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Mathews, Robert Jay (1953–1984)

In 1984, Robert Jay Mathews was killed in a confrontation with federal agents on a remote island in Washington State's Puget Sound. Few outside the white supremacist and Christian Identity movements had heard of Mathews before his death; however, he was the founder of the Order, one of the most infamous white supremacist groups of the 1980s.

Mathews embraced the right-wing ideologies early; at age 11, he joined the local John Birch Society in Phoenix, Arizona. By high school, he was attending tax resistance seminars held by Arizona Patriot Marvin Cooley, who occasionally appointed Mathews sergeant-at-arms for meetings. At 19, Mathews formed the Sons of Liberty, a paramilitary group composed mostly of Mormons and survivalists who trained in the nearby desert. By 1973, however, the Sons of Liberty was foundering. Mathews left Arizona and the tax rebellion movement and moved to the rural community ...

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