Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityLDS church tries to distance itself from militia leader in Oregon | KUTV
Close Alert

LDS church tries to distance itself from militia leader in Oregon

LDS church tries to distance itself from militia leader in Oregon
LDS church tries to distance itself from militia leader in Oregon
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon
Comment bubble

(KUTV) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Monday, condemning the actions of Ammon Bundy, the Nevada rancher who said he was divinely called to rally Americans against the federal government in Oregon. Bundy is Mormon.

The following statement was issued by Eric Hawkins of the Mormon Church's Public Affairs Department:

While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, 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. We are privileged to live in a nation where conflicts with government or private groups can - and should - be settled using peaceful means, according to the laws of the land.

Bundy, whose own family drew national attention when his father Cliven had his own standoff with the federal government in 2014, said in a YouTube video that he got on his knees and prayed. God made it clear to him that he was to go to Oregon and stand up for the Hammond family, whose father and son were jailed for arson after starting a fire that burned federal land.

"I clearly understood The Lord was not pleased with what was happening to the Hammonds," said Bundy in the video, adding that if he didn't stand up for the Hammond's, other Americans' rights to use their public lands to thrive and prosper could die too.

He called on other people to go to Oregon too to defend against the "tyranny and chains" of the federal government.

BYU History Professor Brian Q. Cannon, said Bundy seems very sincere in his video but he doesn't think most Mormons agree with his actions.

Cannon said it's clear the Mormon Church wants to distance itself from Bundy and that church leaders don't want the church's doctrine to be seen as supporting the standoff in Oregon.

Cannon said Bundy's views about the federal government are likely shaped by his Mormon background. Since the 19th Century, the Mormon Church has had conflict with state governments in Illinois and Missouri. Later there was conflict with the federal government over polygamy. But Bundy's views are also shaped by his experiences as a resident of the West and a rancher who has close ties to public lands.

Unlike Mitt Romney, it's clear Bundy is not the public face leaders of the Mormon leaders want to put on the church.

Comment bubble

"It appears church leaders are far less comfortable with Ammon Bundy and the image he puts forward," said Cannon.

Loading ...