Should we be concerned about Glenn Beck’s 8/28 “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington?
I have watched Glenn Beck almost every day since he has been in the 5 o’clock slot on the FoxNews channel and I agree with virtually everything that he says about the fact that we have been witnessing the decline of the principles and values upon which this country was founded. I tend to agree with much of his analysis as to why and how this has happened. I also agree that returning the Constitution to its rightful place in the legislative and judicial realms of government, as well as “Restoring Honor” would be a good place to start to get things turned around.
As a patriotic American I can stand with the half-a-million people who were present at the 8/28 rally on Saturday to let it be known that the majority of the citizens in the United States are not happy about the current state of affairs. And I could stand with Glenn Beck if we were only being called upon to exercise our rights as outlined in the Constitution with the goal of restoring integrity and honor to the governance of our country.
Many liberal pundits and politicians are calling Beck a radical right-wing hate-monger who is leading a bunch of angry, old, white, disgruntled, leftovers from the McCain / Palin run for the presidency. The last thing I would want is to be identified with either those who are saying such things or the caricature they have used to cynically portray the majority of decent Americans in this country.
However, just as with the Manhattan Declaration last fall, this issue has been taken out of the political, civil and legal realm, and brought squarely into the religious / theological realm. This presents a serious problem that seems to be lost on many who should be concerned, including a significant number of evangelical leaders who joined him on his program on Friday and who were standing with him on the platform this Saturday. Through his radio and TV programs, and now with the immeasurably successful “Restoring Honor” rally, Glenn Beck has arguably become the single most influential religious leader in America.
It is true that Mr. Beck frequently talks about the need for personal faith in Jesus Christ. He regularly uses the language of conservative evangelicalism. He has devoted entire shows to decry the liberal gospel of collective salvation through social justice reforms and its cousin, Liberation Theology.
However, Glenn Beck is first and foremost a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. He often speaks about his Mormon faith and how much it means to him. And he credits his recovery from a life of self-destruction through alcohol and an immoral lifestyle to the faith he found in the Mormon church. He was baptized into the Mormon church in 1999 by his radio talk show co-host and close friend Pat Gray.(1)
Now, even though he has been around for awhile, in our celebrity-driven culture, Glenn Beck has become an overnight sensation with superstar status in his new role as a spokesman for many (though certainly not all) religious conservatives. He has eclipsed presidential candidate and fellow-Mormon, Mitt Romney, and is possibly now more influential than Sarah Palin (who is known for her open identification as a born-again evangelical Christian). Again, this is a serious problem precisely because he is on a faith-based mission.
Beck has repeatedly insisted that the Restoring Honor rally was to be decidedly non-political in nature – and he worked hard to make sure that happened. He fervently asked his radio and television audiences to leave their signs at home and to not expect that this would be a pre-election campaign rally:
First of all: No signs. Don’t bring your signs. Bring your hearts. Bring your open minds. That’s it. Bring your kids. Your kids are important. If you bring a sign, you’re going to be disappointed. No signs.(2) (click here for transcript)
But more importantly, he pulled together a group of religious leaders to make sure this gathering was understood to be explicitly religious. For those that might doubt that the goal was to make Restoring Honor about a return to religion, on Monday’s program, Mr. Beck explicitly said that the whole thing was entirely about “God and faith.” He also believes that God gave a clear sign of his approval and blessing on Saturday:
I want to show you first [the] miracle that happened at…9:59, what happened was there was a flock of geese that ran. It was a flyover, if you will. Someone caught it on tape. Here’s the flyover. This was happening just as the opening music was starting. We wanted to have a flyover, but you can’t fly over in the District of Columbia. It was perfect coordination and perfect timing. Coincidence? Maybe. I think it was God’s flyover.
It was not supposed to happen. We couldn’t get a flyover. We couldn’t even get anybody dressed in a military uniform to present the flag. We tried for almost a year. We couldn’t get it done.
Thank God we had our flyover. (3) (transcript)
The concept to ultimately make this a religious rally can be clearly seen in an exchange months ago between Glenn Beck and historian David Barton on the April 29 Glenn Beck Show:
Beck: So I want to talk to you a little bit about something else you and I talked about off-air for a while and that is the Black Robe Brigade.
Beck: And America, I’m going to ask you now if you have your pastor or your priest or your rabbi, whoever it is, tell them to turn on the show or take down this information because this is important.
You have to do this. The media is not going to it. The government is not going to do it. The parties are not going to do it. They don’t care. They’re about power and control.
If you care about the Constitution, this is what you have to do.
Tell me about the Black Robe Brigade. What were they? Who were they?
Barton: The Black Brigade or Black Regiment were the preachers, because they wore black robes. Black preachers, white preachers — they all wore black probes. And the British specifically blamed the preachers for the American Revolution. That’s where the title “Black Regiment” came from. One of the British officials talked about that.
It’s interesting that the British so hated what the preachers — they claim if it hadn’t been for the preachers, America would still be a happy British colony. So they blamed it on the preachers.
When they come to America, they start to decimating churches. They went to New York City. Nineteen churches — they burned 10 to the ground. They went across Virginia burning churches. They went across New Jersey burning churches. Because they blamed these preachers.(4) (transcript)
On Friday night, at the Kennedy Center, Glenn Beck hosted a program called “Divine Destiny,” attended by approximately 1900 religious leaders who were personally invited to the event. On a section of his website devoted to FAQs about Divine Destiny, we find the following:
Glenn Beck’s Divine Destiny is an eye-opening evening at the historic Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C that will help heal your soul. Guided by uplifting music, nationally-known religious figures from all faiths will unite to deliver messages reminiscent to those given during the struggles of America’s earliest days. The event will leave you with a renewed determination to look past the partisan differences and petty problems that fill our airwaves and instead focus our shared values, principles and strong belief that faith can play an essential role in reuniting the country.(5)
On Friday evening, Mr. Beck was introduced by Pat Gray:
This building was [filled] by invitation [to] some of the best and bravest pastors, priests, rabbis, clerics in the country. Tomorrow, we will announce the beginning of the Black-Robed Regiment. And here is what’s amazing, here’s what’s amazing, they keep saying this is a political event, and it is not. It is not a political event at all. I’m convinced that not just this event, but this time period is going to be remembered as the beginning of the great awakening in America.(6)
So, it is clear that Glenn Beck’s intent was to personally recreate a Black-Robed Regiment to lead the way in “restoring honor” to our country. On yesterday’s (8/30/2010) program which was devoted to discussing the many important aspects of the rally, one of the main focal points was the support and platform presence of his “Black Robe Regiment.” There were 240 religious leaders, standing arm-in-arm in a display of unity with one another, with the man who had pulled them together for this explicitly religious event and with God. They were there because of their desire to take a stand for truth and a return to integrity and honor in leading this nation, which is a good thing. But they were also there because of their conviction that the only solution to the problem and the only hope for the nation is a return to God – and therein lies the problem, because it begs the question, “Which God?”
As you listen to Glenn Beck and read the many forums where this is being discussed across the internet, you will find that what happened this weekend is being celebrated and hailed as a true breakthrough because of the diverse religious views that these 240 men and women represent. The group consisted of Protestant pastors (including evangelicals like John Hagee), Catholic priests, Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams. (I have searched everywhere on the internet for several hours trying to find a listing of these 240 religious leaders, without success. If you find anything, please let me know.)
These leaders represent such divergent views of God that we cannot think that this is a call to rally together under the banner of the God of the Bible. Allah is certainly not the God of the Bible. Jews emphatically deny that Jesus is the God of the Bible. Catholics, who are still bound by the decrees of the Council of Trent, are obligated to view evangelicals as heretics if they wish to remain true to the official teachings of the Church.
And then there is the god of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In her weekly e-update, “Understanding the Times,” which came out today (8/31/2010), Jan Markell (Olive Tree Ministries) writes the following:
The theme of the Friday gathering of spiritual leaders and the Saturday rally was an encouragement to turn back to God. The not-so-subtle theme was “many faiths, but one God.”
I believe many conservative Christians would have been relieved if Glenn had not brought out Mormon doctrine that very few are familiar with. He stated at the Saturday event that the American Indians are the “chosen people” — blatant Mormon doctrine. The crowd applauded in approval. You can view that here at the 4:30 mark.
He stated — and has affirmed this on his radio and television programs — that God is the only answer. While much was troublesome last weekend, who else is sticking their neck out saying we have to turn back to God and gathering hundreds of thousands in the process? It would be wonderful if Franklin Graham or even Joel Rosenberg could attract a half-million people and deliver the true gospel. We aren’t quite there yet. Again, by default, we defer to Glenn Beck.
The weekend opened on Friday night, Augsust 27, with Glenn’s “Divine Destiny” program which again, is straight out of Mormonism. Many participants have implied, or blatantly stated, that Glenn is a “saved Mormon” or on the way to becoming one.
Leading up to the statement referred to by Jan Markell above, beginning at the 3:01 mark, Beck says the following:
The story of America is the story of humankind. Five thousand years ago, on the other side of the planet, God’s Chosen People were led out of bondage by a guy with a stick, who was talking to a burning bush. Man first began to recognize God and God’s law. The Chosen People listened to the Lord. At the same time those things were happening, on this side, on this land, another group of people were gathered here and they, too, were listening to God.
How these two people came together, again, happened because people were listening to God. They didn’t have the right to worship God the way they saw fit. So, they got down on their knees – and they didn’t want to come to this land – they just did because they thought that’s what God was telling them to do. And with malice toward none, they got into their boats and they came.
God’s Chosen People, the Native Americans and the Pilgrims (applause).
As Markell noted, this is pure Mormon doctrine. The following is from an article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism on the Brigham Young University library website:
The Book of Mormon, published in 1830, addresses a major message to Native Americans. Its title page states that one reason it was written was so that Native Americans today might know “what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers.”
The Book of Mormon tells that a small band of Israelites under Lehi migrated from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere about 600 B.C. Upon Lehi’s death his family divided into two opposing factions, one under Lehi’s oldest son, laman (see Lamanites), and the other under a younger son, Nephi 1 (see Nephites).
During the thousand-year history narrated in the Book of Mormon, Lehi’s descendants went through several phases of splitting, warring, accommodating, merging, and splitting again. At first, just as God had prohibited the Israelites from intermarrying with the Canaanites in the ancient Promised Land (Ex. 34:16; Deut. 7:3), the Nephites were forbidden to marry the Lamanites with their dark skin (2 Ne. 5:23; Alma 3:8-9). But as large Lamanite populations accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ and were numbered among the Nephites in the first century B.C., skin color ceased to be a distinguishing characteristic. After the visitations of the resurrected Christ, there were no distinctions among any kind of “ites” for some two hundred years. But then unbelievers arose and called themselves Lamanites to distinguish themselves from the Nephites or believers (4 Ne. 1:20). (7) (click here for article)
On Sunday, John McTernan posted the following on his blog:
My heart is very heavy as I write this. I attended two events led by Glenn Beck. Friday night, I was at the Kennedy Center for a Glenn Beck special. He had a gospel choir singing with a mixed group of speakers. Beck was freely talking about the “LORD.” There were speakers from other religions. He was talking about the need for a spiritual revival, who can argue about that! The problem is that Beck is a Mormon with a different Jesus.
There were several prayers offered at this event and NONE were made in the name of Jesus. I was deeply grieved after I left.
On Saturday, I attended the huge rally. If it was just political, I could accept Beck as a leader; however, it went way beyond that. I am not questioning anything about Beck’s character or motives. What I am deeply grieved about is that this was not led by the real church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is America in such desperate spiritual condition, that masses of Christians will follow a Mormon for spiritual revival? (8) (click here for his blog)
Again, just as in the Manhattan Declaration, Glenn Beck is calling people of all faiths to come together “in the spirit of God” – and in keeping with Mormon doctrine, he is specifically calling together what Mormons believe are the three strands of God’s Chosen People (Jews, Christians and Native Americans) under the leadership of Beck’s new Black-Robed Regiment. Beginning at 4:40, he introduces the following guests who represent these three groups:
I would like to introduce you to Rabbi Daniel Lapin (applause).
This is John and Kyla Ward. They are direct descendants of the Native Americans that met the Pilgrims on the shores as they arrived. (applause)
And Pastor Paul Jehle is a direct descendant from those that arrived on the Mayflower.
To restore America, to restore honor, we’ve got to start at the beginning and look at the pattern, when people came together, of different faiths, in the spirit of God, and the first thing they did was pray together.
At this point, Pastor Jehle delivers the opening prayer for the rally in unmistakable evangelical terms, clearly naming Jesus Christ as the “Redeemer” and the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,” closing with the words “in Christ’s name, amen.”
However, we have seen this before. Shortly after the Manhattan Declaration was published, Governor Mike Huckabee commented that perhaps it could be considered as comparable to Luther’s 95 Theses. And concerning the Divine Destiny event and the Restoring Honor rally, following the sentiment expressed in Pat Gray’s introduction at the Kennedy Center, NaplesNews.com published an article with the title, “The Fifth Great Awakening: The Restoring Honor Rally in Washington, D.C.” (The author, Edward Wimberley is a fairly well-known “educator and Presbyterian minister“):
The Second Great Awakening occurred almost a century later and resulted in the emergence of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), The Seventh Day Adventist Church, The Advent Christian Church as well as the dramatic expansion of Baptists and Methodists throughout the Western States. The Third Great Awakening spanned the 1850’s through the early 1900’s and produced the “Social Gospel Movement,” Christian Science, the Holiness Denominations, and the Nazarenes. The leaders of this era included Mary Baker Eddy, Dwight L. Moody, and evangelist William Ashley “Billy” Sunday.
How is it that the emergence of the Mormon church and the rise of the Social Gospel Movement can be seen as contributing factors in the Great Awakenings? Do these not instead have all the marks of being dark spiritual opposition to the broad work of the Spirit of God at specific times in this country’s history? Both movements have contributed to incredible confusion and the deception of millions of people including an alarming number from among those who would consider themselves evangelicals. That Mormonism is once again contributing to spiritual confusion, while pulling in evangelicals, is evidenced by the following comments from someone who was at the “Restoring Honor” rally:
I was actually at the 8-28 event in DC… It WAS an evangelical Christian event. Beck made some ecumenical noises up-front and I was prepared to be very disappointed, but almost every single speaker, other than Beck…and all of the major ones, were un-apologetically evangelical Christians. Their words on faith carried far more weight than Beck’s. I heard “Jesus, Lord and Savior” or similar terms through the whole program.
I really don’t understand Beck’s spiritual journey. I think that he would have considered himself a terribly back-slidden Christian 15 years ago when he was a raging alcoholic who’s life was out of control. He turned to Mormonism, found his way out of the bottle and rebuilt his life. He clearly is comfortable with evangelical Christians…he surrounds himself with them.(9)
It was an “evangelical Christian event?”
The Naples News article continues:
In a very real sense, the nation has drifted afar from its religious and patriotic foundations.
However, the spiritual drift of the nation ceased on Saturday October 28, 2010 on the National Mall between the Washington and Lincoln Memorials. On that day, hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life and from virtually every region and ethnic community gathered together to recommit to the task of restoring America’s honor by reaffirming an individual commitment to faith, duty, honor and country.
This profound contemporary spiritual renewal was ushered in by the most unlikely of leaders, a recovering alcoholic, high-school graduate, and college dropout with an unsavory past. Moreover, it was predominantly (though not exclusively) a “Christian” renewal prophetically introduced by a Mormon layman.
The following is from a December 23, 2007 interview with Joel Osteen by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday,
Wallace: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
Osteen: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don’t think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that’s what I felt like.
Wallace: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
Osteen: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know.
I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that’s a common bond.
I am deeply concerned that Mormonism may now be on a fast-track to be accepted into mainstream Christianity, and perhaps even Evangelicalism. That this is even conceivable is very troubling. Returning to Jan Markell’s article, she notes the following concerning the teachings of Mormonism:
* God was born and raised on another planet.
* He has a harem of wives.
* They produce spirit-babies that are sent to earth; there they gain bodies and earn sainthood.
* Jesus is the brother of Lucifer.
* Jesus is the chosen/elected savior by a council of gods from other worlds.
* America is the promised land, not Israel. The holy city is Independence, Missouri, not Jerusalem. Jesus’ latter-day agenda is to return to Missouri.
* America’s founding fathers were “spirit babies” who created a “sacred Constitution.”
* The U.S. Constitution is as sacred as the Book of Mormon. In the latter days, it will be under siege and will be saved by Mormons. Thus, we must “reclaim America” to save the Constitution and usher in a genuine age of Mormon leadership. They want to build a Mormon kingdom on earth, similar to modern day Dominionists/Kingdom Now proponents within Christianity. Founder Joseph Smith had a socialistic philosophy and wished to have a society that shared things in common.
Markell’s last point is referring to something I just became aware of late last week when ABI co-founder Jimmy DeYoung alerted me to what is known in Mormonism as “The White Horse Prophecy.” The “white horse” in the prophecy by Joseph Smith is a reference to the first horse of the four horses of the Apocalypse.
An article about The White Horse Prophecy can be found on the pro-Mormon website, FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) at this link. According to the prophecy, someone within the Mormon church is going to appear on the national stage to rescue the Constitution – in conjunction with a group of people that Joseph Smith identified as the “red horse.”
On today’s Glenn Beck Show, he emphatically reiterated that his goal is not to be a religious leader. Yet, a few minutes later, he also remarked that he believes we are now witnessing the 3rd Great Awakening— the first of which, he noted, was largely led by George Whitefield. And more than once (including again today) I have heard him infer or even state that this movement—this new awakening—is something that has started with him and which he is leading.
Even though I question whether or not another Great Awakening is actually underway, that someone with Mormon convictions could suggest that they might be at its forefront should be of deep concern to evangelicals. However, that a Mormon could be enthusiastically endorsed and embraced as such a leader by a significant number of conservative evangelicals seems to say far more about the state of the church in the United States than it does about Mr. Beck.
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoring_Honor_rally, accessed 8/31/2010.
2. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,600310,00.html, accessed 8/31/2010.
3. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,600442,00.html, accessed 8/31/2010.
4. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,591785,00.html, accessed 8/31/2010.
5. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/44012/, accessed 8/31/2010.
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restoring_Honor_rally#cite_note-32, accessed 8/31/2010.
7. LSD Beliefs, accessed 8/31/2010.
8. http://johnmcternansinsights.blogspot.com/, accessed 8/31/2010.
9. From an email to an acquaintance of mine