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The John Birch Society is a violent, racist, secret organization that has caused America much pain and misery. It's origins are shrouded in mystery and usually start in 1958 when Robert Welch held a meeting in Indianapolis with twelve influential men. This is absolutely wrong, and this diary will show the Society's actual origins and the Mormon leaders who were behind it.

The Mormon Church has always staked out positions among the political far right. In the 1920's Reed Smoot, the first Mormon senator and the most powerful LDS leader in politics at the time, was good friends with Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. By passing the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, Hoover sent America into the Great Depression. The Mormon hierarchy sided with the most reactionary conservatives to oppose FDR and Democrats trying to pull America out of the economic abyss. Mormon president/prophet Heber J. Grant, "detested the Democrat's New Deal policies." (The Mormon Corporate Empire, p.37)

Leading up to World War II, Mormon leaders colluded with the likes of DuPont, Lindbergh and Henry Ford to keep America out of a war with Nazi-Germany. J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and David O. McKay were counselors to two Mormon presidents, Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith. Clark and McKay led the charge against communism.

"Throughout the decade McKay remained convinced that Communism was a greater threat than the rising power of Germany." In 1940 McKay wrote, "Communist rats are working here in the United States and are gnawing at the very vitals of our government..." (David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, p.180)

When Joseph McCarthy went on his anti-communist crusade claiming communists had infested the State Department, his first stop was Salt Lake City, where he flew in and "participated in a Lincoln Day banquet held at the Newhouse Hotel." Presumably McCarthy met with First Counselor J. Reuben Clark Jr., the staunch anti-communist "whose many years of service in the State Department gave him a broad exposure to world politics." It was his visit to Utah that McCarthy settled on the number 57 as the number of communists in the State Department.

J. Reuben Clark Jr. is a major figure in John Birch Society lore. He would often tell the story of a secret meeting with powerful New York interests, interests who arranged World War I. Allegedly, Woodrow Wilson was picked to carry out the plan. Sound familiar? Yes, it's the crazy theory Glenn Beck is spreading, the same theory Robert Welch and the JBS has spread for fifty years. Clark was also a big believer in the idea that God created the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court is packed with a bunch of lefties.

In the 1952 election, the Mormon far right sided with Robert Taft (grandson of Mormon apostle Ezra Taft Benson) and, in order to appease his reactionary base, President Eisenhower picked future Mormon president Ezra Taft Benson (grandson to original Ezra Taft Benson) to be his Secretary of Agriculture. It was like bringing a cat into the mouse factory.

By this time, Mormon First Counselor David O. McKay had become one of the leading anti-communists in the country, and Eisenhower's pick of Benson made him,

"the apostle destined to become McKay's staunchest ally in the battle... McKay gave his special blessing to Ezra Taft Benson as an opponent of Communism, enabling this strong-willed apostle to propagate his ultra-right-wing views among church members-- views that included an endorsement of the John Birch Society."  (David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism p.281)

When McCarthy accused high ranking officials in the Army, the White House and just about every other great American institution of being communists he was using Ezra Taft Benson as his inside source. Benson was an extreme right winger, typical of the Mormon hierarchy, who had come to the conclusion that Eisenhower, and most everyone else in his cabinet, were a bunch of communist sympathizers. Benson's connections with Robert Welch helped generate the communist hysteria that solidified into the rabidly dangerous John Birch Society.

Welch was a nobody, a candy maker, a salesman, a political wannabe before Mormon leaders chose him to be their attack dog, a role played today by Mormon convert Glenn Beck. Welch's book, "Acheson and MacArthur"  was based on insights gleaned from Benson, a man who hated Secretary of State Dean Acheson with a passion. Welch's book "The Politician" was based on Benson's communist allegations and crazy opinions. When he was picked by Eisenhower, Ezra Taft Benson was an apostle in the Mormon Church, and so he had to keep a distance between himself and the subversive JBS. Nonetheless, his radical views on race, communism, women, the Constitution, and the economy are identical to the John Birch Society's. Not surprisingly, they are the same views espoused by Tea Party, a JBS front group led by JBS spokesman Beck. And that's just the half of it.

The John Birch Society's entire structure is modeled on the Mormon Church.
The authoritarianism of the JBS, the top-down leadership, its command structure, the pyramid design where grassroots stakes, or chapters as they are called in the JBS, are expected to obediently carry out their instructions, all of these are Mormon ideas. Mormon founder Joseph Smith set up this kind of structure "which is invested the authority to administer the entire LDS empire." (In Mormon Circles, p.24) With the help of Ezra Taft Benson, Welch set up the JBS exactly the same way. Benson was an autocrat in the worst sense of the word, stating that the leader is always right and that followers must practice "blind obedience." (The Mormon Corporate Empire, p.197) Even the twelve leaders that Welch surrounded himself are modeled on Mormondom's twelve apostles.

The trait that alienated more people from the JBS than any other (mainly because few are aware of its violent history) is the group's secretive behavior and paranoid accusations of conspiracy. This is straight from the Mormon Church, a church with a history of secret armies, secret signs and passwords, and which has groups that "function as secret police to ferret out dissenters among Mormon ranks." (In Mormon Circles, p.34)

Welch and Benson were big admirers of anti-communist lunatic Willard Cleon Skousen, a man being touted today by Mitt Romney and Glenn Beck. Skousen was a Mormon and had a huge influence on the JBS. He was also the "rightwing ultra" police chief of Salt Lake City, a racist and anti-Semite "truther". The mayor of Salt Lake City once said Skousen "operated the police department like a Gestapo." (The Backlash, p.44) Benson was a close friend of Skousen and wrote the preface to "Prophecy and Modern Times." Both "devoted long public lives to preaching doomsday and warning about global conspiracies... views that are shared by the JBS." David O. McKay recommended that all Mormon Church members read Skousen's, "The Naked Communist," when he was president/prophet of the LDS, (The Mormon Corporate Empire, p.152) a book first published by Publisher's Press, which was then run by Thomas S. Monson, the Church's current president/prophet. Monson was Benson's counselor in the First Presidency.

Skousen was professor of religion at BYU and founder of Utah's JBS. (In Mormon Circles, p.170) He went on to develop the Freeman Institute a dangerous "linchpin" connection to the JBS and other right wing groups. In 1980, at the dedication of the Freemen Institute's headquarters, the head of the John Birch Society, Larry P. McDonald, appeared with Orrin Hatch and J. Willard Marriott. (The Mormon Corporate Empire, p.155) Orrin Hatch is one of Mitt Romney's closest political allies and Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, so it's little wonder that JBS fanatic Skousen is a personal hero to the Republican candidate for president. Back in 2007, an Iowa radio host talked to Romney about Skousen;

“You and I share a common affection for the late Cleon Skousen,” the radio host says. The former governor agrees, affirming Skousen was his professor and when the radio host professes his fondness for Skousen’s book The Making of America, while he acknowledges he hasn’t read it, Mitt quickly says “That’s worth reading.”   Read more at the National Review

The John Birch Society and the Mormon Church have cleared up their bad image to a remarkable degree, mainly by hiding what they actually believe. Very few people will admit to being members of the JBS, but when a person believes exactly the same crazy things that the JBS does, it's not hard to discern their membership. Whether the American public can figure out the deceptions of Mitt Romney before the election remains to be seen.

Originally posted to Baracks Backers on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 04:56 AM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Mormon Church is exquisitely insidious. (5+ / 0-)

    They're probably going to take over the country over the country in the next few centuries - sorry, but some patterns are just designed to be virulent - but for now we can tell them to fuck off.

    Voter suppression is treason.

    by Troubadour on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 05:14:10 AM PDT

  •  Mormons have much to hide (9+ / 0-)

    To me, the most troubling of what is not known about the Mormon Church concerns their hidden financial holdings.

    If you would google "Mormon owned businesses", you may be a bit shocked to know that businesses you probably use everyday, are Mormon owned.

    Here is an excellent article concerning Mormon financial holdings from Bloomberg Business Week

    Want another reason Mittens probably can't release his taxes?

    The church also doesn’t pay taxes on donated funds and holdings. Mitt Romney and others at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he co-founded in 1984, gave the Mormon Church millions’ worth of stock holdings obtained through Bain deals, according to Reuters. Between 1997 and 2009, these included $2 million in Burger King (BKW) and $1 million in Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) shares. Under U.S. law, churches can legally turn around and sell donated stock without paying capital-gains taxes, a clear advantage for both donor and receiver.
    •  I've been wondering why nobody has (7+ / 0-)

      said a word about the church.  I'm glad to read this diary, and I think very few right wing Sarah Palin types and Tea Party whacko-types would have kept him from being nominated.

      Just the picture of that family after every debate and now Ann's "Good Housekeeping" article about dumping public education would keep me away, but I don't have much faith in the average American to see the light.  

      And the "... my boys did their missions" stuff was quite a surprise to hear from her.  For me, their religion is enough to keep me away, but I am not the normal church loving, religious American!

    •  No longer stay at Marriott hotels. (4+ / 0-)

      Ironic that they own part of Domino's given that company founder's role in the RW branch of U.S. Catholicism.

      "He not busy being born is busy dying" -- Bob Dylan

      by Kascade Kat on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 07:36:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Catholic Mormon Alliance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's true that Mormons used to call the Catholic Church the great whore of Babylon, but that changed with the John Birch Society. Mormon leaders used Catholic Joe McCarthy to attack the State Department and Catholic William F. Buckley to sell their ideas. 60% of JBS members are said to be Catholic. There have been many Catholic bishops who were very vocal in their support of the JBS. It's really no surprise that Mitt Romney picked fellow Bircher and Catholic, Paul Ryan, as well.

  •  The More and More you Look at it (7+ / 0-)

    The more and more it seems that the Mormon Church has been manipulating the right since the beginning. And their power has only increased since then. Whether we like it or not, we're going to have to deal with them in the same breath as the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptists.

    Well, nobody said life was going to be boring, huh?

    •  Mormonism will never be a major player (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I wouldn't put Mormonism in the same category as Catholics and Southern Baptists, two religions with long histories of nonpartisan support. Granted, Southern Baptists have an equally bad reputation as Mormons when it comes to white supremacy. Also there are at least 5 times more Southern Baptists as there are Mormons. Catholics are 25 times larger and members vote for Democrats as much as Republicans.

      At its heart, Mormonism is a giant financial pyramid scheme. The leaders at the top head a giant mega-corporation which is nothing close to a religion. Their god is money and power. They exaggerate their membership figures and manipulate the press and the government in secret ways that will turn off the country when exposed.

  •  Interesting but Over the Top (8+ / 0-)
    The John Birch Society's entire structure is modeled on the Mormon Church.
    The authoritarianism of the JBS, the top-down leadership, its command structure, the pyramid design where grassroots stakes, or chapters as they are called in the JBS, are expected to obediently carry out their instructions, all of these are Mormon ideas.
    That's not a Mormon idea.  That's a typical home sales business model and a modified military one.

    You make some interesting linkages, and I appreciate the history lesson about affiliations of Mormon's in politics.  However, you also make some sweeping generalizations that aren't substantiated by those associations designed to imply guilt.

    That said, no one will disagree that the JBS is a reprehensible organization and the Mormon Church an extremely odd one.  But so is the Scientology "church" and the Moonies.  People have made insinuating cases about the previous president, GWB, and links to them.

    Non-conventional -- if you will -- religious groups and political bedfellows will always make strange cases.  The one you make is neither unique nor the last. But it's definitely more interesting than most.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 06:01:42 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the BloombergLink.... (3+ / 0-)

    I suppose we'd be just as concerned if we saw the wealth and power of the holdings of the Catholic church on paper, but the HOLY HOLDINGS chart is eye opening.

    And a bishop of this church could be POTUS in 10 days!  Oh no, we better get to work.

    Thanks again for this information!

  •  The real conflict is always between autocracy (9+ / 0-)

    and democracy, monopoly and diversity. The proponents of autocracy would have us believe that all of nature is ranked and man rules at the apex, entitled to make disposition of the rest of creation as he sees fit. This is a myth which suits individuals whose creative talents are poor to non-existent. However, the reality is that organic existence tends towards diversity, not unification. Diversity is the essence and guarantor of life.
    So, autocrats, the proponents of monopoly, are bound to be frustrated. They do not appreciate or realize that they are out of step. What we need to be concerned about is that their frustration not turn to violence. Not being creative, they have no reluctance to destroy, not even themselves.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 06:15:21 AM PDT

  •  I hate to nitpick on an excellent diary but (11+ / 0-)

    Mormons at their beginnings in the 19th century were damn near socialist. Community property was a big thing for Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. As were expanded rights for women albeit in polygamous relationships. With statehood they shifted 180 degrees in order to be seen as super-patriots. The original version of Mormonism saw themselves as an independent country. Especially with the move to Utah. Fascinating how a religion can shift 180 degrees within a few years for political considerations.

    Mormons were viewed with suspicion by most Americans and their loyalty to the US was called into question on many occasions. See the book Mountain Meadow Massacre for an example of the rocky relationship between Mormons and the US. President Buchanan very nearly invaded Utah to force it to recognize the authority of the federal government in the 1850s.

    •  They get 'revelations' (3+ / 0-)

      Usually just in time to resolve some political problem, which has at its root, some previous revealed wisdom.

      It doesn't take much for an authoritarian to grab hold of a movement and twist it about with just a couple revelations of his own.  Very soon, all the people in the movement are expected to act and think in accordance with the new principles the leader lays down.  

    •  Can't say I agree at all (0+ / 0-)

      They weren't socialists in any sense. They were a theocracy and Joseph Smith owned all the property. He gave it out to his favorite Saints and picked all the wives for everybody. Your comments are out of left field. How does marrying off young girls and having multiple wives ever figure in "expanded rights for women"? I think you're confusing socialism with feudalism.

      You are right that Mormon leader wanted their own country and hated America, that is all well-documented, but why do you think that has changed?

  •  The core is Smith's 1832 White Horse Prophecy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plankbob, Baracks Backers

    That's what Glenn Beck was screaming about during his run at Fox. it's crazy stuff.

    Mitt Romney was claiming he was going to "fulfill prophecy" and become President of the United States when he was still in prep school. He also believes that he can lie-lie-lie-lie-lie. His lies are protected by magic.

    Or not.

    We're having fun with impacts to voter turnout and to poaching.

    Wages of Sin: Romney's Lying Skyrockets Dem Voter Participation Rate and Doubles Poaching Success -- from yesterday evening.

    Romney will claim "vote fraud," don'tcha know.

    Primary focus (60:40) for the October 20th waves of attack mailers/call/ads is the Denver Lie-A-Thon. Romney used the first presidential debate to demonstrate his pathological ability to avoid telling truth for 90 minutes.

    "Bullshitter" is too kind. This diary repeats the Think Progress list of 27 major lies, apparently pre-planned to deceive voters. This material has gone out in attack mailers and many tens of millions of emails.

    Smith-Romney-Beck Craziness

    This goes back to 1832. Joseph Smith's White Horse Prophecy blunders a misreading of the Book of Revelation.

    There is one "conqueror" in The Revelation. He is the Rider on a White Horse, the First Horseman, also explicitly the final Anti-Christ.

    Smith got it backwards.

    Read correctly The Lamb opens a seal, then Satan responds with hatred: thus, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

    Smith got all this backward. He loved The Revelation's conqueror.

    "White Horse Prophecy" and The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Chapter 6

    "One Mighty and Strong" is from the Mormon "Doctrine and Covenants." The reference is to Smith's Rider on a White Horse. The Mormon messiah, despite Smith's blundering failure to understand scripture.

    Reversing the core meaning of The Revelation doesn't go down well with fundamentalist KJB-reading Christians.

    There's also that matter of Mitt's bad driving killing Mrs. Leola Anderson, mother of four. Then his lying and scheming to get him out of it. Indeed, so smooth a liar that he sells others, even today, that he was a hero for surviving the wreck.

    Mitt Romney's Driving Killed Leola Anderson. His Cover-Up Tale is Proved Dishonest

    E.g., Romney's false claim of a "three day coma" in his biography:

    "The Real Romney": Authorized Biography Echoes Fabulist Inventions

    Yeah, mailers work. Phone calls go where corporate media never tread. When you want to bust up a faker such as Romney, forget about television.

  •  Hoot-Smawley did NOT send US into Great Depression (6+ / 0-)

    This is an absolutely mistaken bit of history.  

    US exports' percentage of the economy was much smaller at the time, a little over 1 percent.

    I share the most intense loathing possible for the plutocratic freaks who ultra-robber-baroned us into the Great Depression, but it wasn't over a small tariff act.

    This is the sort of thing which is understandably all too commonly believed, because the right wing and crazy anti-regulationist plutocorporocratic "free trade" (i.e., trade under THEIR terms) ideologues have been pushing it.

    The Great Depression evolved out of a finance crisis and the collapse of an internal market -- as well as many factors.

    The shrinking of imports or exports was not, however, among the more significant causes.

    And I also count myself among the most enthusiastic of those despising the ultra-rightist, pro-massacre paranoiac thieving villains in the "John Birch Society" and their neo-Confederate allies.

    But the role of a minor tariff act in a much larger crisis shouldn't be allowed to be over-promoted by those who want such a myth propagated.

    Otherwise, good work, it seems.

  •  ron paul and teaparty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, Baracks Backers

    i believe ron paul is from jbs country. i know he spoke to them once, and there seems to be close ties. the jbs and the teaparty have very similar views on government and economics.

    mccarthy was a catholic, and the catholic church was also violently anti-communist.  the "american pope" cardinal spellman advocated essentially a holy war against russia, especially a pre-emptive strike before they got the bomb. he was also advocating for war or military resoluteness in vietnam.

     so there are always new players and other players.  we have no idea who romney really is.

     koch brothers are also brought up in jbs.

    war is immoral. both parties are now fully complicit in the wars. bring everyone home. get to work.

    by just want to comment on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 07:34:18 AM PDT

  •  Republished to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Baracks Backers

    History for Kossacks and to Street Prophets. Thanks for the summary.

  •  Okay, I stopped reading at the second error (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Whether the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused the depression is debatable, but the Taft Family of Cincinnati and the Taft Benson family of Utah are unrelated. The Robert Taft you speak of was roughly the same age as Ezra Taft Benson, NOT his grandson.

    When you make mistakes like this, it calls the entire diary, which I'm sure has some value, into question. You can edit and republish it.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 09:11:24 AM PDT

    •  They may not be line related, but one would have (0+ / 0-)

      to see their genealogy to know if, in fact, they are related.

      It's important to remember that while not found in many religions, Mormons have extremely extended families due to large family sizes.


      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 11:34:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I understand why you're confused (0+ / 0-)

      There is a Robert Taft and an Ezra Taft Benson who were roughly the same age. They share a common grandfather who was also called Ezra Taft Benson, a man who was a prominent Mormon and had 7 wives.

      Please refrain from making comments that are wrong and unhelpful. Also Dave, maybe you should publish your own retraction before your reputation is soiled any further.

  •  John Birch and the Mormoms (0+ / 0-)

    Also John Birch society was co-founded by Robert Welch and the father of the Koch Brothers

  •  i thot ww1 began when that fellow (0+ / 0-)

    shot the arch-duke. does this mean the jbs paid this fellow to assassinate the duke?

  •  As a footnote to this, note that the JBS office (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Baracks Backers

    in Salt Lake City was next door to Deseret Books. Probably no coincidence.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 11:31:12 AM PDT

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