I’m excited to introduce Joe Jessop. He’s the LDS grandson of polygamist leader Rulon Allred. Joe will talk about growing up in the Apostolic United Brethren (that’s Kody Brown’s group for those of you who watch Sister Wives), and we’ll learn more about how the group is organized. Do they have a prophet or a council that leads? How did they split from the FLDS? What do we know about John Taylor’s 1886 revelation about polygamy? Who is Lorin Woolley, and can he be believed about the roots of Mormon fundamentalism? Check out our conversation…
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Intro to Apostolic United Brethren
GT 00:51 All right. Welcome to Gospel Tangents. I am really excited to have another expert on polygamy. We don’t talk about polygamy enough here on Gospel Tangents, apparently. So anyway, we’ve got the grandson of a famous Allred. Can you tell us who you are and who your grandfather was?
Joe 01:09 Yeah, absolutely. My name is Joe Jessop. My full name is Joseph Lyman Jessop. And I have two polygamous grandfathers on both sides, on my father’s side and my mother’s side. On my mother’s side–well, let’s start with the father’s side because the mother’s side is a little bit more famous. On the father’s side is Joseph Lyman Jessop. And on the mother’s side is Rulon Clark Allred. And as some people know, or probably most people know, he was polygamous leader of the AUB group or, “The Allred Group” during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and then he was shot and killed in 1977, in his office in, I think it was Murray, right off of State Street. So that was my grandfather. I don’t have any memories of him, well, very few memories of him. He died when I was five. I remember going to his funeral. That’s really about it.
GT 02:08 I hate to do this, but that was 1978, if I remember right?
Joe 02:13 Sorry.
GT 02:13 When he was shot.
Joe 02:14 Yeah. So he was shot in, oh, my gosh, I thought it was 77.
GT 02:20 Well, it might have been.
Joe 02:20 I was five years old. Yeah, it was 77.
GT 02:23 Okay.
Joe 02:25 Now that you ring my bell a little bit, the way I remember is because he was killed a year before the 1978 “black revelation.”
GT 02:35 Okay. Now I’ve always wanted to get an expert on and it’s really [hard.] I tried to get Kody Brown first. I’m shooting for the big leagues. And his contract wouldn’t let him do it yet. So, “Come on! Hurry up and get off that stupid show.”
Joe 02:53 So, you went for the minor leagues?
GT 02:54 (Chuckling) And, yeah, it’s been really hard to find somebody [that’s] an AUB expert. So, I’m excited to have the grandson of Rulon Allred. That’s really exciting. So, do you know how many grandchildren had?
Joe 03:09 Oh, I don’t have a calculator handy. But it’s, I mean, to give you an idea…
GT 03:16 How many how many wives did he have?
Joe 03:17 Oh, he had at least seven, and possibly a few more. But to give you an idea, my dad had 35 kids. And when we did a little reunion just before my dad passed away, seven, eight years ago, we had a reunion and just our dad had 195 offspring.
GT 03:38 Your dad.
Joe 03:39 My dad. So, Rulon Allred, oh my gosh, I can’t even begin to imagine.
GT 03:48 I’m trying to remember. Did your dad have five wives?
Joe 03:51 Yes, throughout the throughout the span of his life. Yes, he had five wives, but never had more than three at one time.
GT 03:59 Because a couple of them died.
Joe 04:01 One died and one left.
GT 04:02 Okay. So, I’ve always been curious about the structure. I’ve had Anne Wilde on and she talked about the Council of Friends. Do you guys have apostles? Are you set of like the LDS Church?
Joe 04:16 Sort of. And so, and maybe a point of clarification is I’m not actually part of the AUB group, anymore. I’m not ashamed to say that I associate with them and have great friends and great associates and family. I stay very close to my family and friends. So, the AUB group is set up similar to the LDS Church. I always describe it as the AUB group kind of tried to stay underneath the eaves of the church’s roof. They were never really wanted. They were kicked outside but tried to kind of hug close to the eaves and stay out of the big storms. So, they set up in the 1920s, under the direction of Lorin Woolley, what was called the Council of Friends or Council of Seven Friends. They believe that Lorin Wooley set up, what were called High Priest Apostles, meaning basically, the highest ordination you can have, even more so than a general authority Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
GT 04:16 Aren’t LDS apostles high priests?
Joe 04:23 Well, yes, they are high priests. So, there’s a unique distinction there. Because in the AUB group, they would be set up as what is called a High Priest apostle, like, that’s the actual…
Joe 05:18 Which is higher than our apostles.
Joe 05:22 Yeah.
GT 05:26 …the LDS apostles.
Joe 05:52 Yes, correct. But for just kind of regular day-to-day terminology, when I was growing up, we really didn’t refer to them as apostles. Nobody said, “Oh, that’s Apostle Jessop, or Apostle Allred,” or anything like that. They were referred to as council members. And for the most part, that still holds true today.
GT 06:14 So, do they just have seven apostles, then?
Joe 06:16 Yes.
GT 06:17 Okay.
Joe 06:18 And then, that number has varied over the years. It’s winnowed down to one or two, and then ballooned to as many as 10 or 12, at times. But, Lorin Woolley, set it up after what he believed was a quorum within a quorum. Lorin Woolley actually taught that, even in the early days of the church, that there was a smaller quorum, a leadership quorum, if you will, and that men were part of that. If you were an apostle, that you might also be part of the Quorum of the Seven or the Council of Friends. So, when he set that up in the 1920s, Lorin Wooley really is everything in modern day polygamy. All of the offshoot groups, and there’s a few that have sprung up on their own, but for the most part, all of the polygamist offshoot groups, what are known as fundamentalists, will trace their priesthood lineage right through Lorin Woolley. It all stems from there. Then, of course, it branches out quite broad from Lorin Woolley.
GT 07:37 Well, it’s funny that we call it the Allred group. Shouldn’t it be called the Woolley group, then?
Joe 07:42 (Chuckling) Well, yeah, a Woolley-ite.
GT 07:46 Yeah.
Joe 07:47 So, the funny thing about fundamentalism is they’re always full of nicknames. At least the way I grew up, everything’s a nickname. In my town of Pinesdale, where I grew up there were there were street names, but nobody ever called them by their street name. It was Bud’s hill, or Burt’s field, or the blue building, or things like that. So, fundamentalists have taken on nicknames. And they kind of mirror the nickname of whoever’s kind of at the top. For a lot of years, because of Rulon Allred being “the guy,” and the most prominent, they took on his name as the Allred group. And he helped expand the group quite a bit in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. So, that’s why they took on that persona. They’re still known as the Allred group, but that name is fading. You don’t hear that quite as much as you used to. Because some different leadership as Lemoine Jenson, Lynn Thompson, and now Dave Watson, and so they’re not called the Watson Group. The Allred group has a nickname that has stuck with them.
GT 08:59 He served a lot longer than Lorin Woolley.
Joe 09:01 Yeah, well, that’s an interesting way of putting it. Because when Lorin Woolley started implementing the Council of the Friends in the late 1920s, and then [he] passed away I believe, in 1932. The Council of Friends then went through a series of leadership from John Y. Barlow to Joseph Musser in the 1950s. And then they split. In 1951, what we what we recognize in our history, in the polygamist history, we call that the ‘51 Split. They split over different and varying views of leadership. Joseph Musser, being at the top and then the rest of the council below him having different views on marriage, different views on doctrine. He called Rulon Allred. This is in the early 50s. He called Rulon Allred to the council and the council didn’t support him.
GT 10:09 They didn’t support Rulon.
Joe 10:10 They didn’t support Rulon being called to the council. For whatever reason, he was a little bit of a lightning rod. Some people felt that, as a doctor, he had ingratiated himself into the goodwill of Joseph Musser, who was in his dying days, latter days. And they didn’t support Joseph Musser’s call for Rulon Allred. So, Joseph Musser, essentially, shrugged them off, and said, “I’m bringing him on anyway.” And because he didn’t just bring him on, he brought him on as, like, his Second Elder. So, he did a little hop, skip and a jump over everybody else. So, the council was supposed to be set up, under the original tenets of that Council of Friends, it was supposed to be set up much like what the LDS Church is, where you’ve got seniority based on ordination. The most senior member would become what they call the head of the Council, the priesthood head. And that’s the way it was supposed to happen.
GT 11:20 You wouldn’t call him a prophet, though. Or would you?
Joe 11:23 That’s a good question. We could be here for days talking about that one, Rick, because, depending on who you talk to, they would say, “Yeah, most definitely a prophet.” And others would say, “No, no, no, no, no. He’s just I’m just the head.” He’s just the head of an organization of a quorum. And it’s the quorum, it’s the council that leads and he’s just the head of that council, for purposes of …
GT 11:52 There’s a difference of opinion, even among members, then?
Joe 11:55 Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Joe 11:57 Oh, yeah. This is one of the things, and I presented this at MHA in St. George years ago. One of the big misconceptions out there is that when you bump into a fundamentalist group of people that they’re all saying [the same thing.] They’re not. They’re anything but. From the outside, you say, “Okay, well, they’re polygamous, and they might believe in and adhere to a certain priesthood lineage.” Yet on the inside, they’re very much different and have different views on doctrine, and philosophy and theology and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, some people would most definitely call the head of the Council, a prophet or president, and some people would refer to them as that. According to my mom, her dad, Rulon Allred was never comfortable with that, and preferred that people wouldn’t refer to him as that. But, in the last 10 to 15 to 20 years, Rick, that has changed. So, they’re much more comfortable and open about, “This is our Prophet. He’s the one man on the earth that holds all of the priesthood keys.”
GT 13:15 Let’s jump back to this priesthood spit, then. You said it was the 51 Split. So, how did that split go? The AUB was one, and FLDS was the other group, is that it?
Joe 13:26 Yes, that’s a really easy way to view it. That’s the way it ends up. At the time, it was not necessarily that simple. So, what you had, you kind of had a geographical and a theological split. Because you had, in the 1920s and 30s, as polygamy was moving outside the church, yet still kind of in the church. Most people think that polygamy ended in 1890.
GT 13:58 Right.
Joe 13:59 It didn’t, and it couldn’t have, quite frankly, how do you do that? Just boom, stop, and everybody’s… I mean, there’s lots of polygamous families out there. Those people had to, there had to be this era, 10, 15, 20 years, a generation or so, for that to start to move away. So, most of those early polygamists, were just members of local wards.
GT 14:25 Yeah. So, even after 1890 they could still live with their wives openly.
Joe 14:31 Sure.
GT 14:32 It’s just like, “Just don’t take any more.”
Joe 14:34 Yeah, just don’t take any more and it was kind of on the hush-hush and the downlow. Everybody knew, but for the most part during, from 1890 to the 1920s, really, probably the Grant administration is when the Church gets pretty serious about saying, “No more.” You’re kind of, I don’t want to say, I don’t want to misrepresent the word, because rooting out, it might be a little bit strong. But there were certainly members of the church and even leading members of the church were that were active in saying, “Let’s get rid of this barnacle on the side of the boat,” maybe. So, they did and they started getting excommunicated in the 1920s and 30s. A few of them started getting excommunicated earlier. As we know, a couple of apostles were excommunicated in the early 1900s.
GT 15:32 Yeah, 1906, I believe.
Joe 15:33 Taylor and Cowley. So, there’s some of that even right in the higher ups of the Church leadership. So, as they started to move out, as polygamists started to move out, they started to coalesce underneath the leadership of Lorin Wooley, who claimed to have authority, dating back to 1886. In the fundamentalist movement, you’d call that the 1886 Revelation. So, he brought together polygamists, that coalesced under him, set up a council and people started coming together, started congregating, if you will, in the 1920s and 30s.
GT 16:14 Now, did he have a vision or anything to become the leader? Or was it just more of a self-proclaimed thing or what?
Joe 16:23 Now correct me. Stop me if I’m telling things that maybe people don’t know. Sometimes I say things that maybe I assume that people know.
History of Manifestos
GT 16:31 Well, we’ve talked about polygamy a lot in here, and maybe we should make sure, for those who are new listeners. You have the 1890 Manifesto, and then we have the 1904 Reed Smoot hearings, which leads to the second manifesto. Then we find out that some apostles are still doing it.
Joe 16:49 Wink, wink, nod, nod.
GT 16:51 So, we excommunicate John Taylor, the son of John Taylor. And maybe we should mention the–you mentioned the 1886 revelation. So, there’s an un-canonized revelation in 1886, by President John Taylor, There is a John Taylor and John W. Taylor. John W is the son, right? Do I have that right?
Joe 17:12 Yes, yes.
GT 17:12 So, John Taylor, the dad has this 1886 revelation that basically says, “Polygamy will never leave the earth.” And I’m going to start a an underground council just in case, to keep it to keep it alive, so it will never die, right?
Joe 17:28 And that is, so from a historical perspective, this is fascinating and cool. It’s really fun to–there’s a lot of meat on the bone, let’s call it. You can chew in a lot of different places. So, 1890, as you mentioned, is the is the official manifesto. If you backup four years, fundamentalists get their start in 1886, underneath John Taylor. And so, go ahead.
GT 17:57 From what I understand, I don’t think anybody disputes– like the LDS don’t recognize the revelation, but nobody disputes that that’s John Taylor’s handwriting. Right?
Joe 18:07 Yeah, correct. Yeah, yes. Yes. Correct. But what most people don’t know, and even historians in the Church will talk about this. They’ll talk about the ’86 Revelation where John Taylor says he’s never–I’m not going to take this from the earth.
GT 18:25 Right.
Joe 18:26 I don’t want to call it official. It’s kind of officially, unofficial. That’s an actual document in his handwriting that was found by his son on his desk and things like that.
GT 18:39 The LDS Church has this, but they don’t let a lot of people see it.
Joe 18:42 Yes, correct. Yeah, in the historical record, well, people have seen it and it is there to–you can read it and you can find it. Where fundamentalists go with this however, is there’s a whole ‘nother backstory. There’s the story you and I are talking about right now, this 1886 revelation and then there’s a backstory where Lori Wooley is inserted.
GT 19:05 Yeah, was he a witness of the 1886 revelation?
Joe 19:09 Yes. Correct. So Lori Wooley was, essentially, he’s a mailman. He’s a runner, running mail around to the General Authorities and other things like that, other people like that. His father, John Woolley is good friends with John Taylor. So, John Taylor was a regular guest at the Woolley farm in Farmington, north of the Point of the Mountain. So, what happens is he shows up one time in September of 1886. He shows up to deliver the mail and then is asked to stand guard outside of John Taylor’s room. And John Taylor, as he stands out in the hallway, he starts to notice a glow in the room. And he starts to hear the voice.
GT 20:03 Woolley does.
Joe 20:04 This is Lorin Woolley, yes. And he starts to see a glow coming from underneath the door. And then he’s like, “Wait a second. I don’t remember anybody going in there?” And he goes out and checks the windows, and he’s like, “Wow, how the heck is anybody in there?” He gets in closer and then realizes there’s voices in there. There are three people in there conversing. And at that point, he essentially decides to leave it alone. But then asks John Taylor, when he comes out in the morning…
GT 20:37 This is like an eight hour meeting, right?
Joe 20:38 So, that’s coming. So, John Taylor comes out in the morning, according to Lorin Woolley in a kind of a glow. And Lorin Woolley says, “Who was in there with you last night?”
Joe 20:52 And he said, “Well, I was, I spent most of the night with the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
Joe 20:59 And he says, “Well, I heard three voices.”
Joe 21:01 And he said, “Who was that third voice?”
Joe 21:04 And he said, “Well, I think you know who that third voice was. That was your Savior.” So, then that day, Lorin Woolley, they have what is called The Eight Hour Meeting, where Lorin Woolley then sets up, according to direction of Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, alternate priesthood authority, outside the auspices of the Church, outside of its direction, should the need arise.
GT 21:40 Which it did four years later.
Joe 21:41 Which it did four years later, to carry on, and to make sure, and the covenant was, to make sure that a year did not go by where children were not born into the new and everlasting covenant of celestial plural marriage, until the Savior returned. And that they would have the ability to, then, perpetuate that authority down through the generations.
How Lorin Woolley Became Head of Polygamist Movement
GT 22:06 So, this is why Lorin becomes head of the movement?
Joe 22:09 Yes, this is why Lorin becomes head of the movement, because in the 1920s, he starts telling this story. Now, I’m going to get myself in a lot of trouble here, Rick. I’m going to be in so much hot water, you’re not even going to understand. I tell you that story from the polygamist perspective.
GT 22:34 That’s what I want.
Joe 22:35 That’s the story I grew up with. That story is insanely hard to corroborate in the historical record.
GT 22:42 Because of the 30-year gap, right?
Joe 22:44 Because there’s a 30-year gap. Lorin Woolley doesn’t start talking about it until pretty much all of the men, who were supposedly on that first Council of Seven in 1886, they’re all gone. They’re all dead except for his father. So, then he starts talking about it. At one time I was giving a presentation to a bunch of people, a group in Pineville in the AUB and I called it the “Alleged 1886 revelation.” Boy, did I ever catch flak for that. And the way I responded, in front of this group of people, who were ready to have pitchforks for me. I’m just kidding. They didn’t have pitchforks, but they were they were not happy with me, is I said, “Well, isn’t Joseph Smith’s First Vision alleged?”
GT 23:45 Right.
Joe 23:47 So, really, what the 1886 revelation is, and you can track down polygamists, who would refute me and probably come up with some journal entries from their great-grandfather or their great-great-grandmother, who was there who heard about it firsthand. There’s a lot of those types of things. But, really, it’s not much in the historical record. It’s a faith story. It’s a faith story. In polygamy, it’s one of those stories that you, if somebody is getting ready to join the LDS Church, and they’re working with missionaries, what are the missionaries asking them to do about to the Book of Mormon? What’s the promise of Moroni? It’s no different in polygamy. What you do is you study out and read the polygamous literature and then you pray about it and you…
GT 24:40 Better get the right answer.
Joe 24:40 Yeah, you get a you get a testimony. You either get a testimony or you don’t get a testimony of it. So, the polygamous groups most definitely have a testimony of that 1886 revelation and subsequent eight-hour meeting. Because everything hinges on that. If that didn’t happen, they don’t exist. If that didn’t happen, they don’t have any legitimacy, whatsoever. That has to have happened.
GT 25:09 It’s the Second Vision. Right?
Joe 25:12 In a way, it really is. To a polygamist, that absolutely is the Second Vision. Because you don’t live polygamy outside the auspices of priesthood authority. That’s adultery. So, you better be pretty darn convicted on your faith testimony that Lorin Woolley…
GT 25:39 Is telling the truth. (Chuckling)
Joe 25:40 Is telling the truth.
AUB/FLDS Split in 1951
Joe 25:42 And then there’s a gap. And there’s lots of things that happen in there. And there’s not enough time in the year to talk about all of those things that happened in there, but essentially by the 1920s, Lorin Woolley has gathered a new council. He’s called men like John Y. Barlow, and J. Leslie Broadbent, and Joseph Musser and–some of the names are leaving me right now. But those men start to coalesce around him, and they established an organization, a council, a priesthood organization, to perpetuate the promise and the covenant from 1886. And then Lorin Woolley dies in 1932. I believe it’s ‘32 when Lorin Woolley dies. Then J. Leslie Broadbent takes over, but he’s elderly, as well. He really only held that position for about six, seven months before he passes away. Then it’s John Y. Barlow, and Joseph Musser, that kind of, sort of, kind of share leadership, if you will. But John Y. Barlow is more senior to Joseph Musser, but Joseph Musser is a little bit more, maybe charismatic might be a good way to put that. [He’s] a little more people oriented. And so, people begin to kind of wonder if it’s Joseph Musser, or if it’s John Barlow, who is the head. There’s a little bit of a competition there, honestly, if you look at the historical records and the journals. There’s a little bit of vying for who is…
GT 27:25 Who’s head honcho.
Joe 25:26 Who’s head honcho. Even Joseph Musser recognizes John Y. Barlow as most senior, but a lot of people recognize Joseph Musser as kind of the spiritual head. Then, that’s when I’m coming full circle. There starts to be this geographical split, because so many of the polygamous ends up moving down to the border of southern Utah and Arizona. And that’s where a lot of the council is, as well, the leading members of the council. Then, Joseph Musser, and one or two other members of the council are up here in the Salt Lake Valley. John Y. Barlow, and Joseph Musser started to have some differences in opinion and theology and direction and administration and things like that. The way it’s taught in the AUB group, is that most of those differences surrounded the way somebody entered polygamy. As in, there was a philosophical difference between, “Are you assigned and called to live polygamy? And therefore, given a bride, or women assigned to men?”
GT 28:36 Like an arranged marriage.
Joe 28:36 Like an arranged marriage, or is it something that you enter into much more like, a courtship and deciding who you fall in love with, if you’re compatible and things like that? The way it’s taught in the AUB group is that that’s really where the split, theologically, starts to happen.
GT 28:55 So, the FLDS are more like let’s do the arranged marriage.
Joe 28:58 Yeah, so in the 1950s when Joseph Musser pulls Rulon Allred into the council, he pulls him in, specifically, because of those reasons. He’s looking for support of the choosing way, rather than the assigning way. And they split over that. The group, the polygamous group splits. And it’s a pretty ugly split. Families are broken up. Brothers and sisters are split completely, and husbands and wives are even torn as far as where their allegiances are. So, the bulk of the Council under the direction of Leroy Johnson–he becomes the new head of the Council for this new group. Joseph Musser shrugs off the old Council and calls a new council. Joseph Lyman Jessop, my grandfather on my dad’s side, Rulon Allred, Joe Thompson, Marvin Allred, Zitting, Kelsey, there’s a couple of others in there that I’m kind of blanking on right now. But he, essentially, he calls a brand new council. And they split. They go their separate ways. And much like the 1890 manifesto, it’s not a clean break and a split. It’s families during the 1950s, there’s families that are waffling back and forth of who they’re going to follow. And it’s split, it’s split spiritually. It’s also split geographically, in some ways. It’s not that all of them were in St. George, but there was a good-sized community down there in the Short Creek area. There’s also a good-sized community up here, but eventually that becomes the FLDS group. Now, officially, it doesn’t become the FLDS group. I don’t think it becomes official until the 1980s.
GT 30:58 Yeah, 1984, I think.
Joe 30:59 Yeah, and the AUB group doesn’t officially become the AUB group, the Apostolic United Brethren does not become that until the 70s, or 80s, as well. Those become the official names. Really, during the 50s, 60s and 70s, it was known as Short Creek group and the Allred group.
GT 31:23 Because that’s when the split, basically, happened, right?
Joe 31:25 Those were the two groups, and my grandfather being the head of the Allred group. He was the head of that, because Joseph Musser, dies shortly after, in 1951 or 52, somewhere in there. I might have that date off a little bit, but he dies fairly shortly after the new council. He’d had a stroke, anyway, earlier. He was under the care of Rulon Allred as a physician, anyway. So, that’s how the Allred group emerges. Rulon Allred is a very charismatic man. He’s a visionary man. And he’s a people’s person. He’s very personable. I mean, if you were to have walked in the room right here, we’d [say,] “Oh, my gosh.” Let’s stand up and shake his hand and sit down and talk. And you’d talk hunting and fishing and gospel and politics and all of that. He was very, very charismatic, and a lot of people flocked to him. Many people out of the Church flocked to him and left the Church in the 60s and 70s to go join the Allred polygamous movement, because they felt like he was a prophet of God, living the fullness of the gospel.
GT 32:42 Okay, so let’s go back with our timeline. So, we’ve get the 1886 revelation, the 1890 manifesto. “We don’t do polygamy,” wink, wink, but we’ll still…
Joe 32:57 Unless you’re in Mexico or unless you’re in Canada.
GT 33:00 Well, and I understand Mitt Romney…
Joe 33:02 Or unless you go out on a ship and get married on a ship in international waters. That happened a couple of times.
GT 33:09 Because Mitt Romney’s ancestors go back to Mexico. Would that be? I mean, I guess, prior to 1950 or 51, or whatever, before the split, you guys were all just part of kind of the fundamentalist group, right?
Joe 33:26 Yes.
GT 33:27 You really didn’t have a name.
Joe 33:28 Yeah.
GT 33:29 It’s kind of a shadow [organization.] It’s kind of like the Danites, a shadow organization. Only you weren’t violent.
Joe 33:34 Yeah. That’s it. That is important. They’re very non-violent.
GT 33:34 Right, right. So, Mitt Romney would date back to this AUB/FLDS time, his grandparents, right?
Joe 33:45 His grandparents, well, so not even–the Romney faction, Mitt Romney’s grandparents would date back to post-manifesto time, yes. But, to say that there was an AUB/FLDS group in the early 1900s, would be a complete misrepresentation.
GT 34:06 Anachronistic, we would say.
Joe 34:07 Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t exist. There are polygamists that have been called by members of the leading brethren to go to Mexico and live polygamy. My great-grandfather, Byron Harvey Allred, was actually one of those. He went to Mexico to live polygamy. He was called by– I can’t remember, exactly who, but it was one of the leading brethren. Men and women and families were called out of the United States to go and continue living outside of the [Wasatch Front,] either in Canada or in Mexico. So, the Mormons that are in Mexico are made up of a little bit of a hodgepodge of some polygamous and some non-polygamous, the Romney’s being in that group of Mormon polygamists that we’re living down there.
GT 35:09 Okay, so 1904, we have the Reed Smoot hearings and they’re trying to decide well, “Reed’s not a polygamist, but these other apostles are and we don’t really want to seat him.”
GT 35:20 So, Joseph F. Smith comes out and says, “Okay, second manifesto, we’re really going to not do it anymore.”
Joe 35:26 We’re serious about it now.
GT 35:27 Now, in 1906, when John W. Taylor, and is it Matthew or Matthias Cowley?
Joe 35:33 Matthias Cowley.
GT 35:34 Matthias Cowley, two apostles–did they just resign or [they were] excommunicated or?
GT 35:40 Yeah, that’s a really good question.
GT 35:43 They’re kicked out, somehow, or resigned or whatever. Then, David O. McKay comes in, a non-polygamist. He was one of the replacements. I know that. So, then Joseph Smith dies in 1918 from the Spanish flu. Wow, who’s next after that?
Joe 36:02 Grant.
GT 36:03 It is Grant. So, Grant was right then. And so, Grant, even though he was a polygamist, he’s like, “We’ve got to stop this.” This is going to cause us grief. So, he goes after the polygamists in the 1920s. And that’s when Lorin Woolley kind of says, “Come follow me,” right?
Joe 36:22 Yes, yeah, you’ve got a generalization, an umbrella, or a framework of what starts to happen. So, in the 1920s, they start to coalesce a little bit, they start to come out of the Church, because somebody is saying, “Hey, Brother Jessop or Brother Allred is still living polygamy,” or Brother Thompson, or Brother Musser. Whoever it is, their family is still living polygamy, and they’re still coming to the ward and the church is trying to get rid of them.
GT 36:55 It’s been forty years. (Chuckling)
Joe 36:56 Yes, and they’re trying to, for political reasons, too. They’re trying to show the U.S. government that, “No, seriously, we’re not doing this anymore. We really aren’t.” In fact, we’re not just not condoning it. We’re actually excommunicating them.
GT 37:12 Right, and so that’s 1933, the third manifesto, I believe.
Joe 37:15 Well, yeah. Really, there’s, how many manifestos are there? I’m not sure.
GT 37:20 Three. Three is my number.
Joe 37:23 So, yeah, the Church comes out and really kind of goes after them. I wrote about this in a chapter that I presented, or part of The Persistence of Polygamy, it’s really…
GT 37:35 Volume three, right?
Joe 37:35 Yes. It’s really kind of an ironic twist of fate. Now, for the record, I’m active LDS. I left the AUB group when I was 19 years old and joined the LDS Church. I’m active and I really enjoy where I’m at. But I also keep my eyes wide open and I study and I read and all that kind of stuff.
John Taylor On the Run
Joe 38:03 One of the things that I find, it’s very ironic what the Church did to the polygamists in the 1930s and 40s, and 50s, even. Because they had just come out of the late 1880s of the anti-bigamy acts and all, and the Supreme Court rulings and all that kind of stuff, where they were getting chased down. John Taylor was on the run.
GT 37:37 Right, he died on the run.
Joe 38:30 Exactly right. He served his tenure as president and prophet of the Church, for the most part, on the run.
GT 38:40 I want to say he died in Kaysville. Does that sound right to you?
Joe 38:44 It sounds right.
GT 38:46 Here’s the interesting thing. I don’t really have any polygamous ancestry. But I have some cousins. And, anyway, John Taylor’s last wife, I want to say her name was Josephine Roueche.’ I might have that wrong, but they’re from Kaysville. I have a friend that was like, “That’s where John Taylor was hiding, in that house right there.” I don’t know if he died in that house, but I think it was in Kaysville or Centerville or somewhere around there.
Joe 39:20 Yeah. I think I said Farmington but you’re…
GT 39:25 They’re all close.
Joe 39:26 Yeah, they’re all– somewhere right in there, yeah. So, it’s a really interesting thing, a little flip flop, if you will, of the Church being persecuted…
GT 39:38 And then becoming the persecutor.
Joe 39:40 And then becoming the persecutor. And we can have arguments all day long about whether they should be excommunicated or not. And if that’s Church policy, then maybe they should be excommunicated. That’s fine. But I find that ironic that the persecuted then flips the tables. And or a 20–30-year period of time, they really went after [them] and worked with FBI and local law enforcement to really, really root them out.
Did Heber J Grant Start Fundamentalism?
GT 40:10 So, a lot of people say, because of Heber J. Grant, (I almost said, George Albert Smith.) Because of Heber J Grant’s, such vocal opposition, that’s what created fundamentalism. Would you agree with that, or it was bound to happen and somebody had to do it.
Joe 40:33 It was bound to happen, and it was happening before Grant.
GT 40:36 Okay.
Joe 40:38 But President Grant didn’t help it. He certainly drove it underground. And it was going to happen, anyway. But one of the things that fundamentalists need, is they need–and this will come– maybe I might not be too articulate in saying this, but they need opposition. A snowball needs to be packed.
GT 41:07 Okay.
Joe 41:10 And President Grant provided…
GT 41:16 He was the hands that made the snowball.
Joe 41:18 …the packing. It helped, for sure. President Grant is not talked about in kind terms in polygamous circles. He’s just not. That’s kind of a rough period, for sure. In 1945, the polygamous homes are raided by State Police. My dad remembers it. I talked about that in my chapter. My dad remembers waking up to police officers rummaging through drawers and pulling books out of bookcases and carting his dad off in his pajamas. I mean, and then those polygamist leaders spend roughly close to a year in prison, before they sign their own manifesto. All but two sign it. [The manifesto said,] “We’ll stop living polygamy. We will no longer do this, if you’ll let us out of jail.” Of course, they got let out of jail and immediately went back to polygamy. But that’s where Rulon Allred enters the scene there in the late 1930s and the 1940s. He’s the son of a polygamist, Byron Harvey Allred. He actually tries to convince his dad that he’s wrong for hanging out with these polygamists. In a series of letters, he tries to convince his dad that he’s wrong. You shouldn’t be doing this. You shouldn’t be going down this road. And you shouldn’t be supporting these men. Then, he kind of merges and ends up becoming, probably, the most historically prominent polygamous leader of all of them. So, if you want if you want a fascinating history, you need to interview Eric Rogers about Rulon Allred’s first marriage, Katherine.
GT 43:21 I’ve been having a feeling I needed to talk to him.
Joe 43:24 You want to. It’s a really fascinating story. And he probably knows more about it than anybody. He’s dug in and around those journals and letters more than anybody. It’s a really fascinating story.
Lebaron Groups Hit List
GT 43:37 Well, cool. So, do you know how the LeBaron group came about? Because they’re important in this story, too.
Joe 43:46 Here’s what’s funny, Rick, sort of a side story. Several years ago, and I don’t remember when, I was asked to come. I was asked by the local stake president up there in Montana, because they were starting to see a little bit of an influx of polygamous people who are looking to join the LDS Church. When I joined the LDS Church in the early 1990s, I don’t want to say I was a trailblazer, because I’m not. I’m not trying to set myself up that in that way at all. But I was relatively new and alone in joining the LDS Church from the Allred group. But then there started to be a slow trickle in the late 90s and early 2000s. Here and there a person would join the Church again, and leave the group and so that the local wards up there in Montana, were kind of dealing with that. So, they actually called me and Eric Rogers and asked if we’d come to a presentation to the bishops to talk about some of this history, so they could learn. They wanted to understand the terminology and the language of why is this happening? Who are these [people?] How is this happening? That spun off. Seriously, for the last probably 10, maybe even 15 years, I started giving presentations about once every two to three months to missionaries. Because the missionaries were working so much with the fundamentalists and the polygamous community members that their heads were spinning.
GT 45:21 I’m sure.
Joe 45:22 I mean, poor kids. I mean, this will make anybody’s head spin.
GT 45:26 Did I tell you where my son is serving a mission?
Joe 45:28 Where?
GT 45:28 Montana.
Joe 45:29 Oh, serious? Are you serious? Chances are we’ll get him, we’ll have him for dinner, if he’s ever in the Hamilton area. How long has he been out?
GT 45:38 About a year.
Joe 45:38 Okay, where is he at right now?
GT 45:41 I want to say Shelby.
Joe 45:42 Okay. He’s over on the other side of the state.
GT 45:44 Yeah, way up north.
Joe 45:46 But anyway, I would, we used my kitchen window as a whiteboard. And I start putting all of these names up there. I’m doing it and by the time it’s just a jumbled ball of yarn. And in that ball of yarn–and this is why to do that side story. In that ball of yarn is LeBaron.
GT 46:08 Right.
Joe 46:10 Well, the LeBarons are a fascinating story. They’re absolutely fascinatingly crazy. They come out of the Benjamin F. Johnson line and believe that they are direct descendants of Joseph Smith. Benjamin Johnson was an adopted son of Joseph Smith. So, they came out of that line, and they believe that that’s who they were, so the priesthood rested with them. During this 1920ish, 30, this kind of nebulous time, they’re also in Mexico.
Joe 46:53 And they’re setting up their own little group or following, [called] Church of the Firstborn. And Joel LeBaron and Ervil LeBaron are associates of Rulon Allred and Joseph Musser, and some of these early polygamists. They’re friends with them, very much so. Joel LeBaron actually asked Rulon already to serve with him in the leadership of their new little group, which Rulon Allred does for a short time, and then…
GT 47:25 There a lot of boundaries then. Or were there? Was he on two different councils at the same time?
Joe 47:30 Yeah, kind of. This is before he was ever part of the council in the Musserite group. But he had those associations, and he didn’t leave the LeBarons on necessarily good terms, because he could see that they were kind of crazy.
GT 47:53 Yeah, I don’t want to jump the story, but they killed him, right?
Joe 47:56 Yeah, exactly. And that’s exactly what happened.
GT 47:58 So, that’s probably part of the reason why, because they have a vendetta against him.
Joe 48:04 Yeah, they did. They had a vendetta against him. Ervil LeBaron, when he finally becomes head of his little group by killing his own brother and by having a kill list.
GT 48:13 I mean, he had Spencer W Kimball on that list.
Joe 48:15 Spencer W. Kimball was on his kill list and honestly, I can’t track down this as historical fact, but the way that it’s talked about in the fundamentalist circles is that Rulon Allred and Spencer W. Kimball were childhood friends, that they knew each other. I don’t know how much truth there is to that. But there is a little bit of a back rumor conspiracy theory that there was a chance that Spencer W. Kimball might actually show up to Rulon Allred’s funeral. And that was when they were going to try to go after Spencer W. Kimball. The LeBarons were going to try to get him, too.
GT 48:54 Didn’t they go after Jerald Peterson, too?
Joe 48:59 Yeah, they had a whole hit list. In fact…
GT 49:01 He was the leader of another group.
Joe 49:02 Yeah, Peterson was the leader, Dr. Peterson. They had a whole hit list of people that they went after. Basically, anybody that looked at him sideways was on the list. I think the last time I read it, somewhere in around 2010, there was a killing down in Mexico that they attributed to the LeBaron hit list. I mean..
GT 49:27 That drug–with the bullet-riddled car?
Joe 49:30 I don’t know. No, no, no, I don’t know that that was it or not. But, anyway, for lack of a better term, the LeBarons have been hard to kill off. (Chuckling) I mean, that hit list is just kind of…
GT 49:50 Don’t mess with the LeBarons.
Joe 49:51 That hitlist is just kind of hanging out there. Here I am making jokes on camera and I’m probably going to have some sort of a fatwa.
GT 50:00 Wow. Okay, so this time when he [Rulon] served with [the Lebarons], was it Ervil that asked him or was it his brother, Joel?
Joe 50:09 Joel. Joel and Ervil were kind of co-conspirators, co-heads of their own little priesthood group. But Rulon Allred wasn’t in Mexico for very long. And I’m trying to think of when he was there and associated [with LeBarons.] Honestly, I probably need to go back and actually look at that to get my timeframe exactly right. There might be somebody out there who ends up watching this and is going to say, “Joe’s got his timeframe a little bit off on that.” But the end result is that it’s Ervil LeBaron’s wife, Rena Chynoweth, that end ups pulling the trigger on Rulon Allred in his doctor’s office in Murray. And that killing, [is] almost a little bit like the Joseph Smith murder. It really, really solidifies the Allred polygamist group around their martyred prophet. I don’t want to say that they didn’t have an identity before, because they did, but it really, honestly, did kind of give them an identity.
Joe 51:27 One of the things I wanted to say, Rick. You mentioned first, before the camera even came on, you mentioned that it’s hard to get polygamists on camera. And it is. And there’s reasons for it. They have a long history of being chased around, arrested, thrown in jails, things like that. They’re not super comfortable going on the record. There are a few crazy ones, like me, that will be an open book. I know I’m not a polygamist, but I come from a polygamist group. But there’s a long history of that. When my dad and my mom remember holding hands with their grandfathers through the chain link fence of prison, that’s not something that goes away in your head. I remember, as a teenager, I thought it would be funny to play a joke on Dad. I called over to my Aunt Martha’s place, knowing that Dad was there, and I asked for Marvin Jessop. I didn’t say, “Is Dad there?” I said, “Is Marvin Jessop there?” Martha was one of Dad’s wives. I said, “Is Marv there?”
Joe 52:46 And she said, “May I ask who’s calling?”
Joe 52:49 And, dummy me, as a teenager, it’s just stupid to do this. But, I said, “This is Sheriff Prince,” who was the sheriff at the time. And just, silence. I said, “I need to talk with Marv. Could you put him on the phone, please?” Silence. Oh no. I thought it was hilarious. Not funny. It wasn’t funny. At the time, I thought it was funny, because I’m a dumb teenager. But it’s not funny.
GT 53:18 Because my mom, when she was in 7th grade, the Allred family, he got word from a member of the police department that they were going to get raided again. This is in 1955-56-57 area [time frame.] They just, literally, overnight, scattered to the wind. My mom remembers when a car would come down. If a car ever turned down their driveway– they lived in Polson, Montana. If a car ever turned down their driveway, they were just scared to death. They didn’t know if it was friend or foe. So, the polygamists have a long history of being shoved down underground and then they get shoved down underground and then law enforcement and really super zealous people try to turn them back up and hold them up as trophies to say, “Ha, ha. We got them.” In the 1950’s raid in Short Creek, Arizona and more recently in the Texas raid, for the FLDS–there’s this history. It’s hard for them to [open up.] It’s going to take a generation or two for that to die out, to where people no longer remember that. And even then, you’ll have people my age who will say, “Well, my dad remembers when.” So, they have a really hard time opening up. They’re very secretive because of that. And unfortunately, that’s a bad thing. Because when you’re secretive, things can happen inside those cultures and groups that need to be brought to light and don’t, because they’ve been so maligned for so long.
How Montana Gained Polygamists
GT 55:00 That makes a lot of sense. I do have one other question. So, it seems like Pinesdale is kind of another community. How did how did people end up in Pinesdale?
Joe 55:14 So, Pinesdale, is what I describe as a satellite community of the AUB. It’s under the leadership of the AUB that is here in Utah. But they are a satellite community. So, what happened is when my grandfather, when Rulon Allred in the 1950s, when he sent his families to the four corners, he would go out and visit them. And then, they’re essentially living on the “underground railroad,” almost. They’re on the lam, most of the time. The letters that they received, that they would write back and forth, that the women would write back and forth would, would show up opened.
GT 56:03 By the FBI.
Joe 56:04 Yeah, exactly. So they would use code names and things like that. That’s dying out a little bit, but it’s still kind of there, where people will keep their maiden name instead of take on the name of their husband, if they’re a second or a third wife, to try to make it not look so obvious. So, when Rulon Allred started, he started looking for a place. He started looking for a community, a place where people could go and live in a place of refuge and out of the prying eyes of the FBI and out of the magnifying glass of Utah. So, they bought several hundred acres of prime Montana [real estate,] mountain streams and ponds and fields with a couple of houses on. It became known as The Ranch in Montana. In 1961 they purchased what became Pinesdale, and then here and there, families would move up, and build a house. It was a community. It was a United Order. It was set up as the United Order, as a place to live where everybody had everything in common. You pool your resources. There was a granary. There was a butcher shop. It was a great place to grow up. My gosh, what an incredible place to grow up. The sense of community and sense of place was really unique. I loved it growing up. But that’s how Pinesdale came about. Over the years, different members of the AUB, or the Allred group, a family here or there would move up and the community gradually started to grow. Then in 1980, I want to say 81, but I can’t remember the exact year, they incorporated as an official town.
GT 58:03 Okay. Very cool. So, are there any other groups there?
Joe 58:10 Well, now there are.
GT 58:12 Oh, really?
Joe 58:13 Well, yeah, we haven’t even got to the good stuff, Rick.
GT 58:16 Oh, well, let’s go there.
Joe 58:20 I’m kidding. I’m only halfway kidding but…
GT 58:23 The reason why I ask is because my son’s aware that there’s a bunch of polygamists in Pinesdale. I think he said they were FLDS.
Joe 58:32 When people think of polygamous, they think of FLDS.
GT 58:35 Right.
Joe 58:35 They honestly do, because the FLDS have been in the news so much, because of the Warren Jeffs issues and things like that. The big difference, honestly, is– if you were to bump into somebody from Pinesdale or the AUB group, you wouldn’t be like, “You’re a fundamentalist, aren’t you?”
GT 58:51 Unless you’re a nerd like me. You’re like, “Are the AUB? Are they Peterson? Are they [another group?]”
Joe 58:56 The big reason is, is they don’t dress any differently.
GT 58:58 Right. The FLDS do, though.
Joe 59:01 The FLDS do. They dress and look different. They’re going to wear the pioneer [dresses,] a little bit like Amish. They’re like, “Oh, there’s an Amish or there’s a Mennonite or something like that.” Physically, appearance-wise, they look different from the way that they dress, so they’re a little easier to pick out. In Montana, we have a fairly good sized Russian Orthodox community there in the Bitterroot Valley.
GT 59:28 And they probably stick out.
Joe 59:29 And they stick out because they wear their bonnets, “There’s Russian Orthodox.” But most people associate polygamy with FLDS. And the AUB group, just, it’s not that.
When Polygamists Join LDS Church
GT 59:41 Right. And that’s why I was asking if there were other groups, because it’s really, they just don’t know better. It’s really AUB there, right? But are there [other groups?]
Joe 59:49 Yeah, but within the AUB now, there are starting to be other issues.
GT 59:53 Okay.
Joe 59:54 So, this is the current state of things.
GT 59:58 The second split?
Joe 59:59 Yeah, there’s been another split.
GT 1:00:01 Oh, there has. I was just joking.
Joe 1:00:02 There has, 100%. Yeah, there has been another split in 2014.
GT 1:00:06 Okay.
Joe 1:00:08 And it’s just like the ‘51 split. It’s gotten pretty ugly.
GT 1:00:13 Oh, wow.
Joe 1:00:14 And it’s not geographical. I mean, it is geographical in the sense that the main bulk of the split is happening in Pinesdale. But it’s been pretty hard. That wonderful, little community that I grew up in, that sense of community and sense of place, just isn’t there anymore, depending on who you talk to. Because in 2014, and again, we’d have to back up and get into, I can try to give you bullet points here, but we’d have to get back up and get into actual doctrinal things that started happening, previously, that led down this road to different factions forming within the AUB group. To give you a good idea, when I joined the LDS Church, my mother and father were very much in support of me doing that. I was wild child, anyway. (Chuckling)
Joe 1:00:15 And I’ve been surprised because Kody Brown, I know, one of his daughters went to Utah State, and she wanted to join the LDS Church. But because of the TV show the LDS Church said, “No.” So, I’m really interested because I know in your chapter in, and I wish I would have brought that book, because I was going to get you to autograph it. Because I just got this week. Maybe I’ll have you stop by my house or something. But, anyway, they wouldn’t let her join. But they let you join, and you had to meet with…
Joe 1:01:24 Elder Faust, yes.
GT 1:01:47 Was he in the First Presidency at the time?
Joe 1:01:49 Not at the time, no.
GT 1:01:50 Oh, he was just an apostle.
Joe 1:01:51 Yeah.
GT 1:01:51 Okay. And it was fascinating to hear your account of that. Do you have any insight into why–I wish I could remember what her name was up at Utah State, Kody Brown’s daughter. Why wouldn’t they let her versus they let you [join]?
Joe 1:02:08 Well, I’m not sure that I have insight, but I know that it’s been a bit of a struggle. Because when I first joined the LDS Church, it wasn’t easy for me to join. In fact, I felt like I wanted to join the Church, and I don’t want to go into that whole story, because there’s a whole back story there.
GT 1:02:34 Go read the book, right?
Joe 1:02:35 Yeah, exactly, yeah. Read the book. I was not welcomed, in fact. A local bishop, actually, told me to leave. He didn’t want me there.
GT 1:02:45 Oh, really? Visitors welcome, it says on our churches. It’s not true?
Joe 1:02:53 (Chuckling) Well, it is true.
GT 1:02:55 Certain visitors [are welcome.]
Joe 1:02:55 But there’s a history there. Yeah, there’s a history there. There’s a history between the polygamists and the Church, that’s not always a good history.
GT 1:03:06 Well, and part of that is…
Joe 1:03:08 On both sides, by the way, I’m not [blaming the LDS Church.] The polygamists are to blame is just as much.
GT 1:03:12 And I’ve heard that, especially, I don’t know how long this lasted. But there was a time where the AUB said, “Yeah, go join the LDS Church…”
Joe 1:03:12 Go through the temple.
GT 1:03:16 Go to the temple. They’re bachelor’s degree, and then we’re the master’s degree, or whatever, with the polygamists.
Joe 1:03:29 Yeah. And so, the AUB group, their overall philosophy when it comes to the Church, at least during the Allred years, was that the Church and the group, so I use the group. That’s what they call themselves, the group. The Church and the group, or a better way to put that would be the mother and the father.
GT 1:03:53 Oh.
Joe 1:03:53 The Church being the mother, the group being the father. The group being the priesthood. The Church being the organization, the mother, the organization.
GT 1:04:04 Oh, that’s interesting.
Joe 1:04:05 That those two things are actually meant to be together. They’re supposed to be together. So, right now, the way I grew up, and what I was taught is that those two things are separated. That’s an out of order situation. And eventually, when Jesus…
GT 1:04:21 The Church is out of order.
Joe 1:04:22 Well, not just the Church, the priesthood, too, the group, too. And the reason they’re out of order is because they’re separated. It’s like a divorce. Mom and Dad need to get back together. And eventually that will happen. That’s the way I grew up. Nightly, our family prayers involved praying for the reunification of the priesthood and the Church, to open the temple doors to the worthy and righteous saints. Who are the worthy righteous saints? Us, the polygamists.
GT 1:05:04 And this is why there’s a temple recommend question, “Do you affiliate with any…,” I’m trying to remember the exact term.”
Joe 1:05:11 Do you affiliate with any offshoot, I can’t remember.
GT 1:05:15 I can’t remember the exact term. But the idea is, are you associated with polygamists?
Joe 1:05:19 Yes.
GT 1:05:19 Yeah, because you shouldn’t be, or we’ll take your temple recommend.
Joe 1:05:23 And this is what I mean. The polygamist group was sending people into the Church to go to the temple and receive their endowments, and then come back.
GT 1:05:32 Because you didn’t have a temple.
Joe 1:05:33 Because they didn’t have a temple. They weren’t receiving their endowment. There wasn’t an endowment ceremony.
GT 1:05:36 They have one now. Right?
Joe 1:05:37 They do now, absolutely.
How LDS Lost(?) Priesthood in 1978
Joe 1:05:39 So, that started in 1978. It didn’t start in ’78, but that’s what kicks it off in 1978 is “the black revelation.”
GT 1:05:50 Oh.
Joe 1:05:51 Where, according to the polygamists the Church lost the priesthood.
GT 1:05:55 Because we let blacks be ordained.
Joe 1:05:57 Because the Church always had a little bit of the priesthood, just not the fullness of the priesthood.
GT 1:06:01 Because of polygamy.
Joe 1:06:02 Yeah, because of polygamy. So, now, all of a sudden Church lost the priesthood.
GT 1:06:07 Because we cannot have blacks be members [of the priesthood.]
Joe 1:06:09 Exactly. So, the priesthood that was in the Church, was now picked up by the Allred group.
GT 1:06:20 So, do they still want to reunite?
Joe 1:06:23 Depending on who you talk to. There are different factions within there. And the different factions really honestly started around–it’s that 1978 revelation, that starts to unify. You have the Rulon Allred murder in 1977. Then, a year later, you have the 1978 revelation. So, the Allred group is really going through it.
GT 1:06:50 Yeah.
Joe 1:06:51 They outside forces, that snowball…
GT 1:06:56 Well, and I’ve heard that following the 1978 revelation, there were a lot of LDS members who were like, “I don’t accept this. I’m going to go join with polygamists,” different polygamist groups.
Joe 1:07:08 Yes, yes.
GT 1:07:08 Not just your group, but the Peterson group and some others.
Joe 1:07:09 Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, a lot of people didn’t want to accept the 1978 revelation, like, “Oh, I don’t think we want to do that.” But that really codified the Allred group. But, oddly enough, they’re now torn what to do. They had been sending people to leave to go and join the Church secretly, and then come back to the group. And now suddenly, they’re like, “There’s no Church to go to. There’s no temple to go to. The black man has defiled the temple.”
GT 1:07:44 That’s a terrible thing to say.
Joe 1:07:45 Oh, I know. And so, “Amen to the priesthood of that man. Amen to the priesthood of the Church. The Church no longer has any priesthood.” And so now the group is stuck. The Allred group is stuck with, well, what do they do? What do they do with the endowment? And so, in 1981 they received their own revelation to go ahead and start performing temple ceremonies and performing the endowment.
GT 1:08:12 In sort of endowment house, kind of thing.
Joe 1:08:21 Well, at the time, there was no sort of endowment house. They were literally doing it in their basements.
GT 1:08:26 Oh, really?
Joe 1:08:27 They would get together and they would secretly have the endowment ceremony with each other, and then they’d put on their long garment, because that was another way that the Church lost the priesthood too. They shortened up the garment.
GT 1:08:41 Right.
Joe 1:08:41 The Church has done lots of things that have negated their priesthood, according to the polygamous groups. So, they started doing that, But oddly enough, it’s that coalescing that also leads some people to start to say, “Well, I thought that we were just living polygamy. We were using the Church organization, staying close to the eaves, underneath the eaves of the Church, and that we’re just living polygamy. That’s the only thing that’s differentiating us.” And now all of a sudden, the AUB group is now starting to take on more and more and more. And you go back, and you read talks by Rulon Allred, he’ll say things like, “I don’t have any keys other than the keys of trying to keep alive polygamy.” That’s not the case anymore, post 1978.
GT 1:09:39 So, it was polygamy, priesthood to the blacks.
Joe 1:09:43 Yeah, blacks in the priesthood. And so those are really the two main [problems.]
GT 1:09:48 And, I think President Kimball denounced the Adam-God [theory.]
Joe 1:09:51 Well, , the Adam-God doctrine is something that had been denounced off and on by forever, ever since Brigham Young. It was fought over in Brigham Young’s day. I mean, even Brigham Young and John Taylor didn’t see eye to eye on that one. So those are areas where I would call those theological differences where, the AUB group believes in the Adam-God doctrine, the Church doesn’t from an official doctrinal difference. But, as far as I know, somebody in the group would never say that the Church lost their priesthood because they don’t teach the Adam-God doctrine.
GT 1:10:26 They wouldn’t say that.
Joe 1:10:27 No. Where the Church lost their priesthood, is blacks in the priesthood, shortening of the garment, changing of the garment, and the changing of the temple ceremonies. That’s where they lost the priesthood.
GT 1:10:44 Okay.
Joe 1:10:45 And so those type of things, so I ended up joining the Church in the early 1990s. That’s not that far removed in those 10-15 years, 15 years removed from the 1978 Revelation. So, I had to go through the process. It was quite a process for me to join the Church.
GT 1:11:03 How long did it take?
Joe 1:11:04 It took about 7 or 8 months. When I was not welcomed by the bishop, I said, “Well, fine. I’m going to go somewhere where somebody will help me out and I’ll try to join the Church.”
Why Seniority is Good For Succession
Joe 1:11:21 So, that was kind of an interesting era. But what starts happening in the AUB group post-Rulon Allred [time period.] Owen Allred, his younger brother takes over. He’s the most senior member of the council. During the 1980’s and 90’s, there are some things that really start to shift, mentally, doctrinally, in the AUB group, where they really start to separate themselves out from the Church. They still are not just shunning the Church. It’s a pretty good JV team, if you have to, but it’s certainly not the varsity team. It’s not God’s chosen people. But there starts to become this separation. Whereas, underneath Rulon Allred, for the most part, he really, as much as the Church would say, “No, no, no, you’re not part of us.”
Joe 1:12:18 He would kind of [say] “Oh, yes, we are. We’re going to stay right here.” And they didn’t really organize a whole lot. But, post-1978, they really start to organize. And then when LaMoine Jenson takes over, in 2005, that’s where the real issues really started to crop up. And it wasn’t because of LaMoine Jenson, that he was some sort of bad person, necessarily. But what had happened is you grow up in the polygamous group and you are taught seniority, just like you are in the Church. Everybody knows that the next prophet of the church, if he’s alive when President Nelson dies is going to be Dallin H. Oaks. Everybody know that, because they know that he’s the most senior member. Well, we knew that, too, growing up in the AUB group. We were taught the same things. Our priesthood lessons and our Sunday School lessons were taught the same way. Here’s who our apostles are. We call them council members. Here’s who our council members are and here’s what their seniority is. In yearly conferences, and things like that, you’d get pictures. A lot of people had pictures of the council in their house and oftentimes they were lined up in seniority to show, so that people knew. And then, all of a sudden, prior to 2005, before Owen Allred dies, he decides to appoint his successor.
GT 1:13:42 Owen did.
Joe 1:13:43 Owen did. He decides to jump over the top of three different people to appoint his successor. He appoints LaMoine Jenson. It wasn’t that LaMoine Jenson is a bad guy, but this is when I started to get involved from a historical perspective. My dad and I had a really close relationship. My dad was on the priesthood council.
GT 1:14:10 So he was an apostle then
Joe 1:14:11 Yes he was one of those council members.
GT 1:14:12 So, you’re the son of an apostle.
Joe 1:14:13 I’m the son of an apostle as well. You’ll get a kick out of this. My wife, her dad was CIA. So, we like to joke that the daughter of a spy and the son of a polygamist leader somehow end up getting married. Anyway, my father was one of those members of the council who was more senior to the person who got appointed.
Joe 1:14:45 So, by this time, I’m not even part of the group. I have no bone in this. I literally don’t, other than I’m a historical nerd. And I love to read, and I love to research and I love this particular religious history. By now I’m a history teacher, anyway. And I’m starting to poke around the edges and not even just the edges, but I’m starting to do deep dives into all of this stuff. And I went to my dad, and I said, “You guys have got a problem.”
Joe 1:15:13 And I remember my dad saying, “Oh, you don’t know.”
Joe 1:15:14 And I said, “Dad, you guys jumped your own ship. Organizationally, you jumped your own ship.”
Joe 1:15:27 Dad was one of those guys, he was glad that he wasn’t one. And so were we, by the way. We’re like, “Please don’t let Dad be the guy.” But I saw problems and I started talking to my dad about it. I was like, “You guys are going to have a problem.”
GT 1:15:43 Because of the skipping of seniority.
Joe 1:15:45 Because of the skipping. I said, “What you’ve done, essentially, is you’ve now opened it up. It’s now going to be up to politics and politicking.”
GT 1:15:54 So, you’ve created a successor crisis.
Joe 1:15:56 Yeah, that’s exactly right. But my dad, by the time Owen Allred died, and LaMoine Jenson took over, two of the three people who had been skipped over the top of, died.
GT 1:16:13 Oh.
Joe 1:16:14 So, the Lord took care of them. (Chuckling) But my dad was still in the way. But, my dad’s a good foot soldier, too. He, really, honestly was. So, he wasn’t necessarily fine with it, because he found out backhanded. They did it secretly. He didn’t even know. He didn’t even know. He found out secondhand that this had happened. He was not happy with it. But he swallowed his pride and said, “Okay.”
Joe 1:16:49 And I said, “Dad, what are you doing? I’m not telling you that you have to go try to vie for the head of the priesthood. But this is a problem. You’re creating a problem. I don’t know when it’s going to manifest itself, but it’s going to manifest itself. Because you now have instituted a leadership crisis. Because what happens next? And who’s next?” You don’t know. And at the time, my dad didn’t think it was that big a deal. But it manifested itself in 2014 when LaMoine Jenson, then, once again, jumped over the top of Marvin Jessop, and appointed somebody who was down the line. And then it just went..
GT 1:17:33 Is that what happened in Pinesdale? That’s where the split is now?
Joe 1:17:35 Yeah, that’s where the split really happened. And it wasn’t so much that the people in Pinesdale wanted Marv Jessop to be the next head of the priesthood. That wasn’t it at all. What they were like, was “Hey, what’s going on?“ So as a new doctrine was born, honestly. A new doctrine was born. Owen Allred instituted the birth of a new doctrine of, it’s up to the head of the priesthood to appoint his successor, if he so chooses. So, that’s really where the 2014 just [issue] blows up, especially in Pinesdale, as people just go like, “This isn’t right.”
Joe 1:18:23 I called one of the local bishops. My brother called me, and he said, “You’re not going to believe what just happened.”
Joe 1:18:28 I said, “Okay, what’s going on?”
Joe 1:18:32 He says, Lynn Thompson was just appointed head of the group, head of the priesthood to succeed LaMoine. LaMoine wasn’t dead yet.
Joe 1:18:43 I was like, “Hang on a second. That’s kind of weird.” And he’s down the line. It skipped over the top of Marv Jessop again. And the next phone call I made, Rick, this is true story. This is 100% true story. The next phone call I made, after I got off the phone with my brother, was to the local bishop. I said, “Bishop.” This is the Bishop of the ward that encompasses Pinesdale. Remember I told you that they already been dealing with little ones and two-sies.
GT 1:19:15 Yeah.
Joe 1:19:16 I said, “Bishop, there’s about to be an absolute flood of people joining, because a dam just broke.”
GT 1:19:25 Oh…
Joe 1:19:26 And he says, “What do you mean?” And he knew some of the history.
Joe 1:19:28 I said, “Let me tell you what just happened.” I said, “I’m telling you right now that you are probably…” I can’t remember what night I was talking to him. I think it was a Thursday night. It was a midweek night. I said, “I’m just telling you. I want you to be prepared. You might want to call the stake president. You guys might want to talk about this, because a dam just broke. And there is going to be an absolute flood of people in your ward, an absolute flood of polygamists in your ward.”
Joe 1:20:00 And he said, I remember his words, he said, “Bing them on.”
GT 1:20:02 (Chuckling)
Joe 1:20:04 And then he jokingly says, “The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he?” And we had a good chat about that. But it was. The Corvallis Ward is what encompasses the Pinesdale community. And the Corvallis Ward grew so big, so fast from 2014 to about 2017, that they had to split. There’s now there’s now two wards. That’s how many people came out of the [group.] The dam broke in 2014. But it didn’t break all the way, because some people stayed. And some people refuse to be part of what was going on in the AUB and they’ve split off and formed their own little group.
GT 1:20:45 Is there a name?
Joe 1:20:47 Remember, I talked about nicknames? They were first called The Three O’clock-ers, because they decided to start having their meetings at three o’clock in the afternoon. So, we jokingly called them the Three O’clock-ers. They now have completely split off. They met in the same building, same chapel, same everything. But now, they’ve completely split off in the last couple of years and there they are a completely different organization. Again, nickname wise, they call themselves the Second Ward. It’s a little bit reminiscent of what happened down in the FLDS with the Timpson split in the 80s.
GT 1:21:26 Is that the Centennial Park group?
Joe 1:21:29 Centennial Park, yeah.
GT 1:21:33 I really want to get somebody from that group. Do you know anybody?
Joe 1:21:37 I don’t.
GT 1:21:38 There are a lot of Jessop’s in the FLDS group.
Joe 1:21:41 Oh, yeah. There’s lots of them. I don’t know if I wrote about this in the book, but when I was going to North Idaho, playing basketball up there, I actually took a trip to the to the Grand Canyon. Me and my cousin took a trip to the Grand Canyon. We stopped off in Short Creek. This would be about 1990-1991. I didn’t know anybody. I’d never been down there. I just stopped off and we knocked on the door and I said, “Hey, I’m a Jessop. Can you point me to one of my relatives.”
Joe 1:22:08 And this lady, this older lady says, she jokingly says, “Oh, that’s funny. Who’s your dad?”
Joe 1:22:14 And I said, “My dad’s Marvin Jessop.”
Joe 1:22:15 And she goes, “Oh, my gosh! Well, you’re going to need to go two doors down and you’re going to find your aunt so and so. It’s your dad’s sister.” But they’ve been separated for so many years. But they were so nice, the community, when we went through there, in the early 1990s. I went through there in the early 2000s, and I couldn’t even talk to anybody.
GT 1:22:36 Yeah, that’s what I hear. That’s why I’m surprised to hear…
Joe 1:22:39 My dad, when his sisters died, he wasn’t even allowed to go to the funeral.
GT 1:22:44 Oh, that’s terrible. Wow, that’s terrible.
[End Part 1]
 Rulon Allred was killed May 10, 1977.
 Both men resigned.
 John Taylor died 25 July 1887 (aged 78) in Kaysville, Utah.
 Sally Denton is a Mormon critic who claims in a Daily Beast article that the 2019 killings are related to the Lebaron group. See https://www.thedailybeast.com/ervil-lebaron-the-mormon-manson-and-his-familys-mexican-massacre
 A fatwa is a legal ruling by an Islamic court. One of the most famous was the 1989 fatwa by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini condemning Salman Rushdie to death for alleged blasphemy in his novel “The Satanic Verses.”
 The old question was, “Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?” The new question was revised on October 6, 2019, to ask, “Do you support or promote any teachings, practices, or doctrine contrary to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?”
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