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The Book Behind The Bundys' Fringe Religious Beliefs


A part of what drives the Bundys to take actions against the government is rarely touched on in press coverage of them: their fringe religious beliefs.

The cover of the Nay Book — a religious meditation drafted by Cliven Bundy's neighbor, Keith Nay. The Bundys say the contents of the Nay Book show their fights with the government are justified by Mormon scripture.

The cover of the Nay Book — a religious meditation drafted by Cliven Bundy’s neighbor, Keith Nay. The Bundys say the contents of the Nay Book show their fights with the government are justified by Mormon scripture.

Leah Sottile/for OPB

At the heart of those fringe beliefs is this spiral-bound notebook of scripture and speeches from Mormon church leaders that they carry around with them. It’s called the Nay book.

It was compiled by Cliven Bundy’s neighbor and friend Keith Nay. And it poses a question: What is the duty of a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to defend the U.S. Constitution?

It’s important to note that the Nay book isn’t mainstream, and the modern Mormon church does not acknowledge its teachings as legitimate.

But for the Bundys, it is a key religious justification for all their actions against the federal government.

They believe the Constitution is a divinely inspired document, just like the Book of Mormon was divinely given to the prophet Joseph Smith.

And because that’s the case, the Bundys also believe they are following a higher calling to defend the Constitution — even from the government it establishes in the United States.

With God on their side, they have no reason to ever back down.


About “Bundyville”

“Bundyville” is a joint podcast by OPB and Longreads, hosted and reported by award-winning freelance journalist Leah Sottile. It is produced by Peter Frick-Wright and Robert Carver of 30 Minutes West Productions, and OPB’s Ryan Haas.

Subscribe to “Bundyville” on NPR One, Apple Podcasts or wherever you find your podcasts.


oregon standoff religion cliven bundy mormon

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