When I was growing up as a Christian, Mormonism was a cult. I read and listened to Dr. Walter Martin, a Christian expert on Mormonism and regardless of my differences on Christianity now, you can learn a hell of a lot from good ol’ Dr. Martin. YouTube him, there’s plenty of videos. What surprises me now is how weak Christian right evangelical leaders are in condemning Mormonism as a cult that is not Christian. They show “concern” and “hesitation.” Please forgive me Christian reader, but from my perspective they all seem like a bunch of pussies compared to Walter Martin.
Or maybe I’m just trying to stir up trouble. According to Christianity Today, Glenn Beck met with the aging Billy Graham and his son Franklin Graham at his home in North Carolina and talked for 3 hours. Previously, Beck had wanted to consult with Graham before his “Restoring Honor” rally back in August. Beck describes the rally as something that was not political but had everything to do with God. He drew inspiration for his rally from what Billy Graham had done with his crusades. It seems Beck doesn’t care about denomination or sect or even correct theology. What he says is, “…we must stand together with those who believe in God and that God endows each individual with the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” He simply cares about belief, as long as you’re a Republican.
In other words, he’s trying to pit those who believe in God against those who supposedly don’t believe–the Democratic left. As an atheist, I should inform Mr. Beck that the majority of people on the left believe in god too. It may not be Beck’s ideal “god” but god nonetheless. Atheists are a minority and there is hardly a national threat. The United States continues to experience unprecedented religious freedom.
But back to Billy Graham. What was discussed at the meeting? Hard to say from Beck’s video posted here as he says nothing by saying alot, but Beck did recall that BG told him that they both knew how the last chapter ends and that “people are good.” I agree, people are generally speaking good, but I don’t remember that being the gospel message. If “good” gets you to heaven, then I’m safe too. Whoo-hoo!
I’ve increasingly come to the conclusion that Billy Graham, who I once admired as a Christian, really doesn’t seem to stand for much. I was somewhat bothered by this when I attended his rallies as an assistant with the Junior High Sunday School class. He never defined what a Christian believed to the crowd when he preached. Pretty much everyone could be a Christian through an emotional altar call. As I recall from that time, one of my co-workers from a fast food joint told me her boyfriend had apparently become born again as a result of Billy Graham…in a week he was back to his old self. Emotionalism doesn’t seem to stick when there’s no theological foundation (what the hell do I believe? God? Which God? What does God say? Etc, Etc). The Billy Graham crusade seems so shallow looking back on it.
Since Mormons have aligned themselves with the Republican right and now have a celebrity Mormon in the form of Beck and more Mormon politicians will be coming out of the closet, I predict that the truth of Christian Right evangelism will show. Less courage in the face of an obvious cult for the sake of retaining power and fame. Like I said, a bunch of pussies. I respected Dr. Walter Martin–disagreed with him–but he didn’t water down his beliefs and could not overlook the sham that Mormonism is.
By the way, lest you think I’m exaggerating, the CT article also notes that the National Association of Evangelicals will hold its next meeting in Utah in March. The leadership will meet with Gov. Gary Herbert and a leader from the LDS church. Leith Anderson, president of the NAE hopes the meeting will “…deepen our understanding of the Mormon faith and contribute to the ongoing work of evangelicals in Utah.” What the hell does that mean? I guess Mormons are finally being accepted as Christians despite the secret rituals, the bizarre and historically inaccurate Mormon Bible and the polygamy of Joseph Smith.