Glenn Beck is acting up again; is Mormonism to blame?

Unless you’ve managed to craft a mass-media-free universe for yourself, you’ve probably heard that conservative media heavyweight Glenn Beck (who is Mormon) recently urged his listeners to “run” from any church that preached “social justice” or “economic justice.”  In response, some church groups have pushed back against Beck, calling for public dialogues, apologies, and even boycotts.

Last week, the following email arrived in the Ask Mormon Girl inbox from a fellow religion writer.

I’ve been following the latest Glenn Beck “social justice” controversy.  Is there a Mormon angle here?

JD

Well, JD, Several Mormons have stepped up in the national media to say that Beck’s comments on social justice are not in keeping with the spirit of Mormon belief and practice.  Yesterday, Mormon author Jana Riess published an especially powerful rejoinder to Brother Beck, recalling from the Book of Mormon the beautiful words of that social justice crusader King Benjamin in Mosiah 4 (see especially verses 16 – 26).

I’ve even seen it reported that LDS Church leaders called progressive evangelical leader the Rev. Jim Wallis to apologize for Beck’s comments.

Which makes me sad.

Sad to think that the brethren felt even a twinge of responsibility for the former morning zoo radio shock jock who once made a living cavorting with Zippy the Chimp and who now makes a living by comparing do-gooder churches to the likes of Stalin and Hitler.

The fact is that while Mormons may not use the exact words “social justice” (the phrase has Catholic origins), humanitarian service and social welfare programs, including, yes, experiments in wealth redistribution, have a profound place in Mormon history, life, and values.

And although we are the most conservative religion in America, 49% of Mormons polled by the Pew Foundation recently said the government should do more for the needy; 42% disagreed.

If there is a Mormon angle to this story, it is the way that the flaws and missteps of public figures known to be Mormon sometimes get connected back to our much misunderstood Church.

Mormons take credit for lots and lots of things, like the invention of television and the women’s one-piece bathing suit. Heck, last Friday when I took the kids to the new Mormon Battalion Visitors Center here in San Diego, I learned that we even take credit for the Gadsden Purchase.  But should we take responsibility for Glenn Beck?

I have argued elsewhere that after his 1999 conversion Glenn Beck borrowed some ideological and rhetorical elements from Mormon culture for his on-air repertoire.  But Mormonism is not the source of Glenn Beck’s latest antics. (And while we’re at it:  a special note to Bill Maher, Joseph F. Smith is not the reason Mitt Romney got into a dust-up with a fourth-rate rapper on Air Canada.)

The source of Glenn Beck’s latest antics is Glenn Beck’s genius for generating controversy.  After all, Beck didn’t get where he is because he chose a life dedicated to service.  Nope.  Beck is all about building market share and has been since his beginnings back at the morning zoo.

So, readers, what shall we do the next time Glenn Beck acts up?  Apologize?  Hold him accountable?  Ignore him altogether?  Or, perhaps, circulate this little You Tube gem, featuring Glenn and his buddy Zippy the Chimp?

What do you think?

Send your queries to askmormongirl@gmail.com, or follow askmormongirl on Twitter.

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47 Comments

Filed under glenn Beck, politics

47 responses to “Glenn Beck is acting up again; is Mormonism to blame?

  1. Craig

    If I understand Glenn Beck’s comments correctly, he is not speaking out against charity, but having us forced to participate in charity by an out of control government or by churches with political agendas that tell people what to think on issues, candidates, etc.

    The fundamental doctrine of Mormonism is agency or free will. The church’s various attempts in the past at “wealth redistribution” e.g. the United Order are not in the same vein as we are seeing suggested by our current administration. Members could choose weather or not to participate in these programs and would have private accountability interviews with the Bishop over their stewardship. Typically, these enterprises failed when people chose not to live up the principles of consecration.

    I want to be free to be charitable with whomever I see fit and will stand accountable before God for my choices. The last thing I want is for my government to make that choice for me.

    • Lewis S

      “The fundamental doctrine of Mormonism is agency or free will. …”I want to be free to be charitable with whomever I see fit and will stand accountable before God for my choices. The last thing I want is for my government to make that choice for me.”

      What a bunch of hypocrites. Here you are pulling the free agency and free will argument but when it comes to abortion, what happened to that same free will and free agency? Why are Mormons so opposed to President Obama when he was giving that same free will and choice for mothers to make? What happened to your free agency? What happened to your free will? After all, based on your argument, it should be up to the mother to decide whether or not she wants to proceed with abortion. So for abortion, gay marriages , stem cell research etc, you want to government to shut it down and make the choice for people but for welfare (social justice) you say “The last thing I want is for my government to make that choice for me”. Typical Hypocrites.

      • Craig

        Lewis,

        First let us be clear: the correct term is agency or moral agency, not free agency. It is not free because as Paul said “ye are bought with a price” namely by the atonement of Christ. Therefore while we are free to choose what we want, we are not free to choose the consequences of those choices. Therefore the Church injects itself into political debate on the issues you named because of the strong moral component to them. There is not society that tolerates absolute free will as evidenced by the universal laws protecting life and property. If that is hypocritical, so be it.

  2. Douglas

    When Glenn Beck is talking about social justice he is talking about redistribution of wealth by Governmental means, not religious. He has said many times that the individual and churches should help those in need. There are many churches that encourage allocating more power to the government to help those in need. While that seems good, it takes the responsibility from the individual and passes it to the government. It also creates a feeling of entitlement and dependency. All Glenn is saying is that a church needs to encourage the individual, not the government. Nothing he has said (unless understood incorrectly) goes against the doctrines of the church. Read D & C 101: 77-80. Our Constitution was established by the lord to give the individual the ability to act for themselves. To keep us as free as possible. Every time we ask the government to take care of things for us it weakens our constitution and our personal freedom. If a particular church is advocating this action then that church is wrong. The LDS church has never advocated having the government take care of the needy. In fact I can show you a vast number of talks and quotes from modern prophets and apostles that warn against that. Read the “Moral Discipline” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, from Oct. 2009 General Conference as an example of this.

  3. Kate

    ‘The Glenn Beck Radio Program,’ sought to clarify Beck’s comments today. ‘Like most Americans, Glenn strongly supports and believes in ‘social justice’ when it is defined as ‘good Christian charity,’ he said. ‘Glenn strongly opposes when Rev. Wright and other leaders use ‘social justice’ as a euphemism for their real intention — redistribution of wealth.”

    I disagree with you..Mormon Girl. Glen Beck is talking about the Gadianton Robbers in the Book of Mormon. We are very active in Politics. He is talking about using the Pulpit for mischevious intentions. It is never done in the LDS church. I believe that that is one of the things that drew Glen Beck to our church. Keep going Glen, you are a refreshing voice. Don’t listen to those who try to stifle you voice.

  4. Jenny

    3 Nephi 3:6-7 of The Book of Mormon
    6.Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you.
    7. Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us- not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.

    Written by Giddianhi, the Gadianton Robber Leader to Lachoneus the Chief Judge over a free Nephite people.

    Sounds like social justice…..or a some of that fantastic communism.

    Maybe you should review.

    Here are some other books to help:
    Mormonism VS. Communism
    by John J Stewart foreward by Ezra Taft Benson
    and
    The Threat To Our Freedom
    by Ezra Taft Benson

  5. Thank you Craig, Douglas and Kate for straightening out this post…

    I thought this was hilarious “social justice crusader King Benjamin in Mosiah 4 (see especially verses 16 – 26).” Indeed, King Benjamin was clearly calling for a big government take over of social welfare programs. haha oh boy. I mean unless by “ye” and “your” he means “big government” or “tax and spend government welfare programs” you might have a point. But alas…

  6. Ted Morgan

    Terrific response to Mr. Beck. Thank you.

  7. Brian Palmer

    I must agree with the previous commenter’s posts. I have been listening to Glenn Beck the past couple of weeks and it seems very obvious that he is speaking out against compulsory “giving” that is enforced by government. I also must disagree with your premise that Jana Riess provided an especially powerful rejoinder on the issue by referencing King Benjamin’s address to his people. It is important to remember that it was KING Benjamin addressing his people and exhorting them to give and give freely of their substance to those less fortunate than they are. However, he at no time came out and said that as King he would take their substance and redistribute it among the poor. As a matter of fact, at the very first of his speech he recounts how he has NOT sought any manner of riches from them and has labored for his own support in order to avoid placing any sort of burden upon them. The conclusion of his words on giving and welfare pertain to the salvation of the individual, not any particular governing body or organization. There is no salvation in compulsion. The other aspects of the welfare programs the church is involved in require the willing donation of time and material in order to function. The recipient of said welfare is required to give an effort in return for that which they have received. But, again it is not compulsory. If they do not want to give in return for what they have received, they are no longer eligible for the welfare of the church. I believe our church practices Social Mercy not Social Justice. I believe Glenn Beck has been misrepresented in what he has been saying regarding the requirement for us to take care of the poor and what he views as a highjacking of religious organizations in order to facilitate an unholy seizure and redistribution of a persons goods.

  8. Brian Skinner

    Glenn Beck is saying nothing different that what prophets of the past and present have been saying. Consider the words of Ezra Taft Benson.

    “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The… world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”

    More recently however is the talk given by Dallin Oaks at Byu Idaho where he says the following:

    “This principle of sovereignty in the people explains the meaning of God’s revelation that He established the Constitution of the United States “that every man may act . . . according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78). In other words, the most desirable condition for the effective exercise of God-given moral agency is a condition of maximum freedom and responsibility — the opposite of slavery or political oppression. With freedom we can be accountable for our own actions and cannot blame our conditions on our bondage to another. This is the condition the Lord praised in the Book of Mormon, where the people — not a king — established the laws and were governed by them (see Mosiah 29:23–26). This popular sovereignty necessarily implies popular responsibility. Instead of blaming their troubles on a king or tyrant, all citizens are responsible to share the burdens of governing, “that every man might bear his part” (Mosiah 29:34).”

    This is exactly what Glenn Beck is talking about. When you have the government taking responsibility from individuals to do good you have less freedom. As Dennis Prager says “The bigger the government the smaller the citizen.”

    The people Glenn Beck is criticizing aren’t just going around “doing good”. They are spreading socialism which is the exact opposite of free agency. I have asked Jim Wallis to name the leaders who have apologized to him. He has yet to do so. I doubt they were very high up in the church hierarchy.

  9. Very good post!! Thanks for writing it.

  10. Lacy

    What up with all the Glenn Beck Defenders??

    Re: Craig’s: “If I understand Glenn Beck’s comments correctly, he is [speaking out against] churches with political agendas that tell people what to think on issues, candidates, etc.”

    Isn’t that in direct contra to his own church and say…Prop 8?

    What’s really sad is that most Mormons actually delight in taking credit for Glenn Beck. Ugh.

    • CK

      Lacy, do you really think the church TOLD people what to think in regards to Prop 8, and that that is how the church works? If you read the actual letter they had read over the pulpit (available anywhere online with about 10 seconds of searching) it says they “encourage”. This is always what they do, never force. The persuade, encourage, exhort, strongly recommend, and sometimes even command, but NEVER force or “tell people what to think”. They give them as much accurate information as possible and tell them to think for themselves. Ugh.

  11. Yeah Lacy your right… why would anyone delight in “taking credit for Glenn Beck”?

    His accomplishments are dismal:

    Cover of TIME mag…

    Glenn Beck’s ratings exceeded those of CNN, MSNBC, and Headline News COMBINED

    ABC Barbara Walter’s most fascinating of 2009

    “One of the fastest growing TV shows in history”

    He is the first person in history ever to have four books debut at #1 on four different New York Times Bestsellers Lists

    FrontPage Magazine names Glenn Beck ‘Man of the Year’

    UK Telegraph names Beck #6 in top 100 most influential US conservatives

    More people admire Glenn Beck than the Pope

    His monthly footprint reaches an estimated 30 million people

    High ranking Obama official forced to resign. Van Jones going after him and Glenn hits back.

    Examiner: “Don’t mess with Glenn Beck” http://bit.ly/5gv5vB Sorry Van Jones.. go take your commie stuff somewhere else.

    Obama’s White House Communications Director Anita Dunn (our Mao loving friend) resigned after her little face off with Beck. (Loved the White Houses “war on Fox”… Thanks for the ratings boost Obama!)

    NEA communications director effectively exposed and reassigned. ACORN effectively exposed and subsequently temporarily loses funding.

    Oh and this little tid bit “According to the latest Harris poll, Glenn Beck is the second most popular television personality in America… See More….second only to Oprah Winfrey”

    • Monica

      Also the most listened to person of the Mormon faith, and that includes the Prophet. He’s a mess and an embarrassment. He’s making our faith look like a bunch fanatic lemmings (which many are but not all of us). Does he pay tithes on the Mentholatum induced tears, and his racial bias? His conversion story and his lack of patriotism? The man is so crazy and dishonest, it’s scary. He doesn’t represent me.
      And to Craig up higher in the comments, you want the right to choose who is worthy of your charity but you think that the government should make abortion illegal like that’s going to make it not happen? Or gay marriage? Why do they get to decide that?? God IS our ultimate judge and criminalizing things that are going to happen either way is basically Satan’s plan in the war in Heaven. Which side of THAT one were you on? I’m happy to see that there are members who aren’t complete racist idiots.

  12. Lacy

    Right. Well, I guess the problem is that I don’t really love Oprah all that well either.

    Anyway, I’m sure one could draw up an equally impressive credential list for, say, Howard Stern.

    But your list still doesn’t make me a fan of Glenn’s hate-mongering shenanigans.

  13. David

    It astounds me how people cannot understand simple context in Beck’s words.

    It is obvious that the only social justice he is talking about is the kind where the government FORCES a redistribution of wealth. Miss (or Mrs) Brooks you are being intellectually dishonest, or you are simply incredibly ignorant about what your church teaches.

    Glenn Beck understands surprisingly well the spirit of charity embodied in the scriptures and teachings of the church. He understands that the whole point of this life is to be able to choose what we will do. That was the original idea of the War in heaven – Choice or compulsion. Which side are you on? Do you want people to be able to choose, or do you want their rights to choose taken away? Beck is against loss of freedom because he understands history – both the history of the world where societies decay, and the history,spirit, and teachings of church leaders who espouse personal responsibility, and maximum freedom whenever possible. Blogs like this are simply used as fodder by political enemies of good men like Glenn Beck. You are being used.

  14. Craig

    Lacy,

    If you were to do a little research, you would discover that the LDS Church only becomes involved in political activites when they deem them to be of high moral significance (I acknowledge many would question whether or not Prop 8 fits that criteria, but that is another question). For example, notice the silence from Church headquarters over the current health-care debate. Besides, I know plenty of Mormon’s who disagree with the Church’s stated position on Prop 8.

    The point is that Glenn was stating his opinion that people who are in church’s that consistently teach the concept of social justice as an essential element of Christian living should leave due to his belief that there are questionable motives behind many with that philosophy. It was not, contrary to how he has been portrayed, a statement against charity. How is that “hate-mongering” as you put it?

    If being a conservative who chooses to contribute more than 10% of his income to charity and who resents the notion that the government or some other entity is better equipped to decide how my money should be used than me, then I guess I am a hate-mongerer.

    Also, I don’t know a single Mormon who “takes credit” for Glenn Beck. Glenn doesn’t even take credit for Glenn; he attributes his success and transformation of philosophy, political and otherwise, to the change that came when he hit bottom as an alcoholic. The fact that we share the same faith in secondary. I listen to many other commentators who are not of my faith and I view them the same way I do Glenn: when I agree, I agree; when I don’t, I don’t. My views of Glenn are not shaped by his sharing my faith.

  15. Lacy

    Craig,

    Spare me the “if you were to do a little research” soapbox. As anti-Prop 8 Mormon, I can tell you that it’s not all easy peasy to be open about such a view. But as you say, that’s another issue entirely.

    I call Glenn Beck a hate-mongerer, not because of this recent “social-justice” tirade, but because that’s how I refer to him and all his fellow conservative talk-show constituents. Mormon or not, they bug, take things out of context, insight fear, and demonize perfectly good words like “progress.” That’s my opinion and you are welcome to disagree with me. I’m just saying.

    And while you may not know a single Mormon who takes credit for Glenn Beck, I bet you can list a hundred who claim him. You know, take pride in the fact that he’s Mormon, too. Kind of like we do to Gladys Knight and Harry Reid (kidding, only kidding). But you know what I mean, right?

    • Craig

      Lacy,

      So what do you call the liberal hosts and bloggers who “bug, take things out of context, insight fear, a demonize perfectly good words” like “traditional” or “conservative?” That door swings both ways. Besides, while it is impossible to determine over the radio, Glenn does research his points thoroughly and encourages his audience to do the same. Just look at the footnotes in one of his books. He never advocates that people simply take him at his word. He wants them to have a determined quest for the truth. If you come to a different conclusion than he does, he (and I) respect that. He doesn’t want anyone to simply believe what they hear on the radio. Maybe that is why he has such a large following and is so successful. Simply labeling him as a hate-mongerer because you disagree with his philosophy reveals more about you than him.

  16. Brent

    I came to this post after reading a quote from another blog. Specifically, the quote that says “49% of Mormons polled by the Pew Foundation recently said the government should do more for the needy”.

    I do not take any poll too seriously. Poll’s are so incredibly easy to skew by the wording and the lack of wording by the writers of the poll.

    However, if this is true, then I have reason to believe that 49% of Mormons are not in tune with their own religion.

    There is no doctrine at all that I can think of within the Mormon faith that promotes any sort of government charity, redistribution of wealth through the government, socialism, or whatever you want to call it. Either through scripture or through modern prophets.

    Like a previous commenter pointed out, King Benjamin’s comments didn’t apply at all to government charity programs.

    If true, that poll makes me sad. There is nothing more destructive to a free nation, and in turn, the citizen’s liberty, and in turn to the fulfilling of the plan of salvation in those individuals’ lives, then to want the government to have more authority to be the agent of “social justice”.

  17. sbenard

    I am offended that you are so unaware of what Glenn Beck has actually said that you would allowed yourself to be exploited into misrepresenting him. I am also incensed that you would imply that the LDS Church would ever endorse the concept of compulsory “wealth redistribution”. The United Order was NEVER compulsory as you have implied! This implication is literally heretical misrepresentation at its core!

    There was a superb talk given by Marion G. Romney, an LDS apostle and member of the First Presidency of the Church, on this topic. He originally gave the talk at BYU, and he stated at that time that the First Presidency asked him to give the talk on that subject. They later asked him to give the same talk in General Conference. He distinguished between the United Order and the concept of “redistribution of wealth”. The United Order is from God and is always voluntary. “Redistribution of Wealth” is from the opposing force and is the Devil’s counterfeit for the United Order! It is compulsory at the point of a government gun! The two are neither comparable nor compatible!

    Progressivism is a subject I have studied exhaustively over the past year. It is NOT compatible with the US Constitution, personal liberty, or the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is inspired by that being who seeks to destroy the freedom of all nations and peoples — Satan himself!

    I have done an exhaustive search of all LDS scripture and the preachings of all modern LDS prophets. There isn’t a single instance of them teaching the concept of compulsory charity. The term “social justice” NEVER appears in any LDS scripture! Not once! One prophet, in fact, stated that compulsory charity isn’t “charity” at all!

    If you genuinely believe in this concept of “social justice”, then your philosophy is NOT harmonious with LDS doctrine. The whole idea that “the end justifies the means” came from Satan in the pre-mortal world who wanted to save EVERYONE — but at the cost of freedom. Sound familiar? It should. It describes Obamacare perfectly. And it has the same inspiration source!

    Here is the ONLY quote by any prophet — ancient or modern — using the term “social justice”. Note that he was NOT deceived into thinking of it positively. He describes it in much the same way as Glenn Beck!

    “In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous riots of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice, equality, reform. patriotism, social welfare.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, April 1963, Third Day-Morning Meeting, p.112

    I witness to you that those who, in this life, sacrifice their or their fellow citizens’ freedom in the name of “social justice” and “redistribution of wealth” will be held accountable for that sin just as surely as those who were willing to do it in their first estates.

    It surprises me how many, even among the LDS faith, are blinded and deceived by the forces seeking to take away their freedom. It was not Satan, but God, who revealed the trickery behind this tactic in that pre-earth realm. Satan’s servants here don’t reveal that price either. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, however, since 1/3 of God’s children were so eager to do give up freedom for security in the pre-mortal world even with the certain knowledge that they had their!

    Please! Let us not be deceived into making that error here, either!

  18. Theresa

    Answer to some commenters, in particular sbenard

    Wow. This is immensely interesting.
    Growing up a non-member in Sweden, I had rightwing inclinations. Becoming a member, the gospel affected my political views and I turned more left wing. On a trip to Utah, I encountered my first conservative member, and was amazed at what he said – Utah being manily conservative – I found that the conservative politics did not agree with my view of the gospel at all. (charity, sharing, etc etc)

    It is not until NOW, after a few years in Canada, many years later that I am starting to understand it.
    So, is it all a matter of free will vs being forced to do something?

    There is a (or several) problem in all this, and the reason to why I think politics cannot be mixed with religious views (unless we live in a theocracy, i.e. the millennium).

    All people are not members.
    For most people, selfishness and greed is a rule rather than exception.
    (as for companies – as far as I see it capitalism wouldn’t work without these two characteristics)
    Given the choice, most people will NOT charitably share their wealth – because there is always someone richer who should be doing it.

    Ergo, the result is a devision of wealth, to such a degree that there will be incredibly poor people and incredibly wealthy people. Get an education! Well, last I checked most american universities had atrocious fees. (the canadian as well. Dare I mention that the Swedish ones are free?). This is just one of MANY problems I have noticed. (this is not to say that Sweden is a problem free country – absolutely not. But at least everyone is free to get an education.)

    The result of freedom is thus poverty, which I would call lack of freedom for those involved with it, due to lack of chances (being born in it. This can all too well be seen with first nation people in canada). Am I wrong?

    Taxes to me, are a payment for being part of the society we live in. Without those taxes, scientific research would not be done, creating all the amenities you so joyfully use. Not to mention medical research, etc etc. Taxes are fantastically fair, just like tithing, in that you are taxed percentage wise. A social system where the poorer people are sustained enough to get a CHANCE to do something is NOT what I call a breach of freedom. It doesn’t make them rich. But it brings them out of the gutter.
    The technical advances are all distributed fairly – even those who don’t have brains to think them up (do you *really* know how a ell phone works?) are allowed to own and use one (ok they have to buy it, and pay dearly for it as well in northamerica, but still). Is my example too far-fetched?

    As for the free will problem – that is easily solved by choosing to want higher taxes ;) not so? oh darn… Well I guess there is a reason to why conservatives are so…darn conservative. ;)

    As for health care (since it was mentioned in the last comment): A friend of mine tells about a relative of his who is a war veteran:
    great-uncle dutifully paid his health insurance for 50 years working for the school district in Orange county California, he’s diabetic. First heart attack – okay, second heart attack – paid for, but he was dropped by his insurer because of being high risk after that. Once you are dropped, no one will take you on – has no insurance. Third heart attack – $200,000 bill, they took his home of 40 years to pay for it. He now lives in a trailer park and gets his medical attention through the VA because he is a war veteran… he waits months to see a doctor and when he was last in the hospital (VA), he shared a room with 8 other people, most of whom were homeless.

    This is just an example of many…
    Now tell me: WHY wouldn’t what is supposedly the worlds most expensive and ineffective health care system need a make over? (Those two characteristics should not be following a linear agreement at all…)

    Anyways, I don’t want to discuss health care. What I want is to *understand* – why so many people mix religion with politics. Can you really? Wouldn’t it require all people to be religious first? And until that happens, why shouldn’t some of that “society-fee” that brings you so much comfortable things not be shared with the rest of society to let them have a chance as well.
    As much as you give personally, you can never help the entire poor population.
    I agree – giving is important. It makes you feel better, it teaches you Christlike attributes. But, a little bit higher taxes (or even a lot) does not rob you of the privilege to keep being charitable. You still need to. There’s an entire world out there that needs your help.
    And in the long run, it might even create more charitable people…

  19. Lex

    I’ll believe that Mormonism is a vehicle of agency and free will just as soon as the LDS Church stops trying to use government to prevent non-Mormon gay people from marrying.

    As for some of the other commenters, lemme get this straight: It’s OK to keep government from taking a little off your top to keep people from starving … AND it’s OK for government to keep gay people from marrying. So it’s not excessive or intrusive government you object to, it’s that your position is, “I’ve got mine; f— you.”

    Just so we’re clear.

    • Monica

      Lex, I agree with most of that. Our faith has a clear outlook on homosexuality that is not unlike other Christian religions and many of those stood beside members of the LDS faith. I’m LDS and I am pro-love, pro-charity, and pro-choice. The church didn’t donate money to Prop 8 and we weren’t REQUIRED to vote either way. We were reminded of our stance, but no one asked me how I voted and I wouldn’t be penalized for voting “yes”. I will never understand how being a Republican and a Mormon go hand in hand for the reasons you just said. We live in a free country and we have free agency. Why would we NOT want to help our fellow countrymen? All of this teaparty nonsense is racism. No President has been treated with this blatant disrespect before now. My children have heard more frightening hatred spewed at school and church than you can even imagine. Nothing Glenn Beck says is okay with me and I’ve been a member my entire life. It’s pure ignorance.
      And for the Beck-ites here: Where would our church be if not for the socialism that prevailed in the early days of the church?? Say what you want but our faith IS socialist, that’s what Bishop’s storehouses are all about. It’s Republicans that have labeled our President as a socialist, he’s far more honorable and righteous than 75% of fellow members than I know and have the family values that it taught from the pulpit. Glenn Beck is a racist fearmonger. He’s out of line and has been for quite sometime (Oooo remember the poison wine with Pelosi skit on his show?? Yeah we are all about murder and alcohol. That’s just one example of many).

      • Monica

        I really need to proofread my rants! I MEANT:
        He’s far more honorable and righteous than 75% of fellow members that I know and has the family values that is taught from the pulpit.

      • Lex

        Well, the church itself didn’t donate, but it encouraged its members to donate “time and means,” and LDS members gave an estimated $20M in response. Why does the church think that it’s OK to arrogate unto itself that which it would deny others, and how does it reconcile that stance with Jesus’ Second Great Commandment?

      • Sharon Haynie

        Thank you for your comments, I was beginning to think that I was the only member of the Church that feels this way about Glenn Beck. I have heard more hate coming from the mouths of fellow ward members since President Obama was elected than ever before. Primary children singing “I am a Child of God” one minute, then saying that “Obama should die” the next. I feel that most of the members who follow Glenn Beck and repeat his “message” read the scriptures the same way-no searching, no pondering, no praying. As a whole, we are a pretty uninformed lot. We need to put in more effort on the issues, and stop saying ” Well, my brother said that he heard that Bro. So-and so said that at his Stake conference he heard that Elder Such-and such”said this… so it must be true.

      • hillplus

        Where is my laugh out loud emoticon when I need it??!! My favorite line:
        No president has been treated with such disrespect before now.
        You’re kidding me, right ….right?

        Just google the words Bush and Hitler together. ;)

        Guess what, conservatives are more generous than liberals. That’s a fact. The tea party is not racist as a rule, it’s a ridiculous statement not based in fact. I am not a member of the tea party, btw.

        How would you know that the president is honorable, we know virtually NOTHING about him? His records are all sealed.

        Oh, and your pro choice stance…. totally in harmony with the doctrines…NOT!!

      • Al A

        @Hill+billy,
        Have you ever argued anything before?
        Let me restate some of your rebuttal and state the flaws in your argument:
        H+: “No president has been treated with such disrespect before now.
        You’re kidding me, right ….right?”
        Google Bush + Hitler – it is true that Bush may have been equated to Hitler where have you been hiding these past 8 years? We went to war with Iraq on a report that is false and WE had no exit plan. NONE. It was as if we could occupy Iraq and expect that we are going to be welcomed forever there.
        The current administration is guilty of no such offense and yet I have read and heard him be called the N word; compared to a monkey; his life threatened, just because he is of African origin; his birth certificate challenged, an on air celebrity wishing that the president fails, etc. etc. So yea, in many respects this president has been disrespected more than any other.

        “Guess what, conservatives are more generous than liberals. That’s a fact. The tea party is not racist as a rule, it’s a ridiculous statement not based in fact. I am not a member of the tea party, btw. ”
        Without any references… I would not take anything you state fact. And regarding the tea party: I’d have to agree with you that they may not all or most may not be racist but they surely have to distance themselves and police themselves from those who are, and there are more than enough proof that some Tea Party members, including former leader who are racists.

        “How would you know that the president is honorable, we know virtually NOTHING about him? His records are all sealed.”
        Well in that case… NO US PRESIDENT IS HONORABLE. But we all know that this president has not disgraced this country and for many of us, he seems like he has good intentions albeit, he may not have done what many of us want but not because he lacks good character.

        “Oh, and your pro choice stance…. totally in harmony with the doctrines…NOT!!”
        On the other hand, supporting proposition 8 and spending tithe money on it as a religious organization with a political statement makes the tithe feels like tax.

        That’s ALL FOLKS!

      • hillplus

        AL A

        Here ya go:
        Notice that the top states for generosity are red states. ;)

        http://www.catalogueforphilanthropy.org/cfp/db/generosity.php?year=2005

        Rice schools Couric on Iraq.

        Records for those who were seeking to president have been available. Don’t you remember hearing about Bush’s dismal school record, but that it was better than Kerry’s? McCain finished at the bottom of his class, we know that as well. If Obama has nothing to hide, why not release these things?

        I’d like to see proof that he was called the N word by more than a few nutters.

        I disagree that he has not disgraced this country. Every time he goes overseas and bows to foreign leaders, every time he apologizes for our ‘evil’ country, he disgraces the office of president and our country. There is no country more generous than ours.

    • madigan

      exactly. thank you.

  20. strongly opposes when Rev. Wright and other leaders use ’social justice’ as a euphemism for their real intention — redistribution of wealth.”
    —————
    ……specially if it goes to Black people that Rev. Wright supports because Mormons hate Black people. It’s in their original doctrine and was only modified in very recent history when public sentiment was pressuring them to turn down the hate.

    In private, like the Jim Crow, post-civil war KKK leader/town sheriff, he’s their hero.

    http://thetimchannel.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/beck-and-social-justice/

    Enjoy.

  21. Thanks for your thoughts . I’ve seen them posted everywhere and am glad to find your blog! I am a big supporter of Jim Wallis (and NOT a Glenn Beck fan) and so hearing him attacked as he was was difficult- it was like watching a friend be attacked.

    I have many Mormon friends and know that what Glenn said was in no way representative of Mormon teachings. So I agree that Mormons shouldn’t have to apologize for Glenn or correct him. However, I know many people in my circle are NOT familiar with Mormonism and do question it after hearing Glenn, so I’m glad to read what you wrote!
    :)

  22. Lawrence

    Appreciate the postings from Craig, DOuglas, Kate, Brian, etc. I have been involved in studying issues with a church perspective for over 35 years. I am puzzled by the thinking of some LDS. I am a convert and had no inkling that some of the liberal and on occasion some of the extreme conservative thought would be considered more important than “stand for truth and righteousness”. As a member in the world, to me after all is “said and done” that is the sum total of it all. That is what Christ expects of me. In the final analysis…when confronted with an issue I try to use that as a measuring stick….not some political or idealogical thought. But I then remember that there is agency and some members buy into Satan’s philosophies….which I am reminded off when I attend the place we have that helps us put things in perspective.

  23. You have a terrific blog. Thank you for answering Mr. Beck. Those of us who know Mormans and deeply respect them know how limited Mr. Beck is in his vision.

  24. John

    Either Sister Brooks here is guilty of exactly what she accuses Glenn Beck of -generating controversy- or there is a lack of understanding of the difference between an inspired church welfare program directed by revelation, and an involuntary distribution of wealth managed by a very uninspired government. Beck is obviously refering to the latter…lets not pretend otherwise.

  25. Al A

    Reading some of the comments by Glenn Beck followers, I am glad that I am no longer a Mormon. But based on the deception and lies that Beck and Fox news has spread, neither should he. Beck should be ex-communicated.

    Read the Bible!!! If any of you truly has a Christian heart, then you should know that a government willing to help those who are in need is a government who is following the Gospel. The FACT, according to what’s written in the Bible, is that everyone who had wished to follow Jesus …
    HE ALWAYS asked them to give up their wealth.
    From Luke 18:22:
    “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, FOLLOW ME.”

    If that’s not the absolute form of taxation, I do not know what is! To me that says, “Give away ALL that you have worked for to the less opportuned; and you will have eternal riches; and you shall be a servant of the Lord.

    More from the foreword on Psalm 49, from the Bible -King James Version as Published by LDS with Topical Guide – “Men cannot be ransomed or redeemed by wealth–God alone can redeem a soul from the grave– The glory of a rich man ceases with his death.”

    If you are going to be truly judged by the work you have done in the spirit world, here on earth and will do in the after life, you should be more giving toward your fellow creatures not just humans but all things around you. I will keep saying this until my death bed, if I were to earn a million of dollars I wouldn’t mind being taxed 90% of it if I knew that the money were being spent wisely for the greater good, comfort, overall well being of ALL living things. THE TRUTH: historically, when a Republican President has been in office, the US Taxes to GDP ratio goes up as well as the Deficit to GDP ratio. What does that tell us? The Republican economic policies are not effective because they spend as little money as possible on the thing that matters the most… taking care of its most valuable asset – the common United States citizen.

    Yet most of the comments here are trying to justify their greed or showing their ignorance by quoting the so called modern prophets. Please get over yourselves. A few prophets also advocated segregation and that people of “color” should never hold the priesthood… do any of you want to quote that? I DO NOT think so. Yet many of you readily quote these prophets to drive home your worthless opinions. Some of you are even proud of Glenn Beck’s earthly accomplishments. I hope some of you know him and have him invite me to debate him on ANY subject. I will promise you a show that will expose him for what he truly is… an uneducated liar.

    I will leave you with this from Luke 6:24 that is if you REALLY believe in Jesus:
    “Woe unto you that are rich for ye have received your consolation.”

    • hillplus

      I think the saying Don’t let the door hit ya…. fits nicely here.

      Charity IS NOT taxation. Everything the government touches turns to poo. Why would you or anyone want to give them more power?
      Nothing in scripture says that we should give our money to the gvnt.

      • Al A

        Hill+billy: “Charity IS NOT taxation”
        You missed the point: I never said charity is taxation; but to fully follow Christ, He will tax you… “Give away ALL that you have worked for to the less opportuned” is not charity, it is a form of taxation because He says ALL that you have worked for … not a percentage, not tithe- ALL! When you have to give up everything that is taxation of the worst kind! Are any of you willing to do that? Have any of you done it? NOPE not even your brother Beck. Don’t let the Bible hit you if you still believe you’ll have a chance to meet Christ if you don’t give up EVERYTHING! That’s just plain and simple King James BIBLE words… “GIVE AWAY ALL” Did I even say that the government should have it? I said, “if I were to earn a million of dollars I wouldn’t mind being taxed 90% of it if I knew that the money were being spent wisely for the greater good, comfort, overall well being of ALL living things.” That is, I don’t mind giving it to charity and I do put my money where my mouth is, I’ve given and given regardless of the fact whether your God has given anything back to my sacrifices. If I were taxed for 90% then again, I would have to have some bigger say how they spend that, as I’m sure the richest 5% of Americans already do, otherwise you couldn’t have bought to the Republican and Tea Party talking poinst about getting taxed less = more jobs; because that’s just total non-sense if you truly know economics… Bush administration taxed less and more jobs went over seas than were created in the US, that’s a fact. There are wider corporate profit margins than ever and most of that profit stays out of the US economy. The longer this simple leak from the economic equation gets overlooked the more people in the US will go into debt. The more that people have to rely on debt to survive, the more the US will go into deeper recession or depression because they simply could not spend anymore as US lose jobs to over populated countries like China, India, etc. And the people in China are earning much less than the people in the US but the Chinese Government is the one one that is growing because it is collecting taxes from the international and domestic businesses and its people.
        So sure let your ignorance eventually ruin this great country by thinking that less taxation is good. In the meanwhile, the Chinese government will surpass the US in Military/Arms spending, overall social development (eventually), and education.

  26. Mallory

    I don’t think it’s ungodly or unchristian to say “I think charities, churches and people in general should help the less fortunate voluntarily instead of the government”, when the person saying it is actually acting on it. And not just for a tax deduction:) If someone is using that spiel and not acting on it, they might as well say “Well, I’m not going to stop someone else from giving a crap about the less fortunate, just don’t expect ME to.”

    And even if person #1 means well and speaks with a caring heart, they are incredibly naive if they think churches and private charities would provide enough for all of the less fortunate that all social safety net programs could be wiped out.

    • Dave

      Well, just call me ‘naive’, but private charity could do and used to do all of the things you say it can’t. A major problem in America is the “government entitlement” mentality. The more the government steps in to “help”, only robs those people of their freedom and increases the numbers of those who will become dependent (“free lunch syndrome”).

  27. Dave

    As a fundamentalist Baptist I know little of the Book of Mormon, but the Holy Bible does not say, “Jesus said, give your possessions and money to the drunks, the blasphemers, the lazy, or I’ll have you thrown in jail”.
    His message was “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” It was to be of your own free will in order to be like Him.
    That’s Brother Beck’s point. He seems like a lousy Mormon. I’m sure he and his message would be more at home in a church full of sinners like us.

    • Al A

      @Dave If that is your interpretation, of “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me,” then your presumption is that the poor are inherently drunk, blasphemers and lazy. Nowhere in the bible did Jesus ever equate the poor with being drunk, blasphemers or lazy. That passage just stated “the poor” and no interpretation was given.

  28. Beck isn’t against charity — far from it — according to what he has said several times, he donates generously to charities that he believes do a good job. What he is against is FORCING people to give their money and time to charities of the government’s choosing. The problem is semantics. Beck looked at the origins of the term, social justice, and he defines it as socialism in which the government uses its powers of confiscation and enforcement to take from one citizen to give to another. If you define social justice differently, fine — just don’t accuse Beck of opposing something that he does not. It’s interesting to note that agency is one of the first principles of the LDS gospel chronologically. It was taught in the pre-existence. In Abraham 3 we learn that Satan’s plan was to force people to do good, while Christ’s plan was to allow them to choose their actions and then to provide a way for them to repent of bad decisions. Satan’s plan was rejected. Satan was for social justice for all. Jesus was for freedom. A true Christian, therefore, would be opposed to tithing if it were non-voluntary. Jesus taught that alms are meaningless when given in the public eye. How much more meaningless are “alms” that are confiscated at the point of a gun or by the threat of prison or huge fines?

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