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Glenn Beck and the Mainstreaming of the Mormons: An Example of Laurence Moore's Outsider-to-Insider Paradigm

Coleman, Kelli Ann
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Religious Studies
Degree Supervisor:
Wade Clark Roof
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Political Science, General, Religion, General, and American Studies
Mitt Romney
Tea Party
Glenn Beck
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
M.A.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012

The 2008 election season brought a new fame to the otherwise ignored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The presidential campaign of Mitt Romney and the Church's tireless efforts in passing Proposition 8 in California showed signs of a more energized, aggressive involvement of the Saints within public political discourse. However, from the beginning it was clear there was ambivalence from Evangelicals and other Protestant Christians in aligning with them in support of both causes. Glenn Beck's rise in the media from 2008 to the present marks an unprecedented national mainstreaming of a peculiar brand of religious political conservatism rooted in, and once isolated to, the Mormon culture that traditionally existed in the margins. Beck, a Mormon convert, successfully created a popular narrative for political change buttressed by his Mormon ideology but was packaged for an Evangelical Christian audience.

Paradoxically, Beck employs rhetoric where the principles that have historically cast the Mormons as religious "outsiders" are now the points that are serving to unify Mormons with mainstream Christians today. That is to say, Beck's influence on the Tea Party infuses a particularly Mormon characteristic within the framework of contemporary conservatism, the consequence of which is profound. This thesis will examine, first, the principles of the Mormon faith that serve as points of unity between Mormons and Evangelicals, namely, the doctrines of restoration, revelation, and eternal family. Then, a close examination of Beck in his various media (television, radio, public rallies, and books) reveals the overt Mormon message that is instilled within his ideology even as it is re-framed in terms more acceptable to non-Mormon conservatives.

Finally, I address the timeliness of Beck's popularity, and how the mainstreaming of the Mormons comes out of an affinity with a growing rhetoric of persecution from conservative Christians. I focus on rhetoric of Beck to understand how the Mormons have influenced and affected the broad scope of conservatism, which suggests the historical distinction made between Mormons and Evangelicals is merely pretense.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (45 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Kelli Coleman
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