Robert Black: The Church of the Firstborn, Temple Ordinances and the AUB

Robert Rey Black was an associate of Ross W. LeBaron in The Church of the Firstborn. In the following essay, Black recollects his interactions with the presiding council of the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) over temple ordinances, in 1978. Black claims that, under the authority of Ross LeBaron, he attempted to teach and perform the temple ordinances to the AUB leaders, until the rituals’ texts were allegedly purchased by the AUB from Fred C. Collier.

temple ordinances Mormon Fundamentalism
Architectural sketch of the Kirtland Temple. | Image: Historic American Buildings Survey

Statement Concerning Circumstances Surrounding the Commencement of Temple Ordinances by the Apostolic United Brethren (Allred Group)


In view of the fact that history sometimes has a way of being lost or rewritten over time, I feel it may be of interest to record certain events which occurred concerning circumstances surrounding the commencement of Temple ordinances by the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), also known as the Allred Group. In no way is this statement intended to be disrespectful towards that organization, but on the contrary, will hopefully be appreciated by all those interested in history, including members of the AUB. No doubt, this is not the complete background to how the AUB leadership began performing Temple ordinances for their members, but a full understanding of that background would be incomplete without this piece of the puzzle. Please forgive any errors, they are unintentional.

Since 1975 I have been an ordained Patriarch in the Church of the Firstborn, a Mormon Fundamentalist group which claims the Priesthood keys were been passed down to Ross Wesley LeBaron through his father Alma Dayer LeBaron, Benjamin F. Johnson, and Joseph Smith. In 1976 I had a friend interested in joining a United Order in Salt Lake City led by a man named John Bryant, who was a member of the AUB. This
friend of mine asked me what I knew about Bryant. Because I didn’t really know anything about him I called members of the AUB Priesthood Council to ask them about him. Although we differed on points of doctrine concerning who had the presiding Priesthood keys, I was acquainted and on friendly terms with most of the leadership of the AUB. Everyone I spoke to, with the exception of George Maycock, told me that as far as they were concerned, Bryant was a good man and that his United Order would probably be a good fit for my friend. George assumed that Bryant was possessed of an evil spirit because he had missed more than three Priesthood meetings in a row. I related all this information to my friend, who chose to join with Bryant due to his desire to live in a United Order.

Soon after, my friend disclosed to me that John Bryant and some members of his United Order were performing ceremonies similar to those found in Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), but with innovations. Apparently the AUB leadership was unaware this was occurring. Up until this time, the AUB membership had either received their endowments in LDS Temples, or, if unable to enter therein due to their known affiliation with Fundamentalist Mormonism, awaited a time when the Church would be set in order and the Temples opened up to them for ordinance work. This was due to their tradition that their work was mainly to keep plural marriage alive, in accordance with the charge given them by John Taylor as recounted by Lorin C. Woolley.

My friend expressed concern over rumors he had heard pertaining to advanced rituals he himself had not been privy to. Bryant had entrusted him with a copy of his ceremony book for safe keeping, but instructed him not to read it. My friend was in the process of selling his paid-off home to donate the proceeds to the United Order. Because the direction these rituals were leading worried him, and it was no small matter to sell the home his family was living in, he felt it necessary to peek inside the file and see what the other ceremonies were. What he discovered was so vile and bizarre that it should not be repeated. Suffice it to say, it was disturbing enough to leave no doubt whatsoever that the dark works were not of God, and that John Bryant was a werewolf in sheep’s clothing. My friend left on an errand and I borrowed the file for a few hours in order to have it Xerox copied.

A short time after this I happened to see John Ray, a member of the AUB’s presiding Council, across the street visiting someone. I called to him to come over to my house so I could show him what I had found. I reminded him I had called him and others on the AUB Council and they had told me that John Bryant was a good man. I asked him what was going on. John Ray assured me they did not know anything about these
rituals, and urged me to speak to Owen Allred (the presiding High Priest Apostle of the AUB) about what we’d uncovered. As it turned out, Owen did not want to discuss it. Instead, he appointed a woman named Donna Baird to get a copy of Bryant’s ceremonies from me. In return, she gave me copies of letters that Bryant had sent to Owen.

This incident led to chats about Temple ordinances with John Ray. I eventually showed him my files on the Holy Order and second anointings, and realized he was ignorant on many things concerning those subjects. He seemed to have no idea what the second anointing was, so I expounded on the ordinance and doctrines of it to him. He wanted me to talk to Joe Thompson (another High Priest Apostle on the AUB Council) about
it. I quickly came to the conclusion that he also was uneducated when it came to the meaning and significance of the Holy Order and the second anointing. Joe came over to my house on several occasions and we had long discussions on these topics. I showed Joe my files and he was so entranced and excited about it that he wanted me to teach this information to Owen Allred. Years later I heard that Joe was claiming he had received the second anointing from Joseph Musser before Brother Musser died. I find that very hard to believe considering he knew nothing about it before I explained it to him. Nor did he, or anyone else, ever mention that Brother Musser had ever done such a thing with any individual at the time I was teaching him. I assume such a claim was an afterthought concocted at a later date.

On June 8 1978, the LDS Church announced Blacks could be ordained to the Priesthood and receive the blessings and sealing ceremonies available through the Temple endowment. This concerned the leadership of the AUB, as their understanding of LDS doctrine led them to believe that by so doing, the Temples of the Lord would be defiled, and the LDS Church would go deeper into apostasy. Soon after, Joe Thompson
said he would arrange for me to meet with Owen Allred. I got the impression that making such a get-together public knowledge was not something they desired, and therefore only a few people knew about it. On my end, Ross LeBaron, Clark Callear, and I were aware of it. But other than Joe Thompson, Owen, and one of Owen’s wives (who came in and out during our conversation), I don’t know who else on their side knew about it. Over the years I have lost the exact day of my meeting with Owen in his home, but according to my journal it was within the first two weeks of July 1978, most likely during the week after July 8.

When I spoke with Owen – much like John Ray and Joe Thompson – it was obvious he knew very little about the Holy Order and the second anointing. After we discussed what the ordinance and doctrine was and what it meant, he asked me if he could have a copy of my files on these subjects, which I had brought over in a catalogue case and used to back-up what I was teaching. The files consisted of diary entries, records, etc.,
from Church history, and also included the second anointing ceremony, which I let him read. They didn’t have it. I asked Owen why he didn’t have a copy of it, considering they got their authority through Joseph Musser, who I understood had received the second anointing at some point during his life. He answered that the Council during the time of Joseph Musser had possessed some information on these topics, but it had been lost. I told Owen I would be happy to give him a copy on one condition. He asked what the condition was. I responded that in order for me to give him these materials, he would have to allow me to administer the second anointing to him. He answered that such a thing was impossible. So I countered that if he allowed me to be present as a witness when it was done by whomever else, in order to make sure it was performed correctly, then I would give him the files. He said that would not be possible. I knew I had the Priesthood authority to give the second anointing, and I believed if I administered that ordinance to Owen – or supervised someone else in so doing – it would be legitimate, and I therefore would be justified in giving him my materials on it.

As of this time I had not yet received my second anointing either, but I held the keys necessary to perform it. One might question how that is possible, so allow me to give a brief explanation. When I was ordained a Patriarch in the Church of the Firstborn in 1975, the Priesthood that was restored to Joseph Smith by Moses, Elias and Elijah in the Kirtland Temple was bestowed upon me. It was with those same Priesthood
keys – which Hyrum Smith had received from his brother Joseph – that Hyrum administered the second anointing to Joseph in Nauvoo, even though Hyrum himself had not yet received it. But he had the keys, and therefore the authority – under Joseph Smith’s direction – to do it. Similarly, I held the keys, and therefore I believe I had the authority to perform the ordinance for Owen, under the direction of Ross LeBaron. It may not have been the most ideal situation, but it would have been legitimate.

While I have heard folks later claimed that Owen received the second anointing from Brother Musser or his brother Rulon, on the occasion we met he never said he had received it, and wasn’t about to let me be involved in him receiving it. I assume that was because it would not make for good AUB history to have a Patriarch from the Church of the Firstborn, ordained by Ross LeBaron, not only teach their Priesthood leader
the doctrine and history of the second anointing, but actually administer it to him. The idea of the AUB receiving higher Priesthood from the LeBarons wasn’t exactly a popular one at the time, especially considering evil Ervil LeBaron had killed Owen’s brother Rulon a year earlier, though Ross had absolutely nothing to do with that. Anyway, if Owen had the second anointing administered to him by Joseph Musser,
why wouldn’t he have said something about already having received it when we were discussing me or someone else giving it to him? If I had thought for one second that he had received it from Brother Musser, I would have happily given him copies of my files. But nothing of the sort was ever indicated, and in fact, the opposite idea was presented by Owen himself.

At any rate, Owen still wanted the files I had, and offered to pay me any amount I wanted, for a copy of them. I told him I would not sell my Temple ordinances for money. So we parted ways and I went home leaving him empty handed. Several months later it was brought to my attention by Ross LeBaron that he had heard that Owen, sometime after our meeting together, had been successful in obtaining much of the same
information I had in my Holy Order and second anointing files from Fred C. Collier, another Patriarch in the Church of the Firstborn for $3000. A couple of years later the AUB began performing Temple ordinances. At about the same time, a book of Rulon Allred’s sermons called Treasures of Knowledge was published. Considering the fact that the AUB began performing second anointings, with some even claiming that it was
bestowed on men by Joseph Musser himself before he died, the following statement from Rulon is very interesting:

There were just five of us around Joseph [Musser], and he had tears in his eyes and said he had been with the Lord: “I pled with Him to give you your second endowments, and He said, ‘No.’” This is our position as far as you are concerned. (Treasures of Knowledge v1, p101)

I declare the series of events as recorded above to be true as far as my knowledge is concerned.

Robert Rey Black

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