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Tabernacle of Hate

Seduction into Right-Wing Extremism

Kerry Noble

Publication Year: 2010

In the summer of 1984, Noble was within seconds of committing what would have been the largest domestic terrorist act in U.S. history at that time. As one of the founders of the Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord (CSA), a cult paramilitary group, he carried a bomb into a gayaffirming church, intending to murder over seventy individuals. In Tabernacle of Hate, Noble provides an unprecedented first-person account of how a small spiritual community progressed from mainstream religious beliefs to increasingly extreme positions, eventually transforming into a domestic terrorist group.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xxxii

Twenty-five years after the FBI laid siege to a Christian white-supremacist colony on the banks of Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozark Mountains, the narrative of what happened there is shaped by streams of memories from the participants. The colony named itself the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord (CSA). It expected God to destroy the world in an orgy of disasters chronicled in the New Testament’s ...

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In Appreciation

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pp. xxxiii-xxxiv

To Ollie, whose mere presence illuminates a room and fills the soul with light. To Cheryl S., my spiritual twin sister, for always being there. To Gary and Billy, two friends who are closer than brothers. To Donna Jean, Cindy, Bill T., friends who have added immensely to my life. Jack N., Eric, Henry, Gary, David, Tim, and Rudy: you should never have gotten in trouble; it was not your fault. ...

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pp. 1-4

On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 in the morning, the heartbeat of America flatlined as the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City exploded into rubble, killing 168 innocent men, women and children (and wounding over 500 more) in the largest terrorist act ever committed in the United States.Twelve hours later, white-supremacist Richard Wayne Snell, already ...

Part One. The End Begins

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1. The Siege Begins

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pp. 7-20

“Snipers!” came the scream of a frightened man. “Kerry!” the voice yelled, as the pounding on the door continued. “Wake up! Wake up!” Go away! I thought. It was April 20, 1985. I was hoping the last six days, especially the previous one, had been a dream. I looked at the clock. Six o’clock in the morning. Jesus! My wife, Kay, let the armed, camouflage-clothed soldier in. ...

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2. I Have a Dream

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pp. 21-28

“How ya’ doing?” I asked my twenty-two-year-old pregnant wife as we drove around another bumpy curve in the road. I turned to check on our daughter, Tara, almost two years old, asleep in the back seat. “I’m fine,” Kay replied. “Just drive slower and I’ll remain fine.” She smiled, massaging her swollen belly of eight-and-a-half months. ...

Part Two. God, Guns and Glory

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3. Home

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pp. 31-46

Long before my arrival, ingredient number two—a charismatic leader—had been added to the first ingredient. Without my being aware of it, the extremist recipe now needed only one more ingredient. After preaching for almost an hour, Ellison sat down and the room quieted to see if anyone else had a Word from God. No one did ...

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4. The Revelation

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pp. 47-72

Tom’s wife, Barbara, ran to Jim and me, screaming. “Oh, God, Jim, I didn’t mean to do it!” she cried out, sobbing, barely able to catch her breath. “Slow down,” Jim tried to calm her and find out what was the matter. “Didn’t mean to do what?” We were in the woods cutting timber. Everyone quit sawing and ran over to Jim, Barbara and me. ...

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5. Now We Have Guns

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pp. 73-88

We believed God had established Zarephath-Horeb not just for our own refinement and spiritual growth, but so that when the time came for God to judge the world—and especially America—Christians would have a place to go and dwell safely away from the government of the Antichrist. We did not believe in a “rapture,” whereby Christians would ...

Part Three. The Origin and Rise of CSA

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6. Identity

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pp. 91-115

John Todd foretold a major truckers’ strike which was to occur in the spring of 1979 and would cripple the economy of the United States sending the country into collapse, with riots and chaos. The strike did occur, but not with the results Todd predicted. But the exactness of his predictions were close enough to warrant listening to him about other “planned” events. ...

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7. The Birth of CSA

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pp. 116-126

I stood in the midst of the meeting, once the music had ended and prophesied that God was going to set us as a beacon in the night, that as He had spread our name across the local area, so would He spread our name across the country, to draw others to Himself and to His purpose in this hour. Within three weeks of the prophecy, during ...

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8. CSA National Convocation

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pp. 127-132

In August 1982, I approached Ellison and the elders with an idea. “We’ve seen a lot of people in various groups,” I said, “that are no longer satisfied with just rhetoric and talk. They want action. But they need a leader, someone to bond them together.” “What are you suggesting?” James asked. We had started calling Ellison “James” instead of “Jim,” since it sounded more dignified. ...

Part Four. The Fall of CSA

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9. The Foundation Not Square

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pp. 135-150

The last days previous to the October 1982 Convocation were darkened for two reasons. After the construction of the new sanctuary building began, one of the younger elders came to me. “I need to talk to you,” Billy told me one evening. I could see he was troubled. Billy was also the Bible teacher for the younger members. “What is it?” I asked. ...

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10. The Battle Cry

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pp. 151-183

All of the ingredients had been gathered and mixed. The formation of an extremist group was complete: First, a false philosophical or theological foundation based upon some negative emotion such as fear, lack of faith, hate or despair; then a charismatic leader that could manipulate and direct the people; lastly, physical and mental isolation ...

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11. The Order and the Siege on CSA

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pp. 184-214

Ten months before our property crisis, in October of 1983, former members of Aryan Nations and the National Alliance (and later former members of CSA) were weary of waiting for judgment day and decided to act. They formed an organization based upon a book that was published in 1978 by neo-Nazi William Pierce, under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald. ...


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pp. 199-213

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12. The Surrender

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pp. 215-224

To Ollie and the others during the siege, there were only two options: miraculous deliverance by the hand of God or martyrdom. I chose a third: surrender—since I no longer believed in the former and had no desire for the latter. Yet a question haunted me: Would our lives in the hands of the federal government be worse than death—or better? ...

Part Five. Scattered Dreams

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13. A Frog in Boiling Water

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pp. 227-234

There’s an old saying that if you drop a frog in boiling water he’ll immediately jump out. But if you drop him in cool water and then slowly heat it, the frog will stay in the water until he actually boils to death, because he has slowly gotten used to the water changes. Deception is that way. Dropped into the boiling water of Jonestown ...

14. Freedom

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pp. 235-258

Part Six. Coming Full Circle

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15. A Date of Infamy

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pp. 261-281

On February 28, 1993, I heard the news on the radio that the ATF had clashed with David Koresh’s Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, seventy miles from my home, as they attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Koresh. Four agents were killed and several others wounded. I later found out that among the wounded was Bill Buford....

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16. Hope

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pp. 282-296

After Jim Ellison finished his sentence, on April 23, 1995, he moved to Robert Millar’s commune, Elohim City, in Oklahoma which has been called the “Holiday Inn of Hate.” On May 19, he married one of Millar’s granddaughters, 26-year-old Angie, who was already carrying his child. The fusion of Ellison’s blood and seed into Millar’s is similar to ...

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pp. 297-301

Parts of the right-wing movement are slowing down while other parts remain very active. John Harrell of the Christian-Patriots Defense League in Illinois, now in his mid-70s, is reportedly broke and living on social security. He no longer holds meetings and it is said that one of his daughters has married an African American. ...

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pp. 302-312

It has been more than twelve years since the original publication of this book. I am humbled and so thankful for the vision of Syracuse University Press in reprinting it. I wish also to thank Professor Michael Barkun of Syracuse University for his encouragement in the reprinting of this book, Professor Jean Rosenfeld of UCLA for her ...


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pp. 315-440


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pp. 441-442


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pp. 443-463

E-ISBN-13: 9780815651260
E-ISBN-10: 0815651260
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815632474
Print-ISBN-10: 0815632479

Page Count: 408
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: Second

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Subject Headings

  • Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing, Oklahoma City, Okla., 1995.
  • Right-wing extremists -- United States.
  • Political violence -- Oklahoma -- Oklahoma City.
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