Did you know there are over 500 Mormon Denominations?! Rick Bennett won’t cover them all but will give a guided tour of some of the groups that date to the time of Joseph Smith, as well as some of the newest groups out there! I’ll introduce you to several Mormon schisms. Check out our conversation…
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Intro to Mormon Schisms
GT 00:01 Welcome to Gospel Tangents, the best source for Mormon history, science and theology. I’m Rick Bennett. Back in May, I gave a presentation on several different schismatic groups, some that date to the time of Joseph Smith, and some that are very current, so brand new. This is a presentation I gave, and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks a lot.
GT 00:21 All right. Well, let’s see if I can share my screen here. Can you guys see this here?
Figure 1 – John Hamer, historian & Community of Christ Seventy
Audience 00:27 Yes.
Figure 2 – Dr Newell Bringhurst, co-author “Scattering of the Saints”
GT 00:29 All right. We’re going to go on a tour of the Restoration. It’s been fun. For the past six years, I’ve been talking to people from a lot of different groups. Here we go. Some of my favorite people to talk to are pictured here, John Hamer, Newell Bringhurst and Steve Shields. They’ve written some great books on the topic of the Restoration. John Hamer and Newell Bringhurst, on the left, put together Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism, which is a fantastic book. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that cover in just a moment. Because it’s not just a bunch of cool little circles, it has some pretty cool explanations. It’s not comprehensive, though. If you want a comprehensive history, or an encyclopedia of Mormonism, you’ve got to get the book, Divergent Paths of the Restoration.
Figure 3 – Steve Shields, author of “Divergent Paths of the Restoration”
GT 01:32 Steve Shields, he’s a member of the Community of Christ, as most of you probably already know, and it’s available there. It’s actually electronic version only. The book is so large, they couldn’t actually get it into a book.  So, it’s kind of nice to have it in electronic form, because you can search and there’s over 500–he doesn’t like to use the word schisms. I’m going to use it, but he refers to them as expressions of Mormonism. So, two fantastic books. All three of these guys are probably smarter than me. So, I’m just relying on their expertise as well as some of my own interviews. I want to talk a little bit about John Hamer’s book there. John is an amazing graphic artist. He’s actually color coded these groups. If you look at the top, I don’t know if you can see my mouse at the top there. Can you see my mouse?
Audience 02:36 Yes, we can.
GT 02:36 Okay. So you’ve got Joseph Smith, Jr., and you’ll notice that’s a blue circle in New York. Then, just below it, you’ve got Joseph Smith, Jr. as a green circle in Kirtland. The idea between the color changes is these represent theological differences. So, you can see that any of these blue circles like Warren Parrish, Wycam Clark and John Whitmer have tried to return back to the original New York style theology. You can see here as Joseph moves down here to come down the main trunk of this–well, it’s not really a tree, but whatever octopus thing here– that it turns to a kind of a light green in Far West and then orange in Nauvoo. Then, you can see these big circles here. After Joseph Smith dies, the Twelve take over and then Brigham Young, in this main branch, takes over and then John Taylor, in the kind of some red and yellow. Then, we go on to Gordon B. Hinckley. Of course, he was the prophet of the LDS Church when John finished this book. So, the idea here is when you look at these colors, you can see which branches. So, over here, on the left, you’ve got James Strang, which is kind of a pinkish color. Then he turns into kind of more of a purple color. You can see he’s got some breakoffs here.
GT 04:13 So there’s not a direct connection, which is kind of interesting in this thing. If you go from Joseph Smith to William Smith and then Jesse Briggs, and over here, over to the RLDS branch, and you can see a lot of these innovations here. They’re they’ve kind of returned back to the Kirtland era, theology. That’s why those are more in green. In the blue, you have the Sidney Rigdon group where they’re trying to get back to New York and William Bickerton, and that sort of stuff. So, anyway, it’s not just a bunch of cool colors. John’s really thought about this a lot. Over here in kind of the army green, you’ve got William Draves. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to talk to anybody. I do have an interview scheduled with a guy named Adam Stokes. But that’ll be maybe in a future presentation to talk a little bit about this branch. That’s the Elijah Message Branch, which is interesting. So anyway, yeah. So blue, green, orange, pink and then brown. That’s the main sort of colors. You can see when we get into the dark red, those are really some of the polygamous groups as well.
GT 05:22 So moving on, this slide comes from John Hamer. It’s a fantastic slide. We’re going to talk, not only about early schisms, but we’re going to talk about later schisms of the recent past. You’ll notice these green and brown and orange and yellow. These match the colors that John was representing previously. So, he’s got nine possible successors of Joseph Smith here. Of course, the LDS Church/the Brighamites and the RLDS Church/the Josephites. I’m not going to spend a lot of time [on them] because I think we’re all pretty familiar. Most of us are either LDS or RLDS here or are very familiar with those. So, William Smith is interesting. He joined with several groups. He joined with James Strang for a time. He started his own church for a time and ended up in the RLDS Church. There’s a link there. I believe that was with Steven Shields that I talked to a little bit about that. William Marks had a claim to the succession. But he first supported the Sidney Rigdon’s claim, and then he ended up joining the RLDS church. David Whitmer’s church is no longer extant. I believe it lasted up to the 1960s if I remember right.
Early Mormon Groups
GT: Lyman Wight, he is quite a character. He’s in brown here. His church is no longer extant. Now, I put a little yellow line here, because this is where I’m going to start talking about some of these people. I had a really interesting interview with Mel Johnson to find out more about what we call the Wightites. You’ll see with all these churches, a lot of them use the same names, and so that’s why we refer to the LDS Church as the Brighamites. [We refer to others as] the Josephites and the Williamites and Wightites and everything. Because it just makes it a little bit easier to say, who was the person that started that branch?
GT 07:35 Some of the others were James Strang, Sidney Rigdon and William Bickerton. Rigdon is on here. Bickerton kind of took over. We’ll talk about that in just a moment. [There’s] Alpheus Cutler, and then there’s one that’s not pictured, but I wanted to put it on here. And that’s Granville Hedrick. He was with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), which, if you’re in Independence, you’re probably familiar with them. So, when I look at this slide from John Hamer, Granville Hedrick really didn’t have a claim to leadership, as these nine all had some sort of a claim. But Granville Hedrick, I’ll talk about him in a minute, but he knew Joseph Smith. He was baptized just before Joseph Smith’s death. So, we’ll move on. The first one here that we’re going to talk about, and these aren’t in any particular order, is Lyman Wight. A lot of times we refer to them as the Wightites. He was an apostle. He spent some time and Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith. Then, when Joseph Smith died, he had been commissioned to, first, go to Wisconsin, and then once he was done with Wisconsin, Joseph had directed him to go to Texas. Of course, Texas wasn’t a state as it is now. It was a republic.
GT 09:08 So, he went to Zodiac, Texas. Most of this information I get is from Mel Johnson. He’s a wonderful historian and he wrote the book, The Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley: a Mormon Ulysses of the American West. Now, most of you, in fact, when I first interviewed Mel, I had never heard of John Pierce Hawley. He’s an interesting character, because not only did he join with the Wightites for a time, but then he left and joined the Brighamites in Utah. There’s a questionable tie to whether he was in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, or if his gun was used, and he wasn’t there. But then he left the Brighamites and joined the Josephites/the RLDS Church. So, he really had quite a view of three different branches of the Restoration. He founded the city of Zodiac, Texas, which is no longer in existence. It’s near Fredericksburg, Texas. He was ordained an apostle in 1841. Then, Brigham Young kept trying to get him to come to Utah and he said, “No, Joseph Smith sent me to Texas. I’m going to stay here.” Then, he became the president of what he called the Church of Christ, from 1844 to 1858. After his death, many of his followers ended up joining in the RLDS Church. One of the amazing things to me and to Mel was John Pierce Hawley built the first temple west of the Mississippi. It was the Zodiac Temple. Of course, the building is no longer in existence, it’s been torn down. But, the RLDS church actually owns the temple records, where they performed Nauvoo era endowments and sealings.
GT 11:14 Lyman Wight was a polygamist and he believed in polygamy. If you want to know more, I don’t want to spend too much time on here, but I’ve got a link there to my interview with Mel Johnson. Of course, he gets into LDS history and RLDS history, too. So, that’s a very interesting interview. And it’s the only one I’ve ever known about where anybody knew anything about Lyman Wight. So, that’s kind of a fun interview there.
GT 11:45 The next person we have is James Strang. We often refer to them as the Strangites. James Strang is interesting in the fact that on the day that Joseph Smith was killed, James Strang claimed an angel ordained him to be prophet on the night of Joseph Smith’s death. There’s also kind of a letter of ordination. That is a little bit disputed. But at any rate, James Strang started what he called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which sounds a lot like the LDS Church. So, you can see why we’re trying to refer these as Strangites and Brighamites and things, because it just makes it a little bit easier. The one difference between his church name and the LDS Church name is the LDS Church has a Latter dash small d day, and there’s a Latter space Day. That’s the only difference in the names of the spelling. So, James Strang first was on a mission in Voree, Wisconsin or near Voree, I guess. That’s kind of where the congregation is now. Joseph had sent him on a mission to establish a settlement there. Then, after some time, he migrated back east to Beaver Island, Michigan. So, James Strang, in a lot of ways imitated Joseph Smith. e translated several plates, including the Voree plates and the Book of the Law of the Lord. There’s another one that–the name is escaping me right now. So, he translated several books of scripture.
Figure 4 – Bill Shepard, Strangite historian & High Priest
GT 13:40 He [James Strang] initially rejected polygamy. Then, when he translated the Book of the Law of the Lord, he embraced it. It said, “You can have up to four wives.” So, that was the limit was just four wives. William Smith, I think, kind of influenced him. The early church leader John C. Bennett was also part of the Strangites and probably encouraged him to embrace polygamy. He [Strang] was assassinated on Beaver Island, Michigan, and the adherents were scattered. A lot of times in the LDS Church, we talk about the pioneers and the depravations that they faced, but very few know that the Strangites suffered severe persecution. Strang was shot, and he lived a few weeks before he succumbed to his wounds. But he never named a successor. So, one of the interesting things, because he didn’t, Strangites no longer have any apostles or a prophet anymore. This picture here is with Bill Shepherd. He’s a High Priest, a leader in the Voree, Wisconsin, and a one wonderful historian. He’s a former JWHA president, John Whitmer Historical Association president, and just one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet.
GT 15:10 Some interesting things about them, they worship on Saturday. They’re seventh day Sabbatarians I think they call themselves. They don’t believe in the virgin birth. They believe that Joseph was the father of Jesus. So, that’s pretty interesting theology. There are actually three main groups. Of course, they all claim to be official Strangite groups. So, technically, Bill is just in one of the three Strangite schisms. I’ve got several links there, that you can learn a little bit more about the Strangites. They’re still in existence. They still meet weekly, and Bill is a super, great guy.
GT 15:56 The next group we have is the Sidney Rigdon/William Bickerton group. Of course, Sydney’s on the left, William Bickerton is on the right. We often refer to them as the Bickertonites and Daniel Stone is an amazing author. He’s kind of the Richard Bushman of the Bickertonite groups. He recently got his Ph.D. in history. He’s a wonderful fellow, too, just very enthusiastic. So, the Bickertonites are based in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. Basically, just to back up a little bit, when Joseph was running for president, he asked Sidney to be his vice-presidential candidate. There’s an electoral college rule, where it’s advantageous if you don’t live in the same state. So, Sidney established residency near Pittsburgh. He was in Pittsburgh, when he received news that Joseph Smith had been killed. Sidney came back to Nauvoo. Brigham Young, at the time, was on a mission in Massachusetts, I believe. The apostles gathered. Then there was kind of a famous meeting where Sidney wanted to be the guardian of the church. And Brigham said, “No, the Twelve are going to take over,” and then everybody voted, and most people sided with Brigham. Sidney went back to Pittsburgh, and started his own church, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Children of Zion. I think it got up to about 300, in the congregation. William Bickerton was one of those converted by Sidney Rigdon. But Sidney was very erratic, and that’s probably why the people in Nauvoo didn’t want him to lead [the Church] because they knew how erratic he was. After a few years, Sidney, basically just kind of quit leading the church. So, William Bickerton took over the pieces. William was a former coal miner, there.
GT 18:22 There was a time where, actually, William Bickerton did join the LDS Church for a very short time. I think was about nine months. Then, in 1852, when Brigham Young and Orson Pratt announced that polygamy was an official doctrine of the Church, then, William Bickerton said, “Nah, I’m not going to be part of that.” So, he picked up the pieces of Sidney Rigdon’s church. What I understand is, they believe that Joseph Smith was the first prophet, Sidney Rigdon was the second prophet and then William Bickerton was the third. It’s an interesting story. They, even after William Bickerton took over, they had a little bit of a schism. William was accused of adultery, or, I shouldn’t say adultery, inappropriate relations with a woman. Basically, he was alone with a woman and got accused of adultery over that. Daniel doesn’t think that it was actually adulterous affair, but it was scandalous. I believe William was about 60 years old and this woman Tryphena Taylor, if I remember her name, was about in her 20s. William didn’t see any problem with that, but people were like, “You shouldn’t be alone with a woman.” So, the churches actually split there for a time and a guy named William Cadman became the leader of the Bickertonite church. And then eventually William Bickerton and William Cadman reconciled, but the idea was William Bickerton no longer was the leader. It was Cadman. So, in a way, the Bickertonite Church has kind of erased William Bickerton, even though he was the guy who kind of kept Sidney’s church going.
GT 20:20 They [the Bickertonites] claim to be the third largest Restoration church, I believe, [they claim] about 10,000 members. They still practice speaking in tongues to this day. I know Steve Pynakker has attended some of their services in Florida. I was going to go over spring break, but my travel plans just were terrible. I know they have a congregation in Florida. I know they’re big in Michigan. And that’s where Daniel is in Detroit. And [they have a congregation] in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. I believe they have a congregation in Arizona. I’m going to make it out there because I want to attend. Steve said it was quite a lively group. I definitely want to attend. It sounds like a lot of fun.
GT 21:13 So, [here are] some of the highlights: Alice Cooper’s grandfather. It might be Ether Moroni Furnier, which, how much more of a Book of Mormon name can you get than that? Alice Cooper’s grandfather was the church president for a time. Alice is no longer a member of the church. But he was raised with a Book of Mormon. They strongly believe in the Book of Mormon. They do not accept the Doctrine and Covenants anymore, although William Bickerton really was a big proponent of baptism for the dead, and Joseph Smith’s Civil War revelations. But they don’t believe in the Doctrine and Covenants anymore. So, we’ve got a couple of links there to some other interviews that I’ve done, especially with Daniel Stone. Daniel is pretty amazing.
GT 21:36 The fourth one here we have is Alpheus Cutler, known as the Cutlerites. This is another interesting group. If you’re there in Independence, you’re probably familiar with this group. They’re just a few blocks south of the Independence temple. I was out there, I’ve got some pictures that I wanted to share. So, they were reorganized in 1853 by Alpheus Cutler. That is their church/temple. From what I understand, the main floor is the church and then the upstairs is kind of their temple. Oh, they’re called The Church of Jesus Christ. By the way, the Bickertonites are also called the Church of Jesus Christ. So, it’s the exact same name. You can see why it’s very, very hard to keep these straight if you don’t use another naming convention.
Figure 5 – Rick B, Mr. Lane, Virginia Lane
GT 23:16 Alpheus Cutler left Brigham Young to start the Church of Jesus Christ. I believe it was April 6, 1853, although I saw another thing that said October, so that date might not be correct, but that’s what I understand. They once had a congregation in Minnesota, but they’re down to about nine total members. I’ve got a picture of two of those members. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name, but his wife was Virginia Lane. She gave me a tour of their church. Maybe I’ll jump ahead there, really quick. So, I got to see the Cutlerite Chapel. From what I understand, if you can kind of see, there’s a little bit of a line here. I think they’ve got a baptismal font in the floor, at least that’s what I’ve been told. But it’s a very small building. Virginia was just one of the friendliest people. I asked her if she would be on a podcast, and she would not. So, I’m telling you all of this from memory in my conversation with her. A lot of historians are like, “Wow, you could talk to a whole religion here.” There’s only nine members. Most of them are getting up in age, but they do have, and I can’t remember if it’s Virginia’s grandson or somebody else’s grandson, in his 30s, that lives in Colorado. They’re not concerned about dying out. If this grandson marries somebody, he could maybe keep it going. But they just meet together. So, one of the interesting things, they’re one of the few, I will say, non-polygamous groups that actually still believes in temple work. They do practice sealings and endowments for the living only. She told me that there is no marriage in heaven, so they don’t do any endowments or sealings for the dead. They still practice baptism for the dead, however. They are strongly against polygamy. I’ve got a few other interviews with, I think, Steven Shields and I can’t remember who the other one was with there. They talk a little bit about the Cutlerites. Anyway, that’s kind of the inside of their church there.
Hedrickites (Temple Lot)
Figure 6 – Image Courtesy Randy Sheldon
GT 25:39 Topic five, Granville Hedrick[‘s group is] known as the Hedrickites. Granville was baptized in 1843, just a year before Joseph Smith’s death in Woodford County, Illinois. He joined with Brigham Young for a time and then had a revelation that they were supposed to return to Missouri, and they were going to get the temple lot. So, they’re known as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot.) Well, this is one of the interesting things, they actually own… Originally, Joseph Smith, had planned 24 temples in both Independence and Kirtland, but they own the original lot. I’m going to skip ahead here a little bit, if I can find it. I must not have put them in there, darn it. I can’t believe I didn’t put that picture in there. There’s a picture they have where the people are standing around the foundation of the original temple in Missouri, that, of course, was never actually built. Granville Hedrick was ordained an apostle by Hiram Page and became leader of the Church of Christ in July of 1863. The interesting thing is, even though he had the revelation to return to Missouri to claim the temple lot, his brother, and I can’t remember his brother’s name, actually returned and bought the land where the original temple lot was. So, they actually tried to rebuild the temple in the 1930s. Then the Depression hit, and they just didn’t have any money. Most of this information I’m getting is from R. Jean Addams. He’s LDS, but he’s probably the best expert on the Temple Lot [Church.]
Figure 7 – Image courtesy Randy Sheldon
GT 27:51 Once again, when I spoke to them, just like with the Cutlerites, they did not want to speak on camera, but were very friendly. They reject the Doctrine and Covenants in favor of the Book of Commandments. They occasionally practice speaking in tongues. They have apostles that lead their church, but often drop below 12. I believe they’re less than 12 right now. That original building has been burned twice by arson, which is just terrible to me. There’s a link to my interviews with Jean Addams. This is a picture of the first Church of Christ Temple Lot, the first building from 1889 to 1898. This picture here on the right is interesting because this is the son of Granville Hedrick standing in front of that original building. You can see how small it was. That one burned, and it was by arson. I think it was an irate member of the congregation that burned it down. Back in the 1930s, they tried to build the temple lot. And you can see there’s a big hole here and they were putting in the footings here. Bishop Alma Frisbee, they’ve got a picture here. They found two of the original stones that were used to mark, I believe the cornerstones or at least some sort of markers for the temple, that were laid, I won’t say by Joseph Smith, but probably
Figure 8 – Image Courtesy Randy Sheldon
Oliver Cowdery or whoever. The Whitmers, I think, were big there. In fact, this one has a W on it. I’m sure that’s one of the Whitmer brothers probably marked that stone. So, it was very sad.
Figure 9 – Image Courtesy Randy Sheldon
GT 29:40 They decided to build this and then the Depression hit. One of the most famous residents of Independence is President Harry Truman. The interesting thing was they just had this gigantic hole. Of course, he was president in the late 1940s, I believe. When he was returning to Independence, the city said, “We don’t want to have this eyesore anymore. We will pay to fill in the hole,” because they didn’t want Harry Truman to see this ugly hole. So the city–because they didn’t have any money to even fill in the hole. So, the city paid to have that [filled] in so that Harry Truman, when he returned from his presidency, wouldn’t see this big ugly hole anymore. So that’s kind of interesting there. This is their new church. You can see the picture on the top right there. It was about 1990, if I remember, right, somewhere around there, a disgruntled former member with mental issues, set fire to the church. So, that’s the church that burned down. It’s since been replaced. This guy here, Randy Sheldon, is an elder. His father, I think, was William Sheldon. He was an apostle, I think one of the head apostles. I wouldn’t be surprised if Randy becomes an apostle in the future. But they were very fun and very nice. Of course, they have a nicer church now than they’ve ever had. So, that’s nice.
Modern Mormon Schismatic Groups:
Remnant Church (RLDS Schism)
GT 31:25 That brings us to some modern schismatic groups. These aren’t in any particular order. Originally, I was going to [use] the order that I interviewed these people. So, we’ll jump in. I see there are some people in the chat. Let me see if there’s anything. Oh, yeah, John E. Page. Okay. I need to fix my slide here. So, the first group that I like to talk about is the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I interviewed Jim Vun Cannon. This is kind of interesting, because even within this, we’ve gotten a schism. Jim Vun Cannon was a former counselor of the Remnant Church. They’ve had a schism, which we’ll talk about later. Now, he’s the Prophet of the Everlasting Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. So, the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is basically an RLDS break off. They started in 2000. Frederick Larsen was the first prophet and they believed in lineal succession. Fred Larsen is a descendant of Joseph Smith.
GT 32:46 They [the Remnant Church] were strongly against female ordination in 1984, when the RLDS church allowed women to be ordained. A lot of people were very upset. The Remnant Church is just one of many independent branches, especially there in Independence. I like to think of the Remnant Church as kind of old-style RLDS, where they were not only strongly against polygamy, but they still believe Joseph was a monogamist. One of the big things in their group is they’re trying to restart consecration. You can see my link there. They had a succession crisis, following Fred Larsen’s death on April 26 th, 2019. Fred was in his 90s, when he passed away. The current president is Terry Patience. It was interesting, because I was watching this live on Facebook, and it was like Brigham Young versus Sidney Rigdon on Facebook Live. You could see the back and forth. It was just really, really interesting to watch that succession crisis. I know there were some very hard feelings between Terry and Jim, and I’ve been trying to get both of them back on. I haven’t been able to get them on yet, but I’m working on that. So, anyway, it was just interesting to see, just like with of the Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon. The president of the Quorum of the Twelve took over like Brigham Young did and then Jim split and started his own church.
GT 34:35 Another group are what we call independent polygamists. On the right here, you can see Anne Wilde. She’s an independent polygamist. On the left is a guy named David Patrick. I’ll talk more about him, because he’s not independent. He’s affiliated with a different church. But the independent polygamists are probably the largest [polygamist “group”.] They’re larger than any one single branch, and probably even bigger than the Bickertonites, I would say. They don’t have any official structure. One of the interesting things about independent polygamists is, in the LDS Church, especially, we talk about lines of authority. One of the arguments with the fundamentalist Mormons, if I can use that term, is that priesthood is independent of the church. They point to the fact that Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the priesthood before the Church was organized. So, they use that idea. So, when a person gets excommunicated from the LDS Church, they believe that doesn’t stop their priesthood authority, especially when a lot of the early polygamists got their second endowment or second anointing. So, with that, they believe that gave them the power to seal anybody. So, you can hear, especially in LDS history, that a bishop would seal two people at a dance together, because he had the sealing power. Brigham Young wanted to really rein that in. So, he said, “No, you can’t do that without my permission.”
GT 36:35 At any rate, Anne Wilde’s husband, Ogden Kraut, he’s highly influential among all polygamous groups, writing 65 books. David Patrick, he’s an apostle for Christ’s Church. We’ll talk more about his group in just a minute. But he thought it would be great to have an episode to celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the publishing of the book, Jesus Was Married. So, this is a first edition book here. The current edition by Ogden Kraut is still very, very influential among polygamists. So, Anne was Ogden’s secretary for a while. They were secretly married. It’s interesting. I don’t know exactly when and she doesn’t want to say, because Ogden was excommunicated, I believe, in the 1970s. Anne was secretly married to him for more than 30 years. I’m trying to remember when Ogden died. I know it was before the year 2000.  Anne started a group called Principle Voices, which was to try to promote polygamy as not a terrible lifestyle, as a lot of people think. I believe it was her activities around the 2002 Olympics, when the Olympics were in Salt Lake City–she was granting a lot of interviews and I think that’s probably when she got excommunicated. Anyway, I’ve had her on a couple of times. This was the second time with that book. She’s very knowledgeable and has ties to pretty much every polygamist group. She’s very interesting.
GT 38:30 The third one that we could talk about is the FLDS Church. They’re also a Brighamite break-off. Now, one of the interesting things about fundamentalist Mormonisms, of course, I’m talking about Brighamite break-offs here–of course, the FLDS church was not formally organized until 1984. Rulon Jeffs is Warren’s father. He was their first prophet, and he knew Gordon B. Hinckley as a young man, which I thought was pretty interesting. Even before Rulon’s death, it sounds like Rulon was suffering from some kind of dementia, that sort of thing. So, his son, Warren, took over leadership and Warren is currently in jail. That’s a picture of his mug shot from Texas, I believe. Or it could be in Utah, I’m not sure, because he’s been arrested both places. In Utah, he was able to not be convicted, but he was in Texas. So, he moved from Utah to Texas. There was a big raid of the YFZ. YFZ stands for Yearning for Zion Ranch. They have an FLDS temple. It was actually a false report that led Texas authorities to raid the temple. They separated their children from the parents. He’s currently in a Texas jail for assisting in the rape of a child, Elissa Wall. Elissa was 15-years old. One of the interesting things about the FLDS Church, which is very different from the other fundamentalist Mormons is Rulon Jeffs really liked the idea of one-man rule. A lot of the other fundamentalists believe, “Well, if you’ve got the sealing power, then you can seal anybody, and as long as the sealer believes that you can marry two people, then that’s fine.”
GT 40:40 So, Rulon really wanted to consolidate that sealing power and have what’s called one-man rule. Warren abused that. He would say, for example, Elissa was supposed to marry her cousin, who was, I think, two or three years older, who she hated. There’s a book, I’m trying to remember what the name of the book is, that Elissa wrote. It’s just a terrible, terrible situation. Warren is still leading the church from jail. The church is really in disarray. Jeffs is still excommunicating people, especially men, from jail. Their church has really fallen on hard times with Warren in jail. So, Lindsey Hansen Park, is kind of my expert on that. I’ve got a link there to that interview. She’s great on everything. But in our interview, we talked a lot about the FLDS church.
Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Jeff Lundgren
GT 41:50 This is another terrible story. We’re going to do about three terrible stories in a row. This one’s in the news lately. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell. I don’t believe they’re polygamous, as far as I know. But they’re an LDS breakoff based up near Rexburg, Idaho. They’re part of the prepper movement where, they’re into end times and have your guns ready, and the world’s going to end at any time. So, Chad Daybell was an influential writer of visions prior to his arrest. Chad and Lori married soon after both of their previous spouses were deceased under suspicious circumstances. Lori’s first husband was killed by her brother, which is kind of weird. Then her brother died. They have some really strange beliefs that children were possessed by devils and became zombies.
GT 42:46 I think Lori’s child was autistic or something. Anyway, the children were missing for months, Lori and Chad got married and then went on a honeymoon in Hawaii. Everybody was like, “Where are the children?”
And they were like, “Oh, they’re fine.” The bodies were discovered buried on Chad’s property. So, just recently in the news, Lori has had her legal status changed from incompetent to competent to stand trial. Trials of both of them are to take place soon.
GT 43:19 I interviewed a guy named Christopher Blythe. He’s a professor at BYU and he talked about that. So, it’s a very unpleasant story. I know we’ve got . I don’t actually have them in [this presentation.] Under the Banner of Heaven
GT: There’s another story about Jeff Lundgren. He is an RLDS break-off, very similar style sort of story. He believed the story of where Nephi killed Laban authorized him to have a hit list. So, he had a hit list of several prominent RLDS leaders. He killed a family of five in Ohio and was never remorseful at all. He was executed by lethal injection in 2006. I have an upcoming interview with Bill Russell from the Community of Christ, and he’s going to give a few more details on that story. Bill’s really interesting, because while he loathes–I don’t think that’s too strong of a word–Jeff Lundgren, he’s also strongly against the death penalty and actually testified in an attempt to save Jeff from the death penalty. But, of course, he was executed back in 2006. There’s a link to Bill’s Sunstone talk. I think it’s from 1993, where he talks about the story of Jeff Lundgren killing this family of five in Ohio.
Remnant Movement (LDS Schism)
GT 44:54 So, time to move on to happier topics. The Remnant Movement. So, we’ve talked about the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ, which was Jim Vun Cannon and that group. Well, this is the Remnant Movement with Denver Snuffer, not to be confused. The Remnant Church with Jim Vun Cannon is an RLDS break-off, or a Josephite break-off. Denver Snuffer is a Brighamite break-off. One of the interesting things is, Denver says that God didn’t ask him to set up a church. And he doesn’t like to be called a prophet, even though he basically functions as a prophet. So, Denver was excommunicated in 2013 over the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. He claims to meet with Jesus often. He has published his own version of the Bible.  I’ve got a copy on my shelves here somewhere, where sometimes Joseph would give sermons and he would say, “Well, this scripture means this,” and so Denver would take those and add what Joseph Smith said, into his version of the Bible. So, it’s like the Inspired Version of the Bible that the RLDS use plus. So, they’ve recently published that. Denver’s had many revelations. He rejects D&C 132 and many other revelations. He used to be more LGBT-friendly or polygamy friendly than he is now. But he claims that God has told him that those things aren’t of God. He now believes Joseph was a monogamist. He didn’t used to believe that. In fact, we talked about that in my interview with Denver. One of the interesting things about Denver, because it’s not a church, you don’t have to quit your church to join his movement. He is talking about building a temple one day. He’s based here in Sandy, Utah, not far from my house. [He’s a] very friendly guy. This has just been since about 2013 that his church has started.
Reborn LDS Church
GT 47:17 Another break-off is the Reborn LDS Church. So, this guy in the red shirt here in the middle, a guy named John Pratt. He was the guy I interviewed. The interesting thing about John, he joined with Denver, and he’s a descendant of Parley P. Pratt. So, John Pratt is quite an interesting character.
Figure 10 – Mauricio Berger, unknown, John Pratt, 2 other women
GT 47:44 This person on the left here, holding the gold plates is Mauricio Berger. He’s based in Brazil. He claims that the angel Raphael came to him, ordained him a prophet and gave him the actual gold plates that Joseph Smith had. So, you can see these are loose pages, but over here, they’re bound pages. He has translated a portion of the sealed plates. I know he’s been in a lawsuit with the LDS Church, because they don’t want him to refer to it as the sealed Book of Mormon. So, they’ve got, you can download a copy over the internet, but they’re not supposed to sell the sealed portion, due to a lawsuit. But, anyway, I joked with John, because John told me in the interview, that he was to be a witness of a second sealed portion that was going to be translated. Well, the unfortunate thing is, I interviewed John last summer. It was June or July, and I told John, it was going to take me some time, because I’m always slow getting these interviews out. It’s a lot of work. And he passed away in October from COVID. Unfortunately, he wasn’t vaccinated, so he was not able to be a witness for this second, sealed portion. So, I was really sad to hear that. But I’ve got a link to that interview. He talks a little bit more about Mauricio Berger. John’s an astrophysicist. One of the other interesting things is he thinks that he’s figured out that the First vision took place on March 2, if I remember. I think that’s the right date, 1820. He’s made some calculations and some calendars and sorts of things. Anyway, so that’s the Brazil group, the Reborn LDS Church. th
The House of Aaron
GT 49:55 The House of Aaron. So this is an interesting group, because they are very, very loosely affiliated, as a Brighamite break-off. They were organized in the 1950s by a guy by the name of Maurice Glendenning. Maurice hailed from the Midwest, and his wife had asthma. So, they were trying to move West and accidentally ended up in Salt Lake City. Maurice had several visions and revelations about the Twelve tribes of Israel. A lot of people in the Midwest just thought he was crazy. So, when he got to Utah, and they were talking about the twelve tribes and the lost tribes, and he fit right in. They were like, “Hey, join the church.” So, he joined the LDS Church for a short time. But then he kept having these visions. He really liked the LDS idea of consecration. So, they moved out to central western Utah, right on the Nevada border. It’s very remote. It’s long drive. They’ve started a consecration society. So, one of the interesting things, especially here in Utah, when you talks about consecration societies, a lot of times you think that that’s tied up with polygamy, but not with this group. They not only strongly reject polygamy, but they no longer believe in the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants. So, they’re more of Messianic Christians. I was out there last fall, I think it was. They were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles. So, they celebrate a lot of the Jewish holidays. They worship on Saturday, on the seventh day. They are a very friendly group, a very small group, probably 50 to 70 in their community, I’d say. You, technically don’t have to be a member of their church if you want to participate in consecration. So, this person here, John Conrad, he’s the leader of the of the House of Aaron. His father led before him and then before that was–they refer to Maurice Glendenning, as Bishop Glendenning. So, they kind of still use some LDS terminology.
GT 52:37 I’m trying to remember. There was a vision where it was either Nephi or Moroni, that appeared to Maurice. So, they kind of still have some ties, but they don’t claim to be Mormons, at all. They don’t claim to be really affiliated with the LDS Church at all. But there’s definitely some influence with this group. A lot of scholars consider them a restoration group, but they don’t consider themselves a restoration group. They’re fun people.
Christ’s Church (LDS Schism)
GT 53:08 The next group we have is Christ’s Church. I mentioned David Patrick, on the right here. He’s the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Benjamin Schaffer, on the left in the green, he is in the Quorum of Seventy for Christ’s Church. They are basically a Brighamite break off. They believe polygamy is a very important principle. Both David and Benjamin told me they’re personally monogamous, but they really support the idea of polygamy. They support the Adam/God doctrine. So, that was interesting, and they refer to it as kind of a pyramid. They’ve got this pyramid temple. They’ve actually got two of them. One is in southern Utah. I want to make it out there. Then, the other one is in Nevada. I’m trying to get the temple matron on my podcast, but she’s very remote in Nevada, so we’ll see. But they’re very interesting. As you can see, they dress normally, not like the pioneer [dress] of the FLDS Church.
GT 54:23 They were founded in April 1978, just two months before the LDS revelation on priesthood in June of 1978. So, they’re very–I hate to say normal, but they seem very normal, especially when you compare them to the FLDS Church. I know David’s a financial advisor, and Benjamin is a lawyer. So, you can see more at that link there.
Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship
GT 54:55 The next group we have is the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship. So, this is Kristine and David Ferriman. They are co-presidents and co-prophets. This is another really new group. They are basically a Brighamite break off. They’re based in Ohio. David had his first revelation in 2015, and started the church around 2016. They’re different than Denver Snuffer. But, like Denver Snuffer, you can be a part of their movement without leaving your church. So, you don’t have to quit your church to join them. Right now, they only have internet services. They don’t have a physical location. So, they will hold a sacrament meeting. They’re also kind of Messianic Christians, kind of like the House of Aaron. They celebrate a lot of the Jewish holidays. They ordain women. They have what they refer to as the Melchizedek priesthood for men, and the Magdalene priesthood for women. In the Aaronic priesthood, they have, of course, the Aaronic priesthood for men and the Miriam–no, yeah, I think that’s right, Miriam priesthood for women. They’re very open to LGBT members. They allow polygamists to join. They allow lay members to receive revelation. They have an extremely open canon. They’ll even accept non-Christian scripture like, if you believe something, either the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita or, any book of scripture that speaks to you, that can be your personal scripture. So, they’re very, very open to lots of different revelations. I think they’re pretty small still. But they claim to have members from all over the world. That’s just one of my recent interviews that I have just published.
Restored Branch of Jesus Christ (U.K.)
GT 55:24 The next one, this one I have not published yet. I know Steve Pynnaker’s had Matthew Gill on and I haven’t been able to listen to that one yet. So, this is Matthew Gill, he’s the Prophet of the Restored Branch of Jesus Christ. He also had a lawsuit against him. So, he’s an LDS break-off. He resigned [his LDS membership,] I want to say back in about 2005. Basically, we would say Derby Shire, but he says Darby Shurr, England. He was also ordained by the Angel Raphael, similar to the Brazil group. So, he’s translated some plates. He claims that Jaredite relatives built Stonehenge. So, he’s translated the book of Jaraneck and a few other books of Scripture. He’s firmly against polygamy. He believes that Joseph Smith was a monogamist. One of Matthew’s earliest revelations came when he was only 12 years old. In 2005, he had an angelic encounter and resigned from the LDS Church. Mostly, it sounded like he didn’t like the way that the sacrament was being passed. He says they have about 15 to 20 members, but 20 to 30 follow online services. So, he’s an internet church, as well. I was just starting to edit that this past weekend here. I’ll probably have that up in a month or two. He’s very interesting. He’s got other books of scripture besides the Book of Jaranek. Then, the website for his church is https://restoredbranch.com.
Apostolic United Brethren
GT 57:36 All right, now I’m going to finally finish up here with some other polygamist groups. I haven’t actually been–I’ve been trying to get Kody Brown on, but he’s part of the group called the Apostolic United Brethren. They were started by a guy named Rulon Allred. The most famous member is Kody Brown. Anne [Wilde] talked a little bit about them. Following the Third Manifesto in about the 1930s, that’s kind of when the Allred group started the Apostolic United Brethren, and, of course, they believe in polygamy. A lot of times, if you watched the show, especially when they lived in Utah… Well, to be honest, I found Kody Brown’s house. It’s only about three miles from my house. Unlike the FLDS Church, they look very modern. You would not be able to distinguish them from a regular LDS member, if you didn’t know that they were polygamous. Anne talked a little bit about them at that link.
GT 1:00:10 The LeBaron group, Ervil LeBaron, he had a hit list that included the president of the LDS Church, Spencer W Kimball. His wives actually killed Rulon Allred, who was part of the Apostolic United Brethren. And he shot at Gerald Peterson, who is a member of Christ’s Church. This is in the 1970s. Ervil died in prison. I remember when I asked Ann a little bit about Ervil LeBaron, she said, “Oh, he was at my house. He sat on my couch.” She thinks he might have been doing some reconnaissance on Ogden Kraut, her husband. And she said, “But he used an assumed name.” And she said, “If I’d have known who he was, I would have been really scared, but he used a different name.” So, anyway, he was a bad guy. They actually have a group in Mexico. You probably heard, well it’s been three or four years ago now, about a Mexican drug cartel that targeted some Mormon polygamists. It was the LeBaron group. It’s just a crazy story. Anyway, that LeBaron group, they’re just kind of kind of out there.
GT 1:01:33 Then, the last group that I want to talk a little bit about is the Centennial Park group. So, the Centennial Park were part of the FLDS and they split from the FLDS over one-man rule. I kind of talked a little bit about that earlier. So, the FLDS and the Centennial Park [groups] have a real rivalry. Because they were–they’re basically cousins. Their communities are close together. So, they kind of had to separate communities. Anyway, Anne talks a little bit more about that. So, if you want to know more about these, I can’t recommend enough, both John Hamer’s book, but, Steven Shields, Divergent Paths of the Restoration. It’s got over 500 Restoration expressions. The book includes both new and extinct groups. It’s only published as an ebook because the book is so large. They just couldn’t get this into the print.  It’s published by Signature Books, and I’ve got a link there. I’ll open it up now for questions and you can contact me. I’m not very good on Twitter. So, if you’re a Twitter person, it would be better if you emailed me. Anyway, I’ll stop sharing and open up for any questions that you guys have.
Check out our other interviews with Bill Russell.
Bill Russell is former professor at Graceland University.
RLDS Mass Murderer Jeff Lundgren
Interaction with Mark Hofmann
Lachlan Mackay is apostle of Community of Christ & helped authenticate Joesph Smith photo.
RLDS version of Lafferty’s
Matthew Gill – Prophet of Restored Branch of Jesus Christ
Matthew Gill is Prophet of Restored Branch of Jesus Christ in the U.K.
Ordained by Joseph Smith
Anti-Polygamy Stance, Book of Rayneck
Sued by LDS Church/Restored Branch Scriptures
Pre-Jewish Christian Religious Practices
Jaredites & Book of Jeraneck
Leaving LDS Church, Translating Plates
Brass Plates of Stonehenge
Internet Mormon Prophets David & Kristine Ferriman
Kristine & David Ferriman are co-presidents of Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship.
Internet Temple Worship
David’s Angelic Ordination
CJCCF Wide Open Canon & Revelations
Spiritual PTSD/Offending Everyone
Dr. Christopher Blythe is a Research Associate at the Maxwell Institute and author of “Terrible Revolution.”
White Horse Prophecy
Chad Daybell & Zombie Apocalypse
Bo, Rowe & Pontius: LDS Apocalypticists
The House of Aaron
Dr. John Conrad is chief high priest for House of Aaron.
Worship Services & Church Structure (Conrad)
House of Aaron Scriptures (Conrad)
House of Aaron Views on Polygamy & LGBT (Conrad)
LDS/House of Aaron Relations (Conrad)
Founding the House of Aaron
Astrophysicist on First Vision, Golden Plates
Dr. John Pratt discusses dating the First Vision, & seeing the Golden Plates.
Intro to Reborn LDS Church
3 Churches of Mormonism
What’s in Sealed Book of Mormon?
Hofmann Question of Brazil Plates
Brazil Golden Plates
John Pratt’s Spiritual Journey
Dating Problems with First Vision
Dating First Vision
Dating Christ’s Birth
Denver Snuffer & Remnant Movement
Denver Snuffer is founder of the Remnant Movement.
Why Remnant is Attractive
Remnant Movement is not a Church!
Ascension of Brigham Young
Why Denver Changed on Joseph’s Polygamy
Denver’s Outreach to Hebrews/Native Americans
Is Trinity in Lectures on Faith/Book of Mormon?
New Scriptures in Remnant Movement
Bill Shepard on the “Other Mormons”
Historian Bill Shepard is former president of John Whitmer Historical Association and a Strangite.
7th Day Sabbath Mormons & Other Teachings
Strangite Teachings about Jesus
Martyrdom of James Strang
Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator
Strang’s Mormon Missions
“The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang
Lindsay Hansen Park: Post-Manifesto Polygamy
Lindsay Hansen Park is host of
Year of Polygamy podcast and Exec. Dir. of Sunstone.
How Polygamy Shapes Modern Mormons
How LDS Attitudes Empowered Warren Jeffs
Rulon Jeffs LDS & FLDS History
2nd Manifesto Polygamy 1904-1925
20th Century Polygamy/Reed Smoot Hearings
Mormon Fundamentalist Theology
John Taylor’s 1886 Revelation
“More Than One Way to Mormon”
Adam-God Theory/Christ’s Church
Benjamin Shaffer (left) is a Seventy in Christ’s Church. David Patrick (right) is an Apostle for Christ’s Church, based in southern Utah. They discuss the Adam-God Theory.
Why Adam-God is Controversial
“Families are Forever” a Hurtful Doctrine?
Why Polygamists are Threatening to LDS Church
God in a Box or Pyramid?
Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God
Intro to Adam-God Theory
Scriptures of Christ’s Church
Intro to Christ’s Church
R. Jean Addams on Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
Jean Addams is one of the foremost experts on Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
Church of Christ Worship Services
3 Church Reconciliation?
Comparing LDS & Church of Christ Theology
LDS/Church of Christ Alliance
Jones Flournoy’s Ties to Restoration
Dispute Over the Temple Lot
Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)
Melvin Johnson on Life of John Pierce Hawley
Historian Mel Johnson discusses Mormon pioneer John Pierce Hawley, who joined several Mormon groups.
Hawley Leaves LDS for RLDS Church
Mormon Pioneers in Texas & End of Wightites
More on the Zodiac Temple in Texas
Lyman Wight & Mormon Colonies in Texas
Intro to Hawley
Steven Shields on Divergent Paths
Steven Shields has been writing about various Mormon Groups since the 1970s.
Murderous Mormon Mayhem
Para-Church Mormon Groups
Cutlerite Endowment, Female Priesthood, & House of Aaron
Fundamentalists and Cutlerites
Conspiracy Theories: William Smith, Samuel Smith, James Strang
Sidney’s Unsung Role in Restoration
Steve’s Shields Own Divergent Path
Who Owns the Temple Lot?
Daniel Stone – The Forgotten Prophet
Dr. Daniel Stone wrote the First Biography of William Bickerton, prophet of the 3rd largest Mormon movement.
Modern Mormon Pentecostals
My Cousin Vinny: Alice Cooper’s Mormon Roots
Writing History Without Getting in Trouble
Reuniting the Bickerton Break
Ousting a Prophet
False Prophecies Are Possible!
Civil War Prophecy Leads to Black Ordination
Biblical Support to Ordain Women
Bickerton Becomes Prophet
Sidney’s Church Falls Apart
Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory
MacKay & Hamer – Community of Christ Perspective
John Hamer was ordained to the First Quorum of Seventy in October 2017. Lachlan MacKay is an apostle for the Community of Christ
Start of RLDS Church & Mormon Schisms Tour
Surprising Word of Wisdom Insights from an Apostle
Mormon Followers of the Prophet James Strang
Alice Cooper’s Roots in Lively Mormon Schisms
Different Succession Claims: Other Mormon Groups
Strange Kirtland Temple Ownership Problems
Comparing LDS & RLDS Temple Worship
A Seventy & Apostle discuss myths & Kirtland Temple
Anne Wilde on Modern Polygamy
Anne Wilde, founder of Principle Voices, modern-day Polygamy expert
Polygamy & 2002 Olympics
Law of Sarah/Concubines
Was Jesus a Polygamist?
Ervil Lebaron: Polygamist, Assassin
FLDS-Centennial Park Rivalry
How to Polygamists Feel about Gay Marriage?
3rd Manifesto Causes Schism: Apostolic United Brethren
Did Woodruff Marry After the 1890 Manifesto?
Taylor’s 1886 Polygamy Uncanonized Revelation
Interview with Remnant LDS Church
Jim Vun Cannon served as Counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints until 2019. Following the death of Pres Larsen in 2019, Jim left and is now president of the Everlasting Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days.
What are Remnant Church Views on Temple Worship?
Women Will Not Hold Priesthood!
Joseph was a Monogamist!
What’s the Order of Enoch? Consecration in Modern World
Jim Tackles DNA & Book of Mormon
18 Revelations to Gather to Missouri! Remnant Church Scriptures
What’s the RLDS Perspective on Succession Crisis?
From Convert to First Presidency in 5 years!
Found! A Literal Descendant of Aaron!
You can get our transcripts at our amazon.com author page. I’ve got a link here, but just do a search for Gospel Tangents interview, and you should be able to find a bunch of them there. Please subscribe at
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 The book is now available in print: Volume 1 can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3f2T8C9 and Volume 2 can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3eXrTZF
 Ogden Kraut died July 17, 2002 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
 Snuffer’s Bible comes in 4 parts: Old Testament Part 1: https://amzn.to/3dyhT8Z, Part 2: https://amzn.to/3r0qFzL, New Testament Part 1: https://amzn.to/3ByjJPi, New Testament Part 2: https://amzn.to/3xIqQDn
 Divergent Paths of the Restoration has been split into 2 volumes and is now available for purchase on Amazon. Volume 1: https://amzn.to/3C9Bwhj and Volume 2: https://amzn.to/3eXrTZF
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