Suzan Mazur: Diebold & The Mormon Mason Handshake

Published: Fri 15 Jul 2005 12:29 AM
Diebold And The Mormon Mason Handshake
By Suzan Mazur

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Diebold, the Ohio computer election systems manufacturer, remains under a cloud regarding irregularities in its tabulation of the 2004 US presidential vote, which led to the reinstalling of George W. Bush. So it may be productive to explore what appears to be a significant Diebold-Mormon link, as well as observe how the Mormons are jockeying for a major political role in America. We already know of the Bush tie-in to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Click here: Scoop: Suzan Mazur: Bush And The Mormons)
First some background on Mormon politics. Historically, Mormons tend to vote Republican, perhaps forever scarred by being driven out of Missouri and elsewhere in the 1830s -- some tarred and feathered -- by Democrats. Mormons subsequently threw their support to the Whig party, forerunners of today's Republicans.
The LDS church has made no fanfare about Diebold CEO Walden O'Dell being a "Saint". And O'Dell's promotion of the serving of alcoholic beverages at political fundraisers would further imply that he is not -- alcohol being a Mormon no-no.
But he was a major contributor to George W. Bush's reelection campaign, organizing a $1,000-a-plate dinner in August 2003 and encouraging supporters to donate $10,000, although Diebold's website now indicates high profile employees of the company should keep a politically neutral public face.
O'Dell's public reticence to be seen as a GOP stalwart followed an infamous letter to supporters the day before Ohio's Republican secretary of state Ken Blackwell chose Diebold as one of three suppliers for the state's e-voting machines. In the letter O'Dell said he was, "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."
Blackwell, a former football player, is a savvy long-time Republican party loyalist, taking on the tough missions when asked, like swaggering through the streets of Srinagar investigating the Kashmir crisis during some of its most violent days in the early 1990s.
It would be surprising if, as an African-American, Blackwell were Mormon. According to Thomas W. Murphy, an anthropologist at Edmunds College in Washington who is an expert on the Book of Mormon, people of color are led to believe that "BoMor" is "a historical record of their ancestors who were reportedly cursed by God with a dark skin for their wickedness" and told that if they give up their own traditions and convert to the Christian gospel, they can again become "white" or "pure".
Nevertheless, New York's Harlem does have its own Mormon church now, and pop star Gladys Knight has become a big tithe for the "Saints".
It is highly significant, though, that Diebold's former COO, Wesley Vance, was a prominent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as a graduate of church-funded Brigham Young University.
Vance, for several years was in charge of Diebold's global operations, including research and development, manufacturing, sales and purchasing. He was paid $787,000 in 2003 as COO and had 10,000 Diebold stock options -- with 10% of his annual income likely tithed to the LDS church. Vance died in the spring of 2003 at age 45 while piloting his own plane, crashing southeast of Columbus, Ohio.
On January 22, 2002, Diebold announced the acquisition of Global Election Systems, then a manufacturer and supplier of electronic voting terminals and solutions. The total purchase price, in stock and cash, was $24.7 million. Global Election Systems subsequently changed its name to Diebold Election Systems, Inc.
Are there other key Diebold associates who are LDS in the mix of 14,000 employees? Without a doubt.
Vance was also in charge of human resources for Diebold, and it is known that the LDS, as a socially-conscious organization, looks out for its own.
As Sally Denton and Roger Morris point out in their book, The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America:
". . . the Mormon organization has a great deal in common with the Mafia . . . Strictly hierarchical. Great rewards for loyalty. Great rewards for keeping your word. They take care of their own."
FMR Corporation -- Fidelity Management & Research Corporation -- is Diebold's largest shareholder, with 5.7 million shares worth over $313 million. FMR's former president, Robert Pozen, aside from having served as associate general counsel to the SEC, was secretary of economic affairs for Massachusetts governor/LDS celebrity Mitt Romney. Romney is a frontrunner for US president on the Republican 2008 ticket.
Fidelity is the world's largest mutual funds company. It is in the hands of a major Boston family --father and daughter, Ned and Abby Johnson -- with Steve Jonas running things for the Johnsons. (Click here: DBD: Major Holders for DIEBOLD INC - Yahoo! Finance )
Fidelity, has in the past organized fundraisers for Romney, as has the syndicate's venture capital firm, Bain Capital of Boston, which Romney founded in 1984 and where he served as CEO for 17 years.
And the Boston Mormon money connections don't stop there.
Kim B. Clark, long-time dean of America's premier breeding pool for entrepreneurs -- Harvard Business School -- has just become the new president of Brigham Young University in Idaho.
During his time at Harvard, Clark simultaneously served as bishop of the LDS congregation in Cambridge. Prior to Harvard, Clark played a role in the US Department of Labor in the Ford administration, so it is likely he would be a Romney supporter. In fact, BYU has its own Romney Institute established in honor of Mitt Romney's father, the former auto exec and governor, George Romney.
The Mormon church has a history of playing politics, putting up its own prophet, Joseph Smith, for a US presidential run in 1844.

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Senate Investigation of Joseph Smith
The church's adoption of various Masonic principles -- like secrecy -- around the time that Smith ran for president seemed designed to make Mormonism more palatable to US politicos, many of whom similarly embraced Masonry. The very word "constitution" so central to American politics may have been adopted from the Freemason's Book of Constitution.
However, Joseph Smith's political run was short-lived. He was gunned down that same year for promoting polygamy.

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As the story goes, he flashed the Masonic distress symbol as he jumped from the window of the Carthage, Illinois jail into a mob armed with muskets. Some apparently Mason muskets.
Smith was initiated into the Masons by Abraham Jonas, a Jewish politician (a distant relative of Fidelity's Steve Jonas??), who himself was running for office and hoped to secure the Mormon vote by bringing Smith and his followers into the brotherhood. Smith's "sublime prince of the royal secret" Masonic honors were rushed along in less than the required 30 days, after which Smith persuaded his followers to join. The ranks of the Masons swelled by a third from 2,000 to 3,300 after the Mormon initiation.
According to Brigham Young's wife number 19, Anna Eliza Webb Young, Brigham referred to the Mormon temple endowment ceremony as "Celestial Masonry" because there were such close parallels to the "tokens, signs and penalties" of the Masons -- including the Mormon and Mason secret handshakes. (Click here: Excerpt: A History of Mormon Temple Worship [Mormons and Masons])
J.H. Beadle, former editor of the Salt Lake Reporter and Clerk of the Utah Supreme Court wrote an "expose of the secret rites and ceremonies of the deluded followers of Brigham Young" describing the endowment ceremony. He dedicated his book, Polygamy or the Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism (1882), to the "women of America, whose sympathies are ever active in behalf of their suffering and oppressed sisters in the hope that it will interest them in the condition of the women who are living in moral bondage in Utah".
Following is Beadle's report of the endowment ceremony. The illustrations that accompany this story are all from the Beadle book.

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The men enter first, and the officiating priest cuts certain marks on their garments and a slight gash just above the right knee. Then, at the command of Eloheim, they one by one introduce their women to the room. Very few instances have occurred of women being admitted to these rites before marriage. "Sealing for eternity" is then performed for all who have previously been only "married for time." . ..
Such is the Endowment, as reported by many who have passed through it. . . . The general outline is evidently modeled upon the Mysteries or Holy Dramas of the Middle Ages. Much of it will be recognized as extracted from "Morgan's Free-masonry Expose," by those familiar with that work; and the origin of this is quite curious.
When [Mormon founder, Joseph] Smith and [Sidney] Rigdon first began their work they were in great doubt what to preach; a furious excitement was prevalent in the West, and portions of argument in regard to all the isms of the day may be found in the "Book of Mormon." . . . Some years after, however, the Mormons all became Masons, and so continued till they reached Nauvoo [Illinois];

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Fac-simile, Original Writing from Book of Mormon, According to Joe Smith

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… there Joseph Smith out-masoned Solomon himself, and declared that God had revealed to him a great key-word, which had been lost, and that he would lead Masonry to far higher degrees,and not long after their charter was revoked by the Grand Lodge. How much of masonry proper has survived in the Endowment, the writer will not pretend to say; but the Mormons are pleased to have the outside world connect the two, and convey the impression that this is "Celestial Masonry."
The Mormons proceeded to establish Masonic schools in Utah after fleeing Nauvoo. Brigham Young then sought permission from England's Freemasons for a public charter so the Mormons could have their own Masonic rite. The request was refused, but Young can be seen, nevertheless, wearing Masonic pins in historic photos.
The question is: When will the Mormon secret handshakes, smoke & mirrors and buck stop?
The financial grip of the LDS behemoth on America is profound. The church, which takes tithes from its members, no-questions-asked, established Zions Bancorp, for instance, in 1873. Brigham Young called it Zions Savings Bank and Trust Company. It now has 400 branches in eight states including Texas, although the church has sold majority control.
And there have been others that have left teethmarks -- including "Jack Mormon" Parry Thomas's Bank of Las Vegas, which Sally Denton and Roger Morris note the FBI referred to as "the Mob's bank". Denton and Morris also cite the Eccles, one of the richest banking families of the 20th century, channeling "enormous, sometimes untraceable sums" to Thomas's Bank of Las Vegas in the 1950s. The Eccles owned First Security bank in Salt Lake City. One of the Eccles brothers served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for over a decade and was an architect of the US banking system. The University of Utah's genetics center now bears the Eccles name.
Then, of course, a private planeload of cash left Las Vegas -- "millions of dollars earned and tithed in the city" -- every Monday for the LDS treasury in Salt Lake City, according to Denton and Morris:
Directly or indirectly, the use of LDS (Latter-day Saints) church money or simply the funds of predominantly Mormon family and business depositors to finance Las Vegas gambling -- to say nothing of aid and stimulation for an international criminal network -- would have been a fateful revelation then and later.
Eight men have just been indicted from the fundamentalist polygamist cult on the Utah-Arizona border on charges related to plural marriage -- a drop in the bucket for the crimes of a so-called religion that has robbed ten generations of women of a fair shake at life by burning polygamy into its scripture. As long as the LDS can keep up the pretense that it is a religion rather than a cash cow (France has forbidden LDS commercial sales there), there will be runaway profits for the "Saints" that will continue to compromise America's political process, as in the Diebold debacle.
[Suzan Mazur's reports have appeared in the Financial Times, Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Philadelphia Inquirer, among other publications, and on PBS, CBC and MBC. She has been a guest on McLaughlin, Charlie Rose and various Fox television news shows. Email:]

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