Sunday, September 05, 2010

Skousen, "The Cleansing of America" (reviewed by Kris Wray)


Title: The Cleansing of America
Author: W. Cleon Skousen
Publisher: Valor Publishing Group
Genre: Mormonism; Last Days Prophecies; Zion
Year Published: 2010
Number of Pages: 175
Binding: Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-1-935546-21-4
Price: $19.95

In about 1998 I was able to sit down and chat with Dr.  W.  Cleon Skousen while he was visiting Cedar City, Utah.  At one point he mentioned a book he had written concerning the judgments of God on America according to prophecy, and the subsequent establishment of the long‐awaited Zion.  I asked him if I could have a copy, but was denied.  Cleon explained he had given the book to a few of âthe brethrenâ in the LDS Church, and they had told him it was not the right time to publish such a book.  Loyal to his Church leaders, and agreeing with their suggestion, Cleon decided to hold on to the manuscript for the time being.  When asked by his family when the right time would be, their ninety‐year‐old Patriarch explained:

âIt will be a dark time when the Constitution is being abandoned, when economic turmoil boils on every level of society and government.  It will be a time when people give up hope.  The nation will be in the grip of a dark collapse.  The people will begin to panic and wonder and start making foolish mistakes.  They will abandon correct principles for patchwork solutions that only make things worse.â [Preface]

Cleon passed away on January 9, 2006.  So in 2010, when the Skousen sons and their families decided it was time to release âThe Cleansing of America,â I was curious to find out what Cleon had been so excited about, and what âthe brethrenâ, whomever they were, had read which they thought the public wasnât ready for.

The sequel to one of Cleonâs earlier books, âThe Majesty of Godâs Law,â âThe Cleansing of Americaâ reviews âthe events and stages the Lord has predicted through His servants â the winding‐up scenes of this world.â Anyone who has read any of Cleonâs forty plus works knows that he could probably be considered a literalist when it comes to interpreting scripture, and an ardent defender of the U.S.  Constitution.  This book is no different.  It is intended to assist the reader in understanding âthe nature of prophecy, the known chronology of prophetic events, and the importance of staying close to the Lord and His prophets during the difficult and challenging years prior to the Second Coming.â

In his Introduction, Cleon states that the central theme of this book is âthe preparation of this land [America] for six major purposesâ:

1.  The restoration of the Constitution

2.  The adoption of Godâs law

3.  The introduction of a Zion society under the law of consecration with individual stewardships

4.  The great last gathering of Israel

5.  The coming of the ten tribes

6.  The building of the New Jerusalem

Essentially, âThe Cleansing of Americaâ is a mini‐manual written for the purpose of preparing America for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth from the perspective of a Mormon faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‐day Saints, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It is divided into seven sections which deal with the future of America; Americaâs manifest destiny; scriptural prophecies concerning last day events; setting up Godâs law; economic systems under Godâs law; the law of consecration; and qualities of a Zion society.

Dr.  Skousen believed that America is in danger of losing its virtue, and therefore will face judgments from God, and all this according to prophecy.  A desolating scourge will cleanse the country of wicked Gentiles, and also apostate or backsliding Christians and Mormons as well.  This is all in preparation for a global gathering of righteous people to America, including members of the LDS Church, and anyone else who does not want to lose their freedoms to the coming âmilitary world dictatorship.â[2] Once the gathering to the American Zion has occurred, its borders will be sealed off with the help of divine intervention, and the New Jerusalem society will grow strong.  While wars and contention rage on among the wicked, peace and order will be found flourishing in Zion.  The inhabitants of the earth will be warned to repent by signs, natural disasters, disease, and missionaries, until Jesus Christ finally returns and ushers in the paradisaical glory known as the Millennium.  Cleon saw events happening during
his lifetime which led him to feel we were fast approaching the last days preceding the Second Coming of Christ.  Almost half of âThe Cleansing of Americaâ is dedicated to the above descriptions.

The second half of the book lays out the means by which America can achieve its six major purposes.  Utilizing mostly scriptures, with a dash of Cleonâs U.S.  Constitution philosophy and historical precedent centered on the founding Fathers, it suggests ways in which a Zion society could be set up under Godâs laws.  Subjects such as government, economics, education, stewardship, and the attitude of the participants are touched upon.

âThe Cleansing of Americaâ is easy to understand and read.  It is written in a simple style that just about anyone can follow.  I couldnât find anything that was shockingly new, controversial, or would explain why it was withheld from the public until 2010, other than the possibility that a number of LDS Church members are ignorant of some of the doctrines and history highlighted in earlier times by believers, and may have been considered mentally or spiritually unprepared for it.  Those people who have enjoyed Dr.  Skousenâs previous books and tapes will no doubt find value in this volume.  It is the culmination of at least fifty years of his thoughts.  Those who find his prior work unappealing will probably feel the same about this book, due to the similarities in perspective and arguments.

I personally think that correctly understanding prophecy has been, and can be, a complicated, and oft times nearly impossible task.  As Paul admitted, âwe see through a dark glassâ and âknow in partâ (1 Cor.  13:12), so I tend to juggle various schools of thought on the topics, trying to avoid committing too strongly to interpretations with too many details.  Nonetheless, Iâve slid âThe Cleansing of Americaâ into my âLDS books on Last Daysâ section of my bookshelves, considering it an interesting and informative work, particularly the way it is presented in a chronological framework.  But by no means is it exhaustive or the final word in the debate.


/key words: Glenn Beck, Restoring Honor/

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