EMPORIA, Kan. - I know I'm going to take a lot of heat for this stand, but it's something I've prayed about for a long time and feel I should go on record. Let me preface this by saying that this is not a blue and red thing, this is not a Republican and Democrat thing. This has nothing to do with Glenn Beck's patriotism or his political insight.
I often listen to Mr. Beck in the mornings on my way to work, and while I disagree with some of the things he says, a lot of his political insight is fairly spot on. This is about Christianity and Mormonism; this is about evangelicals and Mormons.
This is a piece about faith as I know it.
I've spent the weeks since Mr. Becks' rally talking to spiritual leaders, many of whom I respect greatly and whom I have known for years, some of the Wesleyan persuasion and some of the Calvinist persuasion. And though some feel Beck is just misguided and indeed is a Christian, many have done the same research I have, and have come to the conclusion that Beck is indeed a Mormon and should be avoided where spiritual matters are concerned.
I've done some extensive reading. More than once, I've watched Beck's conversion story, which was taped by a company operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). There were many red flags throughout my research that I simply could not ignore.
Let's start with this piece, it comes from the blog of Gene Veith, a non-Christian professor at Patrick Henry College. In it, he interviews Mormon-official Greg West, on his feelings about the rally held on September 12th. Here is the link and I am providing the following excerpts:
"I believe that Glenn Beck's desire, in some measure, was to create a 'King Benjamin moment'. The Book of Mormon relates a landmark gathering of some of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas to hear the words of one King Benjamin. Benjamin declared principles of piety, humility, service, and faith to his people. He preached to them repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, who would be born in centuries to come, relative to his time. The result was a turning back to God by his audience that brought the Holy Spirit upon them."
The King Benjamin Moment, there it is, right from the Book of Mormon, Beck has read the Book of Mormon, he knew what he was shooting for.
"Hallelujah! The light bulb has been switched on after nearly two centuries! Every single member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes that a person must be 'born again' and receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and Redeemer. Our holy books teach that salvation comes only in and through the atonement of Christ and that there is no other way a person can be saved. Those beliefs obligate us to do our best to keep God's commandments and to follow the example of Jesus in doing good. Glenn Beck's beliefs are mainstream Mormon beliefs. Joseph Smith, the Church's founder, was a Christian prophet. He was an apostolic witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Here he discusses what a victory this rally was for the Mormon church - finally they can be seen as Christian. Is that what we want, is that what we in our hearts truly believe, if it is, then I am sorry, since I was young I was taught that the Mormon religion was indeed a cult, and I can not in good faith say otherwise.
"If anything, Glenn Beck has brought mainstream Mormonism into the public eye and has reached out to our fellow Christians in a powerful way."
A final quote from this article that I think speaks in a powerful way.
The second piece comes from Salon.com, which I'll agree with you has often been linked with the liberal agenda. But here it puts out, in black and white, Beck's love for Skousen, and his requests of those who watch his show to read Skousen's literature. Skousen was a Mormon prophet and author who's views bordered on communism, but again, politics aside, his books looked at American through a very much Mormon lens.
These two articles were the big ones for me, though there are certainly others, including:
Other than article by Garlow, which the Mormon official calls a victory in his interview, I've seen nothing to support Beck being an evangelical Christian. I do see things like the King Benjamin moment and open calls for people to read the works of Skousen as direct attempts to bring Mormonism into the mainstream. It leads back to a question a friend of mine asked, "If a Muslim leads a religious rally on the steps of Washington, would we attend?" My answer would be no, I would not attend, for the reason of faith.
A lot of you may think because I'm a Democrat (which I'm really not anymore) that I'm just out to attack Glenn Beck. I'm not out to attack Glenn Beck. Notice that no where in this did I decry any of the political ideals he speaks about. I'm out to provide you with evidence of a potential stumbling block to his talk about faith. The fact that the Mormon Church is claiming this a victory should be a red flag to evangelicals, and should make us stop and think.
Does America need a revival? My opinion is yes, indeed America does. America needs a revival from the pulpits of American churches to the streets of inner city missions. From the country clubs to the soup kitchens America is hungry for revival. And the church must step up it's efforts and must lead rallies attended by thousands and even millions.
But revival cannot be obtained by allowing a charlatan of faith to lead the evangelical cause. It must be obtained by ministers from New York to Emporia calling for revival from the pulpit. It must be obtained on the blood, sweat and tears of American Christians pounding the pavement with their own message. It cannot be obtained by fighting amongst ourselves as to whether or not one pundit, one TV personality, is truly a Christian, but it must be obtained by people of faith doing the work.
I know the backlash to this will be strong. My ideas have never been viewed as mainstream. But before you lash out atme, and cry out that I'm attacking an innocent man who's just trying to save the world, read the above articles. After that, make an informed decision for yourself about how you feel about Mr. Beck. Should you continue to feel he's a great religious pundit, I will have no qualms with that. But should you still feel he is sent to be a religious leader and save the world, that is simply something I cannot support.
While doing my research I came across a Mormon message board where one young Man asked, "Is Glenn Beck the savior, is he the second coming (assuming of Joseph Smith)?"
My answer is, "Only if the church stands silent and allows him to."
Again, I know I will take a lot of heat for this, but I have done the research and it's strictly my opinion. Thanks for reading this.