Perhaps 300,000 people will make the trek to Washington D.C. this week for talker Glenn Beck’s 8/28 Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial, and many professing Christian ministers will attend his Divine Destiny prayer meeting at the Kennedy Center on August 27th. I fear most of these patriotic folks don’t know the difference between the free gospel of grace in Jesus Christ and the Mormonism Glenn Beck preaches. I will beat around the bush no longer.
It is really quite simple. Glenn Beck believes the original false gospel Satan put forth in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit:
Genesis 3:4, 5: And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
But God had earlier given them warning:
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
All Christians recognize the primary consequence of the garden sin: death. Beck, on the other hand, sees the poisonous meal as a good thing. Recently, he said Adam and Eve “came down” and “had to eat the apple” because “they had to have a knowledge of good and evil” because “freedom to choose is essential”. Here is an exchange he had back in 2008 with one caller, who actually had the right idea about sin in the garden:
GLENN: Ask your professor why Adam and Eve came down. Why, what was the whole thing about with the snake and the apple? What was that all about?
CALLER: Because they disobeyed God.
GLENN: Yeah, but what did that do? If Adam and Eve could if Adam and Eve didn’t have the apple, they wouldn’t have been fruitful and multiplied. Man would not be if it wasn’t for that, okay? So what did they do? They ate the apple. Their eyes were opened. They saw the difference between good and evil.
Notice the talk show host tries to correct her and ignores that “disobedience thing”. He echoes Joseph Smith’s Pearl of Great Price (Moses 5:10-11):
“Adam blessed God and was filled, and began to prophesy concerning all the families of the earth, saying: Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.
And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient”.
The Latter Day Saints doctrine in view is that “spirit babies” are born of Celestial marriage and as Glenn Beck says, “come down” to be born in human form. The Bible rather teaches that Adam and Eve were created and God breathed into them the Spirit of life. They did not pre-exist. In keeping with the serpent’s deception, Mormons believe that they must become human before they can become “divine.” In spite of his frequent allusions, some people refuse to acknowledge Glenn Beck’s LDS views have made their way into his radio show on a regular basis, as well as on his Fox News and (former) CNN television programs.
The reason the history of Adam and Eve is significant (besides its bearing on views of sin, obedience and punishment) is because it is in the context of Satan’s promise to Adam and Eve they could attain to godhood. Beck believes the fundamental lie we can all become gods, though God himself said “Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.” (Isaiah 44:8).
If, as Mormons teach, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was beneficial, good works merit eternal life. Men are saved if they choose to do good more than they choose to do evil. In reality, those beliefs are opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the tree of life, given for the salvation of His people. This second tree is mentioned in Genesis 2 and Revelation chapters 2 and 22. It speaks of the fruit of the righteous life of Jesus, and that salvation is by grace through His death and resurrection, apart from works. Eating from the one tree brings death, eating from the other brings life.
Beck has not been forthright about where he got the name “Divine Destiny.” When he uses this term, he is not talking about heaven or God’s blessings upon our nation. Scott Bradley, Mormon historian, describes the meaning of this phrase in his article “A Nation of Divine Destiny”:
“The United States of America is the greatest nation in history. It is truly a nation of divine destiny! …A few short years after this great preparatory work had been accomplished by the Founding Fathers of the United States, Joseph Smith Jr. was born, and the stage was set for the gospel to be restored for the blessing of all mankind.”
The preparatory work was the completion of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Beck believes these are divinely inspired documents, but never mentions that this is a Mormon belief. Joseph Smith (1805-1844) said that the Constitution would someday “hang by a thread” as two Mormon apostles cite:
Ezra Taft Benson (13th President of LDS church):
It is my conviction that the Elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will, at that crucial time, successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of Constitutional government. Now is the time to get ready.”
Joseph F. Smith (nephew of founder Joseph Smith), 6th President:
…Joseph Smith, the prophet, was inspired to affirm and ratify this truth, and he further predicted that the time would come, when the Constitution of our country would hang as it were by a thread (emphasis added), and that the Latter-day Saints, above all other people in the world, would come to the rescue of that great and glorious palladium of our liberty.
Glenn Beck has repeatedly said he believes our constitution is now hanging by a thread* and it is almost certain he believes Mormons will be used by God to restore it. He used this terminology when Orrin Hatch, another Mormon, was on his program, November 4th, 2008: “I mean, when I heard Barack Obama talk about the Constitution and I thought, we are at the point or we are very near the point where our Constitution is hanging by a thread.” Butch Otter (Governor of Idaho), Saxby Chambliss, and Joe Lieberman were also asked about whether they thought the Constitution was hanging by a thread.
In summary, Divine Destiny is the view that the founding documents are equivalent or superior to the Bible. The formation of our nation paved the way for Mormon proselytizing. And though the Republic would nearly falter, Mormons would swoop in to save the day.
Braggadocio and hype are the hallmarks of Glenn Beck’s television and radio shows. His bravado has become even more pronounced leading up to 8/27 and 8/28. Even if Beck were not a Mormon, one could argue that the whole thing borders on a personality cult. Here is a small sampling:
This will be a historic moment. I promise you that it will be. I promise you. I have promised you before and I have personally seen them already. I have told you; prepare to witness mighty and powerful miracles (emphasis mine). I have already seen them. What you will witness on September 28th, the beginning of a restoration you and your children will never forget. (emphasis mine)
I told you some things were going to happen on 8 28 that hadn’t been done in over 235, 38 years. I told you that this is the period of awakening, not the period of enlightenment. Enlightenment is where our founders were. This is the period of awakening.
They [the founders] knew we were going to fail. They knew it. But Thomas Jefferson in 1820 also wrote to John Adams and said, I have faith that when it does, the people will understand what we were trying to do…. Why would you organize yourself in stakes…? He saw that in 1820! But he couldn’t get that done and couldn’t get that into the Constitution. They wouldn’t listen to him. But he said the people that restore it will know. You want to stop gerrymandering? Organize it the way Jefferson and quite honestly the way Moses did. Jefferson knew the answer. We know the answer now.
We have already discussed how Glenn Beck believes the constitution is hanging by a thread and thinks he is personally bringing about another Great Awakening. Just to put an exclamation point to his plans, perhaps he will attempt to organize the crowd into stakes, the Mormon equivalent of a parish or diocese.
It is evident that our nation needs revival. Our respect for marriage is crumbling, even apart from any efforts to change its definition. National and personal debt is an albatross around our necks. The spread of private and state gambling has reduced our work ethic. The Sabbath is routinely ignored. The murder of children not-yet-born continues virtually unabated. These things bring God’s troubling judgments.
Ancient Israel likewise experienced trouble in the days of Elijah. But the prophet did not call an ecumenical rally with the prophets of Baal. Instead he challenged them to a duel: “And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.” (I Kings 18:24).
We should be challenging Glenn Beck’s views for his own soul’s sake, and for the benefit of his followers. It will not do any good to gather in the name of lies and fables, even if the goal is laudable. We shouldn’t put country above the one true God. And we cannot expect His help if we do.
II Corinthinas 6: 14-17
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them;] and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.
* This phrase comes from a document sometimes referred to as the White Horse Prophecy and Joseph Smith writings. The WHP itself is not part of official Mormon doctrine and was not written by Smith, but by two contemporary supporters who claim it was spoken by Smith.
David is currently an adjunct instructor of Composition and Speech at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. His wife and he have also owned a business selling antique and collectible postcards on eBay since 1999. David was an activist with Operation Rescue in the early 1990s. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, Iowa.