Liberty’s fines, Beck’s lie, and the students’ applause 10

A few thoughts about the Liberty University and Glenn Beck story.

The Fine

A few commentators have wondered about the fine for students who didn’t attend Beck’s sermon. As they correctly point out, students are fined $10 for missing any convocation event, not just this one. This, however, doesn’t make Liberty’s invitation to Beck look any better.

That all students are compelled to attend convocation should raise the stakes for the administration to ensure that they are honoring their students’ time and attention by bringing in speakers who can be profitably heard. Also, because Paul tells us to flee from false teachers like Beck, Liberty forces students to decide whether to obey university policy or follow Paul’s biblical instruction.

I was notified about Beck’s speech late last week by a resident assistant whose job it was to track his dormitory’s attendance at the event so that attendance violations could be recorded for students who were absent. In the case of a missed convocation, the penalty is a $10 fine.

The Lie

Glenn Beck spoke at Liberty's 2010 commencement

Glenn Beck spoke at Liberty’s 2010 commencement

This isn’t Beck’s first address to Liberty’s students; he was the commencement speaker for the school in 2010. Mark Lamprecht covered the speech well back then, and his account includes this quote from Beck:

I want you to know that I understand that the invitation to speak today is not meant as an endorsement of my faith. But I also want you to understand, that my agreeing to speak here today is an endorsement of your faith.

The idea that Beck would endorse Christianity grotesquely distorts the entire purpose of the Mormon church. (For one thing, back in 2010 at least Beck understood that Christianity and Mormonism were two different faiths, not just two different denomination, as he says now.) Joseph Smith founded the religion because he thought that Christianity had died soon after Jesus’ ascension. The church’s official title, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, gives us a clue that following the teachings of the early-day saints like Peter and John and Paul is insufficient.

Starting with Joseph Smith, Mormon leaders have clearly rejected Christianity as a true religion. The whole LDS church started after he said God told him that he would not find truth in the Christian church. (HT to Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry for the following quotes.)

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right — and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt.

John Taylor, the third president of the church, also despised Christianity.

We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense…. Myself and hundreds of the Elders around me have seen its pomp, parade, and glory; and what is it? It is a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol; it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.

Another example from Joseph Fielding Smith, who presided over the church in the 1970s:

Again, following the death of his apostles, apostasy once more set in, and again the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel were changed to suit the conveniences and notions of the people. Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness.

These aren’t just personal grievances against Christianity; it comes directly from the Book of Mormon, which clearly calls the Christian church an apostate whore that is headed for destruction.

Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:10)

Beck knows the teachings of his church, and his ownership of Smith’s pocket watch is just further evidence that he is intensely devoted to Mormonism. If he were honest, he should have treated Liberty’s students as the unsaved apostates that his church teaches that Christians are and tried to evangelize them to the greater truth that was revealed to Joseph Smith.

I’ve criticized Falwell for being too polite to state the obvious truth that Mormonism is a cult, but the same criticism must be directed at Beck as well. Beck would rather not overtly evangelize a massive crowd of Christians because doing so would make it glaringly obvious that our differences are profound and irreconcilable. Beck didn’t declare the full truth of his Mormon faith because it was more important to work with Liberty University in maintaining the fiction that the two faiths are the same.

The Applause

Several Liberty apologists have argued that it is a good thing for university students to be exposed to a diversity of political, cultural and religious beliefs. They say that it was proper to invite Mormons to speak so that Christian students can learn what false teaching looks and sounds like.

There are two problems with this theory. First, as mentioned above, Liberty compelled all students to attend, and did not preface or follow Beck’s sermon with a disclaimer or warning that they would be hearing from a speaker who is not a Christian, even though he might appear to be. Second, the evidence of the video shows that a large number of Liberty’s students were deceived by Beck’s false teaching and responded with repeated applause when he talked about his false Jesus.

In his 2012 CNN interview, Falwell also conceded that only “some” of Liberty’s faculty think that Mormonism is a cult, leaving, in Falwell’s mind, many who apparently think that Mormonism is just another Christian denomination. I think Falwell underestimates his faculty (some of whom I know as friends) on this issue, and the fact that he doesn’t know or respect their orthodox beliefs is telling.

10 thoughts on “Liberty’s fines, Beck’s lie, and the students’ applause

  1. John Huckaby May 2, 2014 10:46 am

    I am not a fan of Glenn Beck (nor Mormonism), certainly not Benny Hinn, nor do I have an allegiance to Liberty University. Much of what I read both here and other places reminds me that if we saw less of the speck in our brother’s eye and more the beam in our own, perhaps we would be further along in reaching the world for Jesus. If we look long and hard enough we can find something to criticize with anyone and anything (yes even the church and yes, even Christian institutions). Meanwhile lost people are dying and going to hell while we choose to fight each other rather than Satan. Someone much wiser than me said we can be a part of the problem or part of the solution. I believe the world knows well what we’re against but perhaps it’s time they know we’re serious about sharing the Gospel. I would like to hope and pray that my time is spent sharing the Gospel and that people (yes, lost people) know I’m a Christian by my love. Just a thought, certainly not a criticism.

    • Rich May 2, 2014 1:30 pm

      There is an assumption that there is a plank in the eyes of anyone that points out error, this is a bad assumption. The second bad assumption is that we are speaking about “Brothers”. Because some are called to warn the “brothers”, doesn’t mean they don’t care about the lost. Not all functions in the body are about “the lost”. If warnings are not given, many more will be falling away, or should I say falling for, this “stuff”.

  2. John Huckaby May 2, 2014 2:40 pm

    Then I would suppose it’s a bad assumption that Jesus said let the one without sin cast the first stone? It almost sounds as if your assumption is one of the spiritual gifts is plank removal or as you say “warning the brothers.” My own belief is when one reads their Bible, understands its meaning and application for their lives, well, there’s your warning.

    • Rich May 2, 2014 9:28 pm

      I see your sticks and stones and raise you a watching out for false prophets in sheep’s clothing.

  3. Kenneth May 2, 2014 4:30 pm


    Do you really want LDS missionaries to try and convert people to their faith? That doesn’t seem to bother you in the least. Standing up for God and correct doctrine does indeed divide. It divides the truly saved from the not of God.

    The Apostle Paul commended the noble Bereans for searching the scriptures after he taught them. THEY didn’t fully believe what Paul had taught them until they diligently searched the scriptures to see if these things were so. We are commanded by the Lord to test the spirits, to mark the false teacher and ungodly sent among us.

    This is a major issue. Anyone can kumbayah and “all you need is love” to folks but that’s not going to get them into the Heavenly Kingdom. We must tell the truth.

    Apparently for Falwell, just simply telling the truth regarding false cults is too much effort and he’d rather not be a part of telling the truth, which is a form of standing up for the way, the truth, and the Life.

  4. Shayne May 2, 2014 4:57 pm

    As an LU student, I can confirm that many of my friends and most people here fell for it, and believe that either Mormonism is ok, or that Glenn Beck at the least is a saved Mormon. They sadly fail to realize that that is a contradiction in terms.

  5. Dan McGinn May 2, 2014 10:51 pm

    Amazing, simply amazing. Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes in Galatians 1:6-9 – “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Whatever Beck said was another gospel – no matter how it came out. The Spirit says let them be accursed but Liberty invites them to convocations! When he uses words like “god”, “lord”, “jesus” they refer to some imagination in his mind. NOT the glorious Triune Godhead of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – NOT the incomparable matchless Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who made atonement for our sins on the tree. Paul writes in 2Cor. 11:4 that there really is “another Jesus”, “another Spirit” and “another gospel”. The Gospel is good news! There is not one speck of good news in the message of Beck.

  6. audie May 5, 2014 12:05 am

    I remember thinking that extreme ecumenism, the kind that pretty much stated “What you believe isn’t important so long as you’re sincere”, was restricted to those on the religious left. Although I can’t remember exactly how, I started noticing that there was a more conservative, right-leaning form of it coming about. One of it’s big disguises is patriotism.

    • Rich May 5, 2014 7:20 am

      The “church”

      Pick the word and there are those that have change the definition to fit their needs. Ususally it will look nothing like scripture as a whole but some cut and paste presentation to please the flesh.

  7. Kristy May 7, 2014 9:18 am

    Great article! Thanks for being one of the few who will stand up & point out the wrong doing of the church & those who claim to be Christian. Thanks for standing up even when the majority criticize you & call you unloving, judgmental, & a hypocrite.

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