Liberty University hosted Mormon Glenn Beck to speak at the annual convocation ceremony, but many were critical of what the conservative talk show host and author had to say.
“I am Mormon and share your faith,” Beck said in his half hour speech.
Beck compared hardships that students would face outside of the university to the story of early Mormon martyr Joseph Smith. “You are going to be pushed and challenged every step of the way. What is it that you truly believe?” he said.
Beck also referenced the Mormon belief of Grand Councils, or pre-existing human souls in heaven, in the speech saying, “You didn’t come down for a job. You came to this university maybe thing, ‘I have to have an education to get a job.’ You need this education from Liberty University because of your only true job, the purpose you were sent here for.”
Many people criticized Liberty’s choice of speaker Christian News reports, arguing that a person of a different religion should not be influencing young people.
Author Tricia Erickson said, “At universities, we as adults have to protect our youth. These are going to be our future leaders.”
But Liberty has defended the decision, saying that one cannot be educated without listening to alternative opinions and perspectives.
“...convocation is an opportunity for students to hear from people of all faiths and from all walks of life,” senior vice president of communications Johnnie Moore said. “College is about learning. How can you defend what you believe if you don’t understand what others believe.”
Beck announced at convocation that his charity will be giving Liberty a $50,000 gift because they “believe in” what the university is doing.
Publication date: May 21, 2014