Beck's politico-theology operates on the basis of a common reduction; reducing faith to morality. Hence, if you derive the correct morals from your faith, your faith (i.e., specific beliefs) does not matter. Even among some Catholics and Evangelicals such a reduction that ultimately leads to religious indifferentism is not uncommon.
Last week in this same newspaper, I read a story about the response of a LDS scholar to a BBC program, Did God Have a Wife?. This documentary is based on the work of Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou, a self-professed atheist, who asks what to biblical scholars is a pretty non-controversial question, which in essence, is not did God have a wife, but were the ancient Israelites strict monotheists? Tresa Edmunds is LDS and responded to the provocative question used as the title to Stavrakopoulou's program in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper: "God's wife, the mysterious mother of Mormons: The doctrine of Heavenly Mother offers hope for the position of women within the Mormon church".
In her piece Edmunds writes:
The doctrine of Heavenly Mother was introduced by Joseph Smith in the early days of the church, and affirmed by prophet after prophet in the years since, but without much elaboration. Much of the discussion about Heavenly Mother consists of references to the logic of the relationship – if God is the father of our spirits, as Mormons believe, then there would need to be a mother.
Edmunds piece provides a nice segue to the LDS doctrine of God, which I have written about before (one place is Romney's primary problem is not being LDS). The LDS doctrine of God can be characterized by two very brief summations. First is Doctrine and Covenants Section 130, verse 22, which states: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us" (the Doctrine and Covenants, along with the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price, are books that the LDS revere as scripture in addition to the Bible). Second, is what is called in the Lorenzo Snow couplet: "As man is God once was. As God is man may become." Snow was the fifth president of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so was revered by members of that church as "prophet, seer, and revelator," just as the current president of the LDS is, along with his two counselors and the entire Quorum of the Twelve of Apostles.
Since the Jewish people do not believe in the Trinity, contrasting LDS belief with the most fundamental dogma of Christian faith is not necessary. However, believing that God was a human being like we are and progressed to become a god. Further evidence of this progression can be found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 132, particularly verse thirty-seven, which clearly states that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, primarily by taking multiple wives and having concubines in obedience to the Lord's command, "have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods."
It is the third chapter of the Book of Abraham, found in The Pearl of Great Price," that sets forth the LDS view that is most incompatible with the theologies of the great monotheistic faiths at the most fundamental level. It does this by showing how we are ontologically no different from even God the Father, as well as rejecting creation ex nihilo. According to the LDS view we have all always existed. We began as unembodied intelligences who became embodied via a heavenly father and mother. This embodied state is called the pre-earth life. After this we were born into mortality. With reference to the diagram above, the eternal existence as an "intelligence" would come prior to "Premortal Existence."
All of this is not to "Mormon-bash," but simply an effort to point out legitimate religious differences between Mormonism and mainstream contemporary Judaism and, by extension, to note authentic differences between LDS beliefs sincerely held and those of orthodox Christians. After all, religious tolerance begins with understanding, n'cest ce pas? This is precisely where people, like Gov. Huckabee, who, during the 2008 Republican primaries, said that Mormons believed that Christ and Satan were spirit brothers, or something to that effect, could benefit from a better and deeper understanding of LDS doctrine. While such an apparently spectacular claim may well be true, in the context of LDS belief it is not all that significant.
A claim was madeby a prominent Evangelical, Dr. Richard Mouw, in a speech delivered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City in November 2004 that the Lorenzo Snow couplet had "no functioning place in present-day Mormon doctrine." For those who are interested in this question, Ronald Huggins, formerly of Salt Lake Theological Seminary, who currently teaches at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, responded to this claim by Mouw "Lorenzo Snow's Couplet: 'No Functioning Place in Present-Day Mormon Doctrine?'": A Response to Richard Mouw."
Whenever I speak or write about this topic the title of an essay by Blake Ostler, which I read in a book of scholarly LDS essays ( Line Upon Line) years ago, pops into my mind: "The Concept of a Finite God as an Adequate Object of Worship."