In a short interview with Warren Throckmorton published today, former gay youth activist and now ex-gay Michael Glatze confirmed that he was recently baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known popularly as the Mormons.
In the interview, which Throckmorton hints will be the first of several, Glatze denied rumours that he had been influenced by controversial self-help “guru” Roy Masters, but did state that he was now a member of the LDS Church. This was not mentioned in the WND story, nor in any Christian media, and for a very obvious reason: The LDS Church is generally regarded by conservative evangelical and orthodox Christians as a heretical, non-Christian cult. For evangelicals, this kind of disclosure would ordinarily cast a cloud over, and more likely completely invalidate, a person’s claim to have met with and been changed by God.
Of his testimony, Glatze said:
I did not have any counseling or ministry help. That was not the way God wanted it, for me. For others, that may be the case. For me, it was all on my own, and with God. I spent nights, days, so much time alone, praying and “giving up my will” to His.
One thing that seemed clear to me was that Michael wanted to convey that he has had an encounter with God. He said: “What changed me was the words of Jesus.”
Faith figures very large in Glatze’s conversion. His description of nights and days “alone,” “praying,” and “giving up [his] will” to God suggests a mystical or even miraculous process. He explicitly denies he received help from any person, whether religious or secular. God, Jesus and faith are not incidental to Glatze’s testimony, but absolutely central to its claims. But which God and which Jesus? The evangelical position on whether Mormons are Christian has historically been very clear. The words of Chuck Colson are typical in this regard:
[No] Christian body, even those liberal ones, accepts Mormon baptism as valid. It’s not a Christian baptism because Mormonism is not Christian.
Or again, from evangelical apologetics ministry CARM:
A [Mormon] has a false Jesus, and, therefore, a false hope of salvation.
So far, Exodus has wisely steered clear of endorsing Glatze. But this has not stopped other evangelicals from rushing in to validate Glatze’s testimony, including the American Family News Network/One News Now, Peter LaBarbera at Americans for Truth, Stephen Bennett, Matt Barber of Concerned Women for America, and of course WorldNetDaily, who broke the story. In doing so, they have not simply validated a moral decision, but a religious experience that in any other context would be denounced as false.
Given the crucial nature of Glatze’s religious experience to his testimony, how can evangelical leaders continue to hail Michael Glatze as an ex-gay success story without implicitly endorsing his religious beliefs?
To those ex-gay leaders who have been quick to endorse Glatze, XGW asks: Will you continue to endorse Michael Glatze’s religious testimony now that it appears his Jesus is that of the Latter Day Saints?
Update: Apology & belated hat-tip to Lynn David for uncovering the LDS connection.
2nd update: This article referenced by the Christian Post.