Mormon Worldview

I don’t usually follow the religious views of celebrities but I just learned that Glenn Beck is a Catholic convert to Mormonism (by way of substance abuse and suicidal depression).

Beck was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Mount Vernon.

In 1996, while working for a New Haven area radio station, Beck took a theology class at Yale University, with a written recommendation from Senator Joe Lieberman, a Yale alumnus who was a fan of Beck’s show at the time.[28] Beck enrolled in an “Early Christology” course, but soon withdrew, marking the extent of his post-secondary education.[26][29]

Beck then began a “spiritual quest” in which he “sought out answers in churches and bookstores”.[26] As he later recounted in his books and stage performances, Beck’s first attempt at self-education involved six wide-ranging authors, comprising what Beck jokingly calls “the library of a serial killer”: Alan Dershowitz, Pope John Paul II, Adolf Hitler, Billy Graham, Carl Sagan, and Friedrich Nietzsche.[26][28] During this time, Beck’s Mormon friend and former radio partner Pat Gray argued in favor of the “comprehensive worldview” offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an offer that Beck rejected until a few years later.[26]

In 1999, Beck married his second wife, Tania.[26] After they went looking for a faith on a church tour together, they [26] joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 1999, partly at the urging of his daughter Mary.[30][31] Beck was baptized by his old friend, and current-day co-worker Pat Gray.[26] Beck and his current wife have had two children together, Raphe (who is adopted) and Cheyenne. Until April 2011, the couple live in New Canaan, Connecticut, with the four children.[32][33]

What is the “comprehensive worldview offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”? How does it compare/contrast with that of Catholicism?

Beck does realize that the second baptism means nothing right? If he was raised Catholic then he was baptized as a baby.

For starters, Mormonism denies that there is a transcendent creator God who is the maker of all things visible and invisible, as said in the Creed. Instead Mormonism posits an infinite succession of finite gods who were all originally men. Indeed, Mormonism rejects the idea of anything being created at all but instead posits that “the elements are eternal” (D&C 93:33), in other words, the now-discredited theory of the steady state universe.

There is no satisfactory explanation for the Big Bang in Mormonism. Nor is there a good Mormon explanation for democracy, as there is no Creator in Mormonism from who come inalienable rights, just a series of men who became better than you. Thus, both the Big Bang and the nature of democracy as stated in the Declaration of Independence are compelling arguments against Mormonism.

For that matter, it would be accurate to say that Mormonism is actually atheistic, because its definition of divinity does not posit a transcendent creator God.

But with that said, remember that many Mormons are actually “cafeteria LDS” and are somewhere between Mormonism and Christianity just as many self-proclaimed Catholics are somewhere between Catholicism and Protestantism. For that reason, they may or may not agree with Mormon cosmology, but as far as the official LDS doctrine goes, that’s how it is.

I should have been more precise in my opening post. I’m not so curious about the theology of Mormonism (as interesting as that is) but in its “worldview”, whatever that is. Perhaps it is a function of Mormon theology but a worldview is more about how people view the world and organize their priorities and choose their actions.

For example, Mormons, like Catholics and Orthodox Jews, tend to have large families and to be very family-oriented.

Maybe “comprehensive worldview” means the fact the LDS church tells members what they can and can not do down to very small details, such as what can be drunk, what television can be watched, how dancing is not allowed, etc.? If that is the case, no religion on earth has a more comprehensive worldview than Islam - and I doubt Glenn Beck would like that. (Although I do like some of Glenn Beck’s stuff and have heard very little Mormonism creeping in, which I suppose can be put up to the fact he’s a proselyte - cradle Mormons can’t help but lacing everything they do with veiled LDS theology, as they’re so immersed in it from an early age - for example, pick up any fantasy/sci-fi book by Brandon Sanderson or Orson Scott Card and chances are it has a very noticeably, unsubtle Mormon allegory as a storyline.)

Who knows what it truly means…sounds like a lot of gobbledy-gook really. Mormons view all of mankind as brothers and sisters in the same family. That we existed before we were born, lived with God and had associations with each other BEFORE we were born. When we were born there was a “veil” drawn over our consciousness and sent to Earth. Mormons believe it’s everybody’s ultimate destiny to work their way to the “true church” and that everyone can accept it, it just takes some people more time than others and that some people will not accept the Gospel until after death, yes they believe it’s still possible to convert to the church after death.

I have found it interesting on this site that so much discussion focuses on rarely talked about teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This I believe gives a skewed view of what we focus on and how we see the world. So, let me at least try and give my perspective as a member of the LDS church…

I believe an understanding must begin with pre-earth life. Before we came to earth we had spirit bodies. That we were individuals just as we are today. We were spirit sons and daughters of God. As spirits we chose to be born on earth. We came here to gain a physical body which is a step forward in our eternal progression. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ we will be resurrected and the glory we attain in the next life will be based on how we live here.

Thus we place great importance on remaining faithful while dealing with both the opportunities and challenges of a physical body. Joseph Smith said, "We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 181).

We believe that family is central to the creators plan of happiness for his children. Indeed, we believe that family defines the government of God. If we are faithful, our family will continue on after death.

Thus family is vital to us and we honor it as the most important organization in time and eternity.

In my opinion these two central tenets define much of how we see ourselves and others. It gives us motivation for the future, helps define relationships and how we should live our lives here and now.

You did well in explaining the Mormon world view, IMO

It all goes back to the 3 fold mission of the LDS church

Perfect the saints.
Proclaim the Gospel (as mormons understand it)
Redeem the dead.

That is Mormonism in a nutshell and how they view the reason for life

This is much more in line with what I am seeking here. I am trying to avoid the theology underlying and focus only on how Mormons see the world, themselves, and each other.

Of course, theology is important to that but let’s set theology aside for the moment and just look at this.

How would you contrast the Mormon worldview with the Catholic worldview? What are the most crucial differences? How would you identify Mormons from Catholics in the world if you knew nothing of their religious attendance and their theological beliefs?

The need for their temple, their view of the priesthood and it’s sealing power and being sealed to others in order to be a family forever.

Those who attain the highest level of celestial glory are not single people. They are couples.

How would I tell the difference? Temple garment of Mormons, and adherence to WoW…

Could you elaborate on this?

It gets into their theology.

A man cannot achieve what the call “exhaultation” without a wife and she cant achieve “exhaultation” without a husband.

It’s why think believe that, if Christ was not sealed to some woman in this life, He has been, or will be.

In order to become gods and goddess, kings and queens, priests and priestesses, it has to be done as a couple.

Although not strictly “only” as a couple; the man can actually be sealed to more than one woman.

I don’t know how one can seperate their theology from their world view. Even Janderich’s explanation, which you say is more in line with what you are seeking, begins with the statement “I believe an understanding must begin with pre-earth life. Before we came to earth we had spirit bodies…”

My faith has everything to do with how I view the world, from family, to personal relationships, to how I vote. So I believe that we cannot and should not set aside theology as it forms the basis for our world view.

Without disagreeing, I’m trying to avoid the minefield of theological dispute to get to the more humanistic issues. Let’s just say what I’ve heard of Mormon theology is less than convincing. But they do seem to be reasonably good people, in general.

Of course, faith is a reason and an explanation but faith is more than theology and I want first to understand what is being explained, to work from observable behavior back to theology instead of the other way around. And to see where it first diverges with Catholicism. (For example, if Mormons believed in divorce and remarriage then that would be an observable difference regardless of the theology that explains it.)

Does that make sense?

Ok, this helps. And this is obviously a major distinction with Catholicism. Catholicism values marriage and family but it also values celibate vocations and, arguably, elevates the celibate and single (or married to the Church if you prefer), over the married couple.

But a family is more than a couple (and Mormons, as I mentioned, along with Catholics and Orthodox Jews are known for their big families). How does the couple relate to the family and how does the family relate to the “government of God”?

I would disagree with that in terms of Mormonism. JMO.

Mormons can and do get divorced.

If they want to get re-married (and re-sealed, for they are not the same thing in their view) a woman must first get her “sealing” from her ex undone.

A man does not have to go thru this step. He can be sealed to many women, even if he is not married to them.

Not true for a woman.

Yes it does. Thanks for the explanation. :thumbsup:

Yes, of course, I forgot about polygamy.

So what is the difference between sealing and marriage?

What is exaltation? How does polygamy relate to exaltation? Is exaltation something like salvation or enlightenment?

Marriage for them is a civil and legal situation and ends in death. It is not eternal. It can happen outside the temple and does not need any priesthood authority.

Being “sealed for time and all eternity” can only happen in the temple and only by priesthood authority.

“exaltation” is where the couple, or the man with his multiple wives, has attained the highest level of the Celestial kingdom (there are three levels, and one has had to be baptized LDS, in in this life, or had their proxy temple work done, in order to get into the celestial kingdom in the first place) and become gods in their own right and will continue on with a spiritual procreation for their owns worlds.

You see in Mormon theology that is where we come from. We are literally the spirit children of Heavenly parents. Both a Heavenly Father AND a Heavenly Mother.

Where Christ comes into this is that He is the first born of all of these spirit children born of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. In that way, according to Mormon theology, He is literally our spiritual elder brother.

Again in this way, Lucifer is also literally a spirit child of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, making him not only a brother to Christ in this literal spiritual sense, but also a literaly spiritual brother of all of us.

That is why you cant separate Mormon theology from their faith. It really is all about family, family ties, and linage. It’s why, for them, genealogy work and their temples are paramount in their faith.

It’s the only way to save all these spirit children of Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother.

Let’s break from LDS for a moment and look at a secularist who has a deeply held conviction regarding religion. This secularist believes that religion (Catholicism, LDS, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, Deism, everyone) is responsible for every single war in human history and that world peace will only be achieved if religion is eliminated. This mindset is frighteningly common in the world today.

Let’s say a Southern Baptist strikes up a conversation with this secularist regarding, say, disease in Africa. The secularist and the Baptist agree that there is too much poverty and disease in Africa and that as well-to-do Westerners, all of us have an obligation to do what we can to help. The Baptist tells the secularist that his Baptist church is sending a mission to Africa to help teach work skills to poor people. Then the secularist winces, realizing he’s talking to a Christian, and a missionary one at that.

As it turns out, the Baptist and the secularist have superficially similar goals for solving this problem. However, their motivations are completely different. The Baptist is concerned with the well-being of each poor African and wants to give them all a chance to have a decent education. The secularist wants to reduce the birth rate by shipping condoms and contraception to Africa, essentially concentrating wealth by eliminating the poorest of the poor before they are even conceived.

The difference is entirely a matter of belief. The secularist’s belief regarding religion has him painting the Baptists (and the Catholics) as unnecessarily generating poverty by asserting that the poor have a right to exist. Because he does not believe there is a right to existence, his actions necessarily follow.

Here,* precisely because of its dogma about the pre-mortal existence*, the LDS church is on the side of the secularist. In the LDS view, contraception is permissible because no one is deprived of the right to exist on account of contraception because everyone already exists.

So, these “rarely talked about teachings” of the LDS (or any other religion or belief system) are absolutely vital. It is usually these beliefs that define us at the core of who we are. My belief in God as the ETERNAL Father (and not simply “Heavenly,” i.e. one of many men who supposedly became a god) is central to my belief in the inalienable right to exist, and that right in turn is central to my belief in democracy. As I have explained earlier, if the One who gave those rights to us is not eternal and supreme, but is rather just one god among many, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not truly inalienable.

History bears this out: back when Europe was composed of absolute monarchies, one king would routinely revoke the rights of the subjects of another king. That kind of foolishness lead to war upon war and is the reason why the United States of America declared her independence–on the basis of a transcendent creator God having given to men the inalienable rights I have just described. That belief is rejected by Mormons.

What you believe matters.

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