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 Marion Hammond 

Six years after J. Leslie Broadbent’s death, John Y. Barlow proposed the names of Leroy S. (“Roy”) Johnson and Marion Hammon to become High Priest Apostles.  Fellow Council member Louis Kelsch asked John if he had followed the procedure outlined by Lorin for calling new Council members.  Barlow conceded that such strict instructions had not been followed, but that he nonetheless “felt inspired” to call the two men.  John also discussed the issue with Joseph Musser who related the incident to Morris Kunz: 

[Joseph Musser] said, “I’ll tell you what happened.  John Y. came up to my home.  I was living on the avenues.  I hadn’t seen John for quite some time, and when he came into the house he said, ‘Joseph, I feel that a Roy Johnson and Marion Hammon should be put into the council.’“ [Musser] says, John, have you had a revelation to that effect?”   [Barlow] said, “no, but I feel.”  Joseph said, “I told you John, ‘You know as well as I do what the order is, what we have been taught...  I suppose I got a little rough with John Y. at that time, and he stormed out of the house and left, went back to Short Creek.  Two weeks later I looked out the window and John Y. was coming up to my house again.  When he came in, and after he got in for a little while he said, ‘Well, Joseph, I still feel that Roy Johnson and Marion Hammon should be put into the council.’  I said to John Y. again, ‘John have you had a revelation to that effect?’  “Well, no,’ he said, ‘ I haven’t, but I feel that they should be put in... in the meantime.’“

[Musser] said, “I suppose I had mellowed a little bit, and so I told John Y., ‘John, you being the senior member of this council, if you wan to put Roy Johnson and Marion Hammon into the council, I will not oppose it providing that you take all the responsibility.’“[1]

Acting upon Barlow’s inspiration, the names of Johnson and Hammon were presented to the remaining four members of the Council of Friends.  Reportedly both Louis A. Kelsch and Legrand Woolley abstained from voting, but without formal objection, the men were ordained.  Lewis Kelsch told Arnold Boss in 1946 that “he had never been able to welcome any of the new ones asked into the council since Lorin’s death.  I have not been able to fellowship them; and when John Y. said, he would take all the responsibility for what had been done in calling them, I let it rest there.”[2] 


Joseph Musser first met Marion Hammon at his home in St. Anthony, Idaho, December, 1938.  Musser again visited in November, 1939 and invited Hammon to speak at the meeting held there in St. Anthony.  By June 1940, Hammon moved to Millville to join several fundamentalist families living in that area.[3]  His new proximity to Salt Lake City allowed Musser to appoint him “to take charge of the Priesthood study class under the supervision of the Council” on 9 July 1940.”[4]  Invited to accompany Musser and Barlow two months later, they visited St. Anthony, Pocatello and Millville, holding meetings and strengthening fellow fundamentalists.[5]  Hammon also joined them on a trip to the “North” the following year[6] and in November of 1941 Musser “guided” Hammon to a surprise thirty-fifth birthday party.[7] 

On 6 June 1941 both Barlow and Musser visited Marion Hammon at his home where he lived with his three wives.  Jenna Vee Morrison Hammon recalled that after her husband spoke privately with the two men, “Brother Hamon finally came out to the kitchen, where we three women were, and told us that the Brethren were there and that they had a very special message for us.  And then he asked we three women if we were able and capable of being the wives of an Apostle?  After we contemplated for a moment or two, we all three answered in the affirmative.”[8]  Hammon was ordained 14 December 1941.  Musser wrote: “Held special Priesthood meeting in morning and general meeting in P.M. with special meeting of our Council in evening, where ordinance work was performed for Brothers Johnson and Hammon.”[9] 

The United Effort Plan 

During the years immediately after the 1953 raid, the UEP limped along.  Priesthood Council leader Leroy Johnson, under court order, did not immediately return to live at Short Creek, but moved first to Phoenix, Arizona and then to Manti, Utah with portions of his families.  Carl Holm held the formal position as General Manager of the UEP, but the recognized leader was actually Richard Jessop.  These local leaders decided to make each individual in the UEP responsible for his or her own needs, asking them to contribute time and resources to community projects and to pay their tithing to the “group.” 

Difficulties continued so the Priesthood Council convened to discuss selling off the UEP property in order to satisfy outstanding debts.  One Council member disagreed.  J. Marion Hammon had been sent by Barlow and Musser to Short Creek in the early 1940s and designated the General Manager of the United Effort Plan.  Over a decade had passed and he requested the opportunity to return again to the UEP, assuming that same role.

In the summer of 1958, an energized Marion Hammon rejoined the United Effort Plan as its leader, determined to revitalize the project.  He injected new life by implementing aggressive ideas and insisting upon greater discipline.  One program he started was the work mission.  Since the days of Joseph Smith, the mother Church has continually sent young men to preach the gospel for two years, originally “without purse or scrip” and then later financially supported by their families back home.[10]  Hammon would call young fundamentalist men to work missions for two years or longer with the expectation that they would find jobs at the highest wages possible and then send all their income directly to the UEP, meanwhile the boys’ families provided all necessary financial support.  Upon their return to Short Creek, they would be promised a wife and a building lot in the UEP.[11]  This program provided needed cash to finance UEP projects.

Due to the perceived stigma associated with the 1953 raids at Short Creek, the name was changed to Colorado City in 1963.  By then, people were prospering little by little with the population expanding to over five hundred inhabitants.[12]  However, not everyone who came to Colorado City stayed; on occasion men would join with them for a time and then break away.  In a 1968 discourse, Johnson complained: “We have many come among us; they come here and listen to the testimonies of the servants of God, then they go away and go to the other factions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to find out what they have to give.  Their minds are confused.”[13]

At one point, Leroy Johnson related, “People have come to me and said, ‘Brother Johnson, why don’t you give us new revelation?  You have taught us all these things and now we feel like we need something new.’“[14] In reply, Johnson paraphrased Joseph Smith: “I wish to God I could give to this people one-tenth of what He has revealed to me.  But if I do, there are men on the stand who would want to take my life.”[15]

By the time the 1970s rolled around, the UEP enjoyed a level of prosperity previously unknown in the area.  “Today we are in a better financial condition than we have ever been in this little community,” observed Leroy Johnson in 1972.[16]  Under Hammon’s guidance, many new homes were build, a high school constructed, electrical and telephone services installed, a culinary water system operating, a new paved highway to Hurricane, Utah completed with numerous farming projects producing crops.  Still, Leroy Johnson observed: “A week doesn’t pass but what someone comes in and wants to know when we are going to organize the united order. We are not ready for the united order.  Joseph Musser told me this when I first got acquainted with him. ‘We are not worthy of the united order,’ he said, ‘but we will unite ourselves together and live at it, if we can.’“[17] 

The “One Man” Doctrine 

As a general pattern in Colorado City, each individual Priesthood Council member had the power to decide who would marry whom without discussing the arrangements with other Council members.  Individuals who desired new wives could obtain the approval and cooperation of any member of the Priesthood Council to seal their marriages.  In time, factions and cliques formed aligning themselves with the various Council members.

One significant disagreement arose regarding the question of presiding authority: “Was there ‘one man’ who ruled the PRIESTHOOD (and the ‘group’) or did the entire Priesthood Council preside?”  Council members were split regarding the answer.  The “One Man Doctrine” taught that in accordance with D&C 132: 7, 18, 19, only “one [man] on earth at a time” holds the priesthood keys and that man is the Senior Member of the Priesthood Council.  Accordingly, other members of the Council are essentially only “counselors” to him.  If the “one” man felt he did not need six other counselors, then he was under no obligation to call new Council members to replace those that died.  Proponents observed that apparently the Council of Friends contained only “one” member in early 1929.

The opposing view was that all members of the Council hold the priesthood keys together and the Senior Member presides over the group.  In support of this belief, adherents would quote from an uncanonized 1880 revelation to Wilford Woodruff given at a time when the Church was lead by the entire Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (after Brigham Young’s death but prior to the First Presidency’s reorganization).  The revelation states:  

“While my servant John Taylor is your President [of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] I wish to ask the rest of my servants of the Apostles the question.  “lthough you have one to Preside over your Quorum and over the Church which is the order of God in all generations  Do you not all of you hold the Apostleship which is the highest authority ever given to man on the earth  You do. Therefore you hold in Common the keys in all the world you each of you have power to unlock the vail of Eternity and hold converts with God the Father and his son Jesus Christ and to have the Administration of Angels. It is your right privilege & duty to inquire of the Lord his mind & will concerning yourselves the inhabitants of Zion and their interest  And whenever any one of you receive the word of the Lord  Let it be written and Presented in your Council and whatever by a united council you deem wisdom to be presented unto the people let it be presented by the President ...”[18] 

Also contradicting the “One Man Doctrine” were Lorin Woolley’s teachings that the Council of Friends consistently contained seven members throughout the nineteenth century.  Lorin often referred to the Council, not simply as the Council of Friends, but as “the Seven,”[19] which number Woolley (re)established in the early 1930s.  According to Lorin, the unanimous vote of all Council members was required for important decisions.[20]

By the 1960s Leroy Johnson was acknowledged to be that “one” man by most residents of Colorado City, although he was careful in his teachings saying, “You have heard other men call me a prophet, but you have never heard me make the claim.”[21]  But on another occasion he acknowledged his lofty calling: “I realize that the Lord has placed upon my shoulders a work similar to that of Enoch, to gather a people together and teach them the principles of salvation, and to tutor them in a way that they can be used in the redemption of Zion.”[22]  He also observed: “Only one man at a time holds the keys and power of the sealing power, and those who act during his administration are only acting under a delegated authority.”[23]  “I am only standing in the place that Joseph stood in B head of the Priesthood.”[24]

By 1979, two of the old Council had passed away, Carl Holm on 27 April 1972[25] and Richard Jessop on 23 October 1978.  Leroy Johnson believed in the “One Man Doctrine,” but was himself severely ill with a case of the shingles.  In almost constant pain, he seldom left home or participated in fundamentalist meetings. 

Rulon Jeffs remained the solo voice in favor of the “One Man Doctrine.”  Jeffs referred to President Johnson as “the key-holder and the mouth-piece of God”[26] and taught:  “President Johnson stands in the same position to the people of Zion in this day as Joseph did in that, and we are to have those ministrations done through the keys and power conferred upon him by the Lord God.  It has been the same through Joseph Smith’s legal successors from his day until the present.”[27]  The “One Man Doctrine” also received significant support from the sons of John Y. Barlow who were leaders in the community, Dan Barlow as Mayor of Colorado City and Sam Barlow as Deputy Sheriff.[28] 

Since Leroy Johnson was Senior Member of the Priesthood Council, he was responsible for recommending new replacements so that the Council might be perpetuated.  However, after Holm’s and Jessop’s deaths, he followed his belief in the “One Man Doctrine” and made no recommendations for new members.

Those who opposed the “One Man Doctrine” were junior Council members, Marion Hammon, Guy Musser and Alma Timpson.  Hammon left Short Creek in 1972 to pursue personal interests, but returned in 1976.  The last Priesthood Council meeting attended by all five members occurred in 1979.  At that time, three opposed the “One Man Doctrine” while two upheld it.  Guy Musser died 11 July 1983 leaving the Council evenly split.  The rift between Council members widened and attempts were made to evict residents siding with Hammon and Timpson from their properties owned by the UEP.

By February of 1984 Johnson’s health improved enough for him to speak to his fundamentalist followers.  He addressed the division directly: “I was struck down in the early part of 1979 [with shingles]....  I want to say a few words to these men who sit here on the stand today.  (He turned to face J. Marion Hammon and Alma A. Timpson.)  The Lord gave you men five and a half years to change your thinking on this principle of having one man holding the sealing powers in the earth at a time, and you have made a miserable mess of it by coming here and preaching over this pulpit that I was about to die because of my attitude towards this principle.”[29]  Then he vented: “For about three and a half years, neither I nor Brother Rulon Jeffs were allowed to speak to the people.  Why?  Because I was stricken down and I couldn’t speak, but I am speaking today.  They would not allow Brother Jeffs to speak because he sustained me.”[30] 

Six days later, he declared: “I want to tell you, the first thing that is going to take place is the cleaning up of the Priesthood Council.  I want to tell these men on the stand B Brother J. Marion Hammon, and Brother Alma Adelbert Timpson, that from now on, I am throwing you off my back, and I am not going to carry you any more.”[31]  They were dismissed as members of the Priesthood Council.

The following year Rulon Jeffs encouraged his listeners to “have an oath and covenant with the keyholder of [the] priesthood, Leroy S. Johnson, to obey him in all things, because he holds the keys and is the mouthpiece of God.  And he is God over us.”[32]  Strict discipline was required of all “group” members.  At one 1985 meeting, Johnson announced: “From now on, sentinels will stand at the door, and men and boys with long hair will have to go home and have a haircut before they can come into meeting.”[33]  

Centennial Park and the “Second Ward” 

In response to their dismissal, Hammon and Timpson drew away a portion of the fundamentalists of Colorado City after them, holding their first Priesthood Meeting on 13 May 1984 just a few miles outside of town.  They named their group the “Second Ward” in contrast to those following Johnson who comprised the “First Ward.”  The Second Ward initially met in the home of Alma Timpson, but within two years they secured land and built their own meeting house.  It was dedicated 27 September 1986, precisely one hundred years after the date described by Lorin Woolley when John Taylor ordained five men to continue plural marriage.  Consequently, the town was named, “Centennial Park City.”

Marion Hammon died in 1988 leaving Alma Del Timpson as the sole leader of the Second Warders.  He soon called his son John Timpson and Frank Naylor as apostles and Ivan Neilsen as a high priest and later as bishop.  Due to disagreements in 1990, Naylor and Nielsen and their families separated from the rest of the Centennial Park group.  Many came to the Salt Lake Valley where they formed their own group with Naylor as presiding priesthood authority.[34]  

The remaining fundamentalists in Centennial Park continued to follow Alma Timpson until he died in 1998.  Subsequently, his son John assumed the leadership role along with five other men in their own Priesthood Council.  In 2003, Centennial Park was a flourishing town of nearly 2000 people.

[1]    .  Morris Q. Kunz, Reminiscences on Priesthood, 23-24.  See also Kelsch, Louis Alma Kelsch, 44.

[2]  Arnold Boss Prison Diaries, 11 August 1946.

[3]    .  Musser Journals, 25 June 1940.

[4]    .  Ibid., 9 July 1940.

[5]    .  Ibid., 18 September 1940.

[6]    .  Ibid., 9 June 1941.

[7]    .  Ibid., 17 November 1941.

[8]    .  Hammon, Betrayal of the Godhead, 19.  Jeena Veen Hammon would also express her doubts concerning her husband’s calling: “All those called, after Lewis Kelsch [sic], have been called wrong and anointed wrong.  They have no authority from God.  They are the Apostles of John Y. Barlow, or the person who called them; as God had nothing to do with their callings and anointings” (page 32).

[9]    .  Musser Journals, 14 December 1941.

[10]    .  Mormon fundamentalists criticize the financial support given to full-time missionaries.  They teach that “without purse or scrip” is he only appropriate way to perform missionary work, regardless of the time or place (Truth 3:144‑145).  See D&C 84:86, Luke 10:4, 22:36 and the discussion at  See also, Embry, “Without Purse or Scrip,” 77-93.

[11]    .  Llewellyn, Polygamy Under Attack, 18.

[12]    .  Hilton, “Polygamy in Utah Since the Manifesto,” 48.

[13]    .  LSJ Sermons 6:304.

[14]    .  Ibid., 6:234.

[15]    .  Ibid., 1:97.

[16]    .  Ibid., 2:511.  Discourse given 13 August 1972.

[17]    .  Ibid., 2:427.

[18]  Willford Woodruff Journal, 26 January 1880; Musser, Four Hidden Revelations, 3-11; italics added.  Rulon Jeffs, supported of the “One Man Doctrine teaching: “Wilford Woodruff had no authority nor power to receive and write that revelation... So what follows is received illegitimately and from below...  I know, as I know I live, brothers and sisters, that this Council does not hold the keys in common...”  (LSJ Sermons 7:306.  See also 6:408-10,7:466-68.)

[19]  BOR 47-48, 53, 64, 65, 70.

[20]  For example, in choosing new members of the Council, Lorin taught: “A person is first chosen by the Council in heaven and then a messenger comes here to reveal the man chosen to the President of Priesthood.  Then the Priesthood Council here votes on him and the results are taken back to the Priesthood Council in heaven, who call the man by revelation through the President of Priesthood.”  In Zitting, Charles F. Zitting, 62, (written in 1946 - see page 82).  See also  Morris Q. Kunz, Reminiscences on Priesthood, 22-23. 

[21]    .  Sermon given in 1980 recorded by Benjamin Bistline. Bistline, History of Colorado City, 102.

[22]    .  LSJ Sermons, 7:390.  See also notes from a meeting held 5 August 1962 in Hilton, “Polygamy in Utah Since the Manifesto,” 53.

[23]    .  LSJ Sermons 7:352.

[24]  Ibid., 4:1732.

[25]    .  LSJ Sermons 2:462-67.

[26]    .  Ibid., 7:272.

[27]    .  Ibid., 7:304.

[28]    .  Sam Barlow’s services as deputy sheriff were defended by Leroy Johnson in April 1970: “You young men, you should be ashamed of yourselves to do anything in this community to cause the Priesthood to call you to order or to cause Sam Barlow, our peace officer, to stop you on the highway and tell you to drive a little more peaceable.  When you are stopped, you should never hold a feeling in your heart that Sam Barlow is trying to put something over you and cause him to have to give you a ticket to appear before a judge.  It is the most disgraceful thing that I know of from this community...  You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.  You are not only doing an injustice to yourself and the driver of the car, but you are doing an injustice to this Priesthood.  We call on these boys sometimes to get up and bear their testimonies.  They bear testimony that these men hold the keys of the Priesthood.  Then they go out and do things like this.”  (Ibid., 1:169.)

[29]    .  Ibid., 7: 351.

[30]    .  Ibid., 7: 352.

[31]    .  Ibid., 7: 355-56.

[32]    .  Priesthood Articles, 348.  Discourse given 16 February 1985.

[33]    .  LSJ Sermons 7:452.

[34]  Bistline, Colorado City Polygamists, 156.