About a year ago I posted a video about Why we were not using The Good and the Beautiful (TGTB) and it exploded. Nearly every week, consistently and without fail, I receive at least one hate mail e-mail from someone. They are long, they are well-thought out, they are barbed with insults and condemnation. Nearly every single day I get notifications of new comments on my YouTube video about this, both good and bad, this isn’t going away.
Over the past year I have watched. I have seen this issue divide, I have heard both sides, I have seen the community and TGTB groups, I have followed the threads and gone through the comments. My reasons “why” God drew me away from this curriculum have solidified, they have better words and more logic, and I have such a clear idea of how to communicate that and why I must. I must share this article not to beat a dead horse, or to tear Jenny down, but because there is confusion.
Disclaimer: Let me be clear that this article is not written for people who are LDS, it is written to Christians who are currently using The Good and the Beautiful or considering it and trying to understand the controversy. These are obviously my opinions and convictions and experiences, I do not claim to be God or the Holy Spirit for you and you ultimately have to make your own decision in the matter. The purpose of this article is to help people who are truly seeking for an answer as to why there is so much debate about this to understand the issue more fully.
I never wanted to take on this debate. I didn’t even fully understand the LDS faith myself nor what making that video would mean. But I feel strongly that I cannot stay silent on this, for the sake of even one person who may be debating this and truly in their heart wants to know what God has at least been showing me about the curriculum.
Today, I am going to break down, very clearly, my reasons. If you truly desire to know the answer, pray before you read this, ask God to speak and help you discern what He is saying. Don’t take my word for it, turn to Him.
Why I, as a Christian, do not use or recommend The Good and the Beautiful:
1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not Christian
They believe in a mother God
They believe all other denominations of the church have it wrong
They believe they had a premortal existence before life on earth as spirit children of God and sat on His council.
They believe we can be God
They believe that “Man was also in the beginning with God.” and can become gods
They believe God was a man just like us and is now exalted (and we can be too)
They believe God made woman in the image of his wife-partner (mother-God)
They believe in the Godhead but that they are separate beings, not three in one
They believe the Bible has errors and can be superseded by a modern-day prophet
They reject the concept of saved by grace alone
This just begins to scratch the surface on major issues that go far beyond denominational differences.
This is the #1 argument I get from the LDS community: LDS are Christians as defined by Wikipedia. Sure, according the to the world’s standards, the word “Christian” doesn’t mean much. But according to the standards of the New Testament church, the warning in Revelation that nothing was to be added or taken away, this is deception, false.
2. There is incredible deception in the LDS faith
They are changing their name:
from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the Church of Jesus Christ. They don’t want any differentiation from their faith and Christianity. It began as the Church of Latter Day Saints.
There is deception rampant in the groups:
In any post where anyone posts any concerns about the roots of the author, hundreds of people hop on (many many of them Evangelical Christians I might add) to say there is nothing to be concerned about. Meanwhile the LDS community (which is huge in the groups) hops on and says we are all the same. It is a Christian program, as is LDS. Like pentecostal to baptist, we all have our differences and LDS is just a denomination. Take a look at a few of the comments on my video from TGTB community:
Even LDS are deceived
In some of the comments on my videos I have shared some of my findings on LDS.org as part of my argument that we are not the same. I was shocked to find time and time again that professing LDS believers said “We don’t believe that!” This is a huge red flag to me and further proof that this is a faith built on deception.
The rebuttal that I hear from the Christian community is: “There is no LDS content in The Good and the Beautiful curriculum. Evangelical Christians, Catholics, etc. all came together to approve this had nothing that contradicted their faith.”
Let’s move on to the next point.
3. Spiritual influences and strongholds
Do you believe that there is a spiritual world, with spiritual forces, demons and angels, and spiritual influences and strongholds that you can’t see in the invisible realm? Do you believe the Bible is true?
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
It really comes down to whether we believe what the Bible says or not.
The enemy deals with deception, the lines become blurred, he preys on our insecurities. The draw to this curriculum is powerful, why?
• Because we feel so insecure about doing it all and doing enough and this curriculum is in-depth and all laid out, we are drawn to it because we first hear the whisper: “You are a failure, you are messing them up.” And we believe it.
• Because of the hype: everyone is using it and the power of herd mentality is real. What are we missing out on?
• Because of the spiritual influence: Jenny Phillips isn’t just a practising member of the LDS church, she is a large, influential leader in the faith. She reaches thousands of people through her music and leadership and has great authority in the LDS church and spiritual influence. Part of the draw, the pull towards this curriculum, is the fact that the enemy deals in deception and there is an actual spiritual draw to the curriculum, the enemy is using this to confuse Christians (see point 4)
• Because of our friends: homeschoolers are passionate about their curriculum and the pull to “sell” what we are using is strong. You probably heard about this program from a friend who told you it was changing their lives. Which brings me to the next point.
4. Christians are being deceived… and you and I may have a part in it
I see moms all the time who go and ask in the groups and communities: “I saw Rebecca’s video and I am now having second thoughts.” The community pounces on it, “DO IT, there’s nothing in the curriculum, it’s amazing!” etc. etc. etc. all whilst hopping on my back with rumours and false accusations of greed and their rule on my motivations to do it. I can’t really blame anyone, they don’t know me or really care and they are just doing what we homeschoolers do best, selling their success!
But that mom who is questioning, who doesn’t really know the differences, starts to think, “Oh, I didn’t know LDS was just a denomination of Christianity!” They buy it you guys, hook line and sinker. I have watched it happen over and over again in threads:
Mom considering it: “I don’t really know much about LDS”
People in the group: “We believe some different things but so do all denominations, we are Christians just like you.”
Mom considering it: “Oh” she says. “Wow, I guess I don’t really know much about the LDS beliefs”
And you or I may have had a part in that.
I left the Good and the Beautiful for my kids, for the spiritual influence, for the families who are being deceived and confused. The more I have pondered my decision, the more I realize it is so much more than what meets the eye which brings me to point number 5.
5. This is bigger than the curriculum…
I know these are strong statements, I know that this may make you angry, some of the most hateful comments I have received have been from Pentecostal, Baptist, Evangelical Christians who hate me for standing against this because they LOVE the curriculum and don’t want to be convinced otherwise. They see me as someone who is fighting against the homeschool peace and joy they have found and it makes them angry.
I was one of those people my friends. I fell deeply into this, I wanted SO BADLY to believe that there was nothing wrong with it, that I wasn’t called to that standard, that people were reading into it too much, etc. “You’re just being religious,” I thought to myself. I dismissed them, I pushed against it. And then I researched LDS, I saw the insights on Jenny’s blog, I saw the quotes and pictures were heavily influenced from LDS sources, I understood what she believed and the worldview that went into this and I just couldn’t ignore it any longer.
It isn’t the curriculum… it is the culture. The culture of the Facebook group where everyone tells you we are all the same, there are no differences between LDS and Christians. The spiritual influence that this is bringing over our kids and homes, and the confusion and deception it is causing amongst homeschool families who aren’t grounded in their faith who are being led astray because some well-meaning Christian mom determinedly preached to them that there was “nothing in the curriculum.”
The fruit that has come since leaving The Good and the Beautiful
I knew that when I left the Good and the Beautiful there would be drama and negativity. I knew I would be bashed and misunderstood. I maybe didn’t understand the extent of the battle I was being drawn into, but I knew God was with me and so I stepped onto the field, blissfully unaware of how that one video would change my life.
But what I did not expect was the fruit in our homeschool–the blessing of stepping out into God’s calling on our lives. The Good and the Beautiful curriculum recommends 45 minutes to an hour of working in their LA course book a day, their History takes about that long as does their Science. I have five children, in my desire to “do it all” I had lost sight of my original vision and intention for homeschooling. We were spending 6-8 hours a day doing school (go watch my Day in the Life video with The Good and the Beautiful on YouTube, it’s intense!). Yes, my kids were growing quickly but was that my goal and purpose? We had no time for anything else, no time for nature studies, no time for Bible and morning basket and art and picture studies. We were a slave to curriculum that I was in love with.
Since leaving we have moved into eclectic homeschooling that is still evolving to be honest. We have a Spirit-led homeschool where no day is like the last and God is consistently drawing us into more homeschool freedom. We do bookwork just a few hours in the morning and have our afternoons to discuss, drink tea, explore the world around us, and follow our interests and passions. A deep sense of rest and peace has settled on our home, regardless of how much we get done in a day. I am free.
I still hear the lie from the enemy rise up: “You aren’t doing enough. You are messing your kids up. They are going to be behind. You need to add more.” But I know that lie too well to not recognize it for what it is. Every time it comes I speak God’s truth over my life, that He has started a good work in our lives and the lives of my children and He will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). I walk in confidence not based on the amount I do or the curriculum I do nor even the results I can see, but in what God has called me to do and following His voice day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.
My calling: rise up
Friend, I know this is hard to hear. I will never forget a message I got from someone on Instagram who had purchased The Good and the Beautiful last year based on my recommendation. A few months later I came out with the infamous video and she confessed to me that she was mad–she didn’t want to hear it, she wanted to defend what she was using because she loved it. But over the past few months God worked on her, spoke to her, and she decided to switch. She wrote to thank me for my boldness and strength to say what I said and follow God. For her, it is worth it. For you, it is worth it. For the person who is not sure, it is worth it.
To say I am strong enough to stand against all the hate, that it doesn’t hurt, is just not true. On my own you guys, I am not strong enough. But I know that God has not called me to take a stand just to abandon me. He is with me.
When I first made the full live video on Facebook (which is why on YouTube I am not looking at the camera, I was looking at my phone) I smiled quite a bit though the video. People were super offended by that, they thought I sounded flippant and cruel, like I didn’t care. But here’s the real reason I smiled, I was shocked by the sense of God’s presence. I wasn’t alone, the hate and cruelty couldn’t hurt me. I spoke and each barb that was thrown it was as if I was protected. The video ended, the weeks after were harder than I ever could have imagined. I stopped responding to comments, I stopped going on my computer and phone, I cried, I sought Him again and again, He sustained me then and He will sustain me now.
What about you?
Once again I step out because the time has come. It is my prayer that you will see my heart.
To the people who say this was greed or a decision for money (because I have received HUNDREDS of comments and emails about that and just saw it posted in a thread the other day): I was asked to write curriculum for Jenny. She was a sponsor of mine and I was paid for the promotions I did. I actually made more working for The Good and the Beautiful than other companies I have worked with. I lost money and I lost business by making that video so nothing could be further from the truth. I did not leave to write my Bible curriculum, though that was what I decided to do instead of writing for The Good and the Beautiful.
I have no hate for the LDS community, I disagree that they are Christians, but I could go and have coffee with one of them and talk about curriculum and homeschool routines easily and genuinely. Disagreement is not hatred.
I don’t judge you for your decisions: I believe God has asked me to take a stand and to be more clear but I would never judge you for your decision if you choose to continue using it. The only thing I will caution you against is recommending it so emphatically, being aware of the deception and confusion it is causing and to pray about it earnestly yourself, without an agenda.
I will leave you with some of the comments and emails and messages I have received and one final thought: I spoke in love and received hatred. The divisiveness and intense deception that I have seen since speaking out about my decision to leave has left me with a strong sense of the enemy’s hand. This is battle, between our flesh and our spirits, and one will win. May God give you wisdom as you search out His answer for your family and if you have more questions, feel free to post them below!