Armed members of a paramilitary religious cult patrolled a...

YELLVILLE, Ark. -- Armed members of a paramilitary religious cult patrolled a secluded camp in north Arkansas Tuesday and a sheriff put off their scheduled eviction for 24 hours.

The Campus Crusade for Christ foreclosed on the camp last winter after the cult -- The Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord -- fell behind on mortgage payments. The Campus Crusade owns the land.


But Kerry Noble, spokesman for The Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord, said the 70-member group is determined not to leave peaceably if forced from the 224-acre tract.

The sheriff delayed the eviction amid reports the group might be able to get new financing on the land. Noble and Jim Ellison, leader of the cult, said they hope to avoid a confrontation with the sheriff but will fight anyone trying to evict them.

They said members are armed with semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves and their neighbors in a race war they expect to be instigated by 'anti-Christ' Jews.

Ellison said anybody who wants to get him off the property 'would have to do it violently.'

'If we leave after God told us not to, then we have the wrath of God to put up with, and that's way worse than the wrath of man,' Noble said.


'The Lord's told us to stay here (through) prophecies, visions, dreams, prophets coming from outside the group,' he said. 'We're supposed to make our stand.

'Everybody is excited, encouraged, ready,' Noble said of the 13 families at the camp just south of the Missouri border, north of Bull Shoals Lake.

Noble said he thought the eviction was 'extremely unfair' and that the action is based on prejudice toward his group, described as a survivalist organization that has engaged in paramilitary training.

Group spokesmen said the training was stopped when a rift developed between a faction that wanted to put more emphasis on religion and another that sought to put more emphasis on the military readiness. The more militaristic cult members left the camp, a spokesman said.

Judge Tom Hilburn on Aug. 24 gave occupants of the camp until Tuesday to leave the land, which was sold to Campus Crusade at auction after Ellison's group failed to meet payments. Campus Crusade paied $57,000 for the land.

Noble said a friend of the cult Tuesday offered to refinance the land for the group. Noble would not give details of the offer but a spokesman for Marion County Sheriff Roger Edmonson said no action would be taken to evict the group before Wednesday because of the new development.


Campus Crusade attorney Ted Sanders said he thought the sheriff was willing to give the group additional time.

'We'll work with the sheriff,' said Sanders.

Noble said the time given for eviction was insufficient, even if CSA members wanted to leave and had a place to go.

'It would be impossible to leave this camp in 10 days,' he said.

'Those courts have given people in this area anywhere from 30 to 90 days (to vacate property),' he said. 'Obviously there's some kind of prejudice in there. All the courts, all the judges throughout these whole proceedings have been unwilling to hear our arguments. I think they're just a bunch of garbage is all they are. I think they ought to be removed from office.'

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