Saturday, October 9, 2010

Glenn Beck, Mormonism, and American Exceptionalism

"The Shining City on a Hill, the New Jerusalem, Manifest Destiny, the Sacred Union, the Great Society, the protector of God’s chosen people" all debunked by Lutheran Aaron D. Wolf — Mormon Apocalypse, Part 1.

"Harsh realities have pulled Christians back from the brink of this idolatry—half a million dead here, a generation lost to a sexual or unitarian revolution there—causing believers to remember that Stone that smashed the idol of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, or that line from Kipling about being one with Nineveh and Tyre," he dares to suggest. "Maybe we’re not so special after all. Or just as special as, say, those Iraqi Christians recently liberated from their homes and churches."

He continues, "Like Rome, America has a religion that supports and guarantees her greatness, one that sacralizes her exceptionalism." What might that religion be? Tolle, lege.

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OpenID danightman said...

Mormons are a mild enough bunch most of the time; something I know from belonging to (and becoming an Eagle Scout in) a Mormon sponsored scout troop.

That said, when you learn of their deeper tenets which deny even monotheism and bring in the idea of "becoming a god," eventually you begin to wonder about all that. I am also wondering what the real history and associations of Joseph Smith were before his alleged revelation.

Methinks there's more of the Masonic temple than the Jewish temple to Mormonism, temple underwear notwithstanding

11:26 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Indeed. Mr. Wolf notes that "they make those heartwarming commercials about family time and other things that interest conservatives,"elaborating:

"Like, say, the threat of communism. Or liberals. Or the 'racist' Barack Obama. Or any other threat to the aforementioned American exceptionalism."

9:56 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Before supposedly being visited by divine beings, Joe Smith was found guilty in court of defrauding people by claiming he had a magic stone which enabled him to find hidden treasure, but nothing more sinister than just being a common con-man. He was relatively young at the time.

Later when he started his church, he became interested in the Masons and joined. Shortly after, Mormon temple ceremonies began to borrow from Masonic ceremonies, though that was about the extent of the Mormonism-Mason connection.

And yes, the Mormon church is very much into American exceptionalism. Missouri, by the way, is where they believe the Garden of Eden is/was located.

11:48 PM  
OpenID danightman said...

Interestingly, I am not the only one that noticed the Freemasonic influence in Mormonism. Wikipedia has a whole article on the subject.

They also have a paragraph on the materialist views of the universe of Joseph Smith (look under "cosmology & theology"). Even spirit was considered matter, and intelligence was a form of matter that simply reorganized as he believed.

Could Mormonism then be considered an Americanized, high "church" form of Freemasonry?

3:13 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Fascinating. I never knew of the links between Mormonism and Freemasonry. I come from Upsate New York, home to both Joseph Smith and the anti-Masonry movement.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Robert Badger said...

The best biography of Mormonism's founder is Fawn M. Brodie's No Man Knows My History. That was the book which lead me to reject Mormonism. It was profoundly shocking, given that the Joseph Smith story I heard growing up as a Mormon, was sanitized considerably. Fawn McKay Brodie was the niece former Mormon church president David O. McKay.

Another biography is Richard Bushman's Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (Knopf, 2005). Unlike the late Fawn McKay Brodie, Bushman is a believer in Mormonism. Brodie was excommunicated for writing her book, but it is such a seminal work that even Bushman references it in his book. Bushman is careful and his writing lacks the majestic sweep of Brodie's.

American exceptionalism is a religious tenet of Mormonism. The Garden of Eden was said to be in Missouri and it is to Missouri that the Latter-Day Saints hope to return at the end times. The settings for the main book of scripture are also set in America.

There is also a Zionist mentality as well. I could say that I was a fairly fierce Zionist. After converting to Catholicism and becoming friends with Catholics of Middle Eastern origin, I had to adjust my worldview.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Robert Badger said...

The temple ceremony is heavily influenced by Freemasonry, though some elements of it have since been removed. Some of the secret handshakes as well as their accompanying signs are taken directly from Masonry or greatly influenced by it. This did not trouble the early Mormons in the least. Heber C. Kimball, an early Mormon leader and a prodigious polygamist 43 wives, claimed that the Mormons possessed the "true Masonry" which had been "lost".

Joseph Smith became a Master Mason. Not long afterwards, he announced that he had received by revelation the endowment which was said to have been associated with the temple of Solomon. He apparently believed in the Solomonic legend of Freemasonry.

Until 1990, temple goers were required to covenant that they would never reveal the signs and tokens of the Mormon priesthood, even at the cost of their own lives. Slashing motions, depicting the ways by which one's life could be taken, (i.e. having one's throat slit or disembowlment) were performed by the temple patrons. These penalties were removed in 1990. I have never been through the temple myself, as I left right before my mission at age 19. I am relying on the testimony of friends who are former Mormons as well as from family who have left.

A site with a wealth of information about this and other topics is It is owned and operated by atheist and former Mormon Richard Packham.

12:56 AM  

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