|W. Cleon Skousen|
|Born||Willard Cleon Skousen
January 20, 1913
Raymond, Alberta, Canada
|Died||January 9, 2006
Salt Lake City, Utah
|Alma mater||San Bernardino Valley College
George Washington University Law School
Early American history
|Notable work(s)||Five Thousand Year Leap
The Naked Communist
|Spouse(s)||Jewel Pitcher (m. 1936)|
|Relative(s)||Nephews: Joel Skousen, Royal Skousen, Mark Skousen|
Willard Cleon Skousen (January 20, 1913 – January 9, 2006) was an American author, conservative American constitutionalist and faith-based political theorist. He was also a prolific popularizer among Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (LDS) of their theology. A notable anti-communist and supporter of the John Birch Society, Skousen's works involved a wide range of subjects including the Six-Day War, Mormon eschatology, New World Order conspiracies, and parenting. His most popular works are The 5,000 Year Leap and The Naked Communist. A book by Skousen on end times 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 in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, the second of nine children of Royal Pratt Skousen 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 where his father supervised the paving of some of the original Route 66. 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 as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After completing his missionary service, Skousen attended San Bernardino Valley Jr. College, graduating in 1935. He married Jewel Pitcher in August 1936, and they raised eight children together. He graduated with an LL.B. from George Washington University Law School in June 1940 (the school updated his degree as Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1972 with its degree nomenclature).
In June 1935, Skousen went to work for the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, a New Deal program to subsidize farmers. Soon thereafter, he found employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), working as a messenger while attending law school at night. In 1940, after receiving his law degree and passing the Washington D.C. bar exam, he became an FBI Special Agent. Skousen was one of several official Bureau speakers, rated in FBI memos as "one of the Bureau's outstanding speakers with excellent poise, bearing, voice, diction and knowledge."  Skousen left the FBI in 1951.
From 1951 to 1955, he taught at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. 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 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-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 (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, but his increasing paranoia resulted in his abrupt termination in 1962. He later returned to Brigham Young University as a Professor in the Religion Department in 1967, retiring in 1978.
After his service as Chief of Police, 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, although members of the more mainstream conservative movement 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 lectured at John Birch Society events throughout the United States. 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's presidency, Skousen was asked to be a charter member of the conservative think tank the Council for National Policy, founded by Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind series of books. Other early participants included Paul Weyrich; Phyllis Schlafly; Robert Grant; Howard Phillips, a former Republican affiliated with the Constitution Party; Richard Viguerie, the direct-mail specialist; and Morton Blackwell, a Louisiana and Virginia 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, as well as a plan that he claimed would completely wipe out the national debt.
Although Skousen was not a tax protester, he campaigned for several proposals to eliminate the federal income tax. One proposal, the Liberty Amendment, precluded the federal government from involvement in any activities that competed with private enterprise 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.
In 1971, Skousen founded a non-profit 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 (NCCS), a national organization headquartered in Malta, Idaho.
Skousen had support among many LDS people in the 1960s and early 1970s. By 1979, that enthusiasm had spilled over into individuals promoting Skousen seminars inside local LDS church buildings and meetings. 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, but resigned citing "irregularities" in management. While at the Institute, he mentored Oliver DeMille, and his influence helped shape George Wythe University, a private, unaccredited university in Cedar City, Utah, which grew out of the Meadeau View. Skousen's books are still used as texts at the school.
Skousen called for a return to the original constitutional controls over the federal government, and supported the abolition of unconstitutional usurpation of the legislative branch by the executive branch through its creation of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, etc. He also wanted to reign in what he viewed as federal intrusion into states' rights by repealing the minimum wage, eliminating unions, nullifying anti-discrimination laws, selling off federally-owned public lands and national parks, ending the direct election of senators, eliminating the income tax and the estate tax, returning to the Founding Fathers' views regarding separating church and state, and ending the Federal Reserve System.
Skousen spoke against communism throughout his career. He did not believe the U.S. should establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, claiming that the U.S. State Department was engaging in treason with respect to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's visit to "his old friend Mao Tse-tung."  In the 1970s, he spoke to a Latter-Day Saint group aboard a cruise ship returning from Israel, 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.
Skousen spoke of billionaire banker David Rockefeller as being one of the most powerful men in the world. Skousen criticized Rockefeller for praising Mao Zedong 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 had conspired to elect Jimmy Carter 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.
Skousen authored The Naked Communist 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, wherein Quigley stated that top Western merchant bankers, industrialists and related institutions were behind the rise of communism and fascism around the world. Skousen's aim was to provide long in-context quotes showing the essence of Quigley's research and thus make them accessible to a wider audience. Quigley disavowed Skousen's use of his work. Skousen states in the work that the purpose of liberal internationalist groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations, is to push "U.S. foreign policy toward the establishment of a world-wide collectivist society." In 1971, G. Edward Griffin released the documentary The Capitalist Conspiracy: An Inside View of International Banking crediting the film: "We wish to acknowledge that this film was insipred by Cleon Skousen's book, The Naked Capitalist which we believe is one of the most important documents of the decade." The Naked Capitalist has been cited by many, including Cleon Skousen's nephew Joel Skousen, as strong evidence of a "New World Order" strategy to create a One World Government.
In 1987, controversy erupted in California when the state briefly considered using Skousen's book, The Making of America, as a textbook for California schools. Skousen quoted nine pages from a 1934 essay on slavery by the historian Fred Albert Shannon. Shannon used the word "pickaninny" as a label for slave children. The inclusion of Shannon's verbiage 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, asserted that these charges of racism were "largely taken out of context" from the 1934 essay. Skousen highlights the global history of slavery as a problem that has appeared among all races, and states in The Making Of America 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 in the 1930s while attending law school, combing archives in the Library of Congress for the original writings of such Founding Fathers as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and continued to work on the manuscript for the next 50 years, finally publishing it in 1981.
In 1979 the then-president of the LDS church issued an order prohibiting announcements about Skousen's groups from official LDS meetings or publications.
Skousen died in 2006. His funeral was eulogized by Mormon Apostle Thomas S. Monson. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, 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 fall of 2007, political commentator Glenn Beck 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 asked Beck to write the foreword for a new edition of the book. Texas Governor Rick Perry 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 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 and was often used as source material for 9-12 Project speakers.
Skousen's son Paul Skousen is noted author, and several notable nephews include Joel Skousen, a survivalist and political author; Royal Skousen, a linguist and Mormon studies scholar; and Mark Skousen, a libertarian economist and author–commentator.
- Skousen, W. Cleon (2009-03-19). James Michael Pratt and Carlos L Packard, ed. The Five Thousand Year Leap. Franklin, Tennessee: American Documents Publishing, LLC. p. 356. ISBN 0-9815596-6-2.
- The Making of America: The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution (2nd ed.). Malta, Idaho: National Center for Constitutional Studies. 1985. p. 888. ISBN 0-88080-017-8.
- The Miracle of America (Paperback ed.). National Center for Constitutional Studies. 1977. ASIN: B000J5A9XY
- The Naked Communist (11th ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign. 1962. p. 408. ASIN: B000NKE3M
- The Naked Capitalist. self-published. 1962. ASIN: B000GDX9D6
- The Majesty of God's Law.[clarification needed]
- Richard Skousen (2007). Brother Joseph: Seer of New Dispensation (Volume 1). Pleasant Grove, Utah: Verity Publishing. ISBN 978-0-934364-27-0.
- Treasures from The Book of Mormon Volume 1 (First Nephi-jacob 7) (Paperback ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing. 1998. p. 329. ASIN: B000Q8120S
- A Personal Search for the Meaning of the Atonement (Audio cassette ed.). Ensign Productions. ASIN: B000QXLQYA
- So You Want To Raise A Boy? (1994 ed.). Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign. p. 346. ISBN 978-0-934364-15-7.
- Isaiah Speaks to Modern Times. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign. 1984. ISBN 978-0910558259.
- The First Two Thousand Years. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft. 1953. ISBN 0-88494-029-2.
- The Third Thousand Years. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft. 1964. ISBN 0-88494-122-1.
- The Fourth Thousand Years: From David to Christ. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft. 1966. ISBN 0-88494-147-7.
- Days of the Living Christ, Vol. 1. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Co. 1992. ISBN 0-916095-46-0.
- Days of the Living Christ, Vol. 2. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Co. 1998. ISBN 0-916095-47-9.
- The Real Story of Christmas; and Authoritative Historical Sources Compiled from The Scriptures. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co. 1958. ASIN: B000WLY4UY
- Prophecy and Modern Times. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Books. 1948. p. 150. ASIN: B0007EXO02
- The Cleansing of America. Orem, Utah: Valor Publishing Group. 2010. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-935546-21-4.
- Israelsen-Hartley, Sara (December 5, 2009). "BYU professors: Glenn Beck doesn't speak for all Mormons". Deseret News.
- Skousen, Cleon (1963), The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society. Belmont, MA: American Opinion. 8 page pamphlet. Online reprint by Micah Burnett at ourrepubliconline.com
- Zaitchik, Alexander (September 16, 2009). "Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck's life". Salon. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
- "The Cleansing of America by Cleon Skousen". Valor Publishing Group. Retrieved October 11, 2010.
- "Death: Rita Skousen Miller". Deseret News. 1998-05-08. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Skousen, Eric N. (2006-01-14). "Eulogy for Dr. W. Cleon Skousen". Skousen2000.com. Retrieved 2009-11-21.
- Mass, Warren (3 April 2006). "In Memoriam: He definitely made a difference". The New American (John Birch Society). Online reprint by TheFreeLibrary.com, retrieved 2009-11-19
- "W. Cleon Skousen 1913-2006 Biography". Official website of W. Cleon Skousen. skousen2000.com. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- Staff writer (1960-04-04). "Utah: Nettled Nickel-Nipper". Time. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- Haddock, Sharon (2009-03-20). "Beck's backing bumps Skousen book to top". Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- "Political Feud in Salt Lake City: J. Bracken Lee and the Firing of W. Cleon Skousen", Utah Historical Quarterly, Volume 42, No. 4, 1974, p. 316, article by Dennis L. Lythgoe
- Hemingway, Mark (2007-08-06). "Romney’s Radical Roots". National Review Online. Retrieved 2009-02-16.
- Himstreet, Ted (1960-03-22). "S.L. Tables Reconsideration Of Chief Skousen Dismissal". Deseret News and Telegram. pp. A1, A6. Online reprint of scanned newspaper by Google News Archive, retrieved 2009-11-23
- Lythgoe, Dennis (1994-09-13). "`Brack' Has Been A Fiery Presence In Utah". Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
- Drum, Kevin (2005-02-24). "Review of Before the Storm". Political Animal. The Washington Monthly. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- "In Memoriam of W. Cleon Skousen". Newsletter. National Center for Constitutional Studies. February 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- Confounding Fathers: The Tea Party’s Cold War Roots by historian Sean Wilentz, The New Yorker, October 18, 2010
- Jeremy Leaming and Rob Boston (October 2004). Behind Closed Doors: Who Is The Council For National Policy And What Are They Up To? And Why Don’t They Want You To Know?, Church & State, Americans United for Separation of Church and State
- Council for National Policy, NNDB, Soylent Communications
- "Home Page". NCCS.net. National Center for Constitutional Studies. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
- Parkinson, Paul; Cates, Karl (1994-07-26). "Backers Tried In Vain To Recover Losses". Deseret News. Retrieved 19 November 2009.
- "Master of Arts, Political Economy Graduation Requirements". George Wythe University. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- "The Freshman Year". George Wythe University. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-09.
- "Skousen American Education Foundation: Naked Capitalist". Skousen2000.com. Retrieved July 1, 2010.
- Fringe Mormon Group Makes Myths with Glenn Beck’s Help by Alexander Zaitchik, Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report, Spring 2011, Issue Number: 141
- Skousen, W. Cleon (1958). The Naked Communist. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ensign Publishing Co.
- Staff writer (1973-11-15). "Visit to Mao". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
- "Speech by Dr. W. Cleon Skousen". Google Videos. c. 1976. Retrieved 2009-11-19.[unreliable source?]
- "Cleon Skousen vs. David Rockefeller". Speech. YouTube. Retrieved 2009-11-19.[unreliable source?]
- Representative Wally Herger (R-CA 2nd)[verification needed] (2009-10-28). "Communist Goals as read into the Congressional Record". Congress.org. Retrieved 2011-01-12.[unreliable source?]
- "Round Table Review: The Naked Capitalist". J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. 1970. Retrieved 2009-11-19.).
- Vol. 1 (1971). The Capitalist Conspiracy: An Inside View of International Banking (credit at 1m:39s) (Documentary). American Media. OCLC 5558340.
- Ingram, Carl (1987-02-07). "Probe Ordered in State Panel's Sale of 'Racist' Book". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
- Bishop, Katherine (February 16, 1987). "Bicentennial Panel In California Assailed Over 'Racist' Textbook". The New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2009.
- Skousen, W. Cleon. The Making of America. p. 728.
- Benson, Lee (March 21, 2010). "Glenn Beck gives Skousen book's sales a 'Leap'". Deseret News.
- Mollie (October 13, 2009). "Mormon America". Get Religion.
- Rolly, Paul (July 1, 2009). "GenRolly Speaking: How Far Right Can We Go?". Salt Lake Tribune.
- Posner, Sarah (September 21, 2009). "The Skousen Admiration Club". The American Prospect.
- "Remarks, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)". 109th United States Congress, United States Senate. Congressional Record. January 2006. p. S114.
- "The 5000 Year Leap". Retrieved September 15, 2009.[not in citation given]
- Dreher, Rod (17 September 2009). "Rick Perry's radical right-wing reader". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "Fiscal Conservatism and the Soul of the GOP". The Wall Street Journal. 2009-08-22. Retrieved September 24, 2009.
- Books, audio and video recordings by W. Cleon Skousen
- W. Cleon Skousen website, under construction
- "Radical Constitutionalism" by Jeffrey Rosen, New York Times (November 26, 2010)
- Success Rate of the Communist Goals in America.
- "A Practical Application and Book Review of 'The 5,000 Year Leap.'"
- The Atonement, a discourse by Skousen on the Mormon scripture, Doctrine and Covenants
- Meet the man who changed Glenn Beck’s life
- "An Open Letter to Detractors of W. Cleon Skousen and His Works" by Brian R. Mecham
- Obituary of Skousen by Carrie A. Moore in the Deseret News
- FBI Files on W. Cleon Skousen