Elohim City

  • June 24, 2013

This document is an archived copy of an older ADL report and may not reflect the most current facts or developments related to its subject matter.

Read the full report: Elohim City (PDF)

Elohim City is an Identity settlement of 70 to 90 residents located on 400 acres at the edge of a rugged and mountainous tract of land along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border in Adair County, Oklahoma. It was founded in November 1973 by Robert G. Millar(1925-2001), a former Mennonite and a United States resident alien from Canada. "Filled with the Holy Spirit," according to a son, Millar moved to Oklahoma City in the mid-1950s, where he founded a church; in the mid-1960s, he moved to Ellicott City, Maryland, to run a campground. He returned to Oklahoma in 1973 with about 18 family members to establish Elohim City, or "City of God," as a spiritual community to "honor God" while waiting for Him to establish His kingdom on earth. A number of Millar's followers were related to him by birth or marriage.

Christian Identity is a religious sect notorious for its racist and anti-Semitic tenets, but Elohim City residents have preferred to identify themselves in milder terms. Indeed, to many residents, the compound has been a place of refuge rather than a site from which to wage a holy war. Extremists visiting Elohim City expecting some sort of bastion of white rage, like the former Hayden Lake, Idaho compound of Aryan Nations, were frequently disappointed by the comparatively more reclusive lifestyle adopted by many residents. Millar acknowledged that community members favored racial separatism, but claimed: "Somebody said, 'You're not a racist, you're a purist.' I sort of liked that.'" Similarly, his second-oldest son John, one of eight Millar children and the community's presumptive new leader following the death of his father in May 2001, has said, "we consider ourselves survivalists in the sense that we want to survive the best way we can.…We have weapons, but any person within 15 miles of us has more weapons per household than we do. We don't make a big thing about weapons. We don't think we can keep the National Guard away with a few weapons."

Yet when Elohim City initially came to public attention, in the mid-1980s, guns were the issue. In 1986, the estranged wife of a Canadian man fled with their four children to Elohim City in defiance of a court order awarding custody of the children to the father. When law enforcement officials arrived at the compound in an attempt to enforce the court's decision, they were met by residents bearing semiautomatic weapons. Rather than risk gunfire, the officers withdrew.