Ezra Taft Benson
September 29, 19671
"There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that arises. . . one of two positions is necessarily true; that is, the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the protection of all law and all good citizens; or, it is wrong, and therefore to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case, is the interposition of mob law, either necessary, justifiable or excusable." (Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838; Collected Works 1:113)
In the Book of Mormon the Prophet Nephi exclaims: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Nephi 4:34)
Prophesying of our day, Nephi said, "They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught the precepts of men." (2 Nephi 28:14)
Yes, it is the precepts of men versus the revealed word of God. The more we follow the word of God the less we are deceived, while those who follow the wisdom of men are deceived the most.
Increasingly, the Latter-day Saints must choose the reasoning of men [or] the revelations of God. This is a crucial choice, for we have those within the Church today who, with their worldly wisdom, are leading some of the members astray. President J. Reuben Clark warned that, "The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep's clothing, because they wear the habiliments of the Priesthood. . . We should be careful of them." (Conference Report, April 1949, p. 163)
The Lord does not always give reasons for each commandment. Sometimes faithful members, like Adam of old, are called upon to obey an injunction of the Lord even though they do not know the reason why it was given. Those who trust in God will obey him, knowing full well that time will provide the reasons and vindicate their obedience.
The arm of flesh may not approve, not understand, why God has not bestowed the Priesthood on women or the seed of Cain, but God's ways are not man's ways. God does not have to justify all his ways for the puny mind of man. If a man gets in tune with the Lord he will know that God's course of action is right even though he may not know all the reasons why.
The Prophet Joseph Smith understood this principle when he said,
The curse is not yet taken off from the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great a power as caused it to come; and the people who interfere the least with the purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before Him; and those who are determined to pursue a course, which shows an opposition, and a feverish restlessness against the decrees of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do His own work, without the aid of those who are not dictated by His counsel. (Prophet Joseph Smith, 1836, History of the Church 2:438)
The world largely ignores the first and great commandment--to love God--but talks a lot about loving their brother. They worship at the altar of man. Would Nephi have slain Laban if he put the love of neighbor above the love of God? Would Abraham have taken Isaac up for a sacrifice if he put the second commandment first?
The attitude of the world is reflected in a phrase of falsehood which reads, "Presume not God to scan; the proper study of mankind is man." (Alexander Pope, Essays on Man) But only those who know and love God can best love and serve his children. For only God fully understands his children and knows what is best for their welfare. Therefore, one needs to be in tune with God to best help his children. That's why the Church, under the inspiration of the Lord, encourages its members to first look to themselves, then their family, then the Church, and if need be to other voluntary agencies to help solve the problems of poverty, unemployment, hunger, sickness and distress. Those who are not moved by that same inspiration turn instead to government. Such man-made course of action does little good compared to the Lord's approach and often results in great harm to our Father's children even though the intentions seem to have been noble.
Therefore, if you desire to help your fellowmen the most, then you must put the first commandment first.
When we fail to put the love of God first, we are easily deceived by crafty men, who profess a great love of humanity, while advocating programs that are not of the Lord.
In 1942, President Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay warned us about the increasing threat to our Constitution, caused by the revolutionists who, the First Presidency said, were "using a technique that is as old as the human race--a fervid, but false solicitude for the unfortunate, over whom they thus gain master, and then enslave them. They suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive." (First Presidency, Conference Report, April 1942, p. 90)
That timely counsel about a "fervid, but false solicitude for the unfortunate" could have saved China and Cuba if enough people knew what the communist "master of deceit" really had in mind when they promised agrarian reform. Such timely counsel could help save our country from communism, as the same "masters of deceit" are showing the same false solicitude for the unfortunate in the name of civil rights.
Now there is nothing wrong with civil rights--it is what's being done in the name of civil rights that is alarming. There is no doubt that the so-called Civil Rights movement as it exists today is used as a communist program for revolution in America, just as agrarian reform was used by the communists to take over China and Cuba.2
This shocking statement can be confirmed by an objective study of communist literature and activities and by knowledgeable Negroes and others who have worked within the communist movement.3
As far back as 1928, the communists declared that the cultural, economic, and social differences between the races in America could be exploited by them to create the animosity, fear, and hatred between large segments of our people that would be necessary beginning ingredients for their revolution.4
Briefly, the three broad objectives were--and are--as follows:
1. Create Hatred. Use any means to agitate blacks into hating whites and whites into hating blacks. Work both sides of the split. Play up and exaggerate real grievances. If necessary, don't hesitate to manufacture false stories and rumors about injustices and brutality. Create martyrs for both sides. Play upon mass emotions until they smolder with resentment and hatred.
2. Trigger Violence. Put the emotional masses into the streets in the form of large mobs, the larger the better. It makes no difference if the mob is told to demonstrate "peacefully" so long as it is brought into direct confrontation with the antagonist. Merely bringing the two emotionally charged groups together is like mixing oxygen and hydrogen. All that is needed is one tiny spark. If the spark is not forthcoming from purely spontaneous causes, create it.5
3. Overthrow Established Government. Once mob violence becomes widespread and commonplace, condition those who are emotionally involved to accept violence as the only way to "settle the score" once and for all. Provide leadership and training for guerrilla warfare. Institute discipline and terrorism to insure at least passive support from the larger inactive segment of the population. Train and battle-harden leadership through sporadic riots and battles with police. Finally, at the appointed time, launch an all-out simultaneous offensive in every city.6
Police and national guard units will never be adequate to handle such widespread anarchy--especially if a large part of our men and equipment are drained away in fighting a foreign war. In self-defense, larger numbers are brought into fighting on both sides. The appearance of a nationwide civil war takes form. In the confusion, potential anti-communist leaders of both races are assassinated, apparently the accidental casualties of race war.
Time the attack to coincide with large-scale sabotage of water supplies, power grids, main railroad and highway arteries, communication centers, and government buildings. With fires raging in every conceivable part of town, with wanton looting going on in the darkness of a big city, without routine police protection, without water to drink, without electrical refrigeration, without transporation or radio or TV, the public will panic, lock its door in trembling fear, and make it much easier for the small but well-led and fully disciplined guerrilla bands to capture the power-centers of each community. Overthrow the government! After complete control is consolidated, (and that may take many months, as in Cuba), only then allow the people to discover that it was a communist revolution after all.
If communism comes to America, it will probably not happen quite like that. Even though this is the basic formula used in so many other countries now part of the communist empire, there is one very important difference. In China, in Cuba, and in Algeria the segment of the population which the communists used as the "battering ram" of their revolution of force and violence was the majority segment.7 In America, though, the Negro represents only 10 percent of the population. In any all-out race war which might be triggered, there isn't a chance in the world that communist-led Negro guerrilla units could permanently hold on to the power centers of government, even if they could capture them in the first place.
It would be a terribly bloody affair, with all Americans suffering mightily, but with Negroes paying the highest toll in human life. And the communists know this better than anyone else. They do not really expect to take America with a "War of National Liberation," (which is their term for internal conquest through force and violence), unless the aggressive revolutionary force can be broadened to include, not only the minority of Negores, but migratory farm laborers, the poor, the unemployed, those on welfare, other minority groups, students, the so-called "peace movements," and anyone who can be propagandized into mob action against established government. But unless and until they manipulate an overwhelming majority of the population into at least sympathizing with their revolutionary activities, they will use violence, anarchy, and sabotage, not as a means of seizing power, but merely as a support operation or a catalyst to an entirely different plan.
In such countries as Czechoslovakia, the communists have used an entirely different method of internal conquest. Instead of the force and violence of a bloody revolution (a "War of National Liberation") parliamentary and political means were used to bring about a more peaceful transition to communism. The communist sympathizers call this alternate plan a "Proletarian Revolution."8
The plan is as follows: Using unidentified communist agents and non-communist sympathizers in key positions in government, in communications media, and in mass organizations--such as labor unions and civil rights groups--demand more and more government power as the solution to all civil rights problems. Total government is the objective of communism. Without calling it by name, build communism piece by piece through mass pressures for presidential decrees, court orders, and legislation which appear to be aimed at improving civil rights and other social reforms. If there is social, economic, or educational discrimination, then advocate more government programs and control.
And what if riots come? Then more government housing, government welfare, government job training, and finally, federal control over police. Thus, the essential economic and political structure of communism can be built entirely "legally" and in apparent response to the wishes of the people who have clamored for some kind of solution to the problems played-up, aggravated or created outright by communists for just that purpose. After the machinery of communism is firmly established, then allow the hidden communists one-by-one to make their identities known. Liquidate first the anti-communists and then the non-communist sympathizers who are no longer needed in government. The total state mechanism can now openly and "peacefully" be transferred into the hands of communists. Such is the so-called Proletarian Revolution. Such has happened in other once free countries. It has already started here.
The communists are not entirely certain whether force and violence or the use of government or a combination of both would be best for the internal conquest of America. At first, there was talk of splitting away the "Black Belt," those Southern states in which the Negro held a majority, and calling that a Negro Soviet Republic. But, as conditions changed and more Negroes migrated to the Northern states, they applied this same strategy to the so-called "ghetto" areas in the North. It now seems probable that the communists are determined to use force and violence to its fullest, coupled with a weakening of the economy and military setbacks abroad, in an effort to create as much havoc as possible to weaken America internally, and to create the kind of psychological desperation in the minds of all citizens that will lead them to accept blindly government measures which actually help the communists in their take-over.
Some wonder if it can happen here. Just take a good look at what has been going on around us for the past few years. IT IS HAPPENING HERE! If it is to be prevented from running the full course, we must stop pretending that it doesn't exist.
Let us consider some suggestions for our survival. The hour is late.
The communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. While it can be thwarted in a fairly short period of time merely by exposure, the evil effects of what has already been accomplished cannot be removed overnight. The animosities, the hatred, the extension of government control into our daily lives--all this will take time to repair. The already-inflicted wounds will be slow in healing. But they can be healed; that is the important point.
1. First of all, we must not place the blame upon Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group which has been selected by professional communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans--black or white--really understands the full implications of today's civil rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.
2. Next, we must not participate in any so-called "backlash" activity which might tend to further intensify inter-racial friction. Anti-Negro vigilante action, or mob action, of any kind fits perfectly into the communist plan. This is one of the best ways to force the decent Negro into cooperating with militant Negro groups. The communists are just as anxious to spearhead such anti-Negro action as they are to organize demonstrations which are calculated to irritate white people.
3. We must insist that duly authorized legislative investigating committees launch an even more exhaustive study and expose the secret communists who are directing the Civil Rights movement. The same needs to be done with militant anti-Negro groups. This is an effective way for the American people of both races to find out who are the false leaders among them.9
4. We must support our local police in their difficult task of keeping law and order in these trying times. Police should not be encumbered by civilian review boards,10 or asked to be social workers. They have their hands full just trying to keep the peace. Recent soft-on-crime decisions of the Supreme Court which hamper the police on protecting the innocent and bringing the criminal to justice should be reversed. Persistent cries of "police brutality"11 should be recognized for what they are--attempts to discredit our police and discourage them from doing their job to the best of their ability. Salaries should be adequate to hold on to and attract the very finest men available for police work. But, in questions of money, great care should be taken not to accept grants from the federal government. Along with federal money, inevitably there will come federal controls and "guidelines" which not only may get local police embroiled in national politics, but may even lead to the eventual creation of a national police force.12 Every despotism requires a national police force to hold the people in line. Communism is no exception. Our local police should remain free from federal control.
5. Further encroachment of government should be stopped and the entire process reversed. The solution to most, if not all, of the currrent problems involving civil rights is less government, not more.
6. Lastly, we need a vast awakening of the American people as to the true nature of the communist blueprint for revolution. Considering the degree to which the controlling influences of the federal government and the communications media are now furthering this communist revolution, it is unrealistic to expect our present leaders or the networks to bring about this awakening. In fact, they may be expected to resist it. That means individual citizens must stand up and assume more than their share of the responsibility. The speaker's platform, and distribution of literature, study clubs, home discussions--all must be pressed into service. All of us should read the new book, Communist Revolution in the Streets, written by Gary Allen, with an introduction by W. Cleon Skousen.
Each of us must be willing to discuss the problem openly with our friends--especially those of the Negro race. The success or failure of Americans of all races to meet this challenge may well determine the fate of our country. If we fail, we will all lose our civil rights, black man and white man together, for we will live under perfect communist equality--the equality of slaves.
As President David O. McKay has stated, "The position of this Church on the subject of communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest Satanical threat to peace, prosperity and the spread of God's work among men that exists on the face of the earth." (Conference Report, April 1966, p. 109)13 He has also counseled that, "next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States!" (President David O. McKay, The Instructor, 1956, p. 94)
May we unite behind the Prophet in opposing the communist conspiracy and preserving our freedom and our divine Constitution, I pray.
1. An address delivered on September 29, 1967, at the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, and printed in pamphlet form by Deseret Book Company.
2. "From the beginning of the so-called Negro Revolution and the insane antics identified with it. . . I had opposed all of the marches on Washington and other mob demonstrations, recognizing them as part of the Red techniques of agitation, infiltration, and subversion. That was included by the fact that invariably they were proposed, incited, managed, and led by professional collectivist agitators, whose only interest in the workers was to exploit them; backed by the proliferation of 'liberals' of position and influence who always run interference for them by 'explaining' and defending their course." (George S. Schuyler, Negro Journalist; Black and Conservative, p. 341)
3. Manning Johnson, now deceased, spelled out this blueprint in his book, Color, Communism and Common Sense (Western Islands, Belmont, Mass.). Leonard Patterson, Mrs. Julia Brown and Mrs. Lolabelle Holmes are currently active on lecture tours carrying this unhappy truth about the Civil Rights movement to as many of the American people as they can reach.
4. The two classic communist manuals explaining this diabolic plot are American Negro Problems, by John Pepper (1928) and Negroes in a Soviet America, by James Ford and James Allen (1935). Both originally were published by the Communist party and now may be obtained as photographic reprints from American Opinion, Belmont Mass. 02178 [Note: The American Opinion magazine has since been renamed, "The New American," and is published under authority of the John Birch Society, which also moved its headquarters to Appleton Wisconsin]
5. "At this moment in history, the communists are ecstatic over their success in helping to retard our progress in improving racial relations in this country. . . The present dangerous decline in black-white relations in the United States could well lead us into a disastrous racial civil war, which is exactly what the communists want and are willing to gamble on at the present moment. A racial civil war in the United States could only breed one thing--anarchy. And once anarchy sweeps this country, the battle will be over to all intents and purposes. . . Certainly while the rest of the country was involved in trying to salvage itself from a civil war, the communists would remain intact as a functioning revolutionary cadre and would await the chance to seize power from a government incapable of governing or defending itself from internal tyranny." (Phillip Abbott Luce, ex-communist; The Intelligent Student's Guide To Survival, p. 60)
6. The Communists are counting on the premise that most Americans will discount the probability of a guerrilla war in their country. The notion of a guerrilla war in the United States is so outrageous and improbable to Americans that they would receive it as the product of a deranged mind. The Communists are fully aware of this and are counting heavily on the fact that most of our citizens will be mentally, as well as physically, unprepared. The shock effect of the initial onslaught will work in favor of the guerrillas." (Phillip Abbott Luce, Road to Revolution: Communist Guerrilla Warfare in the U.S.A., p. 13)
7. There is nothing more odious than the majority. It consists of a few powerful men who lead the way; of accommodating rascals and submissive weaklings; and of a mass of men who trot after them without in the least knowing their own minds." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 1749-1832; Great Quotations, p. 624)
8. For a detailed understanding of this phase of communist strategy, the student is urged to research the Party's official pronouncements on the subject of Proletarian Revolution. Perhaps the easiest and best place to begin, however, is with one of the actual textbooks used to teach communist cadres in Czechoslovakia. It is entitled, About the Possible Transition to Socialism by Means of the Revolutionary Use of Parliament, written by Jan Kozak, official Historian of the Czech Communist Party and member of the National Assembly. Reprints of the pertinent parts of this textbook may be obtained from the U.S. Printing Office in the form of a government pamphlet entitled, The New Role of National Legislative Bodies in the Communist Conspiracy, published by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, December 30, 1961.
9. It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. . . The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function." (Woodrow Wilson, quoted by Justice Frankfurter at the October 1952 Term of the Supreme Court)
10. "A questionable move currently being championed in some localities is the establishment of civilian review boards to hear complaints against law enforcement officers. . . When carefully considered, it is clear this drive for external boards is an ill-advised maneuver. It amounts to the usurpation of authority rightfully belonging to the police commander. It is a practice which could damage effective law enforcement and reduce the orderly processes of community life to petty bickering, suspicion, and hatred. The police executive cannot become a mere pawn of bureaucratic committees. He must have full responsibility for the performance, discipline, and control of his officers. . . Such panels represent a backward step for law enforcement toward ineptness and mediocrity. Moreover, one of the major weaknesses of these boards is their inherent political overtones." (J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, January 1, 1965)
11. "We know there is a calculated and deliberate attempt by some groups to inflame hostility against law enforcement by charging 'police brutality' without cause. To a large degree they have succeeded. The term is bandied about in all media of communication without serious consideration as to its true meaning or its harmful effect on a profession which is charged with enforcing the basic rules of civilized living." (J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, June 1, 1966)
12. "America has no place for, nor does it need, a national police force. It should be abundantly clear by now that in a democracy such as ours effective law enforcement is basically a local responsibility. In the great area of self-government reserved for States, counties, and cities, the enforcement of the laws is not only their duty but also their right. Law-abiding citizens and local officials should vigorously oppose concerted attacks against law enforcement and the devious moves to negate local authority and replace it with Federal police power. . . Since local law enforcement represents the first line of defense of our social order, it becomes a primary target of those who challenge established authority." (J. Edgar Hoover, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, February 1, 1968)
13. Statement concerning the position of the Church on Communism, made by President David O. McKay at the general priesthood session of the 136th Annual Conference of the Church held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Saturday, April 9, 1966, at 7:00 p.m., read by Robert R. McKay. The full text is as follows:
In order that there may be no misunderstandings by bishops, stake presidents, and others regarding members of the Church participating in non-church meetings to study and become informed on the Constitution of the United States, Communism, etc., I wish to make the following statements that I have been sending out from my office for some time and that have come under question by some stake authorities, bishoprics, and others.
Members are free
Church members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own freedoms. They are free to participate in non-church meetings that are held to warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.
Church is politically neutral The Church, out of respect for the rights of all its members to have their political views and loyalties, must maintain the strictest possible neutrality. We have no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of our members under and within our Constitution, which the Lord declared he established "by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up unto this very purpose" (D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet Joseph Smith, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be "established forever." (D&C 109:54.) The Church does not yield any of its devotion to or convictions about safeguarding the American principles and the establishments of government under federal and state constitutions and the civil rights of men safeguarded by these.
Communism greatest threat to peace and the spread of God's word to men
The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work among men that exists on the face of the earth.
In this connection, we are continually being asked to give our opinion concerning various patriotic groups or individuals who are fighting Communism and speaking up for freedom. Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles. We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it.
Citizens should educate themselves
Supporting the FBI, the police, the congressional committees investigating Communism, and various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse for all our people.
Communism's atheism and hate
The entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands—belief in Deity, belief in the dignity and eternal nature of man, and the application of the gospel to efforts for peace in the world. Communism is militantly atheistic and is committed to the destruction of faith wherever it may be found.
The Russian Commissar of Education wrote: "We must hate Christians and Christianity. Even the best of them must be considered our worst enemies. Christian love is an obstacle to the development of the revolution. Down with love for one's neighbor. What we want is hate. Only then shall we conquer the universe."
On the other hand, the gospel teaches the existence of God as our Eternal and Heavenly Father and declares: ". . . him only shalt thou serve." (Matt. 4:10.)
Communism debases and destroys Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state, to which he must look for sustenance and religion. Communism destroys man's God-given free agency.
No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement or sympathy to any of these false philosophies, for if he does they will prove snares to his feet.