News2Share has received a letter from Ryan Bundy, brother of Ammon Bundy and son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. He was arrested on January 27th during the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon.
He currently faces numerous charges for his involvement in that as well as his role in the 2014 standoff at Bundy ranch in Nevada. If convicted, he could face between five years and life in prison. He plans to represent himself.
Bundy’s letter was in response to a list of questions mailed to him in the Inverness Multnomah County Inverness Jail by News2Share Managing Editor Ford Fischer. While the questions focused on the particulars of the occupation, Bundy’s reply mainly discussed the historical and religious motivations for his actions. A devout Mormon, Bundy focuses on the concept of “free agency” in his letter, and connects his faith to his political views.
The letter came in two parts. Firstly, he had a small sheet of paper labelled “Introduction” in his own handwriting. In it, he describes that he wrote his full letter over a month ago, but with the help of fellow inmates, has had it rewritten for legibility and spelling. Secondly, a five-page letter signed by him includes his words rewritten by a fellow inmate. He mailed the original copy, in his own handwriting, to his wife, Angie Huntington Bundy.
The text of both letters has been transcribed below, verbatim, and scans of them are included. News2Share has taken the liberty of correcting minor spelling and grammar mistakes at Mr. Bundy’s request. On two occasions, he asks that we verify quotes that he includes, and News2Share has included footnotes at the bottom including notes on those references.
I originally wrote this letter on the 11th of this month, then by the help of others we copied it by hand and corrected spelling and grammar, so this letter you are receiving is not in my hand writing. The original I sent to my wife, she is supposed to scan it and send you a copy via email. Hers may get to you before this. I hope you see both, for comparison. My next letter will be sent to you more directly to cut down on time. My original also had a better introduction than this. Hope you get it. I will paraphrase here.
I received your letter and invitation to address your audience about a month ago. I did not respond immediately for particular reasons of my own. But I feel it is time to speak out now and speak loud. So as long as your invitation to address your audience with information that is unaltered from me in intact I will begin to send you letters so that you may publish. You are welcome to type them out and correct spelling but do not alter the text. You may even share a photo copy of my hand written letters on your page for authentication.
Full Five-Page Letter:
I would like to begin with introducing myself. I am Ryan Bundy. I am the eldest son of Cliven Bundy. I have seven brothers & seven sisters. I have a good wife and children who I love so much. Ammon is my younger brother. We were raised on a ranch in the desert of Southern Nevada. We raise cattle that becomes savory beef for Americans to eat. We also farm and grow the sweetest melons that most people have ever tasted. We take pride in these things we produce for others to enjoy.
We are productive American people who want nothing more than to live peaceful lives. The peace we desire however is under attack by those who want power. Worldly power comes through force, freedom is not force.
My family and I have been taught throughout our lives by our father, our church, the Holy Scriptures, our founding fathers and many other sources, the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is one reason we value our freedom so much, because of our ability to choose. This is what makes freedom the most fundamental principle.
I am not ashamed of who I am. I am not ashamed of what we have done in Oregon and not in Nevada. We have only done those things that we have been led to do by the Holy Spirit. Things that will help people be free and act for themselves as is God’s intend for us while on this earth. From before the foundation of this world, God gave us the ability to choose for ourselves how we will act. This ability we call “Free Agency.” This is the most fundamental principle of Heaven. We must be able to make our own choices before anything else. Faith in God is a choice, obedience to his commandments is a choice, our whole lives revolve around the choices we make. Ultimately our final destination in the eternities will be determined by the choices we make now. Yes, the ability to choose, this agency, this freedom is the central principle our Heavenly Father plans for us as his children. By God’s design, we are supposed to be free.
So this brings us to principle #2. One of our founding fathers said, “This constitution is designed for a moral and religious people, and is wholly inadequate for any others.” (Please check this reference)* Satan has always & will always try to thwart the plan of God. Through the ages of time Satan has used the power, force, and might of government to restrict the agency of man. Satan also uses greed, lust, wealth, murder, homosexuality, hate, theft, fornication, and a host of other sins to bring people into bondage. The Holy Bible & Book of Mormon are full of history of people who, while living & choosing righteously, prosper in the land and blessed with many things that God bestows upon them. But over & over again these people fall into sins, all too often because of a sinful thing or government who leads them into it. However, each person still has the ability to choose for himself to fall into sin or not. God withholds his blessings because of sin and the people suffer many things, including the inability to survive, or make a living, they are taken captive, made into slaves, suffer droughts and famines. Each time they chose to disobey God’s direction, by their own free will and choice they became captive in some way. Our country is headed in this direction much because of the corruption in government, but more so because of our own personal choices. The murder of our unborn babies must be stopped. Our sexual sins must be stopped. Our laziness and greed must be stopped. Our hatred and bloodshed must be stopped. Our lies and many other sins must be stopped. These sins cannot be stopped by laws or force. They can only be stopped by you. By your own choices, you can not force others. You can encourage others to do good but only you can make the choice for you. This nation needs to repent, you need to repent, each one of us needs to repent. None of us is without sin. So if you desire that freedom be restored in this nation, I admonish you to take a good close look at yourself, not at your neighbor, just yourself, and repent of the sins you find in you. Then we can move forward towards freedom.
Our founding fathers understood the principle of personal agency, at least to the degree that they knew it is God’s plan for man to be free from oppressive government. They knew that man must be able to move about freely to be able to conduct business to use the land and resources, and to own and control property. Freedom to pursue happiness in the way they choose without being controlled by an oppressive government. They inscribed this divine principle into our founding documents, into our constitution. “But when the wicked rule, the people mourn.” When the people are wicked, who else do you think is going to rule?
Our founding fathers created a form of government designed to protect our rights and freedoms. It was supposed to remain small and be controlled by the people who it was meant to benefit. It was not intended to grow into a monster like the one they just had to free themselves from. Because of our wickedness, our ignorance, and our complacency, we have allowed our government to become that same monster. It will not correct itself. Only we, the people, by the help of God, will be able to reign it in. How many of you truly understand the form of government our fathers gave us? How often have you read and studied our constitution and other founding documents? How many of you can recognize when a candidate or proposed law does not measure up to the standards that our fathers created? Another of our founders stated, “You cannot expect to be ignorant and free. If you do, you expect what never was and never will be.” (Please check quote)**
In review, the 1st principle is personal agency, and accountability for your choices. The 2nd is to live righteously and repent of our sins. The 3rd is to be educated, to know the truth of many things, God, freedom, agency and many more things. This is what we were doing in Harney County, Oregon. We were teaching the people true principles of freedom and it was going well, too well. We had to be silenced. We have committed no crime, but the government had to stop us from teaching. The people must be kept ignorant or else they may rise up and reduce their power. Well I hope you all are still learning. Do not be controlled. Be actively involved in a good cause of your own free will and choice.
Do I think our stand in Oregon was worth it? Well you tell me. Has it awakened a nation to the awful situation in which we are? Are heads coming out of the sand and are eyes being opened? If so, then yes, it was worth it and it will continue to be worth it if we can live up to the next principle which is courage. I am afraid that Americans, for too long, have had an epic courage problem. We have become so complacent, so lazy, so controlled, so sheepish that we hardly look up for fear of being punished by fees, fines, or ticketed or jailed and we don’t dare to do a darn thing to move about freely, to start a business, build our houses, travel about or becomes something without getting the permission of one government agency or other, permits, licenses etc… etc… THAT IS NOT FREEDOM FOLKS! You only have what rights and freedoms you are willing to defend. This is the land of the free because of the brave, or at least it used to be. When was the last time you had the courage to say “no” when one of your freedoms were being infringed upon? If you don’t stand up soon, there won’t be anything left to stand up for. Where is the courage that America was built upon? Have we all just agreed that government is our all powerful master and obediently comply to all its demands without question? A courageous person would face even a challenge that seems unconquerable yet he will do it because it is right. She will go to the length of her life to protect her own. On the last phrase of the Declaration of Independence our founding fathers said, “WITH A FIRM RELIANCE ON THE PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, WE MUTUALLY PLEDGE TO EACHOTHER OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR.”
They pledged all they had with courage. They staked everything for the cause of freedom. Had they been captured by the British, they would have been hung as traitors, “domestic terrorists,” as they call us today. Do you have that kind of courage? DO YOU? Some of them were captured and killed, most of them did lose their fortunes, but they secured our freedom and their sacred honor for generations to come. Are you willing to do the same? If not, you are not worthy of their kind of freedom. Find your courage, find it down deep in your soul and then bring it out. Bring it forth and do something with it besides just wishes and hope. Don’t just say words. Words float away. Do things, things are real, things stay.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LET THE CONSEQUENCE FOLLOW
BATTLE FOR FREEDOM IN SPIRIT AND MIGHT
AND WITH A STOUT HEART LOOK YE FOR TOMORROW
GOD WILL PROTECT YOU IN DOING WHAT’S RIGHT***
Written by Ryan Bundy
Text copied by another
News2Share plans to reply with further questions. This letter comes one month after News2Share also received a letter from Peter Santilli, a prominent right-wing radio host who is currently being held for related charges.
*The quote reads “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” It was said message from John Adams to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, according to the John Adams Center.
** The quote “Those who expect to be both ignorant and free, expect what never was and never will be,” comes from Thomas Jefferson’s January 6, 1816 letter to Charles Yancey, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.
*** Although Mr. Bundy does not attribute it, these lyrics are taken from the hymn “Do What is Right,” a hymn commonly used by the followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Mormonism, among others.