The LDS Church still has an Exclusion Policy when dealing with converts from polygamist groups. Why does the LDS Church seem so threatened by polygamists? Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer explain why they think polygamists are so threatening to the LDS leadership.
GT: So the [LDS] Church has a huge concern with [polygamists joining the Church] and so they’ve implemented this [Exclusion] policy. Then when the gay policy came, they [justified the policy by saying,] “Well we’ve been doing this with polygamists for years. What’s the problem?” I don’t like this policy. I don’t like it against polygamists either, but I do understand the concern because it does seem like, especially here in Utah, they don’t want you guys infiltrating our church and then taking people away. But I think it also happens that we take away some of your church members that don’t like polygamy. To me it goes both ways. But, we’re more concerned about our people leaving than your people joining.
GT: I don’t know how true this is, and I know that you don’t speak for all fundamentalists, either. But we’ve heard that that, I want to say it’s the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), but I might be wrong on that, they will say, “Well, go get your LDS temple endowment and then come join us.” Are you familiar with that reasoning?
Benjamin: Yes. Well, more than 40 years ago, that was kind of the essential viewpoint of almost all Mormon fundamentalists. There was about a 50 year stretch from John and Lauren Woolley in the early 1900s, through Rulon Allred, where we also kind of believed that was the program. As David explained, there were keys outside the church and they were keys inside the church. We believe, in Christ’s Church, we’ve now rejoined all those keys into one organization. But during that time period, that 50 years, there was the idea that if you wanted to receive certain blessings and certain ordinances, or complete those things, you had to go to the fundamentalists, but you started in the [LDS] Church, first. So, for example, Rulon Allred did not build a temple. He didn’t believe it was necessary, because the mainstream LDS temples were still viewed as authoritative sources to receive that ordinance.
David: Rulon Allred was the leader of the Apostolic United Brethren.
Benjamin: Joseph Musser and Rulon Allred, which were the founders of the AUB, they said exactly that. They told their people, “Oh, well, you should definitely, of course, come to us, but don’t join the AUB and do these higher things until you’ve done the earlier things. You’d be skipping a step.” So, they really only accepted members–they weren’t a whole church, right? They were an appendage to the church.
GT: They were funneling people to the LDS Church and then saying, “Okay, get this all done, and then we’ll give you the graduate degree.”
Benjamin: So excluding children, that was exactly the church’s response to the AUB policy of saying, “Oh, we’re an auxiliary to the church, essentially. So you want all of your children to be members of the mainstream LDS Church, and then you want them to go on missions and you want them to go to the temple, get married in the temple, and all that sort of thing, and then become part of our priesthood group to complete their gospel training.” But they view themselves, like I said, only as that auxiliary or just as a capstone to everything the church was already doing. So their view was that the church was meant to be a pipeline that led [to them.]
David: In all fairness, that may not be their view today.
Do you agree with this exclusion policy for children of polygamists? Don’t miss our conversation as Benjamin explains why the primary song “I Am a Child of God” teaches the Adam-God theory! Check out our conversation….
Don’t miss our other conversations with David and Benjamin….