. . . was cribbed from the writings of C.S. Lewis; ghost-written by my aunt, May Benson, wife of ETB's oldest child; and, finally, then read for ETB at General Conference by Gordon B. Hinckley.
Below are the details on how ETB didn't write his "Beware of Pride" talk; on how daughter-in-law did; and on how, because the Big Boys were too proud to admit depending on a woman, they refused to give her credit for it:
--Ezra Taft Benson’s Much-Loved “Beware of Pride” Sermon and How It Came to Be
Among faithful Mormons, one of the most famous and appreciated talks attributed to my grandfather (and I use the term “attributed” deliberately) was entitled “Beware of Pride.”
As one Mormon commentator has declared:
“['Beware of Pride' is] [p]erhaps the best remembered of all Ezra Taft Benson's talks. . . . [M]embers from all over the political spectrum love and agree with him here. This talk is NOT controversial, but loved.”http://www.zionsbest.com/top25.html
Likewise, in a glowing obituary of my grandfather, the sermon was mentioned as follows:
"Continuing to help set the Church in order and perfect the Saints, he delivered another landmark address entitled 'Beware of Pride' . . ."http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/history/people/Benson_EOM.htm
(Actually, the sermon was not delivered by Ezra Taft Benson himself but, instead, read from the pulpit by First Counselor in the First Presidency Gordon B. Hinckley on 1 April 1989 during the Saturday morning session of the 159th Semi-Annual LDS General Conference).
Not only was the sermon delivered by someone else, persuasive evidence has surfaced that a person other than Ezra Taft Benson actually researched and wrote the talk. That individual’s identity is known and will be revealed below.
Further evidence also overwhelmingly points to the conclusion that the text of my grandfather's pride talk was itself borrowed, without attribution, from the writings of another author, who will also be identified herein.
Hence, the assertion of admirers that “this talk is NOT controversial” is becoming less accurate as the facts surrounding its actual genesis become more well known.
The sermon is, in fact, controversial because much of it consists not of the actual words or ideas of Ezra Taft Benson, but of words and ideas which were stolen from others, researched by others and written by others.
--Ezra Taft Benson's Sermon on Pride Was Plagiarized From the Writings of C.S. Lewis
The following question was asked of me some years ago in this forum:
”Did ETB steal from C.S. Lewis? . . . The first time I read the C.S. Lewis passage, I nearly fell out of my (TBM) chair. ETB’s talk as so clearly lifted in large part from Lewis and nary an acknowledgment to be heard. Usually such a gaffe by a well-known person gets a lot of coverage, and yet I have never heard . . . any admission or apology. What say ye? Any info?" ("Bobby D," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 14 June 2003)
Likewise, another questioner followed up with a similarly direct inquiry:
"Was CS Lewis the author of the pride sermon from ET Benson? Where can that be found? Anyone know?" ("novel-t," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 20 January 2004)
The answer is a definitive yes.
Significant portions of Ezra Taft Benson’s pride sermon were directly lifted from, influenced by, and cobbled together from the writings of Christian apologist C.S. Lewis--specifically from his book, Mere Christianity, under the chapter of “The Great Sin” (C.S. Lews, "Mere Christianity," New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1952, revised and enlarged).
--The Proof: Line-Upon Line, Plagiarism Upon Plagiarism
A line-by-line comparison of the text of both documents provides clear and convincing evidence that a major source source for Ezra Taft Benson's talk on pride was the earlier work of C.S. Lewis.
Moreover, this blatant and heavy borrowing, both in terms of wording and concept, was done without attribution.
Examples of these plagiarisms are listed below, by category.
--Pride is the Ultimate Vice
"The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride." (p. 109)
"Pride is the universal sin, the great vice."
--The Competitive Nature of Pride
"Pride is essentially competitive--is competitive by is very nature . . .” (p. 109)
". . . Pride is essentially competitive in a way that other vices are not." (p. 110)
"Pride is competitive by its very nature." (p. 110)
“Once the element of competition has gone, pride is gone. That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not.” (p. 110)
"Pride is essentially competitive in nature. . . .
”Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled."
--The Proud See Themselves Being Above Others
"A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you." (p.111)
“Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us.”
--The Proud Also Look From the Bottom Up
“When you delight wholly in yourself and do not care about the praise at all, you have reached the bottom.” (p. 112)
“There is, however, a more common ailment among us and that is pride from the bottom looking up.”
--Pride Equals Enmity
"Pride always means enmity--it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God." (p.111)
"The central feature of pride is enmity--enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowman."
“Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers.”
“Another major portion of this very prevalent sin of pride is enmity toward our fellowmen.”
--Pride and Self-Value
"You value other people enough to want them to look at you." (p. 112)
"The proud depend upon the world to tell them whether they have value or not."
--Pride vs. Humility
"The virtue opposite to it [pride], in Christian morals, is called Humility." (p. 109)
“ . . . if you really get into any kind of touch with Him you will, in fact, be humble—delightfully humble, feeling the infinite relief of having for once got rid of all the silly nonsense about your own dignity which had made you restless and unhappy all your life. He is trying to make you humble in order to make this moment possible . . .” (p. 114)
"The antidote for pride is humility . . . "
“Choose to be humble. God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble.”
--Pride Not Admitted in Self
"There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves." (pp. 108-09)
"Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves."
Only once in ETB's sermon was proper credit given to C.S. Lewis as a source:
"The proud make every man their adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others. In the words of C. S. Lewis: 'Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. . . . It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone' ('Mere Christianity' [New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109-10)."
--The Identity of the Individual Who Researched and Wrote Ezra Taft Benson’s “Beware of Pride” Sermon
Several years ago, I visited with May Benson (daughter-in-law of Ezra Taft Benson and wife of Reed Benson, Ezra Taft Benson’s oldest child), in their home in Provo, Utah, during which time the subject of pride and my grandfather’s sermon on the matter was a focus of conversation.
The first occasion was prior to the public delivery of Ezra Taft Benson’s sermon by Gordon B. Hinckley in the April 1989 General Conference and the second visit took place after the speech.
May said that she had very strong feelings about the subject of pride. She was especially offended and concerned with what she regarded as the Benson family's own problems with pride. (In fact, she said she had gotten up in disgust and walked out of a wedding breakfast for my sister Meg, when one of the daughters of Ezra Taft Benson, Beverly Benson Parker, as she was listening to the father of the groom, Cap Ferry, make some remarks to the assembled, leaned over and whispered self-righteously to others at the table, "Well, we know which family was blessed with the spirituality").
May said she had put together quite a few thoughts on the subject of pride that she hoped someday to compile and publish in a book.
However, after my grandfather’s pride sermon was delivered, May said that she no longer felt it necessary to publish her hoped-for book. Why? Because, she said, her husband, Reed, had spoken with Ezra Taft Benson about her research on the topic. May was clearly indicating that her information and study efforts had been used in crafting my grandfather’s sermon on pride.
However, the true extent of May Benson's involvement in that effort was not shared with us by her and did not become evident until some time later. Reliable sources in Provo subsequently informed me of rumors that May herself may have worked on Ezra Taft Benson’s sermon. This I was able to later confirm directly from a credible source inside the Benson family who knows May quite well, who was familiar with the situation and who wishes to remain anonymous. The source told me in a face-to-face meeting that May Benson, daughter-in-law of Ezra Taft Benson through marriage to his son Reed, traveled to St. George, Utah, where over a period of several weeks “she wrote his talk.”
--Finally Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
It appears that those responsible for the production and delivery of Ezra Taft Benson's "Beware of Pride" sermon were themselves too prideful to acknowlege that:
--(1) the sermon was largely plagiarized from the earlier works of noted Christian writer, C.S. Lewis;
--(2) the sermon was actually ghost-written by a woman, MaY Benson, doing research on the talk for an uninspired Mormon "prophet;" and
--3) the female who wrote the talk (May Benso), wasn't given credit by the man who was falsely said to have composed it (Ezra Taft Benson), nor by the other man who actually delivered it (Gordon B. Hinckley).
Nonetheless, praise to the man who depends on a woman. :)
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2013 04:07PM by steve benson.