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Alex Joseph - The Confederate Nations of Israel

One of the more colorful characters in Mormon fundamentalism is Alex Joseph who was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion, joining the LDS Church in 1955 at age 29.  Five years after his baptism he left the Church, aligning himself with the Allred Group and moving to Pinesdale, Montana to live in the polygamist colony there.  Using his charisma and intelligence, he successfully convinced several protestant coeds from the nearby University of Montana to become his plural wives[1] including two Catholics, a Methodist, and a Presbyterian.[2]  Their parents were outraged and the backlash was focused on Rulon Allred.  Allred called Alex to repentance, observing that his marriages occurred without approval of the Priesthood Council.  In response, he said, “You did it, Rulon, and now I’m following your example.”  He was asked to leave the Montana settlement three years after moving there.[3]

Following his own brand of Christian ideals including polygamy, Alex Joseph moved himself and his families to Glen Canyon City, (Kane County) Utah, calling it Big Water and served as its first mayor.  Together with his families and followers, Joseph built a cultural center for the community large enough to accommodate several hundred people with apartments for each of his wives, naming it Long Haul.

In 1978 Alex organized the Confederate Nations of Israel, an outgrowth of his beliefs in the destiny of the Christian peoples.  It contains a system of self-government including patriarchies in quorums of Judges, Senators and Counselors.  Like the Council of Fifty in Joseph Smith’s time, the Confederacy has members of different religions and resolutions are adopted by unanimous consent of the membership.

Prior to his death, Joseph served as a politician, Marine, policeman, firefighter, mail carrier, car salesman, an accountant, author of many books, and health food producer.  He died leaving seven wives, 21 children and 23 grandchildren.

He once explained: “We’re here trying to do one thing: win the approval of God by a deliberate following of the example of Jesus Christ.  Whether we are or not, we’re doing something that baffles the world, which is exactly what Christians have always done.  If you teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will chase you, they will put a contract out on your life, they will put you in jail, and they will kick you out of their houses.  They have done all those things to us.  What I am trying to determine is whether I have a constitutional right to set up a monarchy in Southern Utah.  I am married to my wife because we have constitutional right to contract an aristocratic, royal marriage.  Plural marriage is not an alternative lifestyle I found.  I found an alternative to democracy, an alternative to being oppressed by the majority.  The alternative I found was Christianity.”[4]

[1]    .  Solomon, Growing Up in Polygamy, 287.

[2]    .  Quinn, “Plural Marriage,” 1998, 22.

[3]    .  Solomon, Growing Up in Polygamy, 287.

[4]    .  Wilde, “Community Focus,” 50.