Glenn Beck Tells Fellowship Church America is a Covenant Nation Like Israel

I told you Glenn Beck was going to teach theology at Fellowship Church and he wasted little time doing it.  Watch (at about 4:00 into the full clip available on You Tube):
[youtube]https://youtu.be/MHXMZPgPxWs[/youtube]
Beck told the Baptists:

I have a lot of stuff and very little time. I wanna just kind of go through because its essential that we ask ourselves: who are we? Who are we? Because most people don’t know. And what keeps us going? Again, most people don’t know. We came here for a reason. We are a covenant nation. We are the only ones besides the original state of Israel that made the covenant with God.

The other day in response to Beck’s defense of Ed Young, I asked who is/was the American Moses. Beck says it was George Washington. Speaking of the first president, Beck said Washington was

Down on his knees after the first inaugural address, George Washington made a four hour covenant  with the Lord. We are violating that covenant now. We are the ones that are blowing it.

Washington went to church for a service after the inauguration but I don’t think it lasted four hours.
glennbeckfellowshipThis is classic Latter Day Saint teaching about both history and theology. We’re not in the Bible but America is in the Book of Mormon which is where that teaching comes from.
A couple of years ago, I noted that David Barton had endorsed a book which included this covenant teaching. Beck featured Tim Ballard on his show and raved about the book. Here is what Mormon Tim Ballard says about America as covenant nation.

One of our preeminent examples of one who possessed such innate conviction was George Washington. He declared the following in his first inaugural address as the first president of the United States. His message not only reflects his own understanding of the American Covenant, but that of those who came before him in discovering, settling, and founding the new nation.

[I]t would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States.

Ballard, Timothy (2012-05-16). The Covenant: America’s Sacred and Immutable Connection to Ancient Israel (Kindle Locations 1074-1080). Legends Library. Kindle Edition.

Ballard doesn’t write about a four hour covenant but he adds:

Can there be any doubt that Washington possessed an understanding of the American Covenant and of his associated obligations to the people and to God? As he accepted the presidency, it seems as though he felt the weight of his responsibility within the context of that relationship.
Moments before this address, Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. This “swearing in” ceremony makes the inaugural address even more significant, as it truly portrays our first president in his role as American Covenant-maker. For example, consider the words of the oath of office, which are found in Article II, Section I of the Constitution of the United States: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
The profundity of that promise is revealed as we examine the true nature of the Constitution as national scripture. The Constitution (as will be detailed later) does nothing less than prescribe the formula for securing those American Covenant blessings of liberty, protection, and prosperity. It is but the modern political version of the ancient promise to Joseph found in Genesis 49. In swearing to uphold the Constitution, each president is committing himself and the nation to God and the American Covenant.
Ballard, Timothy (2012-05-16). The Covenant: America’s Sacred and Immutable Connection to Ancient Israel (Kindle Locations 1089-1100). Legends Library. Kindle Edition.

Ballard believes that American colonists were Ephraimites and have a connection to Israel. Mormons have an extremely high regard for the Constitution and consider it divine.
Blogger P.J. Miller calls this heresy and explains it is also popular at the American Family Association. My good friends over at Christ and Pop Culture discuss the broader manifestation of Americanism and address the false teaching that it is.
 
 

Fellowship Church Spokesman Says LDS Doctrine Teacher Glenn Beck's Knowledge of History is Unmatched

UPDATE: Beck defended his appearance; says he won’t teach theology. I dispute that here and note that the LDS believe the founders were redeemed into the church via baptism.
Nicola Menzie’s Christian Post article examined the evangelical megachurch fascination with Glenn Beck, but Fellowship Church’s statement about Beck’s knowledge of history stood out to me.  Unmatched? Unmatched in error perhaps, but I think the clueless spokesman meant it as a compliment. The full quote was Glenn Beck’s:

knowledge of our history and his understanding of our nation is unmatched.

Beck got history wrong (see also this) when he spoke at Liberty University in 2014. He even messed up Mormon history in that talk at the same time he promoted LDS theology in his speech.
As I noted recently, Beck is speaking this coming weekend at Fellowship Church, a Southern Baptist church pastored by Ed Young.
Beck is the Gospel Doctrine teacher at his Mormon church and is about to teach his audience from the Bible next week. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/1pa2kEzpN_A[/youtube]
Menzie’s article did not get comment from Beck on his status with the Mormon church but apparently he has a position teaching doctrine there. You can review the teacher’s manual for the New Testament on the LDS church website. This site gives lessons from the Book of Mormon. The gospel doctrine teacher is to teach the doctrines of the Mormon church, which are outlined here.
Of course, all are free to practice their religion but it appears that celebrity worship is the religion of the modern Christian megachurch.
 
 

Was Glenn Beck Right About Joseph Smith When He Spoke At Liberty University?

When Glenn Beck spoke at Liberty University in April of this year, many alums and other observers were upset that Beck preached a sermon including Latter Day Saint theological concepts. The school and Beck eventually responded to but did not agree with the concerns. Beck was especially bothered and engaged name-calling to defend himself. In addition to the odd pairing of LDS Beck preaching about his religious calling at a Baptist university, Beck’s history caught my eye. In prior posts, I addressed the accuracy of his claims regarding WWII and those who wore the purple triangle in Nazi concentration camps, the Salem witch trials, and the Bibles of British and French monarchs. In this post, I want to address what Beck said about Joseph Smith. In his speech, Beck said at about 15:56 into the video:

Days before Joseph Smith was martyred he was taken out by the sheriff.
They tried to tar and feather him several times. He was taken out by the sheriff and the last time they took him, they said you owe two hundred dollars, I think twenty-five dollars, twenty-five dollars. He said, ‘I don’t owe a man anything.’ He said, ‘No you stole a stove.’ One of the most ridiculous charges I have ever heard. At that time he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket watch. This is his pocket watch that he pulled out. He gave it to the sheriff and said, ‘I owe man nothing.’ They let him go and they killed him. But on the warrant for his arrest, he wrote on the back of his warrant to his people, ‘Put down your guns, no matter what happens, put down your guns. Put down your guns and trust in the Lord.’

Beck is correct that Joseph Smith was accused of not paying for a stove. However, the incident did not take place “days before” Smith was martyred. Instead, Smith was served a warrant on July 27, 1837 (Smith was killed in 1844) to recover the cost of a cooking stove which Smith was trying out. In volume 2 of the History of the Church, page 502, the words of Smith are recorded:

Thursday, 27 [July 1837].–I started from Kirtland in company with Elders Rigdon and Marsh for the purpose of visiting the Saints in Canada. Brother Rockwood on his return home, Elder Brigham Young on a mission to the eastern cities, started with us. When we arrived at Painsville we were detained all day by malicious and vexatious law suits. About sun-set I got into my carriage to return home to Kirtland; at this moment the sheriff sprang into the carriage, seized my lines, and served another writ on me, which was sworn out by a man who had a few weeks previously brought a new fashioned cooking stove to Kirtland, and prevailed on me to put it up in my kitchen, saying it would give credit to his stove, wishing to have it tested by our people; and now he thought would be a good time to get pay for it. I gave my watch to the officer for security and we all returned home.

So the story is correct but incorrectly linked to his martyrdom. The two events have nothing to do with each other.
There are some problems with Beck’s version of Smith’s martyrdom as well. Beck said that Smith signed an arrest warrant with a call upon his followers to “put down their guns and trust the Lord.” There is a historical basis for the story but Beck adds details which make the story misleading. On the trip to Carthage, IL on June 25, 1844, Joseph Smith’s party stopped at the farm of Albert Fellows. On page 555 of volume 6 of the History of the Church, an account is given of an order from the governor regarding the Mormons at Nauvoo:

The company made a halt, when Joseph, Hyrum and several others went into [Albert] Fellows’ house with Captain Dunn, who presented an order from Governor Ford for all the state arms in possession of the Nauvoo Legion, which Joseph immediately countersigned.

The Nauvoo Legion was a militia sanctioned by the state of IL and commanded by Joseph Smith. In Nauvoo on June 10, 1844, at the direction of the Nauvoo City Council, the Legion had destroyed a newspaper which was critical of the Latter Day Saints and declared martial law. Subsequently, Smith and some of his followers were charged with unlawfully destroying the press and his arrest was sought. Furthermore, Governor Ford sought to relieve the militia of their government supplied arms. After evading capture, Smith and several followers surrendered supposedly to be placed in protective custody. On June 27, 1844, Smith was killed in a shoot out with a mob who broke into the jail where he was being held.
Back to the note presented by Captain Dunn. The note was an June 24 order from Ford which read:

You are hereby ordered to comply strictly and without delay with the within order of the commander in chief, Gov. Thomas Ford.

Here is a copy of the document which is in LDS church possession:

According the church history, Smith signed the document but did not write any message to his followers.
In contrast to a message of putting down arms, one Nauvoo Legion member said Smith had given an order to the Nauvoo militia to rescue him but the Jonathan Dunham, the commander, did not heed the order.

And while they were in jail, Brother Joseph wrote an official order to Jonathan Dunham to bring the Legion and reserve him from being killed, but Dunham did not let a single man or mortal know that he had received such orders, and we were kept in the city under arms, not knowing but all was well, until the mob came and forced the prison and slew Joseph and Hyrum Smith and wounded John Taylor severely.

As it turns out, a supporter smuggled in a hand gun to Smith in the jail where he was being held. When the mob stormed the jail, Smith was killed in a shoot out. It doesn’t seem reasonable for him to write what Beck said when he did not completely honor that sentiment himself by giving an order to bring the militia or by having his own weapon. No church source I can find has the quote used by Beck. If Beck has a primary source for that quote, he should make it available.
None of these accounts provide any justification for the martyrdom of the Smiths or for the discrimination demonstrated toward those of LDS faith. The point is only accuracy and fact checking. As with the other claims made at Liberty University, this story had its share of problems as well.
I want to thank a representative of the FairMormon.org website, who helped me put this together. I also consulted the various LDS documents noted above as well as some other LDS sources who wish to remain anonymous.

Is the Latter Day Saint Church a Denomination of Christianity?

Last Friday, Latter Day Saint Glenn Beck told Liberty University students that Mormonism is a Christian denomination. While I focused briefly on the Grand Council reference in the speech, blogger James Duncan referenced Beck’s statement about Latter Day Saints and Christianity in his post on Beck’s speech in Liberty’s chapel.  Beck said:

I share your faith. I am from a different denomination, and a denomination, quite honestly, that I’m sure can make many people at Liberty uncomfortable. I’m a Mormon, but I share your faith in the atonement of the savior, Jesus Christ. In my faith, we have a guy who gave his life for what he believed in. You don’t have to believe it; I’m not asking you to. I’m asking you, “What is it that you believe? Are you willing to give your life?”

Unlike some other speakers who deviate from Liberty’s evangelical affiliations, Beck made a religious claim. It is incredible that Liberty allowed this to be said without any response or disclaimer. Given the enthusiastic response of LU leaders and the student body, I wonder if Beck’s claim is accepted and taught at LU.
Al Mohler addressed the claim that Mormons are members of a Christian denomination. As he points out, the LDS movement began as a rejection of Christianity and a claim that the LDS church had recovered the true Gospel.

Once that is made clear, the answer is inevitable. Furthermore, the answer is made easy, not only by the structure of Christian orthodoxy (a structure Mormonism denies) but by the central argument of Mormonism itself – that the true faith was restored through Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century in America and that the entire structure of Christian orthodoxy as affirmed by the post-apostolic church is corrupt and false.
In other words, Mormonism rejects traditional Christian orthodoxy at the onset – this rejection is the very logic of Mormonism’s existence. A contemporary observer of Mormon public relations is not going to hear this logic presented directly, but it is the very logic and message of the Book of Mormon and the structure of Mormon thought. Mormonism rejects Christian orthodoxy as the very argument for its own existence, and it clearly identifies historic Christianity as a false faith.

As I noted yesterday (and blogger Duncan also demonstrates), Beck spoke from the foundation of his Latter Day Saint theology. About that theology, Mohler wrote:

The major divisions within Christian history (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) disagree over important issues of doctrine, but all affirm the early church’s consensus concerning the nature of Christ and the Trinitarian faith. These are precisely what Mormonism rejects.
Without doubt, Mormonism borrows Christian themes, personalities, and narratives. Nevertheless, it rejects what orthodox Christianity affirms and it affirms what orthodox Christianity rejects. It is not Christianity in a new form or another branch of the Christian tradition. By its own teachings and claims, it rejects that very tradition.

LDS founder Joseph Smith clearly taught that his angelic visitors told him that none of the denominations of Christianity were correct. From Smith’s writings 1:19-20:

18 My object in going to ainquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
 19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those bprofessors were all ccorrupt; that: “they ddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the fcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpower thereof.”
 20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.

Some of the silence in response to Beck’s claims may be due to the endorsement of David Barton. Barton has claimed that Beck is a Christian who identifies as a Mormon out of loyalty.  Also, some of the silence may be due to the fact that Beck donated money to Liberty and promised to do more.
In any case, from both an orthodox Christian and the historic LDS perspective, the case for the LDS church being a denomination of orthodox Christianity isn’t credible.
 
 

More Mormon Teaching on Certain Americans as Sons of Joseph

In this video by Ryan Fisher, you get a pretty clear description of what Mormons believe about America being a promised land. Member of the First Quorum of Seventy Bruce Porter tells how Ephraim (the British and other Europeans) came to America and reunited with Manasseh (Native Americans). What I don’t understand is why Ephraim wiped out his brother Manasseh (both sons of Joseph), which is what you would have to believe if you agree with this teaching.

This is the same teaching one can find in Timothy Ballard’s book The Covenant and endorsed by David Barton.
Related posts:
Author endorsed by David Barton claims founding of America was prophesied in Genesis
The Covenant: A Mormon Mission Tool?
Book endorsed by David Barton claims American colonists were Ephraimites

The Covenant: A Mormon Mission Tool?

Yesterday, I posted a reaction to The Covenant by Timothy Ballard. It was of interest to me initially because David Barton endorsed it in a manner that indicates he believes America entered a covenant with God when the first settlers came here.  Ballard believes that God signaled that covenant in Genesis 49 via a prophecy about Joseph. According to Ballard, American are descended from Joseph through Ephraim and therefore have a right to consider America a nation in covenant with God.
In reading through the book, I had the impression that Ballard’s book was an effort to communicate Latter Day Saint (Mormon) teachings without directly appealing to Mormon sources of authority (e.g., Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants). The use of Herbert Armstrong as an authority with the label Christian also made me think that Ballard is not an evangelical. Apparently, there is more of a deliberate effort to conceal the Mormon influence than I first thought.
According to two Mormon sources, Ballard is distancing himself from his first book, a two-volume set called The American Covenant. This first work was designed for a Mormon audience and is still being distributed by Deseret Book Company, a Mormon publishing house.
According to one of the sources, who claims to be a friend of Ballard, the new book which I wrote about yesterday was designed to be a missionary tool with the references to Mormon sources cut out.

I have read both books. I am great friends with the author Timothy Ballard, and he is a phenomenal researcher. I must let you know that “The American Covenant” was written for the LDS audience, and his newest book “The Covenant” promoted on the Glenn Beck programs was written for those outside of the Church. Also, Tim is encouraging many to read “The Harbinger” by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, because that book and it’s message also talks and teaches about this same great “Covenant” the God has made with America, and the condemnation that we are under for not keeping our part of that “Covenant.”
Tim’s first book that was released last October of 2011 was read by Elder Ballard. After reading the book Elder Ballard asked for Tim to meet with him. He did so, for a three hour visit. Elder Ballard said “that every American needs to read this great book, and counseled Tim to write another copy without the LDS doctrine in it for the main stream, and that through that endeavor it will become a missionary tool.” Tim complied, and the doors have been opening up for him. I promise you and everyone else you will not be disappointed, and these works will help wake up those that are in slumber. Tim also teaches what we must do as a Nation to renew that Covenant before it’s too late, and the full judgements come upon us!

I assume that “Elder Ballard” (who apparently is no kin to Timothy Ballard) is Apostle M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As I understand it, this is the highest level of authority in the LDS church. If this quote is accurate, then it appears that the LDS church hierarchy is behind the effort to use the book and the arguments in it to convert others to LDS faith.
The stealth aspect of avoiding LDS labels is supported by this post by a LDS blogger and talk show host, Candace Salima.  In 2011, Salima interviewed Ballard about the Mormon version of his book and posted the videos on You Tube. However, when Ballard went on the Glenn Beck Show in May, 2012, he asked that the interviewed by removed from You Tube. Salima reluctantly agreed but her reaction suggests she was not happy about it.
On May 17, 2012, Glenn Beck interviewed Ballard about the new version without reference to Mormon scriptures. On May 22, a commenter on Salima’s blog asked her why the You Tube videos had been removed. Salima answered:

Mr. Ballard insisted I remove it. He doesn’t want any LDS references tied to his new book. I wasn’t happy with it, but went ahead and honored his request. Needless to say, I will not be interviewing him again.

In answer to another commenter who questioned the removal, Salima added,

It does, and saddens me. I feel Mr. Ballard’s first book was amazing and I’m glad I have a copy of it. I believe it’s being removed from everywhere, which is a shame.

Despite the efforts to obscure the missionary effort, there is at least one source left on the web where the Mormon basis for the theories in the book is clearly demonstrated. Ballard published an article dated October 30, 2012 in the LDS Meridian magazine which cites the Book of Mormon extensively.
To summarize, The Covenant may indeed be a kind of ruse; an effort to expose people to Mormon doctrines in a manner which isn’t apparent. Taking advantage of socially conservatives’ fear and concern about the direction of the nation, the book offers a nationalistic solution based on a tendentious reading of the Old Testament. If the quote on the LDS discussion board is accurate, then the effort goes to the highest levels of the church.
David Barton may not have known about this effort but he has become involved in this ruse via his endorsement.
 

You can’t make this stuff up: South Carolina endorsements for Rick Santorum

If I wanted to write a parody of an anti-gay, Mormon-baiting news release, I couldn’t do a better job than this real one from three South Carolina fundamentalists claiming to be evangelicals and to speak for evangelicals.

Some money lines:

  • Days before Saturday’s GOP Presidential primary here, there are signs that South Carolina evangelical Protestant leaders are starting to follow the lead of peers in Iowa and Houston who have rejected Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in favor of Rick Santorum, a Catholic. The driving thrust of the evangelical argument: Homosexuality.
  • Mills said, “The Word of Almighty God, from the Books of Moses to those of the Apostle Paul, commands faithful Jews and Christians to be homophobic. Carolinans have a God-fearing homophobia, while Mitt Romney wrongly endorses homosexuality as a good choice for our young people.
  • Rev. Mills said, “Because Rick Santorum was willing to sign this wonderful Iowa vow last summer while Romney was calling for more gay hiring and other silly liberal things that Massachusetts RINOs embrace, I’d say Senator Santorum has proven himself a courageous Catholic Christian whom any Bible-believing Jew, Protestant or evangelical can support. He does not drink the anti-science Kool-Aid to the effect that homosexuality is inherited and immutable like fingerprints.
  • [Endorser Molotov] Mitchell said, “Mitt Romney is kind of like the RINO country club hetero version of Dan Savage, and in his own vacuous way, far more dangerous to hetero-traditionalism. I hope Santorum makes a big splash on Romney’s empty suit this Saturday.”
  • Rev. Mills said, “Romney’s liberal support for homosexuality is not only at doctrinal odds with traditional Judaism and Christianity, it’s even at odds with latter-day cults like Islam and Mormonism. As an evangelical pastor, my core problem with Romney is not necessarily with the fact that he has been an elder in the cult of Mormonism – which holds that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that we have a Heavenly Father and Father and that Jesus is the created brother of Satan – but rather, that Romney rejects traditionalist Mormon stands as well as basic Judeo-Christian stands against homosexuality in favor of a cluelessly-liberal, anti-family public policy.

 

The “wonderful” marriage vow referred to above that Santorum signed was the one that initially said, “Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-­American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-­parent household than was an African-­household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.”

Those familiar with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill might remember Molotov Mitchell. He is the friend of Martin Ssempa who misled his audiences with falsehoods about the scope of the bill and offered his support for passage of the legislation.

I wonder if Rick Santorum will tout this endorsement…

Alan Osmond channels NARTH

One member of the very talented Osmond family has taken up homosexuality as an interest. Huffington Post today posted about an article on Osmond’s website as if the article was a recent one. However, apparently it was posted in July.  And the piece was not actually written by Osmond, but by Dean Byrd, NARTH board member and past-president in 1999.
In this article that Osmond quotes as an authority, Byrd wrote:

Other researchers note treatment success rates that exceed 50 percent, which is similar to the success rates for treating other difficulties.

Really? One of the studies that quoted a 50% cure rate was reported in 1967 by Harvey Kaye and the Society for Medical Psychoanalysis. However, Dr. Kaye recently told me that the study was wrong and discredited.
Despite dwindling influence among professionals (the recent conference in AZ only drew 70-80 people), NARTH continues to find support among lay people such as here in the case of Osmond. Since NARTH is mostly lay people, I guess that makes sense.

David Barton again defends Glenn Beck as a Christian

David Barton is feeling the criticism from Worldview Weekend founder Brannon Howse. Today, Barton responded to some of those criticisms as he framed them.
Howse is particularly concerned that David Barton’s partnership with Glenn Beck leads Christians to believe that Beck is a Christian or that Mormonism is just a form of Christianity.
Barton’s approach was to call Beck a Christian because Beck says that Jesus is his savior and redeemer  and point to Beck’s deeds to validate his faith. You can read essentially what Barton claimed on the air here on his Facebook page.
This post is mostly news with little analysis but I will say that Mormon and Christian theology about Christ is different and Mormons speak very similar words as do Christians when it comes to Christ. It appears that Barton is not aware of this or does not want to explore this in any depth. He seems to have no problem with Mormonism’s use of the Book of Mormon as Scripture and assumes that because Mormons also use the Bible, they are speaking the same confession.
A bit more of an aside: Given the way Barton treats history, I am not surprised that he treats theology in a similar manner.
Barton doesn’t “care what the label is” he is trying to influence policy which makes it fine. In the SevenMountain teaching of taking dominion over the mountains of culture, personal redemption is less important than societal salvation. Even if Beck is a Mormon, it is appropriate for Christians to recommend him and promote him because he is helping the Christians take over the cultural mountains.
Near the end of the program, Barton addresses the charges of dominionism. He dismisses dominionism, the New Apostolic Reformation, and reconstructionism as terms he doesn’t know.
Barton and Green revealed that Howse’s criticisms are having an impact in that Barton’s supporters are calling and writing about them.
Generally, I don’t like to make a big deal out of religious differences when it comes to how you treat people and how we all need to get along despite our differences. Here, however, Barton is again calling on people to obscure obvious distinctions as if they are not real. He does it in history and he is also doing it over these theological differences.

Michael Bailey reacts to “blatant misquotation” on LDS website by Byrd, Cox and Robinson

Researching sexual orientation and health and mental health correlates, I came across a reference to Michael Bailey’s 1999 commentary on the topic in a book review by Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox and Jeffrey Robinson. The way Dr. Bailey was quoted had him saying things that I did not think he believed. I sent the link to him and asked him if the way he was quoted accurately communicated his views. Baliey’s response is below and as I thought, indicates that he was not quoted properly. First, let me provide some background.

In 2004, the book In Quiet Desperation: Understanding The Challenge Of Same-gender Attraction by Fred & Marilyn Matis, and Ty Mansfield was published by Deseret Book, a publisher owned by the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) church. About the book, the publisher says,

Most likely, someone you know is living a life of quiet desperation, struggling with feelings of same-gender attraction. In an effort to help Latter-day Saints understand and reach out to those who suffer from this difficulty, Fred and Marilyn Matis discuss how they’ve dealt with the knowledge of their son Stuart’s challenge with same-gender attraction, and how parents and others can reach out with love. In addition, Ty Mansfield discusses his own challenge and how he continues to go forward with faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “The Lord promised that he will change our hearts, but he didn’t say when,” writes Mansfield. “He never promised it would happen in mortality. He only said it would happen.”

Here is a video news clip of the authors describing their hope for their book.

This is gut wrenching to watch. I could write an entire post just sorting through these stories in the context of the LDS church (in fact, there will be additional posts on this topic). For now, I offer this information as context for understanding why NARTH past-president Dean Byrd, Brigham Young University Social Work professor, Shirley Cox, and private practitioner, Jeff Robinson quoted Michael Bailey’s work on mental health and homosexuality.

Even though the In Quiet Desperation authors advocate living faithfully as LDS adherents, Byrd et al wrote a sharply critical review in 2005 of the book, published on a website dedicated to defending Mormonism (FAIR -Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research).

Titled “A Slippery Slope that Limits the Atonement,” the review is a harsh rebuke of the authors and the publisher. They begin:

While we, the authors of this review, are critical of the content and message of In Quiet Desperation, we want to be clear that we do not place all of the blame for any harmful effects the book may have on the shoulders of the Matises and Ty Mansfield. Indeed, In Quiet Desperation is symptomatic of the confusion about same-sex attraction commonly had throughout society. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not immune to such confusion.

Specifically, because the In Quiet Desperation authors are realistic about the prospects of sexual reorientation, Byrd et al condemn their work and message.

Byrd et al also fault the In Quiet Desperation authors for recognizing the negative effects of social pressure and stigma on the mental health of gays. Even though the Matises’ son demonstrated evidence of stigma and self-hatred, was clearly depressed and committed suicide, Byrd et al attacked the concept that stigma can lead to emotional problems. This is the context for their misrepresentation of Michael Bailey’s views.

Byrd et al criticize Ty Mansfield’s views on stigma as follows:

Much of the difficulty with homosexual challenges, Mansfield places on a homophobic society (p.128). He notes:

* The negative rhetoric voiced in society (p. 189).

* The bias or ignorance in society (p. 195).

* The closed-minded society (p. 221).

Readers should be aware that the above statements can be frequently found on gay activist Web sites. While Mansfield and others suggest that society’s view of homosexual men and women is a causative factor in their resulting mental illnesses, such does not appear to be the case. There is a high correlation between engaging in homosexual practices and a greater than normal risk of suffering from mental illness including suicidality, anxiety disorders and clinical depression.12 While one might suggest that society’s view of homosexual men and women is a determining factor in their mental illnesses, such does not seem to be the case since the study was duplicated in The Netherlands with the same results,13 and The Netherlands is arguably the most gay-affirming country in the world!

Activist researcher J. Michael Bailey offered other hypotheses: “homosexuality represents a deviation from normal development and is associated with other such deviations that may lead to mental illness,” or “the consequences of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation” leads to mental illness or “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity” leads to mental illness.14

Reading this passage, one could come away thinking that Dr. Bailey believes “other hypotheses” are superior to the one involving stigma. One might also think that Bailey believes certain sexual practices lead directly to poorer mental health outcomes among gays. (It is worth pointing out that no one in the book In Quiet Desperation advocates or apparently lived or lives a promiscuous life.) When Bailey examined how his work had been cited, he reacted as follows:

I was dismayed to read Byrd, Cox and Robinson’s summary of my views. In the context of a debate about the reasons for higher rates of mental illness among homosexual individuals, Byrd et al cites me as “offering” several hypotheses other than the increased stigmatization of homosexual people. It is unfortunate and misleading that they did not indicate that I discussed some versions of the hypotheses they mention alongside the stigma hypothesis. I was noncommittal about the merits of the hypotheses, because the required scientific research had not been conducted (and still hasn’t for the most part). I concluded: “it would be a shame—most of all for gay men and lesbians whose mental health is at stake—if sociopolitical concerns prevented researchers from conscientious consideration of any reasonable hypothesis.” But I also wrote: “It would indeed be surprising if antihomosexual attitudes were not part of the explanation of increased suicidality among homosexual people, but this remains to be demonstrated.”

One of Byrd et al’s out-of-context quotations is so egregiously wrong that it amounts to a blatant misquotation. They suggest that I believe that “behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality such as receptive anal sex and promiscuity leads to mental illness.” I do not. I brought up receptive anal sex and (relative) promiscuity as factors that help explain increased rates of HIV infection among gay men. I said explicitly that it was unclear how these could help explain the increased rates of suicidality and depression among homosexual people. I favor open debate on controversial issues, including those related to sexual orientation. But constructive debate depends on responsible, accurate reporting of facts (and facts include what other people actually said and meant). In these remarks Dean Byrd, Shirley Cox and Jeff Robinson fail to live up to these requirements. For those interested in what I really said, please see the actual article that Byrd et al mischaracterize.

In fact what Michael Bailey says in his article about the stigma hypothesis is the following:

Consider first the idea that increased depression and suicidality among homosexual people are caused by societal oppression. This is an eminently reasonable hypothesis. Surely it must be difficult for young people to come to grips with their homosexuality in a world where homosexual people are often scorned, mocked, mourned, and feared, and there is considerable anecdotal evidence that the “coming out” process is emotionally difficult. The hypothesis would be strengthened by findings that issues related to self-acceptance, or acceptance by others, often trigger homosexual people’s depressive and suicidal episodes. Furthermore, homosexual people should not, by this model, be more suicidal than heterosexual people in reaction to stressors of equal magnitude. It would indeed be surprising if antihomosexual attitudes were not part of the explanation of increased suicidality among homosexual people, but this remains to be demonstrated.

And then as Bailey notes, Byrd et al really distorts his meaning regarding lifestyle differences. In the 1999 commentary, Bailey writes:

Another possible explanation is that increased psychopathology among homosexual people is a consequence of lifestyle differences associated with sexual orientation. For example, gay men are probably not innately more vulnerable to the human immunodeficiency virus, but some have been more likely to become infected because of 2 behavioral risk factors associated with male homosexuality: receptive anal sex and promiscuity. It is unclear how an analogous model would account for homosexual people’s increased rates of suicidality and depression…

In my opinion, Byrd, Cox and Robinson owe Bailey an apology and a retraction. Here I have only dealt with the misrepresentation of Bailey’s views. According to this rebuttal by Ty Mansfield, the entire review is a lengthy misrepresentation of his book. And I am not the only one who believes Byrd et al have done an injustice to this book and to the science of sexual orientation. Other LDS authors have also weighed in on the matter and in a post to come this week, I will review their critique of Byrd et al’s treatment of In Quiet Desperation.

And it is not the first time…