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 Margarito Bautista 

One of Musser’s first decisions was to call additional members to the Priesthood Council including Margarito Bautista.[1]  Born 10 June 1878, Bautista joined the Church at age thirteen.  Moving to Utah in 1913, he was called to serve as the Branch President of the first Spanish speaking branch of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City in the 1920s.  Margarito became converted to fundamentalist ideas a decade later but successfully retained his Church membership.  Then in 1935 he returned to Mexico where he was recruited by organizers of the “Third Convention,” a movement to install a Mexican as the head of the Church in Mexico.  Convening 26 April 1936, they attempted to have visiting General Authorities arrested as illegal foreign religious missionaries.[2]  However, Bautista’s involvement was short-lived as he advanced his beliefs in plural marriage and the law of consecration among Third Convention followers.[3]  In 1937, Harold Pratt, then leader of the Church in Mexico, was instructed by Church headquarters to excommunicate the leaders of the Third Convention including Bautista.  Most of the other conventionists eventually reconciled with the Church.[4]

Upon his expulsion from the Third Convention, Bautista relocated to Ozumba (outside of Mexico City) where he established what would become Colonia Industrial, a community organized according to principles of the united order.  At one time he reportedly served as the Presiding Patriarch to Joel LeBaron, only to later denounce the LeBaron doctrines.[5]  He maintained close ties with Joseph Musser and was invited to join the Priesthood Council.[6]  One source states that Musser ordained him saying: “I confer upon you all the authority that I myself hold.”[7]  Despite this calling, Bautista’s primary focus remained south of the border among his own people.  After Musser’s death, Bautista “took steps to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in old Mexico and to build the Church at Ozumba.”[8]  Later aligned with Rulon C. Allred, he remained a prominent leader among Mexican polygamists until his death in 1961.

[1]    .  K. Warner Jessop, “Priesthood Lineage Chart,” 13 June 1988.  Musser also called William L. Goldman.

[2]    .  In 1946, Church President George Albert Smith held a conference and extended a special invitation to members of the Third Convention.  Over 1200 members returned to full membership in the Church.  (Shields, Divergent Paths, 139)

[3]    .  Murphy, “Remnants of the Third Convention,” 1, 8-11.

[4]    .  Murphy, “United Order in Mexico,” 69.

[5]    .  Wright, “Origins and Development,” 112.

[6]    .  Hilton, “Polygamy in Utah Since the Manifesto,” 32.

[7]    .  Floren LeBaron, “An Open Letter,” The Rolling Stone, November 1958, 7.  In Wright, “Origins and Development,” 112.

[8]    .  Rulon C. Allred, Treasures of Knowledge, 1:146.