LDS Church releases statement condemning Oregon armed occupation

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One Utah native called himself ‘Captain Moroni,’ spawning several media inquiries in connection to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after a group of militiamen occupied a federal building at a nation wildlife refugee in Burns, Oregon.

Protesters roam the Malheur National Wildlife headquarters in Burns, Ore., on Sunday, Jan 3, 2016. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. The decision to send the man back to prison generated controversy and is part of a decades-long dispute between some Westerners and the federal government over the use of public lands. (Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)
Protesters roam the Malheur National Wildlife headquarters in Burns, Ore., on Sunday, Jan 3, 2016. Armed protesters took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday after participating in a peaceful rally over the prison sentences of local ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. The decision to send the man back to prison generated controversy and is part of a decades-long dispute between some Westerners and the federal government over the use of public lands. (Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)

According to an article by OPB News, one Utah native called himself ‘Captain Moroni,’ and said he was “willing to die here,” but not willing to shoot

In response to inquires about the protesters connection to the LDS Church, they issued the following statement on Jan. 4.

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.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who are Mormons, are leading a group of militiamen occupying the federal building that include members from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Texas as well as Burns locals.

The anti-government protest quickly escalated into an armed takeover on Jan. 2 after the Eastern Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond and his son Steven Hammond jail sentence’s were increased. After admitting that they set fired on federal properties to protect their property from potential wildfires, the Hammond’s were charged. While some support the protests against the federal government, the mindset and tactics of the militia are morally debated.

Despite the protests, the Hammonds plan to civilly and peacefully report to prison.

The White House says President Barack Obama is aware of the armed anti-government group and that the FBI is monitoring the situation and hopes that it will resolve peacefully.

 

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