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Contingent CitizensShifting Perceptions of Latter-day Saints in American Political Culture$
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Spencer W. McBride, Brent M. Rogers, and Keith A. Erekson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501716737

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501716737.001.0001

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The Historic Conflicts of Our Time

The Historic Conflicts of Our Time

Ezra Taft Benson and Twentieth-Century Media Representations of Latter-Day Saints

Chapter:
(p.208) Chapter 13 The Historic Conflicts of Our Time
Source:
Contingent Citizens
Author(s):
Patrick Q. Mason
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501716737.003.0014

This chapter talks about Ezra Taft Benson who commenced work as secretary of agriculture in the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration in 1953, while serving as one of the twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It describes Benson as a central figure in postwar American politics who represented the confluence and conflict between the various stripes of Mormon and American conservatism. It also discusses how Benson was the subject of national media interest and scrutiny in the 1950s and 1960. The chapter points out how Benson often took clear and controversially conservative positions on many of the historic conflicts of the twentieth century, such as anticommunism, the women's movement, international and domestic conflicts, and the culture wars. It traces American public representations of Mormonism by looking at Benson as a media filter.

Keywords:   Ezra Taft Benson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, postwar American politics, American conservatism, anticommunism, women's movement

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