Although Dan Gayman denies ever meeting James Ellison, the head of a violent, domestic terrorist organization called the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord a former CSA member says the two not only met, but that it was Gayman who taught Ellison a new way to hate.
Former CSA member Kerry Noble said Gayman should not be blamed for any of the group's violent acts, including the bombing of a Jewish community center in Indiana and plans more than a decade ago to blow up the Oklahoma City federal building.
But, Noble said it was Gayman who helped turn Ellison - and, through him, other CSA members - into white supremacists who blamed blacks and Jews for many of the nation's social and economic problems.
Noble, now of Fort Worth, Texas, said Ellison and his followers originally were something of a religious community, a group of seekers unhappy with mainstream churches who were looking for a more authentic Christian experience.
They evolved over time into a group of Christian survivalists who believed that the collapse of society was imminent. With that in mind, CSA members purchased $52,000 worth of military hardware in 1978 and 1979, and began military-style training: The weapons included 9 mm and .38- and .45-caliber pistols, assault rifles and other rifles, and 12-gauge shotguns.
About that time, CSA leader Ellison, an iron worker, took a temporary job working on government missile silos in Missouri.
It was during Ellison's absence, Noble said, that some CSA members converted those weapons from legal semiautomatics into illegal automatics - essentially machine guns - and manufactured silencers for their pistols and hand grenades.
Ellison decided to keep the illegal weapons, and then, after returning to the CSA compound from another work trip, played a tape combining patriotic music with Gayman's preaching.
It would be another step in the group's transformation.
According to Noble, Ellison went to work on Minuteman missile silos - then the biggest guns in America's nuclear holster. At the time, Missouri had 150 of the missiles, some located in northeast Vernon County.
While in that area, Ellison met Gayman, pastor of the Church of Israel near Schell City.
It was Gayman, said Noble, who taught and converted Ellison - and, through him, the CSA - into a Christian Identity sect, which believed that Jews were not the chosen race of God, but usurpers descended from Satan, and that white Europeans and their Anglo-Saxon descendants in America were in fact the true chosen children of God.
Noble said the CSA members had earlier come into contact with neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members at meetings and conferences, "but weren't much interested in their message, or in their propaganda."
But, Noble said, after listening to Gayman's tapes, he and others were "energized" by the message and especially its patriotic themes.
"I loved what Dan Gayman had taught us," Noble said.
He and other CSA members began to adopt the Christian Identity message with its racist and anti-Semitic themes, although Noble said that for him, that conversion came slowly, and only after he read Gayman's writings and other similar literature.
By the following spring, after accepting the Identity message, CSA members sold their hogs, believing them to be unclean. In 1980, they celebrated their first Passover complete with a slaughtered lamb and blood sprinkled on the door posts of Ellison's house.
"A second step had been taken," Noble writes in his book, "Tabernacle of Hate."
"Now we were no longer just Christian survivalists but we were white supremacists!" As white supremacists, we now believed that other races and those who would betray the white cause in America were destined to be destroyed in the future chaos. We were now not only the elect spiritually, but racially as well."