When Glenn Beck first arrived on the national scene a few years ago, I, along with many Latter-day Saints cheered as a member of our Church gained national prominence and might shine a little positive light on our faith. Little did I know, as he gained more national attention with a radio and TV show, he would also go stark raving mad in the process.
I bought the Glenn Beck conversion story DVD and frankly I was quite impressed. It seemed a sincere, heart-felt conversion from a pretty wretched life. I’m truly glad he found the Church has helped him and his family so much.
Then along comes the election of Barack Obama and with it, went the sanity of Mr. Beck.
Not only does he call the President a Racist (for which he later apologized, sort of), a Marxist and a socialist, but also makes fun of his wife, Michelle and her campaign to help our kids eat healthier.
While he is ranting and raving about the Obama administration, he is aligning himself with Sarah Palin and the so-called Tea Party Movement. The funny thing about the Tea Party movement is that it totally misrepresents what the original Boston Tea Party was all about. The Boston Tea Party was not so much a protest about government and taxes as it was about “Taxation without Representation.” That is, paying taxes and getting nothing in return. The modern Tea Party Movement is actually about the opposite, No Taxation and still all the services and representation they have to come to deserve. In other words, they don’t want to pay for roads, police and fire protection, the military , schools, parks, etc. and especially, social programs which lend help to those in need. These folks are clearly against the re-distribution of wealth unless of course, it goes back to them.
But, I digress.
One of the strangest things about Glenn Beck is his use of mid-1800s Mormon feelings about the US Government and in particular, an obscure so-called Mormon prophesy, to scare the country. The Prophesy, known in church circles as the “White Horse Prophesy” declares that the Constitution (of the United States) will be hanging by a thread and the Elders of Israel (Translation: LDS Church members) will rescue it. This Prophesy is attributed to Joseph Smith, but no proof exists that he actually said it. However, he is quoted as saying something very similar by a number of people including:
“in 1871 Eliza R. Snow said:
“I heard the prophet say, ‘The time will come when the government of these United States will be so nearly overthrown through its corruption, that the Constitution will hang as it were by a single hair, and the Latter-day Saints—the Elders of Israel—will step forward to its rescue and save it.'” (Journal History of the Church.24 July 1871;)
Elder Parley P. Pratt, quoted as saying the following in 1841 regarding the United States government:
“The government is fallen and needs redeeming. It is guilty of Blood and cannot stand as it now is but will come so near desolation as to hang as it were by a single hair!!!!!” (George A. Smith Papers, LDS Church Archives, 21 January 1841)
On July 4, 1854, President Brigham Young said:
“Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, ‘The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.’ It will be so.” (Journal of Discourses, 7:15.)
President Young spoke again of a future threat to the constitutional government of the United States:
“Brethren and sisters, our friends wish to know our feelings towards the Government. I answer, they are first-rate, and we will prove it too, as you will see if you only live long enough, for that we shall live to prove it is certain; and when the Constitution of the United States hangs, as it were, upon a single thread, they will have to call for the ‘Mormon’ Elders to save it from utter destruction; and they will step forth and do it.” (JD, 2:182;.)
And then finally, Elder Orson Hyde recalled a slightly different wording of Joseph Smith’s alleged statement regarding the Constitution than did some of his contemporaries:
“It is said that brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution should be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he said something like this—that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.
The question is whether it will be saved at all, or not. I do not know that it matters to us whether it is or not: the Lord will provide for and take care of his people, if we do every duty, and fear and honour him, and keep his commandments; and he will not leave us without a Constitution. (JD, 6:152.)” All quotes found in Hoyt W. Brewster, “Behold, I Come Quickly: The Last Days and Beyond “ 1994, Deseret book Company
So, According to an article by Dana Milbank, Political Reporter for the Washington Post, Beck is using this quote, “The constitution is hanging by a thread” in many different ways and in a number of different venues. And he is using it as though it were his own.
So, what are we to make of Mr. Beck and the White Horse Prophesy. He is an alarmist, a provocateur, and most of all, a showman. He does this for attention, ratings and to enrich himself. And, of course, like any good self-promoter, he has to be persecuted and afflicted, first it was his eyes and now, his hands and feet. According to him, his physical wounds ( in his hands and feet?, no allusion there) are caused by his spiritual wounds. What’s next, bleeding from every pore?
He is by some, viewed as a religious leader rather than a talk show host. However a recent poll, less than 1 in 5 support Beck as a religious leader. As much as he invokes the name of the Lord in his presentations. His LDS faith clearly hampers his ability to lead a religious movement, according to the poll analysis.
But that didn’t stop one pundit, Bob Cesca, from calling him a “multimillionaire celebrity televangelist.”
I realize that some in and out of our faith like and admire Glenn Beck and what he seems to stand for. I welcome your comments, but I, for one cannot be counted among you.