James Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry has pulled from its CitizenLink Web site an article about talk show host Glenn Beck's book "The Christmas Sweater" after some complained that Beck's LDS faith is a "cult" and "false religion" and shouldn't be promoted by a Christian ministry.
When contacted Friday, a Focus on the Family worker at the ministry in Colorado Springs, Colo. confirmed that the article had been pulled at this link and read a prepared statement for callers who had called about the Beck article:
"You are correct to note that Mr. Beck is a member of the Mormon church, and that we did not make mention of this fact in our interview with him. We do recognize the deep theological difference between evangelical theology and Mormon theology, and it would have been prudent for us at least to have pointed out these differences. Because of the confusion, we have removed the interview from CitizenLink."
All other questions about the controversy were directed to a ministry media spokesman who would not be available until Jan. 2. Calls to Beck's offices Friday went unanswered. A link to the story still remained on the Front Page of www.glennbeck.com.
Apparently, the controversy was fueled on Dec. 22, when an anti-Mormon group called Underground Apologetics issued a release through Christian News Wire which read:
"Focus on the Family has a story on Glenn Beck, a Mormon, on their CitizenLink Web site. Glenn Beck was a CNN host and will move to Fox News in January. Beck is currently promoting his book, 'The Christmas Sweater.' The CitizenLink story focuses on Beck's faith and why he wrote 'The Christmas Sweater.'
"While Glenn's social views are compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism are not. Clearly, Mormonism is a cult. The CitizenLink story does not mention Beck's Mormon faith, however, the story makes it look as if Beck is a Christian who believes in the essential doctrines of the faith.
"Through the years, Focus on the Family has done great things to help the family and has brought attention to the many social ills that are attacking the family.
"However, to promote a Mormon as a Christian is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ. For Christians to influence society, Christians should be promoting the central issues of the faith properly without opening the door to false religions."
Underground Apologetics president Steve McConkey said in an interview that he had not read Beck's book, but understood its message. He felt that the work was suspect based on what he understands about Beck's faith. McConkey said he had not asked Dobson's ministry to remove the article from its site.
The Mormon Media Observer contacted Karla Dial. identified as a freelance reporter living in Colorado Springs, and received an e-mail response that said:
"I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment on that in any forum, but thanks for asking."
Because the offending article is no longer available at citizenlink.org, the Mormon Media Observer is reprinting it in its entirety from an archived record. Here is also a link to an Amazon.com video about the book.
Friday Five: Talk-Show Host Glenn Beckby Karla Dial, guest reporter 'If it wasn't for the gift that the Lord gave to me, I'd be dead today.' For nearly a decade, Glenn Beck has been spreading the conservative political gospel through his syndicated radio program, The Glenn Beck Show, and has done the same as the host of his call-in television program on CNN since 2006. He'll move to the Fox News Channel in January.
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