“Lehi was evidently the first-born of Manasseh; for he followed the patriarchal pattern[,]” wrote Ross LeBaron about the Book of Mormon patriarch. “His youngest son held the right of the first-born (evidently of the tribe of Manasseh). Lehi was patriarch to a new world, Jacob priest, and Nephi King.”
A Mormon Fundamentalist, Margarito Bautista had an early association with the LeBaron family in Mexico. After his excommunication from the LDS Church, Bautista established a community called Colonia Industrial Nueva Jerusalém, in Ozumba, where he headquartered his church La Plenitude del Reino de Dios (“The Fullness of the Kingdom of God”), affiliated today with the Apostolic United Brethren.
After the death of Dayer LeBaron, in 1951, Margarito Bautista organized part of the LeBaron family living in Mexico into a branch, under the authority of Joseph Musser. Different from his mother Maud and most of his siblings, Ross LeBaron never joined the organization in Colonia LeBaron.
Later, after the LeBaron brothers had established their own church, in 1955, Bautista would pen some anti-LeBaron tracts.
From Bautista’s correspondence with researcher Lyle O. Wright, comes probably the earliest and clearest witness that Alma Dayer LeBaron in fact claimed to hold a special order of the priesthood, unknown to Mormondom and the world, a fact commonly disputed by some historians and apologists. According to Wright, Margarito Bautista stated in a letter in 1959,
“That the question of the LeBarons, I did discuss the very thing with their father [Dayer] in 1910-3 at Mesa, Ariz. Long before these men came into the world I [k]new about it. There was nothing new me.” (p. 173)
While the motivations Ross LeBaron had to write to Margarito Bautista are not completely clear, this letter, which seems to a reply to an earlier letter from Bautista, constitutes an important explanation of his views, in 1958, of the patriarchal system, as well as of his criticisms of the doctrine taught by his brothers.
View or download the letter here: Letter to Margarito Bautista, 1958 .
Dale Van Atta Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.