68 minutes | Sep 25, 2021

Theory of Change #019: Matthew Harris on Ezra Taft Benson and Mormon and evangelical extremisms

The 1960s are famous in the American political memory as a time of leftist revolution. Millions marched against racial segregation and the Vietnam War, women’s liberation went mainstream, and the fight for lesbian and gay rights began. But the 60s were also a time of counter-revolution, a moment when many of the radical forces that became prominent on January 6, 2021 really began to gain momentum. In Episode 15, we talked with historian Angie Maxwell about how fundamentalist white Southerners flooded into Protestant churches and seminaries but a similar radicalization process happened within LDS Mormonism, the religion that has an outsized influence on the politics of Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and other Western states. In this episode, Matthew L. Harris, a Professor of History and Director of Legal Studies at Colorado State University-Pueblo joins us to talk about the many ways that far-right activists in Mormonism influenced and intersected with counterparts in white evangelicalism. While Mormonism is often thought of as a sort of obscure sect that just does its own thing, it’s actually been highly integrated into the development of American right-wing extremism. Harris’s excellent book “Watchman on the Tower: Ezra Taft Benson and the Making of the Mormon Right” is featured in this episode, but he has several other ones worth checking out, including one coming soon about Mormonism and race. EPISODE TRANSCRIPT: https://flux.community/matthew-sheffield/2021/09/ezra-taft-benson-and-tangled-history-mormon-and-evangelical-extremism GUEST INFO Matthew Harris's website: https://matthewlharris.org/ Watchman on the Tower: https://uofupress.lib.utah.edu/watchman-on-the-tower/ ABOUT THE SHOW Theory of Change is part of the Flux network, a new content community of podcasters and writers. Please visit us at flux.community to learn more and to tell us about what you're doing! We're constantly growing and learning from the great people we meet. Theory of Change on Twitter: twitter.com/TheoryChange Please support Theory of Change: PayPal: www.paypal.com/paypalme/theorychange Patreon: www.patreon.com/fluxcommunity If you're not able to support financially, please help us by leaving a nice review on your favorite podcast app. Thanks!
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