An obscure Mormon religious text has emerged as one of the central tenets influencing the anti-government ideology of Cliven Bundy, a militiaman accused of leading an armed standoff against federal agents near a ranch outside Las Vegas in 2014.
The Bundy family, which includes Cliven and his 14 children, is deeply influenced by its Mormon faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Book of Mormon. But researchers at the Southern Poverty Law Center have noted that the family and its supporters also follow a text called The Nay Book, allegedly compiled by Bundy’s friend and fellow rancher Keith Allen Nay, who died in 1997.
“The book is a scrapbook mix of letters, founding documents of both the United States and the Church of Latter-day Saints of Jesus Christ mixed with ideas that have existed in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement for decades,” the Southern Poverty Law Center writes.
“Seen by few outside a tight circle of family supporters, the book lays out a religious justification for resisting the federal management of public lands,” the center added.
The nearly-200-page secret text reportedly begins with a letter written by Bundy arguing that it is his right to defend his land against the government’s “tyrannical” control.
Bundy refuses to recognize federal authority over his land, which his ancestors settled in the 1880s. Consequently, he stopped paying the grazing fees for the cattle he had on public land, and he owes the government around $1.2 million in fees. Because Bundy refused to pay the fee, the Bureau of Land Management began seizing his cattle. In 2014, a video emerged of a government official allegedly using a stun gun against one of Bundy’s sons, and in response, hundreds of far-right militiamen arrived to help Bundy defend his land from the federal government. The events are still being argued in court three years later.
Outside the courthouse, people have…