Wingnut on Wingnut Crime: Charisma Mag vs Beck

It’s wingnut on wingnut crime time again, kids. This time it’s Charisma magazine, specifically author Ron Cantor, taking on Glenn Beck over the latter’s goofy claim that the pilgrims were the descendants of the true lost tribes of Israel. And goofy it certainly is.

There are a lot of theories as to what happened to the 10 lost tribes of Israel—most of them improvable, some of them outright wacky. (Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, believed they, along with the apostle John, are floating in space on a piece of Earth that broke off.)

Recently, popular radio host and sometimes Trilateral-Commission-like conspiracy theorist Glenn Beck taught his listeners that the 10 tribes were the founders of the United States—at least, I think that is what he was saying.

He presented a history lesson—that had as much congruity as Ahmadinejad’s teachings on the Holocaust—backed up by no sources, no quote from any reputable historian and not even a Wikipedia reference. It simply left me dumbfounded and, truthfully, unable to figure what his point was…

I am not an expert on this. However, Beck’s assertion (again, he was all over the place, so I am not sure what he said) that Caucasians come from Jews who fled with Assyria and then either were the pilgrims or influenced them is fantasy.

Ooh, God Fight! This duel shall be totally unsupported religious beliefs at 20 paces.

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  • Seriously, Ed. You should market a brand of popcorn for keeping up with these. Can we arrange a Wingnutapalooza at year end to recap?

  • Al Dente

    Beck is possibly a proponent of British Isrealism. According to this idea the Ten Lost Tribes™ settled in Britain, then their descendents emigrated to the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

  • “Ishmael, what about heah?”

    “Heah? But it’s so hot. I’m gonna schvitz it’s so hot heah.”

    “Whatevah. Instead, could we settle ovah theah maybe?” [shrugs]

    “On that iyland? You know that the seah aiyr does to my hayah.”

    “Give it a chance, maybe? Look at it. Not too big. Not too small. A quiet naybahood. It’s a fine ayland.”

    “Oi. Whatevah. I gotta get off my feet befoah they swell.”

    “Then it’s settled. Long Iyland it is.”

  • I thought some Indian tribes were descendants of those lost tribes.

    Either way, it’s pretty fucking absurd to think anyone could sail from the Middle East to North America, without leaving any trace of such a maritime capability behind. Or that they would flee Roman persecution by sailing through the heart of the Empire, rather than, oh I dunno, going east overland to get FURTHER from them instead.

    Just another sign of how totally stupid and America-centric Mormonism is, I guess.

  • Synfandel

    There are a lot of theories as to what happened to the 10 lost tribes of Israel—most of them improvable…

    True. You can improve such theories by dismissing them.

  • Larry

    Dueling fairy tales. Like arguing whether Rapunzel’s hair was auburn with chestnut highlights or chestnut with auburn highlights.

  • raven


    British Israelism (also called Anglo-Israelism) is a doctrine based on the hypothesis that people of Western European descent, particularly those in Great Britain, are the direct lineal descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. The doctrine often includes the tenet that the British Royal Family is directly descended from the line of King David.

    It’s British Israelism as noted above already.

    Some British Israelism morphed into rather ugly right wing ideologies. Xian Identity, one of the white supremacist groups believe it. “WP: A variant of British Israelism formed the basis for a racialized theology and became known as Christian Identity, which has at its core the belief that non-Caucasian people have no souls and therefore cannot be saved.”

    It’s just religion poisoning everything again. Once you believe something unreal, you might as well just keep going and collect them all.

  • raven


    The Lamanites /ˈleɪ.mʌn.aɪt/[1] are one of four groups (including the Nephites, Jaredites, and Mulekites) believed to have settled in the ancient Americas according to the religious traditions of Latter-day Saint movement.

    According to the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites are members of a dark-skinned nation of indigenous Americans that occasionally battled with the light-skinned Nephite nation. They described as descendants of Laman and Lemuel, two rebellious brothers of a family of Israelites who crossed the ocean in a boat around 600 BC. Their brother Nephi founded the Nephite nation.

    The Lamanites reputedly gained their dark skin as a sign of the curse for their rebelliousness (the curse was the withdrawal of the Spirit of God),

    In Mormon mythology, the American Indians are Jews. But from which tribe isn’t specified, at least in Wikipedia.

    The Real Jews today are the Mormons and they have some ritual where they are assigned to one of the tribes of Israel. The middle eastern Jews of Israel are Fake Jews and called…gentiles, as are xians.

    Mormon mythology is all pretty baroque.

  • eamick

    “Improvable”? I wonder what he really meant: Improbable? Unprovable? It’s not as if any of Beck’s rantings could actually be improved in any way.

  • Abby Normal

    Like arguing whether Rapunzel’s hair was auburn with chestnut highlights or chestnut with auburn highlights.

    You’re right, that’s silly, ’cause she’s a blonde (yea, yea, yea)

  • rork

    Beck’s theory, or Joseph Smith’s might have relevant evidence.

    We’ve actually got DNA data on lots of people now-a-days. It doesn’t look good for these ideas.

    Smith didn’t foresee that I figure. For Beck, who knows. I’d think most educated Mormons have heard about this trouble with the golden tablets or whatever.

  • dogmeat


    Yeah, the DNA and linguistic data pretty much shattered the Mormon idea that Native Americans are descended from the lost tribes of Israel. That and the complete lack of a pre-Columbian Bronze-Iron age culture

  • freehand

    Of course by 1900 or so archaeology, history, cultural anthropology, and linguistics had already put the lie to the Mormon nonsense about the lost tribes.

    One, or part of one, of the lost tribes became a Chinese village. They looked Chinese, and had no holy books, but they kept the rituals and many practices, and a few words of Hebrew. Genetics confirmed that they were partly Jewish. Also, a fair number of folks in Western India. Also, North Africa. Not surprisingly, it looks like the lost tribes scattered and were largely assimilated (although some kept a Jewish identity).