Recently, the evangelical group Focus on the Family was promoting a certain book, The Christmas Sweater, written by Glenn Beck. In a nutshell, at least from what I can gather from the Amazon summary and other news reports, it's a book about Christmas, God, family values, and redemption. One that seems to be quite popular, and one that seems to be in line with what Focus on the Family might promote.
Unfortunately, it was "outed" that the author, Glenn Beck, was in fact Mormon (gasp). From Beck's web site here, which ultimately leads to the story at Mormon Times, an anti-Mormon group posted a release to Christian News Wire calling Mormonism a cult, saying they were not Christian, and condemning Focus on the Family for not calling attention to the "differences" between Mormonism and Christianity, and therefore implying that Beck is a Christian and promoting the "false religion".
Focus is headquartered not far from here, and I have heard of Mormons who have been denied working there because of their insistence on their employees being Christian and their rejection of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a Christian church. (Might as well "out" myself here as well; I've heard these reports first-hand from members of my own congregation, being a Latter-day Saint myself.) So I suppose this can only be seen as "corrective" action on their part. It's still fairly disappointing, for apparently it reveals them as being more focused on their prejudice against a religion they don't agree with than the message being promoted.
I think the news wire release contains a couple of particularly damning points of these anti-Mormons that I found particularly interesting, in the one paragraph in which they actually reference Mr. Beck.
While Glenn's social views are compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism are not. Clearly, Mormonism is a cult. The CitizenLink story does not mention Beck's Mormon faith, however, the story makes it look as if Beck is a Christian who believes in the essential doctrines of the faith.
I underlined the things that stood out to me. Why do I find these parts so interesting? Well, first off, they fail to take into account that these social views are influenced by the very religion they're attempting to discredit. Likewise, if the story accurately reported on Beck's views (at least as presented in the particular book), and the results of the story are a set of views that "look like the essential doctrines of the faith", well, then, it stands to reason that Beck's beliefs are comparable to "the essential doctrines of the faith".
Are Mormons Christian? We steadfastly believe so. The name of the church — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — directly names Jesus Christ, and we study the Old and New Testaments as sacred books of scripture. The subtitle of the "controversial" book of scripture, the Book of Mormon, is "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". Our weekly sacrament service, as the name implies, centers around the partaking of the sacrament, in memory of the Savior and his sacrifice for us in body and blood. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ. "And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." So from a very simple definition of Christian — a disciple of Jesus Christ — we certainly seem to pass. But for a more scholarly discussion and research, there exists The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, which has collected several articles, talks, and responses to the "you're not Christian" accusation.
In the meantime, I'll continue to follow Christ according to the dictates of my own conscious, love my neighbor, be honest and true to my fellow men, and do my best to be a good husband and a father. If someone thinks that makes me or the church that teaches these principles un-Christian, despite evidences to the contrary, I suppose that's the price of discipleship, but in the end, I'll let God be my judge.
I do have to wonder how Focus on the Family managed to promote this book in the first place. From what I can tell, it didn't seem like Glenn Beck had been hiding his religious affiliation before now, so a very simple bit of fact-checking by Focus's PR department would've revealed this "inconvenient truth" well in advance. Perhaps it was a moment of weakness where they were focused more on the message than the specific religion of the author.