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Fundamentalists and Cutlerites (Part 5 of 8)

In this episode, Steve Shields and I discuss some of the larger and smaller Mormon groups: fundamentalists and Cutlerites. Many of these fundamentalists practice polygamy.

Steve:  The FLDS has 8,000 to 10,000. The Apostolic United Brethren and has 8,000 to 10,000, somewhere in that range. Those are the two largest organized groups, organized structural institutions. I’ve heard numbers of 50 or 60,000 fundamentalist Mormons all told. There’s either some smaller, like the Centennial Park–I don’t want to call them a group because the Centennial Park priesthood affiliation, maybe as a way to talk about those. You’ve got Naylor and Nielsen. You’ve got the guy up in British Columbia, Winston Blackmore. He’s actually incorporated as the Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine). That’s their corporate filing in Canada. He’s got 500 or so. Nielson and Naylor and Blackmore have been kind of doing some, they’ve not merged per se, but some cross affiliation because Nielsen and Naylor’s problem with the Jeffs family was very similar with Winston’s. So frankly, in all of the fundamentalist Mormons, there’s very little doctrinal difference, if any at all. It has to do with priesthood authority. Who has the legitimate line?

GT: I talked with Anne Wilde and one things that she said was really the largest group are what she would call independent or unaffiliated.

Steve: That’s right. Most of them are unaffiliated but they do fellowship with each other. You’ve got a large following: Fred Collier, Tom Green and others who believe in what they called the patriarchal order. Every father is a patriarch over his own family and has full authority to ordain his children, the male children.

We’ll also discuss the only other Mormon group that has an endowment ceremony in the temple.  They are sometimes referred to as the Cutlerites, named after Alpheus Cutler.

Steve: Alpheus Cutler’s church has always been small, and they do not proselytize. They don’t believe in that. Alpheus Cutler is said to have been given a revelation that in the last days there will only be two and from that small branch, God will redeem Zion. So, they don’t worry too much about that. They’re getting older.

GT: They’re the ones who still have a temple ceremony. Is that right?

Steve: Yes, they do. The upper room work is conducted in their building in Independence. I’ll say on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean every day or every week necessarily. I don’t know any more about it than that. Nobody does except them and I respect that. I’m very curious, of course.

How big are they?  Check out our conversation….

Steve Shields discusses Mormon polygamists and Cutlerites, the only other Mormon group with a temple endowment ceremony.
Steve Shields discusses Mormon polygamists and Cutlerites, the only other Mormon group with a temple endowment ceremony.

Check out our other conversations with Steve!

227: Conspiracy Theories:  William Smith, Samuel Smith, James Strang(Shields)

226: Sidney’s Unsung Role in Restoration (Shields)

225: Steve’s Shields Own Divergent Path

224: Who Owns the Temple Lot? (Shields)

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How Do Polygamists Feel About Gay Marriage?

Fundamentalist Mormons are known for promoting an alternative marriage practice in polygamy.  Of course there are gay marriage advocates who support that as well.  In this next episode, we’ll talk a little bit about Kody Brown’s oldest daughter, Mariah.  Kody is a polygamist in the tv show, Sister Wives, and he has four wives.  One of his oldest daughters has actually announced that she is gay.  What do fundamentalist Mormons think about gay marriage relationships?

Anne:  The ones that I associate with the most don’t think there’s anything wrong with a legal gay marriage, because like I say it’s not a religious thing.  They think they should have that legal right.  We’re talking about a civil rights level.  They should have their civil rights just like we would like our civil rights.

Do you think this is common among polygamists?   Don’t forget to listen to our other conversation about Kody Brown’s daughter trying to join the LDS Church.  I hope you’ll check out our conversation with Anne Wilde…..

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Third Manifesto Causes Schism: Apostolic United Brethren

So far we’ve talked about the 1890 Manifesto, as well as the 1904 Manifesto.  A third manifesto was issued in 1933, and that actually led to the formation of several polygamist groups, such as the Apostolic United Brethren.

Anne:  When Joseph Musser was the senior member, because the other three before him had passed away, then that’s when the “split” happened.  It’s too complicated to go into; suffice it to say that there were two members that they wanted to add to that quorum, and Joseph Musser was not in favor of that and he called Rulon Allred, Owen Allred and some others to another council, so there are now two councils.

GT:  Two parallel councils.

Anne:  Yes, and each one claims that they’re the only ones that have the authority, or the true priesthood or whatever you want to call it.  So that’s when the division began.  Joseph Musser died in 1954, so this happened before that.[1]  They went to prison, and when he came out he was not feeling well and anyway, it’s a whole lot of story.

In this next episode, we’ll talk about the Third Manifesto, as well as one specific group: the Apostolic United Brethren.  You may be familiar with them if you’ve watched the tv show, Sister Wives, with Kody Brown and his four wives.   Kody’s daughter Madison tried to join the LDS Church.

GT:  Ok, I know his daughter, I want to say Madison, I can’t remember, was going to Utah State I believe and she actually wanted to join the LDS Church.

Anne:  And they wouldn’t let her.[2]

GT:  And they wouldn’t let her, and she said, “I don’t want to be a polygamist.  I don’t want to do anything.”  But they still wouldn’t let her.  Essentially the church policy is that they want to—you have to basically disown your parents, or I don’t know if that’s the right terminology.

Anne:  I think that varies.  Without mentioning a name, there is a family whose son—I don’t want to say anything that’s going to get anybody in trouble.  Let’s just say that he joined the church, the LDS Church, had friends that were LDS, went on a mission for the Church.  He didn’t have to deny his parents, but he had to deny his intent to live it.  He now is back from his mission, performed an honorable mission.  He was not prevented from joining the church, even though they knew what family he came from.  So that’s what I say, it’s going to vary.

Should Madison have been prevented from joining the LDS Church?  Check out our conversation with Anne Wilde…..

[1]  John Y. Barlow was head of the quorum until his death in December 1949.

[2] For more info, see