Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter

Topics: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Rulon Jeffs, William E. Jessop Pages: 6 (1304 words) Published: March 9, 2015


Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Suzi Austin
CJHS/430
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

At first glance the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the FLDS Church, is simply a church. They have a different belief system than the mainstream LDS church, the most glaring difference being polygamy, but until the last 10-15 years it was not clear other issues that were being hidden behind closed doors in the communities in Hilldale, UT, Colorado City, AZ, neighboring border towns, which was the largest concentration of members of the religion, as well as small communities in Mexico and British Columbia, Canada. Church headquarters moved to Texas in recent years but the beliefs and activities have not. History

The sect began in 1890 after polygamy was denounced by the traditional Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They settled in small communities near the Utah-Arizona border. Essentially taking over communities, either by marring into existing families or chasing out settlers who did not believe as they did they soon had the towns almost entirely to themselves. Due to the illegal nature of the relationships they practiced, it became the habit of the secluding themselves from the rest of the world having very limited contact outside of the community and then usually only the men went. The FLDS Church that we now of today begun in 1986 ("Mormon Fundamentalism", n.d.). The First Warders, as they called themselves, were lead by Council members Leroy Johnson and Rulon Jeffs. Parley Harker and Bishop were called to serve under Johnson but never formally ordained to the role so were not considered to be part of the formal leadership. Leroy Johnson died in late 1986 and dissention in among the leadership of the United Effort Pan, UEP, who was in charge ownership of land, homes, businesses and the majority of all property in the communities, left Rulon Jeffs as the sole leader and overseer for the UEP. He was now referred to as the President of the Priesthood as well as Prophet, seer and revelator. Jessop and Harker remained as advisors or counselors but in 1989 Jeffs stated that he alone was the Priesthood Council. Jessop was the first to public encourage anyone who was eligible to apply for and receive government assistance in the form of food stamps, medical benefits, cash assistance and the Women, Infants and Children programs (WIC). Since only the first wife was recognized as a legal wife subsequent wives applied for these programs for themselves and their children as single parents. Early on Leroy Johnson had taught that the intend was not to set up a new church but as a result of disagreements among members of the UEP lead to the First Warders to officially register themselves as The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the lack of hyphen between latter and day and the capitalization of the word day set their name apart for groups with similar names. When Rulon Jeffs died in 2002 at eth age of 92 no new leader had been decided upon. His son Warren Jeffs was First Counselor in the FLDS First Presidency since 1992took over all of ht duties if president and in 2003 was formally ordained to the office. The younger Jeffs rule has been on classified by excommunication of members for sins as minor as possession of unapproved literature or speaking to non FLDS members, even if they were members of their own families. Families were split apart, wives and children ‘reassigned’ to other men. As excommunicated members left the church word of the dealings in Colorado City and Hilldale got out leading to law enforcement beginning the investigation of girls younger than 18 being forced in the ‘marriages’ with men much older than them, as well as the allegations of misuse of public education funding and welfare fraud. The charges of accomplice to rape, which are felony counts of child...
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