Anti-Mormon Sensationalism and Shock-Value!
The Tools of the Critics of the LDS Faith
A common characteristic of the anti-Mormon approach is to use sensationalistic terms and concepts to make the LDS faith appear to be strange and eerie. The objective is to paint the LDS faith as the alien, horrible, powerful, and evil empire positioning itself to literally take over the world. (Sounds like Star Wars Episode 3, I know. What can I say; it sells.) You may be giggling at this point, but it’s true. This is the picture that many critics paint.
Hank Hanegraaff, of the Bible Answerman radio show, uses this tactic very effectively. I thought it might be interesting to point some of these out, just using one series of his Bible Answer Man broadcasts in which he had an anti-Mormon author, Richard Abanes, as his on-air guest.
These two men follow the typical anti-Mormon agenda to the tee. By the end of the broadcast, we find that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while not “bad people” and while they do uphold “Christian values,” is a “lustful, violent, greedy, deceitful and murderous” organization with “more economic power than effectively any other organized religion in existence,” and its ultimate goal is the “political overthrow of America” and to eventually “take over the world.” Wow!
Here are a few examples…
(Note: These were taken from a transcript of the Bible Answerman radio broadcast. There were three consecutive shows recorded on the same day, but aired April 2nd, 3rd, and 4th).
Magical Eye-glasses or the Urim and Thummim?
These plates abridged by Moroni and his father Mormon, two angels, 1400 years earlier were written in what was called then reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics. Smith supposedly found buried along with those plates a pair of magical eyeglasses and he used those magical eyeglasses to translate the cryptic writing into English.
NOTE: These “magical eye-glasses” happen to be the Urim and Thummim, as mentioned in the Old Testament, by the way. Why is it that no one…of the anti-Mormon persuasion…will acknowledge this when describing these instruments? I guess it’s just not as strange sounding as “magical eye-glasses.”
Grandchildren of Brigham Young, A Qualified Source!
I don’t know how you do everything you do but when I first got this book I thought this is an incredible volume that has now done something that has never been done before. It’s traced the history of the Mormon Church from its beginnings all the way to the 2002 Winter Olympics and it’s endorsed by some of the great scholars in the field of Mormonism. People like Sandra Tanner the great-great-grandchild of Brigham Young.
NOTE: It’s very interesting that Hank doesn’t even mention the fact that Sandra Tanner is a professional anti-Mormon…long-time critic of the LDS faith, and makes her living…yes, puts food on the table, by fighting against the LDS faith. No mention of that…just that she is related to Brigham Young, which makes her a more qualified source, I suppose.
The Goal of the Mormon Church: World Domination?
Now I’m going to say something here that’s going to be pretty unbelievable, but the ultimate goal of Mormonism is the transformation of the U.S. government into a Mormon-ruled theocracy divinely ordained to not only direct the political affairs of the Mormon community but eventually those of the entire United States and this is hard to believe ultimately the world. In other words, Mormonism’s main end-goal is to actually take over the world.
NOTE: To take political control over the world? Are you kidding me? A Church that takes no political position on any issue other than those of obvious moral significance (abortion, same-sex marriages, etc.) plans to take over the world? Notice that no basis for this claim is offered. Just a blanket statement that is indeed, “pretty unbelievable.”
Agnostics Not In Favor of the LDS Faith?
I thought it was kind of interesting, Rich, as I was looking at the back cover of this book, obviously I did a rather glowing endorsement for this book but you also have in addition to Sandra Tanner and myself an endorsement by Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic Magazine and author of How We Believe: The Search for God in An Age of Science who says that this is cogent and brave.
Well Michael’s a good friend of mine. He’s not a Christian; he’s an agnostic.
NOTE: How difficult it must have been to persuade an agnostic to agree with an attack against the LDS faith. He would, no doubt, also agree with an attack on Protestant Christianity.
The Mormon Church: The Worst of Hollywood?
Many people believe that Mormonism, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is just another Christian denomination seeking the world’s betterments. But there was a time in America when the Mormon Church was seen as little more than a cult-like collection of polygamists, religious zealots seeking the political overthrow of America. This aspect of Mormon history dating all the way back to what happened in New York in the early 1800s is but one facet of an enthralling saga laced with all the elements of an action-packed Hollywood movie. I mean there’s sex, there’s lust, there’s violence, there’s greed, there’s murder, there’s deceit, there’s betrayal. Nevertheless, somehow or other Mormonism has managed to emerge as one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential religions, in fact, it wields more economic power than effectively any other organized religion in existence.
NOTE: Comparing the LDS Church to the worst of Hollywood…that’s a good one! More economic power than any other organized religion in existence? Faithful tithe-payers and careful financial management of the Church has now turned into “more economic power than any other organized religion in existence.”
Mormons: Good People or Morally Destitute?
I think it’s important for your listeners to understand we’re not attacking Mormons, we’re not saying Mormons are bad people, or that they don’t reflect certain Christian values but they don’t believe doctrinally, theologically the things that we believe as Christians.
NOTE: So, is Mormonism more like a Hollywood movie void of moral value? Or are Latter-day Saints good Christian-like people? I mean, they are either “lustful, violent, greedy, deceitful and murderous” people…or they are Christian-like people who just have their doctrines mixed up.
The Mormons: Good People or Murderers?
In fact there were so many individuals murdered, Hank, that when federal government officials went to Salt Lake City they, on more than one occasion, were finding skeletons all over Salt Lake City buried in shallow graves and this is just one aspect.
NOTE: So, now the LDS people, although Christian-like, are mass murderers. It looks like, according to these guys, as long as it makes the Mormons look scary, anything goes.
While we all see this type of sensationalism all around us from anti-Mormon authors and radio show hosts, it still amazes me that they are willing to stop at nothing, in the name of Jesus Christ, to attack and injure the LDS faith.
May we find it in our hearts to pray for and forgive these people, as Christ has instructed us: To love them, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them (Matt 5:44).
For further information on the mistruths and deceptions presented in the Bible Answerman show, click here.