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.
“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.
This patriarchal blessing received by Ross LeBaron at age 19 is the first of two recorded blessings he obtained from LDS stake patriarchs. A mimeograph copy of the blessing printed by Ross LeBaron was given to Mormon collector James Wardle and can be seen or downloaded here.
Dear Wesley: In the name of the Redeemer of Israel, I place my hands upon your head and give unto you a Patriarchal Blessing, which will be of great worth to you in future life, if you study the same and live up to every privilege that comes before you.
You were chosen in the spirit world to come to earth and take a tabernacle and be a representative in your father’s family in counsel and advice, and to cherish the mother that gave you birth.
You are a true Israelite, a descendant of Abraham – the great Patriarch, and a direct lineage of Ephraim, that the Lord spake, and the ancients apostles said would come to earth in the last days; and you were blessed by coming through such noble lineage. The Lord blessed you with a strong and active body. He would be much displeased if you defiled this body in any way. Therefore, I would say unto you, cultivate good habits and refrain from the evils of the world, that your body may be clean and pure, that the Spirit of the Lord may dwell with you.Continue reading “Edsil Allred: Patriarchal Blessing of Ross LeBaron, 1934”
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.
1. We believe in Michael, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in Joseph Smith, the Witness or Testator.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam`s transgression; for He partook of mortality, that He might bring forth mortal bodies for His spiritual offspring.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of the First-born.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are; first, Faith in Michael the Archangel, and His Son Jesus Christ, and in Joseph the Testator; second, Repentance; third, Baptism, by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.Continue reading “Articles of Faith of the Church of the Firstborn”
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.
Ross Wesley LeBaron was a skilled machinist and inventor. His belief that heavenly beings used an advanced technology in their administrations through the universe led him to not only teach that the Gods traveled in spaceships, but also to build and fly his own “flying saucers” with family and friends on a park.
In 1971, a patent was published for a “Flying saucer craft”, created by Ross W. LeBaron years before. The assignee was Wham O Mfg. Co. The “Flying saucer craft” was a type of frisbee that had a hook for launching. According to the inventor,
There have long been reported sightings of saucer-shaped aircraft and it is well known that such craft have been developed for flight. The reported sightings, together with the worldwide emphasis currently being placed on interplanetary and other types of space travel have stimulated the desire on the part of children for toys that can be used to simulate such flights. It is for this reason that I have developed the present invention.
This invention fully simulates the reported flights of saucer shaped aircraft and provides a toy that will amuse and delight children for extended periods of time. In addition, by observing the flight patterns of the invention children are, even unwittingly, exposed to laws of aerodynamics applicable to such bodies and the invention may therefore be considered as a valuable teaching aid.
To read the the full text of the patent, click here: US3590518.
So far, we haven’t been able to determine if the product was ever manufactured by Wham-O, although the company had its flying saucer line.
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”.