Ex-Mormons across the country are decrying Liberty University’s decision to feature Glenn Beck at their recent convocation ceremony, who invoked the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and referenced LDS doctrine before the thousands of students in attendance.
“I am Mormon and share your faith,” the outspoken conservative talk show host asserted during his spiritually-mixed charge to students, as he stood in front of a large banner bearing the university’s motto, “Training Champions for Christ.”
As previously reported, Beck was introduced by President Jerry Falwell, who noted that the university presented the political commentator with an honorary doctorate in 2010 as he likewise addressed the students during that time. Beck then took the podium to applause and cheers, explaining that he believed he was given a message from God that day to share with the students.
“Are you willing to give your life?” Beck asked fervently. “What are you willing to do? What is it that means something to you?”
“Days before Joseph Smith was martyred he was taken out by the sheriff; they tried to tar and feather him several times,” he explained. “The last time they took him, they said, ‘You owe $25.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t owe a man anything.’ They said, ‘No, you stole a stove’—one of the most ridiculous charges I’ve ever heard.”
“At that time, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket watch,” Beck continued, displaying the relic that he said belonged to Smith, considered a prophet of God in Mormonism. “He gave it to the sheriff and said, ‘I owe no man nothing.’ They let him go. They killed him, but on the warrant for his arrest, he wrote on the back of his warrant to his people, ‘Put down your guns. No matter what happens, put down your guns. Put down your guns and trust in the Lord.’”
He then compared Smith’s story to the challenges that Liberty students may face in the days ahead.
“You are going to be pushed and challenged every step of the way,” Beck said. “What is it that you truly believe?”
Later in his message, the Mormon talk show host told the students that “no one in the Grand Councils” sent them to earth just to make a living. Beck was referring to the Mormon belief that human souls pre-existed in heaven, and that a gathering of heavenly beings known as the Grand Councils, send certain individuals to earth to accomplish a special purpose.
“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,” he said.
Beck’s comments were met with cheers and applause during several points in his speech, and was given a standing ovation by many in attendance upon his conclusion.
But those who have come out of the Mormon religion are expressing dismay at why Liberty University—considered the nation’s largest Christian university—provided Glenn Beck a platform, which he used to preach Mormon doctrine.
“[I]t exceeds my capacity to understand how one of the great Christian universities with a steadfast commitment of ‘Training Champions for Christ’ could invite an elite cultist to stand before its entire student body and give them spiritual instructions for life,” Ed Decker, former longtime Mormon and founder of the ex-Mormon ministry Saints Alive, wrote in an article provided to Christian News Network.
“Is it that, as educated as they seem, they just don’t know that Mormons worship an exalted man/god, serve a different Christ, offer a different salvation, stand on the foundation of false prophets and seek to earn their own godhoods?” he asked.
“It’s completely outrageous for Liberty and Jerry Falwell Jr. to bring Glenn Beck in [and allow him] to spew his false and blasphemous doctrine, which is an affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to shape these young, eager minds in a way that distorts the gospel,” added Tricia Erickson, daughter of a former Mormon bishop and author of Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters?
“It’s wrong,” she continued. “It’s like me opening my front door and saying to a Muslim, ‘Come on in. If they like what you have to say, it’s up to them. They can decide; you can just preach to them.”‘
Decker noted that although Beck excelled at his oration skills, quoted Scripture and was generally well-received by the audience, his presentation of Mormon doctrine was troubling.
“Beck talked about what a great man Joseph Smith was. He talked about his dying a martyr for Christ, dying for his faith,” he said. “[B]ut he also ignored the historical fact that Smith wasn’t quite as innocent as Beck claimed. He was in jail for leading his militia into town and destroying a newspaper press and burning the place down. He didn’t like what the paper had said about his many well-known adulteries.”
“Beck told the gathering that Smith told his followers in a note to lay down their arms and act in peace,” he said. “He forgot to mention Smith’s loaded pistol or the gunfight [where he killed two people].”
Decker said that he also took note of Beck’s reference to the Mormon doctrine of the “Grand Councils.”
“He forgot to talk about his heavenly mother who gave birth to us as spirit beings there before we were sent to earth,” he outlined. “Mormons are told that they are a special people, chosen by God for such a time as this. Beck offered that same word to his audience.”
“Mormons believe that when they die, that they become gods and get their own planet. And then, the man calls the woman onto his planet by her secret name that is given to her only in the secret Mormon ceremonies, which puts him in charge of her salvation,” she explained. “[T]hen they have spirit babies and and populate their planet. And their spirit babies pop down into our baby’s bodies here on Earth to walk out their eternal progression to godhood.”
She stated that false religion should be exposed, not given an appearance of credibility.
“If you’re a parent, certainly you’re not going to have someone come into your home [and be] around your children that is going to distort their judgment of Christianity, and that’s going to tell them things that are blasphemous to a living God and pose them as the truth,” Erickson said. “At universities, we as adults have to protect our youth. These are going to be our future leaders.”
“[Liberty University has] allowed Glenn Beck to come in and basically distort the gospel of Jesus Christ by the comments that he made. We don’t know if these students have enough discernment to know that it was a distortion of the truth because he’s posing as an angel of light,” she lamented. “He’s posing as a Christian.”