Monday, November 15, 2010

To my blogging friend, Mormon Heretic

From 1960 until 1969, Ezra Taft Benson repeatedly warned the Latter-day Saints about an international communist conspiracy. This he did with the express support of Church President David O. McKay. Ezra Taft Benson's warnings about the great conspiracy continued with less enthusiasm after the death of McKay.

Meanwhile, for twenty-five years from 1960 until 1985, a few of Benson's associates in Church leadership were privately critical of Benson's anti-conspiracy warnings in spite of the fact that the Church's newspaper, book company, and official magazines consistently published his views. These private criticisms quieted when Benson became prophet, even though his warnings about the great conspiracy continued.

The fact that some people disagree with Ezra Taft Benson's conclusions is of little consequence. This is currently illustrated by the fact that at least three recent general conference talks were based on, and quoted extensively from, Ezra Taft Benson's sermons (see here, here, and here).

The fact that you and others disagree with various things that Benson said does not prove he was wrong. It only proves that you and they have drawn hasty conclusions based on incomplete information. He himself was full of integrity and always had good reasons for what he said and did. He was a Prophet of God in every sense of the word. For nearly a decade, he was the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys.

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

("Praise to the Man," Hymns, no. 27)


Anonymous Mormon Heretic said...

What do you have to say about Benson's statement to J. Edgar Hoover?

“In my study of the [communist] conspiracy, which I am sure is weak compared with your own, the consequences of Mr. Eisenhower’s actions in dealing with the communists have been tragic,” Benson wrote.

See the 4th paragraph in this article from the SL Tribune: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/50349153-78/benson-hoover-fbi-society.html.csp

11/16/2010 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Mormon Heretic: please note that this comment does NOT defend Ezra Taft Benson. I am just as unqualified to defend him as you are incompetent to judge him.

That said, The Politician is a 500 page book written by Robert Welch, founder of The John Birch Society. It has been one of the most controversial books in American history because the idea that a popular U.S. President could have been the conscious tool of a worldwide political conspiracy is hard to swallow.

But most people don't bother to read the book. Unlike most people, however, Ezra Taft Benson did read the book:

-------------- quote --------------
"When my son Reed was invited to be a state coordinator for The John Birch Society, he asked me if he should accept it. I had read the Blue Book and other basic materials of the Society. I had met Mr. Welch and other leaders and members. I had read Mr. Welch’s famous letter which has since been published in book form entitled THE POLITICIAN. I knew Reed would be enrolling in an unpopular cause. I also knew he would receive a certain amount of vilification if he took this job. Nevertheless, I told him to go ahead if he thought this was a most effective way to defend the Constitution and fight the Socialist-Communist menace. I would have given him equal encouragement if he had been considering the FBI or any of our national patriotic organizations dedicated to the fight against the Godless Conspiracy which threatens all we hold dear.

"When he joined I expressed my opinion that I was convinced that The John Birch Society was the most effective non-Church organization in our fight against creeping socialism and Godless communism. I also stated that I admired Reed’s courage and applauded his decision."
-------------- end quote --------------

The above quote is from an address delivered in Boise, Idaho, on Dec. 19, 1963. This talk was published by Ezra Taft Benson in his book, Title of Liberty and it was also published in the book Prophets, Principles, and National Survival.

On Feb. 11, 1966, Ezra Taft Benson spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. The above statement was repeated word for word on that occasion. This talk was filmed by the Utah Forum for the American Idea and has been shown to many groups and TV audiences. President McKay viewed the talk live from his Hotel Utah apartment via closed circuit. The talk was printed in pamphlet form by American Opinion and was also printed in the Church News for Feb. 26, 1966.

Based on the number of times he had it published, broadcast, and shown on film, I think President Benson feels very comfortable with the above quoted statement, and I don't think he would mind it being quoted again today. And, like I said in the OP above, he always had good reasons for what he said and did. So before you judge him any further, I think you should read what Ezra Taft Benson himself had to say in that talk. Click here to read it for yourself.

11/16/2010 10:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Rich said...

Does this mean the membership of the Church should all go join the John Birch Society?

11/16/2010 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Rich: If by "this" you mean what Ezra Taft Benson said about the JBS, I'd say the answer is "No." He himself never did join. But I do think we should all be less hasty to judge him. Believe me, it all looks different after you read his 114 general conference talks.

11/16/2010 11:54:00 PM  
Blogger Mormon Heretic said...

Was Eisenhower a tool of the Communists?

11/17/2010 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Mormon Heretic, apparently Ezra Taft Benson felt he was.

Now, by your measure, that makes Ezra Taft Benson a tool of the adversary. That should give you pause. Have you taken the time to study Ezra Taft Benson's point of view in his own words, by reading his own writings?

All prophets have critics. You should not assume there's only one side to this story.

11/17/2010 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Benson wasn't a tool of the adversary.

Maybe he was plain wrong with respect to Eisenhower and his support of the John Birch Society.

11/17/2010 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...


Mormon Heretic, According to your blog, Benson made "really incendiary comments" about certain people including Eisenhower.

"Really incendiary comments" emminate from the adversary, not from servants of the Lord.

Let me review my comment policies, dated May 7, 2005. (Click here to read the full policy.)

-------------- quote --------------
Members of the Church should be able to

1.  Think about, explore, and consider various sides of many questions "without looking for flaws in the Church or its leaders."  (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, June 1996, p. 6.)

2.  Politely disagree without being disagreeable.

3.  Acknowledge the sincerity of those whose positions we cannot accept.

4.  Speak of principles rather than personalities.
-------------- end quote --------------

This is a private forum. That means you don't get to decide what should be allowed on this blog. Comments that seem to be in a gray area are often published anyway. Comments that clearly violate the above policies are usually not published. And hurling insults at me from your own blog doesn't change this.

Please phrase future comments with the above four points in mind.


11/17/2010 11:29:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

I hope Tara won't mind if I reprint her recent comment on another blog:


-------------- quote --------------
November 18th, 2010

@mh [Mormon Heretic,]

It sounds like you are being a bit harsh with R Gary and it is not reflecting well on you, in my opinion. You may not like his censorship, but it is his right to do it without being compared to Hitler or Stalin. After all, he isn’t manipulating an entire country or brutally killing people in the process. Also, you have the option to avoid his blog if you don’t like how he runs it. No one is going to force you to stay. And please, let’s not compare freedom of speech to private censorship.

The name calling and the putting words in his mouth is sounding very childish too. You might try finding out why he chooses to censor instead of assuming that it’s out of fear. He may just want to preserve a certain tone so that it doesn’t become contentious. I can understand and see no problem with that. Not everyone shares, or should feel compelled to share, your views about censorship on their own blogs. You need to respect his choices without acting like a dictator yourself.
-------------- end quote --------------


Well stated, Tara. Thank you.


11/18/2010 10:51:00 AM  

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