A few months ago, Glenn Beck was invited to speak at Liberty University where, in addition to presenting himself as a prophet of God, he set off a bit of controversy by preaching Mormon theology from the stage while repeatedly insisting that Mormonism is simply a "different denomination" of Christianity.
The claim that Mormonism is simply another branch of Christianity predictably did not sit well with various Religious Right activists who criticized Liberty University for allowing Beck to come and preach this doctrine at the school, which prompted Beck to lash out in response, accusing these critics of "standing for hate and bigotry."
One of Beck's most loyal defenders within the Religious Right movement is David Barton, who regularly seeks to assure those concerned about Beck's Mormonism, especially as it pertains to his increasing influence as a religious leader within the movement, by claiming that Beck is really just a Mormon in name only, insisting that Beck is simply a Mormon only out of loyalty and is actually a Christian when it comes to all of the things that really matter.
Barton was among those who went down to the southern border with Beck last weekend to deliver supplies to churches who are providing assistance in response to the border crisis and was on Beck's radio program yesterday, where the two discussed the trip. Beck said that he believes "miracles" are occurring because of these sorts of efforts, resulting in leaders from Christian denominations being willing to put aside their specific "religion" in order to focus more on their shared Christian "faith."
"Now, I'm seeing people get together," Beck said, "and they're not abandoning their theology but what they're doing is they're saying 'my religion comes second to my faith in God ... My faith and what the Lord tells me to do comes first.'"
This effort on Beck's part to continually assure others in the Religious Right movement that Mormonism is simply a "different denomination" of the Christian faith probably took a bit of a blow later in the program when he and his co-hosts were discussing a recent poll examining how many Americans believe in various conspiracy theories that eventually evolved into a conversation about what beliefs they hold that others might dismiss as conspiracy theories.
During the discussion, Beck's co-host Pat Gray asserted that he "absolutely believes" that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Gray, like Beck, is also a Mormon and this belief, while not being official LDS doctrine, is a common one among Mormons, and it is one that Beck likewise appears to share.
"You could talk me into that," Beck said, arguing that it was simply impossible for Mary Magdalene to have been traveling closely with Jesus and his disciples unless she had been married to him.
"It just wouldn't have happened," he said. "A bunch of guys traveling around with a women? Unmarried? I don't think so":