The arsonist who set fire to 3 LDS church houses may very well be a radicalized ExMormon.

After Joe Biden won the election right-ring media normalized and encouraged the idea of a violent conflict in response to Donald Trump losing the election. Trevor Noah from The Daily Show put together a great supercut of examples here. This went on for months, and the result of that rhetoric was the insurrection on January 6th. There were many people who, after the fact, tried to claim that those talking heads were only speaking metaphorically and we’re meant to be taken literally.

A couple years ago a phrased was coined by the ExMo community: “Burn it the fuck down with truth”, which was often abbreviated to “BITFDWT”. Often times the “with truth” was omitted and/or abbreviated to “BITFD”. Check out some of the search results from r/ExMormon regarding those terms ( BITFDWT“Burn it the fuck down” ) – it is normalized and used quite often. Then, suddenly, there’s an arsonist who is burning down LDS church houses and citing “righteous anger” as justification for it.

It doesn’t matter if right-wing media meant it to be taken metaphorically. It doesn’t matter if Holland meant it to be taken metaphorically. It doesn’t matter if the ExMormon community meant it to be taken metaphorically. We need to understand that our words carry weight. We need to understand that glorifying and normalizing violent rhetoric will result in actual violence being carried out.

If you’re an ExMormon and see this rhetoric being perpetuated in your spaces, I urge you to speak out about your concerns of glorifying and normalizing violent rhetoric.