Small Utah-born political party has rift over Oregon occupation, Mormon church stance

 independent-americanby Lee Davidson, Salt Lake Tribute

Kelly Gneiting, former chairman of the small Independent American Party — a group born in Utah that won about 3 percent of the vote here in 2014 — is criticizing the LDS Church for denouncing the armed seizure of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

But current party leaders disagree — and removed some posts Gneiting made on the party website — causing a rift in the party that counts Cliven Bundy as a member. Bundy led a Nevada standoff with federal agents over grazing rights in 2014, and his sons are leading the Oregon occupation.

“The LDS Church would have denounced the [Boston] Tea Party. It would have said, ‘No, we’re not going to do violence and throw tea into the water,’ ” said Gneiting, national chairman emeritus of the Independent American Party (IAP), who led that party for 4½ years until last year. He left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints last year.

Current national chairman Will Christensen, who lives in Orem and is an active Mormon, said, “I believe most of the party members would agree with the church statement, which I do. We’ve got a court system. We’ve got a way of handling these types of disputes. We need to use these while they still work.”…

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