Glenn Beck believes Joseph Smith was a prophet. Glenn Beck believes he is wedded to his wife for eternity. Glenn Beck wears special garments under his clothes to remind him of promises he has made to God. But none of this is startling because, well, Glenn Beck is Mormon.

But it may surprise you to learn that Beck preached a sermon at Liberty University on April 25 that was rife with Mormon theology in which he showcased a valuable Mormon relic.

During the sermon, Beck asked if Liberty students were willing to give their lives for their beliefs: “What are you willing to do? What is it that means something to you?”

Beck then told the story of Joseph Smith’s death (15:15-16:54), describing Smith as a martyr of the faith. According to Beck, a Sheriff falsely accused Smith of owing a debt for stealing a stove.

“[Smith] reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket watch…he gave it to the Sheriff and said, ‘I owe man nothing.’ They let him go. And they killed him,” Beck said.

Beck picked up Smith’s pocket watch, a Mormon relic, and showed it to the crowd: “This is his pocket watch that he pulled out.”

He also brought other religious artifacts, such as an “original William Tyndale Bible” and a Bible that Beck claimed “stopped the Salem witch trials.”

Later, Beck roused the crowd by talking of their spiritual purpose: “You’re here for a reason…You were born at this time in this country, you are at this university for a reason.”

Beck said that “nobody in the Grand Councils” sent them down to earth just to design T-shirts or become an accountant.

“You didn’t come down for a job. You came to this university maybe thinking, ‘I have to have an education to get a job.’ You need this education from Liberty University because of your only true job, the purpose you were sent here for.” (27:05-27:22)

According to Mormon teaching, the Grand Council (or Council of Heaven) is a gathering of heavenly beings that send men and women, who they believe are pre-existing and immortal souls, to earth for a divine purpose. Protestant and Catholic critics of Mormonism claim that this teaching is both polytheistic and unbiblical.

During other parts of his sermon, Beck used language that would be familiar to most Protestants and Catholics. He spoke of the importance of studying the “scriptures” and preaching the “gospel.” Presumably, many students and faculty would have a different understanding of what those words mean.

Of miracles, Beck said, “Expect miracles in your lifetime. Live in such a way that you can demand miracles. Expect miracles. Call down miracles. And then when they happen pronounce them. Declare them. Never be shy, no matter how small or how big. Never explain it away. That is the awesome power of Jesus Christ and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (17:43-18:02)

Beck commented that he shared many beliefs with the crowd, including the atoning power of Jesus: “I share your faith. I am from a different denomination. And a denomination that I’m sure can make many people at Liberty uncomfortable—I’m a Mormon—but I share your faith in the atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ.” (14:38-14:59)

The crowd erupted in applause at several junctures.

There seems to be no outcry from students, parents, or faculty over Liberty’s invitation of Beck or of his sermon so far. Perhaps the silence is because this is business as usual for the evangelical mega-school.

Liberty is America’s largest Christian college boasting more than 90,000 resident and distance learning students. It was founded by the late Jerry Falwell, a prominent televangelist, founder of the Moral Majority, and leader of the Christian right movement until he passed away in 2007 from heart failure.

Falwell was famous for forging friendships with leaders across the religious spectrum, breaking down walls between Protestants and Jews, Catholics and Mormons. Jerry Falwell Jr., the school’s current chancellor, has continued this tradition. He was criticized by some for inviting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to deliver Liberty’s commencement address in 2012. Two years prior, Liberty conferred to Beck an honorary doctorate.

So what does all this mean?

Given the school’s history, Beck’s sermon may be nothing more than Liberty doing what it has always done best: thriving amidst controversy and leading with conservative politics rather than theology. But it may also be one more sign that Mormons are becoming more mainstream in American life–even increasingly welcomed by evangelicals who would have rejected them only a few years ago.

189 Comments

  1. CarrotCakeMan

    There’s no practical difference between Mormons and Evangelicals, they are all “Christianists,” which is a political movement, not a religion.

    • Remind me the next time I’m teaching a diabetic former heroin addict about balanced nutrition and insulin testing and treatment and how to get to the methadone clinic AND how to make her money last until next month that I’m doing it because I’m part of a “political movement” of “Christianists” and not because I’m trying to follow the example of Jesus Christ.

      • Marie,
        You are the one of the most important members of society if you live by such a code of compassion and empathy. But I do similar work with diabetics – and Jesus is absolutely nothing to me.

        We gain nothing by giving credit to Jesus, Allah or Vishnu. We need to give it to ourselves and those we help – they are doing the work of recovery. THEY are believing in their own ability. THEY are building their own confidence based on the EVIDENCE they see in their improvement.

        CarrotCake Man is right – religion is just politics and control. God is very likely not real.

        • Max… You seem to delight in preaching your existential doctrine and beliefs by criticizing another’s doctrine and beliefs. All very well, but it would be more enlightening and persuasive if you simply stated your beliefs without attempting to discount another’s beliefs. At least, me thinks that’s what Beck was attempting to do.

          • @Graham,

            Ridiculous. Of course I must criticize this superstitious garbage.

            “Live in such a way that you can demand miracles.” – Glenn Beck

            Solipsistic, childish, mind-corrupting nonsense.
            There is a reason people seek to liberate their minds from such dung by going to a university – let alone one called ‘LIBERTY’ UNIVERSITY.

            But this ‘Liberty’ being taught obviously is the sort that liberates one FROM critical thinking and social responsibility.

            It destroys progress of every kind – primitive and backward.
            Exactly what the world needs less of!

          • @Graham,

            Yes I do laugh when someone claims there exists a supernatural, invisible, unknowable, unfathomable, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful intelligent non-being, for which there is not one SHRED of evidence and they claim to know that it prefers for everyone to be Mormon. Or Catholic. Or Jewish. Or Hindu. or whatever, depending on who you talk to.
            And everyone agrees it can’t be a fairy, or a leprechaun or a mermaid – it can only be the exact thing their parents taught them about!

            It is hysterical!
            And I wouldn’t give it a moment of thought
            except that people are destroying everything by believing in it.

            Religion is the most dangerous untestable theory ever created.

        • Atheist Max,

          Without a hint of pretense, I do appreciate what you’ve said. I appreciate it in the sense that I can picture myself articulating the same sentiments 10 years ago. I don’t normally read articles like this. When I do, I hardly ever read the comments below. I never leave a comment, and certainly not a reply to another’s comment.

          Something caught my eye in your reply to the earlier post and I couldn’t help but respond. From the very little that I can hope to learn of you from your statements, I believe that I’ve picked up that you are, what I would call, a truth seeker. Your name, “Atheist Max,” and the overtones of your response have made it overwhelmingly clear where your studies have brought you in your pursuit of that truth. That is, there is no god. But what stood out to me was your firm, yet gracious, tone and your closing statement – “God is very likely not real.”

          There are those who anchor themselves fresh out of the womb to whatever philosophy their parents or teachers hold. There are some who wait until college, where they marry the doctrines of the first philosopher to catch their ear. And some are truth seekers. Some are on a mission in life to search out the truth, foraging through the endless truth-claims, and coming to a reasonable conclusion. Your statement, “God is very likely not real,” carries the tone of a truth seeker. You have come to a decision about what you believe to be true, but you also realize that you are limited, like the rest of us, by ourselves, our surroundings, and the resources available to us.

          I don’t want to argue theology and philosophy along with what seems like the majority of those involved in this thread, but I will encourage you, as someone, like yourself I’m sure, who was and is still on the search for the most reasonable truth-claims available. I was opposed to the idea of a divine being. I thought it was unreasonable to believe in any god, based on substantial evidence against it in science, astronomy, history, arguments from philosophy, etc. I decided to take a break from routine life and began to study for myself the evidence (as I was surprised to find that there was any) for a divine being, or an eternal starting point for the rest of time, space, and life. What really surprised me was that the evidence for a divine being was so staggeringly reasonable and terribly hard to refute with objective truth.

          I am sure you’ve already taken this intellectual journey down many of the avenues that I’ve sought out, but I would encourage you, as a truth seeker, to devote your free time in study and research for a number of months, which might, as it did for me, lead to a number of years, to the study of a divine being. Look into the greatest proponents of the atheistic view and compare that to the greatest proponents of the theistic view. Look into science, philosophy, mathematics, archaeology, cosmology, etc.

          If there is no god at all, you haven’t wasted your time, as you can have peace that you have sought out truth and are more firmly grounded afterward. If there is a god, but it is a distant, unconcerned god, again, you are more firmly grounded in your studies and hopefully that gives you peace. If, however, there exists a God whose purpose for creation is set, His will, good, and His justice, sure – then this pursuit of a knowledge of Him is the most worthy use of your time, next to living in light of that will. It such a God exists, it actually matters that we know Him and His will, and life accordingly.

          After doing the research, I realized this question of a divine existence wasn’t settled, as I thought it was. There is outstanding evidence for God’s existence cited by experts over a wide range of disciplines. Please do yourself the service of looking into these. Of all of life’s pursuits, this is most worthy.

          God bless you in your studies.

          • @Kris,

            Thanks.
            As you have discerned, my studies have been broad and yes, I was a practicing Catholic for 44 years.
            I do not run away from the word ATHEIST because ATHEISM is honest – it is about belief.

            ATHEIST is a wonderful word. It is not a claim that God is impossible. It means I do not believe, I see no reason to believe and no consequence for not believing in any gods.

            I am an Agnostic on the question of whether God exists.
            I am an ATHEIST on the question of belief.

            In the meantime, it is clear that if a god exists he doesn’t care whether we believe in Him or not as there is no reliable majority opinion on the matter and it appears god has not interceded to force the issue.

            40,000 gods are claimed to exist.
            Either they are all true, one is true or none of them are true.
            My opinion? I see no reason to believe, thus my ATHEISM.

            So far, evidence says religious theories are a blunder (a mistake) and neurological evidence shows that ‘god’ is like our baby teeth – we all get the impulse to look for a parent from our infancy and many people are nurtured by the industry of religion which keeps this particular baby tooth from falling off and preventing an adult view of life.

            For me, God is not a mere ‘philosophy’ to puzzle over.
            Religion is at best intellectually dishonest and at worst a 9-11 CODE RED of needless destructive force.

            The news every day reminds us that god beliefs are behind every sort of inhuman act:

            witchcraft in Angola,
            crucifixions in Syria,
            bombings in Jerusalem,
            land seizures in Palestine,
            Obstruction of contraception and family planning from Texas throughout the entire network of Catholic Charities,
            Creationism, genital mutilation…etc.

            Religion is at the core of this destructive nonsense.
            The truth will not be available to anyone if everyone ENFORCES the untruths to start with.

            There very likely are no Leprechauns or mermaids either.
            But nobody is hurting anyone over those claims.

          • Kris Thank you for this very well-phrased and encouraging post. My only addition would be to suggest that what you are describing is a life-long effort – which is likely to have many highs and lows in terms of spiritual and philosophical development – at least, it has for me. If one’s spiritual and philosophical development is dynamic and ongoing, the effort and the benefits are limitless in their potential.

          • Max,

            I am pleased to hear that you have some years of study under your belt. I also appreciate your distinction between your atheistic belief and your agnostic stance on the question of the possibility of a divine being. Well stated.

            I want to be as objective as possible, and what I am about to write is not meant to sound biting or venomous, and I really hope it doesn’t come off that way. I value you as a person and hope that you can catch a glimpse of my heart in writing this.

            The conclusions that you’ve reached following this distinction between atheist and agnostic are valid contenders in the field of popular metaphysical beliefs. My concern is with your reasoning. The rationale is flawed. Even if your conclusions may be valid (not definitively true or false, but contenders), your premises are unstable at best.

            Again, I truly do not want to hold a debate over a comment thread, but your assertion that “if a god exists he doesn’t care whether we believe in Him or not as there is no reliable majority opinion on the matter and it appears god has not interceded to force the issue,” is a premise of opinion. You’ve stated no reliable premise on which to build a conclusion.

            What scientific, objective, or qualified measure do we have to support the premise that there must, out of necessity, be a “reliable majority opinion” on who God is, or if a god exists at all, in order for that divine being to be concerned about our thoughts about him? It would seem that, if biblical doctrine were true, we should expect to find no reliable majority as we are warned of time and time again concerning empty philosophies, idol worship, demonic activity, and Satan’s chosen profession, to deceive the world to turn to anything as long as it is not the truth (Rev 12:9).

            “God has not interceded to force the issue.” While I would agree, based on my understanding of Scripture and what I’ve noticed practically, we cannot say that God has not interceded at all. We are not puppets, and it seems that God does not force our hand. He is not a bored marionette, tugging on the strings of our will to turn us any way that He wishes. True and important to note. Now to say that God has not interceded at all is an asinine statement – one which you did not make. I would not want to build a straw man, just to tear it down when you’ve never asserted that God has not interceded altogether. This claim could never be tested, and on the contrary, popular science and philosophy, cosmology, etc, are moving in a direction pointing to God as the divine first cause at the very least (although the majority may still lean the other direction). More and more of these scholars and professors seem to be adopting the belief that a theistic worldview better interprets the evidence available. A decent introductory video series on this study, True U 01 – Does God Exist, is available on amazon and through other retailers. Not too shabby, although, for someone as studied as you, possibly not enough to quench the thirst for more answers. It is not at all the deepest, but a great start, and I challenge you to look into it. I’ve found it to be insightful if nothing else.

            Your statement concerning the amount of god-claims is very valid and troubling for all truth-seekers. The claim that, “Either they are all true, one is true or none of them are true,” is almost valid, but misrepresenting many faith claims. And finally, your statement, “My opinion? I see no reason to believe, thus my ATHEISM,” is troubling only as it highlights an ignorance to an increasingly comprehensive pool of reasonable evidence, which I’m sure if you were privy to, might give you a different outlook.

            The statement that 40,000 gods are claimed is troubling, even daunting, but not a valid premise to conclude that one of the pool of 40,000 could not be god. But you didn’t claim that, which is great. You did however move on to say that we are left with 3 possibilities, all are true, one is true, or none are true. To imagine a universe crammed with many gods and demi-gods is interesting and I’m sure would include some very entertaining plot twists were this a cosmic sit-com, but it is simply impossible that all claims are true. Most, claim individuality, preeminence, or specific task fulfillment that would overlap other belief systems and pose contradicting truths. The first rule about truth is that it cannot directly contradict itself (something completely red cannot be completely blue no matter how many believers there are that hold to the blue doctrine). So, no, they cannot all be true. There are very few religions that can coexist harmoniously in terms of their truth claims. The thing might be fully red, or it might be fully blue, or it might be neither, but it certainly is not both. Christianity may be complete truth, or maybe this or that Eastern religion is truth, but not both simultaneously, and possibly neither has validity at all. I do agree with you on that point. When faced with this formidable mountain of truth-claims, the truth seeker will either pick a new title, or continue the journey toward truth. It is likely, in accordance with the remaining shred of hope I have for the human intellect, that those religious beliefs which are more reasonable and most in line with what we find through different evidences, will have the largest faith communities. I would start my search here, digest the evidences we have for a divine being in general and then move through the specific evidences or doctrines that seem to align most pleasantly with what we know of reality. I’ve found the Christian doctrines and evidences quite convincing when approached with humility and a learning spirit (as we should approach everything). I will cite the resource named earlier in this reply as a great “reason to believe,” or at the very least realize that an atheistic faith is just as much a leap as a theistic faith.

            I’ll not belabor the next points, but force myself to keep my responses short.

            Your next paragraph, “So far evidence says religious theories are a blunder…” is, simply put, a blunder. Please spend some time (as I said in my last post, months or years) analyzing the BEST arguments and evidences for theism before claiming to have found none that suit you. Of course that would be true of someone who hasn’t attempted to understand those most basic as well as most involved evidences for God. There are many intelligent minds that argue against certain points, but some of the best atheistic minds do not overlook the very valid arguments brought up by theists of all demographics.

            You’ve said, “God is not a mere philosophy to puzzle over.” Very true. I agree. The claims of God are either true or false. If untrue, of absolutely no importance. If true, of supreme importance, trumping all other truth-claims.

            “Religion is at best intellectually dishonest and at worst a 9-11 CODE RED of needless destructive force.” This statement seems emotionally driven and is, again, completely invalid. Religion is, at best, the best. It is, at worst, the worst. It is all or nothing at all. If nothing at all, it would be foolish (maybe even foolishly benevolent) at best to follow doctrines based on falsity, and destructive at worst, if taken to extremes and acted out without reasonable and positive rationale.

            “The news every day reminds us that god beliefs are behind every sort of inhuman act.” Well, actually, humans are behind human acts. They may be inhumane, but they are completely human. This is evidence as far back as history takes us. Yes, every person calls something else god, and some hold to the faith that there is no god, and throughout history many wars and inhumane things have been done by people and groups who rally together under a banner bigger than themselves, quite often a god or “divine purpose,” but the man holding the gun (or rock) is still a confused man, not God. Does this mean that God wouldn’t want any war at any time for any reason? No. This is only to say that theism doesn’t kill people. People kill people.

            Lastly, you’re right. There are likely no Leprechauns or mermaids, and the lack of evidence stands to witness. There is however, very likely an Uncaused Cause, Immovable Mover, Divine Logos, First and Eternal Being – God, and evidence would strongly support this point (see the initial resource before stated and afterward we can move on from there). And it wouldn’t kill us to accept a view that actually gives us a rational and consistent basis for morality.

            Stern, but in love,

            Kris

          • @Kris,

            ATHEISM = No belief in gods.
            THEISM = Belief god is real, and that God requires specific actions and rituals.

            Atheism isn’t a faith. There is no vested interest in any doctrine.
            I just don’t believe in a god. If evidence were to appear that God is real I am happy to explore it – so please don’t think ATHEISM is a “faith” or a doctrine or a religion – it isn’t.

            I am open to changing my opinion but only if the evidence or demonstration is convincing.

            On the other hand, the THEIST claims, “I absolutely know God is real, I KNOW what he wants of me, I know which one is the true god, I believe it is best to not doubt God.”

            Atheism is the lack of belief in god.
            That is all it is. I don’t believe God is real. God appears to be a metaphor for an individualized yet cultivated delusion. Traditions reinforce these absolute truths depending largely on geography.
            Turkey is Islam. Ireland is Catholic. Texas is Evangelical.

            Most Atheists say; show me evidence of a god or at least demonstrate why this is not delusional or why I should believe in it and I would be happy to consider that God is real.
            “Hard Atheists” have decided there absolutely is no god. But when I say there is ‘no god’ I don’t mean it in that absolutist way – only that for sake of argument, ‘I have found no god to believe in yet’.

            ——-
            EVIDENCE and INCOHERENCE:

            You said,
            “I would start my search here, digest the evidences we have for a divine being in general and then move through the specific evidences or doctrines that seem to align most pleasantly with what we know of reality.”

            Please show me your best evidence of a divine being.
            Skip the dubious ones. First cause is not a good argument because we don’t have any reason to believe that there was a first cause. The universe may have always existed in some form. So “First cause” doesn’t work.

            Also with first cause arguments you will find infinite regression as in:
            If everything needed a first cause and the first cause was God, what caused God? Another god? and another before that one?
            First cause requires special pleading and it won’t work for me.

            However, Christianity depends on Yahweh. If Yahweh is real I’d like to see some evidence of it or at least a convincing demonstration.

            JESUS was probably based on some such figure in Jerusalem who lived but there is every reason to believe that much of the Gospel record is legend. Some of his words probably survived but I can’t know which ones were truly his and which were added later.

            Plus the theory of Christianity depends on the validity of ‘blood sacrifices’ or the theory that God needs innocent blood spilled to activate a salvation for humanity – which makes no sense to me. God would have the ability to change any such requirement. God should not be beholden to a rule about ‘blood sacrifice’ human or animal. If he is, who is the other god to whom Yahweh is beholden? Where did the blood sacrifice rule come from?

            Also, the concept of vicarious redemption is incoherent. It leads to an extraordinary moral and ethical problems – not the least of which is the concept that a person had to be tortured and killed for my benefit, a benefit I cannot perceive in real life – by a god whose recorded history is full of indifference to everyone including his own rules.

            DEFINING TERMS

            What is a god?
            It is one of the reasons we need to define what you mean by ‘god’ and what I mean by ‘god’.

            If you define god as ‘Nature’, for example, I must then believe in your God because I have evidence of Nature and must believe in it. But is nature personal, can it answer prayers? Is Nature the same as Jesus? Where is the evidence of that? If God is nature then God is also Smallpox and Measles. Will Measles answer my prayers?

            If you define God as LOVE then I must believe in God because I have evidence of love, I love my children, my wife, my parents – I can witness love. But can I pray to ‘love’? Would ‘love’ create evil?
            I can’t believe that God is Love and Is all powerful, because then I have to justify why suffering happens…and that is only the beginning of how “god is love” unravels. I cannot believe in it.

            IF God is Love then what is ‘Evil’? another god? Is there also a god of indifference?

            You see what I mean.

            ———

            DOES GOD CARE? WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE THAT HE DOES?

            I know dozens of happy, loving people who do not believe in god at all. They don’t worry about Hell and they are confident nothing special happens after death. They are very kind to their neighbors and enjoy lots of friendships.

            Love, curiosity and a passion for life.
            Do we really need more than this?
            What could be missing if we shrug off god?

          • @Kris,

            You said, “And it wouldn’t kill us to accept a view that actually gives us a rational and consistent basis for morality.”

            This appears to be another incorrect claim of religion – that God gives us morality.

            But a much better case could be made that religion is a cause of immorality.

            Here is some evidence.
            Look at the world of Atheists. Why are they so good? :

            95% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences are Atheists.
            That is about 3,000 people.
            55% of the doctors working for Doctors Without Borders are Atheists (22,000 members worldwide working for free every day)
            100% of American Association of Atheists (50,000) has the lowest crime statistics of any group in the country.

            If morality comes from Jesus, God or Allah, one would expect these Atheists to be stealing, raping, murdering and deeply unwelcome everywhere. Instead, these are the most stable, peaceful, productive, generous individuals in society.

            Billionaires who happen to be Atheists are among the most generous people in our society:

            Warren Buffett
            Bill Gates
            Jeff Bezos
            Carl Icahn

            Meanwhile, The religious Christian billionaires are power mad:

            The Koch Brothers
            Rupert Murdoch

            Atheists are almost never arrested.
            Their numbers in prison are so small that it is statistically zero. (pew)
            Atheists almost never end up in jail.
            Atheists (non-believers) make up 8% of the American population.
            But they cause almost none of the crime.

            Less than .05% of the prison population is Atheist.
            The huge majority in prison are Christian, Muslim and
            other religions. To whom shall we credit their immorality?

            Atheists are not only good without god. They are statistically the best behaving members of society.
            Norway, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand are simultaneously the most peaceful, successful
            and most Atheistic countries in the world.

            Meanwhile, where Christianity is strong
            you find dramatic inequality of wealth:
            (Latin America, North America),

            High tolerance for fascism
            (Italy, Greece, Spain, Texas)

            High of repression of women’s rights:
            (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Texas)
            And high use of the Death penalty.

            Morality seems to be better handled by Atheists.

            And before you rebut my argument by bringing up the usual suspects: Pol Pot, Hirohito, Stalin and Kim il sun – be aware that I will point with conclusive evidence that these straw men are religionists with strong unfounded beliefs and convictions. They are not examples of atheism.

          • Atheism = No belief in gods. Very good. Another way that you might phrase this is, “the belief that there is no god(s).” It is a belief, which you’ve stated. I call this a faith because, there comes a time in your search for truth that you absolutely must make a leap of faith in order to come to the conclusion that there is no god. Whether you’d like to validate the evidence for God or not, that is your choice. If it were more cut and dry, the arguements against a divine being far outweighing those in favor of one, I might be reluctant to label atheism as a faith. Yes, it is found in fewer textbooks and even NY Times Bestsellers, but that is to be expected in a post-enlightenment America at a time where existentialism, relativism and preestablished notions of god (or the lack thereof) reign.

            You’ve said “I am open to changing my opinion but only if the evidence or demonstration is convincing.” You’ve then added the challenge to put forward plausible arguments for a divine being, skipping the “dubious ones.” I’d rather not. Not at all admitting defeat, as if this were all bark and no bite, so to speak, but rather, because I, too, have a wife and two kids, and a job that requires more of my time than I am able to give it, and that is without writing essays on the evidences for a divine being. As you know, being one who has studied, the evidences and rebuttles that follow this argument, with all of their citations and sources, are extremely extensive. To do real justice to just a couple of the more worthwhile evidences, this would take some extensive writing and I just don’t have the hours in the day to go back and forth. I will stick to my earlier recommendation on a starting place, the DVD series, True U 01 – Does God Exist? You have yet to view this. 10 sessions, 30 minutes each. Very interesting. Produced for a college-level audience, but not void of great content. Finish this series. Then, if you’re still willing to engage in some study, I’d love to present some other matierial.

            One quick thing before moving on. Your statement, “First cause is not a good argument because we don’t have any reason to believe that there was a first cause…,” is also flawed. You may not be familiar with a good reason, and I suppose that is really the reason that this dialogue is even occuring. This is one of the many topics touched in the above resource (I almost sound like a salesman for this curriculum, but you can rest assured, if there were another single resource that I knew of that handled the wide-range of material equally well, I’d give a shout-out to that as well). I am well aware of the eternal universe argument for atheism as well as the infinite regression issue. Both I stood behind at one point and both I now understand are better handled through theistic arguments and evidences. Atheists also have to do business with both of these complicated arguments. Infinite regression is not a categorically theistic problem as you are aware, I’m sure.

            As for the integrity of Scripture, while we do not have live-feed cameras from the day with video recordings of untampered with footage of Jesus claiming what the Bible claims he said, one must agree after even just a short and shallow topical study of any ancient documents, that documentation and preservation of Scripture is outstanding – worlds above the standards of any other ancient text. Look into this for yourself. Any citation I give you for this will not suffice anyway as we both know. You couldn’t possibly trust my sources. When you do your own research, try to venture out from those authors who show express interest in debunking something or another and find a source that will be true to archeaological data and findings.

            The concept of God “needing blood sacrifices” is only slightly off. According to the Bible, God does not get hit upside the head with the sacrificial system rulebook that he must abide by. He institutes the system himself. For a brief description of why this is, you can read up at http://www.gotquestions.org/blood-sacrifice.html . This page is not a comprehensive approach to the question, but gives a better surface understanding.

            Is the concept of vicarious redemption so incoherent, or, as evidenced by earlier comments, might you be missing something here? I know that sounds harsh, but I really do not mean to bash you as a person, but would love to dissolve the foundation to some of these arguments – that is, only if they ought to be dissolved; if they are untrue. How can there be a moral / ethical problem? If the natural world is all we see, the supernatural only a figment of our imaginations, then morality loses its footing. Morality, at best, is decided by the masses. In one geographic location this looks entirely different than here and now. The whole doctrine of morality, outside of the doctrine of God, is reletivistic in nature, not objective, and no sure footing for any type of objective argument that would only further prove the instability of its own premise – a moral code / morality.

            Your argument against the coherency of biblical doctrine stating that, “God is love,” is seated in an understandable misunderstanding. True, we don’t pray to Measles and we don’t pray to love. When the bible claims that God is love, this is not saying love is God. It’s not saying that the love-god is one god among many. This is a statement about God’s character, not his nature or essense. God is the standard by which we know love. We then have to define love and doubtlessly I’d define love with slightly diffing nuances than I’m sure you might. Yes, others outside of faith communities can show a type of love. Love is a small word covering a broad range of feelings, emotions, actions, etc. In biblical days there were multiple terms for the differing types. So, yes, you are correct, it is silly to think that God is confined to our definition of love. Instead it signifies the standard of love that finds its definition in God’s character. It’d be like saying that Julia is sweet. She is not the essense of sweetness or confined by the definition of sweet. It is also no lie to call her sweet even though Julia and sweet are not synonymous.

            As for evil. What is evil, but the privation of good? And, then what exactly is good? Define this. For most theists, good also has its definition in the standard set by a deity. For Christians, this is Yahweh, the Judeo-Christian God of scripture. If He is the standard for all good, thus His will is all good, His desire for our lives also is all good, what happens when we fail to follow His will, plan and desire? When we separate ourselves from good… we get the privation of good – evil. Did God invent it? Well, some might say that when he chose to create people rather than Pinocchio, yes, He allowed the free will to choose against Him. He is not a jolly cosmic marionnette. Anything that we choose outside of His will is not for our good, no matter what our take on it is, according to the bible.

            Lastly, you ask, “Does God care? Where is the evidence that He does?” Note, if you never look for the evidence, you’ll never find it. If you constantly argue the opposite position, you will not find it, not because you’ve search and came up empty, but because you do not want to find it. It would hurt your pride and ruin your arguments. When you were a child, undoubtedly there were things that your parents or guardians did that they had done for your protection, because they cared. As a child, we don’t understand this, like my daughter right now. She thinks I’m just being a kill-joy. “What!!! Daddy put up a fence? Now I can’t play chicken with the cars on the road.” What looks like a curse, might be a blessing. What seems negative in nature, might be very positive. If there is a divine being, can we hope to be as understanding as Him? I just spoke with a young man two days ago who was finally woken up from a life of terrible choices and missed opportunities through a series of unfortunate events with his family. He realizes that this was the best thing that could have happened to him.

            If you look for evidence that God cares, you might look at the colors that could have been greyscale, the tastes that could have been bland at best had He not made us with the sensory faculties that we have. Start there and move outward looking for things that seem like God’s provision. When you look for it, the evidence makes itself clear.

            Again, Max, I honestly appreciate you and wish you the best on your search. Please pick up that resource.

            Sincerely,

            Kris

          • @Kris,

            I’ll look into your videos you recommend.

            In the meantime I have a simpler question:

            Do you believe in Hell?
            If so please describe what you can of it.

          • Max,

            Although I don’t have the time at the moment, I’d love to check out these statistics you’re presenting and for now I will take them on good faith that you’ve done good research to come up with these.

            The claim is not that those who claim to believe in God will be moral because they believe. Again, another misunderstanding fueling and argument that need not take place.

            Of the 40,000 god-claims in existence (citing your earlier post), I’d propose that only one is authentic and of those who call themselves followers of that one, most are only fooling themselves. This is consistent with Jesus words in Matthew 7:13-14; 21-23. Also, Paul warns in a letter to Timothy, that he should expect that people will, under the heading of Christian, go after whatever philosophy sounds good to them and follow those teaching that you can be a Christian and still do this, that and the third.

            During the expansion of the early church, there was intense opposition. During the days of Constantine, it became not only socially acceptable, but the thing to do – call yourself a Christian. Just because I put a Ferrari symbol on the front of my minivan, that doesn’t make it any faster. Many aweful things are done in the name of religion. There is, however, absolutely no edict to go around raping, killing, molesting, etc, found in the charge to the church. That would mean that anyone doing these things is not following the Christian model anymore than I’m driving a Ferrari. I’m not. They’re not.

            My original statement was, “And it wouldn’t kill us to accept a view that actually gives us a rational and consistent basis for morality.” I still stand by this. If not given to us by a standard outside of ourselves, what do we base morality on? It is relative, subjective and who is to tell me that rape isn’t an upstanding course of action?

            I don’t believe it is. I think it is vile. I think so because God’s word tells me it is. He also says that we have, to some degree, although not the same degree, an innate sense of right and wrong, although we often times will supress that truth.

            Thanks for taking the time to respond so extensively.

            I’ve got an early morning and about 3 hours to get some sleep. Sorry to cut this short.

            Sincerely,

            Kris

          • Hey Max,

            I’ve noticed that more and more participants have joined the dialogue, which is fine, but I’d like to keep our initial discussion going. Rather than continue here, why don’t you email me your thoughts after beginning the series that we spoke of.

            M email address is kris.mannale@gmail.com. i look forward to continuing and I’m thankful for our dialogue thus far.

            Kris

        • @Atheist Max
          You’re welcome to believe however you’d like. But just because you’ve never felt the Love of God and rejected to seek Him out to know that He is…doesn’t not mean He doesn’t exist and that others know He exists. You should never attack someone for their beliefs just because you don’t believe. We find over and over again evidences that He exists and the Bible is His word. Just because you refuse to accept them…that’s okay. Just don’t attack others for believing the truth.

          • I don’t attack people.
            I attack their belief.

            Christianity, like all indoctrination, is an affliction like a bad infection and it can be cured and treated.

            I did not become smarter when I left Christianity.
            Cancer patients do not get smarter when they are cured of cancer.

            I do not talk down to people who have the affliction.
            I am trying to convince some of them to clarify why they feel the need to push the affliction onto our laws.

          • Max,

            Why try to convince anyone of anything? In your worldview nothing matters; whether you live to 1 or 100, those lives are indistinguishable blips on the timeline of eternity. Regardless of what you think, do, or say, we will all pass away, what does it matter? Seriously, why are you wasting your time with anything in this life? If there is no God, there is no objective morality, there is no ultimate purpose, and there is no meaning. Next time your are feeling fully alive, doing the one thing that brings you the most joy on earth, look at your watch then determine how long this will last; a couple of hours? A couple of days? The point is this joy will come to an end. I the same way, your life will come to an end, the world will come to an end, and the universe will come to an end. Nothing you ever said or did will matter, unless…

          • whodatperson1

            Max… you haven’t proven there is no God that others believe there is. So, you can’t say that they are indoctrinated since you don’t know what they know can you?

            something (such as a disease) that causes pain or suffering

            : the state of being affected by something that causes suffering
            Full Definition of AFFLICTION
            1
            : the state of being afflicted
            2
            : the cause of persistent pain or distress
            3
            : great suffering
            See affliction defined for English-language learners »
            See affliction defined for kids »

            An affliction is a negative thing apparently. Like cancer or hatred towards people. Yet, I’ve never met a person who said they were a believer who’s said they are in pain, distressed, suffering or in affliction because of their FAITH in Jesus Christ.

            Can you PROVE that YOU don’t have the affliction?

            Are you absolutely positive that there is no God?

            I suggest absolutely not because you have already stated so yourself.

          • @whodatperson1,

            I was pointing out that I do not hate believers nor do I judge them as inferior in some way. They are afflicted.
            Yes religion is a painful affliction to the believer and the society at large and causes tremendous suffering:

            Staying on the topic of Glenn Beck’s beliefs, for example:

            It attacks gays.
            It attacks women.
            It hurts children in Angola who are being burned as witches today.
            It hurts children who are taught that Hell is real.

            The list is too long.
            Life wouldn’t be perfect if we abandoned religion, but it would be better than it is today for most people.

          • @whodatperson1,

            by the way, the burden of proof regarding God is on you, not me.
            I don’t claim that God is impossible. He may exist for all I know but I do not believe in it at all.

            When I say “god doesn’t exist”, I’m saying your burden of proof remains and you have not proven god to be there.

            Showing me that you believe in it does not explain why I should believe in it. In the meantime, while I wait for evidence, I think religions should be abandoned as the instructions are harmful, even if a god exists.

    • If Mormons are a political movement, it’s hard to figure out which way they lean. Harry Reid, Democratic Senator from Nevada and Senate Majority Leader, is a practicing Mormons who says his religious beliefs are the reason he is democratic. My own Mormon congregation has people of various political persuasions, but we are united in our devotion to the Savior, and in emulating him by helping each other with love and compassion.

    • Tway Barrett

      CarrotCakeMan, I am sorry to say that your statement that this is no difference between Evangelicals and Mormons is FALSE.

      Mormons believe men can become gods, that our God was once a man
      Christians believe that there is ONLY one God, eternal, and immutable (Isaiah 43:10)

      Christians believe in the Trinity (one God, 3 person)
      Mormons in a multitude of gods, because multitudes of people have the opportunity to become one, and eventually get their own planet to control.

      Christians know that Jesus is part of the everlasting God (Trinity) who came to this earth born of a virgin and remain sinless (100% God, 100% man)
      Mormons believe that Jesus was the physical product of their god and a goddess

      Most important of all….

      Christians believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is TOALLY sufficient for our sins in we have faith (trust) in Him. His righteousness saved us. (Eph 2:8-9)
      Mormons believe they can accomplish the impossible task to work their way to heaven. Jesus’s work + their work = Salvation to the Celestial Kingdom. Their righteousness saves them

      These are just a few differences, there are so many ore between Christians and Mormons. However these are not SMALL non-essential differences like those between denominations of Baptists, Presbyterian, or Methodists. Mormonism is a false gospel that is NOT Christianity. It is the perversion of the truth, made to create worshiped idols out of men. The Bible doesn’t rail against atheism anywhere in the Bible. WHY?

      Because atheism simply doesn’t exist. All people make idols out of something (i.e. careers, their children, cars, & wealth). Mormons makes idols out of themselves, thinking thy can work their way to godhood.
      The recurrent message of the Old Testament, there are no other gods. (Deuteronomy 4:35)

      There is a huge chasm between the beliefs of Christians and Mormons.

  2. CarrotCakeMan, as someone who is a Christian and has studied mormonism, there are huge, vast differences. And just because a bunch of people believe in the same thing and fight for the same thing in their Republic doesn’t make them a political movement.

    • Readrighthere

      And those vast differences arise from the disparity between restored truth and the traditions of warring factions among the world’s Christians over the last two millennia, a chaos that exists because of the martyrdom of the church’s original leaders resulting in doctrinal entropy.

  3. Has the student Democratic club been allowed to reform again? Because it would seem that if you can have a Mormon preach and be ok, that you should be able remain a Christian and vote democratic (and officially organize a student club on campus.)

      • Thanks Karen. Although I have to say, banning all political clubs does seem to be an odd position for a school that has been known as being overtly political (and one that has brought several overtly conservative political figures that do not particularly match its Evangelical character.)

        In the last two years Glenn Beck, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump have all spoken there. Probably others that I have not noticed as well. Only Palin is known for being a Christian.

        But have any high profile Democratic speakers spoken?

        • Allen Montgomery

          Sure. Senator Ted Kennedy spoke at Liberty when Jerry Falwell was still alive. Perhaps there are others. I do not keep a record of who speaks where on college campuses.

          • Yes he did. In 1983. And it is listed as one of the top 100 speeches given in the US according to American Rhetoric. That would seem to prove my point that these are more about politics than anything else though.

            http://www.liberty.edu/news/?PID=18495&MID=9850

  4. Wow… it’s shocking that they would let Beck preach a sermon. A lecture would be quite another thing. Letting him preach a sermon seems to betray a very troubling organizational idol, if conservatism now trumps the true gospel! Scandalous, and even more so since nobody seems to be protesting this!

  5. colleen miller

    While you all enjoy your mutual admiration society, don’t forget GOD decides who is a good amd faithful servant. Some will “believe” they are…but, HE will say”depart from ME, I never knew you!” HIS Words, not mine.

    • @colleen,

      “they never knew me”

      Don’t you feel an emotional tug when you read this?
      Isn’t it just emotion? Nobody wants to be disloyal – not even atheists – but this god is stifling your thinking.
      Is that fair of Him? Is that useful to Him? or to You?
      This is nonsense. Since God never knew any of us and we are wrong to give Him credit for anything.

      • proverbs19:31

        Every person is influenced by a”god”. You are influenced by the god of this world, Satan. You think you are autonomous but you are not. Be warned.

  6. Don Gunderman

    Mormonism Research Ministry is willing to come to Virginia next fall and give presentations on why Mormonism should not be considered the same as Christianity. Let us share some information at your convocation. Invite us to your Bible classes as well. We would be happy to do this for free, probably much less than what Beck charged to come.
    Seriously, Liberty, write us at contact@mrm.org 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. (jrmoore@liberty.edu).

      • ron gwaltney

        Mormons don’t appreciate it when Christians speak of the LDS Church as being a “cult”. Neither does this particular Christian appreciate your labeling Mormonism Research Ministry as being a “hate group”. I know Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson of Mormonism Research Ministry personally. These two men along with their associates in MRM are devoting their lives to informing Christians and Mormons alike about the critically important differences that distinguish and separate the teachings of Mormonism from those of biblical traditional Christianity. Liberty students, family and faculty would do well to checkout the ministry’s website (www.mrm.org) to learn for themselves the spirit with which these men undertake this task. Better yet, invite Bill and Eric to speak at Liberty University. It would be helpful were the university able to help defray the cost of their doing so. If not, and if the invitation to speak is still extended, Bill and Eric should know that I will personally fund the cost of their visit in full if they accept the invitation.

        • You may know them personally and think that they’re credible. But any practicing Mormon can pick our the untruths and distortions in what they claim to be true. Bearing false witness against your neighbor is a sin, even when it is called a “ministry.” And making money from doing so is despicable.

          • trytoseeit, making an unsubstantiated blanket statement like this puts you yourself at risk of falling into the sin of bearing false witness against your neighbor. Please provide specific examples of the “untruths” and “bearing false witness” of which you accuse Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson. Thank you.

          • Sharon, there are too many, and I didn’t offer in my comment to critique every false, distorted or misleading statement. I would still be here a month from now. But just so you know that I am not making this up, one problem has already been illustrated in other comments here: there is discussion of whether anyone other than Joesph and Hyrum Smith died at the time of their martyrdom. The MRM website (you will find this linked in its discussion of Glenn Beck’s appearance at Liberty University) refers to the unprovoked murder of men (Smith and his party) in government custody as a “gun battle,” and cites John Taylor’s account (as did the commenter here) as though it was eyewitness testimony that Smith’s use of a weapon in self-defense killed two of the attackers. In fact, Taylor’s account only says that Taylor heard later that men wounded in the attack due to the defense put up by Smith died. If McKeever wanted to play fair – which he doesn’t – he would add that there is zero independent historical evidence of any such deaths. But McKeever’s expressed purpose was to minimize the idea that Joseph Smith was martyred by suggesting that self-defense is inconsistent with martyrdom. In trying to do so, he suppresses historical facts that are inconvenient to the hatchet job.

            So you might say, well, minimizing the murder of a religious leader by a supposedly “Christian” mob isn’t quite “bearing false witness. But I think you’d be wrong about that. To pick up one other example, I find a statement at the MRM website that “Second Nephi 2:25 in the Book of Mormon says Adam needed to commit the first sin in order for humans to become gods in the next life.” So,that’s something we can check. We can look at that verse to see if it really actually says that. It doesn’t. There is no reference to “gods in the next life” in 2 Nephi 2:25. Or anywhere in 2 Nephi. Or in the Book of Mormon. McKeever just made that up. Not because deification isn’t a Biblical doctrine – it is, actually – but because McKeever wants to unfairly present Mormon scripture as saying something it doesn’t.

            I think that McKeever makes a good living saying wrong and distorted things like these, and it amounts to bearing false witness against one’s neighbor. Which we should all recognize as sin.

          • Trytoseeit, thank you for your response. I understand that you have a different perspective on Joseph Smith’s death than a non-Mormon has, but a different perspective does not equate with “bearing false witness.” In an article on the MRM website (“The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith”) Eric Johnson explains his thought processes in coming to the conclusion that “martyrdom” is not the right word for what happened in Carthage. In doing so, he also presents the Mormon argument in favor of applying the term “martyr” to Joseph Smith. In regards to the alleged deaths of the men Joseph shot, what I found at MRM was nothing more than that information attributed to John Taylor – just as other aspects of the event were attributed to John Taylor – as the authors quoted History of the Church in describing the event (with source references provided). Again, I see no “untruths” here.

            I think you have firmer ground to stand on with the quoted statement at MRM about 2 Nephi 2:25. Yet, in the context that this is presented, that is, in a very short explanation of Mormonism and Genesis 3:5, I recognize the way 2 Nephi 2:25 was described as perhaps a bit sloppy, but again, I would not go so far as saying it is “bearing false witness.” Though the Book of Mormon does not itself talk about human beings becoming gods in the next life, that is certainly a true and foundational doctrine of Mormonism, and LDS leaders have often connected 2 Nephi 2:25 with eternal progression and exaltation, stating that the Fall (as mentioned in 2 Nephi) was necessary to provide mortality which was in turn necessary for eternal progression/exaltation/godhood. Consider the teaching of LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie: “Adam was to introduce mortality and all that attends it, so that the opportunity for eternal progression and perfection might be offered to all the spirit children of the Father.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 268; cf. Moses 5:11 which itself cf. 2 Nephi 2:25.)

            So in the greater context of Mormonism, 2 Nephi 2:25 does not explicitly state the Adam needed to sin so humans could become gods, but the passage is understood and taught by LDS leaders to support that point of Mormon doctrine. This is why I conclude that MRM’s statement is not “bearing false witness” or spreading an “untruth,” but I do believe the syntax could – and should – be improved.

          • Sharon, thank you for your thoughtful and respectful reply. It is appreciated. I still think that the discussion of Joesph Smith’s martyrdom is slanted and unfair. It trying to bolster the use of the phrase “gun battle” (and, honestly, is that the right way to describe the murder of men in government custody, whether or not one of them was armed? The phrase suggests a set of circumstances quite different from what the historical record justifies) the MRM article quotes John Taylor – and only John Taylor – on the issue of injuries suffered by the murderers, intending to leave the uninformed reader with the impression that Smith killed two men. We know that uninformed readers can come to this conclusion because someone actually made that claim in comments on this page, very likely after reading the MRM summary. Deceit comes in many forms, and I think that any fair-minded person would have to conclude that there was an intention to mislead readers by presenting a slanted view of a very significant (to Mormons anyway) event. If one is interested in fairness, one doesn’t find that in MRM material. Anywhere.

            Thanks for seeing that there is firmer ground in the reference to 2 Nephi 2:25. Again, the tendentious description of that verse is typical of what I find throughout MRM’s website and other material. You’re right – and MRM is right – that Mormons have a different take on the Fall of Adam than most other Christians. Without wanting to argue that with you – I’d rather we both study and pray about it – I see our understanding of the early chapters of Genesis (and the retelling of that story in our Book of Moses) as more hopeful to mankind, and as a better, richer explanation for what a loving Father would want, and do, for His children. But when McKeever re-casts the literal terms of that particular verse (as you’ve seen that he did) he does so in order to steer away from that explanation. He steers away from that explanation by ringing in the idea of “becoming gods,” which he knows stirs a negative emotional response in his readers. He deliberately misconstrues the verse BECAUSE he wants to disparage unfairly the doctrine being taught.

            Since I’ve brought it up a couple of times – and since you refer to it in your response to me – let me just add that the Mormon idea of deification has a long and distinguished history in Christian theology. Folks like McKeever want to use it as an emotional button – the idea is that Mormons have some elevated opinion or aspirations that “true” Christians would never have – but they do so at the expense of the Bible. Romans 8 teaches us that as children of the Father, we are to be joint heirs with Christ and be glorified with him. 2 Peter 1 explains that we are to be partakers of the divine nature. People respond to those verses by saying, well, that does not make us gods or equal to God – but no one on our side says “equal.” We just say that we can have divine attributes, which is what the Bible teaches. C.S. Lewis wrote (in Mere Christianity) that God “said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him-for we can prevent Him, if we choose-He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess . . . .” No one ever takes Lewis to task for saying that. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (I appreciate that you’re not Catholic, but I am supporting my comment about the history of this idea) says, “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (Art. 460). I am not asking you to embrace Mormon theology on this or any other point, but I AM saying that Mormons don’t deserve to be mocked by their fellow Christians for taking the Bible at its word, or for doctrinal explications shared by others in the Christian world.

            C.S. Lewis explained that this view wasn’t arrogant – it was simply an understanding of the work that God is trying to do within us. He is all powerful and has the ability to do that if He wants to. Mormons believe that He is the “father of our spirits” (Heb. 12:9) and that as the Father desires to perform such a work. 1 Cor. 2:9.

          • trytoseeit, then do you take the Bible then at it’s word or do you take the word of the LDS church?

        • Liberty students, family and faculty would do well to checkout the following as well:

          http://www.mormon.org/

          http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/

          https://www.lds.org/?lang=eng

          • http://thetruthaboutmormonism-creeksalmon.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-iceberg-principle-public-relation.html

            Mormon sites are very dishonest do nothing more than conceal Mormon theology

          • DHRogers, would you rather read the Cloroxed version of rewritten history or read what the church founders said “In Their Own Words”? That becomes the difference between the sanitized Mormon.org site versus the quotations provided by Bill McKeever. Free minds research and explore and it is so easy to know the truth. If you care for your soul and any little ones who may follow you into eternity, you need to know.
            http://www.mrm.org/store

        • “Biblical traditional Christianity” That’s what you have, a tradition, and tradition only means “we believe this because our fathers did.” Tradition is not truth and to claim you have truth because you have tradition on your side places you on very shaky ground. I am LDS because the Holy Ghost has given me a witness of the truth, not out of habit or tradition.

      • What is a “hate group”? Is it a group that excludes some other group? Is it a group that says some other group is not the real deal? Hate is defined as an intense or passionate dislike, so could it be said that you hate the Mormon Research Ministry? If a few people like you got together, would you be a hate group?

    • Yes Don, that’s correct. There are some major differences between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) and mainstream Christianity of today. However, there are also vast differences between current Christianity and Early Christianity.

      If Christianity means “historic orthodox mainstream Christianity” of today then I would agree that Mormonism is not historic Christianity; at least not in every doctrine. Although Mormons have much in common with other Christians Mormons also believe differently than historic Christians in some key areas. But the real questions to ask are 1) What is original Christianity? 2) Is mainstream Christianity of today the same as original Christianity? It turns out that Joseph Smith was right. Mormonism is a restoration of Original Christianity. It is not my intent to criticize Christians of today. However, in many areas of belief Mormons are closer to original Christianity than are many Christians of today.

      The first Mormon Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. In that sense Mormons believe in the Trinity. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the post-Biblical definitions and wording formulations defining the trinity found in the Bible. Thus, believing in post-Biblical creeds is not a requisite for being a Christian. If so, then all the Christians that went before the creeds are not really Christian. That would be preposterous.

      Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

      The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is. Christ never taught the need to believe in anything like the creeds. Those came later. Does that mean that the early Christians are not really Christians because they did not believe in a “one substance” god? I don’t think so.

      Mormon belief is very much like the teachings of the earlier Christians – before the creeds – and also matches the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The further back in time you go the more Mormon-like Christian doctrine becomes

      • The apostolic Christians did believe in a one-substance God. The creeds to which you refer do not teach something new and different from apostolic teaching, they express the teachings of the apostles.

  7. “Put down your guns.”

    Too bad he didn’t take his own advice. Before he and his brother died, he shot two men dead with a gun that was smuggled into the prison. Such a martyr…

    • Whoa there Ryan Collins!! You just perpetuated a lie. Joseph Smith kill no one. NO one died at the jail that day except for Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

      If you have proof of that.. please present it! I am waiting.

      • MrNirom, John Taylor definitely reported this fact and never retracted his statement in the History of the Church. Smith shot three of his attackers, two of whom died. See vol 7, pages 100-103. Taylor wrote this account just four years after the event and he continued to stick tohis account. The actual gun used by Smith is on display at the Church HIstory museum in Salt Lake City. Check it out, this is not “anti-Mormon” information. The “put down your guns” statement by Beck is strangely missing in the History of the Church.

        • Wait. If you’re going to correct others, you have an obligation to be accurate yourself. Taylor didn’t say that he knew of any deaths; he said he had been told afterward that attackers who were wounded had died. The Wikipedia entry (if you’re interested) says, “Most accounts seem to agree that at least three mob members were wounded by Joseph Smith’s gunfire, but there is no other evidence that any of them died as a result of the attack.”

          It’s astonishing that anyone wants to make any accusations about self-defense in the course of this attack. Joseph Smith and his party feared angry mobs, but were given assurances by the Governor of Illinois that their safety would be protected. The Governor then reneged on that promise. These are the “Christians,” by the way, if you want to use labels like that. “Christians” then stormed the room in which the prisoners were held and murdered them. I’m sure that these “Christians” felt justified in violating God’s law, since they disparaged Smith’s restored gospel so much.

          But we know that there is nothing at all Christian about any of that. It is amazing that any Christian wants to take the side of the killers as Ryan Collins has done.

          • trytosee it, Joseph Smith never restored the gospel preached by his missionaries, he invented it.

    • Of the three barrels discharged by Joseph, it is believed he hit three men: an Irishman named Wells or Wills (who was in the mob because of his love of a brawl) in the arm, Voorhees or Voras (an oversized youth from Bear Creek known for his lack of good sense) in the shoulder, and a man named Gallagher or Gallaher (a young Southerner from Mississippi) in the face. The attackers who were hit were not killed (as was first reported in some Church publications) but only wounded. They were alive and well at the trial held for mob leaders, and were identified by witnesses.

      Joseph’s actions were clearly self-defense and defense of others under the common law. After all, they were attacked by a large mob of men and shot at. Everyone has the right to self defense under such circumstances.

    • Two men were not killed. Another myth by critics of Mormonism. John Taylor, who was in the room with Jos. and Hyrum Smith made the comment that he was told two men died from Smith shoiting them. It was wrong information and there is proof those men did not die. Those men shot by Smith were caught, with others involved of killing the Smiths, and went through a fake trial and were released.

  8. Mr. Merritt,
    Next year I will be attending Liberty University. How worried should I be about this controversy? I am Christian Reformed and wanted to attend Liberty because it has my exact major (which is hard to find in a small Christian college) and because it was Christian. Also your last statement worried me. It said, “[Liberty is]…thriving amidst controversy and leading with conservative politics rather than theology.” Should I be worried about the politics overtaking good Christian perspectives? Is this school really more about politics than religion?

    • As a current Liberty student, I assure you that Liberty is a great place to be. I do not feel as though I am being brainwashed by the school and their political stance. You must understand that convocation is not a chapel service. We are not promised a sermon three times a week. We do start every convo off with worship and prayer, but sometimes the message varies. We have people like Dave Ramsey come and give us financial talks. Preachers and evangelicals come give us sermons. Inspirational speakers come and give us talks about pushing through til the end. And yes, sometimes political figures come and talk politics, usually around elections. Students at Liberty are spiritually fed every day, regardless of who is speaking at convo. There is no need to fear coming to Liberty. I hope you find yourself encouraged by this post, and know that we cannot wait to have you here.

      • But why was attending right wing, anti Obama Mormon (ie non-Christian)Glenn Beck ‘s talk made compulsory for LU students? Surely those who had moral or etical objections should have been allowed to stay away without a fine.

      • Hi Jill,
        You mention that sometimes political figures speak at convocation. Are liberal Democrats ever among those who are invited to speak? Would Liberty be open to having, say, Elizabeth Warren or Barbara Lee come and speak? If not, what about moderate Democrats like Governor McAullife?

    • Liberty is associated with Reverend Moon Unification Church Cult

      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/04/09/liberty-university-benny-hinn-and-the-moonies/

      Run don’t walk away.

      Even before this team up with heresy, they used to position students at the local theater. It was policy that students were not allowed to go to the theater unless it was edited and presented on campus.

      http://www.pajamapages.com/liberty-universitys-provost-was-a-senior-moonie-apostle-and-collaborator/

    • Unless you or your family is connected with some form of conservative politics, you are flushing your tuition down the toilet. The reputation of the school is as a conservative finishing school.

      Their acceptance rate is ridiculously high. Its a student loan production factory. There are many schools with a religious bent to them which have real academic standards which Liberty doesn’t.

      Outside of the rightwingsphere, Liberty U on a resume can be the kiss of death for looking for work in some places. Its law school is considered a joke. They are not accredited and got into trouble for teaching students it was OK to abet kidnapping if it was done for the Lord.

      RUN AWAY, RUN FAST

      • Larry,

        I suggest you check your facts again, Sir. Liberty is an accredited university. In 2009, it received level VI accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Its Law Program is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) As for job searching, I can attest that in my case, having Liberty U on my resume was one of the reasons my boss was interested in me. As a graduate of Liberty, I have received what is considered a well paying job for someone fresh out of college. I work alongside a federal law enforcement agency. Yes, the school leans conservative. If you show me a truly bias school, I’ll eat my hat. First, I’ll make sure it is an edible hat, made out of yellow possibly, but then I’ll eat it. I’m not saying Liberty is for everyone or that I agreed with everything taught/supported there, but given the choice again, I do it all again in a heartbeat!

        • No! Don’t do it.

          Larry is correct. This school is a joke.
          Money wasted on education is money burned.

          Stay away from religious schools – unless your mind is dull.
          Religious education is nothingness and the rest of the world will laugh at you. I would.

          • Atheism leads to nihilism, is self-refuting, and doesn’t fit the facts. The world is sinful and lost without God and Jesus Christ.

          • Evidently Fundamentalist Christian belief leads to a false sense of pride in one’s piety, an overwillingness to lie in order to defend a position, and an aversion to reason and rational arguments.

          • @Tom Snyder,

            Please stop that.
            ATHEISM most certainly does not lead to nihilism. Good grief!

            96% of the members of the Academy of Science are Atheists. I don’t see them jumping out of windows.

            ATHEISTS make up the majority of Doctors Without Borders – 22,000 of them are working everyday to help save people’s lives at no charge all around the world.

            This Nonsense about Atheists being nihilists must stop.

          • Max, I am sincerely curious, as an atheist why do you come to post on a religious article on a religious web site about a religious school?

          • @Ken,

            “as an Atheist why are you interested in a religious site?”

            I have a serious interest in religion in the same way a cellular biologist would be interested in Cancer.

            I see religious belief as a profoundly dangerous and needless problem in the world. It is urgent that people begin to work peacefully and cooperate internationally with rational argument and free discussion.

            Religion broadly interferes with those things.

            The Religion News Service is an excellent glance at current religious trends. RNS has been fair to me, allowing me to engage and I have tried to be respectful in return.

            Also, I have found that many religious people are curious about Atheists and have their own doubts to discuss – so the benefit is mutual.

          • @Max, (Hopefully my reply is in the right spot) Thank you for your reply.

            In response to what you said : “My problem with religion and Christianity (not the believers) is that the movement to force religious laws and codes onto the public square must be stopped or at least challenged when they appear.”

            I agree with not forcing. Challenging I have no problem with at all. I think there is a difference between forcing and challenging or having competing ideas.

            All laws are the moral codes of someone weather it be a dictator who is atheist, Islamic, or an electorate of the majority of the people or even a republic where the voted officials can go against the will of the people. I am going to compete for what I see as Christian moral codes in the public square. Do not murder, steal, do not lie, are Christian moral codes . Do we throw them out because they are in a religious text?

            I see very little from Christians in the way of forcing but instead see them competing for their ideas in the public square. Personally from my angle, I see more forcing of moral codes coming from the atheist/non belief community than I do the Christian community.

            You say: “Intelligent Design: An unsupportable philosophy – dangerous and ignorant of scientific method. Keep it at home and in your church ”

            The “Keep it at home and church” statements seems to support my interpretation that you do not want competing ideas in the public square. I see I.D. as an amazing supportable concept. Why can we not discuss creation or I.D. in public schools alongside other ideas? Let the student hear all of it and decide for themselves? You seem to be promoting a one point of view concept.

            As to the issues: I have examined evolution and I.D. They are the reasons I can no longer accept the non theist position.

            Max I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to discuss this but as I read what you write you seem to support my statements that non theist want to silence us.

            “Don’t teach it to my kids. It is nonsense. ” ( My kids hear both)
            “Keep it at home and in your church.”
            “Absolutely outrageous. Not useful, not helpful and over-reaching. – ”

            The only way to do that is through force and that is what I have seen around the world. I still contend that Non theist cannot silence Christians and therefore they seek to do it through force. History backs up my assertion.

            As far as Christians forcing laws: Not sure which ones you mean?
            Abortion is legal. Creation is not taught in public schools. ID is not taught. The Gay community does what they want.

            I would say that you are acting is if non theist are being persecuted by Christians when all the issues you mention and more have totally been won over by secularist. The idea of a creator has been kicked out of the public square. You are winning. I would say that we need to at least allow that a God exist and freely be able to discuss that. This is not happening. Theist are made fun of in the public square.

            My concern is , and your statements toward the bottom of your most recent post seem to confirm, that silencing is the best way to deal with those who hold to a different position as yours. “Keep it at home, keep it in the church “are not new to America. They have been said down through the years by those seeking to silence a different opinion. Problem is “Keeping it at home” never seems to satisfy the silencers.
            They always seem to take the next step.

          • @Ken,

            Thanks. I understand that you fear that secularists might stop you from practicing religion somehow – but that cannot happen as long as you support the US Constitution:

            “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”

            That is the establishment clause of the constitution.
            You need to support this and protect it.
            Without it, yes, your fears could come true.
            Secularists could stop you from doing anything religious at all. But so could Charismatics, or Catholics, or Buddhists.

            The Establishment Clause keeps us both safe.

            What we are seeing today is a concerted effort by Christian groups to destroy this separation of church and state. And this is a catastrophic blunder.

            Evangelicals like ‘Truth In Action Ministries’,
            spend millions of dollars a year on causes like these:

            State Legalized Murder of Doctors – South Dakota

            Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature


            Preaching of the Bible in public schools – funded by Hobby Lobby

            Blocking even married people from family planning – Texas, 5 other states.

            Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington


            Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (SB-1062)


            Anti-Gay laws – Texas
 & elsewhere

            Anti-women’s rights laws – Texas, Louisina, Virginia


            Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota

            Creationism to replace Science Education: 12 States
            So as long as you are funding these faith-based programs among others I will have to challenge you.

            The problem here is the using of government to enforce faith-based programs – Jesus can’t seem to operate without all these government programs of faith-based initiatives?

            If you advocate Creationism in the public square you are hurting Science. They do NOT go together.
            Alchemy is not Chemistry.
            Astrology is not Astrophysics.

            Talk about your beliefs, yes.
            Try to convert people to Christ, yes.
            Preach the Bible in the public square, fine.

            But don’t expect non-believers to approve of faith-based government programs to support Jesus or Vishnu. It is outrageous.

            Christianity and ALL OTHER RELIGIONS are under the protection of an Atheistic Document which expressly forbids establishing the worship of a particular God.

            The US Constitution. Protect it, because it protects us both.

          • Max, I appreciate the discussion and appreciate that we can discuss without attacking.

            1. I would agree the constitution should protect. I hope it continues to do so for both of us.

            2. Again, In my opinion you are silencing me when you say: “If you advocate Creationism in the public square you are hurting Science. They do NOT go together.” I disagree.

            I have researched it and changed my views. I live in an area where NASA is a huge employer. Many Phd’s here who attend the church I attend. They would disagree with you and are very much theists, and they are not idiots. Many have been trained in some of the best university systems in America and have come to the conclusion that there is no way this is the result of nothingness creating super complex life.

            You seem to say, once again, we must silence the opposition because it is just not feasible to me and some secular scientist. Yet it is feasible to many others who hold the same degrees.

            You seem to define the public square as the Public Schools. What happens when it gets defined broader? Politics? Business? That is what many of my Russian friends who lived during the communist period say happened. Again it is a way to silence the opposing view point. Why silence? I do not get it? If a position is superior then show it, do not snuff out opposing views.

            IMO , You are seeking to silence my view. You actually prove my point when you define the public school as a place where a particular viewpoint cannot be explored. That ought to be the place where all ideas are explored. The constitution does not say I can have my view in a corner and the public schools are only for secular view points. I advocate allowing all of the view points to be examined and allow the students to see for themselves.

            If the evolutionary view is superior then allow the students to see all the info and decide for themselves. I see no harm in that, unless we are trying to present only one idea of origin’s to the students. We present both side to our kids. I see no harm in that. I personally did my own research and switched my view point, just looking to allow the same true freedom to take place in the public square.

            Have great weekend, Ken

          • Ken,
            Ask the Science PHDs in your church about Creationism.
            If they have a clear understanding of science, they will assure you that Creationism isn’t a real thing.

            If Creationism were true, we wouldn’t see any stars. And there would be no trees. But these things exist.

            Nothing supports “the truth” of leprechauns, for example.
            But it would be wrong to waste children’s time teaching them that leprechauns are real when teaching something useful like the ‘red shift’ or the ‘theory of tectonic plates’ would truly enrich their understanding of the world.

            I am not interested in silencing anyone.
            The debate should be LOUDER and it should happen in churches since that is the source of these Creationist ideas.

            Creationism belongs in public schools in anthropology and social studies classes – not in replacement of science class.

            Yes, Creationism should be taught in public schools alongside Native American Creationist stories like the ‘great turtle’ which ‘created the world’ and other Creationist stories of other religions.
            A course in comparative religion is long overdue in public schools!

            Science and evolution should also be taught in sunday school along with Creationism in every church.

            I am not interested in silencing anyone.
            Speak up about Creationism – bring it into the schools as part of a course in comparative religions and I will support it 100%.

          • Why would anyone care if you laughed at them???? I don’t care if you laugh at me that’s for sure. I don’t have a problem with atheists per say….what I do have a problem with is atheists who think they can belittle and laugh at people who believe in God under the idiotic guide of freedom of speech.

        • So it is the bottom tier of accreditation.

          I stand corrected Liberty Law School became accredited in 2010. Its a 4th Tier law school meaning it is largely considered a joke. Without some kind of link to something outside the conservative continuum, hopes of gainful employment in the legal profession are extremely limited.

          Not only does the school lean conservative, it was teaching law students to break the law for the Lord
          http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/liberty-law-school-teaching-students-break-law

          Its one thing for a school to lean towards a partisan position, its another thing to be known pretty much solely for such things. Liberty U is synonymous with right wing politics.

        • @Max I appreciate the reply. You said: “I see religious belief as a profoundly dangerous and needless problem in the world. It is urgent that people begin to work peacefully and cooperate internationally with rational argument and free discussion. ”

          I totally agree on the peaceful part and free discussion. I would hope that we can all discuss ideas without turning to Ad hominem argumentation. It is imperative that ideas have the freedom to get out and people have the freedom to chose their ideas .

          For me, I came through atheism for a short while. I am now not an atheist but a Christian. I also spent 5 months living in Russia, as a Christian. I continue to go back into Russia. For the most part, the Russia I know contains many who profess non belief in a God.

          My experience has been that those non belief countries ( Such as Russia) turn toward silencing debate far more than the Christian community does. Free discussion in the former Soviet Union, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, N. Korea and others does not really exist except in closed circles in a home. I personally know Christians in secular countries who have been persecuted for what they believe.When I say persecution I mean imprisonment, not simply laughing at them.

          I have also seen and experienced the desire to silence debate in the secular University system far more than any Christian circles I have run within. Hollywood, while claiming to want freedom to say what they want to say, does not seem eager to present conservative ideas very much in their productions thus silencing free discussion. They simply make fun of Christians.

          In my experience the Christian community seems far more welcoming to allowing opposing ideas to be discussed than the non belief side does. Not saying everyone is nice about it, but I see far fewer Christians seeking to silence the opposition as I do those on the more left leaning/non religious side of things.

          While that may not be your view point I do have a question: Why do the more non religious side feel they have to silence the religious side? Even if you disagree and you feel it hurts us, is it not ok to let us wallow in our perceived ( By Non theist ) stupidity? Why try to convert or silence us?

          • @Ken,

            “Why try to convert or silence us?”

            Not at all, not at ALL. Please don’t imagine that I want to silence anyone. Nor do I want to convert anyone. By all means speak as loudly as you like about Jesus and whatever you believe.

            I do not know of a single Atheist among my many atheist friends who would advocate silencing people or persecuting a single Christian. It isn’t a scientific survey, of course, but DESECRATION and destruction of religious artifacts (like churches and crosses) is NOT something that I or my friends is interested in. Atheists tend to love art and music and culture and the churches are full of both – and we appreciate that.

            My problem with religion and Christianity (not the believers) is that the movement to force religious laws and codes onto the public square must be stopped or at least challenged when they appear.

            The Christian effort to overthrow American Laws must cease:

            #1. Creationism: Teach this to only your own children. you have the right to do that. But I don’t want it in my public school. Don’t teach it to my kids. It is nonsense.

            #2. Intelligent Design: An unsupportable philosophy – dangerous and ignorant of scientific method. Keep it at home and in your church.

            #3. Prayer in schools: Absolutely outrageous. Not useful, not helpful and over-reaching. Our public schools are not madrassas!

            #4. Abortion, family planning services: I am personally against abortion on humanitarian grounds – But If you want the right to teach your kids Creationism, my daughters must have the right to OWN their bodies. These are constitutional matters. Besides, the Christian right would be wise to support contraception as a way to prevent abortions yet they are working against that all across the world! Religion is no friend of healthy sex or emotional well being regarding any sexual practices.

            #5. Gay Rights: Laws outlawing the ability for gay people to get married or to even stay together in civil law is an ongoing outrage. Christians apparently think the persecution is personal only to them.
            If you have been to Russia you know what happens to gay people there and it isn’t merely imprisonment – the russian orthodox church is attempting to round up gays in many cities and push them out of the communities. RELIGION is to blame.

            That is a thumbnail sketch of a very long and exhaustive list.
            If Christians would stop trying to push the public (people like me) around with these horrible intrusions into our laws and agree to stop this Christian Sharia we could all get along.

            You would think Christians would be so happy – they have a savior and they are going to live forever after they die – fine.

            But why do they need to blunder across the division of church and state?
            If Christians don’t stop pushing these laws onto people like me, Atheists, nonbelievers, agnostics, secular people will have to start a more aggressive campaign to protect our Constitutional rights.

            Texas is already looking like a theocratic oligarchy.

            Religious people carrying guns, running to prayer meetings and worship services and banning family planning and forcing religion onto educational programs sounds a lot like Afghanistan or Pakistan – not America.

            Religion, like guns, is just dangerous and mostly not worth it.
            But you have a right to it.
            Meanwhile – I must remain free to thoroughly reject it and call it whatever I want to call it.

          • The person doing the correcting and the person being corrected are the same person. Just so you know.

          • When the person is harping on their own typos it is being self-effacing and personable.

            Shawnie, you really must learn to read things in context. :)

      • Larry,

        To build of of what Geoff said, LU is a standard bearer when it comes to higher education accreditation, according to SACS itself. In addition, your comment regarding them having a “ridiculously high acceptance rate” couldn’t be further from the truth. Take a look under the admissions tab and see for yourself what the admissions rate (%) was… 22%. I’ll hope you understand that is not a “ridiculously high” acceptance rate.

        • I hope you understand that your acceptance figure is fiction.

          http://colleges.findthebest.com/l/4385/Liberty-University-LU
          Stats for Liberty U
          Acceptance Rate: 48.3% [NOT 22%]

          At Liberty University (LU), 28% of students graduate within 4 years private universities.

          44% of Students Graduate After 6 Years

          The admissions rate is 48% not 22%

          96% of Students Receive Financial Aid [Big money maker for the school]

          2013 Forbes: 636 Out of 650 Colleges (bottom 3%)

    • Hannah,

      I think your concerns are spot on. Its a problem when a Christian College becomes known for being more political than theological. What Major are you going for? I attended The Master’s College and can 100% recommend the theological based teaching and majors.

      • Master’s College is one of the best in the nation. I know many people who have graduated from there and many from Liberty. I believe Masters is far superior, both spiritually and academically. And as far as I know, not political at all. My husband attended Master’s Seminary and both the college and the Seminary are phenomenal.

    • Nina Williams

      Hannah,

      Run as far away from Liberty as possible. This is coming from a Liberty Alumni. I watched the school compromise more and more following Jerry Falwell’s death. If you are reformed, as am I, you would hate Liberty. Everything about Liberty would drive you crazy. You’ll be better off looking elsewhere.

  9. Just read “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling” authored by a Mormon historian. It’s pretty damning and that should say something.

    http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Smith-Rough-Stone-Rolling/dp/1400077532

    • Stu, Rough Stone Rolling is a good book, given that it has a Mormon author I think it is balanced and pretty neutral and one of the better sources of information on early Mormonism. However, if you think it’s damning, I think you need to read it again. Smith was consistent, courageous, sincere and Christian by any definition of Christian that’s worth using.

  10. rob etheridge

    Well, if by “Christian” you mean using the title of Christ in your denominational name, then ,sure. But if you mean the Jesus who Rose from the grave, the ONLY SON of GOD, ETERNAL, then, not so much.

    • I can’t imagine why you say that. Mormons regard Jesus as the Son of God, who was crucified for our sins and was buried and rose again on the third day. Maybe you should get your information from more reliable sources.

    • Joseph Smith taught “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it”. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121).

      The central belief of Mormons is that Christ came into the world as the Son of God. He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restored life to the dead. He commissioned twelve Apostles to whom he gave authority. He suffered in Gethsemane, died on the cross, and was resurrected and will come again. He, and only He, provides the means for us to be washed clean in his blood from our sins, which sins we can never correct on our own or through our own works. If that is not Christian I don’t know what is.

      • DHRogers, Joseph Smith did not teach fundamental faith either in Jesus nor in the work that He accomplished. You should not be a spokesman if you do not know that.

    • The Book of Mormon was published in 1830. It mentions Jesus by one of His names (Jesus, Christ, Lord etc…) on average every 2 and a half verses – more often than does the Bible.

      Mormon belief, worship, and teaching, centers around Jesus Christ. The actual name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The central emphasis of the Book of Mormon is to testify of the Jesus of the Bible. The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ.

      Mormons first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

      • Your points are actually negative points towards the Mormon faith.
        The Book of Mormon timing dating back as far as Babal predates Abraham, Isaac, etc, Israel, the first mention of Jesus name, the first term of “Christians”, or the knowledge of the cross. Not even God’s Old Testament prophets knew these things. And yet BM manuscripts from way back (allegedly) did? All it proves is the modern nature of where it came from, Joseph Smith and nothing before.

        Polygamous groups considered apostate have the name “Jesus Christ” in many of their churches too. If the name means nothing to favor them, then it is a moot point for the LDS to claim this.

        The Book of Mormon does not teach as a second witness to the Jesus of the Bible. There are too many discrepancies. There are two words for another, meaning another of the same kind or another of a different kind. A child can say, I have picked another mushroom, but as poisonous it is “another” of a different kind. And so is the testament from Joseph Smith.

        You believe (WHAT) about God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit???? They are three “gods”. That does not even agree with the Book of Mormon.

        Your points are not compelling to believe in Smith’s religion.

    • The Book of Mormon clearly testifies of the Jesus of the Bible – not “another Jesus” as some Christians falsely allege. For example, just as Isaiah saw and prophesied of Jesus, the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi also saw the Jesus of the Bible in vision and prophesied of His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. An angel tells Nephi of the birth of the Son of God saying “I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem….and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin” and “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God (see 1 Ne. 11:13,18).

      This Book of Mormon prophet clearly describes the Jesus who is the Son of God whose Mother was a virgin in the city of Nazareth near Jerusalem. Nephi says “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms…. And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Ne. 11: 20-21). Nephi then says he saw “the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him.” (1 Ne. 11:24).

      Nephi goes on saying: “And I looked and beheld the Redeemer of the world, of whom my father had spoken; and I also beheld the prophet who should prepare the way before him. And the Lamb of God went forth and was baptized of him; and after he was baptized, I beheld the heavens open, and the Holy Ghost come down out of heaven and abide upon him in the form of a dove. And I beheld that he went forth ministering unto the people, in power and great glory; and the multitudes were gathered together to hear him; and I beheld that they cast him out from among them. And I also beheld twelve others following him.” (1 Ne. 11:27-29)

      Here Nephi testifies of the Jesus who was baptized of John and who was followed by twelve others. And Nephi says “And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits. . . .And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out. . . .And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.” (1 Ne, 11:31-33)

      The Mormon Jesus is the one who did all these things mentioned above including being slain on the cross for the sins of the world. That’s the Jesus of the Bible.

      One of the recurring themes of the Book of Mormon is to bring, not only non-Jews to Christ but to bring the Jews, who rejected Him, back to Jesus Christ their true Messiah. The Mormon Jesus is, therefore, clearly the Jesus of the Bible whom the Jews rejected and crucified. We see this in the following verses from the Book of Mormon:

      2 Nephi 26:12
      And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;

      Mormon 3:21
      And also that ye may believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which ye shall have among you; and also that the Jews, the covenant people of the Lord, shall have other witness besides him whom they saw and heard, that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God.

      Mormon 7:5
      Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.

      Mormon 7:8
      Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.

      Mormon 5:14
      And behold, they shall go unto the unbelieving of the Jews; and for this intent shall they go—that they may be persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; that the Father may bring about, through his most Beloved, his great and eternal purpose, in restoring the Jews, or all the house of Israel, to the land of their inheritance, which the Lord their God hath given them, unto the fulfilling of his covenant;

      The Book of Mormon testifies repeatedly and clearly of the Jesus who was born of the Virgin Mary, who lived in the area around Nazareth and Jerusalem, who was baptized by John, who appointed twelve Apostles, who healed the sick and raised the dead, who was crucified and rose again on the third day and by who’s grace we are saved,

      The Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of the same Jesus.

  11. What does it all mean? It means that infiltrated apostate Evangelical colleges are doing their very best to mix in the Roman Catholic (Mormon is a subset of RC) and New Age doctrines for a big dialectic … for the ultimate eventual synthesis of one world spirituality under Mother Church.

  12. I’m afraid most of those making comments to this article have no better understanding of Mormon theology (or Christianity) than does Jonathan Merritt the author. Jonathan wrote: “Beck preached a sermon at Liberty University on April 25 that was rife with Mormon theology”. Please Jonathan pray tell, exactly what EXCLUSIVELY Mormon theology did he “preach”?
    - that Jesus Christ is our savior?
    - that God has a spiritual purpose for each of us?
    - that we should expect miracles from God?
    Somehow I think the Liberty students have already learned that in their classes at LU.

    The only allegedly exclusive Mormon doctrine you say Glenn taught was that:
    “According to Mormon teaching, the Grand Council (or Council of Heaven) is a gathering of heavenly beings that send men and women, who they believe are pre-existing and immortal souls, to earth for a divine purpose. Protestant and Catholic critics of Mormonism claim that this teaching is both polytheistic and unbiblical.”

    Well the fact is, there are OTHER Protestant and Catholic theologians that don’t spend their time criticizing Mormonism who ALSO acknowledge that early Christians believed in a pre-mortal existence for mankind. Origin, one of the early Church fathers wrote in the third century that Jacob was favored over Esau because “we believe that he was even then chosen by God because of merits acquired before this life.” (Peri Archon, in Patrologiae… Graeca 9:230–231)

    The Bible agrees. Hebrew 6:8 says “God is the father of our spirits”. Jeremiah 1:5 says that before Jeremiah was formed in his mother’s womb God knew him, and Job 38:7 recalls a time before the earth was formed when “all the sons of God shouted for joy”. Psalm 82:1 (RSV) says specifically “God has taken his place in THE DIVINE COUNCIL; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment”. That is not “Mormon” theology – that Bible theology. Admittedly it is unknown to many modern Christians, but that is only because they have not been taught correctly. Glenn was only trying to help with that.
    – and apparently the students enjoyed it. Good for them.

    • Don Gunderman

      1 Cor. 15:46-47: “However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second is man is from heaven.” Tertulllian wrote against the Platonic doctrine the Pre-existence of the soul and the Pythagorean(occult) doctrine of transmigration, re-incarnation. (200 A.D. On Souls), Origen believed in the Platonic pre-existence and transmigration of souls. The Council of Constantinople .. in 453 CE posthumously excommunicated him..

      Jer 1:5 Christians believe that God is omniscient, knowing everything about each person before birth. The emphasis is on God’s foreknowledge (“I knew thee”),not humanity’s knowing God.
      In Job 38:4, God rebukes Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?”Job 38:7 NIV …” and all the angels(sons)shouted for joy”.” In effect, God was reminding Job how Job wasn’t even in existence when the world was created.

  13. Lyle Kofford

    I come to this specious critique of “Mormon Theology”by way of a Christian friend. I find it profoundly tedious that the wrestle with history and dogma/doctrine by those who take it upon themselves to define Christianity and “Heretic” somehow assume that such becomes a worthy topic for consideration. ANY determination of those terms depends on WHO does the defining. Religious persecutions (of the “Mormons” and others) and wars have scared humanity since Cain killed Abel. ALL in the name of religion or non-religion. Such devil-inspired division is SO ancient and SO evident of man’s floundering by reason of their rejection of living prophets — both ancient and modern. Let me hear “Mormon Theology” FROM THE MORMONS — NOT from some sycophant who really knows little of same, yet loudly spouts his less understood Jeremiahs and Peters! Refer to the Pew research re: Christians who are much less erudite than the Mormons about the Bible. Good gosh, even the atheists know that scripture better than the “Orthodox” Christian who presumes to call other’s theology “heretical.” Enough Already!

      • “The smartest, most informed people I know and read reject Mormonism ”
        Since mormonism is less than 2% of the population, you probably don’t even know a mormon. By know a mormon, I mean have one in your circle of friends.

        PS: I’m sure the smartest people you know also reject global warming, which any liberal will let you know global warming is accepted by ALL the smartest people on the planet. So I guess your friends aren’t as smart as you think, according to liberals atleast.

  14. Glen Beck seems unaware of the problems with the historicty of the Mormon scriptures, the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham. Neither book has been supported as being history by scholars outside the LDS movement and even some within the LDS church.
    Joseph Smith practiced polygamy in secret while denying it publicly.Some of his plural wives were married to other men. Emma did not like it and even intimated what was good for Joseph was good for her.

    • Glen Beck is a very smart man, even if you disagree with him. I have no doubt that he is well acquainted with all of those objections and more. You should ask yourself why he believes in spite of what people say. The answer turns out to be very much like your answer when an atheist (for example) confronts you with similar claims about YOUR religion.

    • It turns out that the longer we go, the more evidence is discovered which confirms parts of the Book of Mormon and other LDS doctrines and practices. There are literally scores and scores, probably several hundred, Book of Mormon details that are now confirmed or supported by evidence that was not available in Joseph Smith’s time.

      There is a growing body of evidence from New World archaeology that supports the Book of Mormon. Dr. John Clark of the New World Archaeological Foundation has compiled a list of sixty items mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The list includes items such as “steel swords,” “barley,” “cement,” “thrones,” and literacy.

      In 1842, only eight (or 13.3%) of those sixty items were confirmed by archaeological evidence. Thus, in the mid-nineteenth century, archaeology did not generally support the claims made by the Book of Mormon. By 2005 forty-five of those sixty items (75%) have been confirmed. Therefore, as things stand at the moment, current New World archaeological evidence tends to verify the claims made by the Book of Mormon. (John Clark, “Debating the Foundations of Mormonism: Archaeology and the Book of Mormon”, presentation at the 2005 FAIR Apologetics Conference (August 2005). Co-presenters, Wade Ardern and Matthew Roper. S. Kent Brown, “New Light: ‘The Place That Was Called Nahom”: New Light from Ancient Yemen,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8, no. 1 (1999): 66-68.)

      After 60 years of research Mesoamerican archeologist, John Sorenson has published his “Mormon Codex” showing 420 convergences between the Book of Mormon and features of geography, language, and culture in Guatemala and Southern Mexico.

    • The critics argue that Joseph was wrong because the Book of Abraham text is not found on any of the eleven extant papyri fragments. What the critics don’t want to point out is that the fragments are only a small portion of the original material. Evidence shows that most of the Egyptian material once in the possession of Joseph Smith is still missing and that Joseph Smith translated the text from one of the missing rolls. Many eyewitnesses describe the roll of papyri from which Joseph Smith translated also describe other rolls and fragments from which he did not translate. The description of the small fragments from which he did not translate match the pieces that surfaced in 1967. These are a few small fragments of Egyptian funerary texts in black ink only. Eye witnesses describe the long roll from which Joseph translated as having both black and red ink. The long rolls were sold after Joseph’s death and bills of sale trace them to the Woods Museum in Chicago which burned down in the great Chicago fire of 1871.

      So, when critics claim that Joseph Smith was a fraud because the translated text does not match the surviving papyri, they only show their ignorance of the history of the papyri. We don’t expect the translated text to match the few small papyri fragments that survived because those aren’t the papyri Joseph translated the text from in the first place.

      The Book of Abraham remains one of the great witnesses of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Why? Because he got so many things right that were unknowable through scholarship in his day. Many details in both the Facsimiles and in the text are supported by subsequent scholarly research and document finds not available in Joseph Smith’s day. Examples are available if interested.

      Discoveries such as “The Apocalypse of Abraham”,first published in 1897, and “The Testament of Abraham which also surfaced long after the time of Joseph Smith, and many other ancient Abrahamic accounts now confirm many details in Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham – details that Joseph, nor anyone else from his time could have guessed. . Nobody in Joseph Smiths time had the information. Yet the Book of Abraham gets many details right that weren’t known in Joseph’s time.

      Additionally,. It turns out that details in Facsimiles are now confirmed in other Egyptian documents. Joseph’s rendering of the meaning of various parts of the Facsimiles turn out to be correct – details that nobody could have gotten right by guessing or fabrication. There is a lot of such evidence.

    • Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he restored the doctrines and practices of the original Christians and the ancient Biblical Prophets. His restoration of the Biblical practice of plural marriage is an evidence that he was truly a prophet in the same tradition of the Biblical prophets. Righteous Abraham and Jacob had plural wives and Jesus said says that the righteous do the works of Abraham (John 8:39). Abraham’s major work was to be the father of many nations which he accomplished by practicing polygamy with God’s permission.

      Jesus said that those polygamists would be in heaven (Luke 13:29; Luke 16: 19-31) So Jesus taught that polygamists can go to heaven. We see Christ affirming this again in the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus wherein Jesus tells us that Abraham, that old polygamist, is in paradise while the Rich man is in Hell (Luke 16: 19-31).

      God told David, through the prophet Nathan, to have plural wives (2 Samual 12:8). So God has commanded the practice of plural marriage in the past – the Bible proves that. Since God commanded the practice of polygamy through a Biblical prophet, then the fact that God commanding Joseph Smith to practice it cannot be used as evidence against Joseph Smith unless one wants to admit that it proves the bible prophets also false. In the bible a righteous king who honored the Lord had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:8-12,21)

      In the Bible the Lord does not condemn polygamy but rather, gives instructions on how men are to treat their plural wives. (Deuteonomy 21:15-17)

      In the Bible we see where Abraham had plural wives – Sarai, Hagar, Keturah and others.(See Gen. 16:3, Gen 25:1,6) Abraham was righteous and God appeared to him at least twice during the time he had plural wives (Gen 17:1, Gen 18:1). Abraham is blessed and God makes His covenant with him and blesses him to be the father of many nations (Gen 17:1-6). God didn’t care that Abraham was a polygamist. Instead, God appears to him and blesses him. Here we see that God not only condoned polygamy but he blessed Abraham for it and it is the means by which Abraham fulfills God’s promise to become the father of many nations.

      Righteous Jacob was a polygamist (Genesis 29:21-30, Genesis 30:3-4,9)

      Jehoiada, priest under King Joash “took for him two wives” (2 Chronicles 24:3). Jehoiada is one who “had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house.” (2 Chronicles 24:16).

      Critics think that if they show us some fact that they think we don’t know, like that Joseph Smith had plural wives, that we are all going to keel over, give up, loose our testimonies, and leave the Church. In reality Joseph Smith’s wives are evidence that Joseph was a prophet on par with the ancient righteous prophets and patriarchs who also practiced plural marriage and Joseph was telling the truth when he said that he was restoring true Biblical doctrines and practices. Jesus agrees with Joseph Smith in that the righteous who obey God’s command to practice polygamy go to heaven (Luke 13:29; Luke 16: 19-31)

  15. In the words of a great leader “I have a dream”. My dream is that we will see beyond the different understandings we have of Christ and honor others for the love and devotion they feel for their Savior. Someday He will bring us to a unity of the faith, until then can we not love each other as He would have us do?

  16. Great article, I found it very humorous. Let me sumerize it in one sentence:
    “Glenn Beck gave an uplifting speach to a college group who loved what he had to say, I can’t stand things that are uplifting and said by mormons so I must tear down everything he had to say.”
    I just wanted to thank you for a small dose of hatred for the day.

    • Sven, was it “hatred” that caused you to reprimand the author for his “hatred” on Mormonism? If disagreement with a particular position (political, spiritual, etc) truly equals “hatred,” then are you in need of repentance?

      • Excuse me for calling out contempt. Next time I’ll just keep my mouth shut when I see a wrong. We wouldn’t want me to appear agressive.
        “If disagreement with a particular position”… when I read this article I didn’t sense disagreement. I sensed contempt and belittlement. Disagreement I wouldn’t have even made a comment about, belittlement I probably would have brushed off, but the tone of the article is contempt, that is a very dangerous emotion. Something needed to be said.

  17. How hypocritical! This is a university that has always refused to compromise Christian orthodoxy, though it has a narrow view of it. It seems politics has brought on compromise. The type of people who align themselves with Liberty oppose moderate and liberal Christians, accusing us of being denying orthodoxy, yet will look the other way with a Mormon just because of political allegiance. This is hypocrisy.

  18. The commenter “Loretta” I believe understands what is happening. (The synthesis of the largest Christian sects into a one world religion.) While it may not turn out exactly like that, Christians have in the recent past begun to stop hating on each other and have come together under a banner of anti-secularism. Since our government is secular in nature the goals of these Christians are obvious.

    While receiving an education at Liberty (of Franciscan University of Steubenville, as I did) does not automatically make you a Young Republican, the distinction is irrelevant. You are not going to be exposed to opposing ideas at either place (except to criticize them.) You aren’t going to study opposing ideas in the sense of understanding the history or the development of those ideas, so that you might see how they have come to exist in the present. Study like this might lead ‘the least little ones’ astray. The whole point of education is to broaden one’s thinking. These schools don’t want people to be ‘broad’ in their thinking. They want to reinforce the beliefs of Christianity at show at all times that being a Christian is superior to all other lifestyles. It is a form of mind control and thought reform. And just because everyone else around you is doing it or thinking it doesn’t make it a good thing.

  19. He spoke of the importance of studying the “scriptures” and preaching the “gospel.”
    The real Scriptures and the true Gospel. Mormonism isn’t the same as Biblical Christianity. Joseph Smith may have been a prophet, but it wasn’t God who sent him. I’m surprised that of the artifacts Glenn Beck was able to bring…archaelogical and historical proof of the Book of Mormon wasn’t one of them.

    I don’t think Liberty could be called a Christian University, in light of the compromises it has made.

    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  20. I would like to thank Liberty University for inviting a “Mormon” to speak to them. Brigham Young University, a “Mormon”-owned university regularly invites evangelical and other religious leaders to speak to their student body.

    • When was the last time BYU or Liberty U invited a moderate or liberal Christian (or Mormon) to address the the student body? I’d be interested in that info.

      • Well maybe you should, you know, look it up? Rather than expecting others to do your research for you. It took me all of 60 seconds to come across this. I am sure that there is much much more if you look for it.

        “Past [BYU Forum] forum speakers include Chief Justice John Roberts (2007), historian David McCullough (2005), astronaut James Lovell (2010) and filmmaker Ken Burns (2007). Some are Republicans, like Condoleezza Rice (2011). Others are Democrats, like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (2007), or independents, like Sen. Joseph Lieberman (2011). Still others have been faith leaders, like Cardinal Francis George (2010).”

      • Ambassador Ove Ullerup, Danish Lord Chamberlain, to speak
        May 5, 2014 12:00 PM
        http://calendar.byu.edu/Event/HtmlEvent/25705
        I could be wrong but this guy doesn’t seem mormon to me. He speaks next monday.

  21. Carolina Breeze

    Jonathan Merritt, would you recommend Wake? Your “former Southern Baptist “alma mater? Liberty has a long way to go to catch up with Wake?

    Did a Google search, “How liberal is Wake Forest University?”

    Best Answer by vote, “Wake Forest gets a “Yellow Light” (“Caution”) from the book Choosing the Right College. Most Wake Forest students are conservative and/or religious, apolitical, but the usual campus liberal bigots have a lot of power. For example, the Gay-Straight Student Alliance coerces professors to display “rainbow” stickers (“or else”). The school’s “cultural diversity requirements” are predictably politicized, with courses such as “Feminist Political Thought” and “Postcolonial Literature”. Students in the Humanities must take a course called “Innovations and Inclusivity”

    Source:
    Book: “Choosing the Right College, 2010″, foreword by Prof. Walter Williams.

  22. Jonathan,
    Only disagreement I have is that the students, well some of us, have protested. It stirred the pot among the student body. Lot’s of my friends were spoke out against it.

    The school does a good job at suppressing our opinions is all. Not going to listen to him speak would have been a fine. For a large part of the theologically aware among the students are technically employees of the school and risk being fired, losing credit and scholarship money, if they speak against the school.

  23. So, according to the logic of this article, students at Liberty University should never be exposed to any hint of beliefs other than their own. This seems excessively narrow, and if this view is adopted, it probably will not prepare these students for the wide world out there. But it sounds like, from the reception Beck received, most Liberty students are not that narrow or bigoted. They can accept the fact that they may even have common beliefs with (gasp) a Mormon! Or that they can hear something with which they disagree and not immediately take up torches and pitchforks. Wow, sounds like they are receiving a fine education to me. Sounds like they are normal to me. I must say I do like how the article points out that Jerry Falwell was not narrow or bigoted and that he forged friendships with people of other faiths than his own. (The horror of it!). In the process, however, the author seems to unintentionally praises this fine man while obliquely intimating that his magnanimity is a negative character trait . My favorite part of the article, though, is the climax, wherein is expressed a thinly concealed angst that Mormons are becoming more mainstream. I would like to hear a follow up on what the author proposes with specificity should done about this “problem.”

  24. The familiar bumper stickers read, “Coexist” in various religious symbols. I couldn’t agree more. However, “coexist” doesn’t mean “co-agree.”

    I love people of the LDS faith. Just three weeks ago I had a delightful visit with two Mormon Missionaries. Mormons are extremely kind and compassionate people.

    However, even a cursory reading of the Bible & the Book of Mormon reveals striking differences between the teachings of the LDS church and biblical Christianity. Using the same terminologies mean nothing when their definitions are different.

    Three primary doctrines the Bible teaches, but the LDS does not:

    Jesus: The Bible teaches Jesus is God, the second person of the triune Godhead (the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit). He is eternal, through whom everything was made, and in whom all things hold together. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, who was, who is, and is to come, the Almighty. The LDS church teaches that Jesus, although “Savior”, is not God.

    Salvation: The Bible teaches that eternal salvation is through faith, alone, in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It’s faith, alone, in Christ’s (not our) life, death & resurrection that we find redemption. Good works (this includes baptism) are not in any way required for salvation in biblical Christianity. They are, rather, evidence of a life saved by grace through faith. While the LDS church teaches that one must live by a list of “do’s & don’ts” i.e. alcohol, chastity, tobacco, tithing, etc.), the Bible teaches over and over and over again that salvation is in Christ, alone, by faith, alone.

    Authority: Clearly, the Bible nowhere teaches, authorizes, or even suggests “another testament of Jesus Christ.” The familiar usage of Jesus’ words in John’s gospel, “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold….” (10:16) in no way refers to “latter day” anything. Read in context (which the Bible should always be read since anyone can cherry-pick a verse and make it whatever they want it to mean), Jesus is clearly referring to the Gentiles – who the Jews hated.

    Many other Doctrines & practices taught in the LDS church (where human beings came from, the “restoration of the gospel”, the office of modern-day prophets, heaven, Temple worthiness) are nowhere taught in the Bible.

    No critical words here. Just simple truth. But don’t take my word for it (reading the comments, I’m fairly certain you won’t. :)) Do the study yourself. It’s your soul. It’s up to you what you want to do with it.

    • It’s not what you don’t know that bothers me, it’s the things you know for sure that just ain’t so.

      1. Mormons believe that Jesus is God. They also believe that He is the Son of God. This is in the Bible. It is possible to believe both things at once.

      2. The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace. Mormons believe that too. The idea that salvation need not be accompanied by baptism is unbiblical (e.g., Acts 2:38), and so it is unsurprising that even non-LDS Christians differ about that. The idea that any subsequent transgression or apostasy is irrelevant to salvation is unbiblical (e.g., Matt. 24:13), and so it unsurprising that even non-LDS Christians differ about that.

      3. Since the Old Testament didn’t refer to the New Testament, I do not know why it is a requirement that any earlier scripture refer to a subsequent revelation. However, it is counter-intuitive to supposed that God, who had a practice over millennia of speaking to His children through prophets (e.g., Amos 3:7) would suddenly just … stop. In fact, the ongoing need for prophets and apostles is called out, very plainly, in Eph. 4:11-14. You disregard that scripture, but Mormons don’t.

      Let me just add (since you say, “It’s your soul”) that all Mormons are saved according to the understanding of salvation that I was taught in my evangelical church in my childhood and youth. Every altar call I ever heard emphasized the simplicity of belief that would be the only necessity for salvation. All anyone needed to do, I was told over and over, was to acknowledge sin in my life and to understand that that sin kept me from God, until I would confess Jesus as my Savior, Redeemer and Lord, and turn my life over to Him. I did so at that time, long before I was introduced to the Mormon faith. As a Mormon, I understand that every Mormon accepts Jesus as his or her Savior at baptism, in exactly the way I was told I needed to do back then.

      Someone immediately says, oh, well, but it’s a different Jesus and you don’t believe the same things, and you believe all this other stuff, and yadda yadda yadda. But so what? All anyone ever has to do, I was told over and over, was to acknowledge sin in my life and to understand that that sin kept me from God, until I would confess Jesus as my Savior, Redeemer and Lord, and turn my life over to Him. That’s what every Mormon does at baptism. If you think that there is something more, some more specific set of beliefs that is needed, you are veering into salvation by works and contradicting all of those altar calls. You would also be hard pressed to find where it expresses the need for all of that extra stuff in the Bible.

      • Hi there trytoseeit!

        The Mormon Missiomaries disagree with you in regard to the deity of Christ.

        The Bible clearly teaches doctrine completely contrary to the “works based salvation” you espouse. To cherry-pick Acts 2:38 as an isolated support for “baptism is required for salvation” disregards the gospels, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians and much of the New Testament.

        Your use of a Matthew 24:13 to support your argument for apostasy is, quite frankly, irresponsible. Jesus is in the middle of giving his disciples the longest answer recorded in Scripture regarding the end of the world and His second coming.

        Actually the Old Tesgament speaks volumes about the New Testament in the multitude of prophecies of Jesus Christ.

        Your final paragraph is quite curious. I wrote absolutely nothing to argue for a “salvation by works” theology. Rather, I argued for just the opposite.

        I have no interest in winning this argument. Clearly, trytoseeit, we interpret the Bible differently.

        Later

        • The Mormon missionaries absolutely, positively do not disagree with me on the deity of Christ: “Latter-day Saint scripture affirms unequivocally that the birth of Jesus Christ was the mortal advent on earth of an actual God, a second and distinct member of the Godhead.” http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Jesus_Christ#Jesus_Christ:_Firstborn_in_the_Spirit

          This is the point at which many want to launch into a discussion of trinitarianism, a theological innovation of about the 4th Century. Mormons believe in the Bible and what the Bible teaches about Christ and the Father. I don’t really want to debate this with you, and you seem to feel likewise, but too much blood (as it were) gets spilled over fine points of theology, when the bottom line is that there is a Godhead (Col. 2:9) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in whom we all believe and put our trust for our salvation and eternal life.

      • trytosee it, by non-LDS Christians you make the implication that the LDS are to be included among the Christian denominations. That’s a problem.

  25. Christopher W. Chase

    Hi Jonathan,

    Enjoyed the article. A simple thought: It might be helpful for you to link or explain the reference to the Grand Council (or Council of Heaven) as tied to the LDS understanding of Psalm 82 in the Hebrew Bible and thus also to John 10:34 in the New Testament. That might be informative for some of your readers.

  26. One correction: “According to Mormon teaching, the Grand Council (or Council of Heaven) is a gathering of heavenly beings that send men and women, who they believe are pre-existing and immortal souls, to earth for a divine purpose.”

    This might be taught by some Mormons, but it is not “Mormon teaching” in that it is not standard doctrine held by all, or probably even most, Mormons.

  27. Thank you for weighing in on Beck’s speech at Liberty. As an Evangelical who specializes in the academic study of new religions, including Mormonism, and as someone involved in dialogue and religious diplomacy, I share a few thoughts.

    First, in the interests of accuracy the correct form of the name is “Latter-day Saints” rather than “Latter Day Saints.” A technical point, but an important one as we seek to understand and respond to others.

    Second, Liberty has a history of inviting speakers from a variety of religious backgrounds, so having Beck come as a Mormon, and that his speech should draw upon his LDS beliefs, is not surprising, nor should it be construed as a form of deception.

    Third, Jerry Falwell Jr. has moved beyond the fundamentalism of his father, and this entails developing relationships and conversations with those of other religions, and providing them space for self-expression. This is a process that is broader than defending the boundaries of Evangelical orthodoxy. We can rest assured that in their theology and religion classes that Liberty students understand their own beliefs and how this contrasts with Mormonism.

    Finally, concerns over whether Mormonism is or is not a Christian denomination will no doubt continue to occupy the thinking and conversations of Mormons and Evangelicals alike, but perhaps we might also consider a broader agenda in our relationships and conversations so as to better facilitate understanding, mutual attempts at sharing our differing interpretations of the gospel, and work together for the common good.

    • I really appreciate these comments. I was raised in evangelical churches, and have a great love for the faith of my fathers and for the teaching that I received at my parents’ knees and in the churches we attended. I enjoy speaking with evangelicals about what they and Mormons have in common – which is always more than the evangelicals think there is in common. And i don’t mind talking about differences. There are certainly many of them and they are well worth thinking about. What I very much DON’T appreciate is the contemptuous dismissal of Mormons and Mormonism by some (not all!) evangelicals, based on unfair, bumper-sticker summaries or gross distortions of Mormon history or doctrine. When those things come from evangelicals, it is embarrassing to me, as one who was raised with that faith, since I am sure that I was NOT raised to attack, dissemble or deceive. Where is Christ in that?

      That’s a long-winded way of saying, “Thank you.”

  28. Marcus Johnson

    Just one question: why Glenn Beck? He is the one bringing LDS perspectives to evangelical students. I’m not a member of the LDS community, but I would have to believe there is someone, anyone, in that community that is infinitely more qualified and more accessible to speak to non-LDS college students from an LDS perspective. Someone, perhaps, who finished a full year of college? Someone who wasn’t deemed too crazy to host a show on Fox News? Someone who wouldn’t freak out people riding on a subway? Is the Rolodex of keynote speakers in the office of campus programming at Liberty that starved for quality speakers? Or–and this concept makes more sense–was Glenn Beck chosen, not for his expertise, but for his popularity within a community of people with a particular political bias? I’m suspecting that it’s the latter because, seriously, getting Beck to speak would be like getting Britney Spears to sit down with James Lipton on Inside the Actors’ Studio.

  29. Evidence

    Pathos, Ethos and Logos. Argument by logic, character and emotion. I prefer argument by Logic personally. It is dispassionate and full of truth not just facts. The majority of people argue by emotion. I feel this or that. Emotions are strong, passionate, and wants what it wants right now. I really dislike emotional argument since the person who wins is just the person who can shout the loudest. Shout down the other person and poof you are now the winner. That is not truth or facts or anything except how loud you or your group can get.

    Perspective is extremely important in examination of truth. In the case of understanding the universe there are a few questions about it. How old is it? Current scientific consensus is around 13 billion years old. My argument is eternal based on the scientific law that matter can neither be created or destroyed. Which is true? If the elements have always existed and can not be destroyed, only reorganized, into energy, or subatomic particles. Then the universe is far older that a mere 13 billion years. The vastness of the universe is infinite or is it finite from an explosion? A supporter of the big bang theory said, if the universe is infinite then why isn’t the sky at night blinding bright filled and packed tightly with stars. Well it is the same reason the Southern Hemisphere is not blinded by the brightness of billions of stars of our own galxay or galactic center: dust.

    Now as we realize through proper observation and scientific experiments that the universe is infinite and eternal. If the universe is infinite and eternal what else is?

    No where in any scripture in the Bible or Torah does God say he created the Universe. Genesis describes this world and its place in the universe. Our cosmic significance to the universe is our planet is a speck of dust. One little pixel, even less than a pixel compared to the Sun. If our planet is so small, as an individual, we are even smaller. Less than dust, less than a speck, compared to the infinite space and material in the universe. What is a person, an individual, compared to the energetic maelstrom that is the solar system, the galaxy and the universe? Not even a blip. Compared to the universe our lives don’t even register on a cosmic scale. The star of our solar system take 250 million years to rotate around the galaxy. What is your life compared to that scale of time of a galactic year? It is not even a blink in comparative scale of a year on our world to a galactic year.

    From this perspective of eternity we then can consider: Who are you?

    Are you merely less than a speck of dust; short lived on a galactic scale and essentially nothing the vastness that is the universe? No.

    No one, no person is nothing. Everyone who has lived, does live or will live has a divine spark within them. Some bury it by denial. Some choke it with the cares of the world. Some let it be neglected or be scorched into inactivity. Others develop it that spark of the divine. Music, art, science, technology and above all to create. To be makers, builders and organize the world around us.

    We are a people that have the ability right now to journey into the universe. To visit the other specks of dust in the galaxy and the universe.

    Our current understanding of the universe is so infantile right now. We can imagine venturing into the universe, but all our imaginings are wrong on how to do it. Hyperdrive, subspace, slip streams, quantum drives, space folding or other science fiction models have failed to produce results. We are left stuck on our little speck of dust. The time is coming soon when we will colonize the moon, Mars and other worlds. Maybe. Somehow manned scientific exploration stopped after 1973. We send out probes and machines, yet we don’t send human representatives anymore.

    There are three levels of civilization and we are finally nearly at level 1. The internet made that a reality. Yet all that can be undone, just like human space exploration.

    So ignorant or arrogant comments about Mormonism, Glenn Beck, and Christianity mean as much a the significance of our less than speck of dust planet in the universe.

  30. This just goes to show how far from Christian orthodox belief that Liberty University has drifted. It also shows just how shallow and confused are those who are attracted to this so-called “Christian” university. Conservative politics, not Christianity, has always been the drawing card for Falwell, Inc. You can dress a flimflam man up in a silk suit, give him a phony doctorate run off on a copy machine in someone’s basement, put a “Dr.” in front of his name and a American flag pin in his lapel, but he is still a barker at a carnival sideshow.

  31. Glenn says God called him and is using him as a vessel to evangelize, including coming to LU, and LU is aiding & abetting. The masters application has many questions, designed to keep Mormons out, and many classes call them a cult, what gives? Yes, in 2010, they gave him an honorary doctorate. I have a BS and MDiv from LU, and ashamed of their behavior.

  32. Re: Joseph Smith and martyrdom. Don’t brag about your righteous leader’s martyrdom. He advocated polygamy against the laws and morals of the civil government as well as the law of God, and took a child as his additional bride. Stuff like that gets you shot. Or at least did then. So stop bragging about it.

  33. the only reason beck was invented is cuz rush wouldn’t yell ‘Nazi’ every hour.
    Beck is Israel’s b-word:
    The Balfour Declaration operated enshrouded in secrecy, gave no reasons for the Declaration, outlined
    no conditions – other than those in the Declaration itself – and expected no
    accountability. The Declaration was not debated in either of the Houses of
    Parliament and like most foreign policy issues, was never approved by the
    British legislature.

    Many leading Christian Zionists were Jewish converts to evangelical
    Christianity who did much to shape the development of popular evangelical thinking in these matters. It was this Protestant religious discourse that
    marked the family backgrounds of many of the key members of the British
    political elite responsible for formulating the Balfour Declaration.

    http://assets.cambridge.org/97805215/15184/excerpt/9780521515184_excerpt.pdf

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahposner/6234/romney_on_israel%3A_more_gop_than_lds/

  34. Beck is Mormon, true enough. Having him speak, however, does not mean the leaders at Liberty have lost their compass on confessing the true faith. Though closely aligned.Liberty is an university, not a church, One ought to expect a diversity of speakers coming through like conservative Roman Catholics as well as a Mormon occasionally. Beck was not being deceptive in saying who he was, and the students, presumably were not kept in the dark that he was Mormon. In the end, he was probably invited because of his conservative religious and political views that resonate with many Christians who listen to his show. Hopefully, discussion in classrooms afterwards can make important clarifications. But it bears remembering this point as well. Truth is truth, whether it is said through Balaam or through Jesus. I’m sure Beck offered statements on life worth hearing aside from other wacky points in this theology.

  35. If Glenn Beck’s listeners ponder what he said at Liberty, then why would anyone be impressed with him as a researcher? Either:
    1) He has not even researched his own faith.
    2) He does know the history of Mormonism but he is not honest.
    Glenn Beck is leading Christians astray in suggesting that Mormonism is Christian. And if he is accomplished as a researcher, he ought to be lecturing the facts of Mormonism to help those precious Mormon people to know the true God.
    Chuck

  36. GLENN BECK AS A RESEARCHER?

    How can Glenn Beck be regarded as credible if he never has researched his own faith, or does he lie about those discoveries? Either one for integrity research is a problem.

    He claims that the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is Christian, but how can that be? The wards teach on Joseph Smith but little about Christ, being better called “The Church of Joseph Smith of the LDS.” Ask any Mormon what their lesson was about on Easter Sunday.

    Whether “Latter-day Saints” or “Latter-day Aints,” Marie Osmond claims her church is Christian since Jesus Christ is in the name. By that rational, the “Church of God” is God’s Church. Yet “Mormon Fundamentalists” are rejected by the LDS as being Christian although many of them have “Jesus Christ” in the name.

    Are they “Christian”? Glenn Beck or anyone today cannot know more about rejecting Christianity than the founders and prophets of the church. Joseph Smith contentiously opposed Christianity to say, “they were all wrong…their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith – History 2:18-20).

    Brigham Young spoke with contempt while teaching, “The Christian world, so called, are heathens as to their knowledge of salvation of God…With regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world” (Journal of Discourses 8:171, 199).

    Is the Book of Mormon another testament of Christ? Why would it say Christianity is “the church of the devil…the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth”? (1 Nephi 14:10). And trusting in the Bible alone is for “fools”! (2 Nephi 29:3-6). Why didn’t Glenn Beck research his faith to tell Liberty University what is from God according to the Book of Mormon that “No matter how scholarly you may claim to be, you are an institution of fools!”

    The Doctrine and Covenants identifies the LDS as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (1:30), but while Christians “build up the kingdom of the devil” (10:56). Then as far as the east is from the west and by it’s own definition, Mormonism differs from Christianity.

    That spirit of contention in the temple ceremonies mocks Christians, especially before changes. The Manti Pageant yearly bashes Christianity before thousands of people. When did the LDS church apologize for denouncing Christianity while renouncing its theology, history, hostility, and apostasy?

    A Mormon writer claimed there is no way to exclude the LDS from Christianity, but Jesus corrects him. (Matthew 7:21-23). Fictional gods are not the Christian Faith. Can Mormonism be excluded from Christianity? It excludes itself. The symbols representing the Christianity exclude the golden calf, the Star of David, the dome of the Mosque, or a golden Moroni. Christianity looks to the cross. (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:2). Moroni distinguishes the LDS church outside the Christian faith. The often used satanic pentagram of the occult on Mormon structures is of the devil, not of God.

    Christians look with dismay at redefining God, Jesus Christ, and the gospel. Each of the LDS “scripture” books changes through the brief history of Mormonism. Their prophets learned that it is better not to prophecy or write more “scripture” because the LDS earlier prophets were rarely close to anything right.

    While Bible Christianity invites research to see the credibility, history, prophecy, archeology, and science within it, Mormons are offended by investigation.

    Mormons are easily confused how nobody has the real “faith” by a church. The true test is in whether “Jesus Christ is in you” or not. (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    We could claim to be “Mormons” but if we reject Joseph Smith, the LDS scriptures and temples, Mormons would say we are not Mormon because we do not believe what Mormons believe. In the same way, the LDS cannot be Christian while rejecting all of the basics about what the Bible is teaching.

    Mormonism has many defenders but no defense. As in the past, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).

    I’m sorry for nice people but it is not nice people who go to heaven. Saved people go to heaven according to God’s Word.

    “For the truth’s sake,” what is Liberty University doing by inviting Glenn Beck into that house? (2 John 2). “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” (2 John 10-11).

    ~ Chuck Brocka

  37. For Evangelicals to get so upset about someone speaking at a “Christian” college who believes differently speaks volumes. Those who are upset are bigots, are not following the commandments, and must be really unsure of their own beliefs.

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