- Counter-Currents - https://counter-currents.com -

#DezNat: Your Just Deserets

[1]2,352 words

I was reading some Antifa loon’s Twitter recently, and he was on a deranged rant about how fascism constantly needs to be expanding its list of enemies. You see, fascism can’t function without scapegoats. It’s the whole point of fascism. But because fascists keep genociding each group of scapegoats, they have to keep finding new ones. When fascists have no one to scapegoat, the whole thing will just implode.

First of all, that is utter hogwash. There is no group that fascists dislike now that they didn’t dislike 80 years ago. If anything, fascists have fewer enemies. There used to be a lot of antipathy between Catholics and Protestants on the Right, which no one really cares about anymore. And I don’t think anyone on the Right really gives a damn about Freemasons anymore.

Secondly, that argument is pure projection. It is actually Antifa who have the ever-expanding list of enemies. Antifa have been around for a while, but they they were relatively unknown in the US until they got a big boost in publicity when Trump and the Alt-Right came along. Now there was a bunch of unironic Nazis in Trump’s America, and people joined Antifa to go fight those Nazis. Okay, whatever.

Since then, Antifa has been constantly broadening their definition of what constitutes a “fascist.” First it was just the unapologetic, self-described fascists. They wanted to go out and punch the Richard Spencers. But then they started calling socialists who put class instead of race or gender first fascists. Yes, old-school Marxists are Nazis. Then there were the Boogaloo Boys — hardcore anti-collectivist, anti-state, pro-BLM libertarians — and they say those guys are fascists, too. They claim that the TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists) are white supremacists. Then anti-maskers and Covid skeptics came around, and–you guessed it–they are all fascists and white supremacists. QAnon? Totally Nazi.

They have to do mental gymnastics to explain how people who are obviously not white supremacists are, in fact, white supremacists. “Well, you see, feminists who do not accept transwomen as women are applying white settler-colonial notions of gender. So they are actually reinforcing white supremacy by not accepting transwomen.”

I’m not kidding. They actually say that.

[2]

It’s not enough for these types to say, “These people have bad opinions,” or to merely describe their views as “reactionary.” No, they specifically have to be fully “white supremacist” and “Nazi,” and they will do whatever they have to do to bang the non-racist square pegs into the racist round holes.

Class reductionists are Nazis because saying that anything other than white supremacy is the driving force behind everything that’s bad plays into the hands of the Nazis. Thus, Covid skeptics are Nazis because Covid disproportionately affects communities of color. QAnon is Nazi because “blood-drinking pedophile elites” is an anti-Semitic trope.

Boogaloo Boy libertarians are Nazis because the term “boogaloo” came from accelerationist wignats on 4Chan. I mean, hell, Father Charles Coughlin [3]’s newspaper was called Social Justice, so I guess social justice warriors are all fascists now, too.

One of Antifa’s latest obsessions is an online Twitter community known as the DezNats [4] (not to be confused with “Deez Nuts”). There is a whole Antifa twitter page [5] exclusively devoted to them. I’m surprised I had never heard of these guys before. They have been called the “Mormon Alt Right,” and hit pieces have been written about them since 2019 [6].

[7]

[8]

#DezNat is short for Deseret Nation or Deseret Nationalism. Deseret was the original name that Joseph Smith came up with for a proposed Mormon state [9]. #DezNat is not really a formal group so much as it is just a hashtag that “based Mormons” use. The hashtag was created in 2018 by a fellow named JP Bellum. Bellum described it thusly: “#DezNat or Deseret Nation is basically the recognition that faithful members are a unique people and should be united spiritually, morally, economically, and politically behind Christ, the prophet, and the church.”

Okay. Sounds kind of like Zionism for Mormons.

In 2018, a guy by the name of Tanner Guzy posted a DezNat explainer [10] on Medium:

Deznat is not a movement, it is not political, racial, national, or sexual. It is simply a hashtag used by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are unapologetic about our belief in the restored Gospel, Christ as our Savior, Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Restoration, and Russell M Nelson as God’s current prophet, seer, and revelator on the earth today. . . . We do not worship at the altars of money, physical pleasure, diversity, or equality and recognize that—while these are admirable pursuits—if they replace the will of God, they quickly become false idols that lead to misery and unhappiness.

As far as I can tell, DezNat is more of a religious nationalism thing than an ethnonationalist thing. They are very socially conservative, anti-LGBT, anti-feminist, and very strongly anti-porn. They are very protective of their church and don’t want liberal crap creeping into it.

However, one cannot help but notice the influence of Right-wing meme culture and humor within the DezNat community:

[11]

[12]

[13]

They’ll also parody Right-wing memes, like saying “Read BOM” (Book of Mormon) instead of “Read Siege,” or talk about “The Day of the Bowie Knife” instead of “The Day of the Rope” (Joseph Smith carried a bowie knife). Basically, they’re just hardcore Mormons with senses of humor. The community is not explicitly racial in and of itself. If there is anyone who they appear to really dislike, it’s apostates.

[14]

However, Antifa have taken to doxing and stalking these people, and sure enough, they have been able to find examples of some DezNats making spicy racial jokes or retweeting Nick Fuentes, and now they are accusing the DezNats of being a front for white supremacy [15].

There have been two big DezNat stories that have taken hold on Antifa Twitter lately.

[16]

Above is a guy named Gregory Smith [17] from North Ogden, Utah (population 17,000). He owns a bicycle repair shop and recently decided to run for city council. He’s an orthodox Mormon, but there is otherwise nothing particularly fascistic about his politics. As far as I can tell, his main issue is that there is a road being proposed that would connect North Ogden to a close-by ski resort. Greg Smith is against this road because he thinks it will increase housing costs and turn North Ogden into a tourist trap. He likes North Ogden just fine the way it is now. He also has some ideas about a local hiking trail. As far as I can tell, that’s the entirety of his platform.

Still, Antifa are hellbent on ruining Greg Smith’s life just for being friends with people involved in the DezNat community. One of his friends has made some spicy racial jokes on social media, and some others have made jokes about repealing the Nineteenth Amendment.

[18]

Over the weekend, the Salt Lake City Tribune put out a hit piece [19] on Greg Smith by claiming that he is at the forefront of a white supremacist conspiracy to infiltrate the government.

[20]

Admirably, Gregory Smith has repeatedly refused to disavow any of his friends over such spicy jokes (see here [21], here [22], here [23], here [24], here [25], here [26], and here [27]). Greg Smith honestly feels that it is un-Christian to disavow people, because Jesus did not disavow sinners. This has only made Antifa and the liberal media angrier and angrier.

“People keep saying DezNat is political, it’s not,” Smith told the Salt Lake City Tribune. He likened his own political beliefs to those of Mitt Romney, while adding, “But I don’t hate everyone to the right of me. I’m not into disavowing people.”

I reached out to Greg Smith on Twitter about this matter. He replied, “I should say this whole thing is absolutely bonkers. I’m not really a guy with tons of super serious political opinions and I don’t really even have an issue with multi-culturalism. My attackers are all just people who left my church and it’s a religious beef. They are dishonest losers, so they just label me ‘white supremacist’ instead of admitting they want to attack me because I believe in Orthodox Mormonism.”

[28]

The other big story involving the DezNat community has made the news as far away as the United Kingdom [29]. Earlier in this article, there is a screenshot from a DezNat Twitter account named JReubenClark which made a Mormon parody of the Fourteen Words. Well, last week it turned out the owner of that account was in fact one Matthias Cicotte, a Mormon Brigham Young University grad and an Assistant Attorney General in the state of Alaska.

The Guardian reports [30] that “since-deleted tweets archived by anti-fascists reveal that he advocated various extreme positions, including the summary imprisonment of Black Lives Matter protesters; vigilante violence against leftwing groups; and a punishment of execution for acts including performing gender reassignment surgery.”

From his Twitter history, this Cicotte fellow sounds pretty redpilled. Responding to the Kyle Rittenhouse controversy, he tweeted, “The justice system will fail. He’s not a cop, he’s gonna get screwed like James Fields.”

He is a race realist: “Is it ‘white supremacy’ to note that some racial groups have higher IQs than others based on IQ tests? I believe that and I am only a Deseret supremacist.”

He is woke on demographics: “I can’t believe there’s a faithful Latter-day Saint out there who can look at the collapse of birthrates among the Latter-day Saints and say, ‘Well, hey, at least lots of Catholic Mexicans are coming to the US.’”

Alaska’s Attorney General, Treg Taylor (also a Mormon BYU grad), has already disavowed [31] Cicotte and relieved him of his caseload. “The allegations raised against Mr. Cicotte are very serious,” Taylor wrote in an e-mail to the state’s Department of Law. He further added that Cicotte’s views did not “represent the views of the State of Alaska, the Department of Law, and certainly do not represent my personal views or my deeply held faith.”

Even the BYU Law School issued a denunciation. In an e-mail to students and staff, Dean D. Gordon Smith and associate deans Justin Collings and Carolina Núñez stated, “In light of the news report [32] that a BYU Law alumnus has directed venomous and hateful Twitter messages against a variety of vulnerable groups, and in light of persistent vitriol and ugliness in civic discourse, both locally and nationally, we wish to reinforce and reaffirm our commitment to the ideals articulated in the BYU Law Mission Statement.” This included acknowledging the “inherent dignity and equality of each individual”:

We renounce hate-filled or violent rhetoric deployed by anyone against any individual or group. Our commitments require us to love and honor all people as children of God, and they demand that our public and private discourse be marked by civility, compassion, and mutual respect.

I got in touch with someone involved with the DezNat community to find out what the community is all about. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, my contact stated:

As far as what Deznat is, there is a lot of controversy and whatnot around it. A lot of people refer to it as Deseret nationalism, or Deseret nation, which is exactly what it sounds like: nationalism putting first the theocratic nation of Deseret originally proposed by Brigham Young when they came out west. The tag is really nothing more than that, just a tag, for people to gather and meet other individuals who want to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ and the LDS church. The biggest misunderstanding is that many claim that it has ties to white nationalism or white supremacy, which is absolutely not true. Of course, we’re right-wing guys, so we’ll occasionally share jokes that are in the right-wing sphere, but the actual users of the #DezNat tag are very diverse, homogeneous only in our love for the church.

What of the recent troubles with Antifa?

The problem I think Deznat has really been having lately is that it’s truly not an organization, just a tag. So the enemies of this tag, or in other words enemies of the church or enemies of the right wing, have the ability to define it as whatever they want. Because people like antifa or BLM are actual organizations who have institutional power. They have that power over us in that we have no official outlets, nobody writing articles speaking for Deznat, and nobody to make a statement “disavowing” anything that comes out of the left’s mouth in regards to it. So that’s kind of where Greg (Smith) is getting backed into a corner, there is no way to really prove the allegations wrong other than to look at the actual users of the tag, which we all know people who consume mainstream media don’t do.

As a bonus question, I asked my contact what was up with the all the Mormons in the NeverTrump movement. There seemed to be something of a Mormon Mafia in the establishment wing of the Republican Party (Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck, Oren Hatch, Evan McMuffin, etc.). A lot of news reports talk about Deznat opposing the liberalization of the church:

You’re right, Deznat does tend to criticize that, because we believe that this liberalization strictly goes against what our church believes and promotes. Now as far as all those public figures go, they’re all RINO’s just as much as they are MINO’s. Members in name only. They use their membership in the church to promote globalist opinions to members that are none the wiser, even though those globalist opinions don’t at all reflect the actual church they claim to be a part of, and they themselves don’t make good members at all.

It’s a shame that those people tend to represent our church so publicly, and a lot of people think it’s because the church promotes kindness, and Trump doesn’t necessarily embody that. So that’s why they get away with it, but really the majority of church members are normal right-wing people who love Trump and the right-wing in general, traditional family values, you name it. I can say that because I live in the heart of it in Utah county.