by Robert A. Rees
Illustrations by Jeanette Atwood
Through anger, the truth looks simple.
It must be a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that each individual is prohibited from saying much that occurs to him.
The “Real” Glenn Beck
Ever since learning that Glenn Beck had joined the Mormon Church, I’ve been trying to understand who he is, what he does, and how his conversion to Mormonism has influenced him personally and professionally. Beck is an enigma, a chameleon, a shape-shifter, continually reinventing himself. He has gone from “zoo radio”cut-up, to stand-up comedian, to political commentator/entertainer, to Fox News firebrand, to cheerleader of a populist anti-government movement, to a modern-day Cassandra prophesying doom and destruction for a nation allegedly in the thrall of progressivism. A Latter-day Saint friend of mine calls him “a cross between a professional wrestler and a televangelist,” and some critics see him as the Barnum and Bailey of right-wing broadcast media. Conservative commentator Mark Levin remarked recently, “I have no idea what philosophy Glenn Beck is promoting. And neither does he. It’s incoherent. One day it’s populist, the next it’s libertarian bordering on anarchy, next it’s conservative but not really.”3 Senator Robert Byrd’s recent characterization of certain Republican politicians’ “rantings” as “barkings from the nether regions of Glennbeckistan”4 suggests the extent to which Beck’s notoriety has become a part of popular culture.
Beck has constructed a universe where the U.S. is under siege by progressives plotting to transform the nation into a socialist or—worse—communist or fascist state. Using innuendo, chop logic, guilt by association, conspiracy theories, progressive and liberal bogeymen, and what seems a carefully cultivated image of righteous indignation, Beck presents himself as today’s Paul Revere, warning the countryside that the enemy is at the gate (or, in Beck’s words, actually “in the house”).
In his broadcasts, Beck uses all the tools of a showman propagandist: he makes absurd comparisons, uses false analogies, tells whopping “stretchers” (Huckleberry Finn’s term for statements with little regard for fact or truth), weeps on cue (YouTube footage shows him swiping Mentholatum under his eyes to induce tears), and lapses into sophomoric lampooning, mocking, ridicule, sarcasm, taunting, and joking. At times, his TV show resembles a circus side show. Alex Koppelman observes, “He laughs and cries; he pouts and giggles; he makes funny faces and grins like a cartoon character; he makes earnest faces yet insists he is a clown; he cavorts like a victim of St. Vitus’s Dance. His means of communicating are, in other words, so wide-ranging as to suggest derangement as much as versatility.”5
What’s particularly seductive about Beck’s performance is that he wears many masks, which he deftly changes, alternately engaging, mesmerizing, and enflaming his audience, making them laugh one minute and inciting them to storm the Bastille the next. This mixture of clownish behavior and apparent deadly seriousness accounts for Beck’s appeal to a certain portion of the United States populace. His charm, boyish good looks, adolescent pranks, and jokes keep viewers entertained so that when he takes aim at the latest “progressive” crime or whatever he sees as the most recent threat to freedom and free enterprise, his audience is ready to follow him to the outer edge of outrage. Beck describes his shtick as a “fusion” of entertainment and enlightenment. And it’s effective. When he shifts into his latest example of evil or corruption in the White House or Congress, his followers are ready to beat their plowshares into swords and join his crusade. In fact, he used to open his show by repeating the words of Jesus to his disciples: “Come, follow me.”
Beck now begins his TV show with a montage of patriotic images—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr., the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. His carefully constructed persona, balanced precariously between respectability and irascibility, is enhanced through his wardrobe—shirt, tie and jacket, blue jeans and tennis shoes. His most important prop is a blackboard on which he scribbles, pastes photos, and juxtaposes ominous images (Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Che Guvera—and his main target, Barack Obama). Beck poses as the professor of a populist uprising, teaching the “real” American history and warning viewers how Obama endangers their freedom and security.
It is important to note that some of the issues Beck addresses are legitimate—corruption in high places, abuse of power, misuse of federal funds, excessive governmental control, and Wall Street greed. But how such issues are addressed can either resolve or exacerbate them. Beck has a propensity to polarize rather than unify, demonize rather than humanize, and sow discord rather than promote dialogue.
All of this might be the story of one more charismatic, right-wing media personality whom Mormons might find either persuasive or repulsive, except Beck is a Latter-day Saint—the most visible and controversial one in the nation. He’s better known than President Thomas S. Monson or football star Steve Young and more popular than Harry Reid or Mitt Romney. His daily radio program, carried on 280 stations, has 6.5 million listeners; his television program on Fox has 3 million viewers;6 and his website, GlennBeck.com, receives more than a million visitors a month. In a recent Harris Poll, Beck finished second only to Oprah Winfrey as America’s “favorite TV personality.”7 But Beck’s followers may be more politically engaged and influential than Winfrey’s. According to a December 2009 Gallup poll, Beck ranks just below Nelson Mandela and above Pope Benedict as the most admired person in the United States.8 In April 2010, Time listed Beck as one of the 100 “people who most affect our world.”9
Some of Beck’s popularity results from his shameless self-promotion. On radio, TV, and Internet, he urges people to buy his books, subscribe to his newsletter, buy his CD’s and videos, and attend his public appearances, whether live or via satellite. One recent promotion is for his new venture, “Insider Extreme,” a “new six-camera broadcast quality stream of the radio program,” with “more cameras, more truth, more Glenn.” The promotional come-on for potential subscribers (only $6.26 a month) is “Want to be happy?” Forbes magazine praises Beck for being able to “monetize virtually everything.”10
Latter-day Saints display a range of attitudes toward Beck. For some, his being Mormon is enough for them to like him; for others, his Mormon identity only increases their antipathy. As one blogger observed, “Glenn Beck is a complex figure, especially for Mormons.”11
In a Sunstone article titled “Glen Beck, Cleon Skousen, Amerigo Vespucci, & Me,” Eric Samuelsen writes, “A large number of Utahns have been watching Glenn Beck, and taking him very seriously indeed.” Speaking of the Obama/Democrat health care bill, Samuelsen observes, “For many of my LDS brothers and sisters, ‘Obamacare’ is a catastrophe, the apocalypse, the end of everything good. I’ve felt for years that the best guide to the Mormon zeitgeist is the letters-to-the-editor page of the Deseret News. If that’s true, then Utah Mormons are collectively losing their cool. President Obama is routinely described as a socialist, a fascist, a Maoist and a communist and his administration as something dark and seductively satanic. Our nation is descending into chaos and anarchy; we’re in the Last Days; we’re just about beyond redemption.”12
Although Beck’s broadcasts often reflect Mormon beliefs, practices, jargon, and symbols, he has positioned himself to speak the same language to Mormons as to conservative Christians (many of whom consider Mormonism a non-Christian cult). On a recent show, he said, “I’m a gospel-believing brother.” When Beck invokes the founders of the United States and framers of the Constitution, most viewers don’t realize that, as Mormon scholar Joanna Brooks points out, such ideas stem from Beck’s Mormonism: “It is likely that Beck owes his brand of Founding Father-worship to Mormonism, where reverence for the founders and the United States Constitution as divinely inspired are often-declared elements of orthodox belief.”13
The more favorable Mormon views of Beck may spring from his portrayal in the Deseret Book DVD Unlikely Mormon: The Conversion Story of Glenn Beck or the many verbal and graphic allusions to Mormonism in his shows. Consider these comments from the Millennial Star blog:
I watched Unlikely Mormon Glenn Beck the other night and was really moved. I loved hearing his story! Everyone in my family was really inspired. I know some people’s personalities don’t mesh with Glenn’s, but as a person who has met him face to face, I have to say he has an incredible Spirit and desire to do good. I admire this greatly. Anyone who is courageous enough to take a stand like he does is worthy of respect in my book even if I didn’t completely agree with him.
I once met Beck after one of his shows a few years ago (back before all the security when he’d do free-for-all meet and greets), and I actually did feel the spirit. Pretty strong, too.14
Two recent Internet articles by Latter-day Saint writers portray Beck in a less favorable light. In “Mormon Like Me: Black Saints, Bigots, and Beck,” Margaret Blair Young writes of growing up in Provo during the sixties, the same time as Darius Gray, her black Latter-day Saint collaborator on the Standing on the Promises novels and the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons. The political climate in Provo then made Darius and other blacks living there uncomfortable and sometimes fearful. Margaret recounts visiting a library with Darius in Marshall, Missouri, his ancestral home. As they left the library, she was stunned to see the 17 September 2009 Time magazine cover, with a full-color photo of Beck sticking his tongue out “like a petulant four-year-old”:
Why did Beck’s infantile sneer matter? Because Beck is a Mormon. Because his mocking presence in the small town of Marshall, Missouri, meant he was sticking his tongue out at patrons in every library in the nation. Because the city of Provo, Utah—where I still live and now teach—sometimes invites him to be part of our Freedom Festival and host our “Stadium of Fire,” as though his ultra right, self-assured conviction and his bifurcated view of contemporary issues comprise a worthy resume. Because he is a disciple of W. Cleon Skousen, whose conspiracy theories resulted in students spying on each other and on their professors at BYU and fomented terror and suspicion throughout Provo—even at Provo High—and created a climate which made Darius fear for his family’s life. Because Beck has said such race-baiting things as, “This president has exposed himself as a guy . . . who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture.”15
She further explains why Beck’s pose offends her:
He is inviting me and any who will listen to the world I was terrified of as a child, and which, by the time I was in high school, I realized was an outlandishly hokey creation—a world which invents and obsesses on cloaked conspiracies; a world which encourages racial division; a world which loops a soundbite (“Not God bless America . . . ”) and calls it an identity. A world which reduces the president to a well-spoken, “credit-to-his-race” guy who hates white people. He exhumes skeletons from our closets and coffins, and unholy passions from our past which should stay buried—or be instantly cremated if they still happen to yet be hovering. For me as a Mormon, Glenn Beck’s invitation to return to childish things forces me to confront anew the unsavory aspects of my religion’s past, and all the things we Latter-day Saints are now attempting to heal.16
Beck, Skousen, and the John Birch Society
Certainly Beck has been influential in resurrecting Skousen, and Skousen has influenced Beck. Beck’s biographer calls Skousen “The Man Who Changed Glenn Beck’s Life.”17 Beck has touted Skousen’s The Five Thousand Year Leap as a “must read” and speaks of his discovery of Skousen in terms most Mormons would associate with divine inspiration if not intervention. He says that walking down the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan,
The answer came to me. It was so dramatic that it made me stop in the middle of the sidewalk. . . . The answer was obvious and[,] best of all, the thinking and worrying had already been done for me.18 The questions that we face were foreseen by the greatest group of Americans who ever lived; our Founding Fathers.
In language strangely evocative of Mormon feelings about the Book of Mormon, Beck adds, “They knew we would be grappling with issues like the ones we face today. . . . They knew that we would eventually lose our way and that we would need a beacon to lead our way back.”19 Several weeks after this “revelation” (as he calls it), Beck says, “A friend—without solicitation—sent me a copy” of Skousen’s book. Beck ends by telling readers in urgent, dramatic language, “You, me, all of us were born for this day, to stand responsible before God and future generations to keep this torch of freedom lit, and bear it away from ruin.”20
Such an appeal is seductive for Latter-day Saints who believe in personal revelation, America as a promised land, and the Constitution as divinely inspired. Some, however, especially older members who recall the negative influence Skousen and other right-wing conspiracy theorists had on the Church, might be more skeptical, more hesitant about jumping on the Beck bandwagon.
Beck speaks with great reverence for the Founding Fathers. His views are simplistic and idealistic, influenced no doubt by books published by the Skousen-founded National Center for Constitutional Studies: The Real George Washington, The Real Thomas Jefferson, and The Real Benjamin Franklin. Beck frequently cites these books.
In “What’s Going On at Fox News?” conservative commentator David Frum describes Skousen as “one of the legendary cranks of the conservative world, a John Bircher, a grand fantasist of theories about secret conspiracies between capitalists and communists to impose a one-world government under the control of David Rockefeller.”21 Beck has found such ideas attractive and has given them new expression.
Inevitably, with Skousen as mentor, Beck identifies with the John Birch Society and has been instrumental in its recent resurgence. In an interview with Society spokesman Sam Antonio, Beck said, “I have to tell you, when I was growing up, the John Birch Society, I thought they were a bunch of nuts; however, you guys are starting to make more and more sense to me.”22 In the Salon article “What’s Beck Doing with His Bigger Audience? Promoting Birchers,” Alex Koppelman calls Beck’s championing of the Birch Society “a blast from the radical past.”23
Apparently Beck is unaware that in 1963, the First Presidency stated: “We deplore the presumption of some politicians, especially officers, co-ordinators and members of the John Birch Society, who undertake to align the Church or its leadership with their partisan views.”24 Summarizing a meeting he’d held with Church president David O. McKay, President Hugh B. Brown wrote, “We agreed that we had done the right thing in letting the members of the Church and the world know that the Church does not in any way endorse or subscribe to the John Birch Society.”25 Later, when the Birch Society was working with Apostle Ezra Taft Benson to get President McKay’s photo on the cover of the Society’s American Opinion magazine, President McKay said emphatically, “I do not want anything to do with it. I do not want my name associated with John Birch.”26
I confess that my reaction to Beck may be influenced by the time Cleon Skousen was my teacher and the advisor to the BYU debate team, of which I was a member. The question we debated that year was “Should the United States Extend Recognition to Communist China?” Under Skousen’s sway, I also briefly believed in the dark, conspiratorial world he and others painted. I too was convinced that our country was on the precipice of a Communist overthrow, as Joe McCarthy had claimed a decade earlier. As did many Mormons back then, including Apostle Ezra Taft Benson, Beck seems to believe “in his heart, that creeping socialism, or growth in the size and scope of government, [will] ultimately end in a communist take-over of our Republic, whether from without, or from within.”27
Beck as Latter-day Joe McCarthy and Father Coughlin
You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
—Joseph N. Welch to Senator Joseph McCarthy, Army-McCarthy hearings, 9 June 1954 28
Some see Beck’s tactics as similar to McCarthy’s, especially his propensity to see a socialist or communist bear behind every progressive bush and his “outing” of those he considers socialists and communists. In “Glenn Beck: Joe McCarthy Lives!” Los Angeles Times writer Bill Press sees striking similarities between McCarthy’s 1950s witch hunts and Beck’s activities today. Press cites Beck’s crusade against Van Jones, the man Obama selected as his “Green Czar”: “In 14 episodes of his show, Beck . . . paint[ed] Jones as a dangerous ‘communist-anarchist radical’ heading a vast radical/environ-mental/black nationalist takeover of America from within the Obama White House.” Press adds, “It was a page ripped right out of the book of Commie witch hunter Joseph McCarthy: personal attacks on little-known government officials based on nothing but lies, smears, and innuendo (‘Are you now, or have you ever been . . . ?’)—yet ultimately, just as successful. Within two weeks, Jones was forced to resign.”29
On 11 March 2010, explicitly invoking McCarthy, Beck accused President Franklin D. Roosevelt of hiring communists as government employees and praised McCarthy for working to root out such people: “It was Republican Sen. Joe McCarthy, who shined the spotlight on the Communist Party again. McCarthy later led a Senate committee investigation into inefficiencies in the government. Critics accused him of falsely identifying Communists, and smearing their names.”30 Beck’s characterization of McCarthy’s aims as “investigation into inefficiencies in government,” reveals deliberate distortion or colossal ignorance of what McCarthy’s destructive campaign was really about—and Beck’s segue from this observation to a discussion of the “domino theory” popular during the Cold War and his ominous, “Kind of feels like that now, doesn’t it?” is an example of his propensity to invent history both to attract and frighten his audience.
Older Latter-day Saints may remember the extent to which Mormons (especially those in Utah) were divided during the McCarthy era. Mormon Senator Arthur Watkins recalled the time he and McCarthy were members of the McCarran Internal Security Committee, charged with investigating possible communist infiltration of the federal government. Watkins was convinced that there was evidence of such infiltration but objected to McCarthy’s methods: “The great issue in McCarthyism was the way he ran wild. The people brought before him were not given a chance to defend themselves. They were pawns in his effort to obtain publicity.” Like Beck, McCarthy “condemned people as communists perhaps without submitting a shred of evidence.”31 Partly because of his role in the Senate censure of McCarthy, Watkins lost his bid for reelection. One of his opponents, J. Bracken Lee, “sent a telegram to the mass meeting of McCarthy supporters in New York saying that McCarthy deserved a medal rather than a censure.” Watkins said, “That kind of thing can happen in Utah.”32
An entire website (GlennMcCarthyBeck.com) is devoted to describing Beck’s McCarthy-like tactics, which are defined as “the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence.”33 Beck plays as fast and loose with the facts as McCarthy did, often relying on the slimmest connection or coincidence to build his case that sinister forces are at work in the government. Beck may potentially be more destructive than McCarthy was, as he mixes Christian end-of-times rhetoric with political and social fear-mongering. Certainly Beck has a much more powerful media megaphone with which to shout his alarm.
Some Latter-day Saints find Beck puzzling and disturbing because, although in an immensely influential position from which he could present to the world a reflection of the best of Mormonism, he has instead chosen to resurrect a past many of us thought we had outgrown or hoped to have kept buried. In that past, Mormon apostle and later Prophet Ezra Taft Benson nearly became the vice-presidential running mate of a racist white governor, George Wallace.34 Small wonder one commentator has called Beck “The Most Dangerous Demagogue since George Wallace!”35
Others have likened Beck to Father Charles Coughlin, the infamous Catholic firebrand whose popular 1930s radio program launched merciless attacks on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.36 In Harper Magazine’s “The Heirs of Father Coughlin,” Scott Horton observes, “The voices of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have much in common with Coughlin. But their message is distinct in many ways—they are not anti-Semitic, for example. And they have different targets for their hatred. But Beck and Limbaugh are more powerful than Coughlin ever was. They have tight ties to the Republican Party, and their messages quickly emerge as partisan political dogma.”37 “America saw and rejected this strain of paranoid politics before,” Horton continues, “but it was a test of the nation’s political mental health and stamina then. It likely will be so again.”38
A prime example of Beck’s Coughlin-like demagoguery is his unfounded characterization of President Obama as someone who “over and over again” has expressed “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.” When challenged, Beck replied, “He has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist.”39 These words are akin to those Beck said to Representative-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN), America’s first Muslim congressman: “What I feel like saying is, ‘Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies.’ I’m not accusing you of being an enemy, but that’s the way I feel, and I think a lot of Americans will feel that way.”40
Such rhetoric is irresponsible and dangerous, as evidenced by the disrespectful, hateful, racist, violent language and images emerging from “Tea Party Patriots” and other groups who seem to be enlisting in Beck’s army. Signs at Tea Party events identifying Obama with Hitler, Marx, Lenin, Saddam Hussein, and other notorious despots come right off of Beck’s blackboard. Many recent polls assert that, contrary to the opinions of the majority of Americans, large percentages of those in Tea Party-type groups don’t like the President, feel he favors blacks over whites, and believe he’s moving the country toward socialism. Some of the more extreme beliefs of these groups are that Obama is a Muslim, was not born in the U.S., wants to take away citizens’ guns, violates the Constitution, and, most bizarrely, is the Antichrist.41
These polls’ emotional-based statistics reflect the tenor and many of the talking points of Glenn Beck’s various programs, publications, and outlets. He isn’t the only right-wing media personality to influence such uninformed and misguided opinions, but his is certainly one of the most persistent, mean-spirited, and strident voices. Along with others who espouse such sentiments, Beck needs to be held accountable for the increasing racist rhetoric expressed by those on the far right. As with McCarthy and Coughlin, Beck’s incendiary campaign against the government will eventually implode, but before it does, a number of good people are likely to be adversely effected, as will the LDS Church itself.
Quite a hatchet job from a religion of peace.
Thank you for voicing my own concerns so well. I find it interesting that Latter-day Saints detest the demonizing tactics of anti-Mormons, but gobble up healthy portions of it when used in politics.
Here is a typical example of the slant you have throughout this article. You point out that Glenn is seen on YouTube “wiping Mentholatum under his eyes to induce tears” as evidence that he “weeps on cue.” The bit on YouTube is for a PHOTO SHOOT! They were trying to capture a shot of Glenn crying, since he’s well-known for that. But, apparently he was unable to weep on cue, so they had to resort to Mentholatum. As Daniel posted on Part II (regarding the Church’s statement on Social Justice), “Nice try though.”
You have put very eloquently everything that I feel when I hear Glenn Beck. He is an entertainer, and it frightens me a great deal that people support whatever he is saying in his rambling, nonsensical rants. I am embarrassed when he is identified as a Latter-Day Saint – I think he is a poor example of what I, at least, profess to believe as a Latter-Day Saint.
Again, he has the right to say what he believes, and people have the right to believe it – I just don’t think he has any idea what he is actually saying.
Great article, and I heartily endorse Ryan’s comment above. I also agree with Chris’s comment about the YouTube video – you should remove that reference.
You Mormons aren’t the only ones going nuts over Beck.
There are those of “us” who are also pulling out our hair over the Beck issue.
Glenn Beck made what would seem to be a solid “Othodox” Christian confession of faith/ salvation on his TV program and many emails came my way praising his stand for Christ.
Apparently, his confession was openly received by some key Christian leaders, like Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and more recently by James Robison who, while on Beck’s program, stated that while they had a few minor ‘issues’, they were on the same team.
I wanted to shout, “What team are you on, James?”
However wonderful were the words that Glenn Beck spoke, there is a major problem. If Beck were truly “saved” he willhave to renounce the non-orthodox doctrines that rule the LDS church and its people.
That would solve your problem and it would get dumped on our laps.
Hey.. keep the guy..please!
I can agree w/ some comments made here, but I would like people to point out what he has been wrong on. I know there are plenty of people working behind the scenes checking the facts to make sure it’s all accurate, and I don’t think any of you can dispute the facts. Also if this is how you feel about Glenn Beck, how do you feel about Rush Limbaugh? It’s not about him it’s about the smear campaign the left is waging against anyone and I mean anyone who opposes their agenda.
Personally I think Glenn Beck is bat-guano crazy and don’t listen to him or any of the other talking heads, far right or far left. However, one thing we mormon types need to realize is that Beck (one of us? I don’t claim him) and others of his ilk will turn on the mormons like rabid dogs if they find that our support for their viewpoint has waned.
@Lori – Glenn Beck messes up his ‘facts’ all the time. You just don’t know about it because he rarely corrects himself – only if he can twist the mistake back to his advantage. He frequently takes others’ words out of context to make his point look honest and accurate. Please take a look at my blog if you’d like some examples.
Believe me, we can dispute the ‘facts.’
A lot of the people commenting here say that he scares you-exactly what is scary about truth?Just watch the show-he ALWAYS says,”Don’t take my or anyone’s word for the truth-check everything out for yourself.”As if any of the liberal idiots ever say that! Do you people realize that most of the people in this country age 18-25 get most of their news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert? I’d sooner get my news from someone who tells me to check the facts for myself than from people who constantly twist facts and soundbites to get a laugh at someone else’s expense.Glenn is an expert at connecting the dots-all you liberals please try to formulate your own attack plans-Saul Alinsky is SO recognizable.
Yeah,agree with Lisa, very biased article. Beck always says check the facts for yourself-don’t take his word for it.That guy Van Jones did say things that made his position untenable. Why didn’t article make reference to what Van Jones said. I’m tuning in from Ireland and to my eyes America is lucky to have commentators like Beck to rail against sly liberal media consensus. He might not be perfect but this article is indication of where the problem lies.
I am disappointed in what I read if these are actually LDS Members. I recall as a child each time I had done something I shouldn’t. I would always use the excuse that it wasn’t me, it was Billy or Mary always someone besides me. As I have grown to adulthood it has become clear to me that if some one is making accusations against another the accusing voice is usually guilty of the very thing he accuses others of. As I have read these remarks I am even more convinced this is the case. If one doesn’t have anything to rebut another with they generally begin their remarks by condemning the one they do not understand either them or what they stand for. It is very obvious to me that most of us in this good old U S A do not understand the threat that we face in this nation and it has nothing to do with racism that is another approach folks use when there is no substance to their argument. I would only encourage each of us to look at what is going on. The last administration along with the present one have in effect committed HIGH crimes in office placing money to pay their political debts above their oath of office which they took. The High crimes have been the robbing of the public treasury of the United States in broad daylight to the tune of trillions of dollars which will in the end drag out this economic down turn which will most assuredly turn into a long depression which will make the last 2 years look like a prosperous time in our history. The rule of law seems to be ignored by so many especially if they believe they will profit from the robbery of the treasury. We had better wake up America because I do believe the dance is about over and we will no doubt have to pay the piper.
I’ve heard Mr. Beck admit to being a former alcoholic. If true, he NEEDS a drink ! He is out of his mind….I feel sorry for his minion
Please go to YOUTUBE and watch The Real Reason Why People Defend Religion……yes, I am the author of THIRTEENTH APOSTLE: THE COMING TRANSUBSTANTIATION
as an inactive, returned missionary and real student of the scriptures, I have found the willingness of the LDS mainstream to go along with this guy amazing and may I add Gob Smacking. Who was is who said Flattery of the Famous? Almost everything he says is anti christian, remember the teachings of Christ? Do unto others? What you do to the Lest of these? You who support Glen Beck should be ashamed. Be Ashamed, deeply Ashamed.
I admit that I can understand the skepticism levied upon Glenn Beck, since I was skeptical of him myself, back when he was just a name to me. But not content to remain an ignorant critic, I watched his show several times, and with more interest each time. Having done so, I find this article uncomfortably narrow and cynical. I can’t define why the author seems to feel so personally or institutionally threatened by Beck, and I don’t know the author’s purpose in demonizing Beck. I conclude that maybe he was just itching to rant, and if there were no Beck, he would be very articulately targetting somebody else… probably Mitt Romney. If not Romney, perhaps he’d go after members of other faiths.
A comment that has been frequently made by Beck admirers to unhappy critics can be repeated to this author: you don’t understand. You’re missing the point. You’re blind to the essence of the movement, which is little more than a reaction by faithful people to the secularism publicly (and to them, painfully) enforced in this country for many decades — in other words, the same essence of self-determination that impelled the settling and founding of this country, and that will someday inspire the founding of a new country if left unsatisfied.
If the author has some strange but perhaps well-intentioned goal of stifling religious people in America, he needs to realize that his efforts are doomed until he puts himself in their shoes; because until he does, his outreach will continue to come as a fist to an enemy instead of as an open palm to a friend.
My advice is this: Come to the middle, and see what you’re shooting at.
I laud your piece. As a student at Brigham Young University, it’s often difficult to see past the vale of hard-lined conservatism within the Church. I would probably just up and fall apart if we didn’t have prophets like David O. McKay to look back on. Thank you for putting this so well.
I Can’t belive you would say suchh HATEFUL THINGS towards any body who doesnt exactly believe what your opinions are Do you think that you understand what is going on in AMerica? I’m outraged that this article was so biased! the author willingfully misconstrue the meaning of patriot Beck’s words and it’s a BIG case of White Persecution in America today. What do you think they are doing in Washington? Nobody knows; do you know? Cleon Skousen and Glenn Beck, along with patriot John Birch and Ezra Taft Benson, gave us clear words on how to tell the wheat from the chaffe. Confused theological oligarchy forever! No more so-called freedom!
Wow, what a crock!
Glen Beck is a great guy who does his research. Better than most of the media, and he is not afraid to take on all sides of the aisle. He may be a little dramatic, but as you have pointed out he is an entertainer. You just don’t like how he exposes the bad guys out there because there are more bad guys on the far left side of the aisle than there are on the right. Liberal Mormon is an oxymoron. If you want some support on that look up President Benson’s talk on the evils of socialism.
I know that Glenn stresses the truth. I wish he would study what his church really believes (Jesus and Satan are brothers for ex.). I agree with much of what he says, but the fact that he is a member of a cult makes me remember that he is not infallible and I need to think for myself.
I suggest Beck read economics proffesor Michael Hudson’s ‘The Counter Enlightenment’ to see what has gone wrong’.
If Glenn Beck says anything useful or valuable, it is by accident (as in a clock is right twice a day). Since he is a shallow, overreaching, overweening, self-aggrandizing, buffoon his messages and positions have no credibility and cannot be respected. Calling him an entertainer is a highly forgiving compliment.
It is amazing that two of the most influential men in America are both apparently faithful Latter-day Saints, but have such opposite (and partisan) views of our world; Senator Harry Reid and Glenn Beck. Hooray for agency and hooray for the gospel that can be home to both.
Thank you for the article. It creeps me out to hear solid, seasoned folks that I admire talk about watching Beck in reverential terms like they might use to describe a great BYU devotional.
There are many well-intentioned folks beating the drums of nationalism and neo-manifest destiny and calling themselves patriots. We need more thoughtful articles like yours to help balance the bombast.
Yes, BUT Beck gives McCarthy a bad name
“1989 – Carl Bernstein’s (Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame) book Loyalties: A Son’s Memoir is published. His father and mother had been members of the Communist party. Bernstein’s father tells his son about the book: “You’re going to prove [Sen. Joseph] McCarthy was right, because all he was saying is that the system was loaded with Communists. And he was right… I’m worried about the kind of book you’re going to write and about cleaning up McCarthy. The problem is that everybody said he was a liar; you’re saying he was right… I agree that the Party was a force in the country.”—http://buchanan.org/blog/a-chronological-history-of-the-new-world-order-604
The liberal slant of this author is unbelievable. The basic point Glenn Beck makes are fundamental and consistent with traditional American values that should be embraces by people like this author and have been by hundreds of thousands of people who are led astray by statements against Beck this author makes without justification. President Obama has often prejudged whites, such as in the Boston incidence where he sided against the Police Department, his urging Hispanics to consider Republicans their enemy, and his labeling all rich folks as greedy. His redistribution of our wealth which he considers to be his is unamerican, his stand against American exceptionalism, his questionable birth records, his association with radical terrorists and travels in Islamic countries along with his subservience to Islam . . . are just some of the uncontested facts that support Beck’s innumerable examples of deceit, waste, abuse, and downright attempts to destroy this country as we know it. Fortunately, his anti-entrepreneurial agenda has kept millions of Americans unemployed for far longer than they should have been while he was forcing an unconstitutional Health Care Bill that’s going to bankrupt this country along with the Trillions of dollars he’s spent on things we can do without. Fortunately, thanks to Glen Beck America understood this and voted his policies and the Democrats out of office on a historically unprecedented scale. This author is a disgrace to the truth as McCarthy was vindicated by Soviet records of the communist spies that infested our Government at the time.
Thank you so much for this article. It is on target and represents how frustrating it is to be a member of the church, especially in the “mission field”, when someone like Beck reinforces old anti-Mormon stereotypes. I must admit that the few “pro Beck” comments from you readers illustrate how deep the paranoia is among some Saints.
This would be funny if not for the fact that you all can vote.
With that in mind, it’s just scary.
People need to wake up the fact that Glenn Beck is simply another opinion pushing charlatan who is a product of mormon cult theology that he mixes with parts of Catholicism and his personal core as a dry alcoholic. And for the record, he is a Mormon and not a Christian. The two are not the same as one is a cult and the other is a religion. This makes Glenn Beck one very twisted screwed up moron who sold his soul to the lowest common denominator of personal stupidity. The religion of Islam has more in common with Christianity than the mormon cult.
The truth about Beck is that he a dry mormon alcoholic who never got the counseling required for alcoholics. Because he does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, this makes him the perfect abortion poster child for Fox Network. Considering the fact that Beck’s personal views are extreme Marxist Libertarian, his form of patriotism is false and he is a person who has no real substance or depth.
Glenn Beck consistently demonstrates all the unstable behaviors of a dry alcoholic which include grandiosity, judgmentalism, intolerance, impulsivity, ADD, indecisiveness and blindness to truth. In short, Beck, Limbaugh, O Reilly, Hannity, Palin, O Donnell, Coulter and others like them frequently pervert truth, history, facts, religion and the US Constitution when they open their big mouths. Beck is simply part of a national league of pseudo-conservative idiots who make big money by selling lies and half truths to impressionable fools that occupy the lowest levels of society. Basically…tea baggers and registered republicans who are condemned to repeat the mistakes of history.
Thank you so much for the article. What is sad to me, is that the article is still asking Beck for proofs of his accusations of Marxism or Communism (most Mormons don’t know the difference between the two). Why not discuss the idea that Joseph Smith’s revelations and ideas were clearly Marxist: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” etc…Yes, God is in charge of the United Order, through church leaders, but the scriptures are clear– (D&C 49:20) “it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” (and many other similar scriptures that have been explained away by the Birchers in the church.) Why not instead tell Beck, “So what? Tell us what is so wrong with Marxism and Communism other than the fact that you and McCarthy turn them into dirty words.–oh, and yes, that those systems don’t work under dictators.” People can disagree about politics in the church, but the demonization of good, temple recommend-holding progressives in the church must stop. Glen indeed is hurting the church. 90% of my ward is progressive (that is how it is on the East Coast–wake up Utah Mormons) and Beck is the dirty word out here, not Democrat.
Glenn Beck will destory the Mormon Church. His lies and misinformation about people and events will catch up with him just like the lies of Joe McCarthy caught up with him and personally destoryed Old Tailgunner Joe.
I see the Mormon Church more and more as a cult and I’ve started reading about the Church and wow is it full of lies and so many crackpot ideas. Also, the secrets the church keeps will be exposed not by Beck but by others inside the church who will quetion the practices of the Church.
I think when the Church starts to fall apart, many Mormons will be confronted with the truth which they have been ignoring but will be brought about by people asking questions about Beck’s association with the church and all the lies he spews on his radio and TV show.
Beck tells the truth wherever it may fall and people who are not as truthful are scared to death of him. Three cheers for Beck for exposing the truth.
Van Jones is an avowed communist or would not have had to resign. In this overly PC world can’t we even call communists, communists?
Obama’s CZARs are definitely social democrats (ie socialists). Young progressive LDS may or may not be in with the mainstream of the church, but if Harry Reid, that old liar. can be LDS, I do not know why Beck brings shame on the name.
I would hate him to be an anti-Mormon apostate. How would you like to be among that target?
The Beck fan that can’t quite like Beck because he is in a cult that believes Satan and Jesus WERE brothers is buying in to a big lie or partial truth. Mormons believe all people were spirit chilfden of God, that does include Lucifer. When he fell he became Satan. Now who would claim that Jesus and Satan remain “brothers”, being diametrically opposed in purpose. The brotherhood for him and his one-third of heaavens occupants ended in the fall. Huckabee knew exactly the fear he would start during the 2010 primary when he smarmingly whispered, “Don’t the LDS believe Jesus and Satan were brothers”.
As to the cult thing, I might turn and call the evangelicals the cult of the rapture, but that would be rude. There are two main human emotions love and fear. Why do some fear the LDS people and doctrine? If God is love, who is the author of fear?
None so blind as those who will not see (or will to not see?)
Mark Levine is a Glenn Beck Wannabe. Glenn’s message is internally consistent. It simply isn’t down-the-line conservative. He is willing to call out corporate corruption in the same breath as government corruption.
Was that 01 August 2010 comment from “the” Ed Decker; the Mormon slayer; the “fire” under the walls of Mormonism that made the whole edifice crumble, that “not one stone” remained standing? During the two years of study and prayer and questioning and resistance before I was baptized, I came across one of Ed’s video’s. Even as a Protestant at the time, I was embarrassed. And it certainly testified to me that the Spirit is to be preferred, rather than anti-Mormon propaganda (and the profits they create), when it comes to issues of faith and testimony.
By the way, I am retired and I get up at 6:00 am most mornings to listen to his program on my computer (as a subscriber to GBTV [now The Blaze TV]).
Gregory Lee Cooper
Why can’t we just get along. If you would listen to Glenn lately, you will see a man who has repented of time he might have wasted in the past, being critical of others. He is deliberately trying to bring us together, at such a difficult time in our history. He’s a libertarian, if you believe in big government, you won’t like him, he’s conservative, if you are a social liberal, you won’t like him. He is funny, kind, gifted, brilliant and very spiritual. I’m grateful to be a mormon and consider him my brother, along with all of us. He isn’t hurting our Church’s reputation, unless you are anti Mormon, then you are thinking and hoping that he is hurting the Gospel.. but he isn’t, he teaches, constantly and is spreading truth without being judgmental toward other religions. Listen to him, to the others who host his radio shows, so much to learn, such good people.
Years of service give you a perception of credibility
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