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.