Glenn Beck gave the CPAC conference a history lesson the other day. He explained how, in his understanding of American history, “progressive ideas” have consistently harmed the country:
“Woodrow Wilson gets in and he gives us the Fed. How’s that working out for us, huh?... Then he gives us the – let’s remember this America – progressive income tax. He gives us the income tax.”See the video here:
“Oh, they’re going to be so unhealthy, and we all want health care – Teddy Roosevelt was the first one to say, we should have universal health care.”
“Oh they’re going to be unhealthy, we can’t get that universal health care thing done, but you know what we can do? We should limit some of their choices. Prohibition. So he took away the alcohol. Progressive plan to take care of everyone.”
“Then he promised he wasn’t going to get us into war, because they’re a party of peace – peace and progress – and we went right to World War I.”
Of course, Beck does not have a degree in history. He told the folks at the CPAC conference how he became such an authority on history: “I went to the library, I educated myself. Books are free.”
Jon Stewart poked fun at this, since Beck had just spent the majority of his speech at CPAC railing against taxes paying for community-owned services. Stewart said,
“Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. The library isn’t FREE! It’s paid for with tax money! Free public libraries are the result of the progressive movement to communally share books! The first public library was the Boston Public Library in 1854. Its statement of purpose: ‘Every citizen has the right to access community owned resources.’ ‘Community owned?’ That sounds just like communist! You’re a communist! It’s like saying, ‘Diet plans can’t help people. I learned that when I was dropping weight at Weight Watchers.’”
Beck fancies himself a historian. His book, Arguing with Idiots, features a chapter from which his speech at CPAC sprang on the U.S. Presidents, entitled, “A Steady Progression of Progressives.” He also gives a history lesson on the Constitution and everything from education to immigration.
I’ve talked to many evangelicals who honestly (and literally) think that Glenn Beck is a Godsend, providing the American people with “the truth” about the history of America.
There’s a little problem with this contention. Glenn Beck became a Mormon in 1999, the year before his radio show went national. Now, I’m not contending that he isn’t allowed to choose his own faith. That’s one of the most precious American rights. My contention is this: Evangelical Christians see Glenn Beck as the one who understands and tells the truth about American history. But here’s a guy, at the age of 35, chose to join the Latter Day Saints, and to this day continues to be a Mormon.
Here's Glenn Beck talking about his Mormon faith:
Why is this significant? Because this bastion of truth about American history has embraced a religion that is demonstrably false historically.
The Book of Mormon is purported to be the history of two ancient civilizations on the American continent (here's the wikipedia article). According to Mormon history, the first group (the “Jeredites”) came to America after the tower of Babel. That civilization was destroyed because of “corruption” and “apostasy.” The second group came to America around 600 B.C. They were righteous Jews led by a man named Nephi. This group split into two warring camps, the Nephites and the Lamanites (which, according to the book of Mormon, were the American Indians). The Lamanites were ungodly so they were cursed with dark skin. Jesus Christ then came to America to reveal himself to the Nephites, creating a latter-day group of Christians (or the “latter-day saints”). However, the Lamanites defeated the Nephites, annihilating them in a battle in Palmyra, New York in A.D. 385. Some 1,400 years later, Joseph Smith discovered the Book of Mormon, written in a reformed Egyptian hieroglyphic on golden plates.
The Book of Mormon explains how great these two civilizations were.
- There were 38 cities cataloged in the Book of Mormon.
- “The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings” (Mormon 1:7).
- “Fine workmanship…in iron and copper, and brass and steal, makings all manners of tools” (Jarom 1:8).
- “did multiply and spread…began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east” (Heleman 3:8)
- “Their shipping and their building ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries” (Heleman 3:14).
My point is this: Glenn Beck, the “researcher” that finds the truth about America’s history readily available in the local library, cannot figure out the truth about the fallacious historical claims of Mormonism.
And we evangelicals are supposed to applaud his historical acumen?
related post: An Example of the Stormin' Mormon (Glenn Beck)'s Mode of Operation: Glenn Beck and Historical Inaccuracies