Mormon Student Refuses To “Step on Jesus.”

We have reached an interesting time in our society when we get most of our news from social media. I was combing through my facebook feed and noticed someone had posted a headline reading, “FAU student says he was suspended for not ‘stepping on Jesus.’I thought to myself, “What crazy, liberal garbage is this?” I am a sucker for crazy, liberal garbage. As is my custom, I found a couple of resources reporting on the same story. I like to see what multiple sources report as there is always more information to be found with more research.

After reading the reports and watching the interview of the student, I just had to call it as I see it. I left this comment on the CBS12 News page which reported the story.

Coward. Dr. Deandre Poole would never dare to do that with Muhammad’s name on a piece of paper. If Florida Atlantic University really wants to engage in open discourse, then part of that discourse is to disagree.

I am a very vocal critic of the Mormon Church but, Ryan Rotela should not have been suspended for exercising his first amendment rights.

Others have responded to my comment, some in favor of my position, some against it and others who took issue with my comment about being a very vocal critic of the Mormon Church. I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I want to address the story.

As I mentioned in my first comment, Dr. Poole is a coward. If, as the University stated in its response to the news story, they are really interested in, “dialoguing and debating sensitive material,” why not stomp on Muhammad’s name? Or, for the non-religious folks, let’s write the name of our mother on a sheet of paper and stomp on that.

Yes, I understand that it is only a piece of paper, but let’s face it, stomping on something like this is a sign of disrespect. The university and professor know this, otherwise the name of Jesus would never have been chosen as a target. I don’t think this would have even been a story if the students were instructed to stomp on the name “Hitler.”That is also why the name “Muhammad” was not chosen. They didn’t want too much of a story. I am sure the professor is looking for discussion, but I’d also be willing to bet he isn’t looking for death threats.

Here is what I don’t understand. Obviously, the professor made his point with the students, whatever that was, but why should a student be suspended from that class for refusing to stomp on a piece of paper? Ryan Rotela not only confronted Dr. Poole, but he also went up the chain of authority and that is what got him suspended. Why?

Was the purpose of the lesson to open up communication on sensitive topics and how symbols are important or was the lesson a command to stomp on Jesus? If the point is the former, then the goal was reached. But, as one person responded to my comment on the news page, if the student, “flunked for not doing the course material,” then we have a bigger problem which needs to be addressed. Why would course material require students to infringe upon their own first amendment rights? Like I said above, not only is this garbage crazy and liberal, it is crazy-liberal.

Now, for my Mormon readers, the only reason I included in my original comment that I am a very vocal critic of the LDS Church is because I wanted people to understand that even though I disagree with Mormonism, I believe that Mormons have the right to believe whatever they want. As American citizens, they hold the same rights and privileges as any other American. What was done to Ryan Rotela was wrong.

I commend Mr. Rotela for his actions and hope that he receives his much deserved apology. No one should have their first amendment rights stripped from them in the name of “dialogue.”

***UPDATE***

A blog reader has provided me with a link to a follow-up story. It looks like Dr. Poole and the University have responded to the story. Dr. Poole claims to be a “very religious Christian.” The video interviews Chris Robe, the president of the faculty union, who defends the exercise as a means to, “discuss the symbolic weight that it (the word “Jesus”) has behind it.” The article mentions that this lesson has been taught for 30 years. I find it very interesting that this story allows the teacher to defend his position, yet there is absolutely ZERO information on why the student was suspended from class. Why doesn’t the University address THAT? I’d be willing to bet that in the 30 years this exercise has been done, no one was ever suspended for not complying. And they wonder why this has drawn national attention. Clueless.

27 Thoughts on “Mormon Student Refuses To “Step on Jesus.”

  1. Keith, it’s hard to believe that something like what happened in that classroom could
    take place in America .You mentioned being a “critic of the Mormon church ” . It’s
    important to remember that MormonISM is the problem , not the Mormon people, so
    thanks for making that distinction . The Mormon people are a decent people who are
    striving to serve God but they have been detoured by men who have attempted to
    mimic Jesus’ apostles and thus have been able to mislead sincere people into
    embracing another gospel [Gal.1:8]. . All of us have been warned in advance that
    men like this will come in the latter days —Matt 24:11 ; Mark 13:22-23

  2. “Dr. Deandre Poole would never dare to do that with Muhammad’s name on a piece of paper.” One reason would be that a pretty good chunk of the student body is Muslim, and the work riot comes to mind. I live LITERALLY next door to FAU and scores of Muslim students live in my complex. Most are Turks, but with a large mosque bordering the south side of our property, most of the westerners who live around me are a bit uneasy. Claudia and I, however, use this as a witnessing opportunity. I can tell you, from doing evangelism on the FAU campus, the name of Jesus isn’t very highly esteemed there among ANY of the students. It’s sad when the “nearest thing” (but actually not, of course) I see to Christianity around the FAU campus is the few LDS kids I see going into Institute early in the morning when I’m out jogging (another opportunity). Knowing the local culture, I was not shocked at this incident — enraged yes, shocked no.

  3. Bev Clark on April 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm said:

    If this has been going on for 30 years, there should follow up on the past studentss experiences. Is there anyone to testify if everyone always complied, and if not, how they were treated?

  4. Even though some of you do not think Mormons are Christians, it took someone who knows and understands Jesus, like this Mormon knows and understands Jesus, to stand up to this kind of insult, putting the other Christians in the class to shame.

    • Fred,
      You are making an unfounded assumption. One of the reports I read stated that others in the class refused to step on the sheet of paper also. We have no idea if these other folks were Christians, Mormons or even atheists.

      • fred on April 5, 2013 at 9:12 am said:

        Even though Mormons are not your brand of Christians, it took a Mormon to complain to the teacher’s bosses that it was wrong. Moreover, this training had been going on for 30 years.

        • Fred,
          Surely you are not suggesting that Ryan Rotela was the first Mormon in 30 years to take this class.

          • fred on April 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm said:

            No, but given the few number of LDS in Florida compared to the large number of what you define as Christians, I would say that the ratio is one out of a few compared to none out of many.

  5. Fred,
    Why is it that I post a blog to commend a Mormon and then you use it to bash on Christians?

    • Keith,
      Did you notice that by making your reply as a new comment, instead of as a reply to what I said, your email made it look like my statement was in reply to something else then what I was commenting on.

      ++++from your email+++
      Keith commented on Mormon Student Refuses To “Step on Jesus.”.

      in response to evidenceministries:

      We have reached an interesting time in our society when we get most of our news from social media. I was combing through my facebook feed and noticed someone had posted a headline reading, “FAU student says he was suspended for not ‘stepping on Jesus.’I thought to myself, “What crazy, liberal garbage is this?” I [...]

      Fred,
      Why is it that I post a blog to commend a Mormon and then you use it to bash on Christians?

      Reply Comments
      +++++++

      • Fred,
        I know, but that is because of the limitation of WordPress. When I went to respond to your comment, there was no reply option so I had to go up one level and respond. I don’t know why this happens, but it seems to be when people keep reply to each other. I’ll have to look into it.

  6. (Why is it that I post a blog to commend a Mormon and then you use it to bash on Christians?)

    Keith,
    I was not Bashing Christians; I was questioning the teacher’s authority from who you have accepted your very narrow definition as to what a Christian is.

    Why do you and they have any authority to define “Christians”?

    fred

    • Steve on April 8, 2013 at 10:08 pm said:

      Keith is quite capable of replying but I’d like to add my $.02. I don’t know what is in a man’s heart, and I’m not the one that will judge anyone when that time has come. But would you agree that the term “Christian” means someone who attempts to follow the teachings of Christ? The issue that I have with the Mormon Church is that so much is taught by them that was not taught by Christ. For example, Jesus never taught that people should be married in temples. But that is a big part of Mormon Doctrine and essential for Exaltation, which is another non-Christian doctrine. There can be no denying that Mormonism is “works-based salvation”. Compare 2 Nephi 25:23 with Ephesians 2:8-9. Most Latter Day Saints are hard-working, honest, well-meaning people, but the Mormon doctrine was not taught by Christ.

  7. fred on April 9, 2013 at 2:02 pm said:

    (. . . but the Mormon doctrine was not taught by Christ.)

    Steve,
    Your argument is weak.

    Christ did not teach many things that traditional Christians teach. Let us start with the fact that Jesus never taught Sola Scriptoria; even though many Christians accept it as if He did.

    fred

  8. Steve on April 10, 2013 at 4:59 am said:

    Hi Fred,

    I think you mean “sola scriptura”, (scripture alone) or the doctrine that everything required for salvation and holiness is found in the Bible. Of course, the Bible wasn’t completely written when Jesus was physically here on earth. How could He recommend something to His followers that didn’t exist yet?

    I think my “weak” argument stands up quite well. If temple marriage was so important, wouldn’t He have mentioned it at least once? I have the feeling that you have heard these arguments before and rejected them. I pray that the Holy Spirit enters your heart and mind, and lifts the veil from your eyes.

  9. Hi Steve,

    (Sola scriptura … everything required for salvation and holiness is found in the Bible.)

    Thank-you for correcting my spelling.
    This other statement of yours shows part of the problem with sola scriptura.

    (Of course, the Bible wasn’t completely written when Jesus was physically here on earth. How could He recommend something to His followers that didn’t exist yet?)

    Please remember that the MEN who decided on the cannon of the Bible were not prophets or apostles, even though Traditional Christians accept their addition to God’s Word as if they had the authority of prophets and apostles

    (If temple marriage was so important, wouldn’t He have mentioned it at least once?)

    As a Traditional Christian, you accept many things that are not in the Bible as if they have the same authority as God’s teachings in the Bible.
    If sola scriptura was important, wouldn’t Jesus, or one of his authorized Apostles, have mentioned it at least once in the Bible.

  10. There are many theological terms that are used to reference the clear teaching of the Bible. “Sola Scriptura” is a term from the Reformation (16th century) that explains the Reformer’s position in opposition to the Roman Catholic doctrine of Tradition as being equal in authority. It is also in opposition to the Radical Reformers who claimed authority of prophetic visions for some of their teaching and practices. Article VI of the Articles of Religion says, “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.” Just a few verses that come to mind in support of this are: Psalm 119:11, Jeremiah 23:36, Matthew 22:19, 2 Corinthians 4:2, Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 3:15-16, all of 2 Peter 2.

  11. Eric Fenton on April 21, 2013 at 3:23 pm said:

    Fred – As far as “MEN who decided on the cannon of the Bible were not prophets…” The Canon of Holy Scripture was indeed decided by men using certain criteria. The Jewish Canon had been established by common practice and recognized as authoritative by the rabbis as early as 400 BC. When Jesus read the Isaiah scroll in the Synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4) the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings were standardized and it was these that were received by the first Christians who were Jews. The early Christians began to write down the memoirs of the Apostles and those who were recognized leaders wrote letters explaining their beliefs and words of encouragement or chastisement. The most important criteria were: Was it written by an Apostle? Did it have Apostolic authority? Did it conform to Apostolic doctrine? Did it have the general recognition by all Christians, at all times, and everywhere. By the third century of the Christian Era the Canon was pretty well established. The books that were excluded were for the most part written by Gnostics who used their fanciful imagination to embellish the Jesus history and shape it to their belief system. (Sound familiar?) The generally recognized Canon was confirmed by universal Church councils repeatedly into the fifth century. There is much information out there. All you need to do is look. For the less technical I recommend Josh McDowell’s “More Than a Carpenter” which has a good presentation on this subject.

  12. (Article VI of the Articles of Religion says, “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.”)

    “THIS Book of Articles before rehearsed, is again approved, and allowed to be holden and executed within the Realm, by the assent and consent of our Sovereign Lady ELIZABETH, by the grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c. Which Articles were deliberately read, and confirmed again by the subscription of the hands of the Archbishop and Bishops of the Upper-house, and by the subscription of the whole Clergy of the Nether-house in their Convocation, in the Year of our Lord 1571.”
    This is from “Articles of Religion” in “The Book of Common Prayer . . . of The Church of England”
    http://www.eskimo.com/~lhowell/bcp1662/articles/articles.html#6

    Eric,
    I was looking for where God said that the cannon of scripture was closed, and I would also like to know which cannon of scripture He uses. Your answer is showing me what men, or woman in this case, you accept as being able to tell you things that are not in the Bible. Nowhere in the Bible does it say the cannon of scripture is closed.

    I looked for McDowell’s “More Than a Carpenter” on line and read the comments made by those who already have read it. From what I gleaned, the book does not answer my question about where does God say that the Bible is all that there is.

    (The books that were excluded were for the most part written by Gnostics who used their fanciful imagination to embellish the Jesus history and shape it to their belief system. (Sound familiar?))

    This goes back to my question as to who decided which Church Fathers taught the true gospel and which Church Fathers taught untruths.

    fred

  13. Fred

    Regarding McDowell’s book – Chapter 4 is “Are the Biblical Records Reliable.” It has been some years since I have read it but I pulled it down and I agree that you are correct. It does not answer your carefully worded question that you are “looking for where God said that the cannon is closed…”

    Where did God say the canon is closed? (Please note the proper spelling. A cannon is something you shoot. A canon is a measure or a standard, like a ruler.). Some would point to Revelation 22:18-19. I have given you the standards that the undivided Christian Church used to determine what books should be regarded as authoritative or canonical. They met in Council just as the first Christian leaders did as described in Acts 15. However, I don’t think that will satisfy you. You are looking for a “prophet” who speaks the “word of God” to definitively say, “This is the Canon.” Am I right? And of course you would argue with the role of Prophet supposedly being restored in 1830 after many centuries, then we should accept whatever that prophet says as the very words of God. The Roman Catholic Church has something similar in the infallible teaching authority of the Pope when speaking “ex cathedra” (at least since the First Vatican Council in 1870). That would take us into a discussion of how to judge a prophet and prophecy. These are some references that address this: Deuteronomy 18:15-22; 1 Corinthians 14:3, 29-33; and 1 John 4:1-4.

    The Jerusalem Council in the book of Acts was the standard for how the first Christians made decisions about matters of The Faith. I would argue that God spoke through that council and the following councils of the undivided Church defining the Canon of Scripture. So I end my participation in this discussion conceding that God did not say through a Prophet what books are canonical.

  14. (I have given you the standards that the undivided Christian Church used to determine what books should be regarded as authoritative or canonical. They met in Council just as the first Christian leaders did as described in Acts 15. However, I don’t think that will satisfy you. You are looking for a “prophet” who speaks the “word of God” to definitively say, “This is the Canon.”)

    I am not looking for a modern day prophet to sat the canon of the Bible is closed, that would be just like you in that I would have to accept something outside the Bible to say there is no revelation outside the Bible.

    By its own definition, a statement that the canon of scripture is closed with the Bible would have to be in the Bible, for it to be a true statement.

    Since you say I need to study only scripture from the canon of the Bible, which books does the undivided Christian Church include in their version of the canon of the Bible?

    fred

  15. Now Fred, you know that it is the books included in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible as accepted by the LDS Church. You are just playing with me. Keep on studying. All will be revealed in due time.

  16. (You are just playing with me.)

    Eric,
    I have seen some posters use this type of statement to divert attention to a person asking an uncomfortable question instead of facing and answering the question. I hope that is not your intent.

    (. . . as accepted by the LDS Church)
    I already know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints accept the Bible as PART OF THE CANON of scripture.

    What I am asking you to do is to show where in the Bible is says the canon of scripture was closed with the Bible.
    So far, you have only demonstrated that it cannot be done, without adding the thoughts of man to the teachings of God.

    In the Lord,
    fred

    • Eric Fenton on April 25, 2013 at 11:37 am said:

      OK. I’m not sure if you keep coming back in order to argue for the sake of arguing. I already conceded that the Bible does not define the Canon in itself. The Church did that. Obviously if the LDS Church accepts the Bible Canon as received in the KJV then it does acknowledge that the books we have are properly defined as Canon. The LDS Articles of Faith says, “8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” I did not see a list of books in the Bible that are recognized. Perhaps you could enlighten me. Of course the additional books are added to the LDS Canon on the authority of the First Presidency and most probably that of the Prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. So is you canon closed?

    • Eric Fenton on April 25, 2013 at 6:11 pm said:

      SCRIPTURE or Holy Scripture. I think I see the disconnect. You are insisting that the Canon is/was not closed with the books in the Holy Bible as has been passed down to us through the centuries. I understand you to mean that only God can say which should be considered as SCRIPTURE and since the Holy Bible does not have a definitive statement spoken by God through the apostles and prophets then it must still be open. The fact that most Christians believe the Canon was closed after the period of the Apostles has only the authority of opinion. So the LDS additions could certainly be included if they are indeed the divinely inspired Word of God. Since the term “sola scripture” is a man-made limitation on the Bible it cannot claim to be used as the standard to determine articles of The Faith.

      Did I get it right this time?

      To this I would add that the LDS Church has the right in a free country to determine whatever they believe and may use any canon of books, rule and explanation they may choose for this. The historic orthodox churches will appeal only to the received Canon for what they believe. The “restored” churches (LDS, RLDS, Strangites, FLDS) will use their own standards and canon for their beliefs. There can be no argument here. The one may claim “sola scriptura” but so does the other with the inclusion of additional books as SCRIPTURE.

      This closes my participation in this very interesting discussion.
      May you know the promise of the Savior who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:8).
      May the God who created you and who redeemed you through his Son, Jesus Christ, lead you into all truth through the power of his Holy Spirit. (John 16:13).

      Peace, eric

  17. Eric,
    I am not arguing, you keep missing my question; it is probably because I am slow at expressing myself.

    You say the canon of SCRIPTURE closed with the Bible because “the Church did that” . We say that canon of SCRIPTURE is not closed and that the Bible is only part of the SCRIPTURE God has recorded for us.

    My statement is that the canon of SCRIPTURE was not closed by God in the Bible and that if God told someone outside the canon of the Bible that the canon of SCRIPTURE is closed with the canon of the Bible, then that proves that the Bible cannot be the entire canon of SCRIPTURE.

    So the idea that the canon of the Bible is the canon of SCRIPTURE must be manmade and not from God.

    That also makes sola scriptura a manmade idea.

    Am I wrong?

    In the Lord,
    fred

  18. (The fact that most Christians believe the Canon was closed after the period of the Apostles has only the authority of opinion.)

    (The historic orthodox churches will appeal only to the received Canon for what they believe.)

    (Did I get it right this time?)

    Eric,
    I almost have the answer I have been looking for from this group, I will have to see if Keith agrees with you.

    Now for the rest of the question I have about teachings of this ministry.
    The root word for Protestant is Protest. Like a defendant is someone who defends something, a Protestant is someone who protests something, usually referring to the teaching of another religious group.

    There is more than one historic orthodox church and they do not agree on what is to be included in the canon of the Bible, and they do not agree on what God meant when He said something. One way they do this is by deciding which of God’s teachings is literal and which of His teachings is allegorical and not to be taken literally.

    How am I to know which historic, orthodoxal, Bible Church is teaching God’s word correctly?

    Other than being taught I should not join the Jehovah’s Witnesses, I am only being taught by you folks that I am wrong without you teaching me your idea of the correct replacement.

    What makes a good historic, orthodoxal, Bible Church that teaches the real word of God?

    fred

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