, were writtenby inspiration. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainly of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? Who knows how many important doctrines and ordinances necessary to salvation may be buried in oblivion in some of the lost books? Who knows that even the ordinances and doctrine that seem to be set forth in the present English Bible, are anything like the original? The Catholics and Protestants do not know, because tradition is too imperfect to give this knowledge. There can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire some one to re-write all those books over again, as he did Esdras in ancient times. There is no possible means of arriving at certainty in any other way. No reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation” (Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of Book of Mormon, No. 3 (December 1, 1850).
Apostle Neil A. Maxwell said that corrupted transmission of the text should create doubt about the biblical text:
By faulty transmission, many ‘plain and precious things’ were ‘taken away’ or ‘kept back’ from reaching what later composed our precious Holy Bible (“The Wondrous Restoration,” Ensign, April 2003, p. 35).
If the message of the Bible is not adequate, it opens up many possible ways of receiving revelation. As historian Richard Bushman explains,
The Book of Mormon not only prepares the way for itself by ridiculing those who think the Bible sufficient; it warns readers against restricting God in the present. Revelation may break forth anywhere and anytime (Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, p. 101).
Questions to ask Glenn Beck:
- You told the students about the importance of reading the Bible. Where does the Bible teach unique LDS doctrines such as God once being a man or the possibility for salvation after death? (References please.)
- Is the Bible alone a sufficient guide to finding truth? If not, why not?
Mormonism teaches in a preexistence
It probably wasn’t caught by many in the audience, but in his talk, Beck referred to the “grand councils” and “that you were born at this time in this country, you are at this university for a reason.” He explained,
“Nobody in the grand councils as we were all saying, ‘OK, Lord, what is it you want me to do?’ I can tell you now, I do not believe the Lord said, ‘Well, I am going to send you down because you need to be an accountant…You didn’t come down for a job.”
The Bible has never taught that humans were once spirits in a previous time who conversed with the Lord before our life on earth. Yet consider the teachings of LDS leaders over the years:
“According to our teachings, Satan and an army of supporters were cast down to earth from the premortal spirit world. They are spirit brothers of ours, and are real persons having spirit bodies (Joseph F. Merrill, Conference Reports, April 1941, p. 49).
“The doctrine is simply this: life did not begin with mortal birth. We lived in spirit form before we entered mortality. We are spiritually the children of God” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Mystery of Life,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1983, p. 16).
“Dear brethren and sisters, the scriptures and the teachings of the Apostles and prophets speak of us in premortal life as sons and daughters, spirit children of God. Gender existed before, and did not begin at mortal birth” (Boyd K. Packer, “For Time and All Eternity,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1993, p. 21).
“All of the myriads of mortals who have been born on this earth chose the Father’s plan and fought for it. Many of us also made covenants with the Father concerning what we would do in mortality. In ways that have not been revealed, our actions in the spirit world influence us in mortality” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1993, p. 72).
“You and I were among those who used their agency to accept Heavenly Father’s plan to come to earth, to have a mortal life, to progress” (Robert D. Hales, “To Act for Ourselves: The Gift of Blessings and Agency,” Ensign (Conference Edition), April 2006, p. 4).
“Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven” (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 11).
“We know that our spirits existed with the Father before we came here” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 2001, p. 187).
“Before you were born on earth, you lived in the presence of your Heavenly Father as one of His spirit children. In this premortal existence, you attended a council with Heavenly Father’s other spirit children. At that council, Heavenly Father presented His great plan of happiness (see Abraham 3:22-26)” (True to the Faith, 2004, pp. 115-116).
Questions to ask Glenn Beck:
- Did we as people once exist as spirits and conversed with Christ in a “grand council”? Since you say it’s important to study the Bible, what references would you use to support this view?
- According to Mormonism, Lucifer and one-third of our spirit brothers and sisters were cast out of heaven because they didn’t choose Jesus as the Savior of this world. Do you believe these spiritual relatives of ours will not get to one of the three levels of heaven because of this one sin? Again, what support from the Bible do you have for such a view?
Mormonism teaches that Joseph Smith was a martyr for his faith
Glenn Beck agrees with this view, explaining in his talk how, “days before Joseph Smith was martyred,” Smith supposedly wrote down on his warrant to “put down your guns, no matter what happens, and trust in the Lord.” (The reference to this quote would be helpful because, after more than three decades of studying this religion, I have never heard about this scenario. Reference please.) Somehow, Beck forgot to mention that, according to third president John Taylor, Joseph Smith killed two men at the Carthage Jail before he too was killed. (The two smuggled pistols are housed at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City,” as my picture to the right shows.)
At one point in his talk, Beck talked about “discernment.” He said:
“There is going to come a time, if it hasn’t happened already, that you have to exercise that spiritual muscle in you. Exercise it, or you will lose it. Exercise that muscle so it is so strong.”
Beck asked in his talk, “What is it you believe?” Since Beck touted the Bible in his talk, I would say that this is the place to start…and end. It doesn’t depend on our feelings. Just as Beck is supposed to use the evidence available to him to criticize President Obama and liberal political strategies, so too should we use discernment (with the Word of God in our hands) to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is what we do at Mormonsism Research Ministry, as I have attempted to do in this article. We shouldn’t just accept the words of Glenn Beck or even me when it comes to truth; instead, we need to consider anyone’s truth claims with the Bible. When the Mormonism believed by Beck is compared to the Bible, it becomes very clear that the doctrines of Christianity are diametrically opposed to this Johnny-come-lately. This is what true discernment is all about.
It’s disheartening to see an Evangelical Christian school allow a Mormon to take the pulpit and present confusing statements that blur rather than clarify the issue. It’s one thing to invite a Mormon on the stage to talk lightly about politics (such as what Mitt Romney did a few years ago before the presidential election) or even to give an honorary degree at a graduation. But it’s another to allow a Mormon to speak about spiritual issues at a school that I believe still claims to be be “training champions for Christ.”
I wonder how many students walked out of their last convocation of the year thinking Mormonism and Christianity are synonymous. As someone who has paid thousands of dollars in tuition payments to Liberty University—my daughter will walk at graduation on May 10th and will continue her studies there—I am not a happy camper. Are there not enough quality Christian speakers that could be found? Is Liberty so hard-pressed for PR opportunities that it will allow someone who belongs to a cultic group to address the impressionable students?
If someone at Liberty is listening, please know that Mormonism Research Ministry is willing to come to Virginia next year and give presentations on why Mormonism is not the same as Christianity. Let us share some information at your convocation. Invite us to your Bible classes as well. And we would be happy to put together a two-night, four-hour crash course session on Mormonism. Please know that we would come at no charge to your university.
Seriously, Liberty, write us at [email protected] and let’s make the arrangements. Students, perhaps you’d like to have us come to your school next year. If so, let Johnnie Moore at Liberty know about your request. ([email protected]).
Responding to some feedback from this article:
Why do you hate Glenn Beck?
We do not “hate” Glenn Beck. Please, let’s not turn this into a personal issue. We merely disagree with his religious viewpoints. Beck is a firm proponent in the things of Mormonism; as far as his radio/TV shows are concerned, he has often defended a number of unique LDS teachings, including the Book of Mormon–the central scripture in Mormonism. Thus, we are criticizing Liberty University because the leaders (including Jerry Falwell Jr.) should know better than allow someone like this man to address the student body (many of whom are impressionable students as young as 17) on spiritual issues, thereby blurring the lines between Christianity and Mormonism. Discernment needs to be practiced by the university leadership. As far as the author of this article is concerned, he sends his oldest child to Liberty and will allow her to stay at the school for the next two years as she gets her master’s degree. He still believes that Liberty is one of the finer Christian schools in the country. And during the week of 5/5/14, he is visiting Liberty’s campus for his daughter’s graduation and will meet with some of the leaders in private meetings. His hope is for the university to improve; this is what we call iron sharpening iron.
Shouldn’t we just accept someone like Beck for who he is?
While we don’t know him, and he may very well be a nice man, we disagree with his views. We love Mormons and dislike Mormonism.
I hear Glenn Beck has been attending a Christian church near his home on Saturday nights. Doesn’t this say something?
That’s wonderful that he’s going to a Christian church. But does going to church make one a Christian? And does calling oneself a Christian mean that such a person should be allowed to address a body of believers about spiritual issues? In his talk, Beck made it very clear that he is a Mormon. From what we understand, he attends his local ward meetings each week and is even a temple Mormon. We must take him at his word. By identifying with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he is open to criticism with issues involving Mormonism. Whether or not he believes every LDS doctrine is not the issue, as he is certainly free to disagree. However, his identification with this faith means that he probably accepts the major LDS teachings, including the prophethood of Joseph Smith and preexistence, which were both referenced in his talk. Someone has added that we shouldn’t sabatoge what God might be doing in Beck’s life. However, if Beck is going to be a Christian, he needs to understand that he can’t do so while holding on to his unique LDS beliefs. Finally, don’t get us wrong. Glenn Beck has been on our prayer list for years. And Glenn, we’re not giving up!
Feedback from emails
Immediately after this article was first published, we received immediate feedback from Liberty University students and professors. Here is some of what we were told (identities are concealed):
I am a former student of Liberty University. Coming from a very Mormonized part of Idaho and transferring to Liberty in my junior year from a college where I was one of six non-Mormons in the entire department (professors included), I understand Mormonism and was shocked when my LU friends asked what a Mormon was! The message in your article – “What Glenn Beck didn’t explain at yesterday morning’s convocation talk at Liberty University” – is exactly what myself and many other students were trying to express to LU faculty last year before Mitt Romney’s commencement speech – the closing cap at “the biggest Christian university in the world.” As a recent Liberty student who understands the predicament of the West, I sincerely thank you for your words. I love my Mormon friends – they are wonderful people, but to equate Mormonism and Christianity is to adopt heresy. Once more, it is heresy that uses the same vocabulary but different definitions. Thank you very much for your article.
I am a student at Liberty University and found out about you by reading the article about Glenn Beck at Convocation. I could not agree more with what you said.
I’m thankful Eric took the time to write the article he did yesterday about it and always thankful when Christians stand up for the truth. . . . I’m quite concerned that our students are aware of what the Bible teaches and how Satan attempts to subtly derail Christians from their faith. I assure you that we do train our students to think critically about what they hear in light of what they know to be true from the Bible. However, we join you in being depressed any time a Christian applauds a statement that’s not true or accepts a doctrinally-incorrect statement without giving it deep enough thought.
I am a student at Liberty University and I truly want to thank you for listening to and addressing Glenn Beck’s convocation message from Friday April 25th. I was quite appalled that my school did not seem to bat an eye at the fact that Mr. Beck called Mormonism just another denomination of Christianity. I really enjoyed the article and I feel like I learned a lot about the Mormon faith and how as a Christian I can better defend my beliefs against Mormons. Give a special Thank you to Eric Johnson the author for me if possible.
For more information on Glenn Beck:
- An open letter to Glenn Beck…from a monster
- Glenn Beck’s Popularity
- The Not- so Mormon Soteriology of Glenn Beck
- W. Cleon Skousen: The Man Behind Glenn Beck
- Questions for Glenn Beck
- For a 2-part blog on Mormon Coffee during the week of May 26, 2014, see Part 1 and Part 2.
- For a response to Glenn Beck’s 5/20/2014 criticism of articles such as this one, see An open letter to Glenn Beck . . from a “monster.”
- Podcasts: Glenn Beck speaks at Liberty University Part 1 Part 2 (May 5-6, 2014)