Glenn Beck's Mormon ties

Letters to the Boston editor, October 30, 2009
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 28, 2009

Thank you for carefully illustrating the intellectual dishonesty of the right wing’s number-one glory boy. Just because Glenn Beck can find a shred of evidence or a Mormon doctrine quote to support his wild conspiracy theories, and just because he wishes that they were true, doesn’t make it so. You’ve shown by example that Beck cherry-picks content from speeches, writings, scripture, or anything else he can lay his hands on.

William W. Wexler
Des Moines, Iowa

Though recognizing the “ease with which” your article on Glenn Beck “could degenerate into Mormon-bashing,” you nonetheless use terms such as “Latter-day taint,” and argue that Glenn Beck’s obnoxious rhetoric is “driven by Mormonism.” Although the salient characteristic of both Beck and his audience is their ease in disregarding facts which get in the way of an attention-grabbing headline or polemic, perhaps your readers, at least, would be interested in a more factually complete portrait of the Mormon church in the US.

While you seek to situate Beck in the “intellectual tradition” of the Mormon movement, you offer very little analysis of that movement beyond the strain of Cleon Skousen’s “melodramatic, anxiety-soaked worldview” from whose “half-baked ideas,” as you point out, the church “formally distanced itself” in 1971 — without ever having embraced them. Your efforts to strike at the roots of the truth-blind polemic of Glenn Beck are commendable, and should be taken a step farther.

Matt Connolly

Out of step
Beside the fact that Marcia B. Siegel’s review of Nicole Pierce’s Requiem takes as its starting point an approach to Mozart’s unfinished Requiem that is not Pierce’s, I find these paragraphs deeply troubling:

The Catholic Church’s Requiem Mass intersperses sections of the ordinary Mass with predictions of the doom that awaits the unfaithful and their prayers for salvation. A lot of it is quite scary. The singers envision the flames of Hell, the terror of Judgment, the miraculous appearance of a kind intercessor. Mozart’s final image is of eternal light (“Lux æterna”) and mercy.

Pierce’s note didn’t identify the soloists or the chorus on this recording, and the voices were often muffled by the Armory’s shrill amplification. In any case, she seemed focused on the music and not the words; her formally structured dance only tangentially reflected the text.

If the sound system were of a better quality, would Siegel have been able the follow the text of the mass, keeping in mind that it is sung in Latin, often by sopranos and tenors who are elongating syllables? Is she aware that it is the Catholic Church’s mass and not Mozart’s? Does she know that the majority of the churchgoing faithful in Mozart’s day had no idea what the priest was saying? Is she aware that when one wrote a requiem mass in Mozart’s day, the text was not open to change or addition? Would Siegel have paid attention to the words at all, unless Pierce had included them in her program? Lastly, what did Siegel think about the dance that actually occurred, rather then the one she imagined should have occurred?

Ian Halbert

Related: Most popular articles of 2009, Victory for Glenn Beck?, Latter day taint, More more >
  Topics: Letters , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Culture and Lifestyle, Religion,  More more >
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