A number of years ago I was asked to be on a local call-in radio program to talk about Mormonism. The San Antonio LDS temple was conducting a public open house at that time. The radio host who thought of the idea wanted two guests, one person representing Mormonism and one person who disagreed with it. The original idea was for both of us to be on the radio at the same time and do some sort of lively debate.
Unfortunately, the Mormon public relations official chosen for the event absolutely refused to go on air with me at the same time. The only way he would agree to do it was if I went first and then a he would go on 15 minutes after my time was over so that he could have a little bit of time to prepare. The radio host was perturbed at the Mormon’s insistence and asked if I would be willing to do the show anyway. I eagerly agreed.
As I was being introduced, one of the radio hosts was very clear about the fact that they would not allow me to bash Mormonism. He promised to take me off air if he ever thought I was even getting close to crossing the line in my comments. I was amused at that because I wondered what in the world they were told about me by the Mormon who reluctantly agreed to be on the show. I completely put the threats out of my mind and was as pleasant as I could be during the interview.
I was able to speak about Mormonism unhindered for 15 minutes on a live radio talk show. Since this was a secular radio station, both talk-show hosts were stunned at what Mormonism really teaches. Rather than prepare an outline with points I wanted to make about Mormonism, I just read portions from the LDS Churches own official, “Achieving a Celestial Marriage” teaching manual. In my opinion pages 129-132 of this manual contains the best explanation of the Mormon World View in print.
I explained that I was not there to condemn Mormons for believing what they want to believe. Everyone in the great country has the right to freedom of religion. However, what I do object to is the fact that most Mormons, and temple open houses in particular, are not forthright about what Mormonism really teaches. In my opinion one of the best ways to get at the bottom line of Mormonism is to read what they teach from their official teaching manuals.
This made perfect sense to both radio hosts. I was interesting because I got the impression that once my part of the show was over, they wanted to get the Mormon public relations official on air as soon as possible. They just couldn’t wait to talk to him about what they learned. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see how the Mormon was preparing for his part of the show. Fifteen minutes passed by until he was finally on air.
Imagine this if you can. I spoke about Mormonism for 15 minutes, unhindered. The two radio host then talked about what they learned about Mormonism for 15 minutes, unhindered. Now the public relations official has 15 minutes to try to undo the past 30 minutes. The first thing he was asked was something like, “Mr. Walker just read from an official Mormon Church teaching manual. Is this what you really believe?” I remember shouting out loud at his response. It is probably a good thing I was no longer on air.
“Well, that manual is no longer in print.”
Really? Is that the best you’ve got? Both radio hosts, and one in particular, devoured him. They must have taken notes or something because they would basically repeat some of the things I said and asked for clarification. I remember being surprised that they were so aggressive in trying to get to the truth about what Mormonism teaches. Because the Mormon public relations official was so evasive, they did exactly what I was warned about doing. They were not rude or out of line, but they did not let him get away with anything. It had to be the absolute worst case scenario imagined for the Mormon. The best part was, I couldn’t be blamed for it.
Fast forward to yesterday. One of my favorite ex-Mormon, Christians found something on one of the Mormon Church’s newer web sites which reminded me of the aforementioned event. It is a short, less than two minute, video which quotes something which appears in the “Achieving” manual. In 1909 the Mormon First Presidency published a document titled, “The Origin of Man.” I do not remember if I read that portion during my radio interview or not, but I am very familiar with this section because I bring it up often when I teach about Mormonism. The quote states, “Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of our earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages of aeons, of evolving into a God.”
Yep. That about settles it. Have you heard all those reports from naive Christians (Read Richard Mouw) and Neo-Mormons that the LDS Church is distancing themselves from earlier teachings and moving towards a more evangelical view of Christianity?
This video is new. This video states that the views expressed in the “Origin of Man” document is, “The Church’s doctrinal position on these matters.” This video also states the document is based on, “divine revelation, ancient and modern,” and most importantly, this video is official.
I would LOVE to hear the responses of Richard Mouw and the Mormon public relations official to this video. Just because a manual is no longer printed, doesn’t mean it isn’t still taught and believed by millions of Mormons world-wide.