On Thursday night, Glenn Beck tackled an issue that has come up frequently throughout the 2012 presidential campaign — Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. Prior to the show, the radio and television host invited TheBlaze readers and viewers to submit their questions, as he sought to address the myths that often surround The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Beck, who is also a Mormon, told viewers that his faith is inherent in all that he does. In fact, it is his personal relationship with God that guides his actions and sustains him.
“I do what I do, because of my faith,” Beck told viewers. “Because of my faith, I’m not afraid.”
He also went on to highlight some of the elements that people need to know about his personal faith and its central underpinnings. From a belief in Jesus Christ to the notion that helping one’s fellow man is essential, these values lay at the center of the Mormon experience.
“God lives. We survive. America flourishes,” he continued, listing off the other sentiments that Mormons embrace. “The Messiah came and he will come again. Be good to one another. Give until it hurts. Give to the poor, the hungry and the underprivileged. Obey God. Make a covenant with him. He keeps his word. But be on his side. Don’t try to get him on your side.”
The first issue — or myth, rather — that Beck tackled was polygamy, a marriage that includes more than two individuals. Since there is mass confusion surrounding Mormons and plural marriage, Beck provided in-depth background and historical analysis on the issue. While he explained that Mormons did, indeed, practice polygamy at one point in time, he notes that this dynamic ended 122 years ago and that the church takes a strong stance against it today.
GlennBeck.com has more about Beck’s statements surrounding historical constructs of the former practice:
He explained that in the 1800s, there was massive persecution of Mormons wer driven out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. In Missouri, the governor even issued Executive Order-44 which ordered that all Mormons be exterminated or driven out of the state, resulting in 10,000 Mormons who lived there either being killed or forced to flee. Executive Order-44 wasn’t overturned until 1976. As a result of this persecution, there weren’t many men left. The desire to repopulate played a role in the decision to practice polygamy, but only about 5% did it before the practice came to an end in 1890.
He called polygamy “a perversion of everything we believe in.”
“The media would have nothing more to have Americans believe that anybody who believes what I believe is [Warren Jeffs],” Beck said, referring to a cult leader who is serving a life sentence for having relationships with underage girls.
Contemporary polygamists aren’t Mormons, Beck explained. Watch the host tackle the polygamy issue, below:
Next, he delved into the so-called “magic underwear” discussion. He was, of course, referring to the undergarments that Mormon adherents wear. Many times, this element of the faith is mocked and ridiculed, as non-believers don’t understand the significance and haven’t necessarily been exposed to the reasoning behind wearing the clothing.
“It is to remind us of something very sacred,” Beck explained. “It’s a reminder of the promises we make at the Temple.”
Rather than serving as a secretive and elusive tool, the underwear represent the personal promises that Mormons make to be “faithful, modest, and temperate.”
While it’s not always easy to wear the undergarments, especially when it comes to finding clothing to wear over them, Beck said that the difficulty makes it more sacred and meaningful. Considering the importance of the underwear to the Mormon faith, it also become more painful, the host admitted, when others mock the practice:
Beck also tackled the purported “secretive” activities that unfold in the temple. While many critics have alleged that the church is elusive and that some of the activities are top-secret, Beck made it clear that there’s nothing surprising or startling going on behind closed doors.
“There’s no secret stuff,” Beck explained. “There’s nothing you will find in the temple that you won’t find in the Old or New Testament.”
Marriage and baptism are two of the practices that take place inside Mormon houses of worship — elements that most other Christian denominations can relate to. Beck did delve into “baptism for the dead,” a practice that he said has roots in 1 Corinthians.
See him tackle these subjects, below:
There is also, of course, the question of Mormon missionaries. Beck described the fascinating, two-year trips that young believers make to help spread the faith, while simultaneously embarking on a journey to find themselves.
During this time, young Mormons find themselves “preaching the word and reading the scriptures,” as they go door-to-door to discuss their faith. While sharing an example of a friend’s son who just left for Finland for a mission, Beck encouraged others — regardless of their faiths — to engage in similar experiences.
“He will live the exact opposite of a trophy society. In a culture where ‘I’ve got to go find myself, while spending $50,000 a year and listen to a bunch of liberal Marxist professors at some liberal college…these guys do find themselves,” Beck proclaimed. “Please, do this in your faith. It changes your children…it’s one of the reasons that Mormons are so successful. They know why they are at an early age.”
“It’s not weird to be a Mormon. And it’s not weird to be president if you’re Mormon,” Beck concluded.
This special episode comes as the nation prepares to potentially elect its first Mormon president. While some biases certainly continue to color Romney’s candidacy, the impact appears to be minimal. As we’ve previously reported, November 2011 Pew Research Center results found that, while Romney may have experienced some negative results due to his Mormon faith in the primary race, his general election chances likely won’t be impacted.
Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped anti-Mormon attacks from unfolding in media. Beck’s goal, of course, was to dispel some of the myths that drive and fuel these incidents.