Apprising Ministries began our coverage in What’s Up With Liberty Universary where I told you that Mitt Romney, a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) was to address Liberty University (LU) graduates at the 2012 Commencement ceremony this past Saturday, May 12.

You also saw that another practicing Mormon, Glenn Beck, gave the Commencement last year, which struck me as a little odd for LU. Especially when we’re told we have “the largest Christian university in the world,” with a “vision to train Champions for Christ,” hosting “some of the world’s best-known Christian speakers.”

LU also boasts “a solid doctrinal statement” while claiming it “promotes a lifestyle of Biblical morality” and everything that’s done there “is designed to develop Christ-centered men and women.”[1] Be that as it may, initially there was a bit of controversy with students at LU surrounding this decision to have Romney speak.

In their April 23rd story Liberty University responds to Romney controversy, angers online students CNN reporters Dan Merica and Laura Bernardini told us about:

a brewing controversy over the fact that the evangelical school has selected Mitt Romney, a Mormon, to speak at the school’s graduation.

In a statement from Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., the school says that the complaints have significantly died down and that many of those complaining “had no affiliation with the university.”

“We have also noticed over the last few days that students with reservations about Romney’s appearance at Liberty basically fit into one of two categories,” Falwell, Jr. wrote. “They were either strong supporters of other candidates who were seeking the Republican nomination or they were online students who were not as familiar with Liberty University’s traditions.” (source)

Apparently the decision to have Romney at LU ignited a bit of a Facebook war, which can get pretty nasty:

After last week’s announcement, hundreds of comments were registered under the announcement on Liberty’s Facebook page. While some were supportive of the decision to invite Romney, a number of respondents were angered and posted their frustration to Facebook… the announcement was [later] deleted from the page, along with all the comments…

According Johnnie Moore, vice president of executive projects and spiritual programs, the post was removed because “people who had no affiliation with the university were using our Facebook page to air their grievances and to engage in conversations that violated our policies with regard to social media etiquette.”

“We just decided to eliminate the post all together rather than let our page be the place where these arguments were taking place,” Moore wrote in an e-mail to CNN. “With regard to our students, the university has a number of channels for our students and constituents to express feedback, and that feedback is attended to by Liberty staff who have input in, and understanding of, the university’s operations and decision making.” (source)

Merica and Bernardini also told us the other side of the story was shared by “Janet Loeffler, a 53-year old freshman at Liberty who takes classes online.” According to Loeffler, “a frequent poster to the Facebook page,” it:

was the statement about online students familiarity with Liberty’s traditions that she says deeply offended her. “It is just a complete lie. You cannot get through your first semester at Liberty Online without taking their Theology 101 and Apologetics 101,” Loeffler said.

Loeffler provided CNN with a copy of the page in the freshman textbook “The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics” which includes a number of passages on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called Mormons. “Mormon doctrine stands in stark contrast to Jewish and Christian monotheism,” reads the passage, “which teaches that there is only one true God and that every other ‘God’ is a false god.”

Liberty’s handling of the situation “has very much altered my thinking of Liberty,” Loeffler said. “I haven’t registered for my fall classes yet because of it. I am offended that they would talk to us like that, telling us that we just don’t understand.”

Many of the anti-Liberty comments, including Loeffler’s charged that Mormonism goes against the teachings of the school and claimed that the religion is a cult. (source)

Well, the LU students are correct; Mormonism was classified as a non-Christian cult many, many years ago. In closing this, for now, in his day Dr. Walter Martin (1928-1989), author of the classic textbook The Kingdom of the Cults, was a universally recognized expert in the field of Comparative Religion and non-Christian cults.

Particularly those cults having their origins in the United States, such as Mormonism. In defining a religious cult Dr. Martin wrote:

A cult, then, is a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith, particularly the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ.[2]

Martin classified Mormonism as a non-Christian cult because:

The Savior of Mormonism, however, is an entirely different person, as their official publications clearly reveal. The Mormon “Savior” is not the second person of the Christian Trinity,… Mormons reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and he is not even a careful replica of the New Testament Redeemer.

In Mormon theology, Christ as a preexistent spirit was not only the spirit brother of the devil(as alluded to in The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4, and later reaffirmed by Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, 13:282), but celebrated his own marriage to “Mary and Martha, and the other Mary,” at Cana of Galilee, “whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified” (Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 4:259; 2:82)…[and] the Mormon concept of the Virgin Birth alone distinguishes their “Christ” from the Christ of the Bible.[3]

You can read the text of Mitt Romney’s speech right here; and stay tuned, it seems there may be more to this story…

End notes:

[1], accessed 5/14/12.

[2] Walter Martin, The Rise Of The Cults [Santa Ana: Vision House, 1980] , 11, 12, italics his.

[3] Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the CultsRavi Zacharias, Gen. Ed. (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2005), 252, emphasis mine .

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