Recovery Board  : RfM
Recovery from Mormonism (RfM) discussion forum. 
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Posted by: captainmoroni ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 03:37PM

Here is an excellent article from Salon from a few years ago at this link. http://www.salon.com/2009/09/16/beck_skousen/

It discusses how Glenn Beck was deeply influenced by Skousen's conspiracy theory wackiness. Beck even claimed that Skousen is his favorite author and through his advertising made Skousen's 5000 Year Leap a best seller.

The article describes how Skousen, a far right-wing hack, created his own apocalyptic view of a vast Communist conspiracy and, with the help of Joseph Fielding Smith, Ezra Taft Benson, and Bruce R McConkie, he was able to yank the church sharply to the far right side of the political spectrum.


There are some interesting tidbits about Skousen's life. For instance:

-J Edgar Hoover maintained a 2,000 page FBI file on Skousen and considered him an extreme right wing threat to the Republic.

-Skousen worked in the FBI for 15 years which he claimed allowed him to see the top secret information that detailed the vast Communist conspiracy. However, the FBI said that he mostly did clerical work and that he was never trusted with high level information.

-J Bracken Lee, the ultraconservative mayor of SLC in the 50s, hired Skousen to be the police chief, but fired him after four years because he was excessively zealous in raiding clubs where the Mormon elite indulged their vices. He said that "Skousen conducted his office as Chief of Police in exactly the same manner in which the Communists operate their government. The man is a master of half-truths. In at least three instances I have proven him to be a liar. He is a very dangerous man [and] one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government."

-Skousen published The Naked Communist which claimed that a vast conspiracy was on the verge of turning America into the USSR. He became a star on the far right lecture circuit and made serious money touring the John Birch Society and other far right groups.

-Skousen claimed that Harry Hopkins, FDR's advisor, gave the Soviet Union half of America's supply of uranium and 50 suitcases of nuclear secrets. This was ridiculous of course.

-Skousen became so nutty, that he was banned from the ultraconservative American Security Council. One member, Judge Mott, said that Skousen was "money mad … totally unqualified and interested solely in furthering his own personal ends."

-In 1969, Skousen found a new enemy. He decided that the world was under threat by a "New World Order" of the ultra-rich and powerful. He distributed books to all the faculty at BYU describing this menace. Skousen became one of the first proponents of the New World Order conspiracy theory.

-Skousen cited anti-Semites and former Nazis in claiming that the American banking system (and its Jews) were dedicated to destroying capitalism and forcing the world to become a collectivist society.

-One of Skousen's main sources was a man named Carroll Quigley. However, Quigley claimed that he meant to critique extremists like Skousen. In fact, he said, “Skousen’s personal position seems to me perilously close to the ‘exclusive uniformity’ which I see in Nazism and in the Radical Right in this country. In fact, his position has echoes of the original Nazi 25-point plan.”

-Rob Lauer, a leader of the Reform Mormonism Movement, said “Skousen worked to change Mormonism from a new and unique American-born faith into an evangelical form of fundamentalist Christianity."

This was an interesting article. It is disturbing that a nutjob like Skousen would have so much influence on church leaders and members. Skousen is the genesis of many of the most dangerous far right wing ideas in the church. Anyone who wants to understand why many Mormons are outliers on the political spectrum must understand this man.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 03:46PM

W. Cleon Skousen was, without a doubt, a real piece of work who, despite his schmoozings of top Mormon leadership, ultimately became an official LDS embarrassment

In the wake of Skousen's recent death, below are some observations assembled from my personal Ezra Taft Benson and Skousen files (combined with research from other sources in my home library) on Skousen's colorful, controversial life and his bizarre mix of apocalyptic religious/political beliefs:


CLEON CLINGS ON TO McKAY: SKOUSEN'S INSIDE TRACK WITH THE MORMON CHURCH HIERARCHY

President David O. McKay's Official Mormon Church Blessing of Skousen's Radical Right-wing Agenda

In 1962 LDS General Conference, McKay recommended that members of the Church avail themselves of Skousen’s book, The Naked Communist, declaring:

“I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of [former FBI agent and then-Salt Lake City Police] Chief Skousen’s.”

(David O. McKay, “Preach the Word,” Improvement Era, 62 [December 1959], p. 912, quoted in D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997], p. 82)

In his officially Mormon-blessed book, Skousen warned readers to be on the alert against a worldwide Marxist revolution dedicated to:

. . . “the total annihilation of all opposition, the downfall of all existing governments, all economies and all societies,” through the creation of “a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters.”

To fight the international Red menace, Skousen extolled Brigham Young University as a pre-eminent religious training ground in the “war of ideologies” and urged concerned parents:

“We should not sit back and wait for our boys and girls to be indoctrinated with materialistic dogma and thereby make themselves vulnerable to a Communist conversion when they are approached by the agents of force and fear who come from across the sea.”

(W. Cleon Skousen, The Naked Communist [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1958], pp. 2, 377-378)
_____


SKEPTICAL OF SKOUSEN'S RABID RADICALISM: AN OPPOSING NON-MORMON VIEW

Shining an altogether different light on Skousen’s work, Richard Dudam, author of the book, Men of the Far Right, wrote:

“Skousen’s book, The Naked Communist, is a Bible of the right-wing movement and is promoted heavily by many of the extremist groups. In it, he asserts that the first Russian sputnik was built with plans stolen from the United States after World War II and that President Batista, the former Cuban dictator, was really a sincere, pro-labor, popular ruler.

"Skousen advises legislators to overthrow Supreme Court restrictions on actions against persons suspected of being communists. He urges businessmen . . . to seek help from the American Security Council [a Chicago-based group of ‘right-wing military men and businessmen’ that operated ‘a private loyalty-security blacklist where employers could check their employees and job applicants for indications of left-wing connections.’]”
_____


SKOUSEN'S BEWILDERING BACKGROUND

Salt Lake City’s Fired Totalitarian Police Chief

Skousen was removed from his post as Salt Lake’s police chief by then-city mayor J. Bracken Lee, who called him “an incipient Hitler” who “ran the [SLC] police department in exactly the same manner as the Communists in Russia operate their government.”

(Dudman, Men of the Far Right [New York, New York: Pyramid Books, 1962], pp. 127-28)
_____


Super Supporter of Far-Right Anti-Communist Crusades

Skousen was an active barnstormer and speaker for Fred C. Schwartz’s ”Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.” Life Magazine noted that Schwartz “preached doomsday by Communism in 1973 unless every American starts distrusting his neighbor.”

(Dudman, pp. 8, 118)
_____


Diehard Defender of the John Birch Society Against Alleged International Communist Plotters

Although not an official member of the John Birch Society, Skousen was a die-hard supporter, serving as an active cohort in its “American Opinion Speakers Bureau,” which included among its Far Right allies my uncle and high-ranking Birch Society officer, Reed Benson.

(Benjamin R. Epstein and Arnold Forster, Report on the John Birch Society 1966, [New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1966], p. 95.

In 1963, Skousen published a pamphlet, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society,” in which he claimed that the Birch Society had been “dishonestly ridiculed and smeared at the instigation of the international Communist conspiracy.”

He further claimed that the Birch Society was “marked for annihilation because it was becoming highly successful in awakening the American people.”

He also accused Americans who criticized the Bircher Society as “promoting the official Communist party line.”

(Skousen, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society” [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1963], pp. 11-12)
_____


SKOUSEN'S INCENDIARY CLAIM THAT COMMUNISTS WERE BEHIND ATTACKS ON THE MORMON CHURCH'S RACIST ANTI-BLACK DOCTRINE

In 1970, amid growing college protests against BYU sports teams for the LDS Church’s anti-Black priesthood policy, Skousen published a tabloid featuring the screaming headline, “The Communist Attack on the Mormons.”

The article asserted that:

" . . . [Professional] Communist-oriented revolutionary groups have been spearheading the wave of protests and violence directed toward Brigham Young University and the Mormon Church,” [employing] “Marxism and Maoism as their ideological base and terror tactics as their method . . .”

Skousen warned that Communists were plotting to manipulate press reports into depicting the Mormon Church as being “rich, priest-ridden, racist, super-authoritarian and conservative to the point of being archaically reactionary.”

He claimed that, in fact, the Mormon Church was one of the Communists’ “prime TARGETS FOR ATTACK” because it is “STRONGLY PRO-AMERICAN” and that the ‘Negro-priesthood issue” was being used as a “SMOKESREEN” to “further their ulterior motives.”

Citing Ezra Taft Benson’s speech, “Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception,” he warned that Communist-inspired assaults on the Mormon Church were designed to:

" . . . create resentment and hatred between the races by distorting the religious tenet of the Church regarding the Negro and blowing it up to ridiculous proportions."

(“Special Report by National Research Group,” American Fork, Utah, 84003, March 1970, p. 1, emphasis in original)
_____


SKOUSEN'S FOUNDING OF THE EXTREMIST, BOOK OF MORMON-BASED FREEMAN INSTITUTE AND HIS SOLICITATION OF EZRA TAFT BENSON'S SUPPORT

Skousen eventually established the Freeman Institute in Provo, Utah. The group derived its name from the Book of Mormon “freemen” and initially drew many Mormon Birchers into its ranks. My father, Mark Benson, was the Institute’s “Vice President in Charge of Development” and my grandfather formally spoke to its members.

(Quinn, pp. 109-111).
_____


SKOUSEN'S DIRE WARNING TO EZRA TAFT BENSON OF AN INTERNATIONAL SCHEME FOR ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT, ORCHESTRATED BY WALL STREET BANKERS

In a letter sent to my grandfather (which, despite its form fundraising format, my grandfather marked in red pen with a handwritten notation, “Confidential”), Skousen warned:

". . . [The] so-called ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ [has been] “set up . . . to groom ambitious one-world political personalities for leadership in all major departments of the American government from the President on down. . . .

“Their latest triumph was the election of Jimmy Carter. . . .”

Skousen ominously claimed that “members of the Establishment have directed foreign policy from Wall Street in the past.” He told my grandfather that because of President Gerald R. For, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and other “master-planners,” the “foreign-policy establishment of Wall Street bankers and lawyers . . . moved into the very heart of the Establishment and took over.”

Skousen further declared:

“I wonder how people who say there is ‘no such thing as a conspiracy’ will deal with this one?”

He also forewarned Ezra Taft Benson that the one-world planners intended to celebrate the upcoming “200 anniversary of the United States Constitution by scrapping it.”

In an apocalyptic conclusion to his letter, Skousen, under the sub-heading “We Need Millions of Freeman,” told my grandfather:

“I don’t know how all this affects you, but it puts a fire in my veins. I hope that in this coming year we can double or triple the number of Freeman and eventually we can challenge these advocates of world serfdom and drive them out of power. . . . I pray it will happen soon. And we must do everything we can to help make it happen. That’s what you are helping to accomplish, and I am grateful to you for your support.

“See you next month!”

(W. Cleon Skousen, letter to “Elder Benson,” January 1977, copy in my possession)
_____


SKOUSEN'S FULL-THROATED ASSAULT ON SATANIC ROCK MUSIC--WITH EZRA TAFT BENSON'S FULL-HEARTED ENCOURAGEMENT

In my personal library I discoverd a book that once belonged to my grandfather entitled, Rock 'N' Reality: Mirrors of Rock Music--Its Relationship to Sex, Drugs, Family & Religion, by Mormon author and BYU graduate E. Lynn Balmforth [Hawkes Publications: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1971].

My grandfather apparently had a special fondness for this thin, paperback volume. He had signed his name in his big, flamboyant style above the title on the front cover, along with noting in the upper right-hand corner of same, "Return to E.T.B." He further autographed the inside of the front cover, along with noting the date--February 18, 1972--that he received it. He very much seemed to want to make sure he never lost it.

The book's "Preface" was authored by Skousen, obviously one of Ezra Taft Benson's closest ideological allies. My grandfather had dog-earred the first page of that section and underlined several of its passages in ballpoint pen.

In the left-hand margin next to the third and fourth paragraphs of the first page, respectively, he wrote the words "on card" and "card," indicating that he wanted these particular passages transferred to his typed card file, which he used as a sermon resource.

My grandfather highlighted, via underlining and/or margin brackets, the following from Skousen's words of warning:

"We've combined youth, music, sex, drugs, and rebellion with treason!'

"This was the way Jerry Rubin, chieftain of the Yippies, described the current assault on America's up-coming generation in his book, DO IT!

"Later, in a speech at Salt Lake City, Utah, he said: 'Rock 'n' Roll is the center of the Revolution!'

"Americans are well aware that there has been a revolution. In morals. In manners. In speech. In crime rates. In riots. In violence. In drugs. In sex. In pornography. In politics. In movies. In education. In music.

"What most of us failed to realize at the moment was how important the music revolution would become. It turned out to be the catalyst for all the rest. It became the prod to promote drugs, the advertiser of sex in the hedonism manner, the mind-conditioner for four-letter gutter speech, and eventually the blatant propaganda funnel for political subversion. It also became the seductive Jezebel for a modern philosophy of no God, of Man as merely a graduate beast of the jungle, of Jesus Christ as a phoney actor--a superstar, of peace and prosperity being possible only under communism, of America as the enemy of the world, of Russia as the hope of the world."

(p. 3)

Turning the page, Skousen continued his tirade against rock music, while my grandfather's marking pen took a momentary break:

"Just as a sampler, here are the lyrics to America's number-one-hit-recording at the moment of this writing. It is by John Lennon and is called, 'Imagine.'

'Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people,
Living for today.

'Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

'Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger--
A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.

'You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will be as one.'"

(p. 4)

Skousen continued his message of clear-and-present danger:

"I observe that many young people have taken from this song only the theme of 'brotherhood' and 'all the world for all the people.'"

At this point, Ezra Taft Benson's marking pen picked up again, as he underlined Skousen's next words:

"However, the professional debunkers who were behind the engineering of this song took colossal satisfaction from the fact that they are succeeding in getting tens of millions of young Americans to mouth the artfully planted brain teasers of 'no heaven,' 'no hell,' 'above us only sky,' 'no countries,' 'nothing to kill or die for,' 'no religion,' 'no possessions,' and 'all the world as one.'"

At this point, my grandfather's marking notes temporarily ceased, as Skousen climatically rolled forth:

"Yes, it's turning out to be quite a revolution."

(p. 5)

Skousen somberly concluded the "Preface" with this gloomy prediction, highlighted once more by Ezra Taft Benson's pen:

"The problem expertly treated in ths book by Mr. Balmforth is of historical significance. This problem may turn out to be a major factor which contributed to the downfall of civilization."

(p. 6)
_____


THE MORMON CHURCH FINALLY PUTS OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ITSELF AND SKOUSEN

Following McKay’s death, the LDS Church “found it necessary to counter the now-familiar pattern of Mormon ultra-conservatives to imply church endorsement.”

(Quinn, p. 110)

In a letter “[t]o All Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Branch Presidents in the United States,” the First Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball dictated the following, gingerly-worded order:

“It has come to our attention that in some areas announcements have been made in Church meetings of lectures to be given by those connected with the Freemen Institute. This is to inform you that no announcements should be made in Church meetings of these, or other similar, lectures or events that are not under the sponsorship of the Church.

“This instruction is not intended to express any disapproval of the right of the Freemen Institute and its lecturers to conduct such meetings or of the contents of the lectures. The only purpose is to make certain that neither Church facilities nor Church meetings are used to advertise such events and to avoid any implication that the Church endorses what is said during such lectures.”

(letter from the Office of the First Presidency, Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 February 1979, copy in my possession)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2011 04:00PM by steve benson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: captainmoroni ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 04:26PM


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:32AM

". . . “the total annihilation of all opposition, the downfall of all existing governments, all economies and all societies,” through the creation of “a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters.”"

============================================================

This sounds exactly like mormonism.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: J. Chan ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 03:51PM

Their opinion is that he was not "nuts" (at least, he wasn't unbalanced) but that he saw a massive personal opportunity in promoting certain positions, many of which he did not subscribe to in any serious personal sense, and took full advantage of it. He apparently was extremely persuasive and calculating.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: captainmoroni ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 04:53PM

Perhaps. I think he is kind of like Joseph Smith, Glenn Beck or the main character from "Memento." He began telling his lies because it brought him money, happiness, and fame. But after awhile, he lied to himself so much that he began to believe it. That is how nut jobs are made.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: RAG ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 03:55PM


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 03:59PM

. . . Ezra Taft Benson, W. Cleon Skousen And The "Modern"-Day Mad Hatter Mormon Mentality

Previous posts on this board about my grandfather Ezra Taft Benson's vehement opposition to what he regarded as the "satanic" roots of rock 'n roll brought to mind the kooky connection between ETB's mindset on the subject (as well as on others) and the viewpoints of my grandfather's co-religionist, ardent supporter and fellow traveler in the ranks of the radical-right fringe: W. Cleon Skousen.

--Close Encounters of the Sue-able Kind

I knew Cleon Skousen, having become personally acquainted with him through his association with my grandfather and his affinity for ETB's ideas. Skousen's extremist, anti-Communist Mormon mind was as disheveled as the headquarters of his "Freemen Institute," which I visited on one occasion and found to be a maze of disorganization, chaos and floor-to-ceiling messiness.

Several years ago, when Skousen was running his" National Center for Constitutional Studies" (successor to his Freemen Institute), he reprinted one of my editorial cartoons in his organization's magazine.

So far, so good, given that he was a paying client and back then I was still a tithe-paying conservative Mormon. The cartoon in question had to do with secular humanist book burnings of the Bible and other holy texts. (Hey, cut me some slack. I was ETB's oldest grandchild wind-up toy soldier before I saw the light and commenced my flight).

But this time Cleon went too far.

His people took the cartoon and without permission changed its labels, removing tag lines originally on the cartoon characters and replacing them with ones describing Skousen's outfit--so that in the end the cartoon was completely adulterated to show Skousen's group being hounded and persecuted by its godless enemies.

I was so ticked off at the copyright violation that I contacted a non-LDS company lawyer and threatened to sue. Skousen called me personally and in a hurt voice said he couldn't imagine why I would want to do something like that to such a great cause. He also said they didn't have the money to pay me if I took him to court. Hmmmmm.

I settled for a printed apology in the magazine's next issue, although it was a pretty lame one. (In retrospect, I should have moved forward with the suit, which could have brought me a tidy return after attorney fees--and if Crazy Cleon was actually telling the truth for once, maybe have even put him out of business. (Sorry for my dereliction of duty).


--Different Takes on a Mormon Flake

Devoted Mormon apologists of Skousen include the likes of his nephew Mark Skousen--a financial economist and author who recently wrote a glowing tribute to his uncle entitled, "Visionary Author Helped People See the Truth of Nation's Origin" ("The Arizona Republic," 10 September 2010).

Mark Skousen's extolling article is cited below, followed by a counterpoint response by "Arizona Republic" writer Gary Nelson, both which appeared in the same newspaper edition.

Summing up the upcoming examination of Cleon Skousen is my own assessment of the man, based on sources, analysis, documents and experiences which paint him as, well, a Latter-day Loon.

First, the view of Cleon Skousen from his nephew Mark.

By way of background, according to noted historian D. Michael Quinn, in the 1960s Mark Skousen was a student attending BYU who along with several other politically conservative students was recruited as a "prospective spy" to covertly monitor and then report back in complete secrecy to university president Ernest L. Wilkinson on the teaching activities of faculty members on campus believed to harbor "liberal"/"pro-Communist" political or social views.

Students being approached to serve as agents in this "spy ring" included members of the Provo chapter of the John Birch Society and the BYU chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF). Mark Skousen, writes Quinn, was then-president of BYU's student chapter of YAF.

(D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power" (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997], pp. 93-94)


Authors Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, in their book "Brigham Young University: House of Faith," further report that this recruitment meeting took place on 26 April 1966 in Room 370 of BYU's Wilkinson Center, where Mark Skousen, along with seven other "sympathetic" students, "volunteered" to "monitor" the classes of eight targeted BYU faculty members for evidence of espousing "communist or socialist ideas."

(Gary James Bergera and Ronald Priddis, "Brigham Young University: House of Faith" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1985], pp. 207-09)


Invoking Biblical verse, Mark Skousen compares his uncle Cleon to a giant among men:

"'There were giants in the Earth in those days . . . mighty men who were of old, men of renown.' --Genesis 6:4

"I am delighted to . . . to pay tribute to my uncle, W. Cleon Skousen, whose book 'The 5000 Year Leap' has gained notoriety by the endorsement of Glenn Beck.

"Glenn told me that, even though he never met the man (who died in January 2006 at the age of 93), Cleon's book changed his life and gave him hope for America. . . .


--"Dismissed By Press As Extremist

"The curmudgeons and supposedly objective reporters hope to keep the public from reading Cleon Skousen's books by dismissing him as an extreme right-winger. But if you read the introductory chapter of 'Leap,' you discover that he rejects both the extreme right wing (anarchy) and extreme left wing (tyranny) of the American political spectrum.

"He contends that the Founders of our nation placed the Constitution in the 'balanced center.' That was the genius of the Founders, finding the golden mean of state power, neither too much nor too little government.

"The book is meant to be a layman's introduction to the brilliance of the Constitution. Millions of copies of the Constitution have been given out to Americans by the Cato Institute and other organizations, but how many really understand it?

"That's where Cleon Skousen comes in. He took it upon himself to establish the National Center for Constitutional Studies in the 1970s, offering week-long courses and giving lectures around the country on the Constitution. He considered it his patriotic duty and his calling in life.

"Cleon wrote two books on the subject. 'The Making of America' is a textbook, and one that I prefer. It dissects every article and section of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the amendments.

"'The 5000 Year Leap' is more for the general masses, to inspire the public by highlighting 28 "great ideas" that inspired "the Founding Fathers' phenomenal success formula." These 28 ideas are essential but not especially controversial or extreme: the need to protect property rights, defend the borders, encourage strong local government, avoid too much debt, encourage free enterprise and "elect virtuous leaders."

"Cleon emphasizes several principles in the Constitution, such as the separation of powers, and checks and balances, but he remains surprisingly silent on the welfare or commerce clauses.

"'Leap' introduces the reader to a great many political philosophers, including Cicero, Montesquieu, Blackstone, Locke, Adam Smith, Bastiat, and Tocqueville, and quotes generously from Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Franklin.

"He seeks to counter the notion that Franklin was a profligate womanizer and emphasizes that even in his infamous 'Advice to a Young Man in Seeking a Mistress,' Franklin tries to dissuade the young man from taking a mistress and encourages him to marry, the 'proper remedy' for the 'hard-to-govern' passions.


--"A Beloved Uncle and Teacher

"I got to know my dear uncle well over the years. I took his courses on the Constitution, attended many of his talks on religion and politics, and went on one of his popular tours to Israel. I envied his ability to speak and attract a large following, especially in the West.

"In my 35 years of lecturing at investment conferences, the most frequent question I heard is: 'How are you related to Cleon Skousen?' Then, these strangers would tell me how he had changed their lives for the better, as he did for Glenn Beck.

"My uncle had a sweet spot in his heart for Arizona, and for several years, supporters provided him and his wife, Jewel, an apartment in Mesa during the winter months to do his research, give lectures, meet with friends and relax. They were overwhelmed by Arizona's hospitality.

"I'm not saying Cleon Skousen was without fault. As a former FBI agent, he may have exaggerated his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover, although it was never so egregious as his nitpicking critics claim. During the long battle against the 'evil empire' and communist threat, Hoover's friendship with Cleon was never in jeopardy, as his personal correspondence demonstrates. Cleon's bestseller 'The Naked Communist' was vindicated when the Berlin Wall and the Soviet system collapsed.

"Yes, we had our differences, and I have reservations about his conspiracy theories and defense of the John Birch Society, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Joe McCarthy. (He had a weakness for defending the underdog.)

"But I love his Bible commentaries, especially his famous 'thousand year' books, and his work on the Constitution, for which he will be remembered. He was a devoted churchman and family man who loved his wife and eight children. His life was so full and diverse that he wanted to call his memoirs 'Six Careers' - as G-man (FBI), professor (Brigham Young University), police chief (Salt Lake City), tour director (Israel), president of a non-profit (NCCS), and author (more than 35 books).


--"Wise Ben Franklin's Advice

"When my own father died when I was only 16, Cleon became like a dad to me and my siblings. He spent time with my family and gave me good advice as I grew up. He so inspired me to write 'The Making of Modern Economics' that I dedicated the book to him. I considered it an honor to be one of his pallbearers at his funeral, which was attended by thousands.

"These words by Benjamin Franklin best sum up my uncle and his critics: 'The best men have always had their share of envy and malice of the foolish and wicked, and a man has therefore some reason to be ashamed of himself when he meets with none of it. My good friend Rev. Whitefield once said, "When I am on the road and see boys in a field pelting a tree, though I am too far off to know what tree it is, I conclude it has fruit on it."'

"My uncle stands tall, and his works are still bearing fruit."


Now, a direct, resounding and repudiating response to the above pro-Mo propaganda by writer Gary Nelson, entitled "Distorted Book is Bad History":

"If you were under the impression that the United States is a secular, democratic republic founded on the great ideas of the Enlightenment, think again.

"We owe our form of government not to the rebellious Founding Fathers but to ancient Israel, whose government provided an all-but-perfect model for the U.S. Constitution.

"Thus runs a main theme of a 29-year-old, but newly popular, book called 'The 5000 Year Leap.'

"The book, [has been] saved from obscurity by talk-show megastar Glenn Beck and heralded by the likes of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney . . . .

"It calls the American Revolution a miracle of God and enumerates 28 'great ideas that changed the world' and could return America to the pristine and virtuous state in which it was born--if only they were followed.

"You can get a copy at your public library, but you might have to wait: As of this writing, all seven in Mesa [Arizona's] system were checked out, and in Phoenix, only 12 of the system's 30 copies were available.


--"A Fervent Conservative Following

"The book is among the works of prolific author W. Cleon Skousen (1913-2006), who developed a fervent following among certain classes of conservatives during his decades as a writer and lecturer. The late Arizona [and impeached/ousted Mormon] Gov. Evan Mecham counted Skousen as his political mentor and told this newspaper in 1986: 'I would enjoy being known as a protege of Cleon Skousen. I have all of his books, suitably autographed. I'm a great fan of his, and we're very dear friends.'

"Not everyone, however, falls into the 'great fan' category.

"Ernie Lazar, an independent researcher in Palm Springs, Calif., has been exploring America's extreme right wing for decades. Skousen, a fervent anti-communist and early champion of the John Birch Society, crossed his radar.

"Lazar dug up a treasure trove of Skousen information in the form of 1,928 pages of FBI documents detailing Skousen's service with the agency from 1935 to '51 and his career as an anti-communist thereafter.

"A recurring theme in these files is that Skousen was wont to exaggerate his FBI credentials, especially when it came to his relationship with J. Edgar Hoover and his expertise on communism. The FBI also found fault with the conclusions Skousen drew from his research. . . .


--"Looking Back to Ancient Israel

"Skousen's primary premise is that the Constitution owes its basic structure to the governing principles of ancient Israel. The United States must therefore be regarded as a direct creation of God, as the Bible says Israel was. Subservience to the national aims and subjection to what Skousen calls "the religion of America" thus become divinely ordained individual duties.

"Where does Skousen find biblical support for such republican features as the popular election of leaders and representatives, the three distinct branches of government, the separation of powers? To quote him:

"'Leaders were elected and new laws were approved by the common consent of the people." (See 2 Samuel 2:4, 1 Chronicles 29:22; for the rejection of a leader, see 2 Chronicles 10:16; for the approval of new laws, see Exodus 19:8).'

"Let's see, indeed.

"In the wording of the 'New Revised Standard Version,' 2 Samuel 2:4 reports, 'Then the people of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.'

"But that hardly amounted to the election of a king. Scripture reports that it was God, not the people, who had chosen David, a fact made plain in the early portions of 1 Samuel 16.

"Skousen's reference to 1 Chronicles 29:22 takes us to this: 'They made David's son Solomon king a second time; they anointed him as the Lord's prince.'

"But again, it was God, not the people, who had chosen Solomon. In fact, a more popular choice, David's son Adonijah, had the reins of power yanked from his hands when he tried to usurp that arrangement shortly before David died (1 Chronicles 22:9,10 and 1 Kings, Chapter 1).

"'For the rejection of a leader,' Skousen writes, 'see 2 Chronicles 10:16.' That is where we find 10 tribes of Israel revolting against Solomon's son Rehoboam, setting up an opposing kingdom that the Scriptures unwaveringly portray as wicked. True, God had foretold the rebellion (1 Kings 11:11), but to predict events is not necessarily to bless them, and the ensuing 10-tribe kingdom was eventually swept away.

"Finally, Skousen cites Exodus 19:8 as evidence that the people approved their own laws. This is ludicrous. The law they were accepting there at Sinai was not of their own making, it was of God. No legislature framed it; no constitutional convention enshrined it.

"And while Skousen makes a weak and fleeting attempt to show that Israel had the analogs of a Senate and a House of Representatives, scriptural support for that notion is non-existent. Rather, the governing ethos of ancient Israel is summed up most succinctly at Isaiah 33:22: 'For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us' ('King James' Version).

"Only the most vivid imagination sees in that description of pure theocracy any resemblance to the secular republic envisioned by the Founders.


--"Let the Evidence Speak for Itself

"Nor do Skousen's innumerable citations of secular sources add up to the kind of analysis that carries water with scholarly historians.

"Eduardo Pagan, who is the Bob Stump Endowed Professor of History at Arizona State University, is well familiar with Skousen's work.

"'There is a whole genre of popular writers who write in a pseudo-scholarly manner,' Pagan said. 'They don't quite meet the standards of bona fide scholarly research.'

"Skousen, he said, fits into that category. Regarding Skousen's writings, Pagan said, 'I would characterize it more as a statement of faith than recognized scholarship.'

"He said Skousen and others like him often cite sources more than 50 years old, in effect rejecting the scholarship of American history that has accumulated since the 1950s. Pagan contrasted Skousen with historian Barbara Tuchman, whose analysis of the American Revolution differs radically from Skousen's.

"She saw the Revolution not as a miracle but as the inevitable outcome of British political and military bungling, a thesis painstakingly set forth and copiously annotated in her 1984 classic, 'The March of Folly.'

"Pagan said he would recommend Tuchman's works as examples of true historical scholarship. As for Skousen, he said, 'I would only recommend his work if we were studying reactions to the modern study of history.'


--"Bawdy Ben Franklin's Advice

"Among Skousen's secular citations, one in particular may speak volumes as to his credibility.

"In the chapter touting the virtues of family, Skousen quotes Benjamin Franklin in a letter as saying, 'Marriage is the proper remedy. It is the most natural state of man, and therefore the state in which you are most likely to find solid happiness.'

"What Skousen fails to mention is that the bulk of Franklin's letter is devoted to advice on how to find a mistress. Franklin's recommendation, in the bawdiest and most sexist language imaginable: 'You should prefer old women to young ones.' Among the reasons: 'They are so grateful!'

"It's not that Skousen does not expound some good ideas and dig up a few good quotes along the way. Government of law, not of men, is a good thing. Debt can be a bad thing. Family good, tyranny bad. And so on--worthy ideals, laudable virtues.

"But for Skousen to so abuse Scripture and history in the service of the idea that a secular nation is somehow ordained of God, and thus of itself is almost a thing to be worshiped, is a monstrous and dangerous thing and can itself portend the very tyranny to which he and his disciples profess to be so opposed."
_____


Finally, my own take on the guy:

--From Commie Basher to Rock 'n Roll Trasher: The Legacy of the Late, Latter-Day Loon W. Cleon Skousen

Skousen was, without a doubt, a real piece of work who, despite his schmoozings of top Mormon leadership, ultimately became an official LDS embarrassment

In the wake of Skousen's death, below are some observations assembled from my personal Ezra Taft Benson and Skousen files (combined with research from other sources in my home library) on Skousen's colorful, controversial life and his bizarre mix of apocalyptic religious/political beliefs:


--Cleon Clings On to McKay: Skousen's Inside Track with the Mormon Church Hierarchy

*President David O. McKay's Official Mormon Church Blessing of Skousen's Radical Right-wing Agenda*

In 1962 LDS General Conference, McKay recommended that members of the Church avail themselves of Skousen’s book, "The Naked Communist," declaring:

“I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of [former FBI agent and then-Salt Lake City Police] Chief Skousen’s.”

(David O. McKay, “Preach the Word,” in "Improvement Era," 62 [December 1959], p. 912, as quoted in Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power," p. 82)

In his officially Mormon-blessed book, Skousen warned readers to be on the alert against a worldwide Marxist revolution dedicated to “the total annihilation of all opposition, the downfall of all existing governments, all economies and all societies,” through the creation of “a regimented breed of Pavlovian men whose minds could be triggered into immediate action by signals from their masters.”

To fight the international Red menace, Skousen extolled Brigham Young University as a pre-eminent religious training ground in the “war of ideologies” and urged concerned parents:

“We should not sit back and wait for our boys and girls to be indoctrinated with materialistic dogma and thereby make themselves vulnerable to a Communist conversion when they are approached by the agents of force and fear who come from across the sea.”

(W. Cleon Skousen, "The Naked Communist" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1958], pp. 2, 377-378)


As much as Skousen (who at one time served on the religion faculty of BYU) regarded the school as a bulwark against Communism, he nonetheless was convinced that Marxists had infiltrated the campus of the Lord's University and established an operating cell.

Writes Quinn of BYU's "Red Scare":

"In February 1969 W. Cleon Skousen, whom Benson had unsuccessuflly tried to transfer from the religion faculty to the deanshiop of the College of Social Sciences, allegedly asked a niece to recruit students as informants [to ferret out suspected Marxists among the sheep]. A student herself, she told a political science major that her uncle 'had discovered there was an active communist cell on [the BYU] campus whose goal it was to destroy this university by 1970.'

"This student testified that she asked him [the student majoring in political science] to inflitrate BYU's Young Democrats. Anti-Birch professor Louis Midgley [whom I had as a professor while at BYU as a poli sci major myself] was among the faculty 'high on the list' of suspects as being communist sympathizers on this campus and her words were that [he, the student] was to "talk with them and try to get them to comnmit themselves.' Cleon Skousen relayed the information 'to his "superior" in Salt Lake City.

However, as Quinn notes:

"Skousen's efforts at campus espionage in 1969 collapsed after a faculty member wrote a memo urging him [Skousen] 'to give the lie to this rumor . . . that you have organized a "spy" ring to check on the alleged pro-Communist sympathies of professors.' The political science professor had confessed. He found no Communist sympathizers at BYU . . . ."

(Quinn, p. 103)


--Skeptical of Skousen's Rabid Radicalism: An Opposing Non-Mormon View

Shining an altogether different light on Skousen’s work, Richard Dudam, author of "Men of the Far Right," wrote:

“Skousen’s book, 'The Naked Communist,' is a Bible of the right-wing movement and is promoted heavily by many of the extremist groups. In it, he asserts that the first Russian sputnik was built with plans stolen from the United States after World War II and that President Batista, the former Cuban dictator, was really a sincere, pro-labor, popular ruler.

"Skousen advises legislators to overthrow Supreme Court restrictions on actions against persons suspected of being communists. He urges businessmen . . . to seek help from the American Security Council [a Chicago-based group of ‘right-wing military men and businessmen’ that operated ‘a private loyalty-security blacklist where employers could check their employees and job applicants for indications of left-wing connections.’]”


--Skousen's Bewildering Background

*Salt Lake City’s Fired Totalitarian Police Chief*

Skousen was quickly removed from his post as Salt Lake’s police chief by then-city mayor J. Bracken Lee, who called him “an incipient Hitler” who “ran the [SLC] police department in exactly the same manner as the Communists in Russia operate their government.”

What reportedly resulted in the mayor's decision to can Skousen was Skousen's raid on an illegal poker club where Lee was present:

"In 1960, newly-elected mayor J. Bracken Lee dismissed Skousen shortly after Skousen raided an illegal poker club where Lee was in attendance. 'National Review' commentator Mark Hemingway characterized the gathering as 'a friendly card game.'

"Skousen supporters protested the abrupt firing by disrupting a city council meeting and planting burning crosses on Lee's lawn. Lee characterized Skousen's strict enforcement of anti-gambling laws as Gestapo-like. . . . 'Time' magazine reported in 1960 that Skousen's 'real offense seemed to be that he had failed to show enough enthusiasm for Lee's determination to slash the police-department budget.' Lee told a friend that Skousen was 'one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government,' and a 'master of half truths.'"

(Dudman, "Men of the Far Right" [New York, New York: Pyramid Books, 1962], pp. 127-28; and "Cleon Skousen," at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleon_Sk... )


--Super Supporter of Far-Right Anti-Communist Crusades

Skousen was an active barnstormer and speaker for Fred C. Schwartz’s ”Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.” "Life Magazine" noted that Schwartz “preached doomsday by Communism in 1973 unless every American starts distrusting his neighbor.”

(Dudman, pp. 8, 118)


--Diehard Defender of the John Birch Society Against Alleged International Communist Plotters

Although not an official member of the John Birch Society, Skousen was a die-hard supporter, serving as an active cohort in its “American Opinion Speakers Bureau,” which included among its Far Right allies my uncle and high-ranking Birch Society officer, Reed Benson.

(Benjamin R. Epstein and Arnold Forster, "Report on the John Birch Society 1966," [New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1966], p. 95.


In 1963, Skousen published a pamphlet, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society,” in which he claimed that the Birch Society had been “dishonestly ridiculed and smeared at the instigation of the international Communist conspiracy.”

He further claimed that the Birch Society was “marked for annihilation because it was becoming highly successful in awakening the American people.”

He also accused Americans who criticized the Bircher Society as “promoting the official Communist party line.”

(Skousen, “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society” [Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Company, 1963], pp. 11-12)


--Skousen's Incendiary Claim That Communists Were Behind Attacks on the Mormon Church's Racist Anti-Black Doctrine, Plus Other Racist Rants

In 1970, amid growing college protests against BYU sports teams for the LDS Church’s anti-Black priesthood policy, Skousen published a tabloid featuring the screaming headline, “The Communist Attack on the Mormons.”

The article asserted that:

" . . . [Professional] Communist-oriented revolutionary groups have been spearheading the wave of protests and violence directed toward Brigham Young University and the Mormon Church,” [employing] “Marxism and Maoism as their ideological base and terror tactics as their method . . .”

Skousen warned that Communists were plotting to manipulate press reports into depicting the Mormon Church as being “rich, priest-ridden, racist, super-authoritarian and conservative to the point of being archaically reactionary.”

He claimed that, in fact, the Mormon Church was one of the Communists’ “prime TARGETS FOR ATTACK” because it is “STRONGLY PRO-AMERICAN” and that the ‘Negro-priesthood issue” was being used as a “SMOKESREEN” to “further their ulterior motives.”

Citing Ezra Taft Benson’s speech, “Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception,” he warned that Communist-inspired assaults on the Mormon Church were designed to:

" . . . create resentment and hatred between the races by distorting the religious tenet of the Church regarding the Negro and blowing it up to ridiculous proportions."

(“Special Report by National Research Group,” American Fork, Utah, 84003, March 1970, p. 1, emphasis in original)

Like my grandfather, Skousen also declared that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a tool in a Kremlin-concocted conspiracy to destroy America.

Writes Quinn:

"After [President Ronald] Reagan signed the law for King Day, Cleon Skousen's Freemen Institute observed that this national holiday honored 'a man who courted violence and nightriding and borke the law to acheive his purposes; who found it expedient openly to collaborate with totalitarian Communism; and whose personal life was so revolting that it cannot be discussed.'"

(Quinn, p. 113)

Furthermore, in his poorly- and insultingly-crafted textbook, "The Making of America" (which I eventually ditched after it was given to me by a Skousen supporter), Skousen favorably quoted a 1934 essay which paternalistically referred to the children of African-American slaves using the racially degratory term "pickaninnies," as reported thusly:

". . . Skousen became the center of a minor controversy when state legislators in California approved the official use of another of his books, the 1982 history text, 'The Making of America.'

"Besides bursting with factual errors, Skousen's book characterized African-American children as 'pickaninnies' and described American slave owners as the 'worst victims' of the slavery system.

"Quoting the historian Fred Albert Shannon, 'The Making of America' explained that '[slave] gangs in transit were usually a cheerful lot, though the presence of a number of the more vicious type sometimes made it necessary for them all to go in chains.'"

("Beck Guru Skousen's 'Story of Slavery' Suggests Slave Owners Were 'Worst Victims of the System,'" in "Media Matters for America," 30 September 2009, at: http://mediamatters.org/mobile/resear...)


--Skousen's Founding of the Extremist, Book of Mormon-Based Freeman Institute and His Solicitation of Ezra Taft Benson's Support

Skousen eventually established the rabidly anti-Communist Freeman Institute in Provo, Utah, where my grandfather spoke at the dedication of its headquarters. The group derived its name from the Book of Mormon characters known as “freemen” and initially drew many Mormon Birchers into its ranks. My father, Mark Benson, was the Institute’s “Vice President in Charge of Development.”

(Quinn, pp. 109-111).


--Skousen's Dire Warning to Ezra Taft Benson of an International Scheme for One-World Government, Orchstrated by Wall Street Bankers

In a letter sent to my grandfather (which, despite its formulaic fundraising format, my grandfather curiously marked in red pen with a handwritten notation “Confidential,” even though it was nothing more than a mass mailer sent out to Skousenites), conspiracist Cleon warned:

". . . [The] so-called ‘Council on Foreign Relations’ [has been] “set up . . . to groom ambitious one-world political personalities for leadership in all major departments of the American government from the President on down. . . .

“Their latest triumph was the election of Jimmy Carter. . . .”

Skousen ominously claimed that “members of the Establishment have directed foreign policy from Wall Street in the past.” He told my grandfather that because of President Gerald R. For, Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and other “master-planners,” the “foreign-policy establishment of Wall Street bankers and lawyers . . . moved into the very heart of the Establishment and took over.”

Skousen further declared:

“I wonder how people who say there is ‘no such thing as a conspiracy’ will deal with this one?”

He also forewarned Ezra Taft Benson that the one-world planners intended to celebrate the upcoming “200 anniversary of the United States Constitution by scrapping it.”

In an apocalyptic conclusion to his letter, Skousen, under the sub-heading “We Need Millions of Freeman,” told my grandfather:

“I don’t know how all this affects you, but it puts a fire in my veins. I hope that in this coming year we can double or triple the number of Freeman and eventually we can challenge these advocates of world serfdom and drive them out of power. . . . I pray it will happen soon. And we must do everything we can to help make it happen. That’s what you are helping to accomplish, and I am grateful to you for your support.

“See you next month!”

(W. Cleon Skousen, fund-raising letter to “Elder Benson,” January 1977, copy in my possession)


--Skousen's Full-Throated Assault on "Satanic" Rock Music, With Ezra Taft Benson's Full-Hearted Encouragment

In my personal library I discoverd a book that once belonged to my grandfather entitled, "Rock 'N' Reality: Mirrors of Rock Music--Its Relationship to Sex, Drugs, Family & Religion," by Mormon author and BYU graduate E. Lynn Balmforth [Hawkes Publications: Salt Lake City, Utah, 1971].

My grandfather apparently had a special fondness for this thin, paperback volume. He had signed his name in his big, flamboyant style above the title on the front cover, along with noting in the upper right-hand corner of same, "Return to E.T.B." He further autographed the inside of the front cover, along with noting the date--February 18, 1972--that he received it. He very much seemed to want to make sure he never lost it.

The book's "Preface" was authored by Skousen, obviously one of Ezra Taft Benson's closest ideological allies. My grandfather had dog-earred the first page of that section and underlined several of its passages in ballpoint pen.

In the left-hand margin next to the third and fourth paragraphs of the first page, respectively, he wrote the words "on card" and "card," indicating that he wanted these particular passages transferred to his typed card file, which he used as a sermon resource.

My grandfather highlighted, via underlining and/or margin brackets, the following from Skousen's words of warning:

"We've combined youth, music, sex, drugs, and rebellion with treason!'

"This was the way Jerry Rubin, chieftain of the Yippies, described the current assault on America's up-coming generation in his book, DO IT!

"Later, in a speech at Salt Lake City, Utah, he said: 'Rock 'n' Roll is the center of the Revolution!'

"Americans are well aware that there has been a revolution. In morals. In manners. In speech. In crime rates. In riots. In violence. In drugs. In sex. In pornography. In politics. In movies. In education. In music.

"What most of us failed to realize at the moment was how important the music revolution would become. It turned out to be the catalyst for all the rest. It became the prod to promote drugs, the advertiser of sex in the hedonism manner, the mind-conditioner for four-letter gutter speech, and eventually the blatant propaganda funnel for political subversion. It also became the seductive Jezebel for a modern philosophy of no God, of Man as merely a graduate beast of the jungle, of Jesus Christ as a phoney actor--a superstar, of peace and prosperity being possible only under communism, of America as the enemy of the world, of Russia as the hope of the world."

(p. 3)

Turning the page, Skousen continued his tirade against rock music, while my grandfather's marking pen took a momentary break:

"Just as a sampler, here are the lyrics to America's number-one-hit-recording at the moment of this writing. It is by John Lennon and is called, 'Imagine.'

'Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky,
Imagine all the people,
Living for today.

'Imagine there's no countries,
It isn't hard to do,
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace.

'Imagine no possessions.
I wonder if you can.
No need for greed or hunger--
A brotherhood of man.
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world.

'You may say I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will be as one.'"

(p. 4)

Skousen continued his message of clear-and-present danger:

"I observe that many young people have taken from this song only the theme of 'brotherhood' and 'all the world for all the people.'"

At this point, Ezra Taft Benson's marking pen picked up again, as he underlined Skousen's next words:

"However, the professional debunkers who were behind the engineering of this song took colossal satisfaction from the fact that they are succeeding in getting tens of millions of young Americans to mouth the artfully planted brain teasers of 'no heaven,' 'no hell,' 'above us only sky,' 'no countries,' 'nothing to kill or die for,' 'no religion,' 'no possessions,' and 'all the world as one.'"

At this point, my grandfather's marking notes temporarily ceased, as Skousen climatically rolled forth:

"Yes, it's turning out to be quite a revolution."

(p. 5)

Skousen somberly concluded the "Preface" with this gloomy prediction, highlighted once more by Ezra Taft Benson's pen:

"The problem expertly treated in ths book by Mr. Balmforth is of historical significance. This problem may turn out to be a major factor which contributed to the downfall of civilization."

(p. 6)


--The Little People Get to Vote God Out of Power?: Eventually Even Ezra Taft Benson Thought Crazy Cleon Had Gone Too Far

Author Bill McKeever zeroes in on a particularly bizarre element of Skousen's beyond-Kolob nutty religious notions--one that even my grandfather thought was over the edge:

"Skousen’s politics aside, it was his theology that was especially troubling. His book 'The First 2,000 Years,' published in 1953, included a section on God that can only be described as blasphemous.

"Under the subtitle 'The Source of God’s Power,' he [Skousen] wrote:

“'Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such…His glory and power is something which He slowly acquired until today, "all things bow in humble reverence."

"'But since God "acquired" the honor and sustaining influence of ‘all things’ it follows as a corellary (sic) that if He should do anything to violate the confidence or "sense of justice" of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the "power" of God would disintegrate.

"'This is what Mormon and Alma meant when they specifically stated that if God should change or act contrary to truth and justice "He would cease to be God." Our Heavenly Father can do only those things which the intelligences under Him are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing (pp.355-356)."

McKeever adds:

"The idea that God could 'cease to be God' is not at all unique to Skousen. In fact, on page 354 he rightfully notes that the phrase comes directly from the Book of Mormon (Mormon 9:19; Alma 42:13, 25).

McKeever continues:

"Skousen sums up these passages by saying, 'In other words, if eternal principles were violated, God could cease to be God!'

"On page 356 he {Skousen] also cites Doctrine and Covenants 93 to support his position:

“'In the Doctrine and Covenants, "intelligence" or that eternal, self-knowing will within each of us is called by several names. Sometimes it is called the "the light of truth," sometimes ‘the light of Christ,’ and in one place it is identified with the phenomenon of "life."'

("W. Cleon Skousen: The Man Behind Glenn Beck," under "Mormonism Research Ministry," at: http://mrm.org/cleon-skousen)


Apparently, my grandfather didn't buy it. In ETB's personal copy of Skousen's "First 2,000 Years" (which he gave to me and which, after he died in my post-Mo days, I sold to Benchmark Books, a used LDS bookstore in Salt Lake City), ETB had highlighted Skousen's arguments for a voted-out-of-office Elohim with skeptical underlinings and question marks.

Bad sign there, Cleon.

--The Mormon Church Finally Puts Official Distance Between Itself and Skousen

Following Mormon president David O. McKay’s death, the LDS Church “found it necessary to counter the now-familiar pattern of Mormon ultra-conservatives to imply church endorsement.”

(Quinn, p. 110)


It's about time.

In a letter “[t]o All Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Branch Presidents in the United States,” the First Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball dictated the following, gingerly-worded order:

“It has come to our attention that in some areas announcements have been made in Church meetings of lectures to be given by those connected with the Freemen Institute. This is to inform you that no announcements should be made in Church meetings of these, or other similar, lectures or events that are not under the sponsorship of the Church.

“This instruction is not intended to express any disapproval of the right of the Freemen Institute and its lecturers to conduct such meetings or of the contents of the lectures. The only purpose is to make certain that neither Church facilities nor Church meetings are used to advertise such events and to avoid any implication that the Church endorses what is said during such lectures.”

(letter from the Office of the First Presidency, Spencer W. Kimball, N. Eldon Tanner, Marion G. Romney, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, 15 February 1979, copy in my possession)


Yes, folks, welcome to W. Cleon Skousen's wacky world of mindless Glenn Beckian Mormonism--one which even the Mormon Church itself found too wacky for comfort. That should tell you something.

Put that in your pipe and underline it. :)

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: captainmoroni ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 06:11PM

I think that it would be a fascinating read. You have already done most of the writing on these boards and your files are filled with excellent research. It would be great if you wrote a bombshell biography of Ezra Taft Benson or an Extensions of Power kind of thing from a personal POV and journalist's perspective.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 06:19PM


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2011 06:19PM by steve benson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: dimmesdale ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 05:14PM

were disgusted with him because he spent so much of his work time writing and compiling his books.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 05:29PM


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/14/2011 05:30PM by steve benson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: archytas ( )
Date: November 14, 2011 10:34PM

Great piece. I always applaud an outsider whose able to dissect the innerworkings of mormon culture.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Shummie ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:09AM

Trust me, Richard Packham and Steve together couldn't make longer posts than good old bishop Bob McCue.

Kudos to you once again Steve. I did notice that CS gave all the credit for Carter's election to the CFR when in actuality it was the newly-formed Trilateral Commission that pulled that one off, correcto? I'm shocked that such a sleuth for truth as Cleon missed the boat on that one.

Does anyone remember Cleon's conversion and mentoring of an aging and clueless Eldridge Cleaver of Black Panther fame? A sad tale, all that.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:37AM

And lets not forget he went verse by verse and "translated" the book of Isaiah for all of the people who wanted to be told what Isaiah was talking about. I'm sure there are some real gems in that book. Just don't care enough to analyze it.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: imalive ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:54PM

I'm ashamed to say I purchased that book in the 1990s and I just threw it away. I am amazed that I fell for some of his shit. >:-(

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: nytch ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:41AM

Skousen had some really weird theological beliefs as well. Particularly, his talk on the atonement:

http://reperiendi.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/the-atonement-by-cleon-skousen/

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Shummie ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 01:07AM

And lest we fail to give credit where it's due, let us remember who was the author that coined the pickaninnies' reference that ultimately torpedoed the AZ governorship of Mormon poster-child Evan Mecham.

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: imalive ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 12:55PM

A current member of my ward used to work with that idiot and still thinks he's a good guy!!!!!!!! O_o

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Soft Machine ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 05:02AM

Steve wrote in his first post

Skousen warned that Communists were plotting to manipulate press reports into depicting the Mormon Church as being “rich, priest-ridden, racist, super-authoritarian and conservative to the point of being archaically reactionary"

Sounds like a pretty truthful description to me... ;-)

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Shummie ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 10:32AM

Soft Machine Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Steve wrote in his first post
>
> Skousen warned that Communists were plotting to
> manipulate press reports into depicting the Mormon
> Church as being “rich, priest-ridden, racist,
> super-authoritarian and conservative to the point
> of being archaically reactionary"
>
> Sounds like a pretty truthful description to me...
> ;-)


I thought the same thing. Way to go Communists!

Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: Outcast ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 10:56AM


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: topping ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 08:53PM


Options: ReplyQuote
Posted by: newswire ( )
Date: November 15, 2011 10:21PM

I haven't met many folks from the Mormon culture which did not think themselves as"Intellectuals". Far more arrogance than intellectual. It is the same as Mormons like to be in business, no matter how scamming they get.

Do intellectuals have common sense? The two do not always go together, as often as 'intellectuals" and arrogance.

Options: ReplyQuote
Go to Topic: PreviousNext
Go to: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In


Screen Name: 
Your Email (optional): 
Subject: 
Spam prevention:
Please, enter the code that you see below in the input field. This is for blocking bots that try to post this form automatically.
 **      **  **     **  ********   *******    ******  
 **  **  **  **     **     **     **     **  **    ** 
 **  **  **  **     **     **     **     **  **       
 **  **  **  **     **     **      ********  **       
 **  **  **  **     **     **            **  **       
 **  **  **  **     **     **     **     **  **    ** 
  ***  ***    *******      **      *******    ******