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”.
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.
As of February 27, in the year of our Lord 1968, the Seventh Dispensation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the children of men, along with the keys, power, authority and ordinances pertaining thereto is terminated; and the Eighth Dispensation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the children of men; along with the keys, power, authority and ordinances pertaining thereto is commenced, according to the pattern of the “Eighth Week” set forth by Enoch of old.Continue reading “Ross LeBaron and Robert Eaby: Proclamation On The 8th Dispensation”
“What are the keys of the priesthood”? “This generation is not worthy to know”. John Taylor.
Neither is this generation. Ross W. LeBaron.
There is a very good reason why the orders of the priesthood were not taught in plainness. All one has to do is to look around themselves and see the many claimants to the keys, powers and authority of the Holy Priesthood and they will understand.
By not understanding the truth, they have all claimed the wrong keys, to the wrong office, of the wrong order, of the wrong priesthood, of the wrong dispensation.
“For your iniquity was your mother put away”. Isaiah ch. 50.
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.
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.
Information on the canes owned by Heber Chase Kimball and others can be found here, here and here.
Dispensationalism is a Christian concept that became an essential part of Joseph Smith’s theology, and of many, if not most branches of the Mormon tradition. According to that view, the interaction between the Deity and humankind has had different eras or periods throughout history, each having its own characteristics and being led by a mortal “head”, and usually preceded by an “apostasy”.
An early associate of Ross LeBaron, Robert Eaby (1928-2017) used the apocryphal Book of Enoch (or I Enoch) to expose the idea of ten dispensations of the gospel. In the following two-page document probably written in 1958, Eaby quotes from The Ethiopic Version of the Book of Enoch, by biblical scholar and translator R. H. Charles, and relates each week in the the apocryphal prophecy to a dispensation.
TEN WEEKS OF ENOCH…..
And after that Enoch both gave and began to recount from the books. And Enoch said: “Concerning the children of righteousness and concerning the elect of the world, and concerning the plent of uprighteousness, I will speak these things, yes, I Enoch, will declare them unto you, my sons: According to that which appeared to me in the heavenly vision, and which I have learnt from the heavenly tablets.” And Enoch began to recount from the books and said: “I was born the seventh in the firstweek, while judgement and righteousness still endured.[“]Continue reading “Robert Eaby: Ten Weeks of Enoch”
“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.
Hafen, DeWayne. Interview given to Antonio Trevisan on April 20, 2014.
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.
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.
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.
Robert Rey Black was an associate of Ross W. LeBaron in The Church of the Firstborn. In the following essay, Black recollects his interactions with the presiding council of the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) over temple ordinances, in 1978. Black claims that, under the authority of Ross LeBaron, he attempted to teach and perform the temple ordinances to the AUB leaders, until the rituals’ texts were allegedly purchased by the AUB from Fred C. Collier.
Statement Concerning Circumstances Surrounding the Commencement of Temple Ordinances by the Apostolic United Brethren (Allred Group)
In view of the fact that history sometimes has a way of being lost or rewritten over time, I feel it may be of interest to record certain events which occurred concerning circumstances surrounding the commencement of Temple ordinances by the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), also known as the Allred Group. In no way is this statement intended to be disrespectful towards that organization, but on the contrary, will hopefully be appreciated by all those interested in history, including members of the AUB. No doubt, this is not the complete background to how the AUB leadership began performing Temple ordinances for their members, but a full understanding of that background would be incomplete without this piece of the puzzle. Please forgive any errors, they are unintentional.
Since 1975 I have been an ordained Patriarch in the Church of the Firstborn, a Mormon Fundamentalist group which claims the Priesthood keys were been passed down to Ross Wesley LeBaron through his father Alma Dayer LeBaron, Benjamin F. Johnson, and Joseph Smith. In 1976 I had a friend interested in joining a United Order in Salt Lake City led by a man named John Bryant, who was a member of the AUB. This
friend of mine asked me what I knew about Bryant. Because I didn’t really know anything about him I called members of the AUB Priesthood Council to ask them about him. Although we differed on points of doctrine concerning who had the presiding Priesthood keys, I was acquainted and on friendly terms with most of the leadership of the AUB. Everyone I spoke to, with the exception of George Maycock, told me that as far as they were concerned, Bryant was a good man and that his United Order would probably be a good fit for my friend. George assumed that Bryant was possessed of an evil spirit because he had missed more than three Priesthood meetings in a row. I related all this information to my friend, who chose to join with Bryant due to his desire to live in a United Order.Continue reading “Robert Black: The Church of the Firstborn, Temple Ordinances and the AUB”