Tuesday, October 27, 2009

excellent reading on LDS-Skouson-Beck

"For me as a Mormon, Glenn Beck’s invitation to return to childish things forces me to confront anew the unsavory aspects of my religion’s past, and all the things we Latter-day Saints are now attempting to heal."

This post, written by a creative writing instructor at BYU and cross-posted at Kos, Street Prophets and TPM Cafe, through a solid, enlightening narrative testimony (and testimony is important to Mormons), offers a context for the Cleon Skouson-Glenn Beck connection. I think it also calls on my LDS friends to renounce Beck, although such a message is derivative and soft advice, rather than the kind of screed I would probably write.

Reading and discussing this post would be a great use of your time. If enough people are interested, I'd gladly facilitate a podcast conversation on it.

Why did Beck’s infantile sneer matter? Because Beck is a Mormon. Because his mocking presence in the small town of Marshall, Missouri meant he was sticking his tongue out at patrons in every library in the nation. Because the city of Provo, Utah — where I still live and now teach — sometimes invites him to be part of our Freedom Festival and host our "Stadium of Fire," as though his ultra right, self-assured conviction and his simplistic view of contemporary issues comprise a worthy résumé. Because he is a disciple of W. Cleon Skousen, whose conspiracy theories resulted in students spying on each other and on their professors at BYU and fomented terror and suspicion throughout Provo — even at Provo High — and created a climate which made Darius fear for his family’s life. Because Beck has said such race-baiting things as, "This president has exposed himself as a guy ... who has
a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture" (July 28). (What on earth does he mean by "white culture"? Is it in the tradition of the Coen Brothers’ white supremacists in O brother Where Art Thou?: "We have gathered here to preserve our hallowed culture and heritage...") Because on Fox News he loops a tape of Reverend Jeremiah Wright saying "Not God bless America...", as though it were something new and newsworthy, and as though Wright had never said anything else. And because people think he represents me and even Darius, inasmuch as we all call ourselves Latter-day Saints.

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