As a practicing member of the LDS (Mormon) Church, Glenn Beck believes:
- That the angel Moroni appeared to 17-year-old Joseph Smith in 1823 and told him of golden plates that would contain “the fullness of the everlasting gospel.”
- That Smith dug the plates up four years later, translated their “Reformed Egyptian” into English with the help of two special stones called “Urim” and “Thurim” and the result of that translation is the Book Of Mormon.
- That the Book of Mormon, along with Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl Of Great Price, forms a trinity of inspired Scripture for the LDS Church.
- That “as man is, God once was; as God is, man may be.”
As a bulwark of conservative Christianity, Liberty University believes:
- None of the above.
- That Mormonism is a cult — using the trappings of Christianity to proclaim a decidedly unChristian message.
And yet Liberty — a strongly confessional institution — invited Beck to be its commencement speaker earlier this month. You can read some of the controversy this choice has stirred in the Baptist blogosphere here and here.
What to make of this? To be fair, Liberty states on its own web site that previous commencement speakers have run a wider gamut of theological beliefs that one would expect.
Yet as a graduate of a proudly confessional school myself, I would be alarmed if not outraged if my alma mater gave a Mormon — or Jehovah’s Witness or Christian Scientist — such a high profile platform to deliver a prominent and influential address.
You’ll note that I’ve shared where Liberty and Beck differ. I suppose for the purposes of the commencement selection, what they share is more important: an expressly conservative political viewpoint and opposition to all things Obama.
In this instance it seems that Liberty allowed political ideology to trump doctrinal integrity.
And whether your politics lean right or veer left, that is a slippery slope indeed.