Stephen Reed Benson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. editorial cartoonist for The Arizona Republic. Benson is the grandson of former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and former LDS Church president Ezra Taft Benson.
Benson attended Brigham Young University, from which he graduated cum laude. He became the cartoonist for the Arizona Republic in 1980. In the late 1980s he was at first a supporter, then a prominent critic, of Evan Mecham, the first Mormon to be elected governor of Arizona. Benson's criticism stirred controversy among Arizona's Mormon population, leading some LDS Church members to seek the intervention of Benson's grandfather in the matter; Benson was later relieved of his position on a church council.
Benson moved to the Tacoma Morning News Tribune in 1990, but then returned to the Arizona Republic in 1991.
In 1993 Benson faced further controversy within the LDS Church, when he stated that his grandfather, then nearing his 94th birthday, was suffering from senility that was being concealed by church leadership. Later that year, Benson publicly left the church. He has since become a critic of religious belief, appearing at Freedom From Religion Foundation's annual conventions and stating in its paper Freethought Today, "If, as the true believers claim, the word 'gospel' means good news, then the good news for me is that there is no gospel, other than what I can define for myself, by observation and conscience. As a freethinking human being, I have come not to favor or fear religion, but to face and fight it as an impediment to civilized advancement."