by W. Cleon Skousen
An awful, unconstitutional endorsement of genocide and theocracy
My god, what a terrible book. I've never seen so many historical inaccuracies, distortions, and outright lies before in my life. The author claims that he wants to restore America to its Constitutional roots, but then the book focuses on how the United States is essentially unsalvageable at this point and will inevitably collapse in a coming apocalypse, and he lays out a vague plan for establishing what is essentially a communist theocracy afterwards, and has the gall to label it as "Constitutional."
Throughout the entire book, Skousen frequently endorses the idea of combining church and state, creating a theocratic government based on "God's Law," even though the U.S. Constitution is specifically intended to guarantee the separation of church and state, due to the fact that many European settlers fled to America to escape the religious persecution of European kings (the inevitable result of combining religion with government). Skousen also contradicts himself on whether or not there will be freedom of religion in this new, post-apocalyptic government. At one point he says that the society will be open and welcoming only to people who bend the knee and confess that Jesus is the Christ, and then later saying that the society will be open to people of all faiths (no mention of atheists), but that the Mormon church will still act as the head of government, reigning supreme over everyone and controlling how people are permitted to interpret "God's Law." This directly contradicts Mormon doctrine in D&C 134:9, which states "We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government [...]." But apparently Skousen only believes in following the teachings of his church if it fits with his agenda...
Skousen is also guilty of perpetuating the lie that Adolf Hitler was an atheist, when all documented and verifiable evidence clearly indicates that Hitler was Roman Catholic.
In addition to encouraging ideas which violate the Constitution (and labeling those ideas as "Constitutional"), Skousen also makes several assertions which are scientifically and demonstrably wrong, such as saying that AIDS is a highly contagious disease and can be transmitted via saliva (neither of which are true), and also condemning homosexuality and implying that AIDS is God's punishment for immorality, and that everyone with HIV should be quarantined. Never mind the fact that imposing a quarantine on such a large segment of the population would be impractical, it's also unnecessary because AIDS does not qualify as a highly contagious disease according to the official scientific definition of the term. The HIV virus can only be transmitted through blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal secretions; it cannot be transmitted through saliva. In order for any disease to be officially and scientifically classified as highly contagious, that disease must be transmittable simply by close proximity to or casual contact with an infected person. HIV, which requires the exchange of bodily fluids, does not meet that qualification, and therefore cannot be classified as highly contagious. But scientific truth and accuracy don't seem to be among Skousen's strong points.
Skousen also goes on to say that because AIDS is God's punishment for the wicked, we should never look into trying to find a cure for it or provide treatment for anyone who is infected, and that we should refuse to support or vote for any politicians who endorse medical research into HIV as part of their political platform. Seriously. Skousen actually said we should not conduct medical research into HIV. What kind of backwater lunatic actually suggests something so horrible? Apparently Skousen not only hates scientific progress, but he also hates healing the sick. Christ would be ashamed.
But the atrocities don't end there. Skousen also makes subtle hints towards endorsing genocide by saying that there is a constant need to "cleanse" society of transgressors. At the end there is even a so called prophecy (based on nothing more than some random person's dream) where an angel pours a bottle of poison into an ocean, killing everything in it. And we're supposed to believe that this sort of thing is the will of God? Apparently Skousen would have us believe that God is a genocidal maniac...
Skousen also proposes a few bizarre theories, the first being that not only are the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel still around and intact as a single group, but that they're actually living under the ice in the Arctic Circle. Either that or they're in outer space somewhere, and will come down to Earth via a bridge in the Arctic Circle. Skousen isn't entirely clear on this point, but either way it's a completely ridiculous theory.
Another pet theory that Skousen purports (one that shows up in several of his books, including his most popular title, "The 5,000 Year Leap") is that the U.S. Constitution and the organization of the U.S. Government are supposedly based on the government of the Anglo-Saxons, and that there is some kind of mysterious connection between the Anglo-Saxons and ancient Israel, who Skousen claims had almost identical systems of government. Although it is true that Thomas Jefferson did have an incredible fascination with the Anglo-Saxons, it's important to remember that the Constitution was written mostly by James Madison, so it's highly unlikely that the Founding Fathers drew much, if any, inspiration from the Anglo-Saxons. And the connection between the Anglo-Saxons and ancient Israel is even more tenuous, given that the only thing the two societies actually had in common was that they both organized society by dividing people into a pyramid-like social structure, with leaders at the top, subordinates beneath them, and smaller, more manageable groups beneath them. Of course the fact that almost EVERY society is divided into such a pyramid-like structure seems to escape Skousen, but that doesn't stop him from insisting that there's some kind of connection, even though there is no legitimate evidence to support such a theory.
Skousen also spends a great deal of time explaining the structure of the Law of Consecration, or as I like to call it, the Mormon Communism. Now Skousen openly acknowledges that there are some striking similarities (almost perfect parallels, in fact) between Communism and the Law of Consecration, and he also admits that both have failed whenever they have been attempted. But Skousen insists that the Law of Consecration is good, and that it only failed because people just aren't good enough to live by it (which is the exact same excuse that Communists make, by the way).
One especially disturbing point about Skousen's hypothetical New World Order is that he blatantly encourages the violation of the Sixth Amendment by stating that the right to a trial by a jury should be abolished, and persons accused of crimes would no longer be permitted to have lawyers to defend them in court. Instead, a single judge holds all the power and authority of the entire court by himself, and gets to decide the fate of the accused without regard to anything or anyone else. That sure doesn't sound like a fair court system to me, and it's certainly not Constitutional. Yet this is precisely what Skousen has proposed. The image of the Constitution on the book's cover apparently serves as nothing more than a mockery to the document, as almost none of the ideas in this book can rightly be called Constitutional in the slightest.
On top of that, Skousen even claimed that because immorality supposedly thrives in large cities, government should enact measures to spread the population out over a wider area and force everyone to live in smaller, more manageable towns. That's right – W. Cleon Skousen, the famed Mormon writer and would-be historian who supposedly hated Communism... was an advocate of central planning.
Apparently the destruction of personal freedom and individual liberty are only bad things when they're done by Communists...
As a side note, any reader (especially those who are members of the LDS church) should be aware that not only has Brigham Young University (where Skousen taught as a professor) asked Skousen to recant certain parts of his writings, so has the leadership of the LDS church. So if you're a Mormon who believes in the leadership of the church, just keep in mind that said leadership has told Skousen he's wrong and that he should recant.
If you're not a member of the Mormon church, then you should know that virtually none of Skousen's theories or prophecies are based on the Bible, but rather come almost entirely from the writings of Mormon leaders and Mormon scriptures, with "The Doctrine and Covenants" being used as the dominating source of information. If you're a Christian looking for genuine Biblical prophecy, you will find none here.
Back in January 2011, Christopher Hitchens wrote a wonderful article for Vanity Fair titled "Tea'd Off," in which he goes into detail about the repulsive and virulent racism and bigotry which Skousen's works are injecting back into society, resulting in the radical, openly hostile and often violent Tea Party movement. I highly recommend reading it.
Read "Tea'd Off," by Christopher Hitchens
Ultimately, "The Cleansing of America" is a destructive, genocidal, racist, homophobic, scientifically false piece of quasi-Communist Mormon propaganda, and society would be better off if this abominable work were buried and forgotten. I give this book one star, but only because that's the minimum Amazon reviews will allow. In all honesty, it doesn't deserve any.