Mormon Fundamentalism and the Sealing Keys of Hyrum Smith

Ross W. LeBaron claimed to have “the patriarchal keys of the lineage of the Prophet Joseph”. He considered his heirship to the Mormon Prophet “the highest title of birth, and the second order of priesthood,” as he stated to Joseph White Musser in 1951. Lebaron believed the Mormon Fundamentalist movement, on the other hand, operated under “the keys of the lineage of Hyrum”. In 1985, LeBaron explained his views of the Fundamentalist priesthood authority in the following manner:

The only possible claim to the sealing power, by the Polygamists after 1890, was through the sealing keys of Hyrum Smith. Those keys were conferred upon John Smith by Brigham Young.

Ross LeBaron interview
Ross Wesley LeBaron in June, 1977. | Image: Dale Van Atta. Courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.

6 thoughts on “Mormon Fundamentalism and the Sealing Keys of Hyrum Smith

  1. This is piece of Info is very interesting. Thanks for writing and posting it — just one more proof of my uncles’ “mental” claims, in case there are those who actually can’t/couldn’t see through my Uncle Wesley, et Al, in the first place.


    1. Stephany,

      As we know religious beliefs are very subjective, not facts that can be proven. Because of that, I doubt religious beliefs could be used to “diagnose” mental illness. Maybe I’m wrong.

      Now let’s assume for minute the possibility Ross did have a cognitive/ emotional disorder. Had he lived in a world in which such problem could be diagnosed and treated, would his worldview be any different? We certainly could speculatw either way. We are blessed to live in a time when mental suffering is recognized and, for at least part of the population, more likely to be treated. My personal religious belief is that someone may have a mental issue and still be able to act as a creative human being, and even communicate with God.

      Thanks for commenting and for so often refering to our blog!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for taking the time to give me your perspective on my comments. It is interesting and helps me to understand better where you are coming from. Take care and here’s wishing you and yours all the best!


  2. The keys of the Priesthood are what went to the Priesthood Council headed initially by John Taylor and then to John Woolley. This is the mantle of authority referred to as the “medium of mine anointed”. While people can be sealed, that sealing still has to be ratified by the Lord’s Anointed Prophet in order to become binding in the eternities. The law governing the successorship of this mantle of authority is clearly spelled out in D&C 43:3-5. This is something the Lord reserves exclusively to himself and performs through his anointed, even in the case where he has “taken” them from the people. Therefore, nobody can claim the keys of the Priesthood via some patrilineal basis. At most they could perhaps lay claim on the office of King since historically that was a patrilineal succession, provided the Lord gave a revelation through the Lord’s Anointed Prophet acknowledging the son as the appropriate heir to the throne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John Woolley never was the head of any “Priesthood Council”. The “Council of Friends” is a myth. It never existed until Lorin Woolley created it. We now have access to the diaries of George Q. Cannon, Wilford Woodruff, and virtually every apostle from the 1890s. There isn’t a single allusion to any Council of Friends or a special priesthood body outside of the Church at all in any of those records. It was the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve who continued to perpetuate plural marriage after 1890, John Woolley didn’t start participating until about 1910. Prove me wrong. I’d love to see some solid EVIDENCE, not you trying to read your mythical council into the revelations from the 1880s.

      At most, John Woolley received a charge from John Taylor to perpetuate Celestial Marriage no matter what, and sealing authority from Joseph F. Smith, and passed that commission and authority on to his son, Lorin Woolley. Then Lorin Woolley created the Council of Friends. Relatives of John Woolley recalled that he said he would never preside over anyone except in his own home. He was faithful to his commission to perpetuate plural marriage, it was his son who had delusions of grandeur and was a compulsive liar. (See “The Myth-maker of Mormon Fundamentalism: How Lorin Woolley Transformed History into Myth” on Mormon Polygamy Documents).

      Patriarchal Succession is something everyone in the Succession Crisis acknowledged (Especially Brigham Young) except James J. Strang. Ironically, Strang claimed to be the appointed successor, and also claimed that the only patrilinear authority was temporal kingship. The vast majority of testimony about Succession disagreed with his position, he had no clue what Joseph Smith taught on the matter.


  3. I just ran across an interesting piece of information re the Council of Friends. Alpheus Cutler claimed that he was the seventh of a special Quorum of Seven. (I am assuming part of the Council of Fifty?) Other members were Joseph and Hyrum Smith (numbers 1 & 2), and Uncle John Smith, who was number 6.

    Mike Quinn also believes that there was a Quorum of Seven which was part of the Council of Fifty. I’m not sure what his evidence is.

    Anyway, that means there is at least “a single allusion” to this priesthood body.

    Liked by 1 person

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