Cleon Skousen

Cleon Skousen

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Willard Cleon Skousen was an American author, conservative American Constitutionalist and faith-based
Faith-based
The term faith-based is a neologism , mostly current in US English, to describe any organization or government idea or plan based on religious beliefs, specifically Christian beliefs....

 political theorist. He was also a prolific popularizer among Latter-day Saints (Mormons
Mormons
The Mormons are a religious and cultural group related to Mormonism, a religion started by Joseph Smith during the American Second Great Awakening. A vast majority of Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while a minority are members of other independent churches....

) of their theology
Mormonism
Mormonism is the religion practiced by Mormons, and is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. beginning in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself...

. A notable anti-communist and supporter of the John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

, Skousen's works involved a wide range of subjects including the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, Mormon eschatology
Second Coming (LDS Church)
Like many other Christian adherents, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that there will be a Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth sometime in the future...

, New World Order conspiracies, and parenting
Parenting
Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood...

. His most popular works are The 5,000 Year Leap and The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist is a book written in 1958 by conservative United States author and faith-based political theorist Cleon Skousen.The book posits and seeks to describe a geopolitical strategy by which the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union was attempting to overcome and control all the governments of...

. A book by Skousen on end times
End times
The end time, end times, or end of days is a time period described in the eschatological writings in the three Abrahamic religions and in doomsday scenarios in various other non-Abrahamic religions...

 prophecy, The Cleansing of America, was published by Valor Publishing Group in 2010, four years after his death.

Early life and education


Skousen was born on a dryland farm
Dryland farming
Dryland farming is an agricultural technique for non-irrigated cultivation of drylands.-Locations:Dryland farming is used in the Great Plains, the Palouse plateau of Eastern Washington, and other arid regions of North America, the Middle East and in other grain growing regions such as the steppes...

 in Raymond, Alberta
Raymond, Alberta
Raymond is a town in Warner County, Alberta, Canada. It is located in southern Alberta south of Lethbridge on Highway 52. Raymond is known for its annual rodeo and its large Mormon population...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the second of nine children of Royal Pratt and Margarita Bentley Skousen, who were U.S. citizens. He lived in Canada until he was ten years old, then moved with his family to California. In 1926, Skousen went to the Mormon colony, Colonia Juarez, Mexico for two years to help his seriously ill grandmother. While there, he attended the Juarez Academy. Skousen then returned to California, graduating from high school in 1930. At the age of 17 he traveled to Great Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 as a missionary
Missionary (LDS Church)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the most active modern practitioners of missionary work, with over 52,000 full-time missionaries worldwide, as of the end of 2010...

 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After completing his missionary service, Skousen attended San Bernardino Valley Jr. College
San Bernardino Valley College
San Bernardino Valley College is a community college located in San Bernardino, California. It is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The two-year college has an enrollment of approximately 25,000 students and covers...

, graduating in 1935. He married Jewel Pitcher in August 1936, and they raised eight children together. He graduated with an LL.B.
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 from George Washington University Law School in June 1940 (the school updated his degree as Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 (J.D.) in 1972 with its degree nomenclature).

Professional life


In June 1935, Skousen went to work for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration
Agricultural Adjustment Act
The Agricultural Adjustment Act was a United States federal law of the New Deal era which restricted agricultural production by paying farmers subsidies not to plant part of their land and to kill off excess livestock...

, a New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 program to subsidize farmers. Soon thereafter, he found employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 (FBI), working as a messenger while attending law school at night. In 1940, after getting his law degree and passing the Washington D.C. bar exam, he became an FBI Special Agent. FBI memos have described his work at the Bureau as mainly clerical and administrative. Skousen left the FBI in 1951. Ironically, the FBI would maintain a file on Skousen that would come to number more than 2,000 pages.

From 1951 to 1955, he taught at Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, Utah. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , and is the United States' largest religious university and third-largest private university.Approximately 98% of the university's 34,000 students...

 in Provo, Utah
Provo, Utah
Provo is the third largest city in the U.S. state of Utah, located about south of Salt Lake City along the Wasatch Front. Provo is the county seat of Utah County and lies between the cities of Orem to the north and Springville to the south...

. In 1956, Salt Lake City mayor Adiel F. Stewart hired Skousen to serve as Police Chief in the wake of a police department scandal. Skousen was a well-respected police chief for nearly four years. In 1960, newly-elected mayor J. Bracken Lee
J. Bracken Lee
Joseph Bracken Lee was a political figure in the state of Utah, United States. A Republican, he served two terms as the ninth Governor of Utah , six two-year terms as mayor of Price, Utah , and three terms as the 27th mayor of Salt Lake City ., Lee is the most recent Governor of Utah who was not a...

 dismissed Skousen shortly after Skousen raided an illegal poker club where Lee was in attendance. National Review commentator Mark Hemingway characterized the gathering as "a friendly card game." Skousen supporters protested the abrupt firing by disrupting a city council meeting and planting burning crosses on Lee's lawn. Lee characterized Skousen's strict enforcement of anti-gambling laws as Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

-like. Lee said that although Skousen was an anti-communist, he "ran the police department in exactly the same manner as the Communists in Russia operate their government." Time magazine reported in 1960 that Skousen's "real offense seemed to be that he had failed to show enough enthusiasm for Lee's determination to slash the police-department budget." Lee told a friend that Skousen was "one of the greatest spenders of public funds of anyone who ever served in any capacity in Salt Lake City government", and a "master of half truths". According to the NCCS
National Center for Constitutional Studies
The National Center for Constitutional Studies is an ultraconservative, religious-themed constitutionalist organization, founded by Mormon political writer Cleon Skousen. It was formerly known as The Freemen Institute....

 (an organization founded by Skousen), Skousen had eliminated the sources of illegal activity in the city by 1959. After Skousen's firing (according to the NCCS), his model police programs were dismantled, and crime increased, on the average, by 22%.

Skousen continued his involvement in law enforcement issues by working as the editor of the police journal, "Law and Order," for fifteen years. He also served as Field Director for the American Security Council, until he was thrown out in 1962, because members felt that he had "gone off the deep end." He later returned to Brigham Young University as a Professor in the Religion Department in 1967, retiring in 1978.

Political life


After losing his police job, Skousen founded a group called the All-American Society, which Time magazine described in 1961 as an "exemplar of the far-right ultras." Throughout the 1960s, Skousen was also admired by members and leaders of the John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

, although members of the more mainstream conservative movement — notably William F. Buckley and the American Security Council — snubbed him out of fear that his controversial views would hurt the credibility of the conservative movement. Skousen used Birch Society magazines as source and reference material, and was pictured on the cover of its magazine, American Interest. Although he was never officially a member of the organization, he was a member of its speakers' bureau and lectured at John Birch Society events throughout the United States for many years. A 1962 FBI memo described Skousen as affiliating with an "extreme right-wing" group which was promoting "anticommunism for obvious financial purposes". Skousen authored a pamphlet titled The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society, characterizing criticism of the Society as incipient communism.

In 1981, the first year of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's presidency, Skousen was asked to be a charter member of the conservative think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

 the Council for National Policy
Council for National Policy
The Council for National Policy , is an umbrella organization and networking group for social conservative activists in the United States...

, founded by Tim LaHaye
Tim LaHaye
Timothy F. LaHaye is an American evangelical Christian minister, author, and speaker. He is best known for the Left Behind series of apocalyptic fiction, which he co-wrote with Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written over 50 books, both fiction and non-fiction.-Early life:LaHaye was born in Detroit,...

, author of the Left Behind
Left Behind (series)
Left Behind is a series of 16 best-selling novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, dealing with Christian dispensationalist End Times: pretribulation, premillennial, Christian eschatological viewpoint of the end of the world. The primary conflict of the series is the members of the Tribulation...

series of books. Other early participants included Paul Weyrich
Paul Weyrich
Paul M. Weyrich was an American conservativepolitical activist and commentator, most notable as a figurehead of the New Right. He co-founded the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank and the Free Congress Foundation, another conservative think tank...

; Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis Schlafly
Phyllis McAlpin Stewart Schlafly is a Constitutional lawyer and an American politically conservative activist and author who founded the Eagle Forum. She is known for her opposition to modern feminism ideas and for her campaign against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment...

; Robert Grant
Robert Grant (Christian Leader)
Dr. Robert G. Grant is one of the early leaders of the Christian Right in America. He served as the chairman of Christian Voice and the American Freedom Coalition....

; Howard Phillips, a former Republican affiliated with the Constitution Party
Constitution Party (United States)
The Constitution Party is a paleoconservative political party in the United States. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party by Howard Philips in 1991. Phillips was the party's candidate in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections...

; Richard Viguerie
Richard Viguerie
Richard Art Viguerie is a conservative figure, pioneer of political direct mail and writer on American politics...

, the direct-mail specialist; and Morton Blackwell
Morton Blackwell
Morton C. Blackwell is an American Republican Party activist. He is president and founder of the Leadership Institute , a 5013 non-profit educational foundation that teaches political technology....

, a Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 activist who is considered a specialist on the rules of the Republican Party. Skousen's proposals with the group included a plan to convert the Social Security system to private retirement accounts
Social Security debate (United States)
This article concerns proposals to change the Social Security system in the United States. Social Security is a social insurance program officially called "Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance" , in reference to its three components. It is primarily funded through a dedicated payroll tax...

, as well as a plan that he claimed would completely wipe out the national debt
United States public debt
The United States public debt is the money borrowed by the federal government of the United States at any one time through the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies...

.

Although Skousen was not a tax protester
Tax protester (United States)
A tax protester is someone who refuses to pay a tax on constitutional or legal grounds, typically because he or she believes that the tax laws are unconstitutional or otherwise invalid...

, he did campaign for several proposals to eliminate the federal income tax. One proposal, the Liberty Amendment, precluded the federal government
Federal government
The federal government is the common government of a federation. The structure of federal governments varies from institution to institution. Based on a broad definition of a basic federal political system, there are two or more levels of government that exist within an established territory and...

 from involvement in any activities that competed with private enterprise
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and returned federally-owned land to the states.

In 1970, the LDS church was under considerable attack for its refusal to ordain blacks into its priesthood. In response, Skousen penned an article entitled “The Communist Attack on the Mormons”, in which he accused critics of “distorting the religious tenet of the Church regarding the Negro and blowing it up to ridiculous proportions” and of serving as Communist dupes. The LDS church altered its stance in the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood
1978 Revelation on Priesthood
The 1978 Revelation on Priesthood was a revelation to the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which reversed a long-standing policy excluding men of black African descent from the priesthood.-Background:...

.

In 1971, Skousen founded a non-profit
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 educational foundation, The Freeman Institute, which sought to provide students a place to read both sides of any political issue from original sources. In 1982, the institute became the National Center for Constitutional Studies
National Center for Constitutional Studies
The National Center for Constitutional Studies is an ultraconservative, religious-themed constitutionalist organization, founded by Mormon political writer Cleon Skousen. It was formerly known as The Freemen Institute....

 (NCCS), a national organization headquartered in Malta, Idaho
Malta, Idaho
Malta is a city in Cassia County, Idaho, United States. The population was 193 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Burley, Idaho Micropolitan Statistical Area.- Name :...

.

Skousen had support among many LDS people in the 1960s and early 1970s. However by 1979, the First Presidency issued a letter against promoting Skousen in LDS wards and stakes, stating: “This instruction is not intended to express any disapproval of the right of the Freemen Institute and its lecturers to conduct such meetings or of the contents of the lectures. The only purpose is to make certain that neither Church facilities nor Church meetings are used to advertise such events and to avoid any implication that the Church endorses what is said during such lectures.”

Skousen was a member of the Meadeau View Institute
Meadeau View Institute
The Meadeau View Institute was a conservative constitutionalist organization that operated in Duck Creek, Utah, from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. The institute was notable for seeking to build a Utopian community of alternative-lifestyle conservatives in Southern Utah...

, but resigned citing "irregularities" in management. While at the Institute, he mentored Oliver DeMille
Oliver DeMille
Oliver Van DeMille is an American author and educator. He is known for his writings on education as it relates to freedom, including A Thomas Jefferson Education, and as a founder and previous president of George Wythe University.-History:...

, and his influence helped shape George Wythe University
George Wythe University
George Wythe University is a non-profit classical liberal arts school in Cedar City, Utah which offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the liberal arts, education and political philosophy. GWU's curriculum is centered on the Great Books of the Western World published in 1952 by Britannica...

, a private, unaccredited university in Cedar City, Utah
Cedar City, Utah
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,527 people, 6,486 households, and 4,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,021.8 people per square mile . There were 7,109 housing units at an average density of 353.9 per square mile...

, which grew out of the Meadeau View. Skousen's books are still used as texts at the school.

Edwin Brown Firmage, a professor of law at the University of Utah
University of Utah
The University of Utah, also known as the U or the U of U, is a public, coeducational research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. The university was established in 1850 as the University of Deseret by the General Assembly of the provisional State of Deseret, making it Utah's oldest...

, complained to the Mormon Sunstone Magazine
Sunstone Magazine
Sunstone is a magazine published by the Sunstone Education Foundation, Inc., a 501 nonprofit corporation, that discusses Mormonism through scholarship, art, short fiction, and poetry. The foundation began the publication in 1974 and considers it a vehicle for free and frank exchange in The Church...

in 1981 that "Skousen is teaching right-wing fundamentalism with a constitutional veneer." He added "How anyone can prove that civil rights and welfare are unconstitutional is beyond me. For his people, 'Constitutional' is just a right-wing buzzword."

Views


Skousen disregarded all federal regulatory agencies, and argued for the abolition of everything from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970...

 to the Environmental Protection Agency. He also wanted to repeal the minimum wage
Minimum wage in the United States
, the federal minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 per hour. Some states and municipalities have set minimum wages higher than the federal level , with the highest state minimum wage being $8.67 in Washington. Some U.S. territories are exempt...

, eliminate unions, nullify anti-discrimination laws, sell off public lands and national parks, end the direct election of senators, eliminate the income tax
Income tax in the United States
In the United States, a tax is imposed on income by the Federal, most states, and many local governments. The income tax is determined by applying a tax rate, which may increase as income increases, to taxable income as defined. Individuals and corporations are directly taxable, and estates and...

 and the estate tax
Estate tax in the United States
The estate tax in the United States is a tax imposed on the transfer of the "taxable estate" of a deceased person, whether such property is transferred via a will, according to the state laws of intestacy or otherwise made as an incident of the death of the owner, such as a transfer of property...

, remove the walls separating church and state
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

, and end the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

.

Skousen spoke against communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, throughout his career. He stood fast with John Birch Society co-founder Robert W. Welch Jr.
Robert W. Welch Jr.
Robert Henry Winborne Welch Jr. was an American businessman, political activist and author. He was independently wealthy following his retirement and used that wealth to sponsor anti-communist causes. He co-founded the conservative group the John Birch Society in 1958 and tightly controlled it...

's contention that President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 was a communist agent. He did not believe the U.S. should establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, claiming that the U.S. State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 was engaging in treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

 with respect to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
Heinz Alfred "Henry" Kissinger is a German-born American academic, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. He is a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and...

's visit to "his old friend Mao Tse-tung
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

." In the 1970s, he spoke to a Latter-Day Saint group aboard a cruise ship returning from Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, stating that the previous 10 U.S. national elections had been illegitimate because voters had not truly had a choice. He also referred to what he argued was the betrayal of Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

.

Skousen spoke of billionaire banker David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller, Sr. is the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family. He is the youngest and only surviving child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and the only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His five siblings were...

 as being one of the most powerful men in the world. Skousen criticized Rockefeller for praising Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 in a 1973 New York Times article, in which he stated that the communist leader was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. Later Skousen claimed that the Rockefellers and Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

 had conspired to elect Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 president. Skousen was also known as a strong supporter of law and order and believed that local police departments were being undermined in order to promote a national police state
Police state
A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

.

Writings


Skousen authored The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist is a book written in 1958 by conservative United States author and faith-based political theorist Cleon Skousen.The book posits and seeks to describe a geopolitical strategy by which the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union was attempting to overcome and control all the governments of...

and was the source of the publication "1963 Communist Goals" list. In 1970, he wrote The Naked Capitalist based on the book Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley
Carroll Quigley was an American historian and theorist of the evolution of civilizations. He is noted for his teaching work as a professor at Georgetown University, for his academic publications, and for his research on secret societies.- Biography :Quigley was born in Boston, and attended...

, which claimed that top Western merchant bank
Merchant bank
A merchant bank is a financial institution which provides capital to companies in the form of share ownership instead of loans. A merchant bank also provides advisory on corporate matters to the firms they lend to....

ers, industrialists and related institutions were behind the rise of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 around the world. Skousen's aim was to summarize the ideas in Quigley's books and thus make them accessible to a wider audience, however, Quigley disavowed Skousen's interpretations of his work. Skousen states in the work that the purpose of liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

, is to push "U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society." The Naked Capitalist has been cited by many, including Cleon Skousen's nephew Joel Skousen, as proof of a "New World Order" strategy to create a One World Government
World government
World government is the notion of a single common political authority for all of humanity. Its modern conception is rooted in European history, particularly in the philosophy of ancient Greece, in the political formation of the Roman Empire, and in the subsequent struggle between secular authority,...

.

In 1987, controversy erupted in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 when the state briefly considered using Skousen's book, The Making of America, as a textbook for California schools. Statements in the book regarding slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, and its use of the term "pickaninny
Pickaninny
Pickaninny is a term in English which refers to children of black descent or a racial caricature thereof. It is a pidgin word form, which may be derived from the Portuguese pequenino . In the Creole English of Surinam the word for a child is pikin ningre...

" as a label for slave children engendered a heated debate as to whether the book was appropriate. The state commission's Executive Director, a former colleague of Skousen at the National Center for Constitutional Studies
National Center for Constitutional Studies
The National Center for Constitutional Studies is an ultraconservative, religious-themed constitutionalist organization, founded by Mormon political writer Cleon Skousen. It was formerly known as The Freemen Institute....

, asserted that these statements were "largely taken out of context" from a 1934 essay on slavery by the historian Fred Albert Shannon
Fred Albert Shannon
Fred Albert Shannon was an American historian and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He had many publications related to the American history, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for History for The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861-1865.-Biography:Shannon was born February 12, 1893, in...

 that Skousen had included in his book. Skousen highlights the global history of slavery as independent of color or race in The Making Of America claiming that "... the emancipation of human beings from slavery is an ongoing struggle. Slavery is not a racial problem. It is a human problem."

Skousen began his research for his book The Five Thousand Year Leap
The Five Thousand Year Leap
The Five Thousand Year Leap: Twenty-Eight Great Ideas That Are Changing the World is a book that was published in 1981 by the anti-communist and conservative Mormon author Cleon Skousen...

in the 1930s while attending law school, combing archives in the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 for the original writings of such Founding Fathers as John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 and continued to work on the manuscript for the next 50 years, finally publishing it in 1981.

Questionable sourcing


According to Southern Poverty Law Center
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit civil rights organization noted for its legal victories against white supremacist groups; legal representation for victims of hate groups; monitoring of alleged hate groups, militias and extremist organizations; and educational programs that...

, among the sources Skousen cited to substantiate his claims in The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist is a book written in 1958 by conservative United States author and faith-based political theorist Cleon Skousen.The book posits and seeks to describe a geopolitical strategy by which the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union was attempting to overcome and control all the governments of...

was a former czarist army officer named Arsene de Goulevitch, whose own sources included Boris Brasol
Boris Brasol
Boris Leo Brasol , lawyer and literary critic, was a White Russian immigrant to the United States.-Biography:...

, a White Russian émigré
White Emigre
A white émigré was a Russian who emigrated from Russia in the wake of the Russian Revolution and Russian Civil War, and who was in opposition to the contemporary Russian political climate....

 who provided Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 with the first English translation of the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and later became a supporter of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

Contemporary reception


While Skousen was alive, many of his ideas were met with fierce criticism, while his pronouncements made him "a pariah among most conservative activists". In one instance, the constitutional scholar Jack Rakove, of Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, inspected Skousen’s books and seminars and pronounced them "a joke that no self-respecting scholar would think is worth a warm pitcher of spit." A 1971 review in the Mormon journal Dialogue also accused Skousen of "inventing fantastic ideas and making inferences that go far beyond the bounds of honest commentary," and advancing doctrines that came "perilously close" to Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

. Moreover, in 1979, after Skousen declared President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 a puppet of the Council on Foreign Relations
Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an American nonprofit nonpartisan membership organization, publisher, and think tank specializing in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs...

 and the Rockefeller family
Rockefeller family
The Rockefeller family , the Cleveland family of John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller , is an American industrial, banking, and political family of German origin that made one of the world's largest private fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th...

, the president of the LDS church issued a national order banning announcements about his organizations.

Legacy


By Skousen's 2006 death, he remained farily obscure except among "furthest-right Mormons." His funeral was eulogized by Mormon Apostle Thomas S. Monson
Thomas S. Monson
Thomas Spencer Monson is an American religious leader and author, and the 16th and current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . As president, Monson is considered by adherents of the religion to be a "prophet, seer, and revelator" of God's will on earth...

. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch
Orrin Grant Hatch is the senior United States Senator for Utah and is a member of the Republican Party. Hatch served as the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 2005...

, himself Mormon, who had Skousen and Skousen's Freemen Institute as patrons when Hatch ran for the Senate as an unknown in 1976, eulogized Skousen on the floor of the U.S. Senate, saying:
Shortly before I announced that I would be running for the U.S. Senate in 1976 as a political novice and virtually unknown candidate—Cleon was one of the first people of political significance and substance who agreed to meet with me and discuss my candidacy. A few short years before this time, Cleon had organized a nonprofit educational foundation named "The Freemen Institute," to foster "constitutionalist" principles including a drastic reduction in the size and scope of the Federal Government, and a reverence for the true, unchanging nature of our Constitution. I knew that he had strongly held beliefs and I was very interested in what he had to say. We found in each other at that first meeting many areas of common ground and a shared love for the principles that make America the strongest bastion of freedom on Earth. Cleon quickly agreed to help, and throughout the coming months he became a true champion of my candidacy. [...] As we all know, Cleon was a prolific author and writer. His books, "The First 2000 Years, The Making of America," and "The Five Thousand Year Leap" have been used by foundations, and in forums across America for many years. [...] I loved an account I recently read in the Deseret News from the Rev. Donald Sills, a Baptist minister who became close friends over many years with Cleon. He spoke of his knowledge and study and recalled a time when he found Cleon sitting on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. When he asked Cleon what he was doing just sitting there, Cleon’s fitting response was, "I’m talking to Tom Jefferson."


In the 1990s, Arizona law enforcement veteran Russell Pearce
Russell Pearce
Russell Pearce was a Republican Arizona State Senator representing Legislative District 18, which covers most of western and central Mesa and small portions of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Arizona, USA until ousted in a November 2011 recall election by Senator-elect Jerry Lewis...

 became a disciple of Skousen's views. Pearce became an influential Arizona State Senator and was sworn in as President of the Arizona State Senate in 2011.

In September 2007, a year prior to the 2008 U.S. presidential election, Jan Mickelson of Iowa radio station WHO
WHO (AM)
WHO is a clear channel radio station broadcasting 50,000 watts on 1040 AM with a news/talk format. The station is owned by Clear Channel Communications and is located in Des Moines, Iowa. The station can be heard over most of the continental United States during nighttime hours...

 and Republican Iowa caucus
Iowa caucus
The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa's 1784 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions...

 presidential candidate Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

 discussed Skousen in an off-the-air conversation during a break in Mickelson's broadcast, which Mickelson recorded. In the conversation, Mickelson touted Skousen's American Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

 and Romney cited Skousen as an expert on Mormon theology. In commentary about this exchange, the National Review
National Review
National Review is a biweekly magazine founded by the late author William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1955 and based in New York City. It describes itself as "America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion."Although the print version of the...

s Mark Hemingway termed Skousen an "...all-around nutjob", and described The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist
The Naked Communist is a book written in 1958 by conservative United States author and faith-based political theorist Cleon Skousen.The book posits and seeks to describe a geopolitical strategy by which the Marxist-Leninist Soviet Union was attempting to overcome and control all the governments of...

as "so irrational in its paranoia that it would have made Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers
Whittaker Chambers was born Jay Vivian Chambers and also known as David Whittaker Chambers , was an American writer and editor. After being a Communist Party USA member and Soviet spy, he later renounced communism and became an outspoken opponent later testifying in the perjury and espionage trial...

 blush," adding, "to be fair Skousen wrote on numerous topics with wildly varying degrees of intellectual sobriety. In fact, as the radio host in the YouTube
YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 video notes, Skousen’s writings on original intent
Original intent
Original intent is a theory in law concerning constitutional and statutory interpretation. It is frequently—and usually spuriously—used as a synonym for originalism generally; while original intent is indeed one theory in the originalist family, it has some extremely salient differences which has...

 and the U.S. Constitution in The Making of America are compellingly argued, and to this day are often cited by conservatives unaware of Skousen’s more checkered writings. Further, Skousen’s scriptural commentaries are still very popular well-regarded within the relatively unradical world of mainstream Mormonism."

In fall of 2007, political commentator Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck
Glenn Edward Lee Beck is an American conservative radio host, vlogger, author, entrepreneur, political commentator and former television host. He hosts the Glenn Beck Program, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks...

 began promoting The 5,000 Year Leap on his show, describing it as "divinely inspired" and written by someone "much more intelligent than myself". Leap argues that the U.S. Constitution is infused with Judeo-Christian virtues as well as Enlightenment philosophy. Skousen's son Paul Skousen
Paul Skousen
Paul Skousen is a son of Cleon Skousen who is a writer of popular books aimed at the Mormon market.Skousen studied at Brigham Young University and Georgetown University...

 asked Beck to write the foreword for a new edition of the book. Texas Governor Rick Perry
Rick Perry
James Richard "Rick" Perry is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full...

 has also promoted the book.

After Beck began promoting Skousen's The 5,000 Year Leap in March 2009, it went to number one in sales on the Amazon.com
Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. is a multinational electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon has separate websites for the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and...

 charts and stayed in the top 15 throughout the following summer. In September 2009, the book was being sold at meetings of Beck's 9-12 Project
9-12 Project
The 9-12 Project is a non-political group created by American television and radio personality Glenn Beck. It was launched on the Friday 13 March 2009 episode of Glenn Beck, the eponymous talk show on Fox News Channel...

 and was often used as source material for 9-12 Project speakers.

Skousen's book on LDS end times
Second Coming (LDS Church)
Like many other Christian adherents, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that there will be a Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth sometime in the future...

 prophecy, The Cleansing of America, was published by Valor Publishing Group in 2010.

In a November 2010 article in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

's National Post
National Post
The National Post is a Canadian English-language national newspaper based in Don Mills, a district of Toronto. The paper is owned by Postmedia Network Inc. and is published Mondays through Saturdays...

, Alexander Zaitchik
Alexander Zaitchik
Alexander Zaitchik is an American freelance journalist who has written for: The Nation, Salon, The New Republic, The New York Observer, AlterNet, Mother Jones, Reason, The International Herald Tribune, Wired, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, and Rolling Stone...

, author of Common Nonsense (a book critical of Glenn Beck), described Skousen as a "whack job" with "decidedly dubious theories".

Notable relatives


Skousen has several notable nephews including Joel Skousen
Joel Skousen
Joel M. Skousen is an American conservative political commentator non-fiction Survivalist author, and retreat consultant who specializes in preparedness topics, particularly survival retreat and fallout shelter design and construction, as well as in what he calls "strategic relocation." Skousen is...

, a survivalist
Survivalism
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups who are actively preparing for future possible disruptions in local, regional, national, or international social or political order...

 and political author; Royal Skousen
Royal Skousen
Royal Jon Skousen is a professor of linguistics and English at Brigham Young University , where he is editor of the Book of Mormon Critical Text Project...

, a linguist
Linguistics
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context....

 and Mormon studies
Mormon studies
Mormon studies is the interdisciplinary academic study of the beliefs, practices, history and culture of those known by the term Mormon and denominations belonging to the Latter Day Saint movement whose members do not generally go by the term "Mormon"...

 scholar; and Mark Skousen
Mark Skousen
Mark Skousen is an American economist, investment analyst, newsletter editor, college professor and author of more than 25 non-fiction books.- Early life, education and family :...

, a libertarian economist and author–commentator.

External links