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Oregon Militia Standoff And Its Leader's Ties To Mormonism

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Ammon Bundy is a rancher, a business owner, a father, the leader of the Oregon militia standoff and he’s a Mormon.

What started as an anti-government demonstration in Oregon sprouted to be an armed militia takeover of a federal wildlife refuge building on January 4.  The movement was led by Ammon Bundy who claims he was acting in the name of God when he lead the armed seizure.

In response to Bundy’s federal land take over, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement last Monday, saying the church leaders strongly condemned the armed seizure of the federal facility.

"The Bundys do seem to represent some strand of Mormonism. But they are also drawing from westerness, not necessarily western religion or expressions of Mormonism but the West.”

That is religious scholar Philip Barlow. He said Bundy is radical in one sense of the word because he is on the edge of traditional Mormonism.  

philip_barlow.mp3
Click to hear the full interview with religious scholar Philip Barlow.

“Radical also has meaning in the very seed of an idea, what is the origin of an idea? To be radical in that sense is to go back to the beginnings.”

He said the Bundys clearly think that they are going back to founding principles of the United States and of Mormonism.  

“Westerness and ranching as a profession intersects in the person of Ammon Bundy,” he said.

Barlow said even if Mormonism didn’t exist, they still might be taking similar stands. It cannot all be reduced to Mormonism.

“But there is a Mormon infection,” he said.

Barlow said Bundy may possibly be taking radical measures because he believes the last days are looming and he feels the responsibility as a Mormon to protect the nation from a corrupt government.

 

“That’s all authentically Mormon,” he said. “But not representative of mainstream Mormonism.”

For more on this topic, click here.