“The government is the devil”: Glenn Beck and Mormonism Redux

By May 5, 2009

As a follow up to my post on Glenn Beck’s drawing upon a certain strain of Mormon apocalyptic folklore in articulating his political positions (and the mainstream media’s ignoring the influence of Beck’s religion on those positions), I thought readers might be interested in the latest instance illustrating it. The following is from Beck’s radio program Tuesday afternoon.

Mormon readers (or listeners, as it may be) will probably recognize the last two sentences as a variation on a standard Sunday School theme. The scriptural allusion is to Moses 4:3 (Pearl of Great Price) in which the Lord reveals that in the pre-mortal existence, “Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man.” There’s nothing particularly apocalyptic about the verse or the idea in and of itself. But again, Beck is utilizing the verse as a social commentary on what he views as the twin political threats (socialism and fascism) facing America thanks to the Obama administration. And again, it seems that he is most likely taking his talking points from the political writings of Ezra Taft Benson and Cleon Skousen which opposed Soviet Communism (see here for a sampling of relevant quotes by Benson, noting the similarities to Beck’s own language).

This isn’t surprising considering that Beck apparently sees Obama as a sort of young, black Lenin (or, worse yet, a threat the world hasn’t seen since the days of Hitler and Nazi Germany). But it is a bit surprising considering that such rhetoric has been out of vogue among most Mormons for some time. What remains to be seen is whether conservative Mormons (of both the Republican and libertarian stripe) buy into Beck’s apocalyptic discourse, and whether such acceptance will indeed signal the rebirth of Bensonian politics within the LDS church (at least at a grassroots level). Furthermore, it will be interesting to see what response Beck’s (unattributed but unmistakable) invocation of Mormon scripture and Mormon prophetic folklore in expressing his political philosophy garners from the conservative evangelical crowd.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


Comments

  1. I have to admit that I am thankful that his Mormonism hasn’t been accentuated yet. I like him being detached from the Church, especially as a representative; he embarrasses me: us.

    I continue to be amazed as to why members of our church perfect the talent of declaring the obvious about differing views and actions (those straying from a supposed gospel center), and yet are too lazy to get out in the neighborhoods, communities, and regions to create and make a difference based on the principles and doctrines we profess. Creation not libation Beck, please sir.

    Comment by Tod Robbins — May 5, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  2. Tod, I agree that Beck is largely an embarrassment to the church. Part of me thus hopes his Mormonism continues to be ignored. But the academic in me hopes such rhetoric continues from Beck. Analyzing this stuff is entirely too fun.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 1:08 am

  3. Oh, that clip made me cringe. Ick.

    I have no way of explaining – or even understanding – why Beck’s overt Mormon references are not picked up more by non-Beck-lovers. It seems an easy target for NYT types, but so far, like you, I haven’t seen much analysis of it. Just passing references in the context of his story of sobering up. Somebody in the media has to pick up on his endorsement of Skousen, right? Right?

    As for the evangelical crowd, I think we saw hints of how he is (and will be) regarded in that community by what happened with his movie ad on the Focus on the Family website. But evidently none of it has hurt his TV ratings so far.

    Comment by Hunter — May 6, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  4. Dear oh dear. There are some real oddballs in the Church, aren’t there? I wish he’d go off and join some other Church.

    Comment by Jonathan M — May 6, 2009 @ 2:26 am

  5. If only I cou swallow the Jesus story, I might even consider joining the Community of Christ just to get away from these types. For the most part the Cof C is lunacy-free. I’m surprised (well, a little) that more Mormon intellectuals don’t actually join the Cof C,incidentally. But that’s for another thread.

    Comment by Jonathan M — May 6, 2009 @ 2:30 am

  6. I?m surprised (well, a little) that more Mormon intellectuals don?t actually join the Cof C,incidentally. But that?s for another thread.

    Errrr… Not sure what to think of this comment. Perhaps you are not noticing the thing that keeps most Mormon intellectuals in the church — God.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  7. Beck is quite a nut isn’t he? His popularity scares me. There seems to be a never-ending line of people pining for Armageddon and Beck plays well to that crowd. Kind of freaks me out.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 2:36 am

  8. Hunter, I keep thinking that if not the NYT or another MSM venue, Religion Dispatches or GetReligion will pick up on this and try their hand at analyzing it, but haven’t seen anything yet.

    Jonathan M, I know of at least a couple “intellectuals” who have left the Utah church for the Community of Christ. I’m not entirely sure how to address your comment (or if there is an answer to your question), but I do think that a comparison of intellectuals and academics within various Latter Day Saint traditions and their level of acceptance and comfort within their chosen faith tradition would be an interesting study.

    Geoff, Beck is nutty indeed. I’m with you. Beck’s popularity scares me more than Beck himself does. As mentioned in comment #2, Beck’s Mormon-based nuttiness at the very least makes for fun analysis, and might very well turn these two posts into a recurring series of blog posts here at the JI.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 3:46 am

  9. I have tried to come up with comment but Beck is just so silly. What is there to say?

    In some way, my faith in the Constitution, is partially based in my belief that the structure developed by Madison and the gang will keep Beck (or Benson/Skousen) following Mormons from having too much influence on the course of government. This is just a nutty, but very small, faction. This is the very type of movement/group that the Constitution prevents from getting to much power (see Federalist #10 and #51).

    Does this type of thinking have a strong influence on the Mormon community? To a degree, but this is nothing new. I guess for me, living in Idaho, I hear this type of stuff all the time.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 7:00 am

  10. This clip doesn’t play the whole comment. He was speaking to a young woman who had a professor teaching that capitalism was evil, and that the early church was taught to live communism (which in reality was not communism, but the Law of Consecration). Beck explained the difference between the law of consecration and communism, and in this clip he was explaining that it was Satan’s plan to force us, and to make those decisions for us, as communism would obviously force us to do whatever the government says. This clip is a bit out of context. He’s talking about a Communist government being the devil or possibly even “Big Expanded Government” is the devil. Free agency is taken away therefore this type of government is acting in the same way as Lucifer did in the pre-existence.

    Comment by Joshua — May 6, 2009 @ 7:42 am

  11. Given that having a Lenin or a Hitler as president of the United States would be an undesirable thing; and given that there are a few people out there who would resort to violence to prevent such a thing happening;

    How long before some nut who believes this takes a shot at Obama? And how far will people like Beck be culpable when this happens?

    The more we distance ourselves from this loon, the better.

    Comment by Ronan — May 6, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  12. I wonder if she had taken my class?

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  13. “How long before some nut who believes this takes a shot at Obama?”

    I have been wondering that question myself.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  14. Whoa, he pulled out the whole Law of Consecration is not Communism spiel on the air? That’s overtly Mormon.

    Comment by David G. — May 6, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  15. Does anyone actually think that we are now living in the Soviet Union?

    There were many early Saints who struggle with our communal experiments because they where counter to the American Lockean impulse of private property and individualism.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 8:06 am

  16. I can see how living the law of consecration under the United Order would have been a bit of a change, however you still retained personal property rights. You basically brought all you had to the bishop, whether it was a little or a lot, and then the bishop would more than likely make you steward over the very things you consecrated. So basically you would get your own stuff back, plus anything else you might need. Property would be deeded to you, so legally it was yours, and you could take it with you if you decided to back out of the deal.

    But the mentality is different…you’ve given it to the Lord, and then he makes you steward over those things, meaning that you should treat them as if they are His, and do what he would want you to do with them.

    Comment by Joshua — May 6, 2009 @ 8:54 am

  17. Well, I for one am alarmed at some of Obama’s actions and words. He is removing the rights of first lien holders in the Chrysler bankruptcy (in giving UAW the union priority).

    He has spoken of putting a salary cap to CEOs. As far as I know, there was no law on how much a businessman should make. He only must abide by the laws.

    Instead of asking for funds from Congress, he has used AIG as a secret conduit to fund billions of dollars to Goldman Sachs and others here and abroad.

    There is no transparency in banks’ spreadsheets who are receiving government assistance. No one knows what has happened to their securities and derivatives.

    This is extremely alarming in my opinion. In word and deed he appears to be speaking as a fascist. I see no improvement over Bush.

    Comment by cadams — May 6, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  18. If you are hoping the major media don’t make a Beck-Church connection, also hope they don’t find out the church is airing him on its Bonneville stations, along with O’Reilly, Limbaugh and the rest of the lunatic right. One of the church’s stations in Seattle actually bills itself as “the truth,” meaning what these guys are saying, not the gospel.

    Comment by John — May 6, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  19. Here’s what I don’t get. The appeal to free agency and a natural resistance to being compelled to do something makes sense, as far as it goes. But most LDS favor strict laws about many other things, e.g. alcohol and tobacco use.

    We look incredibly childish when we bust out the free agency argument only when it concerns our wallets.

    Comment by Mark Brown — May 6, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  20. Joshua, you seem to be merely making Christopher’s main point: Beck is using overt Mormon references in his show, and no one outside Mormondom seems to be talking about it.

    Comment by Hunter — May 6, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  21. Joshua (#10), considering that I’m more interested in how Beck’s Mormonism is shaping his political views, your further contextualization only confirms what I’ve articulated here. That he’s expressing essentially a uniquely Mormon view (regarding the war in heaven, pre-existence, and a Satanic counter to Christ’s plan of salvation that dealt with issues of agency) on his radio program targeted to a conservative (and not just Mormon) audience is significant. This is what David is getting at in his response to you in #14. I’m less interested in debating whether or not the early church lived communism (they, of course, didn’t if you’re defining it based on 20th century notions of what communism is but of course, did if you’re using a general definition of communism as holding all property in common).

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:15 am

  22. Chris H.,

    An an Idaho resident surrounded by wingnuts, you might get a kick out of this.

    cadams, way to ignore the point of the post and to use the comment section here as a venue to sound off your own political views.

    John, I hadn’t thought about Bonneville’s possible connections. Good point. Although debates over Bonneville owning stations with “objectionable” content is nothing new. There was a big fuss made over their ownership of the local alternative rock radio station when I was growing up in Dallas. Still, your point is interesting.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  23. Mark Brown, I couldn’t agree more. The inconsistency of Beck’s position is glaringly obvious.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  24. Glaringly obvious to we liberals, perhaps. But most conservatives fail to recognize the inherent tensions between libertarianism, which calls for a small government that doesn’t interfere with the economy or personal liberties, and social conservatism, which calls for a big government that regulates moral issues such as tobacco, alcohol, pornography, abortion, and gay rights.

    Comment by David G. — May 6, 2009 @ 10:34 am

  25. Jonathan M.: Iâ??m surprised (well, a little) that more Mormon intellectuals donâ??t actually join the Cof C,incidentally. But thatâ??s for another thread.

    Geoff: Errrrâ?¦ Not sure what to think of this comment. Perhaps you are not noticing the thing that keeps most Mormon intellectuals in the church â?? God.

    Randy B.: Geoff, this leaves me scratching my head. I’m not sure what you intend here. Can you explain?

    Comment by Randy B. — May 6, 2009 @ 10:38 am

  26. Good call, David.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  27. I don’t feel like its such a big deal if he is teaching correct doctrine, and at least citing his sources. I wondered yesterday now many non-member listeners were saying, “huh?” to many of his comments, simply because this isn’t found in the Bible, but in the Pearl of Great Price. I wish he would’ve at least explained himself a bit better.

    He also sometimes uses colorful language, which I find less than flattering for a church member to use… much less for one who is heard by thousands and thousands of people across the country.

    Being a member of the church, he could possibly be a good way for the public to get a good sense of who we are, and help them to not be so scared of us anymore, but I don’t see him being able to do that very well. There’s a lot he could be doing from that microphone. He’s got a strong voice in America, but as an unofficial representative of the church I think there is a bit that could be improved upon.

    Comment by Joshua — May 6, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  28. Joshua, riiiight. A right-wing nutjob who has issued repeated calls for Americans to stock up on guns and ammunition and “take their country back” is just what the LDS Church needs to show the public “who we are” and make them “not … scared of us anymore.” Yikes.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  29. Ronan (#11). Sorry I missed your comment.

    How long before some nut who believes this takes a shot at Obama? And how far will people like Beck be culpable when this happens?

    Well, he didn’t take a shot on Obama, but an episode like this has already played out (just last month in Pittsburgh). Beck is emphatically rejecting that his rhetoric is is any way responsible, but not surprisingly he’s being quite inconsistent with his previous statements.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  30. Joshua,

    So basically you would get your own stuff back, plus anything else you might need. Property would be deeded to you, so legally it was yours, and you could take it with you if you decided to back out of the deal.

    But the mentality is differentâ?¦youâ??ve given it to the Lord, and then he makes you steward over those things, meaning that you should treat them as if they are His, and do what he would want you to do with them.

    Does that make any sense at all? Legally it’s yours but mentally it isn’t? That doesn’t sound at all like what Law of Consecration sounds like. If something is legally mine but not mentally, then there would be absolutely no consequence if I decided to opt out of the Law of Consecration, or if I decided do to differently with the property than what the Church deemed. Any contract one enters into (including the donating of substance and property to a church on condition that I could use it until the church deemed it necessary for someone else to use it), is legally binding. And I bet you one pretty penny (that you can keep through the Law of Consecration as truly your own) that when it comes for us to live under the “LAW” of Consecration, we will be legally bound by its precepts, including all consequences and punishments for failure to heed to the LAW. If there wasn’t anything legal about the LAW of Consecration, I highly doubt the Lord would call it a LAW.

    But maybe the problem you face, Joshua, is that calling something what you consider voluntary to actually have teeth and compulsory parts, too close to the alternative put forth by Karl Marx.

    Comment by Dan — May 6, 2009 @ 10:58 am

  31. cadams,

    #17,

    This is extremely alarming in my opinion. In word and deed he appears to be speaking as a fascist. I see no improvement over Bush.

    So you admit Bush was a fascist? 😉

    Comment by Dan — May 6, 2009 @ 10:59 am

  32. Christopher,

    I think Joshua is lamenting the fact that Beck is not positioned to serve as more of an ambassador for the church. I guess that is something most of us can ask of ourselves about.

    David G.,

    You make a good point in #24. This is somewhat unique to American Conservatism. Libertarianism in general, and the right-wing version Beck has adopted, would seem foreign to European conservatives. At least, it would not be viewed as conservative.

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 11:02 am

  33. Dan,

    I think that much of the libertarian right (Ron Paul) turned against Bush before many Democrats did. This is not the say that I agree with all of their reasons for doing so, but they have been consistent (to their credit).

    Comment by Chris H. — May 6, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  34. Randy B:Geoff, this leaves me scratching my head. I?m not sure what you intend here. Can you explain?

    Many “Mormon intellectuals” stay in the church because God inspires/leads/instructs them that the Church is where he wants them to be. (Is that the clarification you wanted?)

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  35. David G: But most conservatives fail to recognize the inherent tensions between libertarianism … and social conservatism

    Amen. This unholy union of largely opposing views (libertarianism and social conservatism) is somewhat baffling to me. Many of the same people who claim government intervention is satanic when it come to their wallet are all for government intervention in other people’s lives.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  36. Well, Dan, let’s go to the source:
    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/42/30-39#30

    V. 32 – “steward over his own property”

    V. 37 -And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be acast out of the church, and shall not receive again that which he has bconsecrated unto the poor and the needy of my church, or in other words, unto me?

    In other words, the part of what you consecrated that was taken and given to someone else, you couldn’t get it back… you had no claim over that. From what I understand, you could, however, take what was still legally yours if you decided to opt out. (sorry, I don’t have a source to cite for that part)

    I read a great blog entry on the subject of the Law of Consecration that really opened my eyes as to how it was done through the United Order… changed my whole perspective on it.

    http://www.templestudy.com/2008/11/17/living-the-law-of-consecration-part-1-the-mythic-folk-memory/comment-page-1/

    and part 2…

    http://www.templestudy.com/2008/11/29/living-the-law-of-consecration-part-2-the-law-the-united-order/

    Part 2 is particularly interesting because it talks about the experience of Levi Jackman consecrating all he had to the Lord. Its especially interesting to note what he received as his stewardship.

    Comment by Joshua — May 6, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  37. Chris H. That’s exactly what I was saying earlier… He ought to be thinking of ways he can help improve the image of the LDS people in the public eye. I think we all need to check ourselves from time to time to ensure that we are setting better examples for the rest of the world.

    Living in Alabama where there aren’t as many members of the church, we are constantly aware of what we do and how rest of the world views us. I assume that living in a place where the church is very prominent, you don’t tend to pay attention to what others outside of the church think… simply because you aren’t around them quite as much.

    Comment by Joshua — May 6, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  38. Joshua,

    I hate to break it to you but “steward” is not the same as “owner.” What you consecrate to the Lord belongs to the Lord and it is up to the Lord to decide if you get to keep any of it for yourself. And that which is given to you is not your property, but the Lord’s, and you are merely a steward, not an owner.

    And the scripture you cite seems to indicate quite clearly that with there being a law, there is indeed a fixed consequence. Part of the contract of the Law of Consecration is that if you sin and are cast out, the possessions you gave to the church, to the Lord, are forfeited. That’s teeth. That indicates that you are bound to the dictates of the contract.

    Remember, getting into a contract with God is binding. God himself is “bound when ye do what [He] says.” It’s part of the contract.

    Comment by Dan — May 6, 2009 @ 12:22 pm

  39. Admin. Note: I’d like to remind our readers that the comment policy instructs commenters to refrain from using insults. Such labels as “wingnut” or any of its derivatives are insults intended to marginalize opposing viewpoints, and, frankly, are superfluous to the subject at hand. Please refrain from using them in the future.

    Comment by David G. — May 6, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  40. Good post, Chris. I’ve wondered the same about how evangelical Beck fans take some of his religious expressions. I think it’s possible that most just don’t realize these are some overtly Mormon references, which could say something about how compatible these notions could be for evangelicals. You’d think that if some view really stood out, doctrinally, evangelicals might be talking about it.

    I’m personally not surprised that the media hasn’t picked up on it. I’d imagine that Beck’s religiously informed views would largely be marginalized with others of the Christian right and not taken seriously enough for such analysis. I think we’re certainly only talking about it ourselves because we happen to go to the same Sunday Schools and know the same “key words”, so they stick out to us.

    On the issue of rebirth, maybe your experience has been different, but I think that the Skousen/Benson political expression has been fairly persistent, even “in vogue” on perhaps a larger scale than acknowledged, though without more concrete numbers, it’s just an issue of perception and hard to tell. Is there anything that talks about how widespread these views actually have been, especially during the 60s? Either way, I think you’re right that Beck is tapping into that line of thought.

    Comment by Jared T — May 6, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

  41. Great response, Jared. Regarding your last point, I agree that Bensonian politics have persisted to a degree within the church, though I think that some of his more extreme views (i.e. the civil rights movement as a tool of communist deception) may have alienated some persons who otherwise might agree with him.

    I think the biggest difference is that it has persisted to whatever degree among lay members (probably concentrated in the western U.S.). That is, there is no longer apostles publicly espousing such views. While not an apostle, Beck nevertheless is a noted public figure who could rally Latter-day Saints around a renewed emphasis on the threats of socialism, etc.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  42. I guess in that sense, Beck could perhaps be accurately seen as a neo-Skousen and not a neo-Benson.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 2:27 pm

  43. Christopher,

    Is there a difference between a neo-Skousen and a neo-Benson?

    Comment by Dan — May 6, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  44. OK so here goes nothin’. Glenn Beck is a guy that makes his living talking on the radio. His “formula” for that is conservative/libertarian banter. He has an annual contract of 50 million dollars and has the third highest listener ship or all radio shows in the country. That translates to 3 million people everyday.

    It is his business to sell commercials, and if I’m buying in that demographic, 3 million is an unbelievable number. (that is 34+ times larger than the John Birch Society ever had) You can use examples where he says buy guns and ammo or you can examples where he says be a good father, and protect your kids. His detractors might call his listeners wing nuts and his listeners might call his detractors, socialists or liberal progressives.

    But to me the real impressive thing is that if Beck is getting 50 million, this three hours program on radio has to be bringing in billions in advertising.

    Might the real story here be “Mormon convert makes it really big in the entertainment business”? but then what do I know, when I listen he makes me laugh.

    Comment by JimB — May 6, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  45. Interesting post and comments. I don’t know why various media outlets haven’t run with the fact that he is a Mormon. I don’t care. I am just grateful, from the bottom of my heart, with every fiber of my being, [insert cliche here] that it hasn’t yet happened. More than his views, with which I disagree, I am bothered by his personality. Which is why I also cannot stand Al Franken and Keith Olbermann. Big mouths, always open; little minds, always closed.

    Comment by SC Taysom — May 6, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  46. I guess in that sense, Beck could perhaps be accurately seen as a neo-Skousen and not a neo-Benson.

    Very nice play on neo-conservative. I wonder, and maybe others can speak to this, what Glenn Beck was like previous to his conversion, and what factors altered his worldview (missionaries, members, his own experiences). It would be such an adventure to venture (sorry but I had to) into said Beck’s mind and heart for a look see; but that is mainly because I really like metaphysical road trips.

    Comment by Tod Robbins — May 6, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  47. Dan, probably not ideologically. I was referring to Benson’s status as an apostle and Skousen’s as a popular author and public figure.

    JimB, that is an interesting story, I suppose. But a number of Mormon have made it “really big” in the entertainment business.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  48. Tod, see here for more on Beck’s conversion story. Or you can buy the DVD here.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  49. And I wasn’t trying to play on the word “neo-conservative.” I literally meant a new or revived Benson or Skousen figure.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

  50. Chris, My point was that it was about the banter not the content with Beck. Did you see where he now has the same publishing deal as Stephen king with Simon & Schuster?

    Comment by JimB — May 6, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  51. A word popped into my mind as I read some of the comments, “high brow”.

    “a person having or affecting highly cultivated, intellectual tastes; intellectual”

    Now this isn’t all bad, but if the process of education sharpens ones mind so that it becomes narrow, that is a problem.

    Glenn Beck is an original. I’m not entirely comfortable with his style and some of his conclusions, but he is sounding the alarm to issues that we had better pay attention to. In case some of us haven’t noticed we’re up to our necks in problems that have the potential of turning the USA into the first “undeveloped” country.

    Those who are embarrassed by him might tell us who they aren’t embarrassed by.

    Comment by Jared — May 6, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  52. A word popped into my mind as I read some of the comments, ?high brow?.

    A word pops into my mind every time I read a comment from ldsaliveinchrist-Jared too.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 6, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  53. #52 Geoff J–

    I appreciate your kind thought-thanks.

    Comment by Jared — May 6, 2009 @ 9:50 pm

  54. Jared,

    Glenn Beck is an original.

    Uh, you might want to go back and read the post.

    he is sounding the alarm to issues that we had better pay attention to.

    Feel free to use Glenn Beck to call people to repentance on your blog, but this is not an appropriate venue for such statements.

    In case some of us haven?t noticed we?re up to our necks in problems that have the potential of turning the USA into the first ?undeveloped? country.

    I don’t know what this is supposed to mean, but since it is entirely irrelevant to the post, I’m not going to comment on it any further.

    Those who are embarrassed by him might tell us who they aren?t embarrassed by.

    A lot of people.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

  55. JimB (#50),

    Thanks for the clarification. You might be onto something there with your statement that it’s “about the banter not the content with Beck,” at least in terms of gauging his popularity.

    Comment by Christopher — May 6, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  56. A word popped into my mind as I read some of the comments, ?high brow?.

    ?a person having or affecting highly cultivated, intellectual tastes; intellectual?

    Ah, shucks. Thanks Jared. I’m sure most of the regular commenters around here actually take that as a compliment.

    Comment by David G. — May 6, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  57. #56 David G.–I wasn’t trying to be an antagonist, I was trying to respectively disagree with the unkind characterization some made about brother Beck.

    If you feel I was out of bounds, then I’m sorry.

    Comment by Jared — May 6, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

  58. I know I’m regularly sorry for David G.’s feelings. Not for anything I say, of course — just for his feelings.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 6, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

  59. Thanks for the solidarity, Ardis. Jared, no need to apologize; you’re not out of bounds. I was simply pointing out that calling a bunch of aspiring academics and bookworms “intellectuals” isn’t going to offend many people.

    Comment by David G. — May 6, 2009 @ 11:24 pm

  60. #53 Jared — You’re welcome.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 7, 2009 @ 12:43 am

  61. … You’re using Daily KOS TV? Really? I was going to reply to some of your comments here and in another thread about how you’ve misinterpreted what Glenn Beck and many other Mormons believe, but I see now it’s not worth my time. If you get your news from Kos, you’re not in any position to judge mainstream Mormonism, let alone conservative Mormons.

    Comment by Canof — May 7, 2009 @ 2:39 am

  62. Canof, did Daily Kos edit the clip in an unfair way? Did I post any of their commentary? The answer, of course, is no. So what does it matter what website I embedded the clip from?

    I would be interested in any input on how I’ve misinterpreted Beck and many other Mormons if you’d be willing to give us a second chance. I don’t recognize your name, so you might be new here. I invite you to stick around, check out the many other posts, and get a feel for who we are and what were aiming to do. That may not change your mind on whether we (or I) am in a “position to judge mainstream Mormonism,” but it might at least prevent you from making such hasty comments in the future.

    Comment by Christopher — May 7, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  63. Glaringly obvious to we liberals, perhaps. But most conservatives fail to recognize the inherent tensions between libertarianism, which calls for a small government that doesn?t interfere with the economy or personal liberties, and social conservatism, which calls for a big government that regulates moral issues such as tobacco, alcohol, pornography, abortion, and gay rights.

    The government directly controlling 40% of all economic activity and heavily regulating a large portion of the rest is a rather significant difference in both degree and kind from the sorts of trivial regulations that apply to alcohol, pornography, and homosexual activity. Utah voted against Prohibition more than seventy years ago.

    I will give “liberals” points for consistency though – they prefer direct government control, interference, or heavy regulation of virtually all aspects of both social and economic activity. With some few exceptions, the whole left-liberal social program is a litany of rather expensive and intrusive mandates from one end to the other.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 7, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  64. I suppose some conservatives do recognize the tension, but they prefer to downplay and obfuscate its significance. Too bad mainstream Republican leaders are dropping the “trivial regulations” like a hot potato, which is really ticking off the “trivial regulations” crowd.

    So, do you have anything substantive to say about the post?

    Comment by David G. — May 7, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  65. Geoff J. (#34) — yep, thanks.

    Comment by Randy B. — May 7, 2009 @ 12:12 pm

  66. Let’s see, Federal Reserve, Congress and Presidents Bush and Obama have now promised up to $14 Trillion in money we do not have. The interest on this alone will bankrupt our children.
    Then, Pres Obama and the Democrats somehow think we can also afford Cap and Trade, Nationalized Healthcare, and a few other perks.

    If Glenn Beck is a real wacko, as some of you think he is, just where do you place the wackos in Washington DC who are going to leave our children burdened with debt, and perhaps leave us like the USSR was when it collapsed – a bunch of third world nations with nukes?

    Personally, I’d take my chances with Beck. BTW, Beck has stated several times that we should not protest with violence against anyone, particularly government officials. So, suggesting that his words are going to end up harming Pres Obama are emotional crap.

    Comment by Rameumptom — May 7, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  67. Rameumptom,

    What does any of that have to do with the post? And dismissing any criticism of Beck as “emotional crap” after writing what you did in your first two paragraphs is laughable.

    Comment by Christopher — May 7, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

  68. No no you should have left it as embaresed you. Not us. Not everyone is embaressed by him, myself included.

    But as for your little comment about getting out and doing somthing about it, if you had been following beck over the past few months, rather then just tuning in to see something that irks you, you’d know thats exactly what he’s advocating. Well I’d hope that’s what you see, but then its because of my life expernices that I see things the way I see them.

    And to top it off, his cries for action are not violent ones. At least as far as I’ve interpruted.

    Comment by Arlin Fehr — May 7, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  69. We had a sister in SS just before taxes were due say a similar thing that giving money to the government felt like she was giving money to satan. She was a lot more angry than Glenn was.

    Comment by Jerry — May 7, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  70. Arlin, I have no clue what you’re talking about or who your comment is addressed to. Coudl you please clarify? What “little comment” was made “about getting out and doing something about it”? There are 67 comments on this thread that came before yours, so as you can imagine, such vaguely-directed comments are a bit confusing.

    Comment by Christopher — May 7, 2009 @ 5:32 pm

  71. Greetings all – I am a non-member, an investigator, raised in an Evangelical home, a member of another Christian church and a fan of Beck. I think a lot of the comments on this thread have gotten off-track from the original post. I think a major question here is what Beck?s LDS beliefs have to do with his popularity and what that says about the (ugly and silly) LDS/Evangelical feud.

    I really love listening to Beck. He gets a little carried away at times, but he is a good man with good values and a sense of right and wrong. Mormonism is absolutely infused in Glenn Beck. After I heard him a couple of times I said to myself ?this dude has got to be LDS?. And, soon, I heard him acknowledge that. Beck often quotes or paraphrases LDS scripture without attribution. It just seems to flow from him. I have heard him paraphrase the Book or Mormon repeatedly?. On his radio program the Monday following the last General Conference he quoted Pres. Monson?s words (without attribution) ?the future is as bright as our faith?. There is no question that Beck would have a strong appeal to LDS audiences. What is more interesting is his appeal to white evangelicals. Judging from the callers to his program, a large percentage fits that demographic; it is not uncommon to hear evangelical pastors calling in with thoughts and questions.

    The clip from KOS (above) needs to be put in perspective. Beck was taking a call from an undergraduate at an Evangelical college who said that her professor had stated that capitalism was ?evil?. She had argued with her professor, but didn?t really know what to say or how to express herself. Beck compared socialism to her with the ?Law of Consecration? (which he said came from the Bible) and trotted out the story in Moses 4, also claiming it came from the Bible. Interestingly, the Evangelical caller offered no objections (the ugly truth is that the 20-something Evangelicals have a very weak knowledge of the Bible). In reality, having listened to Beck for several years, I really think that he himself was not aware that these concepts are NOT in the Bible.

    I personally see Beck as an individual bridging the gap between the LDS and Evangelicals. I think Beck breaks down a lot of the fear that is inculcated in Evangelicals regarding Mormons. The ?ugly truth? is that these two groups are far more similar than dissimilar. The doctrinal differences are actually small when all the hype is washed away. Evangelicalism is currently in crisis. The leadership is trending left (they want the praise of the world) but the people in the pews are not budging. Assuming that a break-up may result, the prime recipients are probably the Catholics, the Orthodox and (yes) the LDS. The people who leave will be looking for a church with strong beliefs based in scripture, a church that will not change its beliefs based on fads or polls. Twenty years from now, if I am right, we may see Beck as a catalyst in that change.

    Comment by Corey — May 7, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

  72. This is from the transcript:

    GLENN: The law of consecration, which means you take all of your money and you give it to Moses. You give all of your money to your church, 100% and then you take only that that you need, okay? Moses couldn’t make that work and so the law of consecration was too difficult for the people with the guy who parted the Red Sea and so they went down to a 10% tithing rule: Give 10%, okay? When Jesus was talking about ?? when the apostles were talking about the early church where they shared everything, that’s the law of consecration, and people have led lives of the law of consecration before and since. People have lived it many times. However, the secret is nowhere in the Bible does the ?? do any of the apostles or Jesus say give all of your money to the government. They gave it to their church, and the church, nowhere did the apostles say we’re going to take it from members of the church. They, keyword, shared everything they had.

    And then he follows up with some nice 2 Nephi 2/temple ceremony/war in heaven action:

    GLENN: Yeah, but what did that do? If Adam and Eve could ?? if Adam and Eve didn’t have the apple, they wouldn’t have been fruitful and multiplied. Man would not be if it wasn’t for that, okay? So what did they do? They ate the apple. Their eyes were opened. They saw the difference between good and evil, and the Lord drove them out of paradise and let them live this life where you’ve got to make choices and there’s bad and there’s good. We are here to make choices. You ask your professor, how am I supposed to be a good Christian, how am I supposed to better myself if all of my decisions are made for me by the state. If I can only eat these things, if I can only do these things, if I can only have this much money, if I’m forced to share, how does anyone grow spiritually? How do you become Gandhi if everything is decided for you? If this was the plan of salvation, if this is the plan of heaven, if this is God’s plan, why didn’t he just go with Lucifer’s plan of just, I’ll bring every soul back to you, God; you give the glory to me. I’ll make sure. I’m not going to give them any choice. I’ll bring everyone back. Jesus said, no, no, no, no; go down, let them have free will, let them have choice. But they are going to make so many mistakes, they are going to need a savior to come down and wash them clean. Now, if God didn’t care about choice, if God was just like, you know what, just force them to do these things, it seems to me he would have gone with Lucifer’s plan and not the other plan. Does that make sense to you?

    He’s throwing out Mormon references left and right without identifying them as such, and no one has called him on it.

    Comment by David G. — May 8, 2009 @ 1:20 am

  73. Is there any reason someone should “call” him on it??? Is it wrong? It’s who he is, it’s what he believes. We all see life through our own experiences, our own beliefs, our own prism. Beck’s LDS, and it comes through. I don’t see the problem.

    Comment by Corey — May 8, 2009 @ 1:40 am

  74. Corey, all I meant was that no one seems to be noticing, or at least saying, “huh? where’s that from again?” I’m not suggesting he shouldn’t make the references.

    Comment by David G. — May 8, 2009 @ 1:43 am

  75. Corey,

    #71,

    Twenty years from now, if I am right, we may see Beck as a catalyst in that change.

    Oh goodness, I hope not! The man is insane! He does not represent how I see Mormonism (or maybe I’ve got it all wrong and am in the wrong church).

    Comment by Dan — May 8, 2009 @ 8:13 am

  76. Dan, this isn’t my post, but I’d like butt in and refer you to comment #39.

    Comment by Jared T — May 8, 2009 @ 8:22 am

  77. The LDS Church is by self definition, an aspiring “big tent” church, in the sense that we want everyone to join. The standards for membership do not include avoiding unusual political views.

    I think Glenn Beck’s comments are often over the top, but he is much closer to the prevailing political sentiments of most of the members of the church in the Intermountain West than, say the typical liberal-progressive tone on the Bloggernacle is.

    If (horror of horrors) the Church ever decided to be politically exclusionary, I don’t think there is any doubt who would be left standing on the sidelines. I think Mr. Beck should be called on the facts (law of consecration in Moses’ time?), but wishing (#4) he wasn’t a Mormon is a pretty counterproductive attitude. If the missionary work succeeded properly, we would have far more oddballs of all sorts in the Church, not less.

    Comment by Mark D. — May 8, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  78. Nothing says big tent like no facial hair. The only big tent you will see in the LDS community is lip service.

    Back to Beck. He knows the government is lucifer because joins them for lunch every day. I do often wonder if he and other talk show hosts go home laughing and shocked what they got away with saying that day and how gullible all of their listeners were for going along with it. With all that I believe he is still more credible that Sean Hannity and Limbaugh.

    Comment by Jerry — May 8, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  79. #67 wrote: What does any of that have to do with the post? And dismissing any criticism of Beck as ?emotional crap? after writing what you did in your first two paragraphs is laughable. —

    Christopher, You asked about Glenn Beck’s discussion about the law of consecration, and the included discussion in it about giving money to the devil, etc. I think my discussion fit in.
    As for emotional crap, I gave some statistics that are not laughable, but saddening and disheartening. It isn’t just Glenn Beck that has noted we won’t be able to pay off the interest on that money. The group on MSNBC Morning Joe have raised that issue several times, and MSNBC isn’t known to be radical right. Several economists, including the CBO have stated it is unsustainable. Just how is that an emotional statement, crap or otherwise?

    My point is that while Glenn probably does go overboard, his key points are hitting home with many people, Mormon and otherwise.

    Will it bring us back to the days of Pres Benson. I don’t think so. But it might bring us part of the way back. There are key principles that Pres Benson was correct on, while his overall actions and statements may not have been totally correct. Even Hugh B Brown warned about communism/socialism, and he wasn’t known to be particularly fond of Pres Benson.

    As for Pres Obama, I like him personally. But the actions of his administration so far are very totalitarian in nature. But a nice, hopefully benevolent totalitarianism. And somewhat inept (who flies Air Force One over NYC??).

    I see those who accept anything either a Republican, Democrat, Pres Obama or Glenn Beck says as gospel, are looking for some problems in life. Yet, I also think we should consider each statement on its own merit, and not just ridicule a person because we feel they said something that emoted something from us.

    Comment by Rameumptom — May 8, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  80. #77: If the missionary work succeeded properly, we would have far more oddballs of all sorts in the Church, not less.

    Good point Mark.

    Comment by Geoff J — May 8, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  81. Whatever Obama may or may not be, totalitarian he ain’t. Let’s stay on planet earth here.

    Comment by SC Taysom — May 8, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

  82. Speaking of staying on planet Earth, did you hear that Glenn Beck is actually a robot?

    Comment by Sam B. — May 8, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  83. Awesome, Sam B.

    Comment by David G. — May 8, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  84. #71 undergraduate at an Evangelical college who said that her professor had stated that capitalism was ?evil?. If you read the transcript more carefully, the student never said anything about evil. That came from Beck. The only thing she said was that he said capitalism was based on selfishness. I know many of you die hard capitalism will try to claim there is some kind of significant difference between having “self-interest” and being “selfish.” But all you have to do is look at the history of the most “successful” capitalists to recognize that her professor was in many ways absolutely correct. I don’t find it unusual that a young evangelical would not recognize his Mormon allusions because they don’t study Mormonism enough to be familiar with this kind of statement. I feel sure her professor would have been able to respond effectively to Beck’s statements.

    Comment by Manny Tomes — May 12, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  85. Won’t we all be pleasantly surprised when he’s right… It’s not like he’s had a track record of being right… right? It’s not like he doesn’t say that he doesn’t want this stuff to happen its just he sees ABC and obviously the next letter is D.

    Take a look at my website combining History and the scriptures, I even timeline the seven seals…

    web.me.com/angelpalmoni

    Comment by Angel Palmoni — May 13, 2009 @ 12:21 am

  86. Angel, good luck with all that.

    Again sticking my head where it’s not my prerogative, but maybe future comments can actually address the post and avoid making general pro or con comments about Beck/conservatism/liberalism/etc. Unless you’re Sam B., then you can tell us whatever you want 🙂

    Comment by Jared T — May 13, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  87. […] http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/the-government-is-the-devil-glenn-beck-and-mormonism-redux/ […]

    Pingback by Glenn Beck An Embarrasment To Mormons–Perpetuates Harmful, Untrue Stereotypes « Messenger and Advocate — August 11, 2009 @ 9:41 pm

  88. But most conservatives fail to recognize the inherent tensions between libertarianism, which calls for a small government that doesn?t interfere with the economy or personal liberties, and social conservatism, which calls for a big government that regulates moral issues such as tobacco, alcohol, pornography, abortion, and gay rights.

    A big government? You have got to be kidding. What percentage of the budget of a typical state do you suppose is dedicated to regulating those five moral issues. A tenth of a percent?

    That most conservatives are not full blooded libertarians is no particular surprise. What percentage do you think want to eliminate the Federal Reserve? Privatize the interstate highway system? The local police force?

    Comment by Mark D. — August 11, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  89. Sorry, I thought this was a new thread. Talk about deja vu

    Comment by Mark D. — August 11, 2009 @ 11:49 pm

  90. Beck was using an allegory. Beck thinks Gov’t is acting like the “Devil”.

    I’m an Aetheist, but believe Beck is right not to trust the Gov’t. Historically, all Gov’ts over the entire world have created more problems than they have been solved by them.

    Minimal government might be neccessary for basic protection, smaller is ALWAYS better and Beck knows this resonates… because it is TRUE.

    Comment by Doug — February 26, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  91. “Beck?s apocalyptic discourse?” ?

    The U.S. debt is a serious threat for the country. Beck’s saying that we should be concerned that our politians don’t seem to get it, and he’s pointing out all their mistakes led us to this.

    How is he somehow the bad guy?

    Comment by Doug — February 26, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  92. […] I fully agree (and was indeed among the very first to argue) that Beck is tapping into Mormon folk millennialism of yesteryear, I?m afraid Daughtrey has […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » The Tea Party as a Religious Movement: A Response — June 4, 2010 @ 10:22 pm


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