The Second King
October 13, 2021 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Rod of Iron Ministries has purchased a 130-acre property in eastern Tennessee to be used as a training center and spiritual retreat.
posted by box (64 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, I can't see this ending badly in any way!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:05 AM on October 13 [11 favorites]


From JJ MacNabb, 2019: "The Unification Church is holding its 2019 "Rod of Iron Freedom Festival" in October in the Kahr Arms / Tommy Gun Warehouse in Pennsylvania." (Thread, with lots of background on this group.)

Almost forgot to add: Inside an Ultra-Right Festival: Guns, a Doomsday Church & Steve Bannon (Daily Beast)
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:16 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Some people think the future is Idiocracy. But maybe it's actually Zardoz.
posted by at by at 8:16 AM on October 13 [32 favorites]


I'm an atheist and I'm more of a "Christian" than these people.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:22 AM on October 13 [22 favorites]


Real space marine vibes.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:26 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


a gun-centric spinoff of the much larger Unification Church

Awesome.
posted by thelonius at 8:28 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Do we have enough popcorn?
posted by acb at 8:28 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I keep hoping for the extinction even to quickly, and mercifully, hit. But now I'm beginning to think this timeline is the extinction event. And it's going to be mercilessly drawn-out.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 AM on October 13 [9 favorites]


Be a shame if all those calm, rational people packed in closely together got into arguments with each other.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:33 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


One of the things that I noticed first was that the AR-15s are secured with zip ties so that someone can't just pop in a clip. That shows you how much they trust each other.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:35 AM on October 13 [18 favorites]


Jesus wept.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 8:35 AM on October 13 [11 favorites]


Well, I can't see this ending badly^ for me in any way!
posted by emelenjr at 8:36 AM on October 13


Tennessee terrorist training camp opens and Fox News is silent.
posted by interogative mood at 8:39 AM on October 13 [18 favorites]


Decades ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker that had been part of the late 70s/early 80s downtown New York scene, and something he said about that stuck with me. He noted that, to the extent that it was possible, he and his friends then tried to pretend "that the rest of the US just didn't exist - on good days, like nothing north of 59th Street existed."

Things are not perfect where I am, but the longer this goes on, it's basically the stance I'm taking to try and stay sane.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:39 AM on October 13 [20 favorites]


So is it like 5 people? Also, Ten Commandments… thou shalt not kill. Christians aren’t even allowed to go to war, which explains why the military has no Christians! What’s that you say?
posted by freecellwizard at 8:42 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


The more generations of ancestors you wanted to “liberate,” the more money you’d have to pay. “People would just go over with thousands and thousands, often in cash, and just donate it,” said Strait. “These are people who don’t have that kind of money.”

Well, they *used* to...
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:44 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


130-acre property...holding its 2019 "Rod of Iron Freedom Festival" in October in the Kahr Arms / Tommy Gun Warehouse

Can we tax these people already?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 8:46 AM on October 13 [13 favorites]


So is it like 5 people?

From a previous Vice article:
Six white buses rumbled through the small town of Newfoundland, and pulled around the white clapboard side of the Sanctuary church. Hundreds of visitors got out, the men in dark suits, the women in shades of white. At the entrance of the church, volunteers were zip-tying worshippers’ AR-15s to secure them. A marquee was set up outside, with televisions, to accommodate the additional guests who’d flown in.

...

Most of the audience members — those who’d been blessed by Rev. Moon or Pastor Moon’s church — wore crowns. They ranged from cheap plastic to intricately designed tiaras with pearl inlay, some of which were sold at the Freedom Festival.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


They need one of these to match their robes.
posted by signal at 8:55 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


God help us all. Just.... Insanity is catching and I can't help but wonder how many of these people pray for a shooting War. What sort of atrocities are going to come from this? Want to place bets on if they start a riot, attempt murder or go straight to insurrection?
posted by Jacen at 8:58 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I parsed the initial sentence of the post as "Rod, of Iron Church" and was wondering who the hell this Rod guy was and were did I miss all the FPPs that caused us to be on a first-name basis with this whacko?

My brain amuses me when it makes mistakes like that.
posted by Ickster at 9:00 AM on October 13 [12 favorites]


If it weren’t for the kids involved, I’d be fine with people heading off into the woods to worship a dude with a bullet crown and lots of mommy issues.
posted by betweenthebars at 9:03 AM on October 13


I'm not fine with any of this, terrorist training camp is right. Too many people hiding behind religious exemptions to everything.
posted by subdee at 9:05 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


In 2017, Moon founded his church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania, siphoning off hundreds of followers from the main congregation who were willing to make the seemingly radical leap of incorporating high-powered rifles into their spiritual life. He did this with the backing of his older brother, Kook-jin “Justin” Moon, the CEO of Kahr Arms, a gun manufacturing company headquartered nearby. In recent years, he’s made headlines for recreating the mass wedding ceremonies that his father’s church was famous for, with the addition of AR-15s.

Whoop, there it is.
posted by subdee at 9:09 AM on October 13 [18 favorites]


Didn't have to look past the photo and first paragraph to realize just how badly this is going to end.
posted by turtlebackriding at 9:10 AM on October 13


Sean and Justin Moon, plus other senior church officials, were also at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and posted videos of themselves emerging from clouds of tear gas. Sean has also courted fringe MAGA-world figures; this weekend, the annual Rod of Iron Freedom Fest at the Kahr Arms headquarters in Greeley will include speakers such as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, ex–NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch, far-right Proud Boy ally Joey Gibson, and GOP congressional candidate Teddy Daniels.

Everything about this paragraph inspires dread.... They better be on many watch lists.
posted by subdee at 9:13 AM on October 13 [13 favorites]


wait, the Church of the Heavily Armed Christ was not fiction?
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:14 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


One of the things that I noticed first was that the AR-15s are secured with zip ties so that someone can't just pop in a clip. That shows you how much they trust each other.

An alternate read, I think, would be that something intended for ceremonial purposes shouldn’t be ready for combat. I doubt that the soldiers on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier have usable weapons either, for instance.

I don’t know if that makes it more disturbing or not, but it would seem to lean into the idea that the guns are there as part of the rites themselves, not simply as armaments. These weapons are part off the religion, not simply accoutrements for believers to tote around.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:18 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I used to deal with a company who's name was Rod of Iron (or something along those lines). They sold gay "erotica". So I was little confused when I began this article. Rod of Iron Ministries sounds a lot more dangerous (and less fun).
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:19 AM on October 13 [10 favorites]


That's what happens when you repress and sublimate really hard.
posted by acb at 9:21 AM on October 13


If this shit turned up in a Far Cry game you'd be rolling your eyes.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:23 AM on October 13 [18 favorites]


I doubt that the soldiers on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier have usable weapons either, for instance.

They're fully functional M14s. (The guards won't answer questions about whether or not they're loaded.) I understand the concept of weapons as part of a religion--see, for example, the Sikh kirpan--but this is really on another level.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:38 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


The AR-15 actually has a built-in zip-tie cutter. Push the button on the left side of the receiver, opposite the mag release. You might need to hit the forward assist, too.
posted by ryanrs at 9:40 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


Jesus wept.

it's high time Jesus flipped some fucking tables in anger
posted by elkevelvet at 9:48 AM on October 13 [7 favorites]


If this shit turned up in a Far Cry game you'd be rolling your eyes.

Reality is stranger dumber than fiction.
posted by Foosnark at 9:50 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


And this is, after all, the dumbest timeline.
posted by acb at 9:53 AM on October 13


I'm more of a "Christian" than these people.

Moonies are only nominally "Christian", if that. They do not accept the central tenet of the religion (aka Christ).
posted by Press Butt.on to Check at 10:10 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Far Cry 5 is pretty close
posted by achrise at 10:14 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


“It's not enough that folks now just come to Sunday service and things like that and be part of evangelism that way,” Moon said in a sermon. “It's now critical that you take political office. It doesn't matter how old you are, because you are the patriots.” He adds that getting involved in politics was critical to defend the church and the U.S. from “globalists, satanists, and political satanists that want to take power and genocide like-minded communities, and of course, gun-owning communities.”

Better and better and better and better.... All the wacky stuff about ansu, ancestor liberation, etc is a distraction, it's an organization for consolidating political power for the GOP fringe, with guns, disguised as a religious organization.

Meanwhile, the younger Moon is attempting to build support on the GOP fringes. He’s been a big proponent of the lie that Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election. Moon and other church officials use their regular broadcasts, streamed via Rumble, to sound off about antifa, vaccine mandates, the Biden administration, Critical Race Theory, or gun laws. These issues, which he labels as examples of “political satanism,” are typically framed as struggles between good and evil.

I hate everything about this.
posted by subdee at 10:18 AM on October 13 [7 favorites]


When do we get to see the Scientology vs. Rod of Iron crossover showdown? Somehow Godzilla vs. Mothra seems more real than the reality we actually live in.
posted by _DB_ at 10:21 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Jesus wept.

it's high time Jesus flipped some fucking tables in anger

These dudes are in fact quite on board with an angry Jesus themselves, as noted in the related Vice article by Tess Owen from 2019 (with video): “We Spent a Wild Weekend with the Gun-Worshipping Moonie Church That's Trying to Go MAGA”
But Moon, 40, isn’t any ordinary pastor. He’s the son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon, a Korean self-proclaimed messiah, accused cult leader, and founder of an international religious movement whose followers became known as “Moonies.” Last year, Pastor Sean Moon started his own church in Newfoundland, Pennsylvania. It has some of the same philosophies as his father’s, but with a pretty significant twist:
“In John, Chapter 2, we see that Jesus is an assault weapons manufacturer,” Moon, who studied theology at Harvard, told the audience.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:23 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


And they have another one in Texas!!!! They are franchising!!!!!

The campground in Texas, known locally as “Running Branch Camp and Marina,” came equipped with a general store, fishing equipment, an industrial kitchen, RV hook-ups, cabins, and camping sites. Moon said the goal of the property, which cost $1 million, was to provide a sanctuary to the church’s “patriots” from the impending war with the “deep state.” Operations there are now up and running, and it remains open to the general public. According to an Instagram account managed by two church members, they’ve recently hoisted a giant Trump 2024 flag on the property, which they’ve dubbed “Trump Tower.”

Just like with the Jan 6th insurrection and election lie, I can't tell if it's a grift on MAGA wallets, a sincere attempt to create an American vers of the Moon cult with American characteristics / an American version of an ISIS training camp (though of course we've always had local militias tucked away in odd corners of the country) or some combination of both.
posted by subdee at 10:29 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


Anyway probably the best response really is to ignore them and paint them as wacky fringe cultists, bc any sincere attempt to take this as seriously as it really deserves will probably only encourage them.
posted by subdee at 10:37 AM on October 13


Somebody has been reading too many "Emberverse" novels and got confused... ("Duke Iron Rod"). (I guess they didn't read far enough until the "CUT' (Church Universal & Triumphant) was defeated)
posted by rozcakj at 10:37 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I doubt that the soldiers on guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier have usable weapons either, for instance.

One of the key parts of the Tomb Sentinels' changing-of-the-guard ceremony is the inspection by the NCO of the incoming Sentinel's weapon while going through the manual of arms. It's a quite functional (chromed) M-14, but does not have a magazine inserted—the standard magazine for an M-14 is a somewhat-bulky 20-round box, and it prevents the rifle from being carried "shoulder arms".

I think it's pretty widely known that their sidearms are loaded, though. I mean, you can tell from the way the holster sits that it's not unloaded, and I doubt they're just filling it full of wheel weights.

Interesting trivia: there are 4 specially-made sidearms carried by the Sentinels, they all have names, the grips are made from wood from the USS Olympia, the glass sights from fused marble dust from the Tomb, and they have nonstandard 21-round magazines. (And yes, this is A Trump Thing.)

Anyway, the symbolic worship of weapons is not new. I think it makes more sense in the context of the secular rituals of the state—which draws its power from the use of weapons—than in a Christian church, where "incongruous" is about the most polite descriptor. In the case of the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown, the (real) weapons are symbolic of the state's willingness to exercise its license to use violence, in order to defend the Tomb, and by extension what it represents. It's a little on-the-nose, but it's not meant to be subtle, either. IMO, there's something a bit more sinister about the inclusion of weapons in a church service, particularly when the church is notionally part of a tradition that (in its own mythology, anyway) rejects violence.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:48 AM on October 13 [9 favorites]


OTOH, if one regards the NRA's absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment as a religious law (as results like legal bans on keeping records of firearms-related deaths would suggest it is in all but name), an actual Church Of The Holy Assault Rifle is the inevitable logical consequence of the implicit being made explicit.
posted by acb at 10:55 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


"And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, 'O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.'"
...
"And the Lord spake, saying, 'First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it"
...
"1, 2, 5!"
"3."
"3!"

Sure, it was satire. But satire based on history. History repeats. This will not end well.
posted by SoberHighland at 11:06 AM on October 13 [9 favorites]


So now a bunch of undercover FBI agents have to explain to their families, somehow, why they're moving to eastern Tennessee...
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:10 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]


Rod of Iron? That couldn’t possible intersect with toxic masculinity.
posted by TedW at 11:11 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


Squid Game: the Beginning.
posted by SPrintF at 11:13 AM on October 13


Insanity is catching and I can't help but wonder how many of these people pray for a shooting War

The far right has been quite open about their desire for, and belief in an inevitable, second civil war, for a long, long time. Like, for the past 50 years or so. It used to be the fever dream of far-fringe extremists hording weapons and playing soldier in the woods. Now, it's all but a given among GQPers.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:30 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


Rod of Iron? That couldn’t possible intersect with toxic masculinity

Spare the rod, spoil the child
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 12:02 PM on October 13


The chapels at IDF training compounds have weapons holders at each seat, but, you know, they're on a military base and training to be soldiers. I guess these guys think they are too?
posted by goatdog at 12:09 PM on October 13


At what point does Google Maps need to add a “fundamentalist red zone” overlay to its maps so you can try and avoid these places.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:06 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


This made me realize that nothing is too weird to be true, so thanks for that.

Maybe that was always the case, but I feel like we've gone through some kind of phase change.
posted by adamrice at 1:23 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


I didn't see it linked here or in the article, but the Google Maps link to the property is here. The Zillow reference from the article is here. I wonder how Thorn Hill Church across the road from the northern property line feels about it? Sold for $460k according to Zillow.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 2:24 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


Tennessee terrorist training camp opens and Fox News is silent.

Imagine if they were black and/or Muslim.
posted by ambulocetus at 2:24 PM on October 13 [6 favorites]


Ameristan.
posted by exlotuseater at 2:44 PM on October 13


So now a bunch of undercover FBI agents have to explain to their families, somehow, why they're moving to eastern Tennessee...

I'm just imagining some FBI agent who spent the last five years learning Arabic and studying Wahhābī Islam in preparation for an elite deep-cover antiterrorism assignment, being told at the last minute that "priorities have shifted" and they've been instead assigned to infiltrate the militant wing of the Moonies at their temple in Tennessee.

Anybody know anybody at Netflix?
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:58 PM on October 13 [7 favorites]


I'll gladly liberate your ancestors at half of the price per generation that the Unification Church or it's splinter group is charging. I'll even slap you if you want.
posted by Reverend John at 3:21 PM on October 13 [2 favorites]


So, what *is* the tipping point at which the conquest of Gilead (in it myriad and fractured forms) begins? Something stupid and something obvious but I can't quite see the identity of that particular step yet
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 3:40 PM on October 13


Probably gay rights getting codified, extra states, Trump dying, Fox/right wing dumb gets bored and declares the Holy War, the supreme court makes too blatantly partisan decisions and protests erupt followed by murders, and chaos, and insanity. Take your pick.
posted by Jacen at 7:07 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Starting to get a real "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" vibe from this timeline
posted by SystematicAbuse at 9:26 PM on October 13 [5 favorites]


I can't help but wonder how many of these people pray for a shooting War

I think what they pray for is for a war that involves shooting to have happened. They don't necessarily want to be near flying bullets, but they want enemies to die and they'd like to have a reason to hold a loaded gun with the idea of shooting someone, even if only while cracking open a cold one with the boys. They'd prefer to be on the winning side but they're also willing to be a beleaguered underdog.
posted by rhizome at 4:00 AM on October 23


« Older Hail to the Chieftain   |   Always have Tetris on your phone Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.