Cliven Bundy is Mormon? Noooooooo

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Meme in support of Cliven Bundy. (And no, I didn't "like" or "share" it, except in this most ironic way.)

Before It's News

Meme in support of Cliven Bundy. (And no, I didn't "like" or "share" it, except in this most ironic way.)

Meme in support of Cliven Bundy. (And no, I didn't "like" or "share" it, except in this most ironic way.)

Meme in support of Cliven Bundy. (And no, I didn’t “like” or “share” it, except in this most ironic way.)

I found out this morning that Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher whose standoff with the federal government over cattle grazing rights has become national news, is Mormon.

This unwelcome revelation is more than enough to make a good Mormon swear.

According to ABC News:

Bundy, a 67-year-old patriarch of a large Mormon family with over 50 grandchildren, first came into the spotlight when the federal government started impounding his 900 head of cattle in early April, following a 20-year battle over cattle-grazing on federal land.

Bundy became a darling of the Right in early April when he denounced the federal government’s ownership of the land on which he grazes his cattle.

But supporters such as Glenn Beck and Rand Paul began to distance themselves last week as media reports came in about alarmingly racist comments made by the Nevada rancher:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Leaving aside the obvious hypocrisy (this guy criticizes African Americans for receiving “government subsidy” when he has been grazing his cattle on government land for free for 20 years?), this statement is so racist and disturbing that it beggars belief. Black people would be better off as slaves? WTF?

When Glenn Beck says on his blog that he has had to distance himself from a right-wing, racist militiaman because his comments were too extremist, that should be a clue that Cliven Bundy has taken the express bus to Crazytown and did not pass Go.

And the guy is Mormon. Well, that’s just terrific.

But if there’s a silver lining it’s this: The press has not jumped on this part of the story.

I’m surprised, and grateful, that we haven’t seen more people making assumptions that just because Bundy is Mormon that it’s further proof that, as one idiotic commenter put it, “Mormons are known to be racists. They believe AA to be inferior. How they deny that bullshit like RMoney did? Its a known fact…Mormon=Racist!!!” (This commenter appears to have taken the same great pains that Bundy has in mastering the English language.)

Maybe, just maybe, Mormons are becoming mainstream enough that the M word is not the first thing journalists have to attach to a person’s profile the moment he says or does something monumentally stupid.

Maybe, just maybe, people will remember that Harry Reid, that Democratic senator from Nevada, is a Mormon, as is Glenn Beck, bless his little Grinch-sized heart, and millions of other people at every range of the political spectrum.


  • Terry

    If you’re grateful the press hasn’t jumped on the fact that Bundy is Mormon, why are you publicizing it? I’ve only heard this from you.

  • Terry

    And I noticed you left out the phrase “racist rancher” from your title, but made sure to include it in the entry’s URL. That way, search engine users who are searching for “mormon racism” (like the “Mormon=Racist” commenter you mentioned) will find what they’re looking for.

  • Terry, are you disputing that he is a rancher or that he is a racist? Because it seems pretty clear that he is both.

  • Sorry if you’ve been out of the loop, Terry. I’ve heard this from several sources.

    Also, Jana’s saying she’s happy that this isn’t the first thing the press talked about doesn’t amount to her publicizing it. I don’t get your complaint. She can’t really make that point about how she’s happy without bringing it up.

  • Anneke

    I think you meant that Harry Reid is from *Nevada

  • Terry

    I’m disputing neither–I’m accusing you of intentionally gaming the search engines to make Mormons look worse.

  • Joe Henriod

    Harry Reid is from Nevada and is Nevada’s senator not Utahs.

  • Ivars Bezdechi

    Jana, you do realize that what was widely reported of what he allegedly said was not the full quote. I’ve seen the video. It is a similar situation when NBC News/MSNBC edited and pieced together George Zimmerman’s 911 call and thought they could get away with it.

  • lawguy


    I haven’t seen the full video, but I have heard the excerpted audio clips–both of what he said, and of his later comments trying to explain what he said. All of what I heard sounded incredibly racist.

    You say you have seen the full video, though, and you imply that it changes things. So please, tell the rest of us what other things he said that could make it seem like he’s not a racist.

    I don’t mean that as snark or as a rhetorical comment. I actually do want to know: what could he have possibly said that would provide contextual absolution for the horribly racist things we know he *did* say?

  • lawguy

    And on the point of the post: I had also heard that he was a mormon, but only once or twice and only in passing. Like Jana, I’m very glad that this hasn’t been a prominent part of the broader media discussion of this.

  • Rita

    Maybe Bundy’s affiliation with the LDS church should be talked about at length? Maybe we should talk about other times when Mormon men have autocratically laid down their own laws, inside and outside their homes? Maybe we should dredge up Porter Rockwell, and Brigham Young’s full involvement in the MMM. Maybe we should talk about whether the LDS church should disfellowship Bundy? Maybe we should ask President Monson for a statement about not paying ones taxes? (Give unto Caesar.) Maybe we should be asking if Bundy is a High Priest? Does he still have his temple recommend? Maybe we should be asking if Mormon theology contributes to autocratic, non-conformist behavior? If we as Mormons have nothing to hide, why wouldn’t we want a frank and open discussion about patriarchy? And Bundy!?
    I’m up for it; how about all of you who want to believe that Mormon leaders are incapable of wrongdoing, incapable of racism, sexism and physical/emotional abuse? These things are as much a part of the LDS population as they are the Gentile population. The only difference is that as Mormons we are not emotionally healthy enough to discuss these matters openly. We are traditionally reticent about asking questions of any uncomfortable nature. Has anyone asked anything about Sister Bundy yet? How is she faring through all this turmoil? And their 14 children? How many support their fathers views? Have some wished to ask for help in dealing with him in the past, but been too ashamed to ask? Questions, questions, questions. . . That’s how healthy discussions happen . . . Not by hoping a TV personality won’t bring something up. Right there is the crux of a much larger problem than Ted Bundy’s tax evasions, in my humble opinion. And I AM still allowed to have and express opinions. So far. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

    Rita Butler

  • Kristi

    I’ve seen the full speech. How anyone can defend this man and say he’s not racist is beyond me. There is absolutely NO context where it is okay to say that people are better off being owned as property than being free. PERIOD.

  • The Great God Pan

    “Black people would be better off as slaves? WTF?”

    This is not necessarily an uncommon belief among American conservatives.

    Dinesh D’Souza–the sometimes Catholic, other times Protestant pundit who frequently appears on Fox News and gained great popularity among mainstream American conservatives with the anti-Obama documentary “2016”–wrote in his book “The End of Slavery” that slavery in the US was a cradle-to-grave social security program for black people, and that Southern slaves were better off than free blacks in the North.

    Bundy’s mistake is that he made his comments in a plainspoken manner instead of in the pseudo-academic manner preferred by modern conservative racists.

  • Atheist Max

    Don’t be mad at this Bundy guy.

    He is limited by what he has been taught in Bible school:

    And Jesus makes no distinctions regarding whatever sort of slave it may be – sexual or otherwise:

    “The slave will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. ‘But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly….” (Luke 12:47-48)

    What a relief!

  • Doug

    Is or was Utah mother Megan Huntsman whom allegedly murdered her new born children; a morman?

  • DougH

    I suspect at least part of the reason for the press’s reticence is that Bundy’s most vocal critic that I’ve heard, Senator Reid, is both a Mormon and a powerful Democrat. But yes, the fact that I hadn’t heard about Bundy’s religious affiliation until now is a nice change of pace.

  • Jon

    I’ve seen the whole video, and it doesn’t change anything. The full video is just as racist as the shorter section. In fact, those who I’ve heard claim that the full video is different, on discussion, usually don’t seem to understand why the excerpt (or full video itself) is racist.

  • Rick

    Tired of these pseudo intellectual ultra mommy blogger wannabes and their clickbait. You are not getting a book deal. Quit dreaming.

  • Jon

    As has been pointed out, the Bibles themselves permit slavery. From the Curse of Ham described in Genesis, to Revelation, slavery is repeatedly depicted as a normal, justified part of life. The affirmation of slavery by Jesus mentioned above is a good, but one of many, examples of this. Among the dozens of other examples is the clear statement in the 10th commandment that slaves (like wives) are simply property, which one should not covet if owned by someone else.

  • DougH

    In the law laid out in the Bible wives and slaves were never simply property. Unlike the other cultures around them, legally at least slaves were recognized as people in their own right and in the case of Hebrew men could not be enslaved permanently without their permission. In fact, the Bible is the earliest law code I know of that places real restrictions on what master could do with their slaves. Nor do I see how the fact that women now have greater legal status than they did means that men have ceased to covet their neighbors’ wives.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    Get a clue,”Jon”(and by extension,”Atheist Max”)-First,as any junior high kid who studies history can tell you,slavery was endemic in the ancient world;it wasn’t”started by either Almighty God or the ancient Israelites.Secondly,stop showing your Biblical illiteracy Jon;there is no”Curse of Ham”(Read it again,slowly.The Curse of Ham myth was invented by Europeans to justify enslaving Blacks.Neither Ham nor his descendants,the Canaanites were of African origin.) Thirdly,Jesus used the existing cultural norms to make a point,NOT to endorse slavery;any other reading into His illustration shows an incredible lack of critical thinking skills and theological ignorance.Best to stick to things you have actual knowledge of,Jon.The Bible is NOT one of those things for you.(“Atheist Max”,please.Just give a rest;you’re infecting others with your ignorance!)

  • Willow

    Harry Reid is from Nevada. Born and raised and he’s a Senator from Nevada. This is a Mormon on Mormon fight. Very interesting. That may be why the media doesn’t touch it. Does have a clear message about Mormons

  • Willow


  • Atheist Max


    God is explicit:

    “Own people – they are your property”
    “They must obey you no matter what you command them to do”,
    “do whatever you want to them”,
    “Their children are your permanent property”
    “Beat them until they are almost dead”
    “It is EVIL to run away from your master no matter how perverse he is”

    Slaves are treated like animals, not humans.

    God won’t have it any other way.

  • Atheist Max

    @Laurence Charles Ringo,

    You said, “Jesus used ‘existing cultural norms…'”
    Nonsense. You need a Bible lesson:

    GOD COMMANDS that you trick people into slavery:
    “Attack and offer the people terms for peace…then all the people inside must serve you in forced labor.” (Deut. 20:10)

    “You shall purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you…also the children..You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children, they shall be a PERMANENT inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this…” (Leviticus 25:44-46)

    “Slaves, be subject to your masters with all reverence, not only to those who are good and equitable but also to those who are PERVERSE.” (1 Peter 2:18)

    The Lord said, “if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him…to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.” (EXODUS 21:5)

    “Says the LORD, your God…if you see a comely woman among the enslaved and become so enamored of her….you may take her home….you may have sexual relations with her.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)


    “Jesus answered them, ‘I and My Father are one.’ ” (John 10:30-33)

  • Atheist Max

    @Laurence Charles Ringo,

    (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

    It is not an accident that Atheists rarely end up in JAIL.
    Where do Atheists get their morals from?
    It happens naturally WHEN YOU LEAVE RELIGION!

  • Atheist Max


    Worried about Mormons looking worse?

    God recommends you take slaves and rape the prettiest ones.
    God command that you own slaves of other races.

    Jesus doesn’t help you move away from these things – Jesus reinforces them in a number of ways.

    Someday it may occur to you as it did to me that religion isn’t a cure for problems but it is the CAUSE of many persistent problems.

  • DougH

    You are right, God is explicit. To beat a slave to death is murder, the guilty is to be executed. To permanently injure a slave means the slave goes free. Hebrew men could not sell themselves into slavery, only lease, Hebrew women could not be sold outside of the community and if they were resold their families had first dibs on buying them back. Sexual slavery was out – the only way a man could take a female slave into his bed was as his wife, with all the rights that went with the status, and if he changed his mind later she was free. So yes, slaves were people.

  • Laurence Charles Ringo

    O.K.”Atheist Max”.This is the only reply I’ll forward to you because it’s obvious you already have all the answers and are only interested in airing your own opinions;it’s like trying to reason with a three-year old!! What’s wrong with you? Anyone with even a modicum of Biblical knowledge would know that your assessment(or”interpretation”,and I use that word loosely in your case!) 0f what Scripture teaches is simply nonsense,and you know it!! You’re either trying to be cute,or your lack of hermeneutical skills is beyond sad;either way,your ill-informed rants are tiresome and boring,and frankly,you should stop making a fool of youself;it’s pathetic!! I’m not trying to insult you,but…are you on medication? If not,maybe you should enroll in a reputable seminary,because it’s obvious Biblical interpretation(not to mention simple history) is WAAAY above your paygrade. Take care,and GOD BLESS! Seriously…seek help,Max.

  • Larry

    There is nothing Jana can do to make Cliven Bundy look any worse than what he has done to himself already.

  • Jon

    The Bibles lay out two parallel slavery systems, one for Hebrew slaves, who had some rights, and one for non-Hebrew slaves, who had very few. Yes, killing a slave was against the law, but beating him to the point of unconsciousness, as often as you like, was perfectly legal, as long has he or she was able to get up the next day, and didn’t lose an eye or tooth (Ex 21:20). That’s hardly “good treatment” of anyone, and I hope we agree, totally inexcusable at any time, erasing any pretext of a Bible having an eternally good author. I agree that Hebrew slaves were recognized as people, but I don’t see that for non-Hebrew slaves.

  • Jeff Parkes

    Rick: Unless I am totally misunderstanding your post (and I apologize in advance if I do misunderstand you), your comment is sexist and totally off-base.

    To dismiss a woman with Mr. Riess’ credentials and accomplishments (as you can see in her Bio at right) as a “pseudo intellectual ultra mommy blogger wannabes”, is both embarrassingly sexist, and foolish . Anyone who has enjoyed one of of Jana’s published books (there are big pictures of two of them on the right side of this screen, you can’t miss them) would know that she is a serious thinker, accomplished, as well as a very devout person. You might enjoy her ‘Flunking Sainthood’ book. The subject of humility is a recurring theme.

  • Jon


    Of course slavery was common in the ancient world – I never said otherwise. That fact hardly excuses the Bibles for supporting slavery – after all, it the Bibles were good, then would it not have started out by stating that slavery, itself, was simply immoral? After all, there are over 500,000 words in most Bibles, that would have taken, what, 5 words?
    As for the Curse of Ham – the original myth in Gen 9 was invented to justify the enslavement of the Canaanites by the Isrealites. Later on, as various groups enslaved Africans, it was noticed that Ham’s son Cush is literally named “black person” – look it up yourself: “Cush” means “black person” in Hebrew (Strongs #03568), the original myth was taken to justify the enslavement of blacks. As far as Jesus goes, if he really were anything other than a simple human, would he not recognize that the cultural acceptance of slavery was simply morally wrong, and said so? I think we agree that he didn’t have a problem speaking his mind. Yet, no condemnation of slavery- instead he talks about slaves deserving to be beaten severely. I agree, critical thinking is useful here.

  • Atheist Max

    @Laurence Charles Ringo,

    Excuse me?

  • Atheist Max

    @Laurence Charles Ringo,

    I was responding to your statement that Jesus was
    using “the existing norms” of society.
    You seem to be lost in a fog regarding God’s injunction for slavery and Jesus’ role in Christianity more broadly.

    The Bible commanded slavery of the worst kind and Jesus was all for it.
    The evidence is irrefutable.

  • Rover Serton

    You are so aroused at Max quoting your bible. If it was truly inspired, it would be understood by reading it. You want us to become biblical scholars so we can interpret it in the “correct” way.

    Sorry, you lose and the personal attacks “are you on medications” is just ad hominid.

    On slavery the bible is clear, no problem, 2 different classes of slaves.

    p.s. killing your slave is was murder, but you would be punished.

  • Rover Serton

    mistype: should read “Killing your slave was not murder, but you would be punished in some form”.

  • “The states rights doctrine are what feed mobs.” -Joseph Smith, Jr.

    (From a letter he wrote to John C Calhoun before deciding to run for President himself. Quoted in Richard Bushman’s “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling”, p. 514)

  • Doc Anthony

    Harry Reid is three shades past no-good. Mormons, please excommunicate him immediately!!!

  • Rob T

    Ha! Atheist max dude thraws a good curve, laurence. don’t bugger off in a huff. it should not surprise you. atheists do know their bibles. why? because it is how many come to the idea that god is just a manmade fairy.

  • Atheist Max


    The man who kills his slave is NOT guilty of murder
    and is NOT to be executed.

    Only a thief who steals a slave or kills another man’s slave (destruction of property) – is to be killed for destruction of property.

    Sexual slavery is certainly ENCOURAGED in the Bible.
    Slaves could be used for any purpose and sex with slaves was encouraged as the offspring could also be slaves.(Deut. Exod)

    The Lord said, “but save FOR YOURSELVES every girl who has never slept with a man.” (Numbers 31:18)

    Yet Jesus and Yahweh are the same God.
    And love is in here somewhere?

    Imagine this:
    If everyone abandoned religion today there would be absolutely no good reason to bring any of it back.

  • Atheist Max


    You said, “only way a man could take a female slave into his bed was as his wife”

    Sex with slaves is exactly what it sounds like: RAPE
    Taking a slave for a wife does not mean the wife had an option to say no, nor does it mean she was free after marriage.


    “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he MUST marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” (Deut. 22:28)

  • DougH

    You need to reference more than entire books. Where in Exodus and Deuteronomy does it state that slaves can be used for any purpose. Just where does it specify that slaves taken in war are to be raped? Or that masters aren’t guilty for killing their slaves? What the Bible actually says is “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished.” (Ex. 21:20). And about war captives: “When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife.” (Deu. 21: 10-11). So, masters that kill their slaves are guilty of murder, and men that are attracted to female war captives have to marry them.

  • DougH

    You do like to put the worst possible spin on things, don’t you? That’s a punishment, not a reward, emphasized by the fact that he cannot divorce her – since he has deprived her of any marriage prospects he is now responsible for his victim’s upkeep for the rest of her life. Nor does this require that she actually live with her rapist.

  • Atheist Max


    I have no clue what version of the Bible you are reading.
    Mine says:

    “Take the virgins for yourselves.”
    Have “sex relations” with the “comely” ones (not marriage as you claim)
    Own people – they are completely “your property” to do as you wish.
    Buy any slave “from the foreigners around you.”

    God COMMANDS YOU ….Kill the women and boys.

    “Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. ‘Why have you let all the women live?’ he demanded. …They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD’s people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.” (Num:31:18)

    You will notice that the soldiers can do as they please to their captors.
    Meanwhile, God lied to Moses telling him that “the plague” was caused only by boys and “all the women who” were not virgins.

    But we now know that plagues are caused by germs and the virgins would have had the germs of the plague also.

  • Atheist Max



    “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.”
    (Exodus 21:7)

    Are you aware that Sex Slavery is a continuing nightmare in the world TODAY?

    Are you aware that God says SEX SLAVERY is okay?

  • DougH

    Yes, as a wife. The more extended quote is: “… if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.”

    So yes, unmarried virgins are the easiest incorporated into Israelite culture through marriage. And again, you haven’t provided any biblical reference saying masters were free to do whatever they pleased with their slaves.

  • DougH

    I don’t see anything in the quote you reference that indicates it has anything to do with sex slavery. I’d say you have a rather active imagination.

  • Atheist Max

    “When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, *YOU MAY HAVE RELATIONS WITH HER* and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since you have humiliated her.”

    #1. Permission to take a woman as a slave.
    #2. Permission to single her out for SEX FIRST.
    #3. Permission to marry her AFTER THE SEX.
    #4. Permission to let her go if THE MAN has no interest in marrying her.


    You keep telling me this book is clear, easy to understand and simple.
    But if you are a soldier looking for sex you can do whatever you want and God has approved it.

    Only an indoctrinated brain can accept this RUBBISH.

    The Quran, Sura 4:34 . .“If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them of the teaching of God, then ignore them when you go to bed, THEN HIT THEM….God is most high and great.”

    Religion is Man made (as in ‘male-made’) rubbish.

  • Jon


    About providing a refence about how slaves were treated, I had already given that from Ex 21. Did you not read it? Here it is for your reference:

    **When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. 21 But if the slave survives a day or two, there is no punishment; for the slave is the owner’s property.
    **Ex 21:21

    Now, think about that for a minute. Can you imagine being beaten to the point of unconsciousness several times a month, every month, year after year? Do you remember the images from before the Civil War of slaves with their backs covered with scars from repeated whippings and beatings? All legal, all A-OK according to the Bibles. Tell me, Doug, do you think this is moral?

  • Atheist Max


    “If she does not please him.”

    It is obvious that in real life this means exactly what it says.

    1. The master OWNS her.
    2. The master may do as he pleases as she has NO EXIT FROM SLAVERY – unlike the MEN who are freed after six years.
    3. the burden is on HER to please the master IN ANY WAY.
    4. The price for not pleasing the master is to remain enslaved and not be resold.

    To defend this God and His slavery rules is disgusting.

  • Atheist Max

    Exodus 21:20-21 permit slave owners to beat their slaves so that they are unconscious for 2-3 days.

    It takes absolutely no imagination to see that this is a blank check from God to do whatever you want to do to your slave.

    Does your slave girl prefer to be beaten unconscious for whatever disobedience was claimed by the master?

    Perhaps the master might find rape to be more merciful punishment than a beating?

    Or keeping food and water away from her for a couple of days?
    Or any other inhumane treatment?

    “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.”
    (Exodus 7:20-21)

    I will continue to point out that your God is an inhuman, miserable, primitive, barbaric male invention from the bronze age.

    God and ‘the divinity’ of a man named Jesus are fantasies.

  • DougH

    I was going to pull up pieces of Young’s Literal Translation for some of your responses, but after this post I don’t see the point. First problem, you are adding words to the text again, “IN ANY WAY” (in caps, no less) is not in the original text. Second, you seem to be under the misapprehension that the only way a female slave can please her master is in his bed. You are not analyzing, you are emoting, and I don’t see the point in wasting any more of my time.

  • DougH

    First, you’re misreading the text. It doesn’t say anything about being beaten unconscious for two days, it says “if the slave recovers after a day or two” – I’d posit that someone beaten to the point he doesn’t wake up for two days is going to be a lot longer than “a day or two” recovering. How long do you think those pre-Civil War slaves in the photographs you mentioned took to recover from those beatings?

    Beyond that, which part of the equation do you have a problem with, slaves being punished at all, or that the punishment is corporeal? After all, flogging as a form of punishment has a long history (and one I wouldn’t mind seeing resumed as an option for non-violent criminals that would like to avoid years in jail), especially in navies and armies – and all facing the same issue that a slave, soldier or sailor flat unable to leave their beds for days is a slave, soldier or sailor that isn’t working.

    I think you are taking the worst of the examples we know of from our own historical experience, treating them as a norm, and then applying them to a text you’ve misread.

  • Jon

    @ Doug-

    No, it’s more than just “recover”. By looking at several translations, you can see that the text is clear that the only criteria is that they can stand up or is still breathing after a couple days.

    From the NRSV Bible:

    **When a slaveowner strikes a male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies immediately, the owner shall be punished. But if the slave SURVIVES A DAY OR TWO, there is no punishment; for THE SLAVE IS THE OWNER’S PROPERTY.
    **Ex 21:21

    Now, think about that for a minute. Can you imagine being beaten to the point of unconsciousness several times a month, every month, year after year? Do you remember the images from before the Civil War of slaves with their backs covered with scars from repeated whippings and beatings? All legal, all A-OK according to the Bibles. Tell me, Doug, do you think this is moral?

  • Tim

    I love your posts, Jana. I just hate it when the comments get so very much off topic.

    I’ve known he was Mormon for a while, but I agree that discussion of it has been muted. It is, however, mentioned in this article:
    Apparently he showed up to church with militia members. At least they followed LDS church building rules and left their guns in their vehicles…

  • Atheist Max


    Your argument about God needing to work within the norms of primitive civilization is a blunder.

    There was murder, thievery and adultery before Moses
    Yahweh outlawed these things.

    There was also rape, slavery, torture, child abuse
    before Moses. But Yahweh left these alone because it was the norm?

    Why did God protect and endorse these evils
    by making them part of his laws?

    Later, Jesus would endorse them, too. And worse.

  • Daveo

    You must either live in denial, or with your head in the sand (or both). I have read in at least a dozen places that this jerk is a Mormon.

  • DougH

    You can find a list of translations here: They fall into three camps, those that translate it as the slave recovering in a couple days, those that have the slave surviving a couple days, and the majority that simply use a neutral word like “continue” or “remain” and don’t try to suss out the meaning. Personally, I find the ones that translate it as the slave recovering in a few days the most persuasive. After all, whether someone dies right away or after a couple days, either way it’s a direct result of the beating.

    Beyond that, you completely ignored my last response so I don’t see any point in repeating myself.

  • Debbie

    Unless of course you are trying to say that they have moved from being slaves of a master to slaves of a government. I’m not condoning his words, I’m merely saying … he views welfare as simply being a slave of the dole.

  • Sue

    I’ve known he was Mormon from almost the beginning; that his great-great-whtever granddad was a polygamist who followed the directions of Brigham Young. When talking head pundits on the various news channels explained away Bundy’s racism as antebellum, I decided to let it go and not tell them about the strain of mormonism that more likely led to Bundy’s opinion of Blacks. The teachings about blacks being fence-sitters in the pre-existence clearly made their souls suspect. I’m sure all the justifications made to keep the priesthood away from black males are still floating around in Cliven Bundy’s head and heart. I know it’s his mormonism to blame for his bigotry; mormonism that has been modified to be sure to now allow black men full fellowship, but still, it’s our (mormon) racist past not the racism of the South that accounts for Cliven’s mind set.

  • Jon

    First of all, any of them allow for barbaric treatment, since even the easiest one “recovers after a few days” still includes horrible beatings, since when one is able to function, with scars like in the Civil War photos, they still have recovered.

    Secondly, the root meaning appears to be “is able to get up after a day or two”, since this could be translated as either of the other two, while either of the other two could not as easily be translated in the other ways.

    Third, your response shows again how unreliable the various Bibles are, since we have seen at least three different sets of text in the same place in these Bibles – obviously, this is not someing that anyone can take seriously (aside from the bankrupt morality, which is a bigger issue anyway).

    Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, you have avoided answering my direct question twice now, so I’ll ask again – do you, yourself, think having a slave and beating them every now and then according to this passage (which also explicity says that slave is his property) is moral?

  • DougH

    I did respond to your fourth point, you ignored it.

  • Atheist Max, there are hundred of Greek, Roman, Asian myths that have highly questionable statements. Why are you so fixated on the bible? A myth is not a lie, but expresses greater truths and lessons of a culture, good and bad. You and conservatives literalists use the bible as it was NOT intended.
    Anyone who uses the bible to JUSTIFY evil is ignorant of the bible.
    Nothing wrong with atheism, just don’t trust the bible as the foundation of your belief, like right-wing fanatics do.
    Read this week’s interview with Adam Hamilton, it’s good.

  • Atheist Max


    The problem is not literalism vs. metaphor. You see, The Bible won’t reveal which is which:

    “He is Risen” is supposed to be literally true.
    “I am the door” is NOT literal.

    But absolutely everything depends on which is which – but again, the Bible won’t help you sort any of it out.

    so…The Bible is worthless except as a cultural artifact; anthropology.
    The Bible is no more meaningful to me than Greek mythology would be.

    My problem is that Religion is dangerous
    and anyone who believes God is real or who takes the Bible as a believable document is not only going to behave in dangerous ways toward others but is himself/herself in some degree of danger to themselves.

    Dangerous stuff.

  • Atheist Max


    You said, “Anyone who uses the bible to JUSTIFY evil is ignorant of the bible.”

    How simplistic.

    Are Jews Evil? – Bible says…yes.
    Are Gays Evil? – Bible says…yes.
    Are unruly children evil? – Bible says…yes.

    Whatever shall we do with such enemies of God?

    “..bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King, and EXECUTE THEM in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

    Is it evil to ignore Jesus?
    Or good?

  • Interesting, Tim. Thanks for linking to this. And for staying on the actual topic of the post. And for being civil. . . .

  • pat white

    how about discussing what the book of mormon has to say about black people. Seems to me there is no coming back from what is said to be a direct communication with the mormon god of this planet?

  • DougH

    The Book of Mormon doesn’t say anything about Blacks. Wherever Bundy got his views from, it wasn’t there.

  • JW

    Jana – your surprise that Bundy is Mormon shows a bit of ignorance of the history of your own faith. Who do you think settled Bunkerville and that area of the Nevada/Utah border besides Mormons?

    His family had been there for generations, and that area is a piece of the old ‘Mormon Corridor’ that Brigham Young established to allow his Salt Lake City an outlet to the sea.

    I know you’re ‘Flunking Sainthood,’ I didn’t know you are also flunking history.

    Oh, let’s add flunking politics, too. Harry Reid is Senator of Nevada, not Utah.

  • Charles Freeman

    Terry, wht are you trying to say? I’ve checked google and Bundy’s Mormon identification is on ABC, FOX, Washington Post, etc. Are you pro-Bundy rebellion against the U. S.? This guy is a racist nut-case, who attracts a lot of the militia types, the posse comitatus, and other fascists. If you know something that the rest of us don’t know, let it out! Then, tell us where, how and when you got this contrary information.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Utah is a state that has been dominated by Mormon voters from its earliest days. It also has a large percentage of its land that is owned by the Federal government and administered by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and Department of Defense. The elected officials of Utah as a whole, and the legislature as a body, do not support the “sagebrush rebellion” ideas about claiming the Federal government doers not hold title to non-private lands. Mormons in Utah are largely a very law-abiding collection of people. Cliven Bundy does not speak for Mormons generally, or for the LDS Church specifically.

    Slavery was not a significant institution in Utah. The “Northern States” that fought in the Civil War had more of a past history of slavery operating in their borders than Utah did. It was begun as an American community in 1847, and most Mormons were from New England and the Middle Atlantic states, as well as from Britain. Utah supported the Union during the Civil War. The status of slavery in Utah Territory was controlled by Congress. Most of the actual slaves in the territory were Indians enslaved to other Indians.

    Utah did not have racially segregated schools or Mormon congregations. There were black families in the Salt Lake congregation my family lived in back in the 1950s. They were in our ward because they lived in our ward’s geographic boundaries.

    I suspect that Mr. Bundy’s attitudes about blacks partake of the prejudices of other ranchers, because I have never seen or heard such expressions from the members of the many Mormon congregations I have belonged to, in Utah, Colorado, Mississippi, Maryland, Virginia, Nebraska, California, Idaho, or Washington State. Some of those congregations included black members, including children adopted into “white” Mormon families, and racially mixed marriages, and other members in my wards have served as missionaries in Africa and in largely black neighborhoods in New Jersey. Being a Mormon teaches you that ALL people are literally children of God and have the potential to become like Him, that his arm of mercy is extended out to us not only through our lives but also after death.

  • Todd

    Jana, does it not come across as elitist of you to not think someone is “worthy” to be a Mormon? “Church is like a hospital full of sick people needing healing — not perfect people” and all that. If Cliven Bundy showed up at church and sat near your pew, would you eject him and say he wasn’t welcome? What exactly are you saying?

  • No, I did not say he was not welcome at church. But I find his views on race reprehensible (as I’m sure he would find many of my views).

  • Thank you for catching my goof about Reid; I am well aware that he is from Nevada, but had a brain blip, as you clearly delighted in pointing out. I have corrected that error in the post.

    As for flunking history — no, I was not aware of the religious history of that section of Nevada. I did not grow up in that area, have never lived there, and have not done research on it. It is very interesting, though! My doctorate in American religious history focused on the history of Utah in the nineteenth century, and women in sectarian movements. I am fascinated by Mormon settlements in outlying areas and look forward to doing more reading about that, but you’re right that I am not a specialist.

    We can’t be experts in everything. One of the great things about creating and being part of a blogging community is when readers teach me new things (albeit with less obvious relish in my educational lacunae than you demonstrate). Through my readers I learned about temple baptisms for healing, for example, which I had never even heard of; I’ve been pointed to scriptures that I somehow overlooked in relation to particular issues; and I’ve been moved to tears and laughter by their personal experiences. I am flunking a lot of things — most things! — but being a lifelong learner is not one of them.

  • someone who uses his brain

    [This comment has been deleted. Blog comments that attack an entire religion with crass generalizations are not welcome here. Blog comments that attack individuals are not welcome here. If you would like to politely debate specific points about a blog post or about other commenters’ statements, do so with some integrity, please. — JKR]

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  • RaeRae

    I’m not sure what goal is ultimately attained by the media omitting the fact that Cliven Bundy is in fact a Mormon. This is a conversation that needs to be had because of the lingering assumption of racism. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to acknowledge and address those realities with the same forward thinking you seem to embrace? The public knows little more about the church than, “Oh, they don’t drive horse-drawn buggies for each of their ten wives?” so it’s disenchanting to me when educational & growth opportunities like this aren’t taken. :/

  • John Henry

    All Mormons should know the story of Ammon, the son of a king who spent his life at great personal risk as a missionary to the Lamanites. Lamanites are the dark skinned peoples in the Book of Mormon. Ammon’s story is told in chapter 17 of the book of Alma.

    Cliven Bundy named one of his sons Ammon. Must be that this “racist” admires men who risk all to take the word of god to the dark skinned Lamanites. Look at the unedited bundy comments on blacks. In the language of a cattleman, he says pretty much what Bill O’Reilly had been saying about Blacks in inner cities for weeks before anyone knew who Cliven Bundy is. The no spin zone proprietor and Cliven Bundy agree that federal programs have kept some black people in a condition of servitude under federal oversight. Kind of like keeping them on the plantation under new management, wot? Except in inner cities folks kept subservient and dependent on government don’t even have garden space or a chicken house. I am blessed to have both.

    Did anyone think to ask why Cliven lived in Watts during the riots? He would have been of the right age to be serving his two year obligation as a missionary to black folks at a time when the Mormon church was emphasizing outreach to Lamanites. Shame on everyone who followed a red herring of racism to abandon the issue of federal tyranny and federal land grabbing. Mr. Bundy has grazing rights to that land according to his State’s law. The feds are the claim jumpers in this case.

  • Don Harryman

    What a relief–they left their guns outside the church. What about obeying and sustaining the law of the land? What about paying honestly your obligations? Not a peep about that–after all, that black man is in the White House so Bundy is free to make his own rules–and not a peep from ‘the Church’.

  • Don Harryman

    Very graciously handled Jana. Good for you.

  • Don Harryman

    What a bunch of unmitigated nonsense. Slavery was made legal in the Utah Territory by the all Mormon Utah legislature. Being an apologist is one thing, but what you said is an outright falsehood.

  • Don Harryman

    Nice attempt to sanitize his odious racism. He’s saying the same thing as Bill O’Reilly so it must be OK. He is a dishonest thief, who steals and doesn’t believe in paying his obligations, because he believes that HE is entitled to massive government welfare. He knew it was Federal land when he grazed his cattle there and refuses to pay his honest obligations, because he believes in his white entitlement to government welfare, and to take what he wants because of who he is. He justifies, as do you, armed insurrection against the government of the US because of that black man who has the nerve to be in the White House. You can be sure that the Mormon Church, while it frantically tries to keep gay people from having equal protection under the law, will never say a peep about this phony racist welfare fraud who thinks HIS white privilege entitles him to do whatever he pleases. So much for obeying and sustaining the law of the land. If you think Bundy’s time in Watts was as a Mormon missionary, why don’t YOU ask him and prove it to be so? Bundy is a racist fraud and an anarchist—-but he is a Mormon so it must be OK. Got it.

  • Don Harryman

    Excepting Jana (who is a class act) and a few others, Mormons can look bad on their own–just google statements by Delbert Stapley, Mark E. Peterson, Ernest Wilkinson, BY—there’s a gold mine there. Just read what Mormon leaders have written–without a word of commentary.

  • Don Harryman

    He got them from BY, and virtually every Mormon GA since then.

  • Don Harryman

    Your evidence of that would be……?

  • Don Harryman

    So by quoting the Bible, he is making ‘interpretations?’

  • Don Harryman

    Would he be carrying his firearms? That might impact someone’s comfort level, especially–if one is to believe all the advertising–that Mormon congregations are just chock full of blacks and other minorities who are just thrilled to be there–if one happens to be a minority. I have no doubt as a gay person, that I would be one of the first people to find myself in the gunsights of this anarchist anti government freeloader and his sociopathic sympathizers.

  • Todd

    Jana, is Don Harryman part of your PR team enlisted to help engage your followers? Class act all the way.

  • Don Harryman

    I have never met Jana, but I think she is one smart cookie–one of a handful of Mormons I could actually talk to.

  • Todd

    Don, you are doing her no favors by disaffecting her followers and stifling dialog by your smug, aggressive, judgmental, comments. I get that you have this huge chip on your shoulder, but t expect that Jana would appreciate your not taking it out on her blog.

  • Don Harryman

    I am quite certain that Jana appreciates a big strong man speaking for her, but I doubt she needs it. I am equally certain that Jana can speak for herself. I know its a touch disconcerting to come into contact with people who don’t mind their place, but the world is full of us. Deal with it.

  • Todd

    That is the politest “F you” I’ve heard in a while. 🙂

  • Mark Jacobs

    I am guessing that Cliven Bundy isn’t all that mormon given the LDS church’s response to his actions:

  • Pingback: Way to go Mormon Leaders–you need to get some new blood in there | Writer in a Bubble()

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  • Radford Bean

    It is highly unlikely that Clive Bundy is still a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS members are expected to obey the laws of the land. It is part of our Articles of Faith. President Monson and other church leaders have spoken out about intolerance. The Bundys have violated so many tenets of the church that they were probably excommunicated.

  • Radford Bean

    Well said, Raymond. I have to admit that I have witnessed some racism in my ward, but none of us are perfect. That’s why we attend church, to seek forgiveness and learn what we must do to be more like Christ.

  • John Brown

    This isn’t just a falsehood, it’s part of the LDS attempt at writing out the fact that they were (and in the case of a lot of the smaller sects like Bundy is a member, still are) official racist organizations.
    Until Jimmy Carter threatened to take away their tax exemption as a church over it, they didn’t admit blacks into the priesthood, which effectively barred them from actual membership; as in they could go to the afterlife, but only as servants.
    What do you think would have happened if they had elected Mittens?