The time Ben Carson thanked God when his employee “disappeared”

Ben Carson gets a lot of flack for believing some goofy stuff. And rightly so. It takes a particular combination of ego, paranoia and devotion to believe — with a sincerity that’s impervious to reasonable doubt — that the Earth was created in six days, the theory of Evolution enables “the forces of evil” and the Pyramids were built by Joseph to store corn. Just like it (doesn’t) say in Genesis.

But the Washington Post, in compiling “11 times God intervened directly in Ben Carson’s life, according to Ben Carson,” picked out a story in which Carson’s religious beliefs aren’t funny or sad; they’re straight up sociopathic. As they quote from his book, Think Big:

Ben Carson, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Ben Carson, via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

I had to address the problem of what to do about my current secretary, who, besides being incapable of doing the work, was an alcoholic. I had not told anyone else, but I knew that something had to change.

How do I handle this situation? The woman really needs help. My firing her might add one more disaster to her life. But I can’t have this kind of gross inefficiency, I thought. At the same time, I’m softhearted. I always feel sad when I have to do something unpleasant even if necessary, and it is especially hard for me to fire somebody. I was beside myself, not knowing what to do.

I walked back into my office, shut the door, and prayed quietly, Lord, how am I going to resolve this dilemma without having to hurt anyone? I want to be kind to her, but I can’t let this go on.

I did not get an instant answer, but I felt better.

Two weeks later, my then-secretary did not show up on a Monday morning. We called her apartment and got no response then or later. For days we kept trying to locate her, including checking with all the local hospitals. We never did find out what happened to her. She simply disappeared. I regret that the depth of this woman’s problems leading to her dismal situation was not more apparent to me and that I did not have more time to try to help her resolve her problems.

I am thankful that this problem was resolved without any unpleasantness on my part.

So Ben Carson suspects that one of his employees has a drinking problem, which is affecting her performance at work. He is faced with the options of a) firing her, b) helping her treat her illness or c) both. He instead chooses d) ask God to figure it out.

When the woman disappears two weeks later, presumably under circumstances related to her alcoholism — Maybe she skipped town? Maybe she had an accident? Maybe she died? WHO KNOWS? — Carson’s reaction is “Thank God.” LITERALLY. This woman’s very-probable death isn’t a tragedy; it’s a relief. And all because it went down without inconveniencing Carson in any way. Praise be.

For the record, CNN reported earlier today that they have so far been unable to verify any stories from Carson’s books. So maybe he made this story up. For the additional record, that would arguably be worse, because it would mean that Carson’s cruel self-centeredness and religiously-inspired negligence are moral in his own imagination.

But assuming that the story is true, it serves as a quintessential example of how Carson’s religious beliefs really would make him a dangerously awful Commander-in-Chief. One of Ben Carson’s employees needed help, and rather than do anything, sat on his Bible for two weeks while the situation deteriorated. And when things went south, he wiped his hands and thanked God for “resolving” the situation.

And again, since this point can’t be stressed enough, this guy is currently leading the race for the GOP nomination without even trying.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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51 Responses to “The time Ben Carson thanked God when his employee “disappeared””

  1. SabanNation says:

    Carson struggles with reality.

  2. SabanNation says:

    Or he can really pray people dead and achieve world peace, or at the very least, a very good episode of the Twilight Zone.

  3. kremedementia says:

    At the very least, this guy is just intensely weird!

  4. mikelartist says:

    What a sickening human being Carson is…. an idiot savant that has no empathy.

  5. John B. says:

    The best I can say is that Ben Carson shows some serious character flaws. Even though he had wanted to fire this woman, the fact that she simply disappeared and no one could determine what had happened to her, and he was happy that he didn’t have to be inconvenienced! That’s what he came away with??? If he can’t fire an incompetent secretary, how are we supposed to believe that he can deal with Putin, Assad, the Syrian and Iranian situations, etc. If the unthinkable happened and he was elected, I sure hope that he’d have someone competent as his VP as either he would have a total mental meltdown from the pressure and stress of the office or would quickly get into impeachable offense territory.

  6. americandolt says:

    Thank God for Christians like Ben.

  7. Jopin Klobe says:

    Thank God he didn’t have to get out his ram’s horn, shatter her desk and then slaughter her …

  8. koolaidyarn says:

    Shomer Shabbos.

  9. ProudLiberalAlways says:

    I thought JEB! could fix it. (Presumably himself)?

  10. drtomdotcom says:

    Wow Ben, I have a neighbor I just dont like….so all I have to do to make him “disappeared” is pray hard? I had no idea it was that easy.
    And thank God no “unpleasantness” is involved!

  11. berick says:

    Reminds me of his story of being in the fast food place….when confronted by a gunman, Carson happily recounts directing the gun toward the man behind the counter.

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  13. MountainGuardian says:

    Hey, he could pray to God that Iran, Assad and all terrorists would disappear without him having to actually deal with them as president….. And if they do not go away and disappear then it was Gods will right, so no reason to do anything then, beings it is Gods will. No way would I ever vote for a Seventh Day Adventist, Mormon, Muslim, Jew or Jehovah’s witness, there may mat be more that I am as yet unaware of but this is a pretty inclusive list I think. My last foster parents were Seventh Day Adventist, great people, but boy what a wacky religious view……. I seriously considered Carson at first until he started spouting this junk, then I found out he was Seventh Day Adventist and it all made perfect sense…. Simply proves my point on severe religious belief…

  14. BeccaM says:

    Carson has changed his “I tried to stab a kid, then found God” story yet again.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/11/05/carson-stabbing-was-of-close-relative.html

    Despite spending years saying it was alternately a friend/classmate or a random bully (depending on which book or interview), now for the first time — quite possibly because CNN reported nobody who attended Carson’s school can remember the stabbing — he now says it was “a close relative” whose name he won’t release because the person asked not to be identified.

    How fucking convenient. He then has the stones to complain about the CNN report, saying, ” “I would say to the people of America, do you think I’m a pathological liar like CNN does? Or do you think I’m an honest person?”

    Sorry Ben, but since you brought it up, yes, a great many people now think you’re a pathological liar. You are now admitting the story you have told over and over again and included repeatedly in your own autobiographies, the one story you’ve claimed represents the single most important and defining moment in your life, contained at least one deliberate lie. But you don’t want people to think you could possibly be a liar.

    I’d also wager you didn’t stop to consider there can’t be that many “close relatives” who were also relatively close to your own age and thus it’d likely be trivial to figure out who that might be. If they exist.

  15. ComradeRutherford says:

    “a sociopathic lack of empathy”

    Required for all Conservative Christians nowadays, no matter which sect.

    That phrase also describes Ayn Rand disciples and Libertarians… Now that you mention it, Ayn Rand herself said you couldn’t believe her ‘philosophy’ AND be a Christian at the same time.

    I call Ayn Rand’s philosophy, “Objectificationism” because everything and everyone [even your own mom] is just an object to be exploited for personal gain.

  16. ComradeRutherford says:

    “special permission from God to disobey his church?”

    He has to. The Bible does say “Thou Shalt Not Lie….”

  17. ComradeRutherford says:

    Wait, they still make Quaaludes??? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

  18. ComradeRutherford says:

    A reply to a conservative, overzealous commenter who was kicked out before I finished:

    “How deft of you to try to use Carson’s inhumane response toward someone else’s personal crisis to accuse someone else of hatred. That’s why I can never be a ‘christian’, I can not muster the level of hatred evidenced within Carson.

    To your accusation, “You have created a scenario out of holed-clothe for purely political purposes,” that describes everything about Carson perfectly. Everything Carson says is ‘a scenario out of hole-cloth created for purely political purposes.’ Nothing Carson has ever said is true, except for his name.

    As for your virgin eyes, “Your type of journalistic hatred … can be seen as being a threat and a crime!!!” First of all, talk about hyperbole. Speaking out against a proven serial liar like Carson is in no way ‘a threat’. What Carson has previously described as a ‘threat’ (which you are repeating here) is everyone that points out that Carson is LYING. Second, you’ve clearly never been to mainstream Conservative websites, they make this place look like it’s Rated G.”

  19. Joe Hilger says:

    You have created a scenario out of holed-clothe for purely political purposes. You even appear to suggest a crime was committed by Dr. Ben Carson in regards to the secretary. Your type of journalistic hatred exhibited by you towards Dr. Carson’s well-being can be seen as being a threat and a crime, Mr Green.

  20. Thomas Davis says:

    Ben you’re as nutty as my Aunt Tillie’s fruitcake. It’s time to go.

  21. The Weeping Cheeto says:

    Quit it, Ben.

  22. BeccaM says:

    Except this one boasts that he once variously used a padlock, a hammer, and a hunting knife to violently assault people who annoyed him…

    Not the kind of guy I’d want to be alone with in a room, even if he seems more recently to have a major Quaalude addiction.

  23. nicho says:

    A brain surgeon is just a highly-skilled technician. He’s not what you call a caregiver. He’s just like the guy who comes from IT to fix your computer.

  24. The_Fixer says:

    There is just so much wrong with this guy’s stories. Chiefly, it’s what he tries to divine as the “moral lesson.”

    Tell me how a guy who is supposed to have compassion in his ethical makeup can reasonably think that this particular story (and the others he has told) puts him in a positive light? He’s supposed to be a compassionate doctor, yet he basically washes his hands of her, hoping that she disappears.

    But what’s worse is that, assuming this woman exists as he has portrayed her, she has family or survivors somewhere who are hearing this. They are either painfully reminded of a sad chapter in their lives, are fuming mad that anyone would use their deceased relative’s story for political and personal gain, or maybe even laughing at him for telling such a tale that they know is untrue.

    That’s why, in my book, Ben Carson is a softer-spoken, tall-tale telling asshole. No consideration of the people that woman left behind, assuming that she existed as he claims.

  25. mf_roe says:

    Father in Law retired Dallas PD Texas Hill Country German Korea era Navy Corpsman, tough as a boot, we get along fine because I’ve always been open about what I considered right and have never required anything more than tolerance from him. I’ll never change him but he is honorable enough to listen to the other side when it is spoken with a level of conviction equal to his own.

  26. Quilla says:

    Yes. Yes he does. When the Sky Daddy is not talking to Cruz or Perry or Walker, he’s telling “Mental Ben” (thank you, BeccaM) that it’s OK to lie on Saturday.

  27. BeccaM says:

    And Darth Cheney intervened with a scowl and a growl to yell at both of them to go cut down some brush on a pig farm so he could deal with the body disposal and make Scooter take the blame.

  28. 2karmanot says:

    And Jebbya had to ask Dubya the decider to decide what to fix.

  29. Don Chandler says:

    I find it’s best to defuse unfortunate telephone discussions with a bit of humor. Ex. After the recent debate, I told a loved one, “You really need to watch less Fox and reach out to alternative news sources. I think a perfect beginning would be watching say … CNBC ?” It ended the conversation (my escape) with a laugh (our salvation.) You can also not lie and say, “I have to use the bathroom.” A very effective reminder that we all have to share this world. But when we use the “ignore” option, things are beyond repair.

  30. BeccaM says:

    Yeah… Having read that CNN article, I’m also beginning to think there’s a distinctly Walter Mitty-esque quality to Carson’s claims of having had a violently out-of-control temper. Everybody else seems to remember him as quiet, shy, nerdy — and picked on and bullied as a kid.

    I almost wonder if the violent outbursts he ‘remembers’ having are just his imagined after-the-fact fantasies about what he would have done if he’d not been a wimp. The fact he keeps changing the details over the years — the pocket knife becomes a hunting knife and then back again, the friend becomes a random bully, first there is a radio as the source of the dispute and then there’s not — would tend to suggest he’s recounting an imagined fantasy recollection and not anything like what really happened.

    I grew up with a neighborhood kid who had a violent temper. Everybody knew. Everybody had stories about him and 40-plus years later, I’m confident it’d be possible to find 3-4 people easily who could recall specific times this kid went berserk. Might not be the exact same incidents, but enough to establish a clear pattern.

    Yet there doesn’t seem to be a single other person who remembers young Ben Carson being anything other than shy and nerdy and more than a bit of a Momma’s Boy. No one remembers a single violent incident, not clearly.

    I agree: The Popeye’s story reeks of a weird empathy-deficient sociopathy. But the fact nobody can corroborate this robbery ever happening suggests it’s just another story Carson made up to make himself feel better and more like his weird twisted version of what it means to be a calm and collected ‘heroic’ type (even though what he claimed he was doing was telling a gunman to go victimize someone else).

  31. mf_roe says:

    Lying to family, you sound like someone with repug tendencies. Seriously, we all have family that are better off ignored.

  32. nicho says:

    I have family that would keep me in tune — if I allowed them to. When I need to talk to them, I’m aware of when we’re veering toward the cliff. My escape is: “Oh, I have to go. My ride is here.” If you ever need to get off the phone, that is the perfect excuse. No one ever questions it. in fact, often they will apologize. “Oh, I’m sorry. Talk to you later.”

  33. BeccaM says:

    There are lots of ‘Cafeterial-style’ Christians out there in all the sects, who follow just those rules and edicts they feel like following.

    The Roman Catholic Church says contraception is bad — yet the overwhelming majority of American Catholics have used it at some point their lives, and I’ll wager the majority of them don’t think they committed any particular sin in doing so.

  34. mf_roe says:

    Your Lies are even more revealing than speaking your version of the truth. Once your lies are discovered they reveal What and Why. Your lies are like a photographic negative image of who you are.

  35. LasloPratt says:

    Maybe the secretary disappeared because God called Jeb in to fix it?

  36. BeccaM says:

    Looks like Facebook and Google are having a hissy fit again, because the Google tag manager is just an advertising analytics tool provided by Google.

  37. AdrianLesher says:

    I tried to share this post on Facebook and got a message saying ”
    The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe:

    googletagmanager.com

    Please remove this link to continue.
    If you think you’re seeing this by mistake, please let us know.” What’s this about?

  38. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Sociopathic? Well, yes. The Popeye’s story convinced me of that.

  39. Don Chandler says:

    Don’t you have family that keeps you in tune? I know you set parental controls in hotel rooms to prevent fox.

  40. Sally says:

    We had David Brooks here a couple years back. They had to move him to a smaller venue (from 1500 to 300 seats) because no one wanted to listen to him, and this is a GOP town. The local rag did an interview with him and tried to call him non-partisan. No one bought it!

  41. Sally says:

    I still want to know how he gets away with holding events on Saturday and remaining a Seventh Day Adventist. I have a musician friend who absolutely refused any gig that rehearsed or performed on Saturday, which were many. She has since left that church, but to my knowledge, Ben still claims membership. Does he get special permission from God to disobey his church?

  42. nicho says:

    Thank you. I’m glad someone keeps track of this. I try not to, at least any more than I have to.

  43. Don Chandler says:

    He became a favorite on Fox after that National Prayer Breakfast in 2013. But it’s clear they liked him bashing Obama. And Gays. And Science. And Immigrants. And the Courts. And Atheists. And anything Liberal. But he is basically following the trump approach of “offend and parse”. It gets lots of attention. The words he uses are actually well crafted so he can backtrack a bit. “I could never ‘advocate’ for a Muslim president.” ‘Advocate’ gave him room to maneuver–not here but for undecideds. He’s dangerous.

  44. Quilla says:

    OK. What do we have here?

    An (alleged) brilliant brain surgeon with reality impairment: Good

    A megalomaniac with chronic fatigue syndrome: Fine

    A pathological liar with antisocial personality disorder: Priceless

    What a long, strange year we are facing.

  45. Gindy51 says:

    He is a 100% liar.

  46. The Chad says:

    The fact that it was a torturous decision to fire someone who was drinking on the job shows how weak he is on leadership.

  47. Jon Green says:

    He’s been big in social conservative circles for a while, but they didn’t seriously consider him for president until he bashed Obamacare at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2013.

  48. BeccaM says:

    Well, it’d take a professional to figure out what’s really wrong with Carson, but one thing is for sure: Whatever is messed up in him, a sociopathic lack of empathy seems to be one of its defining symptoms.

  49. mhandrh says:

    His anecdote tells me more about his character than he thinks.

    His believes his secretary is an alcoholic, so he prays. Then “God” intervened, and the secretary just disappeared. Is she in trouble? Did she die? Did she hurt herself? Was she a victim of crime?

    Ben feels relief instead of showing any kind of interest in another human being — one whom he claims he didn’t want to hurt by firing.
    Either this story is a complete fabrication, or Carson just imagines stories to tell as fact — in either case, this is revealing — and not in a way he should be proud.
    Carson is not mentally balanced.

  50. nicho says:

    To be truthful, I’d never heard of Ben until this election cycle. But apparently he’s been around. We have a local “Town Hall Speakers” series that attracts assorted nut jobs and war criminals — This coming year’s lineup gives us Bill O’Reilly, David Petraeus, and Felipe Calderon. Past speakers have included Mitt Romney, Charles Krauthammer, Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, Stanley McChrystal, and Liz and Dick Cheney on the same bill. The freaking thing is expensive. Tickets start at $275 a seat and go up from there. The thing sells out as soon as it’s announced. 2016 is already booked. Ben Carson was one of the speakers in 2014. So someone has been grooming him for this run.

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