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 The Apostolic United Brethren (Allred Group) 

With the split in Priesthood Councils in 1952 and the death of Joseph W. Musser in 1954, Rulon C. Allred was left as the uncontested leader of those following the new Council.  Rulon went into hiding for a few years after the 1953 Short Creek raid: “I remember when I left this state because I had to.  I knew that warrants were out for my arrest.  There were many brethren of the Council who could safely remain here.  I tried to carry on by meeting them once or twice a month.  Sometimes we met in Elko, Nevada, sometimes we met in Malad, Idaho, sometimes we met in Pocatello, but we got together.”[1]

In 1952, the “Old Council” owned the building where previous fundamentalist meetings were generally held.  Those following Rulon C. Allred (and Joseph Musser who was ill) would often meet at the home of Owen Allred in Murray, Utah.  By 1959, the Allred Group had grown to over one thousand members[2] and larger quarters were needed. Eventually the house was sold to make room for the Fashion Place Mall and the “Allred Group” leaders purchased land in Bluffdale, Utah.  There they constructed a building that was used as a residence, school, and church, called the “Brown House.”  Later a more spacious RCA Building was there constructed, which could accommodate several hundred fundamentalists for Sunday meetings, social events and even athletic activities.[3]  The Allred Group eventually incorporated themselves as the Apostolic United Brethren Church.

          Competition and disagreements with the LeBaron’s in Mexico, with whom Allred lived in 1947-48, persisted so that Rulon felt a need to respond.  He chose John Butchreit, a member of the 1952 Priesthood Council, to visit to Mexico in 1956 and “set the LeBarons straight.”[4]  Nevertheless, it was Butchreit who became converted to the teachings of the LeBarons, joining the Church of the First Born and seeking proselytes to their group.  Ten years later, after criticizing Joel and Ervil LeBaron’s accounting of tithes and offerings, Butchreit would be shot dead by an unknown assailant.[5] 

Satellite Congregations 

Rulon Allred decided in 1961 to purchase 640 acres of ranch land in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana for $42,500, with the intent of establishing a united order there.[6]  In 1983, it was incorporated as the city of Pinesdale, located close to Hamilton and Missoula.[7]  By 1973 more than 400 fundamentalists called it home,[8] increasing to over 800 persons and 250 families in 1998.[9]  Today it exists largely as a self-contained community with its own school/church, food market, city hall, library, recreational areas and a dozen other small businesses.  Local leadership oversees the day-to-day activities, but the group looks to the spiritual guidance given by members of the Priesthood Council of the Allred Group.  In 2000, many inhabitants were forced to flee oncoming forest fires bringing national attention to their small town.

Rulon continued to replace members of the Priesthood Council who died or apostatized.  George W. Scott, Ormand F. Lavery, Marvin M. Jessop, J. Lamoine Jensen, George E. Maycock,[10] John Whitman Ray,[11] Morris Y. Jessop, and William H. Baird were called.[12]     Throughout the 1960s, the Allred Group membership expanded through new converts and childbirths (which were plentiful).  Plural marriages, always performed by members of the Priesthood Council, might take place in a home, a church, a meadow, high in the surrounding mountains, or at a sacred altar.[13] 

By 1970, the number of AUB members was close to 2500.[14]  Besides a large concentration in the Salt Lake City area, today adherents may be found in several locations in central and southern Utah.  One small group located in Cedar City, Utah began in 1973 under the direction of Rulon Allred.  It boasted 22 families and a small school in 2003.[15]

Another of the Allred satellite congregations is founded at Rocky Ridge, Utah.  In September 1971, Allred followers purchased 225 acres located a few miles east of the interstate fifteen freeway between Sataquin and Mona, Utah (easily seen from the freeway).  Marvin Allred,[16] brother to Rulon and Owen and member of the Priesthood Council, directed the expansion there as the settlers learned why people called it, “Rocky Ridge.”  In 1989 additional land was added to the burgeoning community.  Today some 50 families conduct their own affairs at Rocky Ridge, including the practice of plural marriage, schooling their children and establishing their own religious meetings of a Primary, Relief Society, Young Women’s organization and Priesthood.  Their first chapel was built in 1990 and has been recently expanded to accommodate up to 750 people.

Outside of the United States Allred Group members may be found in Germany and even in the Netherlands.[17]   Over 700 AUB followers live at Ozumba, Mexico, (southeast of Mexico City) in a united order arrangement.[18]  In 1998, it was estimated that an average of six mainstream LDS families converted to the Allred Group per month[19] providing a membership of 8,000 to 10,000 throughout the world[20] although it does not appear that such an estimate would be accurate in 2004.   

Fluctuation in Membership and Changes in Leadership

            AUB leaders learned in the mid-1980s that a group of Church members living in Bristol, England, about 200 miles west of London, had interest in both plural marriage and fundamentalist beliefs.  Priesthood Council members Joseph Thompson, William Baird, and David Watson, accompanied by Marianne Watson, were dispatched to proselytize the English investigators.  Over the space of several years, more than eighty joined the AUB with some of them instructed to migrate prior to the end of 1997 when some catastrophic event was going to occur.[21]  They were also told that in Utah, the construction project then moving forward on the interstate fifteen freeway (I-15) would never be finished, nor would the 2002 Olympic games ever be realized.  Of the eighty or so members who left England to join the AUB, today over half have left the group with a few rejoining the LDS Church.

In the 1990s members of the AUB discovered within their congregation, a Caucasian-looking man who had African ancestry had been ordained to the priesthood.  A controversy ensued, which resulted in the release of Richard Kunz from his position as a President in the AUB’s Council of Seventy.  Within the Priesthood Council over the past decade, several members were accused of child molestation causing the release of Joseph Thompson in 1994 (Thompson was the last Council member called in 1952 by Joseph Musser), George Maycock in 1998, and Shevroll  Palacios in 2002.  Some of these men left the AUB drawing away their own group of followers.[22]

In a surprising move in 2001, Owen Allred spoke publicly regarding accusations that polygamist in Utah were guilty of promoting marriages of underage teenagers.  In an article published in February of that year, Allred wrote: “We are not opposed to laws preventing parents or anyone else using force or intimidation to get a girl to marry against her will before she is of the age of eighteen.”[23]  His clear stance was applauded by government officials and law enforcement agencies.

On occasion, Owen Allred provided his followers with detailed instructions regarding their polygamous marriage relationships: “The minute a man turns over the finances to his wife and lets her handle the checking account, lets her keep track of the bookkeeping, he is lamed... No woman should ever handle the finances in a celestial family.  This must be solely the responsibility of the man, the head of the family...  Never discuss private problems between him and a wife with another wife...  Don’t accuse a wife of not loving you, and a wife must never tell her husband that he doesn’t love her...   A man cannot allow privileges to one wife that he does not allow to the other wives...”[24] 

 

J. Lamoine Jenson Succeeds Owen Allred 

In 2004, members of the Priesthood Council of the AUB included: Owen Allred, Lamoine Jensen, Ron Allred, Dave Watson, Lyn Thompson, Shem Jessop, Harry Bonell, Sam Allred, Marvin Jessop, and Morris Jessop.  Owen Allred passed away on 14 February 2005 at the age of 91.  At that time a son related, “Owen Allred never wanted the responsibility of leading the 5,000 member church... [but] shouldered the responsibility and did the best he could.”[25]  During the one and a half years prior to his death: “He wanted to go.  I don’t think that one single day passed by that he didn’t say he wanted to go home.”[26]

Prior to his death and consistent with the doctrine of “Second Elder,” J. Lamoine Jenson, had been designated by Owen Allred as his successor.  His appointment passed over several other Priesthood Council members with higher seniority.


[1]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:232.

[2]    .  Solomon, In My Father’s House, 114-15.

[3]    .  “It’s a Matter of Principle,” KUED documentary, first aired 15 May 1990.

[4]    .  Solomon, Growing Up in Polygamy, 236.

[5]  Butchreit family members generally do not believe that the LeBarons were responsible for John’s death.  (Personal communication.)

[6]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:119.

[7]    .  Sunstone Review 3 (November 1983) 16:11-12.

 

[8]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:123.

[9]    .  Janet Bennion, Women of Principle, 25.

[10]  George E. Maycock was dropped from the Council in 1998 due to charges of child molestation and abuse.

[11]    .  John Whitman Ray was called to the Priesthood Council at age 38.  With loads of charisma and an obsession with alternative medicines and holistic practices, he created a significant impact in Pinesdale, Montana in the early 1970s.  He left the group in 1977, abandoning his wives and polygamy.  At his death in 2001, some of his followers considered him to be “the most highly skilled healer on the planet” according to one biographer.

[12]    .  K. Warner Jessop, “Priesthood Lineage Chart,” 13 June 1988.

[13]    .  Janet Bennion, Women of Principle, 94.  Altman and Ginat, Polygamous Families, 132, 141.

[14]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:4.

[15]    .  Anne Wilde, “Community Focus,” 47.

[16]    .  He died 9 January 2003.

[17]    .  Quinn, “Plural Marriage,” 1998, 30; Driggs, “Head and Not the Tail of the Church,” fn 95; Llewellyn, Polygamy Under Attack, 22-23.

[18]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:103, 2:103;  Murphy, “Remnants of the Third Convention,” 10-11.

[19]    .  Janet Bennion, Women of Principle, 5.

[20]    .  See “It’s a Matter of Principle,” KUED documentary; Bell, “Living The Principle,” 62; Janet Bennion,  Women of Principle, 21.

[21]  Personal communication with a polygamist who was formerly a member of the AUB who wishes to remain anonymous.

[22]  Personal communication with a former monogamist  member of the AUB who wishes to remain anonymous.

[23]  Salt Lake Tribune, 25 February 2001.

[24]  “Rules for Plural Marriage”

[25]  Carl Allred quoted in the Deseret Morning News, 20 February 2005, B1.

[26]  Ibid., B2.