Well, I’m back after a bit of an illness. I don’t know if this post will generate any interest, but I thought I’d share it.
A Letter to Glenn Beck
February 29, 2008
Dear Mr. Beck:
First, let me tell you that I am not a regular viewer of your program. My politics is to the left of yours, and so I naturally gravitate toward other broadcasters. You make no bones about being a conservative. I appreciate this openness.
From time to time I find myself interested in what you’re saying. Even when I disagree with you, I find you energetic and filled with a certainty that is sometimes lacking in the political discourse these days.
A few days ago, you had a discussion about universal health insurance. The substance of your view was that you, and other healthy Americans, should not be responsible for helping those who, through their own fault, have become ill.
I was struck by this viewpoint. I know that you have come from a background of addiction, and have become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My mind went back to something that King Benjamin said in the book of Mosiah. Here is the citation from Timothy Wilson’s excellent paraphrase of the Book of Mormon:
“Help those who need your help, and give your substance to those who need it. Do not turn away those who ask for your help, saying, ‘This foolish man has brought on his own misery. I will not relieve his misery by giving him food or money. He deserves to suffer for his own mistakes.’
“Anyone who does this has great need to repent. Otherwise, he or she will spiritually perish forever, having no place in God’s kingdom.
“For we’re all beggars! We all depend upon the same Being, even God, for everything we have….food, clothing and all our prosperity.
“Today you’ve been calling on His name, begging for a remission of your sins. And have you begged in vain? No, for God has poured out His Spirit upon you, and you could not even speak because your hearts were filled with so much joy.
“God, the one on whom you depend for your lives, and for everything you have and are, gives you what you ask for, if you ask in faith for what is right, believing you will receive it. So how much more should you give your substance to those who are in need!
“If you judge and condemn those who ask you for substance just to survive, then you will be condemned for holding it back. For what you think is yours is really God’s, including your life.
“Yet while under this condemnation, do you ask God’s forgiveness or change your ways? If not, you are cursed, for your substance will perish with you.”
My question, Mr. Beck, is this: how do you reconcile your views on helping the poor and the sick with the plain teachings of the holy book of your adopted religion? Do you not fear the Lord’s condemnation when you speak as you do? Can you not see the contradiction, the offense of your views, in light of the progressive and, frankly, liberal views of the Book of Mormon?
So much has been said in Mormon circles about the “Sealed Portion” of the Book of Mormon. I have come to think that perhaps each reader has his or her own, personal “Sealed Portion” of the published book — those thoughts that are clearly the mind of the Lord, but which are not consistent with one’s political or economic views.
In the end, we’re all called upon to account for our thoughts and deeds. I know that we all come to our religious belief from a personal, individual point of view, and that we process the thoughts of our faiths through the lens of experience. But sometimes the words of the Scripture are just too plain to be missed. King Benjamin, and, indeed, the prophets of the Bible, are unanimous: do not withhold help from those who ask.
Indeed, we’re all beggars. I hope and pray that you can find it in yourself to “unseal” those portions of the Book of Mormon that the world so desperately needs to hear.
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