Ross LeBaron: Letter to J. Marion Hammon, 1958

On 17 December 1958, Ross Wesley LeBaron wrote a letter to J. Marion Hammon condemning the path taken by the Mormon Fundamentalist Priesthood Council:

Whenever an organization casts out the thinkers of its membership, and only keeps the “yes men” and “blind followers”, it soon comes to an end.

Mormon Fundamentalism, Ross LeBaron, Short Creek

Bill Cook, J. Marion Hammon, LeRoy S. Johnson and John Y. Barlow in Short Creek, AZ. Date unknown. | Photo courtesy of the blog historicalshortcreek.wordpress.com

Lebaron is referring above to an earlier event (“a number of years ago”, he wrote) in which J. Marion Hammon had asked him to not come to the Fundamentalist meetings anymore. The authoritarian way chosen by Hammon, as seem by LeBaron, was of no small consequence, and prompted him the following comparison: Continue reading

Ross LeBaron, Fred Collier: Revelation on Salvation and Exaltation, 1974

On 7 August 1974, Ross W. LeBaron received a revelation stating the purposes of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Church of the Firstborn, and their relation to the principles of salvation and exaltation of humankind. [1] The revelation was recorded in handwriting by Fred Collier, then an adopted son of Ross LeBaron. In a later recollection, Collier suggested that he was the original recipient of the revelation, which had been given him a few years before, and that he only wrote it down after LeBaron had a spiritual confirmation of the spiritual message. [2]

Ross LA Times

Ross LeBaron in front of Ogie’s Café, West Valley, UT, in 1988. | Photo courtesy of Marsha Traeger, Los Angeles Times.

The revelation was recorded as follows: Continue reading

DeWayne Hafen: Interview to Dale Von Atta, 1978

As a teenager, DeWayne Hafen helped Ross LeBaron in his machine shop while LeBaron taught him about the Church of the Firstborn. When Hafen met him again as an adult, LeBaron was hesitant to ordain Hafen. The reason was Hafen’s previous affiliation with The Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of the Times. Even though Ross LeBaron considered his brothers’ organization a “counterfeit” of the true Church of the Firstborn, he wouldn’t “steal” someone who “belonged” to them.

DeWayne Navy

DeWayne Hafen in the 1960’s. 

In this interview given to journalist Dale Van Atta in June 1978, Hafen speaks of his disillusion with the two main leaders of the larger LeBaronite church, Joel and Ervil LeBaron. “There were deals for wives, women, money, land… A lot of people told me I was a damn fool. Everyone else was dealing for something. I wasn’t dealing for anything”. Continue reading

Ross LeBaron: Letter to Margarito Bautista, 1958

“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.”

Margarito Bautista Mormon Fundamentalism Mexico LeBaron

Margarito Bautista (1878-1961) | Image: from his book La Evolución de México, 1935

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, Continue reading

Steve McKinley: Ross LeBaron On The Endowment

Ross Wesley LeBaron, in January 1983

Steve McKinley recollects a conversation with Ross W. LeBaron about the endowment in 1995. The “ambiguous answer” given by Ross, according to Steve, made him “feel better about the changes [made by the LDS Church] in the endowment”. He says he realized that “the reason the endowment was taken away by the Lord was because people didn’t understand it. It didn’t work for them. … It made them responsible for things they didn’t understand.” In this interview, Steve also talks about the way Ross LeBaron gave him instructions and tells an anecdote on Ross’s excitement while watching a music concert on TV.

See the first part of this interview here.

Ross LeBaron: Interview to Dale Van Atta, 1977

Ross LeBaron interview

Ross Wesley LeBaron in June, 1977. | Photo: Dale Van Atta. Courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Collections, BYU.

In 1977, as the murderous acts of Ross LeBaron’s brother Ervil gained international attention, journalist Dale Van Atta did some research on the priesthood claims of the LeBaron family. Van Atta later co-authored a book on Ervil LeBaron and his crimes.

The following file can be found among Van Atta’s research papers at the Special Collections of the Brigham Young University. Despite the title on the library catalog – “Interview with Ross LeBaron” -, the document might actually be a transcript of a radio show by Ross LeBaron, in June that year.

According to Ross, the violence was over ownership of land in Mexico, as was well as a Cain-and-Abel war over spiritual rights to preside in Joseph Smith’s patriarchal family. In the following notes, Van Atta reports Ross LeBaron’s ideas on his brothers‘ churches, the Mormon Fundamentalist movement, and his own spiritual position as the heir of Joseph Smith:

Now this is going on in the LeBaron family particularly because we are, definitely, the patriarchal family of the line of the prophet Joseph Smith.

To view the file, click here: Ross LeBaron – MSS 2258 Box 2 Interview Van Atta


Reference

Van Atta, Dale. Interview with Ross LeBaron for KSXX (1977). Dale Van Atta Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.

 

 

Ross LeBaron: The Heir of Joseph Smith

Ross LeBaron Revelation Firstborn

Ross Wesley LeBaron in January, 1984. | Photo courtesy of Tom Green

REVELATION given to Ross W. LeBaron, at East Mill Creek, Utah, in the spring of 1940. While walking home, a distance of about two miles, I was praying to know whether it was the Lord’s will that my sister Lucinda should marry John Butchereit or not. My father would not give his consent, but I felt that he should.

As I was praying, I heard a voice say, “It is my will that they marry”. While I was under the spirit, the thought came to me to ask other questions concerning things that I would like to know about; and I asked the Lord how the sealed records would come forth, and I heard a voice say, “The sealed records are now in the hands of the Indian prophet”.

(It has been twenty-one years, and some times it makes me wonder; but that is what the voice said, and the scriptures confirm that they will come forth through the Indian prophet.)

As I walked along. I was contemplating my relationship with the Fundamentalist people, and feeling very downcast and rejected, and I heard a voice say, “The Lord will give you more intelligence than any man among them.”

(I wondered by what principle or for what reason the Lord would give me more intelligence than any man among them.

I was later reading the story of Enoch; and it seems that he was also wondering why he was the Lord’s servant.

I had understood for some time that I was the patriarchal heir of the prophet Joseph Smith; but neither the Church or the Fundamentalists had an office in their  organization for an heir of the prophet, so I considered it an honor with no responsibility.

I told my wife of the manifestation concerning Lucinda, and she went to see Bro. John Y. Barlow, who was at that time head of the Fundamentalist council.

He told her that he agreed with my view on the matter, and that some day I would be head of the group.

A few nights later as I lay in bed I heard a voice say. “John and Lucinda are married”; which I later found to be true.

I told John and Lucinda, and also my wife before they told me. John said, “May-be you are right”.)

At the dedication of John and Lucinda’s home in the summer of 1940, I met for the first time, Heber Chase Kimball; who introduced me to his grandfather’s cane; which I had before read about. He said that he was the heir of his grandfather, Heber C. Kimball, and I told him that I was the heir of the prophet Joseph Smith.

We were friends as long as he lived, his home was my home; and my car carried his last earthy remains to their place of rest, at St. David, Arizona.

In the death of Joseph W. Musser and Heber Chase Kimball, it is as though an age of time has passed away and as if we are entering a new era in which something is lost that cannot be replaced.

In Bro. Kimball and his family, I found true friends, and in Brother Musser, an understanding of all things that I ever discussed with him.

I knew that Bro. Musser held the Key and power of endless lives; for the Lord revealed it to me; and he knew that I held the patriarchal Keys of the house of prophet Joseph Smith; for the Lord revealed it to him, and he confirmed it on April 3rd, 1951.


Reference

LeBaron, Ross Wesley. “Behold, I say unto you: THE REDEMPTION OF ZION must needs come by power…” [The Yellow Book]. The Church of the First-born. [circa 1962], pages 5-7. Spelling and capitalization as in the original.


Note

Information on the canes owned by Heber Chase Kimball and others can be found here, here and here.

 

DeWayne Hafen: Ross LeBaron and the Father as a Servant

Ross Wesley LeBaron, in January 1983

“He never, at any time I’m aware of, ever depended upon those who followed him to support him”, states DeWayne Hafen. An adopted son of Ross LeBaron, Hafen talks about why his priesthood leader lived in a storage shed and didn’t collect money from his followers, and reflects on the relationship with his own adopted sons.


Reference

Hafen, DeWayne. Interview given to Antonio Trevisan on April 20, 2014.

Joann Knight: Reminiscences of Ross LeBaron

Joann Knight met Ross W. LeBaron in 1960. “He was a real good dancer and I really enjoyed dancing”, she recollects. She also thought he was “weird” and “had strange ideas” which later she got used to¹. A decade later, Joann was sealed to Ross. She defined her husband as “a gentleman” and “a wonderful person”. These are two excerpts from her personal journal.

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Ross Wesley LeBaron in January, 1984. | Photo courtesy of Tom Green

Ervil LeBaron died at the prison today, August 16, 1981. I was out at Ross’s when we received word via telephone from Rhea Kunz that Verlan LeBaron was killed in a car wreck in Mexico City. Ross told me […] that he didn’t want me to stay at the warehouse² at night any longer. He’s quite worried about there being some trouble over Ervil Lebaron’s and Verlan’s deaths. Nothing’s happened so far, so Ross has relaxed a little. I stay out there occasionally.

 

Ross predicted an earthquake on July 14, 1982 between 11 am and 12, noon. It didn’t happen, thank goodness. He has made several predictions. Something always does happen pertaining to what he has predicted but it isn’t what I think it will happen. On his radio talk show on KTalk, on July 8 1992 it was really interesting. California has a lot of earthquakes but not us. There have been some here in Utah but nothing really major. I guess if you lived near the epic center it would be major to you.


Notes

1. Interview given to Antonio Trevisan on April 24, 2014. Joann Knight was 79 years old at the date.

2. Storage containers in which Ross LeBaron was living at the time. Joann Knight lived in a separate house.


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Ross LeBaron: Joseph Smith, the Holy Ghost

Joseph Smith Holy Ghost Ross LeBaron

Portrait of Joseph Smith Jr., unknown artist, circa 1842. | Photo courtesy of the Community of Christ.

REVELATION given to Ross W. LeBaron, at Kingman, Ariz., April 1940. At the time I was working for Uncle Conway LeBaron. He was painting the Masonic temple there.

He read to me a small tract or leaflet, on the attributes of the Holy Ghost published by the Church.

It stated that the Holy Ghost was a male spirit; the same as any other of God’s spirit sons before they took mortal bodies upon this earth; and that he would some day be born and go through trials similar to those of the Savior. Continue reading