Friday, September 03, 2010

Glenn Beck a Mormon

I should be somewhat careful here not to malign any and all Mormons out there. I really believe that the majority of Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior the way most mainline-denomination Christians do and are unaware of many of their church's actual doctrines or the inner-workings of their religion's hierarchy. But as you know FOX television and right-wing radio pundit Glenn Beck has been ramping up the religious rhetoric on his show and characterized his recent "restoring honor" rally in Washington D.C. with Sarah Palin as an opportunity for America to return to God.

My hope is that thoughtful Christians be aware of Beck's religious background. My suspicion is that, like many public figures, he is misusing religion as a populist weapon to stir up political division in his favor. You may think that my concern is either because he has been critical of politically progressive Christians, trying to make people believe that terms like "social justice" and "community activism" are code for communist, atheist or socialist or even Muslim. Or you might think that I am jealous of Beck's attempt to co-opt the legacy of the civil rights movement of the 1950's and 60's. While both of these are things that bother me a great deal, my greatest concern is that well meaning Christians, Protestant, Catholic, and Evangelical are becoming caught-up in what seems to be a spiritual fervor of what Beck no doubt hopes will become a movement- when in fact, in the strictest sense, Beck himself is not actually Christian.

Glenn Beck is also a convert to the Mormon faith, joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1999 along with his wife and children. Despite Glenn’s Catholic upbringing, he and his wife were inactive in the church. Eventually Glenn and his wife Tania went church shopping to find the faith that they could share as a family. A long time friend encouraged them to try the LDS and eventually Beck asked his friend to baptize him Mormon. 

Before you stop reading or imagine that I am trying to "get back" for Beck or other conservatives for perpetuating the lie that President Obama is not Christian, please hear me out. I grew up in Phoenix Arizona, a very conservative place. A place where the dominant religion is Mormonism. The Lutheran Church went to great lengths to educate it's members about the history and theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Much of it's information has been provided by former Mormons. In Phoenix, the political and economic power brokers of the Mormon Church were more feared than the Mafia.

According to Christian scholars Ed Decker and Dave Hunt, the Mormon Church still believes and teaches that Jesus was begotten through a sexual relationship between God the Father and Mary. Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. Mormons will become "gods and goddesses" and enjoy the eternal pleasure of celestial sex. Women and minorities have been viewed as lesser beings than white males. Some Mormon doctrines still justifies the practices of blood atonement and polygamy. 60 - 80% of Mormon converts (Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints) come from Christian backgrounds. The LDS Church spends millions trying to convince the public that they are more "Christian" than the Christians. The LDS is one of the largest and most powerful business corporations in the world.

One of the goals of the LDS is to install Mormons into positions of National and eventual World leadership. I'll be honest with you, this is one of the reasons why I was so disappointed that so many Christians supported Mitt Romney in the last election. Some have speculated that Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally may have been a way of testing the waters for either a possible Presidential run, or possibly running as Sarah Palin's running mate.  A recent article in the Washington Post suggested that Beck seeks to advance a "restoration theology," in which God tells Beck how to rewrite America's laws, establishing a theocracy.

Again, I do not mean to slander or offend Mormons. Most of the Mormons I have known in my life are wonderful people, devoted to Jesus and to their families and communities. And I may be wrong in thinking that Glenn Beck's motives are deceptive or some how sinister. I tend to think that he is more intoxicated by his fame, influence, and wealth and that he is merely mistaken or misguided about using religion to fire up enthusiasm for libertarian political ideology. Be that as it may, I want all of my Christian friends, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike to be fully informed about Beck and the LDS before jumping on the Glenn Beck bandwagon- or, to consider jumping off if they're already on.

I respect and appreciate that for many Christians, issues of abortion and gay-marriage are very influential in our politics and voting- as the issues of poverty and civil rights are to others, but we should always be careful in our passion for what we believe in, not to get swept away by those who would take advantage of our beliefs. We don't want to "strain out a gnat but swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:23-24).

I encourage everyone to buy or borrow a copy of the movie, Temple of the Godmakers from Jeremiah Films, often your church library or Thrivent agency may already have a copy. I do not wish to stir up any kind of Mormo-phobia the way some have incited Islamaphobia lately, but I do want people who accept and believe the teachings of the Apostles' and Nicean Creeds to be completely aware of the origins and official doctrines of religions that claim to be Christian but don't know Jesus quite the way that more orthodox denominations do.

Official stance on the LDS of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:
Q. Are Mormons generally regarded as Christians, and how do their beliefs differ from those of the Missouri Synod?
A. The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, together with the vast majority of Christian denominations in the United States, does not regard the Mormon church as a Christian church. That is because the official writings of Mormonism deny fundamental teachings of orthodox Christianity. For example, the Nicene Creed confesses the clear biblical truth that Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, is "of one substance with the Father." This central article of the Christian faith is expressly rejected by Mormon teaching -- thus undermining the very heart of the scriptural Gospel itself. In a chapter titled "Jesus Christ, the Son of God: Are Mormons Christian?" the president of Brigham Young University (Rex Lee, What Do Mormons Believe? [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992] summarizes Mormon teaching by stating that the three persons of the Trinity are "not... one being" (21), but are "separate individuals." In addition, the Father is regarded as having a body "of flesh and bone" (22). Such teaching is contrary to the Holy Scriptures, destructive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and indicative of the fact that Mormon teaching is not Christian. 

For more information about beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints read this document prepared by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations. ( source )

No comments:

Post a Comment