The domestic terrorists occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon are motivated by an anti-government theology found in Mormon scripture.
Ammon Bundy, the leader of the domestic terrorist group currently occupying federal buildings in rural Oregon, is a religious extremist and a self-described “devout Mormon.”
In a video released January 1, Bundy claims his decision to launch the terrorist action at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon was the result of divine inspiration, a result of what he claims to be a “heart-felt conversation with the Lord.”
Bundy concludes the video with a call to action, asking fellow religious extremists to join him in his act of domestic terrorism:
I am asking you to come to Harney County to participate in this wonderful thing that the Lord is about to accomplish…
When asked for his name, one of those religious extremists who answered Bundy’s call to action told an Oregon reporter:
I’m Captain Moroni, from Utah.
— Amanda Peacher (@amandapeacher) January 3, 2016
In a comprehensive report on the connection between radical Mormon theology and the domestic terrorists in Oregon, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) notes:
That name (Captain Moroni) is not a silly response to deflect responsibility: In many ways, it encapsulates a deeply intertwined anti-federal sentiment mixed with Mormon symbolism. Captain Moroni is a crucial figure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He’s also a heroic figure for anti-federalist extremists.
In the modern day west, Captain Moroni has become one of several powerful symbols for the Bundy militia’s anti-governmental extremism.
OPB also points out that Bundy’s call to action via YouTube “closely represents what Captain Moroni told his fellow Nephites in LDS scripture.”
The man identifying as Captain Moroni said he was inspired by Bundy’s call to action, and that the inspiration was validated by God in the form of a flock of geese he saw flying. The would-be Captain Moroni said:
I just knew it was the right thing [to come to Oregon]. I’m willing to die here.
In an attempt at damage control, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints distanced themselves from the domestic terrorists by condemning the armed seizure of the Oregon facility in a statement issued Monday:
Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those who have seized the facility suggest that they are doing so based on scriptural principles. This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis.
In a press conference, also on Monday, Ammon Bundy announced that his group of terrorists inspired by Mormon scripture has a new name: Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.
Authorities have yet to confront the domestic terrorists, although reports indicate that federal authorities are planning to cut off the power to the wildlife refuge they currently occupy.
As many others have already noted, if these terrorists were Muslims or Black Lives Matter activists the reaction by federal authorities would have been much more immediate, and much more violent.