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Paul Elden Kingston Leads 1987 to Present 

Upon Ortell’s death in 1987, leadership passed to his son Paul Elden Kingston.  Paul continued to follow his father’s ideas regarding intra-family marriages.  Daughters of men in the Co-op would be married off at young ages.  LuAnn Kingston, a former member of the clan who in 1995 at age fifteen was forced to mary her first cousin shared: “The joke used to be that if you weren’t married by 17, you were an old maid...  Some want to be married. Some had to be. Girls are always trying to please. All they know is how to do what they’ve been told.”[1]

Jason Ortell Kingston (full brother to Paul Elden Kingston) married his half-sister, Andrea Johnson who became pregnant in 1992.  It appears that she suffered from preeclapmsia (toxemia), which progressed to full life-threatening eclampsia before she was brought in for medical care.[2]  A C-section was performed to save the baby, but Johnson died.  State officials believed that obstetrical care was withheld because of the fear that the incestuous relationship would be discovered.[3] 

 Paul Elden Kingston 

More recently, 15 year old Mary Ann Kingston was forced by her father, John Daniel Kingston (another full brother to Paul Elden Kingston), to marry her uncle, David Ortell Kingston (also a full brother).  Escaping the marriage by running away, she was apprehended by her father who beat her.  He pled “no contest” to the charge of child abuse and served seven months in jail.[4]  For his part uncle/cousin David Kingston was convicted in July 1999 of incest and unlawful sexual conduct, landing a four year prison term.[5]  In August 2003 Mary Ann filed a $110 million lawsuit against members of the Kingston clan alleging sexual abuse of a child, seduction, assault, battery, false imprisonment, emotional distress, negligence and sham marriage.[6]  The Kingstons countersued for defamation and it appears this lawsuit will not go to trial for years.

Another scandal touching the Kingstons involved Jeremy Ortell Kingston ( a nephew of Paul E. Kingston) who was convicted for his incestuous marriage to fifteen-year-old LuAnn Kingston who was his first cousin as well as his aunt, his mother’s sister’s daughter.  This came to light in May, 2000 as LuAnn tried to leave the clan with her two daughters.[7]

John Daniel Kingston was again in the spotlight in 2003 when ten of his children with wife Heidi Mattingly Foster, were taken into state custody.  In October Judge Andrew Valdez placed a court-ordered separation between the children and their parents.  Attorneys for the children in the Guardian ad Litem's Office claimed that Kingston and Heidi Mattingly Foster had engaged in a decade long pattern of physical abuse and neglect of their children.

In May of 2004, a hearing was held here.  Attorney Kristin Brewer, director of the Guardian ad Litem's office, spent much of her time trying to connect Kingston to other women who had borne his children and had been investigated by the Division of Child and Family Services.  She began by asking Kingston to provide the names of his offspring with Mattingly Foster, whom DCFS had investigated four times during the past decade. Kingston came up with about five names before faltering, saying he was “very nervous.”  After viewing a list of the children, he then attempted to name them but once more fell short ‑‑ prompting Judge Andrew Valdez to supply the final child's name for him.  Kingston was able to name only nine of his 13 children by a second woman, Rachael Ann Kingston. “Sounds like I left a few out,” he said after Brewer reminded him how many children are in that family.[8]

Several evidences, like John Daniel Kingston’s inability to remember his children’s names, suggest that the Kingston clan believe that the primary purpose of plural marriage is to allow a man to accrue as many wives and children as possible, with little responsibility beyond siring and presiding.  LDS scriptures teach that being a husband and father entails specific duties, even “great things” (D&C 29:48).  Paul emphasized the need to provide for material needs: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). 

Also, fathers should love their children (Jacob 3:7) and teach them the gospel:  “And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.  For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.  And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:25-26, 28).  “But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth” (D&C 93:40). 

In December 2005 Judge Elizabeth Lindsley lifted the court-ordered separation between Mattingly Foster and her children.  However, she kept in place a no‑contact order between Kingston and the couple's children.[9]

In 2003 it was estimated that the Kingston fundamentalists included 1200 to 2000 members.[10]  However, this number may be too low.  Three years later it was estimated that Paul Kingston, the clan leader, had up to 40 wives.  Each wife is encouraged to have a baby each year.[11]  Nursing newborns is discouraged because it diminishes the likelihood of conception.  Some of Paul’s wives have up to sixteen children each.[12]  With these numbers, it is possible that Paul alone has over three hundred offspring.  His brothers have prominent positions within the co-op and may have dozens of wives and hundreds of children themselves.

The Kingstons represent an interesting branch on the Mormon fundamentalist tree.  Whether they claim authority from J. Leslie Broadbent or angels from heaven, they have successfully created an impressive financial empire and called it the law of consecration.  While they affirm that they now carry the torch first lit by Joseph Smith, their agenda focuses only on plural marriage and their own brand of united order.  The Prophet’s priorities of missionary work, temple ordinances, proxy work for the dead, and feeding the poor appear to have been lost somewhere.  Early persecution seems to have conditioned Kingston leaders to maintain the utmost secrecy. But third generation officers seem to use ignorance as a tool to enhance their control of their followers, especially women.  With the dawn of the twenty-first century, lawsuits and education among Kingston followers will combine to create new obstacles, as leaders perpetuate this financially-spiritual hybrid organization.


[1]    .  Michael Janofsky, “Young Brides Stir New Outcry on Utah Polygamy,” New York Times, 27 February 2003, Late Edition - Final Section A, page 1, column 2.

[2].  Moore-Emmett, God’s Brothel, 150.

[3]    .Tracy, Secret Story, 3-6.

[4].  Ray Rivera, “Kingston Gets Maximum Term, Lecture on Incest,” The Salt Lake Tribune, July 10, 1999, URL

http://www.rickross.com/reference/polygamy/polygamy23.html, last retrieved January 16, 2006.

[5]   Kathleen Tracy, The Secret Story of Polygamy, 8-15.

[6].Judy Nichols, “Wives suing to bring end to abuse under polygamy,” The Arizona Republic,

Phoenix, Arizona, October 15, 2003 , URL uttp://www.childpro.org/2003%20media/2003%20media%2001.htm.  Last retrieved January 16, 2006. 

[7].Stephen Hunt, “Polygamist pleads guilty to incest,”The Salt Lake Tribune, October 31, 2003, URL: http://www.polygamyinfo.com/plygmedia%2003%20174ap.htm. Last retrieved 12-26-05.

[8].  Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, May 22, 2004.  URL: http://www.polygamyinfo.com/plygmedia%2004%20157trib.htm.  Last accessed 1-7-06.

[9].  Brooke Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, December 7, 2005, URL:  http://www.rickross.com/reference/polygamy/polygamy405.html.  Last accessed 1-7-06.

[10]    Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven, 18.

[11].  Kathleen Tracy, The Secret Story of Polygamy, 96.

[12]. Interview conducted by the author with several former members of the Kingston group, January 8, 2006.