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Letter: Thanks for reporting on Utah monuments, and for shining light on Bundy’s shameful Mormon-based ‘Nay Book’

FILE - In this April 11, 2015, file photo, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy speaks with supporters at an event in Bunkerville, Nev. A federal judge in Nevada is considering crucial rulings about what jurors will hear in the trial of six defendants accused of stopping U.S. agents at gunpoint from rounding up cattle near Cliven Bundy's ranch in April 2014. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Thanks so very much for your growing, and wonderful, series on the Trump administration attack on Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments (which will remain the case for a few weeks longer, at least), and especially for the indefatigable reporting of Brian Maffly, as well as Erin Alberty and Emma Penrod.

Mr. Maffly has been beyond instrumental in the formation of our perceptions of Utah landscapes, environmental problems and rural attitudes, warts and all.

And speaking of attitudes, thanks for picking up last week’s Washington Post article on Cliven Bundy’s obsession with the “Nay Book,” his neighbor’s selection of Mormon doctrine to substantiate repudiation of federal lands controls.

Reading and re-reading this piece, and the WaPo version that contains some of the handwritten doctrinal excerpts, we have had confirmed for us the probable sources of rural and legislative attitudes that have led to the Trump-Hatch-Bishop-Herbert gang’s still-incomplete attempt to do away with everything associated with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton or the federal government.

This article, most perceptively, reminds us of Ezra Taft Benson’s John Birch Society roots, bringing up the Birch Society as a source of Gov. Gary Herbert’s and other Utah leaders’ rabid attitudes toward any government other than LDS-inspired (communists conveniently forgotten, of course).

After all, how can Native American claims to thousands of years of habitation of lands they consider sacred be valid, even with federal authority, when rural southeastern Utah residents can document five generations of occupancy, amounting to 60 to 100 or more years? Turning undisturbed places into wastelands, mined, drilled, looted of artifacts, ancient architecture destroyed, forests cut at will, any and all contaminated and sold off to private developers — this should be the inalienable right of the latest immigrants to these places considered sacred by ancient residents.

What rights do they have, when white invaders have been able to pull off massacres, Long Walks, theft of birthrights, generations of sexual assault and deadly bullying, and virtual slavery of workers in uranium mines, with no protections or warnings?

The “Nay Book” is a huge, long-overdue disclosure, shameful and insidious at the same time.

Ivan Weber, Salt Lake City

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