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Charles W. Kingston

The history of the Kingstons begins with Frederic Kingston, born March 1, 1829 in Peterborough, Northhampton, England.  Frederic married Mary Anne Hunter December 23, 1855 and together they had one child, Charles Kingston, born November 9th the next year.  Fred first listened to the restored gospel as it was preached by Orson Pratt in the 1850s.  Kingston family tradition records that a mob had assembled, determined to tar and feather the apostle. “Seeing the unfairness of the situation and wanting to protect the under-dog, [Frederic] engaged some of the mob leaders in a fight, which permitted the persecuted Elder of the Church to escape through an open window” wrote Fred’s grandson, Charles William Kingston.[1]

Fred was soon converted to the gospel and then in 1858 experienced a serious business reversal, which prevented him from paying his creditors.  Local law authorities issued a warrant for his arrest.  “A friend told him about a warrant that was out for his arrest, so he slipped away and stowed away in a ship and came to America and on to Utah.  He got a job and sent money for his wife’s passage, but she felt she could not leave England in disgrace.  She was determined not to leave until she had paid that debt.”[2]  Fred left both his wife and their only son behind in England where Charles was raised without the gospel by people who were prejudiced against the Church.

Nineteen years later in 1879, Charles joined his father in America, moving to Morgan, Utah.  Despite his anti-Church biases, he was willing to read the Church literature his father kept.  After several months of very careful study, his prejudices gave way to a belief in the truthfulness of the restored gospel. On his 23rd birthday, he was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church.  Shortly thereafter he had a vivid dream or vision.  He seemed “to be carried away into a large and spacious building, the walls of which were built of massive masonry; and so dark was the surroundings that he tried in vain to grope his way out of what appeared a fearful darkness. In this dilemma he fell upon his knees and in mighty prayer implored God to deliver him; suddenly, as he prayed, a bright light appeared over his head, and he distinctly heard the air cut by what appeared the decent of seven heavenly beings, all dressed in flowing white raiment, reaching to their feet; these beings encircled him about and one had a two edged sword in his hand which he held point upward, with his arm bent at the elbow; neither spoke, but as he continued to pray, the vision closed and he found himself wide awake.”[3]  This dream helped increase his faith in God and in the restored gospel.

Meanwhile, back in England, Charles’ mother Mary Anne Kingston “worked as a servant in a Royal family and with what her husband sent her for her passage and the money she saved, she paid those debts.  When she had paid them all, she came to Utah, but it took her more than [twenty-seven] long years, arriving in Utah in 1885.  Fred Kingston had become tired of living alone.  Waiting so long he despaired of his wife Mary Anne Hunter ever coming.  He married another woman [polygamously] and was raising another family when she came to join him in Utah.”[4]  Shortly after her arrival in Utah, Mary Anne became dissatisfied and moved back to England, leaving her husband and twenty-nine year old, Charles. [don’t know why]

          On May 17, 1883, Charles and Mary Priscilla Lerwill Tucker were married by Daniel H. Wells in the Endowment House. Ten children would eventually be born to them.  Three years after this marriage, Charles was called to fill a mission to Great Britain.  Upon his arrival there, he immediately sought his mother to teach her the gospel.  However, when he reached her domicile, he learned she had died and been buried just a week before.[5]  Years later in 1898 Charles served as second counselor to John M. Baxter, president of the Woodruff Stake of Zion, “lmy, Uinta County, Wyoming[6] and may have taken a plural wife in 1901.[7]  Charles and his wife later moved to Ogden, Utah. [don’t know the year]

The first child born to Charles and Mary Priscilla Lerwill Tucker on June 26, 1884 was Charles William Kingston.  When he turned eight Charles recalled: “My grandfather and Bishop Turner of Morgan, Utah, took me down to the Weber River and baptized me there, confirmed a member of the Church and conferred the Holy Ghost upon me.  I was kneeling on the sand near the edge of the water where I had been baptized.  The power of God came over me and I was tingling with joy from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet in every cell and fibre of my being.”[8] 

Charles William Kingston continued active in the Church, being married in the Logan Temple to Vesta Minerva Stowell on May 17, 1906.  Shortly thereafter he served an LDS mission to the Eastern States until 1908.  Upon his return, he homesteaded a farm thirteen miles southeast of Idaho Falls, Idaho where he stayed for thirteen years.  After several crop failures due to drought and grasshoppers, he took a job in 1922 working for the O.S.L Railroad as a car repairman.[9]  Charles continued working for the railroad for thirteen years, making monthly runs between Idaho Falls and Salt Lake City.  While in Salt Lake City he would often attend the temple and there met Charles F. Zitting.  Zitting had taken three plural wives who reportedly attended the temple with him.  Church authorities had yet to excommunicated them.

Zitting introduced Charles W. to the Woolleys, John having performed Zittting’s marriages.  In 1927 Charles took his wife Vesta with him to meet John W. Woolley at Centerville, Davis County, Utah.[10]  Charles did not record his wife’s reaction at that time but later that year, he alone heard the story of the 1886 meeting and ordinations as related by Lorin C. Woolley: 

I asked him if he would not write the story for me so I could preserve it for future generations.  He said, “No I will not write it down but if you will write it as you remember it then I will correct any errors I might find then you and will have it.”  This I did and then a few months after, a group of men met in Joseph Musser’s office and had brother Woolley tell the story while a stenographer recorded it and five type-written copies were made, with instructions that they be loaned out to trusted friends with the promise that they would be returned the same day.  This meeting, no doubt, was called by Brother Woolley as a result of my getting the story from him first, so that they could claim credit for putting it out.  I tried to get one of these copies to read as soon as I learned they were made but I was unable to have the opportunity to see them.  Then one morning an old Holland brother by the name of William Baldee came to my home in Idaho Falls and handed me one of these copies.  I asked him if it would be okay for me to obtain a copy and he said that he had promised to get this copy back by eleven o’clock that night, but that I could have a copy made which I did.  I sent this copy to a friend in Salt lake and asked him to have 1,000 copies printed which he did and entitled “An Event of the Underground Days.”[11] 

Kingstons Excommunicated 

In August 1928, Charles attended the Salt Lake Temple with his wife.  As he approached the recommend desk:  “The man asked me, ‘Are you the Brother Kingston from Idaho or the one from Ogden [Charles’ father]?  I said, ‘I’m the one from Idaho.’  ‘Well then, if that is the case, you can’t go through this temple until you see the president of the temple.”  Charles met with President George F. Richards and during the course of the meeting stated quite plainly that he didn’t believe in the 1890 Manifesto, saying “It came from the devil.”  In response, President Richards challenged him to give up his dedication to post-manifesto plural marriage and to sustain Church leadership, but did not allow him to enter the temple.[12]

Kingston’s wife Vesta proceeded into the temple that day while he waited outside.  During the interval, Charles found J. Leslie Broadbent to get advice.  Broadbent responded: “Brother Kingston, you are in a very serious situation.  A lot of us have lost all we had in this world” by being polygamists.  He warned that if Kingston entered plural marriage, “when your family find out what you have done, they won’t consider you as much as a yellow dog” and counseled Charles not to return to the temple.[13]

Charles met Vesta after she completed her temple session.  “She had been alone with her thoughts all that day in the temple,” recalled Charles.  “Worried sick as to what might happen to me.  So when we met, she was not herself.  She was really upset.  She said, ‘What is this you’ve been doing - going out with women I suppose? I’m going back to Idaho Falls tonight on the 8 o’clock train and I’m going to leave you.  The children are on my side.  Your father and mother will be against you; the church will be against you; all your old friends and relatives will have it in for you.’“[14]

Charles recalled:  “I did not go back to Idaho Falls on the train with my wife that night but I walked the streets of Salt Lake all that night.  It seemed that the world had dropped out from under my feet because I knew my wife well enough to know she never made no false threats [sic].”[15]  A day later Charles returned to Idaho Falls to an icy welcome.

Charles W. Kingston’s father in Ogden, Utah wrote to him the following month saying him: “We have been wondering how matters are now regarding your standing with the brethren in Idaho Falls.  We have learned that this matter is rather more serious than we had supposed.  Your mother is nearly broken up over this thing....  If we understand this matter correctly, your very standing in the church depends on your humbling yourself and getting back into favor of the Church.  Under no circumstances, must you allow yourself to be severed from the church.”[16]  Charles reported that after this letter, “When I failed to go to Ogden to visit my parents as they asked me in the letter, both my father and mother made a trip clear to Idaho Falls to persuade me against the course I had decided to pursue...  At that time, my wife and children were all against me.  My wife had even threatened to leave me.”[17]

Charles and Vesta’s oldest son, Elden then confronted his father directly saying, ‘It would be better for a person to lose his life than be cut off from the Church.’“[18] Nevertheless, within a short time, Elden had a dream wherein an “angel of the Lord” visited him.  Both Charles and Elden interpreted to mean that Charles was right in leaving the Church.[19]

Kingston’s defiance caused local leaders to hold a high council court on March 4, 1929.  It lasted from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  In the end, the Idaho Falls Stake High Council gave him six months to change his mind.  In reply he told them, “I did not want six months B I wanted them to make their decision that night because I knew what the Lord wanted me to do, and I was going to do it!”[20]  “I preferred that a decision would be made that night and for them not to wait even a minute.  And so, they decided by unanimous vote against me.”[21]  Charles remembered: “The High Councilmen were all kind hearted men and I could see how it was hurting them to have to take action... All were my friends and they begged me to take six months to consider before they made the decision.  I told them I did not blame them.”[22]

Despite their initial condemnation of Charles’ religious views, his children and even his wife had begun to support Him in his anti-Church stance.  “By the time of my trial my children had all been blessed with a testimony that what I was doing was right and my wife had gone a long way in our direction,” recalled Charles.  “For more than two years she had been trying to gain the knowledge of the truth as I had tried to teach it to her.  The fact that the children were on my side was an anchor for her.”[23] 

In June 1931, Charles’ oldest daughter, Orlean Harriet Kingston married Clyde Roland Gustafson.[24]  Charles wrote:  “In the year 1930 a young man who had just returned from a mission in Sweden was going with my oldest daughter.  I was working in Salt Lake City at the time and had a dream that they might get married and move away.  If they did it would result in a great deal of unhappiness and likely the breaking up of their home after marriage.”[25]  “I got on the train and went to Idaho Falls and spent five hours teaching the gospel to Clyde, which he seemed to accept without reservation, which made me happy.”[26]

Two years after Clyde and Orlean’s wedding, Charles W. Kingston, Vesta S. Kingston (wife), Ardous V. Kingston (sister), John O. Kingston (brother), Merlin B. Kingston (brother), Clyde Gustafson (son-in-law) and Orlean Gustafson (daughter) wrote a letter to the Stake Presidency of the Idaho Falls, Idaho stake saying, “Since you have been contemplating withdrawing fellowship and excommunicating the remaining members of our family from the Church for the last four years, and have sent certain men to our home from time to time to justify your actions in this regard: so that there will be no question in your minds regarding this matter, we are submitting to you the following facts...”  They then presented several complaints against Church leaders and their treatment of the 1886 “revelation.”  Ending with, “We are willing in this crisis to trust in the Lord and His Word, rather than pin our faith to such men.”[27]

 Clyde Gustafson in later life

Charles W. Kingston’s Vision 

In the morning hours of March 12, 1929, seven days after Charles W. Kingston’s excommunication, he received a vision: “Two men walked into my room.  The one on my right took me by the right hand...  Strength and power flowed from him through my right arm into my body.  He began to talk to me and the words were powerful and sweet.  Such words I had never heard so powerfully expressed before, and I wondered who this powerful stranger could be.  He made it known to me that my action before the High Council was approved.  ‘It can’t be the Lord,’ I said to myself.  ‘He could not find time to come to a man like me.’  So, with my left hand I opened His handclasp far enough to see the palm of His right hand, and there I saw the scar between the bones of His first two fingers B the scare that was made by the nail that pinned His right hand to the cross.  It was enough, B I knew now who He was!”[28]  Charles later concluded that the second man was God the Father.[29]

“One unusual thing,” Charles recalled.  “I noticed neither of these men wore any jewelry, watches, tie pins, cuff buttons, etc.  Their clothing was plain street dress, spotlessly clean.  The suits were dark suits.  When I told some of my friends of the colored suits, they said that it was proof that this wonderful experience was from the wrong source.”  In his defense, Charles observed: “But how about the Lord after his resurrection walking with the two disciples that did not know him until he broke bread and blessed it and gave them to eat.  He must have been dressed in clothes patterned after men in the streets otherwise they would have known him on the street before.”[30] 

          In 1931 Kingston teamed with Jesse Burke Stone to publish Laman Manasseh Victorious under the pseudonym, “William K. Ray.”[31]  In the preface the authors acknowledged that the book “was written by two different men...  It is signed by a non-deplume which can be made to refer to either one, or to both of the parties.”[32]  Laman Manasseh Victorious is a 205 page paperback, which begins with the creation of the world and discusses both plural marriage and priesthood authority through the ages up to 1931.  Kingston and Stone repeat Woolley’s claim that:  “President Taylor laid his hands on [five or six men] and gave them a commission and put them under covenant to see to it that plural marriages would be performed, and that not a year should pass that children were no ][sic] born under that covenant; and conferred upon them the sealing power of Elijah.”[33]

          Interestingly, despite Kingston’s having been taught personally by Lorin Woolley in the 1920s, the doctrines expounded in Laman Manasseh Victorious directly contradicted the Woolley-Broadbent-Barlow-Musser priesthood ideas that would be published two years later: Kingston and Stone wrote:  “The Keys of the dispensation seemed to be too great a responsibility for one man to hold, so they were given to two conjointly [Hyrum and Joseph Smith] with Joseph Smith directing.”[34]  Specifically, they taught that the Church Patriarch was the presiding priesthood authority on earth: 

          As a bishop, who is a literal descendant of Aaron can preside without councilors so also can the highest office inn the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood preside over the Priesthood and the church without councilors...

          Now who is the President of the High Priesthood?

          “It is the duty of the twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, or patriarchs) [sic] as shall be designated unto them by revelation...”

          When the Prophet Joseph was taken he left the church organization including the first presidency and apostles presided over by the Head Patriarch in all things spiritual.  It will be readily seen from the above that the seccession [sic] of the Priesthood in the true church is not in the Apostleship or Presidency but with the Presiding Patriarch.[35] 

          These teachings raise immediate questions as to how the Twelve Apostles could ordain an “evangelical minister” (or patriarch) who was subsequently superior to them in the priesthood.  In addition, Joseph Smith taught plainly that the Patriarch Priesthood was inferior to the Melchizedek Priesthood.[36]

          Regardless, of greater importance for fundamentalists is that Charles W. Kingston, like B. Harvey Allred, listened to Lorin Woolley teach in the 1920s and then each man wrote a book.  Allred published A Leaf in Review in 1933 and Kingston joined with Stone to print Laman Manasseh Victorious in 1931. Both publications repeat Woolley’s claims that he was given special authority in 1886 to seal plural marriages.  Yet both of these men failed to record anything regarding Lorin’s claims to hold all priesthood keys.  Also absent is any reference to an independent and all-powerful Priesthood Council or Council of Seven Friends.  Neither did they mention the office of High Priest Apostles or the Sanhedrin.  In fact, the teachings they did propound directly contradicted each other, as well as Woolley’s ideas published in 1933-34 regarding presiding priesthood authority on earth.

          It appears that when Allred and Kingston were listening to Woolley teach in the 1920s, Lorin had either not yet begun to speak of a Council of Friends, High Priest Apostles, or the Sanhedrin, or that Allred and Kingston learned of them and simply did not believe. 

From his association with other polygamists, Charles learned:  “Lorin C. Woolley told a friend of mine that Heber J. Grant married one of Lorin’s nieces, Lorin himself, performing the ceremony.”[37]  “When President John Taylor died in the year 1887, Brother J. W. Woolley and his son Lorin C. Woolley was [sic] at his bed side... Lorin C. Woolley was ordained an apostle by Brigham Young when he was a young man and was given the job vacated by Porter Rockwell when Rockwell died.”[38]

In a September 17, 1934 letter to fundamentalist B. Harvey Allred, Kingston asked: “The great question that now arises is where are the keys of the Priesthood ask spoken of in the 132nd section of the D&C?  Are they with the church with President Grant or are they in the wilderness?”  Kingston then wrote striving to convince Allred that one of the five men described by Lorin Woolley as being ordained in 1886 was that “one” man holding the priesthood keys:  “Now it must follow that there are only two places on the earth that could possibly be this directing head and the one is President Grant and the other is the man to whom th brethren looked who were ordained to perpetuate this power on the earth outside the church.  Now according to your book, A Leaf in Review, this power was directed by the Savior and the Prophet Joseph to be conferred on certain men in 1886 with the right of perpetuation... this was the beginning of the power in the wilderness.”[39] 

Despite Kingston’s conclusion, A Leaf in Review contains no reference to the keys of sealing being given to any of the five men.  It includes a recounting of Lorin’s 1929 story, but consistent with that version, there is no mention of the sealing keys.[40]  Nor does it appear that Harvey Allred ever taught such doctrine.  Earlier in 1934, Broadbent, Barlow, and Musser had rebuffed an attempt by Allred to have the Priesthood Council support his (Allred’s) second publication.[41]  Musser’s January 22, 1934 journal entry records: “Met in council meeting at Bro. Broadbents to consider the manuscript submitted for publication by Bro. B. Harvey Allred. We did not favor its publication.” Charles shared Allred’s disappointment: “I too, was disappointed,” wrote Kingston, “because they failed to incorporate your work as was my understanding, that they intended to do.”[42]


[1].  Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 1; spelling and punctuation standardized.  21 page undated manuscript.  Copy in possession of the author.

[2]. Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 1; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[3].  Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:331-32.

[4].  Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 1; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[5].   Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 1; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[6].White, Diaries of John Henry Smith, 410, entry for June 5, 1898.

 

[7]. The Ancestral File lists Charles as marrying Mary Ann Wass on November 14, 1901.  His first wife, Mary Tucker Kingston was still living (died in 1939).  However, Kingston is not included in Hardy’s list of post-1890 Manifesto plural marriages (he would have been located between 113 and 114).

[8].Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 3; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[9]. Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 8-9; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[10].   Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 18A; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[11]. “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 23-24, spelling standardized.  This “autobiography” is a 321 page manuscript containing many writings, historical items, letters, and doctrinal discussions compiled by Kingston himself.  Copy in possession of the author.

[12]Reminiscences of John W. Woolley and Lorin C. Woolley, 2nd ed., 3:111; “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 164-165, spelling standardized.

[13]Reminiscennces of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, 2nd ed. 3:112; “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 175-77, spelling standardized.

[14].”Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 178, spelling standardized.

[15].”Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 179, spelling standardized.

[16]. “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 170, spelling standardized.

[17].”Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 174, spelling standardized.

[18].    Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 13; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[19].   Charles William Kingston, “Reminiscences of Brother Charles Kingston,” 2.  (Eight page manuscript typed June 18, 1963.  Copy in possession of the Author.)  See also Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 13.

[20]Reminiscences of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, 2nd ed. 3:113.

[21]. “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 180, spelling standardized.

[22].  Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 15; spelling and punctuation standardized.

 

[23].   Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 16; spelling and punctuation standardized.

[24]. Clyde Roland Gustafson was born May 2, 1905 to Carl Axel and Anna Carolina Kvistberg Gustafson.  (Ancestral File.)

[25].   Charles William Kingston, “My Life History,” 18B; spelling and punctuation standardized.

 

[26]. Charles William Kingston, “Reminiscences of Brother Charles Kingston,” 3. 

[27]. Reminiscennces of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, 2nd ed. 3:142-143.

[28]Reminiscennces of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, 2nd ed. 3: 113-114; “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 185-87, spelling standardized.

[29].  “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 190, spelling standardized.

[30]. “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 189, spelling standardized.

 

[31].  Baird and Baird, Reminiscences of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, 2d ed., 3:114.

[32].  William K. Ray (Charles W. Kingston and Jesse B. Stone), Laman Manasseh Victorious: A Message of Salvation And Redemption To His People Israel First To Ephraim and Manasseh, Printcraft Shop: Idaho Falls, Idaho, 1931, (205 pages with index), 5.

[33].  Ibid., 96.

[34].  Ibid., 100.

[35].  Ibid., 145-147.

[36].  TPJS 322-323.

[37].  “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 33, 123.

[38]. “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 228, spelling standardized.

[39]. Charles W. Kingston to B. Harvey Allred, September 17, 1934, spelling standardized.  Typescript in “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 55-57.

[40]. “[John Taylor] ordained and set apart five men of that assembly, conferring power and

authority to unite faithful men and women in this Order of the Holy Priesthood, and to seal those covenants and promises by the Holy Spirit of Promise.  These men were instructed to go into different stakes throughout the Church and ordain other men to the same power and calling.  By the authority of the keys and powers of his apostolic and high priesthood presidency calling, he conferred upon those men those rights and powers; and said it would never be taken from the earth until Christ came whose right it was to rule and reign.”  (B. Harvey Allred, A Leaf in Review, 187.)

[41].Exactly what this second publication consisted of is unclear.  In 1984 Rhea Allred Kunz, B. Harvey Allred’s daughter, edited A Second Leaf in Review, N.p, 1984.  However, it is a collection of documents, the earliest of which was written in the “fall of 1934" (p. 15) and dealt with Harvey’s excommunication.  Rhea also included some recollections of her brother Harold Allred.  The timing involved does not allow this publication, A Second Leaf in Review, to be the specific publication Harvey submitted to Musser et. al prior to Januray 22, 1934.

[42]. Charles W. Kingston to B. Harvey Allred, September 17, 1934, spelling standardized.  Typescript in “Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston,” 55.