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Splinter Group: Apostolic Brethren Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
September 25, 2020 6:35 pm

Splinter Group: Apostolic Brethren Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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September 25, 2020 6:35 pm

The first of a 2-part series on the Apostolic Brethren splinter group of the Restoration of Joseph Smith. This is also known as the Allred group. To learn more about this organization from a Christian perspective, check our article out at https://www.mrm.org/aub

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Answering Mormons Questions by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians who want to share their faith with friends and loved ones.

Be sure to pick up your copy today at your favorite Christian bookstore. Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. So glad you could be with us for this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry.

And with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. For the past several broadcasts, we've been looking at some of the more lesser-known splinter groups of the Restoration Movement. And today we're going to be looking at what is known as the Apostolic United Brethren. They have other names as well. They're often called the AUB. They're also called the group, the work. And they are also known as the ALRED group.

And there's a reason for that. This group, the Apostolic United Brethren, was founded by a man by the name of Rulon C. Alred. He was born in 1906. He was murdered in 1977.

But in 1954, he founded the Apostolic United Brethren. And it does have its share of controversy. And I might mention, you may not even know this, but they are connected to the reality show Sister Wives. Although, if you watch that show, you may never know this connection.

As far as I understand, it was not mentioned a lot, if at all, on that program. But Cody Brown is a part of this group. And one of his wives actually had the maiden name of Alred. So certainly there is a connection to this group. Let's talk a little bit about the history of this group.

And where are they? I've already mentioned that it was founded in 1954 by Rulon C. Alred. The current leader is a man by the name of Lynn A. Thompson.

And he's been the leader since 2014. How large is this group, Eric? It's about 7,500 people. And they're mainly based in the United States, including Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. They apparently have a few hundred followers in Mexico. When I did the research for this group, it was, of the seven splinter groups that we're taking a look at during this series, the most difficult to find out information. They don't have a website. They don't tell you a whole lot. I tried to get in contact with some of the leaders.

And I was not able to get any information. So what I have here, though, is it's a small group, but it's a substantial group when you consider Cody Brown and the influence that he has over many years of being on the TLC network and talking about polygamy and making it look somewhat glamorous, although the warts and all the bad things that go with polygamy are certainly shown on that show. Now, Rulon C. Alred was a chiropractor, and he had a practice in Salt Lake City. He grew up in polygamous families, claimed he had a vision in his 20s telling him to take additional wives. His first wife was a woman by the name of Catherine Handy. She ended up leaving him because he wanted to marry other women.

And this is a problem. When those of an LDS background decide to move on into the realm of plural marriages, oftentimes that wife does not want to go with them, and that does cause some serious problems in the relationship. Now, he belonged to the group in Short Creek, Arizona. Short Creek is connected to the Warren Jeffs group. Now, Warren Jeffs' father was also a Rulon, and we were talking off-air, why is Rulon such a Mormon name?

I'm not really sure why that is. But anyway, he associated himself with the Short Creek group in the early 1950s, and then there was a raid on Short Creek, Arizona. This took place in 1953. From what I've read of the Short Creek raid, they went in and they arrested all these men who had polygamous wives. It ended up being really a public relations nightmare, because what are you going to do with all these men that you've arrested?

You've just taken the breadwinners away from these families, and now the state becomes responsible for them. So they ended up letting all the men go anyway. And what was a disaster, as far as public relations goes, as you mentioned, is that there were photographers there who were taking pictures of the children who were crying, the wives who were being left behind.

And so it was a major PR disaster, July 26, 1953, and Allred was a part of that. Now, he later associates himself with the LeBaron group. Now, this is a real controversial group. Ervil LeBaron was the leader of this group. They made a movie about Ervil LeBaron. It was called Prophet of Evil, The Ervil LeBaron Story. It was a TV program. It came out in 1993. Brian Dunahee, who passed away in April of 2020, he played Ervil LeBaron. And also in the film was an actor by the name of William Devane.

You probably know him because he's always hawking gold coins on TV nowadays. But Ervil LeBaron was bad news. Ervil LeBaron was responsible for the murder of Rulon C. Allred in his office in Salt Lake City.

Well, we have to understand that when Rulon went to Mexico, he was promised great wealth to be with the LeBarons, but it didn't happen. And so Allred started his own group in 1954, and by 1959, he had a thousand members. And that's how this group really got started in the first few years.

A thousand members is pretty good after five years. Then he starts to publicly declare his polygamous ways, and he discusses it with journalists. This man had at least seven wives and 48 children. But one thing that he did that was a mistake on his part is he did not make friends, not only with the FLDS group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that would have been Rulon Jeffs as well as Warren Jeffs, but also he did not have good relationships with the LeBarons, the group that he had left in 1954. So in the late 1960s, he begins to get death threats from the LeBarons. And then on May 10, 1977, he was working as a chiropractor.

Two disguised women visited his office and shot him to death. And one of the killers was a plural wife of Ervil LeBaron, the top LeBaron leader. After Alred's death, he was replaced by his brother, Owen Alred.

Owen was born in 1914. He passed away in 2005. He had eight wives, 23 children, and more than 200 grandchildren. And he had been excommunicated from the LDS church in 1942 when he married his second wife. And then when he died in 2005, a guy named Jay Lemoine Jensen led the church until 2014.

He died of cancer. And today, the current leader of this church is Lynn A. Thompson, who was born in 1940. He's had some controversy with some of the members in his church, including sexual misconduct. Several women have accused him of that, and also his daughter in November of 2014.

The daughter claimed that her father had abused her in the early 1950s when she was 12. And so with these different claims, there's been controversy with Lynn Thompson, who's not at Alred. We have to understand that this church is led by a priesthood council.

The top leader is called the president of the priesthood, and the number of men in the council varies because there's no set number. But today, the church is based in Bluffdale, Utah. What's an interesting trivia fact is that the church had a house where they met where the Fashion Place Mall is now located today in Murray, Utah. And they ended up selling that to the developer, and they ended up buying this land in Bluffdale, which is where they are located today.

And if you're not familiar with the geography in the Salt Lake Valley, Bluffdale would be in the southwest corner. They do have several places in Utah and Montana that they own. In Pinesdale, Montana, they have a total of 640 acres. And in the early days, in 1973, there were more than 400 polygamists that lived there.

And by 1998, they had more than 800 people. But today, it's fewer than a thousand people that live in this mainly polygamous town of Pinesdale, Montana. And then we have Rocky Ridge, which is 225 acres that is located between Santaquin and Mona, Utah. And in 2009, they had 65 families. And what I found in my research, it appears that there are fewer than 50 families, although they built a chapel in 1990 that can accommodate up to 750 people. So this church has not grown perhaps the way that it thought it was going to, but it also has locations in Cedar City and Eagle Mountain, Utah.

They have several hundred members who live in Azumba, Mexico. They built a temple there in the 1990s. Now, they built a temple. Why do they even have a temple? What do they do in this building? Is it like the LDS Church or what?

And that's a great question. And Bill, I really tried to find out any information, and there's just no information on what they do in the temple that they built in the 1990s. Do they do baptisms for the dead like the Mormon Church does?

I don't really know. All I do know is that before 1978, the church encouraged its members to stay with their membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so they could actually utilize the temple and do the work there. But it all went to pot in 1978, when in June, the church announced that blacks would now be allowed to hold the priesthood. And so they are against the two declarations that are found at the end of the Doctrine and Covenants, Declaration One, which banned polygamy in 1890, and then in 1978, allowing blacks to hold the priesthood.

They disagree with both of those. They must have some kind of similarity, at least in what they believe it seems, with what goes on in the temples that are owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if they're encouraging their people to keep their membership in that church to use their temples for what they believe to be, I guess, true as well. Yeah, what they do there, and what they do at the Endowment House that's located in Bluffdale.

That was built a number of years ago. There's not any information on the internet. Without having an internet site, the church is very quiet about what it teaches. And as much research as I could do, I was not able to determine what exactly is going on at the Endowment House, what's going on in the temple in Mexico. And I guess that's to be expected because a lot of these groups that do believe in plural marriage, they probably feel for their own survival they need to be very secretive about what's going on.

They don't want to share a lot of information because some of that information might possibly be used against them down the road for whatever reason. You and I found that out with the Harmston group that was based down in Manti, Utah. We had talked to some of the leaders in that group, and I do admit that when we were interviewing the president of the group at that time, and the president is separate from the prophet, Jim Harmston, who's since passed away, he was pretty open with some of the things he was telling us, but they normally did not go public with a lot of this information. And so if you wanted to know what they really believed, you almost had to know someone that was in the group or set up an appointment like we did, and we had a great conversation with them.

And that was the year 2000 after a prophecy had been made in 1999 that Jesus was returning. I have to say that I tried to get in contact with that president and other leaders of the group from 2001 and on, and the group became completely silent and would not talk to anybody. We've been talking about the Apostolic United Brethren, and in tomorrow's show we're going to continue looking at what this church believes, and again, there's a difficulty in finding out exactly where their doctrinal positions are on a number of things. Visit our website at www.mrm.org where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism. Crash Course Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles at CrashCourseMormonism.com. That's CrashCourseMormonism.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-27 11:20:45 / 2024-02-27 11:26:16 / 6

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