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.  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. 
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
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 Wesley LeBaron in June, 1977. | Image: Dale Van Atta. Courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.
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 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
In the latest episode of the Year of Polygamy podcast, I was interviewed by Lindsay Hansen Park about Ross LeBaron and his Church of the Firstborn.
Lindsay Hansen Park, Director of the Sunstone Foundation and host of the Year of Polygamy podcast.
We talked about LeBaron’s views on priesthood, his relationship with the Mormon Fundamentalist movement, his brothers’s church in Mexico and his son Ross LeBaron Jr. Click here to download or listen to the episode online.
In 1943, Ross Wesley LeBaron published a pamphlet identifying the seven angels or plagues of the Book of Revelation as events in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.
Later in life, LeBaron would say that he knew some things “by revelation” and other things “by calculation”, also recognizing that he wasn’t free from miscalculating prophetic dates.
To view or download the document, click here: The Opening of the Seventh Seal.
On July 28, I`ll be presenting a paper on Ross LeBaron at the Sunstone Summer Symposium to be held this year at the Mountain America Expo Center, in Sandy, Utah.
A religious innovator within the Mormon tradition, Ross LeBaron (1914-1996) organized The Church of the First-Born in 1955. Although commonly identified by outsiders as a Mormon Fundamentalist denomination, LeBaron saw his small organization as being the Church of God the Father, while recognizing the priesthood authority of mainstream LDS Church and the Mormon Fundamentalist movement as different branches of the Church of the Son. LeBaron also reinterpreted the Mormon concept of dispensations as never-ending spiritual jurisdictions, adding his own eighth dispensation that would usher the second coming of Adam.
The full schedule of the Sunstone Symposium can be seen here (my presentation is listed as #362). For registration, click here.
Portrait of Brigham Young, by Charles Roscoe Savage, 1855.
Published by Ross W. LeBaron in 1975, the pamphlet Brigham Young Speaks was a compilation of statements on the Adam-God doctrine, without editorial comments. It was the product of Fred Collier’s research, then an adopted son of Ross LeBaron. Later, Collier republished the pamphlet under his name with the title Adam-God in a Nutshell.
In the introduction, Ross LeBaron wrote:
For over seven years now I have been discussing the Adam-God Doctrine over the radio. During this time many have asked questions concerning this principle and wanted proof that it was taught by Joseph Smith as well as by Brigham Young. It is for these people who are searching for answers regarding this question that this pamphlet has been prepared. It consists of statements made by Brigham Young, which were taken from fifty-ne different sermons, all of which have been arranged according to subject as shown in the table of contents.
To read the full documente, click here: Brigham Young Speaks.
Francis M. Darter, date unknown. | Image: Family Search
Francis M. Darter (1881-1968) was a prolific Mormon Fundamentalist writer. Among the beliefs he espoused was Pyramidology, which proposed that the Great Pyramid of Giza was a “Bible in stone“, setting dates, through its measures, for the most important events in human history. Such beliefs seem to have been influential on Ross W. LeBaron, as the following letter shows.
LeBaron and Darter had a long association, although they disagreed on many theological topics, such as LeBaron’s claims and understanding of the priesthood keys, the main topic of this open letter. While Ross LeBaron claimed to have “the patriarchal keys of the lineage of the prophet Joseph”, he believed the Mormon Fundamentalist movement operated under “the keys of the lineage of Hyrum”. Continue reading
THE CAUSE OF PLANETARY MOTION
By R. W. Le Baron
That which is beyond the realms of reason, we atribute to God. Therefore, to most intelligent beings, God is the creative law of nature. This God, if I may call it such, is the most powerfull law, and authority, in all time and space. No one disobeys without paying the exact penalty; This God is the most ruthless force in existence, and also the kindest, for it gives us life everlasting. This God is a law, not a personality. (Personal Gods, are those, who by obedience to law, have gone ahead of the ones they preside over. If a man knows more than others, Does he not have more power, more glory.) Continue reading
The following excerpt is from Lyle O. Wright‘s Master Thesis, submitted to Brigham Young University in 1963, based on his interviews with Ross W. LeBaron. Even though Wright’s research focused on the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times, led by Joel and Ervil LeBaron, it approached the different priesthood claims in the LeBaron family.
Ross Wesley LeBaron in January, 1984. | Photo courtesy of Tom Green
Patriarchal organization of the world
This earth is organized on a patriarchal pattern of government. All of the churches come under the Patriarchal Priesthood, as well as kingdoms, and anything having to do with civil government.
In the Patriarchal Presidency of the World, Adam presides as the Patriarch.of the world. Noah, the Priest, is second in the Presidency, and a Patriarch to those after the flood, except Jesus Christ. Christ, the King, and third in the Presidency, is a patriarch
to his posterity. Christ was married, lived polygamy, and had a family; the 45th Psalm has to do with his marriage and children. Joseph Smith was of the lineage of Christ. Christ is called the “king of kings” because he is the third in the grand Patriarchal Council of the world, and the third office carries the title of “king.” Continue reading