A Message of Warning and Hope from Ezra Taft Benson
We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said:
Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff up[on] which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction.
George Washington stated, "Truth will ultimately prevail where there are pains taken to bring it to light." To bring the truth to light is our challenge -- this day and everyday.
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)
To Moses God said: "....proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." (Lev. 25:10)
Why? For God knows full well that the gospel -- His plan for the blessing of His children can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom.
To modern men God has said: the Constitution "should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh." (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77)
I feel it is always good strategy to stand up for the right, even when it is unpopular. Perhaps I should say, ESPECIALLY when it is unpopular.
If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:
1. We must be righteous and moral...
2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts...
3. We must become involved in civic affairs...
4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice...
1. We must be righteous and moral...
2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts...
3. We must become involved in civic affairs...
4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice...
To the patriots I say this: Take that long eternal look. Stand up for freedom no matter what the cost. It can help to save your soul -- and maybe your country.
Ezra Taft Benson Society
The video clips contained in this video are from the following talks by Ezra Taft Benson:
Stand Up For Freedom. Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966.
The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner. 16 September 1986.
The Proper Role of Government. 1968.
LDS YouTube Channel for more videos
Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing by Marvin Goldstein & Jonelle Goddard
Medley (Primary Songs) by Mark L. Vaughan
If You Could Hie to Kolob by Lex De Azevedo
Ezra Taft Benson. Stand Up For Freedom.
Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966.
Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea
Stand Up for Freedom (20.6 MiB) Audio of speech
Humbly and gratefully I stand before you – grateful for patriots such as you – humbled by the magnitude of the task before us.
I speak to you as a fellow citizen of the United States of America deeply concerned about the welfare of our beloved country.
I am not here to tickle your ears – to entertain you. I will talk to you frankly and honestly. The message I bring is not a happy one, but it is the truth, and time is always on the side of truth. As the German philosopher Goethe, said: “Truth must be repeated again and again because error is constantly being preached round about.”
I realize that the bearer of bad news is always unpopular. As a people we love sweetness and light – especially sweetness. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that every mind must make a choice between truth and repose. Those who will learn nothing from history are condemned to repeat it. This we are doing in the Americas today.
George Washington stated, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there are pains taken to bring it to light.” To bring the truth to light is our challenge – this day and everyday.
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)
Returning recently from two years abroad has caused me to reflect seriously on recent trends and present conditions in our beloved country. I am shocked and saddened at what I find. I am sorry to say that all is not well in so-called prosperous, wealthy and powerful America.
We have moved a long way – and are now moving further and more rapidly down the soul-destroying road of socialism. The evidence is clear – shockingly clear for all to see.
With our national prestige at – or near – an embarrassing all-time low, we continue to weaken our domestic economy by unsound fiscal, economic and foreign aid policies which corrupt our national currency. Ever increasing centralization of power in the federal government in Washington, D.C. is reducing our local and state governments to virtual federal field offices while weakening individual initiative, enterprise and character.
With the crass unconstitutional usurpation of powers by the Executive Branch of the federal government, anti-spiritual decisions of the Supreme Court – all apparently approved by a weakly submissive rubber-stamp congress – the days ahead are ominously frightening.
Surely – certainly – it behooves patriotic citizens – such as you – to meet together to seriously consider present conditions in our beloved nation. It is imperative that American citizens become alerted and informed regarding the threat to our welfare, happiness and freedom.
No American is worthy of citizenship in this great land who refuses to take an active interest in these important matters.
All we hold dear as a great Christian nation is at stake.
In leaving for Europe two years ago, I could not help but feel a very deep sense of anxiety for this great land of America which had just passed through a terrible crisis. To have the President of the United States suddenly torn from his high office by the violent hand of an assassin was an insidious and dastardly act which struck at the very foundation of our Republic.
All of us felt the impact of it. All of us caught the ominous spirit of tragedy and sorrow which accompanied it. Each of us sensed in a very personal way the heartbreak which had come to the Kennedy family.
But after the services and burial were over, we also realized something else. There was the cold, stark reality that the assassin’s murder of President Kennedy was just one more monstrous treachery in the long list of crimes against humanity which have been inspired down through the years by the Godless philosophy of Communism.
It was Communism that sowed the seeds of treason in the mind of President Kennedy’s assassin. This is something which must not be forgotten.
Now two years and one month later, I am appalled at the shortness of our memories. When the events surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination were remembered last December, practically no mention was made of Oswald’s communist affiliations nor the present communist threat to our society. Have we so soon forgotten that communism sowed the seeds of hate that destroyed our President and that communism continually seeks to subvert and destroy our complete way of life.
The assassination of President Kennedy, the daily slaughter of our boys in Viet Nam, the communist control of the Berkeley riots and communist inspired demonstrations from coast to coast should serve as a shock therapy to that segment of our population who like to call themselves “liberals.” America is big enough to make room for many different kinds of thinking, but many liberals have claimed to see virtues in socialism and communism which I, for one, have not been able to find. To promote their ideas, American liberals have become a highly organized, hard-core establishment in the United States and they have been excusing their appeasement and coddling of communism on the ground that they were being “tolerant,” “broadminded,” and “working for peace.”
But the assassination of President Kennedy should have jolted them into a realization that they have been pampering, protecting and promoting the very nest of serpents which produced Lee Harvey Oswald. The diabolical spirit of murder and violence which struck down the President is that same spirit of Communist violence which has been allowed to spread its terror into the heart of every continent on the face of the earth. Perhaps those who have been apologists for this conquering Marxist Socialist-Communist movement might now agree to reconsider the fatal decision they have been following.
Two additional things happened in connection with this tragedy which are worthy of comment,
First was the speed with which the Communist leaders spread the word that the slaying of the President must have been the work of American conservatives. Within an hour after the assassination andMoscow has conducted a five year propaganda campaign to make American conservatives look like hysterical fanatics. It has called them “rightists,” “extremists,” and even “fascists.” before Oswald was captured, Moscow was assuring the world that this crime was a product of the “rightist” movement on the United States.
The second thing which happened was the amazing rapidity with which American liberals took up the Moscow line. They too were quick to fix the blame even though there hadn’t been the slightest hint as to who had committed the crime. I wonder what would have happened if Oswald had not been captured and identified as an active Communist who was in direct contact with Party headquarters in New York City? Undoubtedly the liberal element would be blaming this tragedy on conservative Americans to this day.
And even after Oswald was captured and identified as a Moscow-associated Communist there were those who insisted that any who had opposed the President during his term of high office was guilty of that same “spirit of hate” as that which led to the President’s death. This line of thinking was expressed by a number of prominent persons through the press, radio and TV. To me it was incomprehensible.
To equate Oswald’s hate and homicidal bitterness with patriotic Americans who happened to oppose some of the policies of the President’s administration was the height of distorted and fallacious thinking. The American people can respect their President, pray for their President, even have a strong affection for him, and still have an honest difference of opinion as to the merits of some of his programs.
Another recent development has been the call for national unity. I believe there needs to be a unity in our land. But it must not be blind, senseless, irresponsible unity. It should not be a unity just for the sake of unity. It needs to be a unity built on sound principles.
We Americans have strayed far from sound principles – morally, Constitutionally and historically. It has been getting us into a quagmire of trouble all over the world, and especially here at home.
Americans at the grass roots level have sensed that their way of life is being threatened. During the last several years there has been a rising tide of resistance to the prevailing political trend. Compromises with Communism abroad and flirtations with socialism at home have stirred up opposition in both political parties. If this has lead to disunity then by all means let us return to a program of sound Constitutional principles on which we can unite.
There would be no virtue in calling for unity to support certain legislation if the majority of Americans were opposed to it. And the fact that both Democrats and Republicans in congress have at times resisted certain legislation shows that the Executive branch of the government may get out of step with the people.
I believe the American people know what they want. It would appear that the people want their civil rights safeguarded but not a destruction of states’ rights.
The farmers want opportunity for reasonable income security but not agricultural “dictatorship” security.
Parents want better school for their children but not a federal subsidy leading to control of the teachings and text books as well as the ideologies of the children.
People want sound pay-as-you go spending with a balanced budget, not reckless spending and tax cuts with an unbalanced budget.
If there is a need for urban renewal, people want it under local direction, not under the red tape of Washington bureaus armed with confiscatory powers over property.
People want the development of power dams but not the strangulation of privately-owned power companies which have proven far more efficient and economical than utilities run by the government.
In other words, there are some legitimate functions and services which the Federal Government can and should provide, but those who want the federal power to exceed the authority delegated to it by the Constitution will be resisted both by Democrats and Republicans. This is what is happening in some limited areas today, may the trend increase. And anyone who tries to equate this love of Constitutional principles as meaning hatred of our national leaders is using Goebbels-style deception. History has already demonstrated that conservative opposition to national leaders was not “hate” but an attempt to do them a favor.
Let me give you some examples:
*Was it “hate” when General Albert C. Whedemeyer pleaded with general Marshal and President Truman to reverse their policy before they lost china?
*Was it “hate” when Whitaker Chambers tried to warn President Roosevelt in 1939 That Alger Hiss had been giving the Soviet Union more espionage data than any other member of the Washington spy network?
*Was it “hate” when J. Edgar Hoover tried to warn President Truman that Harry Dexter White was a member of the Soviet spy apparatus and was doing great danger to the nation as Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury?
*Was it “hate” when I went to the Secretary of State under President Eisenhower and pleaded with him not to support the Communist, Fidel Castro?
*Was it “hate” when I urged the President of the United States to go to the aid of the brave freedom fighters in Hungary?
*Was it “hate” when the Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Thomas Dodd, pleaded for two years with the President not to support the United Nations blood bath against the free people of Katanga?
*Is it “hate” when distinguished military leaders advise that an-all out effort could end the Viet Nam struggle almost over night?
This list of acts by well-meaning citizens who want and wanted to prevent their Presidents from making serious mistakes could be extended at length. But they would all illustrate the same point. History will show that many terrible mistakes occurred because the advice of these well informed and well-meaning citizens was not heeded.
Therefore, I repeat, this kind of resistance to a national leader is rooted in love and respect, not hate. Regardless of which political party is in power, you do not want to see your President make a serious blunder. You don’t want him to lose China. You don’t want him to allow the enemy agents to make fools of us. You don’t want him to lose Cuba. You don’t want him to suffer the humiliation of a “Bay of Pigs disaster”, or allow a Soviet Gibraltar to be built 90 miles from our shores.
Every one of these events which have been so disastrous and which have destroyed freedom for hundreds of millions of our allies, could have been prevented. And the voices of those who tried to warn Washington of what was coming cannot be attributed to hate. It has been out of a love for our country and respect for our leaders that the voice of warning has been raised.
What causes one to wonder is why these warnings were not carefully considered and acted upon. Why is it that men in high places in government, regardless of party have been deceived? I am convinced that a major part of the cause can be justly laid at the door of the Socialist-Communist Conspiracy, which is lead by masters of deceit who deceive the very elect. J. Edgar Hoover put it well when he said, “I would have no fears if more Americans possessed the zeal, the fervor, the persistence, and the industry to learn about this menace of Red fascism. I do fear for the liberal and progressive who have been hoodwinked and duped into joining with the Communists.”
Therefore, let those who call for unity and the elimination of hate be sure they are not merely trying to silence the friends of freedom. These are they who respect their leaders and resist them only when it is felt they are headed for a catastrophe. What patriotic American would wish to stand silent if he saw the President verging on a blunder because of bad advice or a mistake in judgment of the facts?
I believe one of the most serious mistakes a President could make would be to weaken the Constitution.
From the time I was a small boy, I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was also taught that the day will come when the Constitution will be endangered and hang as it were by a single thread. I was taught that we should study the Constitution, preserve its principles and defend it against any who would destroy it. To the best of my ability I have always tried to do this. I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution.
Some two years ago, however, a critic from Washington, D.C. claimed that a person who serves in a church capacity should not comment on such matters. He charged that the separation of church and state requires that church officials restrict their attention to affairs of the Church.
I, of course, also believe that the institutions of church and state should be separated, but I also do not agree that spiritual leaders cannot comment on basic issues which involve the very foundation of American liberty.
In fact, if this were true, we would have to throw away a substantial part of the Bible. Speaking out against immoral or unjust actions of political leaders has been the burden of prophets and disciples of God from time immemorial. It was for this very reason that many of them were persecuted. Some of them were stoned, some of them were burned, many were imprisoned. Nevertheless it was their God-given task, as watchmen on the towers, to speak up.
It is certainly no different today.
To Moses God said: “….proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25:10)
Why? For God knows full well that the gospel – His plan for the blessing of His children can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom.
To modern men God has said: the Constitution “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77)
Is the Constitution being maintained or is it in jeopardy? Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, says the American Constitution is nothing more than a product of the Eighteenth Century agrarian society. It is now obsolete he claims. Senator Joseph S. Park of Pennsylvania says the separation of powers with its checks and balances must be curtailed because they keep the President from making quick and decisive decisions. Gus Hall, head of the Communist Party U.S.A., agrees with these two Senators – yes – Gus Hall agrees with these two senators and demands that there should be a new federal charter eliminating states’ rights. America’s national sovereignty should be abandoned according to Walt Rostow, chairman of the State Department Policy Planning Board. He has boldly demanded “an end of nationhood as it has been historically defined.” (Quoted in the extension of remarks by Senator Strom Thurmond, Congressional Record, June 6, 1963, pp. A3662-3)
These are some of the same men who see great virtue in the collectivized, socialized society. They want vast powers concentrated in Washington. Samuel Addams of the founding fathers said this was the very thing Constitutional government was designed to prevent.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., is another powerful influence in Washington and a former Presidential adviser. He not only advocates socialism for the United States but believes that we could eventually form a permanent alliance with Communism. He says this would be achieved by having America move to the left while the Communists move to the right. We would then meet at the vital center of the socialist-left. The American Constitution, of course, would automatically be discarded. Arthur Schlesinger and his associates are also apposed to the liberation of the captive nations, even if these nations do it by themselves. These men do not look upon Communism as an enemy. They consider Communist leaders to be over-zealous allies who will mellow. Therefore, they believe in containing Communism, but otherwise supporting it, not short of thwarting it. They further recommend that wherever Communists or Socialists regimes are collapsing, we should prop them up….feed them, trade with them, grant them loans on long term credits.
From reading the daily paper, you will know that the ideas of these men have, unfortunately, already been adopted by Washington as the official policy of the United States.
Now I would say in the great free country like ours, if these men advocate these suicidal and often treasonable doctrines shouldn’t every patriotic American be free to speak out against them?
At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution – schools, churches, the halls of Congress, press, radio and TV and so far as I am concerned and I am sure so far as you are concerned it will resound – with God’s help.
Our Republic and Constitution are being destroyed while the enemies of freedom are being aided. How? In at least ten ways:
1. By diplomatic recognition and aid, trade and negotiations with the Communists.
2. By disarmament of our military defenses.
3. By destruction of our security laws and the promotion of atheism by decisions of the Supreme Court.
4. By loss of sovereignty and solvency to international commitments and membership in world organizations.
5. By undermining of local law enforcement agencies and Congressional investigation committees.
6. By usurpations by the Executive and the Judicial branches of our Federal Government.
7. By lawlessness in the name of civil rights.
8. By staggering national debt with inflation and the corruption of the currency.
9. By a multiplicity of executive orders and federal programs which greatly weaken local and state government.
10. By the sacrificing of American manhood by engaging in wars we apparently have no intention of winning.
Wherever possible, I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don’t want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for. They are afraid of their political careers if these facts are pointed out. They therefore try to silence any who carry the message – anyone who will stand up and be counted.
But these liberal politicians are not the only ones who are trying to silence the warning voice of American patriots. Moscow is equally alarmed.
It was in 1960 when the Communist leaders first decided to do something drastic about the rising tide of patriotism in the United States. The loss of Cuba to the Soviet Union had alerted many Americans. Citizens were holding study groups, seminars and freedom schools. The more they studied the more they realized how fast Communism was advancing on all fronts. They also learned to their amazement that most Washington politicians were doing practically nothing about it. In fact in many cases they were doing things to promote Communism. So the protests began to pour into the national capital from every state in the union. All over America there was an awakening.
The Soviet leaders knew this trend could create a crisis for Communism, not only in the United States, but elsewhere.
Therefore, they called together Communist delegates from eighty-one countries and held a meeting in Moscow.
In December, 1960, just five years ago – this Communist convention issued an edict that the rising tide of patriotism and anti-communism must be smashed. Especially in the United States. All the tricks of hate propaganda and smear tactics were to be unleashed on the heads of American patriots.
Now if the communists had been forced to do this job themselves, it would have been another failure. Americans would have simply closed ranks and united. But what mixes up so many people up is the fact that the attack on patriotism and the smear of the anti-Communist movement did not come in the name of Moscow. It came in the name of influential Americans who espoused the Socialist-Communist line.
This was a minority block of liberals, American liberals, who formed a propaganda coalition with the Communists. Their strategy was ingenious. Almost over night they drew the fire away from the Communist Conspiracy and focused the heat of attack on the patriots.
How did they do it? They did it by saying that THEY were against the Communists but ALSO against the anti-Communists. They said one was as bad as the other.
Now what kind of logic was this? What if we had taken this approach in the fight against Nazism? Informed patriots recognized it as confusion compounded by delusion. In any event, this deceptive line of propaganda had its impact. These liberal voices would denounce Communism and then turn right around and parrot the Communist line. They claimed they were anti-Communists, but spend most of their time fighting those who were really effective anti-Communists.
As I asked some of them at the time, “Are you fighting the communists or not? You claim to be fighting the fire, but you spend nearly all your time fighting the firemen!”
By 1962 these American liberals had almost completely neutralized the resurgence of American patriotism. They had frightened uninformed citizens away from study groups and patriotic rallies. They had made it popular to call patriotism a “controversial” subject which should not be discussed in school assemblies or churches.
From Washington, D.C., the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) issued an edict to radio and television stations that if they allowed the controversial subjects of “Americanism,” “anti-Communism,” or “States’ Rights” to be discussed on their stations they would be required to give equal time, free of charge, to anyone wishing to present an opposite view.
Can you imagine this happening in a free country? I said to my family, “It is fantastic that anything like this could have happened in America.”
Now we should all be opposed to Socialistic-Communism, for it is our mortal and spiritual enemy – the greatest evil in the world today. But the reason many liberals don’t want the American people to form study groups to really understand and than fight Socialistic-Communism is that once the American people get the facts they will begin to realize that much of what these liberals advocate is actually helping the enemy.
The liberals hope you’ll believe them when they tell you how anti-Communist they are. But they become alarmed if you really inform yourself on the subject of Socialistic-Communism. For after you inform yourself you might begin to study the liberal voting record. And this study would show you how much the liberals are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and how much the liberals are actually leading America towards Socialism itself.
For Communism is just another form of socialism, as is fascism. So now you can see the picture. These liberals want you to know how much they are doing for you – with your tax money of course. But they don’t want you to realize that the path they are pursuing is socialistic, and that socialism is the same as communism in its ultimate effect on our liberties. When you point this out they want to shut you up – they accuse you of maligning them, of casting aspersions, of being political. No matter whether they label their bottle as liberalism, progressivism, or social reform – I know the contents of the bottle is poison to this Republic and I’m going to call it poison.
We do not need to question the motive of these liberals. They could be most sincere. But sincerity or supposed benevolence or even cleverness is not the question. The question is: “Are we going to save this country from the hands of the enemy and the deceived?”
As J. Edgar Hoover said, “A tragedy of the past generation in the United States is that so many persons, including high-ranking statesmen, public officials, educators, ministers of the Gospel, professional men have been duped into helping communism. Communist leaders have proclaimed that Communism must be partly built with non-Communist hands, and this, to a large extent, is true.” (Masters of Deceit, p. 93)
“We cannot defeat Communism with socialism, nor with secularism, nor with pacifism, nor with appeasement or accommodation. We can only defeat Communism with true Americanism.” (Address by J. Edgar Hoover, Oct. 9, 1962)
So from the very beginning of this Moscow campaign, to stop the anti-Communist movement in this country, it was an important part of the Communist strategy to get their liberal American friends to carry out an attack against patriotic organizations. Of course, the Communists have learned not to attack all patriotic groups at once. Their strategy is to focus on just one organization and make it so detestable and ugly in the public mind that they can hold it up as a sort of a tar baby and then use it to smear all other individuals or groups in the same category.
It was interesting to see just where the Communists would begin their dirty work; which organization would be singled out to get the tar brush treatment. It could have been the American Farm Bureau which the Communists have consistently denounced. It could have been the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the DAR, the Sons of the American Revolution. These have been favorite Communist targets in the past as had J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.
As it turned out, it was none of these. Instead, the Communists chose to focus their attack on a fairly new organization which very few people had heard about, including myself. They decided to level practically their entire arsenal on The John Birch society. For the non-political Birch Society had within it, both the policy, the program and the personnel to help defeat the Conspiracy in this country. And the communists knew it, for they had seen its results.
On February 25, 1961 the official Communist paper in California, the PEOPLE’S WORLD, came out with the opening blast. It said there is a new secret, fascist society which is setting up “cells” all over the United States. They said it was the most serious threat to the American way of life.
That was the signal for the bloc of American liberals to pick up the torch, and they did. Overnight the patriotic campaign against Communism was almost completely forgotten as the liberal vigilantes heroically rode out in full force to save the country from the “terrible Birchers.”
Not only the ultra-liberal forces rallied to the battle, but some of the most respected conservative press took up the hue and cry, and many prominent, highly respected Americans also fell for the deceptive line.
The Communists had intended to confuse the American people and they did. The tar brush tactic smeared the image of the new, small, but rapidly growing John Birch Society to the point where many people thought it must be a group of neo-Nazis or a revival of the Ku Klux Klan. Some prominent, highly respected men who were so deceived that they declared that the infiltration of The John Birch society was equally bad as the infiltration of the Godless Communist Conspiracy.
From the beginning of this attack The John Birch Society pleaded for some kind of official investigation so the truth about them could be given to the public. They believed this was the only way they could counteract the tidal wave of false propaganda which was being heaped upon them. But the investigation was so long in coming that the purposes of the Communist-liberal coalition were completely accomplished. It will probably be a long time before the official report on The John Birch Society gets an honest hearing.
This investigation was conducted by trained investigators who were working for the California Senate Fact-Finding Subcommittee on Un-American Activities. The investigation took two years. Sworn affidavits were obtained from scores of people. The attacks on the Society were studied. Interviews were conducted with detractors and supporters of the society. Undetected investigators attended Birch meetings. The Senate Fact-Finding report was issued in June, 1963.
But even this report was recklessly distorted by some of the liberal press stories. I therefore obtained a copy of the report myself so I could see what was in it. The report is sixty-two pages long, was signed by all members of the Committee, and was issued by the President Pro Tem of the California Senate, Senator Hugh M. Burns, a Democrat.
Here are a few quotes from the report.
“The society had been publicly charged with being a secret, fascist, subversive, Un-American, anti-Semitic organization. We have not found any of these accusations to be supported by the evidence.”
And a further quote from the report:
“We believe that the reason the John Birch Society has attracted so many members is that it simply appeared to them to be the most effective, indeed the only organization through which they could join a national movement to learn the truth about the Communist menace and than take some positive, concerted action to prevent its spread.”
This report also goes on to verify what I have already told you, namely, that the attack against The John Birch Society commenced with an article in the PEOPLE’S WORLD, California Communist paper.
Now in the light of what I have just related, you will understand my feelings when people would ask how I felt about The John Birch Society because of the amazingly effective propaganda against them, it has been very unpopular to defend this group. I can remember when it was unpopular to defend my own Church.
Nevertheless, as soon as I learned what the Communists and liberals were doing to The John Birch Society, I felt a deep indignation that this should happen to any non-political, patriotic group of American citizens. I felt it was dishonest, immoral and crass hypocrisy. I still feel that way.
One liberal Congressman attacked the Society claiming it was “rotten to the core.” Other influential liberals said they objected to the Society’s “methods.” If it was rotten to the core the California Senate Fact-Finding investigators couldn’t discover it.
Some of the finest and best informed Americans I know have endorsed the Society and its program including a number of former FBI agents and officials, counterspies, intelligence and security officers, and so on. Many nationally prominent patriotic Americans serve without pay on its Council. As to its “methods” the report described the Society as a study group organization designed to “first learn the facts about Communism and than implement that knowledge with effective and responsible action.” (p. 37) Now what is wrong with such methods as these? It was Communists and American liberals who objected to these “methods” because they were effective. They turned out to be traditional American methods that I could find no fault with.
Even in my own church I found a certain amount of confusion. I heard people say that the LDS church was opposed to The John Birch Society. This may come, in part at least, as a result of a statement made by the First Presidency three years ago. However, when President McKay discovered that this statement was being misinterpreted and certain people were quoting it to try and prove the LDS Church was opposing The John Birch Society, he authorized a clarifying statement. This statement appeared in the official Church newspaper for March 16, 1963, and says “The church is not opposing The John Birch Society or any organization of like nature.” And “that members of the Church are free to join anti-Communist organizations”. The statement also says that only one man, President David O. McKay, speaks for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on matters of policy.
Just as a matter of interest you may like to know in a few words what The John Birch Society is and what it stands for so that you will have a little better idea why some of us have risen to its defense. Actually what would be better for you to do would be to read some of their literature for yourself. Everything the Birch Society publishes is available to member and non-member alike and their headquarters at Belmont Massachusetts 02178 will be happy to provide this literature including some other free introductory material.
The society takes its name from one of the greatest heroes of World War II, Captain John Birch, who was murdered by the Chinese Communists ten days after the war.
The society attempts through an educational and monthly action program to use every legal and moral means practicable to preserve our inspired Constitution. These programs have had a real impact against the Conspiracy. The various programs are purely suggestive and the members are cautioned never to do anything that goes contrary to their conscience and judgment.
The Society is not a political organization – It never endorses a candidate or contributes to candidates. It encourages its members, whether they be Democrats, Republicans or Independents to study the issues and candidates in the light of our Constitution, and the threats to it, and than govern themselves accordingly.
Among other things the Society is for a balanced budget, for the Monroe Doctrine and for letting the states solve their own problems.
It is against foreign aid to the Communists, against the Marxist graduated income tax and against the Federal Government competing with tax paying free enterprise. In a sentence, The John Birch Society believes in less centralized government, more personal responsibility and a better world.
I do not belong to The John Birch Society, but I have always defended this group, just as I do not belong to but have defended the American Farm Bureau, the DAR, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and any other patriotic group trying to alert Americans to the Socialist-Communist threat. I have also defended J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.
When my son Reed was invited to be a state coordinator for The John Birch Society, he asked me if he should accept it. I had read the Blue Book and other basic materials of the Society. I had met Mr. Welch and other leaders and members. I had read Mr. Welch’s famous letter which has since been published in book form entitled THE POLITICIAN. I knew Reed would be enrolling in an unpopular cause. I also knew he would receive a certain amount of vilification if he took this job. Nevertheless, I told him to go ahead if he thought this was a most effective way to defend the Constitution and fight the Socialist-Communist menace. I would have given him equal encouragement if he had been considering the FBI or any of our national patriotic organizations dedicated to the fight against the Godless Conspiracy which threatens all we hold dear.
When he joined I expressed my opinion that I was convinced that The John Birch Society was the most effective non-Church organization in our fight against creeping socialism and Godless communism. I also stated that I admired Reed’s courage and applauded his decision.
Some people, I’m sure well meaning, have told me this was not good strategy, but I disagree. I feel it is always good strategy to stand up for the right, even when it is unpopular. Perhaps I should say, ESPECIALLY when it is unpopular.
I had to make this same decision all over again when President David O. McKay received an invitation from former Congressman John Rousselot, asking that I be authorized to give a patriotic speech at a testimonial dinner for Robert Welch. President McKay after careful consideration, told me I should make the talk and that I had his permission and blessing. And so the invitation was accepted.
This talk was given at the Hollywood Palladium, September 23rd, 1963. Nearly 2,000 heard my talk that night and 4,000 Kiwanians heard a similar message the following day when I spoke at their annual convention.
Both talks dealt with the preservation of the Constitution and the need to resist the Communist threat. At the Welch Testimonial dinner I commended The John Birch Society and encouraged them to protect the principles of liberty throughout the land.
Of course, as all of you know, this talk brought an immediate outcry from some liberal elements in Washington. These voices said that I, as a Church official, had no business speaking at the Robert Welch dinner. They said it was making me “controversial.” Patrick Henry and the Founding Fathers were also “controversial,” as true patriots have ever been. Perhaps they did not realize that I had fulfilled this assignment with the full approval of President McKay. And perhaps they did not realize that President David O. McKay has not hesitated to speak out for freedom even if some people have considered such patriotism as “controversial.” And neither will I hesitate. The fight to save the Constitution is not near controversy, nor the fight against Communism. In fact, it is a war with the devil – Christ verses anti-Christ – and I am willing to fight it. It is a fight against the greatest evil in this world – a ruthless, powerful, godless conspiracy.
J Edgar Hoover has warned that the cold war is a real war and that the threat is increasing. I agree, and unfortunately we are losing the war.
I think it is time for every patriotic American to join with neighbors to study the Constitution and the Conspiracy. Subscribe to several good patriotic magazines such as AMERICAN OPINION. Buy a few basic books, such as MASTERS OF DECIET and A STUDY OF COMMUNISM by J. Edgar Hoover; THE NAKED COMMUNIST by Cleon Skousen, recommended by President David O. McKay, in the General Conference of the Church, October 1959; YOU CAN TRUST THE COMMUNISTS by Dr. Fred Schwartz, and so on. And then prepare to do some independent thinking. And remember that the organized who have a plan and are dedicated though they be few, will always defeat the many who are not organized and who lack plans and dedication. The communists know this and have proven it. Isn’t it about time that most Americans realize it too?
In conclusion may I say that one of our most serious problems is the inferiority complex which people feel when they are not informed and unorganized. They dare not make a decision on these vital issues. They let other people think for them. They stumble around in the middle of the road trying to avoid being “controversial” and get hit by traffic going both ways.
To the patriots I say this: Take that long eternal look. Stand up for freedom no matter what the cost.
It can help to save your soul – and maybe your country.
This is a choice land….choice above all others. Blessed by the Almighty, our forefathers have made and kept it so. It will continue to be a land of freedom and liberty as long as we are able to advance in the light of sound and enduring principles of right. To sacrifice such principles for momentary expediency – often selfishly motivated – is to endanger our noble heritage and is unworthy of this great American people.
With all my heart I love this great nation. I have lived and traveled abroad just enough to make me appreciate rather fully what we have here. To me this is not just another nation. It is not just one of a family of nations. This is a nation with a great mission to perform for the benefit and blessing of liberty-loving people everywhere. It is my firm conviction that The Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. This is part of my religious faith.
The days ahead are sobering and challenging, and will demand the faith, prayers and loyalty of every American. As the ancient apostle declared:
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12)
May God give us the wisdom to recognize the dangers of complacency, the threat to our freedom and the strength to meet this danger courageously.
Our challenge is to keep America strong and free – strong socially, strong economically, and, above all, strong spiritually, if our way of life is to endure. There is no other way. Only in this course is there safety for our nation.
In this mighty struggle each of you has a part. Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the war in heaven. Be on the right side now. Stand up and be counted. If you get discouraged remember the words of Edward Everett Hale when he said:
“I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, that I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of God, I shall do!”
And this is my prayer for you this day. May God bless all of you, each and every one. Thank you very much.