Looking Inside the Mind of Ezra Taft Benson Through His Personal Correspondence


Aug 03, 2005


steve benson


For a closer look at some of the political, religious and personal views of one of Mormonism’s “prophets, seers and revelators,” quoted below are excerpts from the personal correspondence of Ezra Taft Benson to me, written when he was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and later as President of the Mormon Church.

They are grouped by topic and provide an inside track for viewing the world through the eyes of Ezra Taft Benson. The letters were written by him (or on a few occasions, in his behalf) from the years 1977 to 1986, back in the bygone days when I was an active and generally politically conservative member of the Mormon faith..

The Founding Fathers, Conservatism, the Mormon Church and Latter-day Blood-Spilling

“Learn all you can about this country, its heritage, our birthright, the spiritual foundation and the prophetic history of this great land and then be sure you keep your feet solidly on the ground in support of conservative, solid principles, as spoken of by the founding fathers and the leadership of this Church.

“What we need and must get eventually is our policies in operation in the tradition of the founding fathers.

“God bless you in all that you do. Keep closes to the Lord, close to the Church and close to the tradition of the founding fathers as they established this great nation, the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days, a nation that will endure even if it takes blood to save it.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Steve Benson, 18 April 1978)

Battling the Subversions of Socialism and Communism

“I do hope that you are finding this period out of college valuable, not only from the standpoint of earnings, but also from the standpoint of study. It pleases me that you have decided to use your talents in the interest of presenting the weaknesses and the dangers of socialism and communism and the power of blessing of the free enterprise, capitalist system, which has built this country.

“If you are to be effective, you must have a good background of knowledge regarding the basic concepts and philosophies of the founding fathers and be able and willing at all times to defend these concepts without equivocation. Unless this is true, your words will be as sounding brass and tinkling cymbal, as Paul said, and your cartoons will also be much less effective. In other words, you will need to maintain the same spirit you had as a young man in high school when you used to write to Grandpa indicating that a certain issue was coming up, and then you’d say, ‘What do you have on it?’ Then I’d try to send you the materials which would be helpful to you.

“The subversive and freedom-destroying forces are closing in, Stephen, as never before in my memory. They are among our own people. They are whispering in the ears of our people that there’s nothing particularly wrong with accepting government help or supporting unsound programs being promoted by our elected leaders. It is of the utmost importance that you become fully familiar with the subject matter and follow carefully the current issues and problems and stand ready to defend the American way of life as it was established under the inspiration of heaven through a written Constitution.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 11 May 1977)

The Book of Mormon’s Prophetic Eye on America

"We’re proud of you, Stephen, and pray the Lord to continue to open the way for you to render even greater service to the Kingdom and to this great nation. Be sure you read the Book of Mormon each day, if you can. Grandma and I have just started reading it together again. We just finished First Nephi this morning. It is a great book for our time. The Prophets saw our day and they gave us the counsel which they felt we would need.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Stephen Benson, 21 April 1981)

The Worsening Condition of the World

“With conditions of the world as they are and getting worse, may I suggest that you read weekly Section One of the Doctrine and Covenants.

“It pretty well gives us the Lord’s appeal, counsel, and reasons for the condition of the world. It is the preface, or introduction, to His Book of Commandments.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Father and Grandfather,” to “Beloved Children and Married Grandchildren,” 1 May 1980)

The John Birch Society—Second Only to the Scriptures

“I am enclosing [a] copy of the Review of the News (a weekly magazine published by the John Birch Society]. I assume you get it. I believe you should. This has more pertinent information and timely information on the situation today than most any little, inexpensive magazines.

“If you want to get something good, solid, more-detailed articles on various subjects, I recommend American Opinion [the John Birch Society’s monthly magazine]. You should be acquainted with Scott Stanley, the managing editor of these two magazines and one of the most brilliant young editors I know.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandfather Benson,’ signed by his secretary Betty MacDonald, to Steve Benson, 11 February 1982)

“I loaned you several books when you favored us with a visit in Salt Lake enroute to Texas. I hope you were able to get some time to study them. If there are any others which I could help you with, I would be happy to do so. I believe your father gets American Opinion and Review of the News [the John Birch Society’s weekly news magazine]. These I consider of great importance as the best single source of reliable information next to the writings of the prophets and the Holy Scriptures on the question o of socialism, communism, and other dangerous evils, which are rapidly invading this great land.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 11 May 1977)

“It was good to talk to you yesterday from the home of your parents . . .

“I suggested to you at that time American Opinion magazine. I[‘ll] send you [a] copy of the magazine together with the Birch log by McManus and a copy of the Alan Stang Report [another Birch publication]. All of these, I believe, would be helpful to you in the important work you are doing.”

(Grandpa Benson, “ETB,” signed by autopen, to Steve Benson, 10 May 1982)

“I enclose the July/August Scoreboard edition of American Opinion.

“Congratulations on the fact that you have three cartoons in this issue. As I am told, it is the same number for your predecessor.

“I assume you receive the American Opinion. No red-blooded American should be without it and that’s where I classify you. I hope this one will be helpful to you also. I assume you also received the companion weekly magazine, Review of the News, which I believe you need in the great work you are doing.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 1 July 1982)

A Great American Newspaper

“I enclose [a] copy of the May issue of the Manchester Union Leader which is one of the great conservative newspapers of the nation. The publisher wrote to me sometime ago and indicating that he believes so much in my philosophy and that of the Church that he was sending me a year’s subscription to his daily paper. His editorials are on the front page so people know where he stands. It’s important that we let people know where we stand on important issues”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 11 May 1977)

Calling Up Orrin Hatch to Help Fight Communism, Sell Ezra Taft Benson Books, Defeat a Nuclear Arms Treaty and Handle a Secret, Soon-To-Be-Destroyed Memo

“I do hope that things are going well with you. On October 9 I will share the platform with Orrin Hatch at a big dinner in Los Angeles launching a great seminar program in that part of the country.

The Red Carpet [Ezra Taft Benson’s an anti-communist treatise] was shipped about a week ago and should be reaching you soon. I hope that the distribution can be made very promptly with the help of some people from Senator Hatch’s office. It may have an impact on the defeat of [the nuclear arms treaty] SALT II, which I think becomes more important in view of the serious situation in Cuba.

“We face difficult days, Stephen. We don’t know what will come. If Soviet Russia thought she could win, she would not hesitate to make the first strike. There is much that is favorable to the enemy at this time. I consider Communism the greatest enemy and the greatest threat to all we hold dear.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” 18 September 1979, original emphasis)

“I received your memorandum by telephone and thank you for your concern. I have become acquainted with many senators in my life. I know of no one who I feel made a better record in his first term than Orrin Hatch. I will give this matter prayerful consideration in the hope that I may be helpful to one whom I feel is a great asset to the United States Senate and should be continued in office for many years to come . . .

“Had a pleasant visit on the telephone with Senator Hatch last evening. He appreciated your concern as well as mine and thanked me very much for the information contained in your memo. It was agreed that the memo would be destroyed and there would be nothing more said about it. He would try and handle the situation as he thinks best. Thanks, Stephen, for your concern and your willingness to help. May the Lord bless you in your important work.” [For the record and for the life of me, I do not remember anything about this above-mentioned memo, although I wish I could].

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Stephen Benson, 21-22 April 1981)

Recommending Ronald Reagan—and Asking for Advice on Who to Support as Reagan’s Running Mate

“As you know, the time is getting close for the election. Reagan seems to have an increasingly favorable opportunity. I am getting questionnaires and requests to indicate my preference for his running mate as Vice President. I wonder if you have any information that would be helpful to me.

“I assume you get Human Events [a conservative magazine], which is published in Washington. In the current issue there is an article entitled ‘The Case for Jack Kemp.’ If you have any information that you think will be helpful, Steve, please drop me a note.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Steve Benson, 13 June 1980)

Defending Secretary of Interior James Watt, Even Though He Is a “Saved” Christian

“Congratulations on the Watt cartoon. May I say to you, however, that he’s one of the best men, I believe, that the President has in his Cabinet.

“He is fully loyal to the President. He came into my office, at his own request, where we spent 45 minutes together. He is a fine Christian, although a ‘saved’ Christian.

“He is active in his church, has a fine spirituality and was responsive as I quoted to him from the Doctrine and Covenants, sections 101 and 98. I you will turn to these, you will understand why I quoted them to him. He has courage, faith, and I think a great deal of wisdom.

“Maybe you could do a favorable one on him before long” [I had been critical in my cartoons of Watts' embarrassing foot-in-mouth disease, a bad habit of his which eventually got him fired].

(Ezra Taft Benson, "Grandpa Benson," to Stephen Benson, 27 January 1983)

The Writings of Economist Ludwig Von Mises, Other Fine Books and a “Secret Hope” Expressed for a Grandson

“I have just read ‘My Years With Ludwig von Mises’ by his wife Margit von Mises. It is a very choice 191 page volume and inn part a love story also. As I have don so, the various publications of this greatest of all economists have been impressed upon me. I hope you will safeguard, as I know you will, the books I loaned to you, Stephen, some of which are by this immortal author. I would appreciate if you would send me, at your earliest convenience, a list of the books you have from my library. Then, of course, you will bring them with you when you come to Salt Lake so that I might put them back on the shelves here, from which shelves, you may draw some of those and others if you continue your study of economics, which I hop you will do.

“If I can purchase a copy of this book by Mrs. Von Mises I will do so in the hope I can send it to you or make it available when you come to Salt Lake . . .

“I hope that your plans are being firmed up for the days ahead. I still have a secret hope that if you continue your interest in political science and economics you might someday become an active defender of the free market and that you might spend six months or a year in one of the solid, private colleges such as the one in Pennsylvania with Dr. Sennholz. In any event, this is a grandfather’s dream for a great grandson, whom I would like to see become one of the great and powerful advocates of the free market, so much needed if we are to preserve this country and its glorious basic concepts.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 21 June 1977)

“While going through some of the volumes of reading I had on Saturday, it occurred to me that you would gain much information from the publication of FEE, the Freeman, Ideas on Liberty. I have just scanned the article in the current issues by Benjamin A> Rogge, professor of political economy at Wabash College, one of our fine independent educational institutions. This one, as I remember, is located in Indiana. Mr. Rogge has an article entitled, ‘Yes, America, There is an Energy Problem—BUT.' It could be a very excellent suggestion for a cartoon, if you were going to do an editorial on the energy problem. There are also excellent articles by two other outstanding economists and friends of mine—Henry Hazlitt and Hans S. Sennholz, and also one by Clarence B. Carson.

“If you do not receive the Freeman, I suggest you write to Dr. Leonard E. Read, The Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-the-Hudson, New York 10533 and ask him to put you on the mailing list and let him know a little of what you’re doing. Send him a few samples of your cartoons. Who know, you may be doing cartoons for the Freeman.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 31 October 1977)

Bad Congressional Bills and Good Political Leaders

“The financial situation in the country is serious. This last bank bill is the worst ever. It’s hard for me to believe that conscientious members of Congress would pass a piece of legislation like the one they’ve passed in a hurry, without a roll call on a voice vote, in order to get home for Easter recess. I often think of the statement I had on my desk while I was in the Cabinet, 'Oh, God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box!'”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Steve Benson, 13 June 1980)

“I hope you’ll become thoroughly familiar with this sheet which has been torn out of the U.S. News and World Report in order to make copies. It contains an interview with William E. Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury. It is one of the best summaries I have seen.

“The entire U.S. News has much valuable information in it this week.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 19 April 1978)

Faithful Service to God and Country

“May the Lord bless you. We love you and pray for your success. Keep close to the Lord, close to His Church, and fully active in the Kingdom, which is the greatest ting of all.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Stephen Benson, 13 November 1980)

“May the good Lord bless and magnify you as parents, servants in the ward, and faithful citizens of this great nation. May you have guidance in all of your worthy endeavors from the Holy Spirit.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Stephen and Mary Ann Benson, 23 December 1980)

“We heard the recording of the talk you gave at the ‘We the People’ breakfast [a conservative political group which Ezra Taft Benson headed as president, he said, “at the request of President David O. McKay sometime ago when they had their headquarters n Chicago”] . . . and hope your humor coupled with humility and faithfulness will carry you much further than popularity.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, to Steve Benson, 11 February 1982; and Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Steve Benson, 11 March 1982)

“We’re proud of the work you’re doing and pray that in spite of the barbs that are directed your way you will keep that sweet, humble spirit of the gospel mixed with your usual good humor. If you do so, the Lord will bless and magnify you.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” 18 August 1982)

The Self-Proclaimed Royal Benson Blood Line

“Your father is doing an outstanding job as a Regional Representative. The people love him. He has their support and they plead with me not to move him . . . He is a great man, Stephen. You have choice blood in your veins.

“God bless you. We’re so proud of you . . .”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 6 December 1978)

“We have a great family and the grandchildren are all marrying well and are performing beautifully as they face the responsibilities and problems of life. We are proud of all the children, grandchildren, their companions, and the great-grandchildren. Of course, grandma says they’re all ‘great’ and I know they are.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 18 August 1982)

“Your father is doing an outstanding job as bishop . . .

“What a great family and what grateful grandparents and parents. The Lord bless you all—now and always—is our humble wish and prayer.”

(“Grandpa and Grandma Benson,” to Stephen and Mary Ann Benson, 20 February 1980)

“How I love you all and express deep gratitude for you and your wonderful qualities and for your love and support”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Father, Grandfather and Greatgrandfather,” to "Dear Children, Grandchildren, Great-Grandchildren and Eternal Companions," 18 June 1980)

“Stephen, I enjoyed a glorious weekend with your father in Jackson, Mississippi and in New Orleans. He is a great man, one of the outstanding sons of our Heavenly Father. This was impressed upon Grandma and me even more fully as we spent the weekend and Monday with him in the South.

“The Lord bless the posterity of your father and mother and bless you as you go forward following the instructions and example which they have set.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen and Mary Ann Benson, 11 December 1978)

Recommended Romance Reading

“Knowing that your are probably giving serious thought to love these days, I though you might enjoy reading Irving Stone’s great historic novel, THOSE WHO LOVE, which is the biographical novel of John and Abigail Adams. You may return it to me when you have finished with it.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa Benson,” to Stephen Benson, 11 May 1977, original emphasis)

Written from an Undisclosed Location: The Secret Convalescence of Ezra Taft Benson, Amid Soaring Book Sales

“I am so grateful for your life and prayers for me and want you to know that our Heavenly Father is mindful of them as I am improving in health each day.

“The loving hospitality of David and Beth [Burton, son-in-law and daughter of Ezra Taft and Flora Benson] and their four children has been an answer to prayer. The quiet and peace here are making a speedy recovery possible.

“For my sake and that of the Burton family, may I request that all telephone calls and letters be directed to the office. Betty [McDonald, Ezra Taft Benson’s personal secretary] brings me the mail and other messages during the week.

“Also, we have been advised that for security purposes, it is best that the location of my present residence [in the Salt Lake suburb of Sandy] be kept from the public. Therefore we should not inform friends and neighbors as to where I am recuperating.

“Grandma and I love you very much. We know you are loving and concerned, but inquires regarding my progress and other information should be obtained from the office inasmuch as my staff is in close contact with me at all times.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Ezra Taft Benson,” written by staff and signed by auto pen, to Stephen and Mary Ann Benson, 11 November 1987)

“Your grandparents really enjoyed your letter of November 1. Your grandfather is not up to writing letters yet or even dictating them, although he is doing quite well.

“I took the mail out to him last Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and he looked very good and had been on several walks already that morning. He asked me to write and thank you for your letter.

“I was not able to visit with your grandmother as she was napping at the time.

“We understand the biography [of Ezra Taft Benson] is the top in retail sales at Deseret Book outlets. Isn’t that great news?

“May I convey to you your grandparents love and blessings.”

(Mrs. Betty S. McDonald, Personal Secretary to President Ezra Taft Benson, “Betty,” to Stephen and Mary Ann Benson, 30 November 1987)

No Laughing Matter: Cartooning the Hofmann Scandal

“Dear Stephen:

“I still love you and encourage you to keep up the good work by pointing out by the cartoon method the evils of the day. I would just like to suggest that you go easy on the Church.

“The Lord bless you, my devoted grandson. I am proud of you. Love and blessings to all.”

(Ezra Taft Benson, “Grandpa,” to Stephen Benson, 7 November 1985)

Last Correspondence Contact from My Grandfather to Me--and No Further Contact by Him with the Media

The Hofmann cartoon letter was the last personal piece of correspondence I received from my grandfather before he died nine years later. A few days after he penned it, he found himself the acting President of the Mormon Church, following the sudden death of Spencer W. Kimball.

Instantly, circumstances changed. The curtain dropped around my grandfather and Church handlers took an increasing role in running his life, his schedule and his attributed utterances.

Less than a year later, my newspaper, the Arizona Republic, expressed an interest in interviewing my grandfather in his new role as Church president. I made an inquiry to my grandfather’s office in behalf of the paper and on 6 August 1986, received the following reply from F. Michael Watson, Secretary to the First Presidency:

“Dear Brother Benson:

“I have been asked to acknowledge your letter dated July 18, 1986, in which you requested an interview with your grandfather, President Ezra Taft Benson, and a representative of The Arizona Republic.

“President Benson appreciated this invitation and, although he is unable to grant such an interview, asked me to thank you and your associates for your interest.

“You will be interested to know that Sister Benson had a pleasant birthday in July and President Benson was joined by friends and staff recently at a gathering in the Church Administration Building where they celebrated his 87th birthday. President Benson is grateful for your thoughts and prayers in his behalf and asked me to convey his love and best wishes to you and your family.”

By now, the overriding interests of the institutionally-driven Church were in firm control of my grandfather’s affairs. As family members, we did get to see him with increasing frequency--just not at the office. As he became steadily enfeebled and incapable of administering the day-to-day business of the Church, he was relegated to his apartment, where we would drop by for personal visits. .

As in life, when my grandfather finally died in 1994, the Church also ran his funeral.


Autopens And Other Ezra Taft Benson-related Deceptions for Snookering the Members


Aug 03 03:02


steve benson

Use of the "Inspired" Ezra Taft Benson Autopen Signature Machine to Deceive His Own Kin

The device was not only questionably employed by my grandfather's First Presidency counselors to sign away his powers of attorney for running the Mormon corporate empire, it was also used regularly by my grandfather's office staff when composing and dispatching letters supposedly written and/or dictated by him to members of his own family.

I regarded the practice as an attempted deception of ETB's flesh-and-blood relatives by his appointed and anointed handlers, who thought they were doing God's work--dishonest as it was.

For instance, Benson family members were provided gift copies of my grandfather's biography, written by Sheri Dew and sanitized for public consumption by faith-promoting censors occupying the Benson inner circle. Each book was embossed with the identical auto-penned signature of Ezra Taft Benson.

Enclosed with each book to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren was a letter supposedly personally written and signed by my grandfather.

All the signatures--not to mention the wording of the letters--were exactly the same.

Likewise, we received fairly lengthy letters of several paragraphs containing long, complex sentences and thought patterns--again, allegedly written and signed by my grandfather.

Unfortunately, they were supposedly written by him at a time when his deteriorating mental and physical state was becoming quite apparent to family members who had actually had the occasion to visit him up close and personal.

(Not all family members, however, were willing to admit that Ezra Taft Benson was steadily slipping away. To this day, some--particularly among certain Benson women who, curiously and inexplicably enough, were among my strongest family critics when I left the Chuch--continue to exhibit profound denial that Ezra Taft Benson was significantly incapacitated in his role as "prophet").

Nonetheless, my grandfather, in reality, could not talk to us in those face-to-face encounters like he could supposedly write to us in those ghost-authored letters.

Moreover, the signatures on the letters matched exactly signatures from other letters. Compared side by side, they were obviously artifically penned.

Typically, below each "signature" would be my grandfather's typewritten name. Unfortunately, sometimes the autopenned name and the typed name on the same letter were not exactly the same. One might, for instance, say "ETB" while the other would say "Ezra Taft Benson," or some other obvious variant mismatch.

It was clear that the autopenned hand didn't always know what the typewritten hand was doing.

"Holy Ghost-Guided" Attempts at Bamboozling the Believers Through Misleading Photos

I also observed other deliberate efforts to misrepresent my grandfather's state of health, to both members of the Church at large and members of his own family.

For example, I saw my father, Mark, and my grandfather's personal secretary, Gary Gillespie, congratulating each other on a Church News cover photograph taken of my grandfather.

It showed my grandfather, pleasantly smiling, seated in a chair, dressed in a nice Sunday suit.

It was a carefully posed, prop-and-crop shot.

The smile was that of a man in the twilight haze of creeping mental enfeeblement.

There is Beauty All Around, When There's Sleight-of-Hand at Home

Efforts to manipulate my grandfather's appearance extended even to private family gatherings.

I recall, for instance, being in my grandfather's apartment one afternoon, where I asked if I could get a photograph with him and other members of the family in front of a large, idealized painting of the Benson clan commissioned while ETB was Secretary of Agriculture.

(The artist had painted a cat on the lap of my young aunt Beth, although she did not actually pose with a cat. Ironically, that approach to creating an artificial reality was to unfold as I attempted to get a family photograph in front of that very painting).

My grandfather was confined, by this time in his life, to a wheelchair, in which he sat silently and stoop-shouldered.

I was puzzled by how my father kept repositioning my grandfather's wheelchair after I had already situated him for the photograph.

I'd angle the wheelchair one way for what I though was the best lighting and composition, only to see my father, without comment, move in to abruptly change the setup.

After this had happened a couple of times and I was becoming somewhat frustrated, I realized what my dad was doing.

He was trying to keep the camera from capturing the breathing tube inserted up my grandfather's nostril.

It's a sad metaphor, really.

The Mormon Church has been, since its fanciful inception, desperately attempting to rearrange its elements, its history, its doctrine, its image and its leaders--all in a vain attempt to hide the truth from those in and out of the flock.

Only if one insists on keeping one's eyes squeezed shut can the deception be missed.

From Father to Son: Keep Quiet or You'll be Barred from Seeing Your Grandfather

When I finally went public about the Church's relentless efforts to misrepresent my grandfather's health, I received a call from my father.

He told me that I must not talk to the press about my grandfather because, he declared, the press was an enemy of the Church.

I reminded him that I was a member of the press.

My father responded by telling me that if I ever in the future spoke to the media about my grandfather's health, he would see to it that I would never again be allowed to see my grandfather.

I was stunned.

My father sternly reminded me that it was his duty to protect his father and the Lord's prophet, Ezra Taft Benson, to look after the interests of the Kingdom and to uphold the faith.

He further reminded me that he had been specifically asked by Ezra Taft Benson to move back to Utah from Texas so that he could perform those duties, as commanded by his prophet-father.

This, for me, was a final straw among many straws. (I had already determined that the temple ritual was a Masonic rip-off, that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarized 19th-century fairy tale and that Mormon prophets weren't good at prophesying or at understanding the real world. Now, I was faced with a family showing me the exit if I didn't keep my mouth shut).

I said to my dad, "Do you realize what you are saying? In the name of protecting the Church and the prophet, you are threatening to break up this family. If that's the kind of Church this is, I want out."

It was an emotional and agonizing moment, but a defining and liberating one, as well.

My father--perhaps taken aback by my instinctive revulsion at his conditions for family unity--agreed to reconsider his threat and a few days later implored me to remain in the ranks, but by then I had seen all the light I needed to find my way to the escape hatch.

Within weeks, my wife and I had left the Mormon Church.



I remember carrying the prophet's signature


Aug 03 09:54



in my front pocket of my white shirt. We were given "clergy" ID's with Joseph Fielding Smith's (1972) signature on them. I knew he had personally signed mine, it was almost like Jesus himself had given me his autograph. After comparing his signature with other missionaries, I realized it was a duplicate signature. I felt duped, but I knew the prophet was an old, busy guy with no time to sign every missionaries ID.

At least I still knew the prophet had personally looked over my missionary application, had knelt and prayed about it, and sent me where Jesus said I should go. I testify the prophet did this for me.




Steve – you’re such a good man. This is what I would have done in your shoes.


Aug 03 19:33



I would have faked like I was a good Mormon boy and gotten some alone time with ETB.

I would have set up a video recorder.

I then would have talked the old man into ordaining me to be the Prophet of the Church, I mean if he was feeble and all it wouldn't have been too hard to fool him. Just have him put his hands on your head for a "blessing" and then whisper lines to him. I'd of Had a fan going near the videorecorder loud enough to drown out the whispers but quiet enough to hear spoken words. I'd have sent copies to every media outlet in the world and then sent excommunication letters to the 12.



Hey, JREwing, that was funny...


Aug 03 19:56



I just read your idea to my 13 year old son. He said you should just have excommunicated everyone else in the whole church, sold off the excess buildings (temples, etc.) and lived off all of the church money yourself.



Steve, as a part time book dealer, you are absolutley right about the abundance of ETB autographs out there......


Aug 03 20:07



I have had many signed books by your late grandfather, most of which are autopen signed. I used to sell signed copies of books such as God, Family, and Country, An Enemy Hath Done This, and others and could get about $50.00 on Ebay for them, mainly for the signature. I recently listed aa autopen signed copy for 15.00 and had no takers. There have been such a glutton of ETB's auto pensigned books, no one wants them any more.





Aug 03 20:10



I know this isn't the gist of your post but I'm LMAO about the picture anyway.

So the painter put a pussycat in aunt Beth's lap - we know what was on his mind, don't we.
Reminds me of that famous painting of a young girl holding a minx.

If nothing else, I think the painter allowed himself a little joke at the Benson's expense which they failed to catch on to.



Ever so disappointed after learning of the auto-pen


Aug 03 20:44



The ETB auto-pen signed my mission call. But for years, I thought that ETB himself had signed it, so I treated my mission call paper like a holy relic. I would often stare at the signature at length, thinking that at least for a few moments the one prophet on earth had thought of me and my mission call. I have to admit that I felt a little cheapened and deceived after learning of the auto-pen a few years later. Even though my rational mind tells me that the prophet has something better to do each day than sign huge stacks of papers, it wouldn't be too unwieldy if the job was distributed out among the quorum of the 12, for real signatures.

But the auto-pen is a classic example of ongoing LDS deceit. Aside from its effeciency, the damn machine should be illegal since its functionality side-steps the very purpose of communicative intent in a legal document.



When the Pope dies, they destroy the Pope's ring.


Aug 03 22:10



The ring was historically used to place a seal on certain documents.

So, when the president of the Mormon church dies, do they smash the autopen machine?



Bust a machine


Aug 04 00:08



Hell no, they just adjust the settings for the next CEO. Hell the thing probable signs for a few hundred guys.


Other Benson Topics


409 Ezra Taft Benson - Racist Prophet

407 Benson - What do Mormon Leaders Really Know?

419 Looking Inside the Mind of Ezra Taft Benson Through His Personal Correspondence

415 Benson: Sonia Johnson's Speech "Patriarchal Panic..."

424 Benson:  Mormon Handcarts 1800's

420 Benson: Post-Manifesto Polygamy - Pathetic Response of Two Mormon Apostles to Quinn’s Expose’

418 Steve Benson: "Good-bye to God": My public testament to leaving Mormonism...

421 Benson: efforts by the Benson family to silence their "disloyal" own

427 Benson:  Patriarchal Abuse at the Hands of Mormon Church Leaders


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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