LR Christian Academy rejects Mormon as pupil


Photographs by Staton Breidenthal

Samuel Duncan (left), 4, plays at home Wednesday with brother Benjamin, 2. Parents Jessi and Braden Duncan (background) thought they had Samuel’s school picked out until their faith complicated their plans.

— Samuel Duncan, already reading at age 4, was excited about attending prekindergarten at Little Rock Christian Academy in the fall.

He had visited the campus and recognized the playground when the family drove by on Cantrell Road in west Little Rock. Samuel liked to point at the swings and slide, and he talked about going to school there.

But he won’t be, school officials said this week.

Samuel’s parents are Mormons, and the school no longer allows members of the Mormon church to attend the 35-year-old academy.

Samuel’s father, Braden, a graduate student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, disagrees with the decision.

“It’s fundamentally un-Christian,” he said.

School officials said it has been their practice since the school’s founding in 1977 to exclude Mormons, though that ban wasn’t always enforced.

In recent years, school officials have been more vigilant about keeping Mormons out.

Little Rock Christian Academy isn’t alone in con- sidering the Mormon faith fundamentally flawed. The Catholic Church, Methodists, Presbyterians and many evangelicals don’t recognize Mormon baptisms as valid.

The debate about whether Mormons are Christians has gone on since Joseph Smith organized the church in upstate New York in 1829.

Little Rock Christian Academy officials say they’re not — or at least not Christian enough to conform to the school’s doctrinal statement — which it uses to bar Mormon students from attending.

The school’s policy, formalized nearly five years ago, frustrates some Mormon families who insist that they are Christians. Their children should be allowed to attend a school that emphasizes strong morals and rigorous academics, they say.

Officials at the school — which serves students from age 3 through 12th grade — are standing firm.

“It doesn’t mean we can’t be great citizens with everybody in town,” said Gary Arnold, the school’s director. “Their doctrine doesn’t align with our doctrine. But I do know that the Mormon faith is not regarded to be in the historic, orthodox stream of Christianity.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders acknowledge that the private school, which doesn’t accept federal funding, can deny admission to members of their flock.

But, they argue, Christians should stand together in the face of an increasingly secular world.

“The enemies of Christ love to see internal bickering,” said Carlton Wing, bishop of the North Little Rock ward, a 500-member congregation.

Whether Mormons are Christians has repercussions beyond the 1,400-student school, which admits dozens of Protestant denominations as well as Catholics. The question has become a recurring topic in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Reservations among evangelical Christians about Romney’s Mormonism seem to have abated in recent weeks as the former Massachusetts governor wrapped up the GOP nomination, but the issue is likely to resurface before November.

Romney addressed the dispute in a recent speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., after paying tribute to that school’s founder, the late-televangelist Jerry Falwell.

“People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology,” he told a predominantly evangelical audience. “Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common world view.”

For the Duncans the thorny theological dispute is personal. Braden and Jessi Duncan visited more than two dozen early-childhood-education programs before deciding this spring to enroll Samuel at Little Rock Christian Academy. Initially, school officials eagerly welcomed Samuel, the Duncans said, offering generous financial aid.

After finding out that the Duncans are Mormons, the Duncans say, the school tried to dissuade them, saying Samuel might not feel comfortable with the school’s religious instruction. When the Duncans replied that they were comfortable with the curriculum and wouldn’t contradict it, school officials told them that Mormons weren’t welcome.

“I feel we’re being discriminated against,” said Jessi Duncan. “But I don’t feel like it’s a campus-wide issue. I feel like it’s just some people in the administration. Others are just ill-informed. They think we’re polygamists, and the women wear petticoats and bonnets.”

School officials, in interviews and in e-mails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said the Duncans refused to say they agreed with parts of the school’s doctrinal statement. It reflects a traditional Protestant-Catholic-Orthodox understanding of the Trinity. It also states that only the 66 books contained in the Protestant Bible are authoritative scriptures.

Carla Emanuel, a school board member, said she’s concerned that allowing Mormon students into the school would be a mistake.

“It’s very, very sneaky when people come in, especially in elementary and junior high grades where the kids are very influenced. It’s frightening how quickly things can get turned around,” she said. “They are called to do that, which is fine. But then start a Mormon school,” she said.

Other current or recent board members, including former Alltel Chairman Scott Ford and Conway pastor Harry Li, declined to comment.

The Duncans said they offered to sign a statement promising that they wouldn’t proselytize, but it didn’t change the school’s position.

The school’s admission committee told the Duncans on Tuesday that it would enforce the school’s policy against Mormons.

Mormon leaders accept the decision, said Michael Beheshti, president of the Little Rock Stake, which is similar in size to a small diocese and incorporates Mormon churches over large parts of eastern Arkansas up to the Missouri border.

“One of the articles of our faith is that we wish the privilege to worship according to our faith and we wish to accord all men that same privilege,” Beheshti said.

Beheshti wasn’t allowed to attend Tuesday’s meeting, but he met briefly with school officials. He said they told him that students from many different Christian denominations attend the school.

“I hope this criteria is applied evenly to members of all faiths. We wonder if everyone conforms to that doctrinal statement,” he said.

Braden Duncan said he didn’t understand why Catholics, whose scriptural canon includes the apocrypha, are allowed to attend the school.

Catholicism is a historical Christian denomination that regards revelations to be closed, Arnold said.

Wing, the Mormon bishop, agreed that Mormons believe that new sacred revelations continue to occur.

Doctrinal differences aside, another Mormon family whose child was denied admission to the Little Rock Christian Academy said the personal effect of the school’s policy is damaging to Mormon children.

Mormon Carolyn Hiatt said she sent her son to the school about eight years ago and faced no discrimination.

So she didn’t foresee any problems when two years ago, her then-15-year-old daughter wanted to go to the school because several of her friends were planning to go there.

When the daughter found out she wouldn’t be allowed to go, it was a shock, said Hiatt.

“She was heartbroken. She was devastated. She cried. It was an awful month or so,” said Hiatt.

Originally from Washington state, Hiatt has lived in Little Rock for 20 years and said she loves it. But the school’s rejection made the family consider moving out of state.

“People generally have good intentions, but they’re taught this growing up, they have these ideas. They think Mormons are a cult,” Hiatt said.

She remembered a pastor who told her friend that her 3-year-old child shouldn’t play with Hiatt’s son because “Mormons were an evil influence.”

Hiatt’s oldest son attended Little Rock Christian Academy for one year as an eighthgrader about eight years ago, she said. At the time, the school had no official policy excluding Mormons, she said. That written policy was put in place in 2007-08.

The policy, “adopted new admission criteria ... to make it clear that our school mission is to partner with families and churches who subscribe to our LRCA Doctrinal Statement,” Arnold said in an e-mail.

A Pew Research Center poll of 2,001 U.S. adults in November showed that onethird of non-Mormons don’t believe that Mormonism is Christian, and nearly twothirds don’t know much about the religion.

The poll, which had a 3 percent margin of error, also found that 53 percent of evangelical Christians don’t consider Mormonism a Christian religion.

Emanuel, the board member, said the nation’s 6.1 million Mormons’ salvation is suspect, adding: “I don’t believe they’ll go to heaven.”

Federal law doesn’t prohibit private religious schools from discriminating on the basis of religion as long as they don’t accept federal dollars.

“It is a private school. We can do what we want,” Emanuel said.

Front Section, Pages 1 on 05/31/2012


WGT says...

Christianity,Mormonism,Buddhism,Islam,Hinduism,Tao- As Christopher Hitchens stated,"religion poisons everything." What are people doing to themselves and their children? LRCA is exercising vanity through "christianity." Sickening. Pathetic. A display of arrogant, self placed superiority of a belief system over another arrogant,self placed superiority of a belief system. Neither of these entities have a wits worth of difference between them so far as required intelligence to comprehend the differences of each other, so why in the world would the two even bother to attempt to mesh different belief systems other than to create a controversy. Therein lies the rub.

Posted 31 May 2012, 5:43 a.m. Suggest removal

Populist says...

Disgusting. Most religious schools accept children of different faiths as part of their mission to expand the church. Is this school using the "mormon" religion as an excuse to keep out children with a black mom and white dad? Just wondering.

Posted 31 May 2012, 6:07 a.m. Suggest removal

jfvande says...

Why is this considered news? This is what “religious schools” do and why they exist, to exclude anyone that does not believe as they do. Many of these schools sprang up in the 1960’s when the public schools were racially integrated. If this story has any “news value” it is to highlight the fundamental difference between “private” versus public education. This is the system that the Republican conservatives want to create a voucher system to support with tax money and we need to think about that also.

Posted 31 May 2012, 6:45 a.m. Suggest removal

rainbowharold55 says...

Seems to be a convenient excuse to ban a mixed-race child.

Posted 31 May 2012, 7 a.m. Suggest removal

RLB says...

Vandergrift is correct. I'm having a hard time with people who want to do things they know is a conflict. Seems the media is all over this lately. Schools like this have been around for a long long time and cater to specific beliefs, etc. Knowingly trying to change that will get you some print time but as said, "Private" being key. There are other quality private schools for thier child. I hope they do the right thing and get him the education he needs.

Posted 31 May 2012, 7:38 a.m. Suggest removal

Populist says...

Any vouchers or tax benefits should only go to schools with nondiscriminatory practices and scholarships for the poor. The Catholics take anybody and try to turn them into Catholics. The MSM girls almost always turn out to be fine human beings. Now, the CHS boys, not always....

Posted 31 May 2012, 7:39 a.m. Suggest removal

Beckygillette says...

On of the reasons I left Utah after graduating from college there was the Mormon control of state government and the economy. At that time a poll was done of legislators and a majority favored adopting the Equal Rights Amendment--until the Mormon Church came out against it and it failed. In Utah, you are discriminated against being a non Mormon in getting jobs, getting promotions and running for public office. I did find it ironic the statement in this article that Mormons might not get into heaven because that is what Mormons say about anyone who is not Mormon. Since I left Utah not wanting to live with a government controlled by the Mormon patriarchal gerontocracy, I'm really not keen on seeing the U.S. led by a President who believes you have to be a Mormon to go to heaven, that men get to become Gods and have large numbers of wives, and that a woman only gets into heaven by invitation of her husband. Oh, and that every person who ever lived must be baptized Mormon by proxy in order to get into heaven.

Posted 31 May 2012, 7:46 a.m. Suggest removal

vlprich says...

They have every right to base their policies on accepting non- Trinitarian sects. The first three Ecuminical Councils held in the 4th and 5th centuries addressed heretical beliefs such as the Mormon profess. They do not believe that Jesus Christ was God come in the flesh consubstantial with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The councils wrote the Nicean Creed in order to give Orthodox Christians a standard to go by when confronted with heretical sects. The over all ignorance of the basic tenets of the Christian faith constantly amazes me. This is their right based on a 2000 year old faith not some modern faith dreamed up in the 19 th century.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:07 a.m. Suggest removal

Jfish says...

Becky, can you make your point without us having to hear your story again? BTW, LRCA can do what it wants as a private school, but I think it would be in the administration's best interest to reconsider this decision.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:09 a.m. Suggest removal

awh says...

Disgusting? Hardly. I am not a theologian but my understanding of a comparison of the two faiths and their doctrines is that they are VERY different. Christ exists in both and influences both, but the similarities end pretty quickly after that. The school has apparently chosen to follow the classic version of Christianity as shown in the Bible, not that one shown in the Book of Mormon, and they are very different. To label Mormonism as a "Christian" faith is not an accurate characterization, although it is being done a lot these days because of the political environment. The school has a right to focus on, and commit to nurture, families who aspire to follow the tenets of classic Christianity, and to not endorse other religions as the "same thing" just because it is politically expedient. To say they are un-Christian because they won't back down from that is political rock-throwing and smells of those who would try to change the meaning of words. The same thing is happening elsewhere with the concept of marriage. We live in a free country and if states and communities decide to recognize same-sex unions that is their business according to our constitution. But why must we change the meaning of a word (marriage) that has been foundation of our society and of world history in order to appease those who choose to enter into those unions. Just as heterosexual marriage and same-sex unions are not the same thing, Christianity and Mormonism are not the same thing. Look more closely at the doctrines of the two religions and you will see that. Although you may have to dig because much of the controversial parts of Mormonism are very closely held and not so public that you will find them as easily as those of the Bible-based Christian faith. Why might that be? (See Becky's notes above for a taste of that...) Because they are very different. LRCA is a private school, with a right to nurture and train up a specific faith-based part of the community. I wouldn't require them to accept Mormons or Muslims any more than I would require a private Islamic school that teaches an Islamic worldview to accept Christian children.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:10 a.m. Suggest removal

RaylanGivens says...

By tomorrow number of posts on this: 75
Number of posts crying racism: 50

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:21 a.m. Suggest removal

RLB says...

Razorbacosanostra, you are right. Too funny!

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:28 a.m. Suggest removal

Popsmith says...

The only way to believe the Book of Mormon is to not read it.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:31 a.m. Suggest removal

RichardCranium says...

I would be furious with Carla Emanuel if I were a LRCA parent. LRCA has every right to disallow someone of a different faith since they are a private school. But as a prominent organization in the community, a situation like this should be handled with as much class as possible. Having a board member state publicly that members of the disallowed faith will not go to heaven (i.e., will go to hell) was, in my opinion, unnecessary and completely over the top. I believe that the majority of LRCA families were misrepresented by Mrs. Emanuel’s statements and hope that they push for her dismissal from the board to show the community that they are not the radical organization which was portrayed by this article.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:40 a.m. Suggest removal

lindasue says...

It's a private school and they can pick and chose will can and cannot attend.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:41 a.m. Suggest removal

Vickie55 says...

I guess it's too soon to tell if this child is going to be a standout athlete. If that were the case, he could be a practicing Satan worshipper and still be accepted.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:48 a.m. Suggest removal

Crowman17 says...

Why do people always pull the race card. It's nothing to do with that. I am so sick of that. Get over it!!!!! Its about religious beleifs. This school gets no government money and they have all the right to accept who they want. Go to public school or somewhere else.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:49 a.m. Suggest removal

arkansaspatriot says...

To Little Rock Christian Academy: Stick to your beliefs and values.

To the Mormons: Good luck with your new Little Rock Mormon Academy

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:58 a.m. Suggest removal

Murphy01 says...

Private school that gets no government funding, they can do as they please. No different than a country club or other private organizations. I'm tired of people trying to change the rules to fit their own needs. Maybe some are jealous????

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:05 a.m. Suggest removal

Redabi says...

God's good people Promoting Hatred since 1977

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:22 a.m. Suggest removal

ARCitizen says...

Emanuel, the board member, said the nation’s 6.1 million Mormons’ salvation is suspect, adding: “I don’t believe they’ll go to heaven.”
AND - the Church of Christ believe if you go to the wrong building on Sunday mornings, you won't go to heaven. Jeeeesh, seriously???
I thought Christians had a common goal to save souls from the fires of hell. So, if you accept non-christian students in your christian school, wouldn't that give you the opportunity to re-educate that person in the christian faith? Especially if you begin that education at such a young age! In my personal opinion, the denial of this student to attend this school is against the very ideal of christianity.
But I'm certainly not a theologist...

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:25 a.m. Suggest removal

Wowy says...

No eternal damnation, no forgiveness of sin.
You reap what you sow is the one changeless,
eternal principle.

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:34 a.m. Suggest removal

fryergary says...

LRCA has the right to choose who does or does not attend, correct. There os a quote something like, we wish to worship as we choose and allow others to worship is they please. That is why we should keep church out of state so we can keep state out of church!

I want to preserve my right to worship as I see fit and yours, and that is why I want seperation of state from religeous activist!

I don't agree with these bigots, and that is why I say NO VOUCHERS!

I am a white Christian liberal..yes there is such a thing!

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:35 a.m. Suggest removal

rainbowharold55 says...

Wonder how many federal funds this discriminatory institution draws in?

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:10 a.m. Suggest removal

syzito says...

Mormons are not Christian in theology.They say that they are but it's in title only.Here are just a few of their religious beliefs that very clearly shows that they are not Christians;Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and we were all born as siblings in heaven to them both, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 163).
A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus' plan was accepted. In effect the Devil wanted to be the Savior of all Mankind and to "deny men their agency and to dethrone god," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 193; Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 8).God used to be a man on another planet, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 321; Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 613-614; Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 345; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333).
"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s..." (D&C 130:22).
God is in the form of a man, (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3).
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see," (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).
God the Father had a Father, (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476; Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 19; Milton Hunter, First Council of the Seventy, Gospel through the Ages, p. 104-105).
God resides near a star called Kolob, (Pearl of Great Price, p. 34-35; Mormon Doctrine, p. 428).Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones." (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).

God, becoming a god

After you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god, (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345-347, 354.)
"Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them," (D&C 132:20).
As anyone with a brain can see Mormons are as much Christian as are Muslims.

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:17 a.m. Suggest removal

RaylanGivens says...

RainbowHarold if you would read the article you would not have to ask a question:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leaders acknowledge that the private school, which doesn’t accept federal funding, can deny admission to members of their flock.Begin typing here...

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:29 a.m. Suggest removal

LevitiCuss says...

@Populist: "CHS boys, not always..."
Fr. Tribou welcomed me into Catholic (against my wishes, even), though as a Methodist, he knew I was hell-bound. All the concerned parties here are just sheeple of a different color. Their kid will be MUCH better off not going to LRCA. Perfect argument against vouchers as well. I don't want any of MY tax money supporting these wacko people. But one thing I really don't get is people of color joining the Mormon church. Last I heard their doctrine said brown people were sent here by the devil. What's their position on spray-tans? Doubt Boehner would be granted access into the temple- and he's only a dark shade of orange:^O

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:55 a.m. Suggest removal

Redabi says...

This is exactly the reason we should NOT have a voucher system. Ironically Supported by Mitt Romney

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:57 a.m. Suggest removal

nvlawyer says...

Just for the record, the Catholic Church recently changed (updated the English Translation) of their description of the Trinity to separate God the Father from Christ as two individual beings, thus aligning itself more with the Mormon view of the Trinity. Apparently, this pre-school didn't get the memo.

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:07 a.m. Suggest removal

eburrelli says...

A lot of good points made!! I know the family and I can say that they're just wanting the best education for Sam. I mean- he's 4 and he already reads- so compliments to LRCA for providing top notch education and compliments to Jessi and Braden for teaching him so well. With private institutions, I would think the private donors are going to have the most pull. Just saying- money talks and keeps the school bus Rollin'. I agree private institutions are allowed to make their policies that's their right- even if it means potentially encouraging an environment that fosters divide and animosity among good people. Personally, I'm surprised that LRCA made an official comment stating the parents are "sneaky" seems weird that a respected organization would go on record like that, yet therein lies the truth I guess. LRCA wants to prevent any current students from learning about Mormonism because of knowing Sam and his family and as a private institution yes- that is their right. Even if LRCA had accepted Sam after all the appeals, my guess is that it wouldn't be the most positive experience for him. At any rate, I hope the family is able to find an adequate solution- such a bright kid deserves to be educated- that's what this should really be about.

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:12 a.m. Suggest removal

KenFoxx says...

this is a sad story ...and it sounds like hypocrisy too ...it's a child who suffers due to what may be more ego than factual information driving this decision.

Wouldn't a Christian school believing in specific ideas want a person to attend who does not believe in those ideas? If they allowed it they could teach and inspire their beliefs ...why reject this child? The story seems incomplete, the reason to reject this child can't be the whole truth, there must be more and it's likely to be nefarious.

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:14 a.m. Suggest removal

nvlawyer says...

@syzito. I don't want to make you look dumb, but all of what you have set forth can be supported as Christian doctrine using the New Testament alone. Let's take the concept of Jesus having a corporal body. Wasn't it Jesus himself that showed his body to his apostles after the resurrection asking them to touch his body because a spirit does not have flesh and bones. Man. How can you twist the very words of Christ into something resembling the Nicene Creed of 300 a.c.e?

Let's also separate speculation from theology. Many Mormons have speculated about eternal things, but you shouldn't take speculation as official doctrine. There is no official doctrine that states God the Father had a Father. There are thousands of books from Mormons speculating on eternity, but official Mormon doctrine is not what you have quoted. God the Father has no equal, save His Son and the Holy Ghost.

Lucifer, who became Satan was a son of the morning -- and that is clearly set forth in the Old Testament. If he was a creation of God and a Spiritual Son of God, then that makes him by default a spiritual brother of Christ. Jesus Christ is the only physically begotten of the Father. That is all Bible stuff, so perhaps you really just need to read your Bible more.

Christ preached that all the father has is an inheritance to those who follow Christ. As an Heir of God the Father, do you not become like him? Mormon doctrine does not Replace the Father, nor make us his equal, nor more than a son becomes his father's equal. But Paul preached that we would become his perfect heirs. You are lying about Mormon beliefs being non-Christian as Christ himself taught these concepts.

As it is clear you do not have a good working knowledge of the Bible, I will let your ignorance slide. All Mormon theology can be supported and is supported by the Bible alone. One's interpretation of language may be different, but the words speak for themselves in black and white. I can read them as easily as you, but it is clear that the words have been twisted to mean something completely different for you. I take them on face value, e.g., a spirit hath not flesh and bone . . .

"Christians" can discriminate all they want to protect their historical and traditional views. Christ had the Pharisees to contend with (who also had a "perfect" knowledge of the scriptures. Mormons have Evangelicals to contend with. It is all a repeating pattern isn't it?

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:22 a.m. Suggest removal

cadronboy03120856 says...

#1. Bigotry among Christians seems very ..well..un-Christian. As once said, ""The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. "That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable." Perfect example!!

#2. It again should be emphasized: "Mormon leaders accept the decision" stating “One of the articles of our faith is that we wish the privilege to worship according to our faith and we wish to accord all men that same privilege." Now I ask you: who is the better Christian? IMHO -- It seems the Mormons are far more accepting of those who don't share their specific beliefs.

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:29 a.m. Suggest removal

TheBatt says...

"The school’s policy, formalized nearly five years ago, frustrates some Mormon families who insist that they are Christians."

Amazingly enough, Mormons for the first 95% of their history fought hard AGAINST being called "Christian", as they felt the label was so misused. Now that they see the label as having advantages - they cling to it.

Personally - my issue isn't so much related to LRCA's RIGHT to not accept this student, but that their policy is such that their doors are not open to those who are embroiled in a cult like the LDS. If anything, the Christ-like thing to do would be to open the doors to any child, but with the stipulation that the child would be taught from that school's point of view/doctrine/beliefs. For most practicing Mormons (or Jehovah's Witnesses, or any denomination with significant theological/doctrinal differences with LRCA), this would lead them to place their child elsewhere.

Jesus had stern words for those who would prevent the least of these children from coming to Him. While he was using the children as a metaphor, the application still exists.

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:49 a.m. Suggest removal

Reason says...

No government funding... It is the church's decision. Add vouchers or any government funding and I will have plenty to say.
Separation of church and state is really that simple.
Wonder why this made news but Cardinal Dolan paying child molesters $20,000 and lying about it, did not make news?
nytimes. com/2012/05/31/us/cardinal-authorized-payments-to-abusers. html?_r=1

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:58 a.m. Suggest removal

ReallyIsThatSo says...

Crowman17 is right on target! Someone always has to bring race as and issue, as if they don't have enough intelligence to consider any other options. They are the ones that are really racist bigots, which always shows by their comments.We have a mixed marriage in our family. If you believe the word of God, we all go back to Adam and Eve, if you read the book of Morman, I don't know what you believe about that. God created all people, their skin color doesn't matter, but some can't get past the slavery issue. This is 2012, everyone has the same opportunities, if they will pursue them and stop the whinning.Now that being said, before you make a comment on christianity, mormons, or any other beliefs, take time to research them so that you can educate yourself before making comments out of emotion or off the top of your head, which shows you don't have a clue. Research Mormonism, you will see Becky G and syzito know what they're talking about. Until then stop showing your ignorance! As for as the presidential race, I don't want either one of them. I'm a white, christian conservative, and I'm proud of it. I think I'll either write in my husband or Herman Cain ( now we can talk about unfair ) Mr. Cain may not have been perfect, but those with sin were certainly ready to cast the first stone. On the other hand look at Bill Clinton's morals, they were a disgrace to the human race let alone the Office. He was a very poor example, who caused us to have to do alot of explaining to our children who shouldn't have been subjected to his filth and immoral behavior........yet he came out smelling like a rose, it's the sign of the times.

Posted 31 May 2012, 12:12 p.m. Suggest removal

Jackabbott says...

Who cares?

Posted 31 May 2012, 12:18 p.m. Suggest removal

Granny48 says...

Syzito - thanks for for taking the time to share the information, which I plan to check out for myself. If these aberrant beliefs are held by Mormons I don't want to have a President stupid enough to believe them. Now, the true dilemma is not who should my grandchildren go to school with, but who on earth can Bible-believing people vote for?!?

Posted 31 May 2012, 12:26 p.m. Suggest removal

aimee says...

It is an interesting religion because one keeps wondering "where did THAT come from"..??? For example, there are countless references to there being "eternities" as if there was more than one... I guess that's what we get when we are in such a individualistic society... One person's eternity might be totally separate from another persons..!!! Huh..???
As far as "the race card goes", did anyone find this situation interesting in that Blacks were banned from "holding the priesthood" (priests = baptized males over 16) until 1978..???

Posted 31 May 2012, 12:43 p.m. Suggest removal

Kaanapali says...

"Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."

Who is a Christian? I believe the best test is that given by Christ: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” It’s difficult to apply this to large groups of people, since, in any group I’ve discovered, there is great variety. But we can perhaps make a stab at testing a professed Christian by his fruits. And what should be those fruits? “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

Besides the statement “by their fruits,” Jesus gave at least three other tests of discipleship I can think of: obedience to the Father (”Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ . . . but he that doeth the will of my Father”), love (”By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”), and care for others (”Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me”). Interestingly the “doing” specified in this last standard is comfort and service–feeding, clothing, visiting–not correcting people’s theology.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don't just give lip service to the teachings of Christ. They try to follow those teachings. In my experience, they do a pretty good job.

If you want to know the truth about Mormons, go to the source. You can read all about their beliefs in Jesus Christ from the online manuals that are used every Sunday to teach both adults and children.
Just google lds or Mormon and go to the direct Church website for the truth of what is actually taught.

Posted 31 May 2012, 12:55 p.m. Suggest removal

dman says...

OK Granny, stay home. That's a sure vote for BO. Don't worry about HIS beliefs - his record says plenty.

Posted 31 May 2012, 1:01 p.m. Suggest removal

ToTheLeft says...

I knew it..It's ALL Bill Clinton's fault! I think he was even responsible for the Civil War and the Titanic's sinking.

Posted 31 May 2012, 1:14 p.m. Suggest removal


When I read the front page story “LR Christian Academy rejects Mormon as pupil” I was saddened, but not surprised. As a lifelong member of the LDS faith, whose family history dates back to Joseph Smiths days, I have read about, seen and lived with the religious bias and confusion that LR Christian Academy has made part of their “school’s doctrinal statement”. The LDS Church has faced over 180 years of religious bias, in a country that claims to be religiously tolerant, including an “extermination order” and the murder of Joseph Smith. Arkansas own history includes and the murder of Parley P. Pratt, an early leader of the LDS Church. Therefore the act of excluding this child, based on his religion, is nothing new.
Only by add their own personal doctrinal requirements, such as the “66 books contained in the Protestant Bible” rule used to exclude this child, do Mormons no longer quality as Christians. Under the only biblical definition “all who believe in Jesus Christ and the truths taught by him” Mormons are Christians. While we may have doctrinal differences, since I believe and Jesus Christ and the truths taught by him, I am a Mormon and a Christian and should be welcomed in their school.
However, also I said I was saddened. I am sad that the people who run the LR Christian Academy cannot see that they are also hurting themselves. Mormons are a wonderfully helpful and kind group of people. We run Scout Troops, work with PTA’s, donate our time and money to schools and charities, live “Christian lives”, even if they don’t think we are, and much more. We are the kind of people they want at their school, families with “strong morals” who want “rigorous academics”. We could make a wonderful addition to their school, if only they would not judge us against there own idea of what a Christian is, and accept us as fellow Christian.

Posted 31 May 2012, 1:59 p.m. Suggest removal

cdawg says...

THANK YOU syzito. Now I know where I'll fly away to.

Posted 31 May 2012, 2:24 p.m. Suggest removal

TheAtomicMom says...

As a Mormon, I find it kind of funny that members of my faith are constantly being accused of being closed minded, un-Christian and intolerant of others with differering views, and yet it's not the Mormons that reject people of other faiths at our schools and in our churches. How sad that this school is so narrow in their view of Christianity that they cannot let this boy attend because of doctrinal differences. I'm sure many of these fine people wear "WWJD" jewlery as a symbol of their faith and commitment to Christ. And yet, Jesus would not reject this boy or anyone for that matter. I tell you this, if any of the graduates of the LRCA apply to Brigham Young Univ (the LDS Church's university) and get in, they would not have their addmission recinded when their (insert religous prefrence here) was discovered. As long as the student was willing to live by the Honor Code and follow the rules, they'd be welcome at BYU. In fact when I was a student there I had many non-Mormon classmates, and their presence made the university a better place for all of us closed minded, "non-Christan" Mormons.

Posted 31 May 2012, 2:35 p.m. Suggest removal

spilli831 says...

AtomicMom: If the Mormon church accepts others in their church, then why couldn't my daughter's friend, who is Mormon, have her wedding in the Mormon Temple? Oh, she could have, but none of her non-Mormon friends & family could attend, because they are not allowed in the Temple. So, please explain that to me and tell me how that's not excluding others or putting yourselves above others?

Posted 31 May 2012, 2:50 p.m. Suggest removal

Populist says...

The fact that this whole issue has come up is part of a giant conspiracy by far right anti-Mormon Republicans to undermine the candidacy of Mitt Romney by spreading religious prejudice. Mitt not only has to worry about the DNC pointing out his draft dodging, snobbery, and lavish lifestyle, he also has to worry about his right flank and the anti-Mormons. While the school has a LEGAL right to exclude 4 year old Mormons (I wonder if he even knows who Jospeh Smith is), some of us are questioning whether it is the Christian thing to do. Whatever happened to "love thy neighbor"? Should that be "Love thy neighbor, but watch out for those 4 year old Mormon, half-black kids who might disrupt the whole school?"

Posted 31 May 2012, 3:03 p.m. Suggest removal

hischilds says...

Did anyone else notice the bias of this article? It was written in a persuasive style. Perhaps as an attempt to create sympathy for the "poor" little kid. Sad.

Posted 31 May 2012, 4:01 p.m. Suggest removal

Jjackk says...

Why would they go there in the first place? If they did then they would accuse the school of undermining their religion when the kids are told their stories are just too outlandish.

Posted 31 May 2012, 4:02 p.m. Suggest removal

TheodoricofPork says...

We are clearly instructed in the Bible to "sequester thyselves in buildings and institutions, denying those who are different from thyselves entrance thereunto" or is it "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." I know it is one of the two, I just can't seem to remember..........

Posted 31 May 2012, 4:15 p.m. Suggest removal

Packman says...

Hey hischild - Excellent point on the article's slant - it was biased in its foundations.

Hey Populist - Ever heard of Michael Dyer? If not, his situation kind of blows your charges of racism right out of the water, although with Dyer's athleticism he could have been a practicing athiest and LRCA would have likely welcomed him with open arms.

Good for LRCA for standing by their beliefs. I'm just curious why the parents refuse to enroll the child in the quality public school located just down the road. Are they public school bigots? Regardless, Pulaski Academy will take the little mutt so long as the parents have the $$.

Posted 31 May 2012, 4:39 p.m. Suggest removal

Graduate says...

I am an LRC graduate who happened to stumble across this article and I hope I can shed some light into the matter.

First of all, I'm quite alarmed by the comments of Carla Emanuel (referring to Mormons as sneaky and her comments on her salvation). Even if that is your belief, there is no love in those statements and no need for them. From my (limited) experience with Mormons, they seem to be nice people, and the best way to convince them or a better Christianity would be to live it out and pray the Holy Spirit intercedes on their behalf. I would hope the school responds as these comments reflect poorly on their leadership.

As far as the purpose for excluding children of the Mormon faith, I believe the school desires to provide a good education under a Christian roof. The Mormon faith, although it has many similar beliefs is different than the Christian doctrine governing LRC. LRC desires to educate young children under this doctrine with the support of the parents. The issue is not this one child, but whether or not LRC is going to hold up their rules on which doctrinal faiths they will allow. If they allow Mormonism in, where does the line stop? I know this sounds arrogant and exclusive (especially when some seem to enjoy casting other out), but many people and organizations desire for their children to be taught with a community of common beliefs.

I think the past graduates and hope the future graduates do not hate Mormons, but show them kindness and recognize both the similarities and differences with a loving heart.

Posted 31 May 2012, 4:50 p.m. Suggest removal

T6 says...

There is not many baptisms, many bodies, and many faiths.

God said:
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:4-5)

Posted 31 May 2012, 5:54 p.m. Suggest removal

NickieD says...

You Religionists are very entertaining.
This is just a case of one cult bashing another, why they actually did it is obscured in the fog of religious beliefs.
Ever notice how any cult member will ALWAYS defend their cults beliefs no matter how silly the belief? Whether it is a Zombie God like Gee-sus or god living on another planet, what's the real difference? It's all make-believe!
Good job (sarcasm) dragging Bill into this... what a maroon! I can think of so many more current politicians who would surpass Bill as more corrupt...
NO Government funding of private schools or religious schools... I don't care how they bend their rules or beliefs to accept my tax dollars... this is just another trick of the Ridiculous Republickers to funnel my Tax Dollars into their Superstitious Nonsensical Belief Systems. Seperation of State and Cults was the intent of the Founders.
The best idea is to put MORE tax dollars into Public Schools. Stop diluting the power of money to educate and destroying the concept of Public Education by taking the funding out and sending to private schools, whether they are religious or not.
Good post Becky, you know the truth and that's why the maroons don't want to know it. It conflicts with their make-believe.

Posted 31 May 2012, 5:56 p.m. Suggest removal

RaylanGivens says...

Nickie you need to give up all your money that says In God We Trust; unfortunately that one dollar won't buy much.

Posted 31 May 2012, 8:55 p.m. Suggest removal

RaylanGivens says...

Also as any good analyst would do I need to change my post estimate. I understated the potential of this thread; I now would like to increase my estimate to 125 posts by the end of business hours tomorrow. I will also say that the future potential will far exceed all analysts expectations. Facebook would be very jealous; be bullish on this one.

Posted 31 May 2012, 9:05 p.m. Suggest removal

grstroud says...

You have to love NickieD and her (?) posse. They are narrow minded, bigoted, self righteous, condescending, and hateful. These are the exact characteristics they rant against people of faith. So, people are people so why does it be that you and I get along so awfully.
Last time I checked the Bill of Rights guaranteed the right of religious freedom. That protects all of us. As all of the constitutional scholars in Arkansas (pun intended) realize, the school is PRIVATE. They can extend membership to anyone they like. If you don't like it, tough. If your .60 cents were involved (the other .40 cents mainly comes from godless China), you would have a rant.
So little ones, what have we learned: 1. We are free to believe what we want. 2. Private organizations can exist and discriminate in any fashion they like. 3. Life is not fair...nor can it be made so. 4. It is beyond OK to have unexpressed thoughts...especially if they are not civil.

Posted 31 May 2012, 10:15 p.m. Suggest removal

Gibby says...

First of all, not that it really matters, but Dyer was at LRCA as an elementary student.

As the parent of 2 LRCA graduates, who paid taxes AND private school tuition for 15 years, I think most of you are missing the point. This is about a FOUR YEAR OLD child. Said child's parents are Mormon. LRCA wants children enrolled whose families' beliefs are congruent with the doctrine of the school. Suppose the child were admitted and stays for his formative years. Either he'll be convinced that Mormonism is "false doctrine," thus indicting his parents and causing strife at home, or he'll be trying to convince others that Mormonism is the only way to heaven, thus causing strife at LRCA. Why would LRCA want that sort of conflict and strife when it easily avoidable?

I 100% agree with the LRCA grad who expressed concern over the public comments made by the board member. What surprises me, though, is that few have really asked "why is this news?"

Posted 31 May 2012, 11:34 p.m. Suggest removal

oldyankee says...

would this have made the news if Romney were a Christian?

Posted 1 June 2012, 7:45 a.m. Suggest removal

Populist says...

Old Yankee

It's a conspiracy against Romney. newt and santorum may be behind this.

Posted 1 June 2012, 2:14 p.m. Suggest removal

SimpleMan10 says...

Little history lesson..
So Joseph Smith was informed of the Book of Mormons by and angel named Moroni... who was also the last prophet to contribute to the book.
It also was apparently written in America by Ancient prophets from 2200B.C.--AD.421......surrreeee

So according to Mormons... all these new and many significantly altered beliefs were just left out of the Bible?? And we are to believe them because one lunatic said he had a dream that would tell us the Bible is wrong in some ways?

I dont want to get into it anymore, because the more I read on the Book of Mormon the more crazy I think that Mormons are.
BUT, I will says this Joseph Smith would have been one heck of Childrens Fictional writer.

Aside from my small rant of disbelief, LRCA way to stick to your guns!! I will say I knew the Hiatt's and they are without a doubt very nice people and I'm sure the Duncan's are too, but LRCA is a school of true Christianity and strictly Biblically based. Mormons are not strictly Biblically based

Posted 1 June 2012, 2:42 p.m. Suggest removal

GradofLRCA says...

Ok so I attended LRCA and can I just say there is a huge lie in the second paragraph! You cannot see any sort of playground from Hwy 10. The reporter needs to check facts and obviously someone is lying! Secondly I know and knew mixed race students at school so all the people talking about race can stop talking about that. I say keep the values and stay strong.

Posted 1 June 2012, 9:01 p.m. Suggest removal

Lees says...

nvlawyer says... May 31, 2012 at 11:07 a.m.

"""Just for the record, the Catholic Church recently changed (updated the English Translation) of their description of the Trinity to separate God the Father from Christ as two individual beings, thus aligning itself more with the Mormon view of the Trinity. Apparently, this pre-school didn't get the memo."""

No Nvlawyer the Catholic Church did not change it to two individual beings, it is as it's always been, one being, three persons. They are no where near the Mormon view and trying to imply otherwise is at best a misunderstanding of Catholic belief. At worst you are lying about their beliefs.

Posted 1 June 2012, 10:06 p.m. Suggest removal

Lees says...

Like Spilli I would like to know why LDS are so hurt because they are exclued by people they don't know and yet feel totally justified in excluding the parents of converts from their own child's wedding. Seems to me they should temper their response here and look to the adage about people living in glass houses.

Posted 2 June 2012, midnight Suggest removal

Lees says...

As to BYU accepting non-LDS this is only as long as a student accepts and conforms to LDS belief in food and dress. And they conscript non-LDS clergy into record keeping and reporting on their members, reporting violators is extremely important at BYU, a practice that is not the norm in their churches. And in the case of Catholics a direct violation of Catholic beliefs. They call this forced LDS behavior "honor code" but it is really the imposition of LDS beliefs on non-members.

Posted 2 June 2012, 12:14 a.m. Suggest removal

arkateacher54_aol.com says...

My four children went to private Christian schools for all of their primary and secondary education. Many times I saw kids come in who had more influence over their fellow students than the school itself. I wish my children's schools had been more selective about who was allowed admission.

Posted 2 June 2012, 5:16 a.m. Suggest removal

NickieD says...

grstroud; normally I don't respond to the trashing dished out by Religionists, but hey... I'm not a Christian so I can't be as you described, it is you Religionists who do all the hate spewing. I just comment on how staged your assumption of piety is. You guys are hilarious, you drag out your god stuff every time you want to justify some pet peeve like hatred of the President... who can't be a Christian or YOUR rants about Homosexuality, even though your big cheese Gee-sus had NOTHING to say on that subject.
I'm just telling the truth and you don't like it. Well ain't that a big boo hoo. As I said, any cult member will squeal when their beliefs are challenged... and you sure did.
Nice work proving my theory... thanks!
razor: I would love for my money to have the god thing taken off. It was not the founders who thought of such an asinine idea, it was a Religionist who wanted to announce that THEY trusted in a make-believe deity. How silly is that?
Though money has a direct connection with the representatives of myth and make-believe, that is to say, they want it and have lots of it and don't pay any taxes on it or their property, I'm pretty sure that Gee-sus had a different idea (at least in the Book of Stories) about money and taxes. Right?

Posted 2 June 2012, 4:14 p.m. Suggest removal

T6 says...

NickieD, you should really be careful mocking God and Jesus (Gee-sus) because he is loving but vengeful, he might just turn you into a conservative.

Posted 2 June 2012, 10:18 p.m. Suggest removal

oneldschristian says...

I am a descendent of 9 generations of Baptist preachers, the great grandson of a Southern Baptist denomination President and Theological Seminary President & Professor, the grandson of a Southern Baptist Evangelist (who was credited with Billy Graham's conversion), and the son of an ordained Southern Baptist preacher. Having been born and raised as a Southern Baptist, and born again after accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at age 7, at a Billy Graham Crusade, I have a very clear understanding of what a follower of Jesus Christ is and should believe. My testimony of Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, and my personal relationship with Him has only increased these past 37 years as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day.
I do recognize the "right" of this school to exclude Latter-day Saints as pupils; however, I find it a sad commentary on just how misinformed so many people are as it relates to the core beliefs of Mormons. Perhaps the Savior said it best in His Sermon on the Mount: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul. I believe in and I am a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ. Does that make me a Christian?

Posted 7 June 2012, 8:11 p.m. Suggest removal

Packman says...

What do all you snobs have against public schools? There is a great public school just down the road from LRCA in either direction on Hwy 10 that would welcome little Sam with open arms. No muss, no fuss, just enroll and enjoy a wonderful and free education.

Posted 7 June 2012, 9:08 p.m. Suggest removal

thankfulheart says...

As a parent of a children who have solely attended private Christian schools, I have a little insight into this issue. There are typically two types of Christian schools. The first is a discipleship type school where the school requires students and their families to basically believe and adhere to the doctrine of the school in order to attend. The other type is an outreach type school where the school teaches Christian values with hopes of reaching out to non-believers. I have experience with both types of schools and can see the pros and cons of type of school. My guess would be that LR Christian is a discipleship school.
Since it is a private school, this should not really be an issue. They can choose to decline any student. For those who started screaming about not supporting school vouchers because of issues like this, you must not know many parents of children who attend private school. I personally don't know any private school parents who would want vouchers due to the fact that it opens the door to government control.

Posted 7 June 2012, 9:49 p.m. Suggest removal

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