An Open Letter to Glenn Beck about His Mormon Faith
Dear Mr. Beck,
You have made quite a stir in America. You are passionate and intelligent and forthright in your views. And faith plays a large part in those views, you say. Well, your faith is Mormon. Your doctrine is Mormon. Then your worldview is Mormon. Let’s examine that worldview. Are you willing to answer a few critical questions about your Mormon faith? You have also stated that you are a Christian. Can a person claim to be a Mormon and a biblical Christian without a conflict of doctrines? On your TV show you have implied you can be both; you have led many people to believe the statement that you are a Mormon therefore a Christian, too.
First, are you a Mormon temple recommend holder? In other words, are you worthy to attend an LDS temple? [We have a personal friend who has attended the temple with you in New York, so we know you have been at least once.]
If so, how often do you attend the temple per year? In the Mormon culture, this is one measure of faithfulness. If you hold a temple recommend, then you have answered each of the following questions accurately to a member of your bishopric—local lay pastor and his 2 counselors—and to a member of your stake presidency—district/regional leader and his 2 counselors. Let’s examine what the correct answer to each of these questions means according to Mormon scriptures and beliefs.
Temple Recommend Questions
- 1. Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?
This sounds like a reasonable question to a Christian, but what is the nature of the Mormon godhead? According to Mormon doctrine, God the Eternal Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s,1 was once a man like us,2 had a father, and worked His way to godhood .3 The Son, Jesus Christ, was conceived by a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother, was born as a spirit being in the pre-existence before he came to earth,4 and is the spiritual brother of Lucifer.5 The Heavenly Father impregnated Mary in the usual physical way and Christ was born the only begotten Son of God in the flesh.6 Christ was not God from the beginning. He, like his father, also worked his way to godhood. 7 All 3 members of the godhead are separate beings, therefore separate gods.8 This is what Mormons attest to believe when they answer yes to this question. Is this what you believe about the godhead, Glenn? This is Mormon doctrine.
- 2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?
According to Mormon doctrine, Christ atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, not on the cross. And His was a partial atonement. The atonement of the Mormon Jesus does not cover all sins, therefore His role as Savior and Redeemer is not the same as it is for the traditional biblical Christ.9 Murder, adultery the second time, and denial of the Holy Spirit are unforgiveable sins not covered by His blood, according to Mormon scripture.10 In years past, Mormon prophets taught that the individual must atone with his own blood in order to be forgiven of an unforgiveable sin.11 The Mormon Church no longer owns this doctrine; however, the doctrine of blood atonement is likely the reason why Utah remains the lone state still allowing death by firing squad for prisoners on death row. The 10th prophet of the Mormon Church said that Christ’s “greatest suffering was in Gethsemane…That was not when he was on the cross.”12 A Mormon does not look to or reverence the cross or wear a cross.13 It is not displayed in or on their buildings. On their most sacred of buildings, the Mormon Temple, the Angel Moroni is displayed at the top of a spire. The founder of the Mormon Church himself, Joseph Smith, called Moroni an angel of light.14 According to Mormon doctrine, Christ’s death on the cross simply allowed every human who has ever lived on the earth the gift of resurrection so that they can be judged and assigned to one of the 3 kingdoms—celestial, terrestrial or telestial. Mormon doctrine states that all will be resurrected and all will be judged for their works.15 Mormons cannot have eternal life (life in the hereafter with God and Jesus) unless they work their way to the celestial kingdom. The only way to get there is by doing the works that allow one to answer each of these temple recommend questions correctly, and keep on doing these works until the end. 16 Then God’s grace might kick in if you’ve done all you can do. In the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 25:23 states that one is,” Saved by grace, after all you can do,” and in the Doctrine and Covenants, “That through his (Jesus) atonement, and by obedience to the principles of the gospel, mankind might be saved.17 Mormonism is a doctrine of grace only after you do all you can do (works) to gain eternal life with God and Jesus. Is this what you believe, Glenn? This is Mormon doctrine, and contrary to the Bible.
- 3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?
According to Mormon doctrine, the church that Christ established failed and went into apostasy when the original apostles died. Christ visited the people of Mesoamerica in the Book of Mormon and established his church there after his resurrection and that church failed as well. Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore Christ’s original church in 1830. It is now called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which was supposedly named directly by Jesus.18 Joseph Smith claimed that God and Jesus both appeared to him in answer to his prayer about which Christian church he should join. Joseph recorded this in his Joseph Smith History 1:19 in the Pearl of Great Price (one of 4 books of Mormon scripture):
I was answered I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the personage who addressed me [Jesus] said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…
According to this alleged visitation from Jesus and his Father to Joseph Smith, Smith was told he “might have power to lay the foundation of this church,…the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased,…” 19 The Book of Mormon states “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God [Mormon Church], and the other is the church of the devil…”20 . Mormons believe this is the most correct book on the face of the earth.21 Glenn, do you believe the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on the earth?
Mormon prophet Spencer W. Kimball stated:
Any church that you know of may possibly be able to take you for a long ride, and bring you some degree of peace and blessing, and they can carry you to the veil and there they drop you. The Church of Jesus Christ [the Mormon Church] picks you up on this side of the veil and, if you live its commandments, carries you right through the veil as though it weren’t there and on through the eternities to exaltation.”22
Glenn, according to the Book of Mormon and other Mormon sources, Christian churches would be of the devil. Do you believe this? The words of condemnation come directly from Mormon scripture and Mormon prophets. This is the Mormon view of traditional Christianity.
- 4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?
This needs little explanation. It simply asks Mormons to sustain the Mormon Prophet, his 2 counselors, and the 12 Mormon Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, those who receive revelation directly from Jesus for the entire world. “…whether by mine own voice (Jesus) or the voice of my servants, it is the same.”23
Do you, Glenn, believe the Mormon Apostles and Presidency act in this capacity as prophets, seers, and revelators for the entire world? If you hold a temple recommend, you have answered yes to these questions. You are asked to sustain and support the other church leaders down to the local level. Do you believe there are others outside of the Mormon Church who act in the capacity as prophets, seers, or revelators from God?
Let’s examine the question of sustaining the Mormon Prophet as the only person “who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.” These alleged priesthood keys have been passed from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young through time from successive prophets to the current Mormon Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. It is through this priesthood that Joseph Smith declared the authority to practice plural marriage by revelation. “…as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin…and if he espouse the second…he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him…And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him…”24 Today men who are sealed (married) in the Mormon Temple are sealed for time (earth life) and eternity (heaven). 25 This means that Mormon men who are worthy priesthood holders seeking godhood will practice plural marriage in heaven and will “sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”26 As of the writing of this letter, 3 current Mormon Apostles are sealed to 2 women each, one who is dead and one to whom he is currently married. The belief is that they will have both women in the hereafter and perhaps many others since they can be given in marriage in heaven.
Biblical Christians do not believe they can be married in heaven nor live plural marriage nor that they will become gods, but since you, Glenn, are a Mormon you must agree with Mormon doctrine and disagree with Christians. If you should disagree with the Mormon Church’s doctrines and scriptures, you could not hold a temple recommend.
Therefore, we assume you, Glenn, believe that you will be married in heaven, practice plural marriage there if you intend to become a god, and that you indeed can become a god. Can you clarify your position on these 3 points of Mormon doctrine (marriage in heaven, plural marriage according to D&C 132, and progression toward godhood)?
- 5. Do you live the law of chastity?
This is one of several covenants made in the Mormon temple. It sounds good to a Christian—living the law of chastity, but this law has a darker side in the Mormon Church. In the Mormon heaven, the celestial kingdom, men have the opportunity to be married to more than one wife. Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives on earth, 11 of whom were married to other men at the same time, and Brigham Young had 54 wives; Mitt Romney’s heritage is also polygamous (research Miles Park Romney). Therefore, chastity can mean a man’s fidelity is to multiple women and since Joseph had 11 wives married to 2 men at the same time, this is not biblical marriage nor biblical fidelity. Although the mainline Mormon Church denounced polygamy publicly 28 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed Morrill’s Anti-Bigamy Act in 1862, plural marriage is still in their scriptures and is still taught as an eternal principle known as the new and everlasting covenant.27
- 6. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?
This is an opportunity to repent of any sins related to family members such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or misconduct; however doing so might keep one from receiving a temple recommend. Mormons are expected to answer no to this question. The consequences of grave sins confessed to a priesthood leader could mean excommunication from a church court which removes one’s baptism or another form of church discipline.
- 7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
This is an interesting question because in reality Christianity’s biblical teachings and practices oppose Mormonism. Christ’s own words and the words of His apostles and prophets from the Bible are often contrary to Mormon scripture and doctrine on these topics: nature of the godhood, grace vs. works salvation, racism, polygamy, role of atonement, apostasy, righteousness, children of God, contention, the cross, the blood, eternal progression, the fall, false gospel, God’s word, good fruit, the gospel, secrecy, temples, trusting the heart, high priest, marriage, paid ministry, pre-existence, prophets, etc. This question is asking if one affiliates with any group or individual that opposes Mormon doctrine. Mormons are especially not supposed to associate with ex-Mormon apostates because they are bound for outer darkness with Satan and his minions. However, technically, associating with a Christian, since biblical doctrine opposes Mormonism, meets the criteria.
Glenn, do you affiliate with any Christians whose beliefs oppose Mormon doctrine?
- 8. Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?
The covenants referred to here are the covenants agreed to before and after baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: accept Joseph Smith as having restored the true church, partake of the Mormon sacrament, pay a full and honest tithe, obey the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel, keep the word of wisdom, keep the Sabbath day holy, study the LDS scriptures, follow the Prophet, keep the 10 commandments, fast once a month for 24 hours, accept and fulfill callings, invite friends to meet with the LDS missionaries, prepare for and serve a mission, participate in appropriate auxiliary organizations, hold weekly family home evenings, daily family prayer and scripture study, prepare and receive temple ordinances, and do your genealogy. These are found in the Mormon missionary discussion manual called Preach My Gospel, in the New Member Discussions, and in the Gospel Principles Manual.
- 9. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?
The interviewed member is to answer yes.
- 10. Are you a full-tithe payer? Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?
Mormons should pay a full tithe for at least a year before being worthy to receive a temple recommend and enter a temple. Any Mormon who keeps a temple recommend must continue to pay an honest tithe. Members look at their tithing record with their bishop and sometimes family each December and report whether or not they have paid a full tithe that year.
The Word of Wisdom is a health code lived by members of the Mormon Church as part of their works-based faith which is outlined in Doctrine and Covenants 89. It includes abstaining from coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, sometimes caffeinated colas at the discretion of the priesthood leader, and the eating of excessive meat. Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith asked, “…are you letting a cup of tea or a little tobacco stand in the road and bar you from the celestial kingdom of God?”28
Glenn, do you believe that drinking a cup of tea will keep you from entrance into the celestial kingdom?
- 11. Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?
Adults are not supposed to receive a temple recommend if they are in arrears with child support or alimony payments.
- 12. If you have previously received your temple endowment: Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?
Mormons who can answer each of these temple recommend questions properly are deemed worthy to enter a Mormon temple, open Tuesdays through Saturdays. In the temple, participants or patrons go through a washing and anointing ordinance, and an endowment ceremony where they learn what they need to know to be resurrected and progress to the celestial kingdom. The endowment culminates with a symbolic pass through the veil by the hand of one who represents God into the celestial kingdom, represented by the celestial room in the temple. Since the ability to progress to godhood for a priesthood holder, depends on being sealed to at least one worthy spouse, patrons long to be married/sealed to a worthy spouse in a temple sealing ceremony. Non-Mormons and non-temple worthy Mormons cannot attend this marriage/sealing ceremony. This practice can cause great apprehension at the time of a temple wedding among family members. Worthy members return to the temple as often as possible and once they have received the ordinances for themselves, they perform the same ordinances for the dead. In the lower level of the temple, they do baptisms on behalf of the dead (yes, in proxy for those who have passed away). Mormons do genealogy in order to get the names of dead individuals they can use to take through the temple to do proxy baptisms, proxy washings and anointings, proxy endowments, and proxy temple sealings.29
Several covenants are made during the temple endowment ceremony. The covenants are associated with tokens, names, and signs, some of which are patterned after the Masonic ceremony.30 Mormons believe these covenants are made with Heavenly Father. They are the law of obedience, the law of sacrifice, the law of chastity, the law of the gospel, and the law of consecration. For the law of obedience, women agree to keep the law of the Lord and hearken to the counsel of her husband as he listens to God. The men agree to obey the law of God directly. The next is the law of sacrifice. Patrons agree to sacrifice all that they possess, even their own lives if needed, to keep and defend the Mormon Kingdom of God. Another covenant made is the law of the gospel (Mormon gospel from the 4 Mormon scriptures, very different than biblical doctrine). Another is the law of chastity and the last and most concerning for Christians is the law of consecration.
This law comes from the Doctrine and Covenants and requires that temple patrons “consecrate yourselves, your time, talents, and everything with which the Lord has blessed you, or with which he may bless you, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for the building up of the Kingdom of God on the earth and for the establishment of Zion.” Notice this promise is made to build up the Mormon Church, not Christ.
Glenn, have you covenanted to obey the law of consecration—to use all you have or will have to build up the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? And do you keep it? In what ways? Do you keep all of the covenants you made in the temple?
Garments are special underwear, called the garment of the holy priesthood, that Mormons receive in the Temple. When placed in the garments, patrons promise to wear them throughout their lives, day and night. They are told that if they wear them and keep the covenants made in the temple, they will protect them from Satan until their work on earth is done.
- 13. Have there been any sins or misdeeds in your life that should have been resolved with priesthood authorities but have not been?
Mormons are encouraged to visit their priesthood authorities (bishop or stake president) to report any grievous sins and to receive appropriate church discipline.
- 14. Do you consider yourself worthy to enter the Lord’s house and participate in temple ordinances?
Mormons should answer yes. This means they have kept all of the covenants made at baptism, made in the temple including all the commandments in the Mormon scriptures and the Bible. They are clean and worthy on their own merit to stand in the presence of God in the holy Mormon temple, justified by their own works according to the laws and ordinances of the Mormon gospel.31` A biblical Christian would find this blasphemous.
In Sum, the Word of God says it best.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain.” Gal 2:21
Michael Wilder, Exmormon Christians United for Jesus, former Mormon high priest, bishopric member, high counselor, temple worker, seminary teacher, ward mission leader, stake missionary, Sunday School president, etc.
Dr. Lynn Wilder, Exmormon Christians United for Jesus, former Mormon relief society president, seminary teacher, stake primary president, and tenured Brigham Young University professor, temple worker, etc.
John Ankerberg, John Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
- 1. Doctrine & Covenants 130:22.
- 2. “As man now is, God once was; As God now is man may be,” The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.
- 3. History of the Church, p. 302-317; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347
- 4. Apostle Robert D. Hales, Ensign Nov 1983, p 67.
- 5. Teachings of Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, p. 32-33.
- 6. “…he (Jesus) was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events,” Mormon Doctrine, Bruce McConkie, p. 742; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses. 1:51, 4:218, 8:115; The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 7.
- 7. Doctrine & Covenants 93:12-14, Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 51
- 8. Encyclopedia of Mormonism 1:257, 2:649.
- 9. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:30.
- 10. Doctrine & Covenants 42:18, 26, 79.
- 11. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:53.
- 12. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:30.
- 13. Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, April 2005, p. 3; Joseph Fielding Smith, The Wearing of the Cross in Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:17.
- 14. Joseph Smith History 1:30-34.
- 15. Doctrine and Covenants 88.
- 16. Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:715.
- 17. Doctrine & Covenants 138:4, 3rd Article of Faith.
- 18. Doctrine & Covenants 115:4.
- 19. Doctrine &Covenants 1:30, 38.
- 20. Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10).
- 21. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 4:461.
- 22. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of the Church, p. 5
- 23. Doctrine & Covenants 1:38.
- 24. Doctrine & Covenants 132:61-62.
- 25. Doctrine & Covenants 132:7.
- 26. Doctrine & Covenants 132: 19, 20, 37.
- 27. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 2:16
- 28. Doctrine and Covenants 132
- 29. Mormonism Research Ministry http://www.mrm.org/temple-ceremony
- 30. Mormonism Research Ministry http://www.mrm.org/masonic-influence
- 30. 3rd Article of Faith, Pearl of Great Price, p. 60.