Mormon End Times author, Chris Stewart, all but certain to win a Utah Congressional seat
Glenn Beck likes to say that he never endorses candidates—he just tells his followers how he feels about them. In Chris Stewart, the Republican nominee in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Beck has found someone he feels pretty damn good about. “If he wasn’t running, I’d be trying to convince him to work for me, to help me stay the course, strategize, and save the country,” he said last winter, as Stewart’s campaign was just getting off the ground. “I’ve actually tried to talk him out of running, because it’s a lion’s den in Washington.”
But, Beck added, “I believe he’s a Daniel.”
Like the Old Testament figure who emerged unscathed from a pit of lions, Stewart—an Air Force pilot turned consultant turned end times novelist—is also a prophet of sorts, and his message is grim: “If we don’t make some difficult decisions now, if we don’t show the courage to do what we have to do to save our country, we won’t make it for another 10 years,” he said in February, in a campaign video that also served to promote a book he’d just published under Beck’s imprint. But there was hope. “At critical times in our history…we literally had miracles where God intervened to save us,” he said. Send me to Congress, Stewart seemed to imply, and it could happen again.
So is he talking about the White Horse Prophecy?
It’s near certain that Stewart, running in a deep-red district in a deep-red state, will get his chance at fixing Washington next January. But his campaign has raised eyebrows in Utah, where Stewart has left a trail of furious Republicans calling for an investigation into electoral dirty tricks and old hands in both parties predicting the second coming of Michele Bachmann. “From time to time, we get a certified nutcase,” one former Utah Republican politician told me. “And Chris Stewart truly is a certified nutcase.”
Sweet! Just what this country needs, a Mormon Michele Bachmann.
Stewart scoffs at the notion that his books, like the Left Behind series to which they’re often compared, are religious tracts. “They’re not theological books; they’re not history books or predictions,” he says. “They’re not nonfiction. They’re just novels. And we would never read anything more into them than that. They’re just a way of telling a story.” He adds, “The only thing that we think is meaningful in the book in terms of, ‘Listen people, we should be aware of this,’ again is the threat of electromagnetic pulse.”
But in a 2009 interview with Meridian Magazine, an LDS-oriented publication, about the series, Stewart, who’s also written a self-help book called Redefining Joy in the Last Days, suggested that the religious underpinnings of his books were more than just a plot device. “The timing for events of the last days can catch us unaware as well,” he said. “It is why we listen to the prophets and why we read the scriptures to be prepared. In the Book of Mormon, Samuel the Lamanite came and gave them a five-year warning before Christ’s birth. Maybe we’ll get that.”
Don’t worry, Glenn Beck, much like an editor at the Fiction Department in the Ministry of Truth, has removed the
Popish “Mormonish” plots from these books.
When they appear together in public, though, Stewart and Beck certainly seem to be fellow travelers. After devoting hours of airtime to plugging Stewart’s book, in March Beck traveled to Utah for a fundraiser and book signing for the Great and Terrible series, newly reissued by Beck’s publishing company and, according to Beck, stripped of its explicitly Mormon theology. “He has rewritten this to make it for a mainstream [audience],” Beck said. “I’ve run it through all my evangelical friends I have and asked, ‘Would you read this? Does it sound too Mormonish for you?’ Because, come on, it’s God that is telling us these things. And he speaks through the multitude.”