Mark Paredes’ article Glenn Beck in Israel: saint or sinner? was disappointing. Brother Paredes published substantially the same article in Jewishjournal.com under the title Glenn Beck’s Holy Land Vanity Project. The titles alone of these two pieces convey the contempt Brother Paredes has for Glenn Beck. I don’t share that contempt and found Brother Paredes’ analysis to be superficial.
Brother Paredes says he is “inclined to agree” with Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater’s characterization of Beck as a “fundamentalist-extremist” and that the Rally for Courage in Israel was “nothing more than a media-driven, money-making, self-serving, end-of-times messianic-lunacy circus show.” Brother Paredes added one additional compliment of his own: that Glenn Beck is delusional. What a brilliant money-making strategy Beck has evidently concocted: align yourself with the one western-style nation that is virtually isolated in this world, that is surrounded by enemies, that can no longer count any other nation among its friends, that virtually everyone, including the current American administration, considers to be the skunk at the picnic, and make a statement like this:
“When Naomi and her daughters-in-law lost their husbands, Naomi knew that their future would be far brighter if they went back to their families to start over. But her daughter-in-law Ruth would have none of it. She said,
‘Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.’
And so I say that if the world decides it must know who will stand with Israel, who will stand with the Jewish people, so they know exactly who to condemn, who to target, let them know this. Condemn me. Target me. I will stand with Israel. I will stand with the Jewish people. And if they want to round us up again, I will proudly raise my hand and say ‘Take me first.'” (Glenn Beck, The Courage to Stand, Restoring Courage rally in Israel, Aug. 24, 2011)
Now that’s what I call a vain, self-serving, money-making coup d’etat! I’m surprised that George Soros, who has no compunction about pulling the financial rug out from under any nation if it will serve to make him a billion bucks, didn’t think of this cutting edge money-making scheme first. And I can’t understand why Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, didn’t invest in the Restoring Courage rally! Beck’s rally for Israel was clearly a financial no-brainer!
We Latter-day Saints are counseled to liken the scriptures to ourselves and to our times. Was Captain Moroni a “fundamentalist-extremist” when he raised the Title of Liberty and sought to rally the people to stand with courage against the tyranny of his day? Remember how he led that “messianic-lunacy circus show” when he bowed himself to the earth and “prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren” and then “went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part” and calling for the people to “enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord may bless them”? Yes sir, that’s a messianic-lunacy circus show if there ever was one. Not only that, but Captain Moroni was so “delusional” that he “named all the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south – A chosen land, and the land of liberty” (Alma 46:12-20). Imagine the comments from some Latter-day Saints if Glenn Beck did something like that! Wait…raising the Title of Liberty and inviting people of every denomination from every nation on earth to rally to it…this is pretty much what Beck is doing, isn’t it? Then why the contemptuous sniping from members of the Church?
Isn’t it interesting how when we read of great men and women in the scriptures who step forward in acts of God-inspired courage, we admire them and speak approvingly of them in Sunday school and from the pulpit. But let such a person step forward outside of our chapels, anxiously engaged in a good work, seeking to raise the Title of Liberty and rally the people to stand against tyranny, and many among us will impugn their character and intentions, insult them, judge them rashly, and mock them.
“Fools mock, but they shall mourn…” (Ether 12:26)
Mark Paredes states “It strains credulity to believe that [Israelis] need someone like Beck – a non-Jew who has never lived in their country, doesn’t speak Hebrew, and has a Messiah complex – to teach them about courage.” But Glenn Beck did no such thing. In fact, he said the opposite:
” I have been asked: What can you teach Israel about Courage? My answer is simple. Nothing.
Then they ask: Why are you coming to Israel? Because, I say: In Israel, you see courage.
In Israel, there is more courage in one square mile than in all of Europe. In Israel, there is more courage in one soldier than in the combined and cold hearts of every bureaucrat at the United Nations. In Israel, you can find people who will stand against incredible odds… against the entire tide of global opinion, for what is right and good and true. Israel is not a perfect country. No country is perfect. But it tries… and it is courageous.“
Beck made this statement at the rally for Israel and, therefore, after Brother Paredes published his article. But the statement reflects what Beck has been saying for a long time. The fact that he got this aspect of Beck’s intentions so backward is, in part, why I say that Brother Paredes’ analysis is superficial. He could have, and should have, known better.
Commenting on the Paredes piece, one Latter-day Saint, wrote
“Glen Beck can’t make claims like he does without claiming divine authority that he has not been given – at least not by the LDS church.”
Really? We Latter-day Saints are constrained from testifying of the things we know to be true unless we are given authority to do so by the Church? I thought this admonition from the Lord was well known to all the Saints:
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward” (D&C 58:26).
Another accused Beck of acting as if he thought he were a General Authority of the Church. Yet another frets that Beck may have missed these scriptures:
“Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called. Wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine.” (D&C 11: 15-16)
“Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed” (D&C 11:21)
I’m sorry to be disagreeable with my fellow Saints, but I don’t think that these last two scriptures are applicable to Glenn Beck at all. I think the man’s tongue has been loosed. But I do think this commandment of the Lord applies:
“Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;” (D&C 58:27)
Evidently, we are expected by the Lord to act of our own volition, without being specifically called by General Authorities. And, evidently, when we so act we are not usurping authority or responsibility reserved to the Church, but are doing many things of our own free will, attempting to bring to pass much righteousness.
I have often marveled, as I listen to Brother Beck’s radio program, that for years he has been teaching America gospel principles – without saying that is what he is doing: encouraging personal and family prayer, family home evening, individual accountability, covenant making with God, repentance, personal righteousness, standing in holy places, provident living, food storage, preparing “every needful thing,” and joining together with other like-minded people for good. I hear him advocating the principles of the gospel day after day. His advocacy of the Constitution and the founding principles of our nation is unwavering, as it ought to be.
But those who befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land can expect to be smeared with nasty epithets like “fundamentalist-extremist.” It shouldn’t be so, especially among the “brethren of my church.” But, unfortunately, it is.
Do we not believe that if the Constitution is to be saved at all that it will be the Elders of the Church who step forward to rescue it from destruction? Did Joseph Smith suggest that only the First Presidency of the Church would be the saviors of the Constitution? I don’t think he did. It is my opinion that Beck is one of those elders spoken of by the Prophet.
The Lord seemingly has little use for those who position themselves safely in the middle (Rev. 3:16). Glenn Beck does not shrink from taking a stand on that which he considers to be holy ground: “I will stand with Israel. I will stand with the Jewish people.” He says that knowing it’s just one more reason to make him a target. I agree with him. I will stand with Israel and the Jewish people also. And further, based on what I have seen of this man, this Latter-day Saint will also stand with Glenn Beck.