If Glenn Beck followed his own instructions, he’d be an ex-Mormon

Well known LDS political pundit Glenn Beck recently told his radio listeners that they should leave churches with the words “social justice” or “economic justice” on their websites:

I beg you, look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes!”

This overheated rhetoric has already drawn fire from Catholics and Protestants. But it’s not just Protestants and Catholics who are in trouble. In fact, if Glenn followed his own instructions, he’d be an ex-Mormon. Let’s try it out, shall we?

Step one: Look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. This is easily enough accomplished with the handy search function at LDS.org.

Among the results is this 1986 Ensign article by Elder James E. Faust of the Quorum of the Twelve. It very clearly contains the words economic justice — and they are described in a good way, by an apostle — and it is indeed on the church’s website:

It is unfortunate that it is taking so long to bring full economic justice to women. The feminization of poverty is both real and tragic. That is why you should work very hard to prepare for your future by gaining some marketable skills.

Step two, of course, is If you find it, run as fast as you can.

The end result is very clear: Any LDS church members who decide to follow Glenn Beck’s (very clear) instructions on this topic, will leave the church.

File as exhibit 200 (or is it 2000?) in the “be careful with your overheated rhetoric” file.

161 comments for “If Glenn Beck followed his own instructions, he’d be an ex-Mormon

  1. March 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Glenn Beck is getting harder and harder to defend, but he still has a few (occasional) good things to say.


    Personally, I think commentators should stay away from criticizing other religions as much as possible.

  2. John Taber
    March 9, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Brother Beck is said to have once driven through a snowstorm for him and Sister Beck to volunteer at a bishop’s storehouse. (We used to be in adjacent stakes.) Somehow, I can believe that he’d do that. And I don’t think he thought this statement through.

  3. Brad Dennis
    March 9, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Loved the bit on Beck. Nailed yet again!!

    Geoff B, why do you feel that you need to defend Beck’s ideas? If I’m ever asked about him, I just come out and say that I think his ideas are not only severely misguided, but off the chart insane, and that they really do nothing to help America. He may be a really good person and do really serviceable things, I just wish he would stop talking.

  4. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I wonder if his bishop and stake president know that he is advocating Mormons leave the LDS church…

  5. Robert
    March 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Glen Beck is a showman who happens to use politics as his stage. He may or may not believe anything he says. It’s called ENTERTAINMENT. Too bad he makes believe it’s real but if he didn’t he wouldn’t have viewers because there are much better entertainers out there.

  6. March 9, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    You don’t have to look further than the Church Handbook of Instructions — in the next edition of which, the familiar three-fold mission of the Church will become the Four Purposes of the Church. And the Fourth? Caring for the Poor and Needy.


  7. ad
    March 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Glenn Beck is not only a loonie, he’s a dangerous man. Here we have a man with a national audience who has plainly and directly encouraged states to secede, called liberals and progressives nazis and communists, subtly and not so subtly encouraged violence using fear and misinformation and has distorted history shamelessly.

    I mean, seriously, a man who thinks social and economic justice is some sort of evil (has he read the new testament at all!?) and mocks and says he is against volunteerism, compares Sarah Palin to the founding fathers, and thinks ACORN is out to kill him can only be one thing: seriously demented. I really don’t understand how anyone could defend this man, his words are filled with hatred and fear-mongering. The man is doing damage to America and people love him. I say it again, the man is dangerous.

  8. nasamomdele
    March 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Faust was such a Lib.

    Besides, the Book of Mormon, nay, the Gospel, are absolutely clear in taking it further- promoting mercy over justice.

  9. jsg
    March 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    ad, I agree that Beck can be frustrating to listen to (he says many silly things), but I’ve never thought of him as dangerous. His central mantra seems to be that the government is over-spending. He has contributed a lot to bringing this issue to the fore, even as congress attempts to push through some very expensive policies, policies that claim the virtues of social and economic justice. I don’t know where he was coming from on his rant against church websites. Was he concerned about government/church collusion in social policies? I don’t know, but I don’t think any of his listeners decided he was telling them to quit giving to the poor and needy.

  10. March 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Sheesh, all of my readers are communists too. (Grin)

  11. dave
    March 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    he’s not saying anything at all about helping the poor and the needy. i’m not a beck-head (and i’m not just saying that) but i think it’s important to at least refrain from completely misstating his argument (if it’s an argument at all).

    he’s saying that the term “social justice” is a “code” of a kind that *doesn’t* really mean anything related to helping the needy. in fact what it refers to, he says, is gay rights, abortion rights, redistribution of wealth, progressive taxation, universal health care and other agendas of the left (generically speaking).

    Read the top paragraphs on the wikipedia page for “social justice” and you’ll see that he’s not talking crazy talk. the concept is in fact generally associated with The Left.

  12. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    dave conveniently leaves out “women’s rights” in his list, because of course our prophets have spoken out for women’s rights in the past, thus putting them on Cleric Beck’s list.

  13. Cameron Nielsen
    March 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    The difference being that President Faust encourages individual action to overcome hurdles, while the ‘social justice’ Beck fears is that of political organizations.

  14. March 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Perhaps Brother Beck needs to reread his B of M.

    (Alma 1:27-28,30) “And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
    And thus they did establish the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions….
    And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.”

    Mosiah 4:16 “And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
    17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
    19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?”

  15. Chris Henrichsen
    March 9, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Well, if Glenn Beck and Wikipedia agree it must be true.

    Social justice isn”t code word for rights and the redistribution of wealth, it is openly about rights and the redistribution of wealth. Of this, I am proud.

  16. dave
    March 9, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Dan: I honestly don’t have any idea what that’s supposed to mean. I didn’t “conveniently” do anything – I was writing off the top of my head, and my only goal was to explain to Silius Grok and others that Beck is not saying “don’t help the poor”. His position is that the words “social justice” have very specific political meaning. Just look at wikipedia, as flawed as it may be, to see that this isn’t a crazy statement.

    Now – it *is* crazy to suggest that a person should leave their church if those words are ever used in any way! This is nuts for at least two reasons: First, that is too big a decision to made on so little data, and second he is suggesting that the ideas that are suggested by the term “social justice” are outright evil. That’s nuts.

    Hope that clears up my original comment.

  17. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    that does, thank you. :)

  18. Brad Dennis
    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you ad (Comment #8). But I am honestly surprised at how many on this blog appear partial to Glenn Beck. I mean, I thought that this blog attracted a more liberal Mormon audience. Beck’s repeated record of distortions, hyperboles, and outrageous and incendiary rhetoric is well documented at mediamatters.org, which I encourage all to visit, especially those who are partial to Beck. I personally believe that he does all these antics knowingly, since he gets tons of attention and tons of money from Fox News and sponsors. I don’t know how genuine or sincere he actually is in his relentless attacks against Obama, democrats, and liberals, but many of his devotees believe him to be so. It could probably be strongly argued that he is successfully mainstreaming conspiracy theory, which couldn’t have anything other than a dangerous effect.

  19. mpb
    March 9, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Along these same lines, listening just this morning I heard he and his co-host Pat Grey (also a member of the Church) advocating that listeners not fill out part or all of the 2010 census.

    I chuckled since just yesterday our Bishop read the First Presidency which advocates just the opposite.

    Both your example and the census example are not really good indicators of faithfulness (nor should we really care too much), but I do think they are good indicators of grounded-ness.

  20. Manuel
    March 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    “I chuckled since just yesterday our Bishop read the First Presidency which advocates just the opposite.”

    You chuckled? Seriously?

    I take Glen Beck’s tirades of extremist trash talk, lies, and carefully crafted decisively and manipulatively distorted views that appeal to the least educated section of the population, as the very antithesis of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and anything truly Christian.

    I wouldn’t chuckle, I would be like: “there you go…”

    I pity people who listen to him for anything. I guess his followers/supporters can be compared to those of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. They both live in their parallel universe trying to distort and manipulate as much as they can for the sake of their pathologically demented agendas.

  21. Bryan in VA
    March 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    What is the value of playing “gotcha” with another member of the Church who happens to be a public figure?

  22. tyler
    March 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I believe there are LDS who would like to establish Zion, but forget that its voluntary. The social/economic justice Beck bemoans is sadly the government or power laden (i.e. Babylon) who would force justice.

    Here’s a good read on voluntarily consecrating all things social and economic. http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-200-j-l-l.asp

    Best to you all in discerning between truth and error.

  23. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    To pretend to not understand the difference between helping the poor and the “social justice” agendas of many churches is juvenile.

    To accuse Beck of being anti Catholic (as the article does) is shameful.

    To denigrate a very good man, and a brother in Christ, is shameful.

    Communism resulted in the butchering of 100 million people last century, but to too many the real evil is hyperbole in pointing out the dangers of communism. I hear the snickers, but I do not care. It needs to be said.

  24. Manuel
    March 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    “To denigrate a very good man, and a brother in Christ, is shameful.”

    In that case, no wrongdoing has been done here.

  25. Joe S.
    March 9, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Re: #22, “playing gotcha”? Please tell me you aren’t also a big Sarah Palin fan…

    Re: #24, if “communism resulted in the butchering of 100 million people last century,” then capitalism has already resulted in the butchering of 300,000 in Iraq in just a few short years.

    It’s a false dichotomy. “isms” don’t kill people, evil people kill people. “Communism” and “Capitalism” are systems of men, both are seriously flawed. We know the true order of things, right? We know how it was in the city of Enoch, in the Acts of the Apostles, in 4th Nephi, right?

  26. MikeInWeHo
    March 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Beck does seem a bit unhinged at times.

  27. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Manuel – Please share your intimate personal knowledge of Mr. Beck

    Joe S. – Believing that since both Capitalism and Communism are flawed we cannot judge one over the other is what led to 100 million dead.

  28. Chris Henrichsen
    March 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I think that Beck, and apparently many of hios defenders on this thread, should shy away from attacking complex concepts that they do not comprehend. Reading Wikipedia does not count as comprehension.

  29. March 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Arguably, “redistribution of wealth, progressive taxation, [and] universal health care” are exactly the sort of things that can help the needy.

  30. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Chris – well reasoned argument!

  31. March 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I would repeat what #12 Dave said: Beck is saying the terms “social justice” are code.

    Uh…duh?! Is this really that hard to pick apart? The Church does not advocate social justice in a political context (though Christ will someday reign over all government). Finding some talk by Faust which mentions economic rights for women as a good thing is hardly advocating politics, and as such that was quite the straw man.

    This kind of *baiting* is tiresome. More and more, every time I come to Times and Seasons I feel like I’m being jerked around by the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

  32. It's Not Me
    March 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I have never listened to Glenn Beck, though I know who he is.

    I’ve read the comments above and listened to the audio of the relevant message. From a simple-minded person, it seems fairly obvious Beck is not talking about caring for the poor and needy, but rather he’s talking about a political agenda. The material somebody found on the Church’s website doesn’t match what Beck’s talking about.

    Beck would not be an exMormon if he followed his own advice. It’s disingenuous to suggest that he would.

  33. kevinf
    March 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Robert # 6, you nailed it: He’s an entertainer. But I was drawn to this part of your comment:

    “Too bad he makes believe it’s real but if he didn’t he wouldn’t have viewers…”

    The problem is that many of his viewers DO believe him and think it’s real. And that is scary to me.

  34. Chris Henrichsen
    March 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm


    Just keeping it in terms you can understand.

  35. March 9, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Social Justice as Beck describes it covers a host of issues, some of which the church supports, others of which it may not, most of which appear to elicit no opinion from the church. While the church doesn’t advocate for social justice, it doesn’t advocate against it either (at least, not under those terms and possibly not under any terms). We’re all allowed to believe what we want on that front. If Brother Beck has encouraged people to leave their church if they find “social justice” or “economic justice” on their websites, then Brother Beck should leave the LDS church if he wishes to be consistent. I (believe it or not) don’t want him to leave, so I’m fine with him being inconsistent in this instance.

  36. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Chris – Oh, if only I could be as smart (and no doubt humble) as you!

  37. March 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    If there’s an argument in there aside from just random spite toward Chris, I’d like to hear it.

  38. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    John C.

    I would have liked to posit an agrument for Chris, but since his position is nothing more than “you are stupid”, I am unsure where to start. Would me saying “I am not” be more satisfying to you?

  39. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    March 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Hey, Brigham Young built the Social Hall in Salt lake, so he must have been favor of “Social”, right? And who could have opposed “Justice”? So surely Mormons should be in favor of “Social Justice”!

    Unfortunately, terms like “social justice” and “economic justice” have been taken over by people with a political agenda who want government to take income from people who earn it and give it to people who “deserve it” but didn’t get it.

    That is pretty clearly President Obama’s objective in the health care bill. When he spoke to a group of rabbis and to another group of clergymen, he told them that Americans are so wealthy [apparently he hasn’t noticed we are in the “worst recession since the 1930s”] that they are committing a sin if they don’t share their “wealth” with those who don’t have it, in the form of health insurance redistributed by the government through taxes on those who are already paying for health insurance, to make them pay for insurance for those who aren’t getting it through their employment or who don’t choose to buy it.

    It’s nice to quote the Book of Mormon about sharing economic burdens and assets, but those are references to members of the Church of Christ, not residents of the United States, and the sharing was a voluntary action, not one mandated by a government official who will forcibly confiscate your property and put you in jail if you don’t “share” to the extent he wants you to. When I care for members of my extended family, personally assist my neighbors, give fast offerings, or work on a welfare project, I am fulfilling the teachings of scripture. When I am taxed under threat of jail time if I don’t fork over the money, I am accruing no moral merit whatsoever.

    I took a look at the articles from the Ensign that were cited at the top of this string. President Faust mentioned “economic justice for women” as a description for the disparity in earning power between men and women, even in the same line of work. As an attorney, he was making an observation about his own profession as well as others. But his article, actually a speech to women, was about the fact that there are things of greater importance to women than just income, and that it is worth the sacrifice of a certain amount of progress in a career to obtain the other opportunities women can have as wives, mothers and sisters in Zion. To many people in 2010, that 1985 talk would come across as reactionary rather than “progressive”, since he is not advocating for making up the gender gap in pay comparability through government legislation and enforcement litigation, but rather to keep the whole thing in perspective.

    President Faust gave another talk in which he used the term “economic justice”. In a talk in which he encouraged the Saints to recognize that Satan wants us to go along with the world rather than go against the grain and the flow of society, President Faust said:

    “I wonder how much we offend Satan if the proclamation of our faith is limited only to the great humanitarian work this church does throughout the world, marvelous as these activities are. When we preach the gospel of social justice, no doubt the devil is not troubled. But I believe the devil is terribly offended when we boldly declare by personal testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he saw the Father and the Son.”

    So President Faust was depicting “social justice” as equivalent to the voluntary humanitarian aid the Church gives around the world, and he uses the term “social justice” to describe something that does NOT offend Satan, that does NOT strongly oppose Satan’s ability to lead men “carefully down to hell.”

    President Faust talks at length about the unpopularity of the Church’s opposition to homosexual marriage, a notion that is at the forefront of some people’s “social justice” agendas.

    He also notes how Mother Theresa was lauded for her own humanitarian work among the poor, but that many people were offended when she spoke out against abortion that would be the world’s way of alleviating poverty.

    It is ironic that another cited Ensign article concerns the award to the Tabernacle Choir of the Mother Theresa Award, which is given for accomplishments “in the fields of religion, social justice, and the arts”.

    Another citation of “social justice” is a direct quote from a seminar of a statement by an Islamic professor speaking about the message of the Quran.

    Another Ensign article concerns the Old Testament and the fact that it was radically different from the legal and social mores of its contemporary societies, including the delcarations of prophets about “social justice”. Of course, ancient Israel was in many ways a theocracy, not a democracy, and the primary enforcement of the “social justice” called for by the prophets was through preaching and exhortation, not coercion by the high priest, the judges or later the king.

    The aspect of the LDS Church efforts to help the poor and needy, those struck by earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis, is one of voluntary sacrifice, NOT of demanding that government use its powers of taxation and punishment to collect aid for the needy. The element of coercion, especially coercion to force people to “do good”, is part of Satan’s plan, which President Faust clearly denounced.

    In short, none of the articles cited in this blog post say that the LDS Church endorses the “social justice” or “economic justice” agenda of the Obama Administration, and they are a far cry from anything preached by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright or his less radical colleagues in the United Church of Christ and similar Mainline Protestant churches that have adopted as part of their official mission radical, government led social change that involves transferring wealth from the self-sufficient to the poor and embracing same-sex marriage (e.g. the Episcopalians).

    I conclude that the main post of this blog really misrepresents the LDS church position on “social justice” and “economic justice” as those terms are used by the churches that carry it on their banners and proclaim it in their mission statements. While some of the commenters have called Glenn Beck a liar, or a madman, it is Beck’s critics (in this case) who have mischaracterized the Church.

    As for his politics, I note that Harry Reid and Beck are pretty much at opposite poles of many issues in the current public policy debates. Yet all that I know about both men is that they love their families and are honorable in their direct dealings with others, and are orthodox in their religious beliefs (more so than many of the posters who show up here on T&S). Making personal attacks on either man is out of place on any web site that purports to reflect the views of faithful Mormons.

  40. dave
    March 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Only judging from this thread, and from no other knowledge about any of you outside of this thread, i would sincerely suggest that jeff hoyt, manuel, and some others are exactly as hyperbolic and extreme as Beck seems to be. They attack arguments based on what they know to be irrelevant details (e.g., mentioning wikipedia as a source of information, as if none of you have ever looked anything up there), and/or they overplay cases using the scariest and most extreme language they can think of (e.g., comparing beck listeners to followers of Ahmadinejad.)

    I think beck, what little i’ve actually heard of his show, is pretty extreme and fanatical, possibly even dangerous in a limited way – but several of you guys seem to be too.

  41. Brad Dennis
    March 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    “This kind of *baiting* is tiresome. More and more, every time I come to Times and Seasons I feel like I’m being jerked around by the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.” (Comment #32)

    Lol! Yes, those liberal unbelievers at Times and Seasons!

  42. March 9, 2010 at 7:11 pm


    “Unfortunately, terms like “social justice” and “economic justice” have been taken over by people with a political agenda who want government to take income from people who earn it and give it to people who “deserve it” but didn’t get it.”

    Actually most liberal arguments for social justice reject the idea that anyone deserves wealth or social status.

  43. Christine
    March 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Chris: So do liberals deny that anyone deserves wealth or social status?

    Just what is the purpose of this post? It seems to meant to be divisive and to go out of its way to find a reason to give offense.

  44. March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t mean to tell you your business, but Jeff Hoyt and you in agreement. Of course, you may still be offended by his argument, but there you go.

    Dude, you’re the one who brought up “shameful” and “juvenile” without explaining the justification for the insults. Mayhap Chris assumed random insults was your preferred method of discourse.

    Now, if I understand your argument correctly, it is that Communism has killed some large number of people and Capitalism hasn’t and that, therefore, Capitalism is better. Is that accurate? Because that doesn’t make much sense to me.

    I’d respond, but honestly I can’t make it through a whole comment. I am mentally deficient in that arena.

  45. Raymond Takashi Swenson
    March 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    To Chris: Do you really think you are going to get very far by challenging everyone who posts on this web site to append a curriculum vitae and publications list before they can oppose your views? If you tell us the year and chapter designation on your Phi Beta Kappa certificate, I will tell you mine–but that does not advance the discussion.

    Telling people they are just too thick to understand the noble concepts you advocate, rather than presenting a clear and concise explanation in hopes of persuading them to agree with you, or at least accept that you have a rational basis for your position, is the kind of elitist denunciation that is the full extent of “intellectual discussion” in the bulk of the modern media, especially MSNBC.

    It reminds me of a recent episode of the TV comedy “The Big Bang Theory”, in which Sheldon, a PhD physicist, goes to traffic court to fight a ticket he got for going through a red light when taking his neighbor to the emergency room. Rather than making a persuasive case of the defense of justification in an emergency, he denounced the judge for not being as smart as himself, resulting in him being jailed for contempt of court.

    Chris, if you have a superior intellect, then demonstrate it by presenting a superior argument with superior logic and superior evidence. The kind of petty personal attack you offered can be made by even an uneducated nincompoop. Please note that I am not accusing you of actually being in that category, only of placing yourself in that company by making personal attacks on those who disagree with you.

  46. March 9, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Okay. I’ve roused myself to make my way through a comment. I’m pretty sure that this notion

    ancient Israel was in many ways a theocracy, not a democracy, and the primary enforcement of the “social justice” called for by the prophets was through preaching and exhortation, not coercion by the high priest, the judges or later the king.

    is debatable and probably incorrect. I have the impression that David, amongst others, is frequently exhorted to look after the widow and the orphan and the role of judges (who may or may not hold political office) is frequently discussed. While prophets spoke out on this, their speech was often directed at the government, expressing anger at the government’s failure on this front. Of course, I haven’t looked at this closely for years, but that is my impression. Perhaps we had both best immerse ourselves in the scriptures on this topic.

  47. March 9, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Also, if you don’t want coercion leading people to do good, why have police?

  48. March 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Finally, for such a long comment, I’d expect more nuance. The Church obviously endorses some aspects of social justice even as commonly politically understood. Don’t throw out your equality baby with your gay rights/abortion bathwater.

  49. March 9, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the comments, all. Interesting discussion going on.

    I’m not saying that Beck is a bad Mormon, or that social justice is the cat’s meow, or that he hates Catholics or Evangelicals or puppies.

    I was just pointing out that Beck’s rhetoric is so over-the-top that, if you took it seriously, you would literally have to leave the church. Beck said, if a church’s website contains a discussion of economic justice then you should leave that church. And LDS.org does.

    Clearly he wasn’t intending to say that people should leave the LDS church. He didn’t mean for that to apply. He was just using way over-the-top rhetoric to criticize churches that he thinks are too liberal, and he didn’t realize that he was painting with a broad enough brush to include the LDS church as well.

  50. March 9, 2010 at 7:36 pm


    Way to set Chris straight. Everyone knows superior intellect is demonstrated not by academic credentials, but rather by 1,000 word comments on blogs.

  51. March 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm


    I responded to a theoretical aspect of you comment.

  52. March 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Yak (32),

    There’s no scripture whatsoever in this post. It’s 100% philosophies of men.

    Hmm. Well, actually, it doesn’t have much philosophy in it, either. I guess that makes it 100% political blather.

    No, that’s wrong too, I do cite to an Ensign article. Hmm.

    “Ensign teachings, mingled with the political blather of men”? But it’s just me in the post, so “men” isn’t really accurate.

    “Ensign teachings, mingled with the political blather of man.”

    Much better.

    Of course, there are comments that follow, so maybe “of men” would work there. But it’s such a gendered term. If we’re including comments in the description, I’d prefer,

    “Ensign teachings, mingled with the political blather of men and women.”

  53. March 9, 2010 at 7:39 pm


    Chris: So do liberals deny that anyone deserves wealth or social status?

    The theory of justice presented by the philosopher John Rawls rejects the idea that anyone deserves their fortune or misfortune. This does not mean that people do not have some claim to what they earn, it just presents a different perspective on how we view that fortune and distributive justice.

  54. March 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Okay, who’s keeping score? So far, I’ve learned that Chris is a communist, John is a fascist, and no one can make it all the way through Raymond’s comment to tell whether he’s a communist, a fascist, or both.

  55. March 9, 2010 at 7:41 pm


    My academic credentials are crap. No worries.

  56. March 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Am I a fascist now? I missed that.

  57. March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    It was in paragraph 27c of Raymond’s comment.

  58. LDSAgitator
    March 9, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    If he only REALLY knew that the Book of Mormon is an apology for Mormon Liberation Theology. The war chapters constantly deride the costly clothing and influence the oligarchy was having on corrupting their fellow man. Then comes Christ in 3 Nephi with a message against, sin, pride and promoting peace. Due to those reasons alone, I am pleased to call my self a Christian SOCIALIST! Pull the oligarchy down, Brother Beck, not build up a bourgeois class that is contrary to everything we are instructed to do to build up the kingdom. I long for the day that we will all be economically and materially equal, so that we can spend time on the important things, not ancillary cultural BS that subjugates the soul.

  59. March 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm



    I am a socialist.

    How many times….

  60. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    John C

    “Dude, you’re the one who brought up “shameful” and “juvenile” without explaining the justification for the insults.”

    To clarify – I believe that most posters here are familiar enough with the concepts of “social justice” as a political agenda of the left. In spite of this posters pretended that Beck’s comments could apply equally to our Church because of some references in links on our website. I believe the posters intellect to be such that they know better, and that pretending otherwise is juvenile. I appologize if that was unlear.

    I believe that the characterization of Beck as anti catholic was shameful because it relied on a relatively obscure, very old reference to “social justice” to pull catholics into the modern leftist social justice movement. I do not believe the writer of the article was being honest in doing this.

  61. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    What Glenn Beck said is clearly hyperbole. For anyone to take legitimate offense, they should first investigate the context and meaning of the use of those terms, because they are generic enough that people can mean radically different things by them.

    There probably isn’t a person on the the planet who disagrees with a literal construction of both terms, the question what is meant by “justice”. Left liberals and conservatives have radically different conceptions of the idea, and more particularly how to go about obtaining it.

    For example, in my view, the law of consecration / United Order is not about “justice” at all, but rather about charity. Justice is more along the lines of “fair dealing” or giving to everyone according to their just deserts.

    If everything is justice, there is no more grace. We talk about the gift of the Atonement. How can it be a gift if it is something that we deserve? How can we give a gift to anyone for that matter?

    So it would seem that the more extreme contemporary usage of “social justice” is an attempt to destroy the gift economy and replace it exclusively with an entitlement economy.

  62. March 9, 2010 at 8:02 pm


    It is more about the gift economy being insufficient to deal with the problems of inequality and poverty.

    My theory of social justice, yes, a very leftist one, is not in favor of government entitlements all that much. They are degrading.

  63. March 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Again, you have touched on such important issues Kaimi, I think this goes far beyond just Beck. Views such as Beck’s have slowly seeped into the Church over the past few generations and it seems we’ve forgotten our history not only as Mormons but as followers of Christ. Keep reminding all of us of our precious spiritual roots :)

  64. LDSAgitator
    March 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Mark D. writes:

    “For example, in my view, the law of consecration / United Order is not about “justice” at all, but rather about charity. Justice is more along the lines of “fair dealing” or giving to everyone according to their just deserts.” Ok Mark, so it is “just” that someone is born in Africa under circumstances? Give me a break.

    Might I also add that the Atonement has everything to do with justice. Eternal law was established, and while you are right that grace plays an important part, it restores our role in the kingdom, “justifying” us into a superior state that we all are recipients of, as children of God.

  65. March 9, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    “In spite of this posters pretended that Beck’s comments could apply equally to our Church because of some references in links on our website. ”

    Err, pretended? Read Beck’s instructions, they’re very clear.

    Look for the words ’social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can.

    Are those words on the LDS.org website? Yes, they are, very clearly so.

    I’m not saying that the church represents political views Beck disagrees with. I’m saying that his overbroad statement, as written, is so broad that it includes the LDS church.

  66. LDSAgitator
    March 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    In December, the Church added caring for the needy and poor to the three main purposes of the gospel. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=8984614 NEED I SAY ANY MORE? IT IS SOCIAL JUSTICE!

  67. March 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    I’ve said twice on this thread that I think that some aspects of Social Justice would conform well with the Church’s goals. Nor am I alone in that. So I think that instances of social justice spoken of positively on the church website likely do conform to some of social justice as you understand it. So, saying that Glenn Beck’s overbroad condemnation of religions that preach social justice is accurate. So, I don’t find that particularly juvenile (taking spiteful joy in the ridiculousness of it all would be tho, and that is obviously manifest here, too).

    Also, the Catholic church is not shy about its promotion of social justice (I understand it as originating within a Catholic context, but I’m fuzzy on the history and may be wrong). I think Beck was likely unaware of that, as apparently are you, but there you go. It was an overbroad condemnation. I think the condemnation was shameful in that it appears to be misinformed and overbroad. I don’t find anything particularly shameful in Kaimi pointing out both of those points (or even the author at First Things, who noted the Catholic connection). It may have been an honest mistake, but ignorance in this instance is hardly an excuse.

  68. dave
    March 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    John C wrote in #45:

    I don’t mean to tell you your business, but Jeff Hoyt and you in agreement. Of course, you may still be offended by his argument, but there you go.”

    I don’t know if i’m in agreement with Hoyt, but you’re right that I named the wrong person in my post (#41). I meant Chris H.

    The majority here are arguing reasonably, to be clear – but I reject the fanatics on this blog for the same reason I reject Beck.

  69. March 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Now I have to go back and see what was said about me.

  70. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm


    Yes – pretended. You know what Beck means, and it is beneath you to play word games to try to make Beck look bad. If you disagree with his positions opposing leftist social justice policy then argue those. I can only presume you find arguments supporting the left too difficult, so you sink to this and ill will is created all around.

  71. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    LDSAgitator, when a private organization (such as the Church) gets into the taking care of the poor and the needy business, it is strictly on a gift economy basis. It is called a fast offering, for example.

    The term “justice” (on the other hand) implies that coercion is justified, and coercion is the realm of government, rather than of the Church.

  72. March 9, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    Um, I reject you, too. I wasn’t being a fanatic, I was being a jerk. On purpose. I hope that I did not make you cry.

  73. March 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Everyone stop being mean to Glenn Beck. It is upsetting Jeff.

  74. March 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Jeff, I simply followed very clear statements to their only possible conclusion. This is not pretense. Rather, as I’ve stated directly on this thread, more than once, that this is intended as a straightforward demonstration that Beck’s statement, as he said it, was too broad.

  75. March 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I heart the political blather of women and men mingled with Ensign articles. Especially when there are people warning of the slippery slope from social justice to the mass execution of 100 million people.

    Jeff (#61), I’m not understanding your objection–are you saying that social justice is nothing more than “a relatively obscure, very old” term in Catholicism, and so it was unfair for Catholics to make a fuss? While there are certainly debates about how social justice is best politically enacted, the concept of social justice is a hugely important one in Catholicism.

    (And not just Catholicism–I would add that a concern for social justice seems pretty central to both the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible. And I think one of the problems of framing our obligations to the poor and the oppressed solely as the responsibility of private individuals is that it overlooks the extent to which our texts talk about the situation as a communal responsibility.)

  76. manaen
    March 9, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Actually most liberal arguments for social justice reject the idea that anyone deserves wealth or social status.
    Interesting comment, compared with the BoM teaching that everyone should have wealth:
    “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.” –Jac 2:17
    IMO, the problem isn’t that no one should have wealth, but that some keep theirs to themselves while others lack, as in the warned in the D&C:
    “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” –D&C 49:20
    My problem with our political choices in the US is that the Republicans seem to believe in creating wealth, but not in sharing it and the Democrats seem to believe in sharing it, but not in sustaining its creation. For me, the benefits of each join in our concept of consecration, culminating in the Celestial Kingdom.
    “That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.” –D&C 78:5-7
    “They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; […] having received of his fulness and of his grace; And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.” –D&C 76:94-5
    Which, I suppose, covers both social and economic justice about as well as anything else I’ve seen.

  77. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Ok Mark, so it is “just” that someone is born in Africa…?

    Justice does not refer to events, but rather to conditions that flow from actions. In other words, it is neither just nor unjust that someone is born in Africa.

    Atonement has everything to do with justice

    Yes. However, mercy and justice are not the same thing. If someone is starving and steals from you to feed his family, justice requires that he make restitution. A sense of mercy, on the other hand, is why you might be inclined to forgive him and forget the debt that he owes you. No one forgives me my trespasses out of a sense of justice, they forgive me out of a sense of mercy.

  78. March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Mosiah 4 says that we should all think of ourselves as beggars. Rawlsian justice says that everyone should have wealth. The problem it that we view our own with great…pride. In other words, the problem is when we think that we deserve the riches we have and other deserve not to have it. Jacob 2:17 is my favorite scripture.

  79. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    “Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.”

    That is what you call a gift economy.

  80. March 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    No, that is what YOU call a gift economy.

  81. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 9:01 pm


    I do not believe Catholics made a fuss. Most Catholics I know love Beck. I objected to the raising of the idea that Beck is anti catholic. The article in question did this by noting that the term “social justice” was coined by a catholic in 1840, then following up that citation with personal slurs. While there are elements within the Catholic church that embrace leftist thought, I do not believe it is intellectually honest to attack Beck as a bigot based upon comments having essentially nothing to do with the catholic church as a whole.

    We are all concerned about “social justice”. What Beck is pointing out is that this is the terminology of the far left that dominates in certain Christian denominations. Beck wants the members of those denominations to know what their churches are up to; to know where there offerings are going. Beck could certainly get out this message in a less entertaining way, but then who would hear it?

  82. March 9, 2010 at 9:01 pm


    I have been a bit of a punk here and I apologize.

    I just put up a post at FPR that looks at my many posts, most of them reasoned and philosophical, dealing with theories of social justice from my LDS perspective.


    Now, off to go on a date with my wife.

  83. March 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm


    The conservative Catholic magazine First Things did take on Beck of this:


    But, what do they know. After all, Jeff knows lots of Catholics.

  84. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    No, that is what YOU call a gift economy.

    Am I wrong? And if so, why? Anything going on on Jacob 2:17 other than gift giving?

  85. Chris Henrichsen
    March 9, 2010 at 9:11 pm


    It does not tell us how they went about doing it.

  86. March 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Well, since Jacob is in an apparent theocracy (a debatable point, but one that means a single clear interpretation is impossible short of revelation) understanding theological command as legal command isn’t out of the question.

    Whether or not Catholics like Beck is irrelevant. His overbroad condemnation condemned them (and us). Kaimi (the post’s author here) noted that (and even noted that it was likely unintentional). I’m not sure what your point is anymore.

  87. March 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Jeff, my point was that the phrase “social justice” isn’t simply a random term from 1840–it’s a very commonly used phrase in Catholicism, and a central aspect of Catholic teachings. There is in fact a section of the catechism titled “social justice.” So it’s not terribly surprising that someone hearing an attack on churches which talk about social justice might think it was aimed at Catholics (among others).

  88. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    John C, Of course it is a theological command. The question is will the bishop show up at your door to collect what you don’t contribute.

    “Be free with your substance” implies that that you have the freedom and moral responsibility to choose to whom and how best to distribute it.

    Without such freedom, it wouldn’t be “your” substance in any sense of the term, but rather the bishop’s. And if it is the bishop’s then he can come and collect it whenever he feels like. Who are you to say what should be done with property that you have no stewardship over?

  89. Mark D.
    March 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    “Social justice” is a very Catholic term, practically originating with them. But if you go and study the pertinent parts of the Catholic Catechism, you will find that the Catholic conception of “social justice” is a little more moderate than what some political actors would like it to be.

  90. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    John C.

    I guess I just feel compelled to defend those I believe are unfairly attacked. Beck used a phrase that had, to him, a certian meaning. People familiar with Beck understand that meaning (I have probably watched Beck a dozen or so times, and I am familiar enough with him to know what he meant). Others, unfamiliar with Beck can be inflamed to hate him by being told he attacked the concept of “social justice”, which we all want at some level. They are innocent victims here, victimized by those that, in my opinion, wish to demonize Beck and are willing to decieve to do it.

    I belive Kaimi knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish. You say that Kaimi noted “it was likely unintentional”, but I do not see that in the original post. I think Kaimi knows exactly what Beck means, and could have explained that in the original post, but he did not. Perhaps I am wrong and Kaimi really did not understand what Beck meant. If so I apologize in advance.

  91. March 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Again, Mark. Theocracies don’t generally revel in those distinctions and we have no reason to believe it wasn’t a theocracy and some reason to believe it was. Very specifically, King Mosiah (a later king, I admit) noted that his lawbook was scripture. So, presumably, sins of omission could get you tossed in the pokey.

  92. March 9, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Jeff, you don’t have to posit mind-reading abilities for Kaimi to be left off the hook. Kaimi only noted that the surface interpretation of Beck’s words resulted in Beck telling people to leave the Catholic and Mormon churches. Beck likely didn’t intend that, but that is what happens when you shoot off at the mouth all the time as he does. Pointing that out doesn’t make Kaimi nefarious. Also, it was in comment #50 that he said that he understood that Beck didn’t intend to tell people to leave the LDS church, he just did it anyway.

  93. March 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    My last comment of the night:
    Actually, Mark D., I think I am overstating my case. Certainly there was some confusion when a bunch of people stopped believing in King Mosiah’s reign (a kind of sin of omission). Alma and King Mosiah had to take a moment and figure out if these non-believers should be tried by civil or church authority. They went with church, but I think this demonstrates how closely the two are intertwined in BoM society (a coupla hundred years after Jacob) and that blanket statements regarding how social justice was accomplished back in that era are all guesses.

  94. Jeff Hoyt
    March 9, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    John C;

    Whether or not Kaimi is nefarious depends upon his motivations (given that we all agree that Beck is not anti Mormon or anti Catholic). If he was merely intending to encourage Beck to choose words more difficult for his enemies to twist into unintended meanings then he is not. If he was trying to twist Beck’s words, then he is. As I suspect Kaimi desires to discredit Beck, I drew the latter conclusion. Again, I could be wrong.

  95. Phouchg
    March 9, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Father Coughlin.
    Bishop Sheen.
    Pat Robertson.
    Glenn Beck.

    The beat goes on…

  96. sscenter
    March 9, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Some are missing a point about the giving the Book of Mormon advocates. Individual giving is wonderful and righteous. It should be encouraged. Redistribution of wealth is evil and unrighteous. It should be eliminated. The first is encouraged by the scriptures the second is directly condemned.

    I do also note that the same people who are very proud of themselves for being contrary to the position of the church on gay marriage mock Beck if he has a position that is contrary to anything the church teaches. So I guess it is only okay to be contrary if you are on the left.

  97. March 9, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    As a conservative moderate who regularly teaches social justice in the public education system, I only wish to add that social justice is a hell of a lot more than just “caring for the poor and needy”. So, for all you folks citing the addition of the fourth fold to the Church’s mission as evidence that the Church promotes social justice, you fail.

    The Church does promote social justice, though. But it is much more nuanced than what many of you seem to be trying to portray it is as.

  98. March 9, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I’m not going to bother reading the comments. Likely I can divine what the gist is. Let’s see:

    • People cheering Kaimi for his brilliant Beck slam.

    • Ranting about how Beck is a crazy loon.

    • Bemoaning about the image Beck gives to the church.

    • Mocking of Beck and conservatives.

    • A handful of people who have the audacity to defend Beck/conservatism or something related.

    • Jeering about how the “followers” of Beck are stupid, unable to reason, unable to comprehend difficult subjects, or must have married their cousins.

    Was I close?

    Here’s my input. I watch Beck pretty regularly. It should go without saying that I don’t agree with every word that comes out of his face. But I think he’s very accurate on some things, insightful about others, gives me something to think about on some topics — along with the varied negative responses I have to some things he says.

    I think it’s great he’s LDS. I’d love to meet him some day. I think he’s a patriotic, decent man. I wish him well.

    Now I’ll go back in my conservative dugout and let you post about what an idiot I am. Don’t worry, I won’t be following. If it makes you feel better, I’m happy I can serve a purpose in your enlightened, progressive world.

  99. Chris Henrichsen
    March 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm


    Show me a scripture that condemns the redistribution of wealth. And no, Skousen is not in the standard works.

  100. March 9, 2010 at 11:27 pm


    Thank you. I would be very disappointed if you didn’t chime in and make a nasty and bitter comment about a political post by Kaimi. It is part of what keeps me coming back.

  101. sscenter
    March 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm


    I know it is not one of the standard works but the provident living website emphasizes several times that giving should be completely voluntary and that the goal should be to lead someone to become self-reliant. In the scriptures the only time that I can find a society that truly gives to the poor the method of giving appears to be voluntary and again voluntary giving is good and should be encouraged. Can you identify a society that was compelled to be righteous and it worked? I would assume our current welfare system would be all the proof one needs that it doesn’t work at all.

  102. tyler
    March 9, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    Chris, please read the following link on how scripture characterizes distribution of wealth. Mutual consent – to put it simply.


  103. March 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm


    You said:

    “Some are missing a point about the giving the Book of Mormon advocates. Individual giving is wonderful and righteous. It should be encouraged. Redistribution of wealth is evil and unrighteous. It should be eliminated. The first is encouraged by the scriptures the second is directly condemned.”

    I was guessing that you made up that last sentence. How can you claim that the scriptures directly condemn something if you have no knowledge of any scripture which actually does that.

  104. March 9, 2010 at 11:48 pm


    Mutual consent is also the basis of a democratic society based on the principles of the social contract. So, I see no problem with that selection.

  105. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    sheesh, that’s what I get for having a life. I come back here and find y’all are having a nice political tussle. :)

  106. sscenter
    March 9, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Ok Chris. I will admit that no scripture in the standard works says that exact phrase. However, I will also point out that every single instance where giving is encouraged it is on a voluntary basis. I do notice that you completely ignore both mine and Tyler’s points. The scriptures do not support forced giving or any other kind of obedience that was the point of the entire war in heaven. I would argue that you also ignored my point that LDS.org supports what I said completely. So if you don’t want to call that scripture, fine but it is published on the official web page of the church and that must carry some weight.

  107. March 9, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Yes, I am now going to completely ignore you rather than only partially ignoring you. Bye.

  108. Dan
    March 9, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    voluntary basis, eh? heh, tell that to Ananias and Sapphira.


  109. sscenter
    March 9, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Ouch Chris. That really hurts.

  110. March 10, 2010 at 1:08 am

    “The scriptures do not support forced giving or any other kind of obedience that was the point of the entire war in heaven.”

    So you’re in favor of rescinding restrictions on same sex marriage, because the current law leads to forced obedience?

  111. Susan Fuller
    March 10, 2010 at 1:26 am

    Like everyone else, Glenn Beck needs to be more careful about what he says in the heat of the moment. I like Glenn Beck and I like Kaimi Wenger also I think they both have the right idea with similar points. This war is not about good and evil it is over principle which may be subjective.

  112. March 10, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Thanks, Grandma Fuller. I like you too. (Hugs.)

  113. Mark D.
    March 10, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Re: “Father Coughlin”

    It should be pointed out that Father Coughlin was on exactly the opposite side of this question as Glenn Beck, a man who made his reputation attacking FDR from the left. Founder of the National Union for Social Justice. In favor of wealth redistribution, work and income guarantees, nationalization of industry etc:

    We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited

  114. Mark D.
    March 10, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Show me a scripture that condemns the redistribution of wealth

    Thou shalt not steal?

  115. Mark D.
    March 10, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Theocracies don’t generally revel in those distinctions

    No doubt that is why most tend to be rather short lived for this world, indeed why the very word “theocracy” tends to inspire more pity than contempt.

  116. March 10, 2010 at 7:12 am

    tyler and sscenter,
    Since the Book of Mormon government is, at least partially, a theocracy, there could have been governmental redistribution of wealth there. Also, since Deuteronomy tells us to care for the needy (a form of redistribution of wealth) and the king in Israel is supposed to read and follow that law, some form of governmental redistribution of wealth may have been present in Ancient Israel (if Deuteronomy was ever really applied, which it may not have been). Also even voluntary church redistribution of wealth, like with Annanias and Sapphira and like with the American attempts at Zion, had coercive features (implying that you’ll get into a lesser kingdom is coercive, just not physically).

    That said, I think everyone agrees that it would be best if people redistributed their wealth voluntarily (for what else is charity). People on the left just tend to think that is unlikely to happen (noting the great number of poor people out in the world and the excess of cars locally for instance). The parable of the man who built a bigger barn to hold his stuff certainly seems to be lost on many of the people in my area, but that’s just surface judgment and what do I know, ya know? In any case, I don’t think most people left or right would object to designing programs to make folks self-sufficient (what else is a jobs program for?), even those who advocate for social justice.

  117. March 10, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Although I agree with the First Things analysis that Beck’s too ignorant to understand how anti-Catholic his statement is, it is, nonetheless, profoundly anti-Catholic. Social justice underlies Jesuit thought; it’s not a code word for anything except social justice.

  118. March 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Mark (#115),

    I appreciate that you at least had an answer. I also appreciate you consistent, but cynical, view of political society.

  119. March 10, 2010 at 8:27 am

    “your consistent”

  120. March 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I don’t like the idea of the government telling me how to redistribute my wealth, but they do every day. Every time I make a purchase, they redistribute part of my wealth in the form of sales tax. Every time I get a pay check, the government redistributes my wealth via income tax, social security withholding, and medicare withholding. Every time I pay my rent, I know that part of it is redistributed by the government in the form of property tax. Every time I purchase gasoline, part of my wealth is redistributed through the excise tax. The list goes on and on.

    I am not a fan of the redistribution of wealth, but I accept that it is necessary to finance the operations of our government. There was a time in US history when such taxes did not exist. The state and federal governments didn’t really think it through, though, and realised that if they were to generate revenue, it would only work by taxing the people receiving the benefits of their government.

    But, personally, I would rather decide how to redistribute my wealth than to have someone else do it for me. I also enjoy choosing how to redistribute my wealth every time I make a financial transaction, be it for goods, services, or charitable donations. I would rather decide how much to donate in my tithes and offerings, how much to donate to the American Cancer Society, or the Children’s Miracle Network, or to the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association, or to any other number of charitable organisations, than have someone make the decision for me. And as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I have no problem giving a portion of my wealth to the Church and letting them decide how to disperse it.

    I do have a problem with a bloated government taking my money, with no input from me as to how much of how often, and giving it to others. Because, despite our practice of having elected representatives in government, I feel that, these days, our elected leaders aren’t so much leading as they are running ahead and not caring whether we are following or not.

  121. March 10, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “Because, despite our practice of having elected representatives in government, I feel that, these days, our elected leaders aren’t so much leading as they are running ahead and not caring whether we are following or not.”

    Then you should run for office. Maybe, try to convince others to vote a different way. Beome involved in your political party.

    The alternative is to absolve the Constitution.

  122. March 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I do not think absolve is the right word. The should be dissolve.

  123. Stephen Hardy
    March 10, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Let’s not forget this scripture:

    D/C 104

    14 I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
    15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
    16 But it must needs be done in mine own away; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
    17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

  124. March 10, 2010 at 9:11 am

    “That should be dissolve.”

  125. Mark D.
    March 10, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Stephen H, Certainly. D&C 104 is a revelation about the United Order, which is the Lord’s “own way”. The next verse is explicit:

    Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

    I agree with that.

  126. March 10, 2010 at 10:48 am

    True, Glenn Beck is Mormon, but even more true is the fact that Glenn Beck is human. And some times humans say stupid things and make stupid (and even grievous) errors in judgment. I’m not going to say that comment has any merit, but as John Taber commented earlier, “I don’t think he thought this statement through.” I’m sure Brother Beck is a fine Latter-Day Saint who is extremely frustrated with his country. America has to remember though that his show is just that – his show, with his views and not those of the LDS church.

  127. Manuel
    March 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

    “Manuel – Please share your intimate personal knowledge of Mr. Beck”

    Don’t be ridiculous. Why would this be necessary anyway? He is an outspoken public figure that makes money out of being his opinionated self. Why in hades would I have to know the guy intimately or personally? Yeah, I bet you could use that argument and trump juist about any analysis of any public figure out there. Duh.

    On another subject; I find funny how Mormons are mortified and horrified by “socialism.” How well they have become indoctrinated by their protestant persecutors. Either they forget their own history or they simply ignore it. While I also repudiate socialism (although I don’t use the subject for lies and fear tactics manipulation like Beck does), I wonder what King Joseph Smith (yes he was crowned a King) in the days of the law of Consecration would say about this…

  128. Brad Dennis
    March 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Alison (Comment #99), you seem somewhat defensive about watching Beck. There is nothing wrong with watching Beck or agreeing with some of his ideas. But you at least need to know who Beck is. He is a keen businessman who is avidly trying to sell incendiary rhetoric. His earlier days as an entertainer/commentator on talk radio were somewhat moderate and comical. Even at CNN he seemed to be relatively even-keeled. But he didn’t hit it big until he went to Fox News where he learned that he could thrive by preaching to the far right wing, anti-Obama, libertarian crowd. Although smart and talented as a show host, Beck does not know much about politics or how to deliver insightful political analysis. But he knows how to effectively catch people’s attention and how to pass himself off as a legitimate political analyst. Yet, consulting Beck to inform your political thought opinions would be like consulting a mechanic to build a car instead of a mechanical engineer. The mechanic understands where different parts go in the car and how to replace them, but the mechanical engineer understands the science that goes into making the parts. If you like conservative thought, try William Buckley or Irving Kristol. They make a strong case for conservatism and are much more erudite than Beck.

  129. JimD
    March 10, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I hope I never let my own heated rhetoric carry me away into encouraging other Mormons to leave the Church. Similarly, I hope I never let my own heated rhetoric carry me away into referring to the Church (or one of its doctrines/doctrinally-rooted practices) as “patriarchal bull[crap]”.

  130. Baber
    March 10, 2010 at 11:42 am

    It’s worth pointing out that the economic and social justice described in the Book of Mormon was voluntary insofar as folks could choose to participate or not. Of course, the scriptures also seem clear that, ultimately, if you choose not to participate in that sort of society you’re choosing not to participate in a Celestial society, and thus, it’d doubtful God will be happy to let non-participants into his highest heaven–the place where, apparently, everyone does choose to voluntary participate in an economic and social justice scheme.

  131. H.Bob
    March 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

    “And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”— Mark 12:14–17

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always concluded from that scripture that God gives me everything I have, and I’m required, through the law of consecration I’ve accepted, to use what he’s given me to build his kingdom. The U.S. government has given me a system of laws that govern my behavior as a citizen, including a monetary system that rewards my labor with pieces of paper and metal (increasingly, just electronic signals) with the U.S.’s “image and superscription” upon them.

    I think the argument above about “forced distribution of wealth” certainly turns on whether or not God believes that those pieces of paper and metal are worth anything in the eternal market. I think we have a pretty good answer from his son–eternal wealth has very little to do with whatever economic system we happen to be suffering under. If we somehow are equating what we give the Church with what we give the government, we’re using the wrong yardstick.

  132. Sean D.
    March 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

    “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
    John 8:7

    While it may be true that not every thing that Mr. Beck says is appropriately thought out or based doctrinally, he has made it very clear that his political commentary is a representation of what he feels and that he does not, in any way, speak for or represent the views of the LDS church or LDS community at large.

    With that said… I would like to ask the LDS persons that find it necessary to throw stones at Brother Beck at every opportunity (or at least this opportunity) – are YOU the perfect representative of the LDS church? Are you perfect in everything you say or do?

    “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
    Matthew 7:1-5

    Moreover, have you ever considered what the consequences will be for the continual attacks on Mr. Beck by the members of his OWN CHURCH? What kind of “fruit” are you bearing as you are throwing your stones at Mr. Beck, and thereby wearing down his faith?

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
    Matthew 7:16

    How would you, as a convert, feel if you were continually attacked by a barrage of stones thrown by the “loving” members of your own church – I imagine it would cause you to question everything you thought you knew about your LDS faith and church? Which of you are ready, and willing to stand and be judged for contributing to destroy another’s faith and membership in the church (I have known people that have had their faith destroyed by lesser things than the attacks that Mr. Beck has to endure by his fellow “brothers” and “sisters”)? Will your Heavenly Father feel you are justified as destroyers of faith?

    “Therefore, cease from all your light speeches… from all your pride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings.”

    “…cease to find fault one with another…”

    “And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.”
    D&C 121,124,125

  133. He who shall not be named
    March 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

    The Marriott School just launched a social innovation minor (http://marriottschool.byu.edu/selfreliance/socialinnovation.cfm). Apparently there was some hand-wringing about members not being able to tell the word “social” from “socialist”.

  134. Chris Henrichsen
    March 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Has anyone actually mentioned stoning Beck? Is he an adulterer? My guess is that his millions of dollars will help him get over all these mean comments said on a blog post that he will never read.

  135. Sam
    March 10, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    #133 – Oh, poor Glenn Beck. He constantly “clothes himself with the bond of charity” toward those with beliefs different than him, but people still say mean things to him! Such a sensitive soul certainly deserves better than this!

  136. March 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Scripture is very clear, Chris. From the Book of Dylan, Chapter 12, verse 35: “Everybody must get stoned.”

  137. March 10, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.” (Malachi 2:3)

    (I noticed that others were starting their comments with random scripture verses and thought I’d join in on the fun).

  138. March 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    “your consistent”

    Well thanks, Chris. I think your pretty consistent, too.

  139. March 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    (I had to make a conscious effort not to correct that last one.) :)

  140. Cameron Nielsen
    March 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I love how Glenn Beck is personally attacked, but his positions are rarely addressed. Let’s sample his current favorite talking points:

    – The government has an irresponsible monetary policy and may be flirting with danger.
    – Our current elected officials are arrogantly defying the will of the people.
    – A system passively catalyzing freedom to give is better than one compelling good behavior.
    – We live in uncertain times and you should be temporally prepared.
    – Find out what you believe in, and live your beliefs.
    – We need to help restore honor in public discourse and policy.

    Man, those things are all extremist and completely unreasonable! Of course, someone will cite an out-of-context quote about Obama being a racist or something. I think that suggesting the possibility that someone who regularly attends Reverend Wright’s church for two decades and considers him a close family friend is a racist is quite a reasonable assumption. I don’t know the man, but the assumption is logical.

    Much more logical than Kaimi’s poor (although probably joking) argument equating Elder Faust’s statement with the current elitist socialism political movement.

  141. March 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    “Much more logical than Kaimi’s poor (although probably joking) argument equating Elder Faust’s statement with the current elitist socialism political movement.”

    I didn’t say that, did I? All that I did was read Beck’s actual comments, and apply them, as written, to the LDS church website.

  142. March 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    You are either unaware of Elder Faust’s talk or you are unaware of the meaning of economic/social justice. The meanings, as used in those two instances, are very close. So, there’s that.

    You go to the same church as Beck, therefore you must believe everything he does. That assumption is just as logical as yours about Wright.

    Finally, this post wasn’t ever a criticism of Beck’s views as arguments. It was a note that he often shoots off at the mouth without thinking, which nobody appears to be disputing. So let’s all just move on, okay?


  143. Jeremy
    March 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    The Book of Mormon teaches us that one of the most consistent indicators of a corrupt society is the width of the gap between the rich and the poor. It also warns us, in quite stern terms, against blaming poverty on the poor. Seems like a pretty straightforward case for at least some concern for social justice, regardless of one’s position on this or than particular social program.

    I was born in 1973, so I can’t quite remember: was Cleon Skousen prophet before or after President Kimball?

  144. March 10, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I should note that Beck _invites_ just this kind of application. Listen to his remarks (audio is available at many sites, including http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/03/08/glenn-beck-urges-listeners-to-leave-churches-that-preach-social/ ). A minute after saying that people should leave any church whose website contains the words economic justice or social justice, he says that this reasoning would apply to the LDS church as well:

    “Social justice and economic justice are code words. If you have a priest that is pushing social justice, go find another parish. Go alert your bishop. I don’t care what the church is. If it’s my church. I’m alerting the church authorities. Excuse me, what’s this social justice thing? And if they say, yeah, we’re all in that social justice thing, I’m in the wrong place.”

  145. Cameron Nielsen
    March 10, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    “Finally, this post wasn’t ever a criticism of Beck’s views as arguments. It was a note that he often shoots off at the mouth without thinking, which nobody appears to be disputing. So let’s all just move on, okay?


    This, noone can dispute. Fair enough, Kaimi. Agreed to move on. =)

  146. manaen
    March 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Yes, compulsion in sharing one’s wealth is contrary to gospel teachings and yes, the poor who don’t work but steal from the rich are wrong. IMO, is that this is because it’s part of our testing and development in this life: it’s not to say that the rich are justified (“justice-fied”?) in crabbing their wealth.
    Dear Wife and I came upon this in our scripture study this morning:
    16 Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!
    17 Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
    18 But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.
    19 For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;

    — D&C 56
    Interesting omissions:
    * the poor who will labor with their own hands, from condemnation for stealing from the rich (v.17) and
    * the rich, from rejoicing (v.19).
    As Elder Wirthlin wryly noted, “Our Heavenly Father expects that we do more with our riches than build larger barns to hold them. Will you consider what more you can do to build the kingdom of God? Will you consider what more you can do to bless the lives of others and bring light and hope into their lives?”
    — GenCon 4/2004

  147. March 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    If it is wrong to take from the chupacabra, I don’t want to be right.

    March 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Yes, there is another side of radio, and yes, I AM THE REAL CHUPACABRAS! I hereby testify that I am appearing in the flesh, making manifest of my own political self, very much to the opposite of Glenn Beck. And yes, my airname is “El Chupacabras.” Do a search on El Chupacabras and La Fantastica, and you will see it is true. Since someone chimed in on this using the term, I thought I’d clarify it. BTW- on a serious note, great article and wonderful blog. I’ll stop lurking and begin commenting at a later date.

  149. Brent Hartman
    March 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    What does the Book of Mormon say on taxes? King Noah’s outrageous tax of 20% sounds pretty good by today’s standards. I don’t have a problem with redistribution of wealth if it’s done with consent, but if it’s taken with a gun to your head (google irs shotguns), then I lean towards calling that theft.

    If any of you proponents of redistribution of wealth would like to put your money where your mouth is, please send checks to the following address:

    Hartman Family
    515 Bolton School Rd.
    Bonnieville, KY. 42713

    I can assure you that we are waaaaay below the poverty line. We could double our income and still not come close. I thank you in advance for your generosity! :)

  150. Ellis
    March 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    #40 Well, that was an overly long rant. Let’s not forget that Medicare, a government sponsored health insurance program, is working pretty well. In it we already have a system that does just what you say will be put in place. Of course that’s money spent on the middle class so that doesn’t count. No, what counts is that any tax monies might be spent on the people who have nothing, and I mean nothing. The social safety net is only there for people who can prove they have used up all their assets and have no income or savings. It can take up to two years to navigate the system while living on the street or with relatives. So our wonderful system forces people into poverty and then penalizes them for being poor. For some of these people private sources can’t come up with enough donations begin to cover their needs.

    It is a disgrace.

  151. MarkP
    March 10, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Awesome! I love this site that continues to deceive in order to villify a Mormon because they disagree with his politics.

    You guys rock.

    Sure, bring up a 20-year-old quote to talk about “economic justice” which today (say, more recently than 20 years ago) is used along with “social justice” to mean socialism.

    I’m sure Pres. Benson would endorse Beck’s calling-out of socialism. I’ll take him over random bloggers any day.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:13 pm


    Thanks for the vitriol, buddy. Can’t you accept that there might be more than one opinion inside of the Church? Much of what Benson stated took place BEFORE he ever became prophet, and the evidence showed that even many of the 12 had a disdain for his politics.

  153. MarkP
    March 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Oh sure there’s more than one opinion among members of the church. Which is why calling one member out is kind of odd. Especially when Beck’s longer comments were clear that he wasn’t saying that a single instance of the phrase was reason to run out the front door screaming.

    The willful ignorance of Beck’s meaning here is stunning from anyone who considers himself a creature of reason.

  154. March 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    “I’m sure Pres. Benson would endorse Beck’s calling-out of socialism.”

    No kidding. Beck is part of the new McCarthyism. He and the Benson of the 60s and 70s have much in common.

    March 10, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    MarkP writes: “Especially when Beck’s longer comments were clear that he wasn’t saying that a single instance of the phrase was reason to run out the front door screaming.”

    You, on the other hand are a Latter-Day McCarthyist who is beating your chest screaming, “Red scare!” It seems as if YOU want those who have opposing views to run out the door.

  156. MarkP
    March 10, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Uh, naming a socialist isn’t a “red scare” it’s an identification of someone’s politics.

    McCarthy was accusing people of being in league with an enemy of the US. Socialism is antithetical to freedom. So maybe we’re similar, I guess?

    Again, I’d prefer Benson’s company to that of someone who implies that he was a nutjob.

  157. March 10, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    No worries. I was not looking to hang out with you.

  158. March 10, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I will name a socialist. Me.

  159. March 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for commenting on this thread, folks. I’m dashing off to a conference, so I’m closing comments now.

  160. March 10, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks, Kaimi. Good luck at the conference.

Comments are closed.