Now, Paul, Brent, and Harold Skousen contend Nelson is selling a version without Beck’s preface without proper permission, interfering with their efforts to strike lucrative new deals.

Nelson, who farms 700 acres of wheat in Malta, a windy Mormon farming community near the Idaho-Utah border, says in a countersuit that Skousen granted publication rights to the center. He also maintains he contacted Beck first, but that Skousen’s sons went behind Nelson’s back to cash in.

“Empires fall from within,” Nelson said, standing amid the boxes of Skousen literature he ships from his basement. “That’s where the jealousies originate.”

Nelson maintains Beck had been promoting “The 5,000 Year Leap” even before lending his name to the family’s version. That elevated profile, Nelson said, has helped him fulfill his life’s work: teaching that God inspired the Constitution—and not prominent enlightenment thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, as most Constitutional scholars believe—to an audience broader than just Skousen devotees.

“It’s helped us preach beyond the choir,” Nelson said.

The Tea Party Patriots’ Norton also would like to wrest the Constitution from the hands of secular scholars.

“They’re eliminating God out of the whole political discussion 100 percent, which is going to the other extreme,” he said.

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