Ep 260 – Ezra Taft Benson: The Smackdown


Posted February 14th, 2016

Fun fact: this episode was almost titled “Communist-lead Negro Guerrilla Units.” Why? Find out for yourself as Randy, Glenn, and Matt welcome Anissa and Kim back to the podcast to smack down a 1967 conference talk from Ezra Taft Benson called “Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception.”

Fair warning: do not drink any dark liquids while listening to this episode, as you might unintentionally yet fervidly stain your habiliments.

Civil Rights: Tool of Communist Deception




  • So what you’re saying is that Ezra T wasn’t exactly feelin’ the Bern.
    And habiliments = tin foil hats.

    Definitely lots of parallels to some of today’s conflicts and paradigms. I certainly love how God’s kingdom is always about ‘Murica.

  • Ryan Gregson

    Just when I thought ‘follow the prophet’ couldn’t get any creepier. To hear it sung by what I can only assume is a possessed children’s doll really puts it over the top.

    • Randy_Snyder

      Ryan, do you remember that Twilight Zone episode with that murderous doll Talky Tina? That’s what it sounded like to me. Lol

      • Ryan Gregson

        Ha ha! “My name is talking Tina, and you should follow the prophet!”

  • Swagavad Gita

    Your parodies of cherished Primary songs slay me. I love it love it love it.

    I remember having to memorize Benson’s name as a kid. I was born in 83. Then he died and Hunter died. I was like, “they’re dropping like flies!”

  • peeej

    Is the Follow The Prophet song the work of that brilliant girl from Minersville named Heather? Put it on iTunes. I need that one on my playlist!

    • ART

      I’d be really surprised if not, great work Heather!

      I can’t wait to see “Meet the Mormons 2” in 45 years, where the first story is about a Bishop who happens to be gay. And all the General Conferences where they pan and stop the camera on gay couples holding hands. Not to mention all the wonderful church magazines with pictures of happy gay Mormon families.

      • peeej

        That would seem like a miracle considering the current rhetoric. As for me, I’d just be happy if the church would cease the endless bigotry and make space for everyone.

  • TK

    How’d you get Adam Sandler to sing those interludes?

  • Anissa R.

    Glenn, you did so good at the editing!! That remix is so funny. But I feel a little bad I gave more ammo toward Randy. Though, I should be getting it for saying it. But I still find it funny. Still relieved I was raised post civil rights! Such crazy stuff being said, it was just laughable. Thanks for letting me join, even with the unexpected curveball topic.

  • Cara

    I haven’t attended church in a year or so, but this felt like one of our Sacrament Meetings! I live in the birthplace of ETB. We use to have a few people visit our meetings on their way through in the summer and would give testimony of the great ETB and have similar viewpoints, pulpit pounding and all. The members that have always lived here share this way of speaking and fear still. Crazy place. Thanks for the laughs.The church may be 30 years behind and SE Idaho is 20 on top of that. Needless to say I didn’t do well in Ward Councils.

    I have listened to almost every one of your podcasts. Seriously thanks! I don’t usually comment on anything but this one brought so much back. My husband introduced IOT to me. This may sound weird but he resonates with one member and I another, your podcast helped us see each others view points.

  • Susan Mowers

    I think the tags for this episode are what make me smile the most. #Brilliant. #Duh. (They remind me of the opening credits to Deadpool. #watchit)

  • Larry

    This was a good episode, but you should be aware that there was urban guerrilla warfare in the sixties, from assaulting police to bombing buildings. It really was a tense time. I’m not arguing that Benson was raising a straw man–I think he was–but he wasn’t making it out of whole cloth. Some people to this day are convinced of the communist conspiracy. In truth, there were prominent communists who did support the civil rights movement for reasons Benson mentions, but this was an effect, not the raison d’etre, of the movement.

    • You’re right, I was there. You only have to look at the Kent State incident to realize that there was serious shit going down. Old ETB wants it to look like the blacks and the commies were conspiring to bring down the blameless lily whites. Kent State was white-on-white violence. There was some hideous black-on-black violence in Detroit and other places. The kids who threw bricks through administration building windows in places like Berkley were 98% white, if there were any blacks at all. It was a lot more complicated than most of us remember, but if you’re trying to rile the masses, or cower them in fear, you need to keep things simple. Masses, riotous or huddling, don’t do nuance.

      • Larry

        Right, Benson’s way off on the communist conspiracy. It is about as plausible as the 9/11 conspiracy or any number of others. Interesting thing about Kent State: one or two of the victims were innocent bystanders, just going to class, not the “bums” Nixon called them.

        • Nancy

          I’m not surprised at this talk at all. ETB was a member of the John Birch Society. My mom used to say that group was so paranoid they looked for communists under their beds!

  • Thomas Moore

    How is it that at a time one principle of God/Church is holy and sacred (i.e. Polygamy, United Order) then suddenly these become principles of the Devil? My ancestors helped settle the Mormon Pioneer towns in AZ (Joseph City mostly) and for over a decade they lived the United Order which was pure communism. My Great Grandmother whined in her journal that even though her and her husband provided most of the milk cows, since it was just her and her husband and one baby, she only got one pint of milk a day.

    • ART

      It seems like somewhere in the 40s and 50s it became extremely important for Mormons to be considered model American citizens. They decided they wanted to be considered part of Christianity, and not separate from it. They became a huge part of the federal law enforcement community. And the church began rapidly growing with new non-B.I.C. converts. I think all of that made it easy to distance themselves from the recent “fuck the government” polygamy era.

      • Thomas Moore

        Yes, it drives me “CRAZY” to watch Mormons try to be so patriotic and loyal to Govt (CIA, Dept of Ag, etc…) when their history and rhetoric in the JoD and HotC is so vile and disgusted by the Govt of the U.S.A. How they struggled so hard to keep their young men from drafts and wars so they could serve missions instead… Oh, well in another couple of decades they’ll be preaching how they lead the charge for Same-sex marriage legalization and introduced so much women’s rights into society. Hypocritical and deceit and omissions of creeds and past dogmas has always been their way; hatred of all humankind except their own. I predict they’ll lead the next hate speech towards Muslims even though in past JoD talks they claimed to be closer to the Crescent than the Cross. Lorenzo Snows speech about consecration? http://journalofdiscourses.com/5/15

        Daniel Wells– Political Economy? http://journalofdiscourses.com/9/35

  • AxelDC

    Habillement is French for clothing. Habiller means “to dress”.

  • Sterling C

    F’n he1l. That’s some really scary rhetoric from a former presidential cabinet member.

    All I can say is we need to kill us some commies!!!

    Dr.Strangelove (or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

  • Chad Butterworth

    My inner TBM thinks the lord turned ETB into a vegetable so he couldn’t lead the church astray.

  • Is that the real tune to “Follow the Prophet?” It sounds like a Hebrew folk tune. I keep expect the cast to break into Hava Nagila.

  • Aaron

    Hey Infants, please post the audio to your Follow The Prophet remake.
    Funny stuff. Who made it?

  • Tim

    I loved the Glenn Beck comparison. Check out the Fox fact checker media matters to see Beck’s top 5 conspiracy theories. No surprise that #1 is that the Arab Spring was a communist plot for world power. http://mediamatters.org/blog/2011/06/30/glenn-becks-top-5-conspiracy-theories/180582

    While my wife was showing the kids family search for FHE, I did a search of ETB talks. I had to turn it off before I burst out laughing at his talk title “Satan’s Thrust”.

  • Brandon

    I am having a hard time believing this is a legitimate talk. I wish there was a way we could prove this came from ETB and general conference. But, as others stated, this is the same tired rhetoric used now (by Glenn Beck, Donald Trump, etc.) to drum-up fear of Muslims, “the gays”, and “progressives”.

  • Seth L.

    Wow. I hated the ETB Manual in church. Trying to teach Elders Quorum out of it pushed me to start researching and to read the CES Letter. This talk is insane!

  • Leslie North

    Two comments:
    1) Mary Poppins? What? I didn’t know! I guess I’ll have to look more into the movie. Are there other drug references?

    2) My political leanings are towards voluntaryism, or minarchism and when looking at the results over decades, there is a problem with government run housing, job training and federalization of police. Government- run anything is inefficient.

  • Sam

    Whoa! You used my outro. I wasn’t expecting to hear my own voice at the end of the episode. Thanks guys!

  • Rikki
  • Dan

    This one hit the sweet spot. I grew up in a house where Benson’s politics were synonymous with the “Gospel”. This episode pairs so nicely with your Lowery Nelson episode. Hours of good, heart felt discussion with my family comes from these types of podcasts as they give us good common ground for so many current issues. Keep it up.

  • Christ on a cracker. I just had somebody post this sound bite in response to a comment I made on Facebook clarifying Bernie’s platform (my friend had posted an anti-socialism quote). And thanks to IoT, I was able to follow up with a link to this talk and a little context–to no avail. I don’t know how you go from the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament and an understanding of the Law of Consecration as the way it’s taught in D&C and practiced by early Mormons to thinking socialism is a slippery slope to Communism, which is definitely Satan’s tool. How is social equality and caring for your neighbors evil?


    • Oh and I don’t think it was mentioned in the podcast, but Benson (much like the Pride talk) was quoting (stealing) George Schuyler’s book: The Communist Conspiracy against the Negroes. The person with whom I was debating suggested I wiki him, thinking that if I learned that Benson is quoting a conservative black man, then he must not be racist.