This is the continuation of a conversation that began as a comment on a facebook post. I am moving it here to my blog to prevent friction with the friend whose original post it was. He did not ask me to, I thought it best, seeing as how my response is so lengthy. Feel free to comment, understand that I am not afraid of opposing points of view, but reserve the right to edit comments, although I do not edit for anything other than obscenity and unwarranted, destructive, hostile, attacks on individuals.
I am taking this a little more slowly. A reasoned discussion will bring better results and keep the bond of Christ between us intact, and out of respect to my brother Jason, whose space we are airing our opinions in, and I know he hates bickering.
First let me say that our paths have crossed more than once, we have many friends in common and I know you by reputation to be a follower of Christ and a worthy man. We are congenial acquaintances, lacking proper knowledge of each other to use the term friend in any meaningful way.
As to your comment about the Reformed LDS. While it is true that they have backed away from BY and his more aggressive teachings, they are not, properly speaking, the Mormon Church. They also still hold as scripture a book translated by a young man in the nineteenth century, through the use of a mystical pair of glasses which he claimed gave him and him alone the power to read a set of gold plates covered in what he claimed to be Early Egyptian glyphs that was delivered to him, with no other witnesses by an angel revealing its whereabouts.
A transcript of a portion of one of these tablets was seen by an expert on Egyptian artifacts and proved to be nothing like the book that the young Mr. Smith transcribed. In addition, the plates have since disappeared, taken back into hiding, so the story goes, for their protection.
This book claims to contain the history of a people on the North American continent whose lives paralleled those in Palestine throughout the Biblical era. The book says, that after his ascension and claim that he would not return until he came to judge the world, Jesus visited the peoples of the Americas, called followers and preached a sequel to his earlier gospel that revealed, among many other things, the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood for the salvation of the church and restoration of temple worship.
Mr. Smith claimed, on his own merit, to be a prophet of God and began to establish a religion. He was a known polygamist, and child molester. He was accused on more than one occasion of thievery and murder. He was chased from several other places by the authorities for fear of his 800 man army, that was supposedly raised for his defense, before his death in Carthage Illinois. He had prophesied before this that his people would establish a new Zion in the Rocky Mountains and that all the nations of the earth would be saved through it. In a disputed statement made by him, he alludes to a time when the American Constitution would hang as if by a single silken thread, ( a statement I have heard Glenn echo) so perilous would be the threat of its destruction, and that a mormon political figure would rescue it and save the world . (google white horse prophecy)
All of these things the RLDS still hold as gospel, equal to our scripture. Brigham Young, was appointed as Mr. Smith's successor, led the mormons to Utah where they are accused of many heinous crimes against native and settler alike, and became not only the head of the Mormon Church, but the territorial and first state governor of Utah after claiming that God had commanded his people to take a hiatus from the principle of Plural Marriage. This god ordained break, conveniently, occurred at the time Utah was being prevented from acceptance into the union because of their stance on polygamy.
Among the other teachings that JS brought and are believed by all mormons, to my knowledge, include the substitutionary baptism of the living for the dead. So much so that they are obsessed with collecting genealogical records, because it is believed that we can be baptized to save our own ancestors who have proceeded us in death. They have the most complete genealogical record of any on earth. They believe in good stewardship and storing up for the future welfare of their families. In fact, “home storage” as it is known, is built into a safe room in many Mormon households, including weapons. This benign organization's members are among the most heavily recruited by the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. It is no mistake why they are now “coming out” as it were, as public figures. They intend to lead and have amassed the gold and guns to fill the gap should our society crumble around our ears. Don't take my word for it, read their own literature websites and blogs. Educate yourself on the White Horse Prophecy. Understand what events they believe must take place for the lot set aside for a temple in Jackson County Missouri to be built and for Christ to return to reestablish temple worship. And then, write to Mr. Beck and ask him if he confirms that the “Holy Spirit” has revealed to him that the book of mormon is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I have done so, repeatedly with no response.
If, after you know the facts you would still like to call Mr. Beck a Christian, then do so. My Mother once told me not to believe all of the bad things other people say about anyone unless I know for myself that they are true. I asked her if I should believe the good things and she told me I should believe them even less. Someone else's opinion, especially someone else who I have never met, means little or nothing regarding issues like this. Mr. Beck seems to be a decent man, I agree with some of what he says and find him entertaining, this does not make him a Christian. Although I probably should accept wholesale the authority of respected Christian teachers regarding the content of another man's character, seeing as how that has worked out so well for us in the past. (George W ring any bells?)