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John Butchereit

In 1952 when the Priesthood Council members called by Lorin C. Woolley (Charles Zitting, Legrand Woolley, and Louis Kelsch) along with the seven men called by John Y. Barlow refused to support Musser’s selection of Rulon C. Allred as his “Second Elder,” Musser called seven men to ostensibly replace the previous ten.  In January he released all the members of the Priesthood Council and called Rulon C. Allred, Elsie Jensen, John Butchereit, Lyman Jessop, Owen Allred, Marvin Allred and Joseph B. Thompson as replacements.[1]  In Musser’s eyes these men comprised the true Priesthood Council, displacing the old Council members who had opposed him.  Accordingly, members of the old Council were expected to follow the new Priesthood Council that Musser had just assembled.  In August of 1952 Musser affirmed: “Whatever his former council did, was without authority from now on, unless he [Musser] sanctioned it and then it is done by HIS authority, not their own.”[2]

            After Musser’s death in 1954, Rulon Allred called John Butchereit to address the problems and disagreements that had emerged with the LeBaron polygamists in Mexico.  Butchereit visited Mexico in 1956 to “set the LeBarons straight.”[3]  Nevertheless, it was Butchereit 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, Butchereit would be shot dead by an unknown assailant.[4]

[1]   In 1975, Rulon Allred remembered: “Before Joseph finally died he called in members of the Council who are here and told them that the had spent an entire evening with the Lord, and that the Lord had told him what he should do. That led to the calling of this Council, and it wasn’t done just because Brother Musser was ailing in body and weak in mind.  It was the result of the visitation of the Lord with him for an entire evening.  I want you to take that for what it is worth.”    (Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 2:132.)

[2]  Joseph Thompson Diary, 24 August 1952; emphasis in original.  In Driggs, “Imprisonment, Defiance, and Division, 87.

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

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