Monday, January 04, 2016

Guns, God, and Captain Moroni

OPB |  During an April 2014 standoff with federal officials, supporters and members of the Bundy militia cited Book of Mormon passages centering on Captain Moroni. There were also several flags quoting Captain Moroni’s own writing on his “title of liberty.” Often next to American flags, these banners read “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.”

Cliven Bundy - the Nevada Rancher who called on militia and anti-government forces to help him in the showdown with the Bureau of Land Management – cited his own Mormon faith as a reason for what he viewed as a favorable outcome. As quoted by the Salt Lake City Tribune:

“If the standoff with the Bundys was wrong, would the Lord have been with us?” he asked, noting no one was killed as tensions escalated. “Could those people that stood (with me) without fear and went through that spiritual experience … have done that without the Lord being there? No, they couldn’t.”

Those remarks represent the deep commitment to the Bundy brand of faith. Abraham Bundy – Cliven’s great-grandfather – was a deeply religious man who was driven from prior homes first by flood, and then by revolution. He settled what would become Bundyville, home to a one-room schoolhouse and a scattering of homesteads in a harsh stretch of desert.

Ultimately, the small town Abraham Bundy founded would be abandoned, after the Bundy family could not secure water and grazing rights from the federal government.

Bundy has previously said in interviews that relocation played a significant role in shaping his family’s outlook toward the federal government.

Those views are intertwined with Bundy’s faith. Speaking in St. George, Utah, after the standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, Bundy posed these questions to a crowd of mostly conservative Mormons, as reported by the Spectrum of St. George:

“If our (U.S.) Constitution is an inspired document by our Lord Jesus Christ, then isn’t it scripture?” Bundy asked.

“Yes,” a chorus of voices replied.

“Isn’t it the same as the Book of Mormon and the Bible?” Bundy asked.

“Absolutely,” the audience answered.