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.

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

Ross LeBaron: Open Letter to Francis M. Darter

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

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.

 

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

Robert Black: The Church of the Firstborn, Temple Ordinances and the AUB

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.

temple ordinances Mormon Fundamentalism

Architectural sketch of the Kirtland Temple. | Image: Historic American Buildings Survey

Statement Concerning Circumstances Surrounding the Commencement of Temple Ordinances by the Apostolic United Brethren (Allred Group)

11-19-2011

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

The Improvement Era: Excommunication of Ross LeBaron and Thelma Cox, 1944

In its November 30, 1944 edition, The Improvement Era announced the excommunication of Ross Wesley LeBaron and his wife Thelma Elena Cox LeBaron. Their names were part of a list of 33 men and women who had been excommunicated from the LDS Church in the previous months of 1944. The Church magazine stated they had been both excommunicated on April 18, in the Third Ward, Liberty Stake (Southeast area of Salt Lake City, Utah). By the time, Ross and Thelma had been married for about eight years. The couple later separated.

Three of Ross LeBaron’s siblings were also listed: Ervil M. LeBaron, Alma Dayer LeBaron and Benjamin T. LeBaron. Their excommnication had occurred in June that year, in the Mexican Mission. The magazine might have missed another LeBaron though: Joel LeBaron.

Joel and Ervil LeBaron were serving as LDS missionaries in Mexico when they learned of Alma being on church trial. They abandoned their mission to go to the aid of their brother and were both excommunicated on the same date. This picture of the Mexican Mission, taken in 1943, includes Joel and Ervil LeBaron. Continue reading

Ross LeBaron: The Nauvoo Restoration

In the following excerpt of Priesthood Expounded, published in 1985, Ross W. LeBaron writes about the restoration of priesthood keys he believed took place in the Nauvoo temple.

uma história das (3)

THE THIRD MAN

B. F. JOHNSON

The Prophet Elijah appeared, with others, in the Kirtland Temple April 3, 1836 conferring patriarchal authority upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who already held the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, in connection with the Holy Priesthood of the Son of God.

Joseph Smith prophesied that Elijah would come again and restore the same priesthood on another man, before the last dispensation, or in the dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Continue reading

Ross LeBaron and Joseph Musser

Mormon Fundamentalism Ross LeBaron

Joseph White Musser (sitting),  circa 1940. Musser (1872-1954) was one of the main leaders of the Fundamentalist  movement and senior member of the “Priesthood Council”.

REVELATION given to patriarch Ross W. LeBaron, at the home of H. Chase Kimball, in Salt Lake City, April 3rd, 1951. My father had recently passed away, and I was concerned over what course to follow in connection with the patriarchal work he had given me in the spring of 1950, and received the following revelation:

Thus saith the Lord; Go unto my servant Joseph W. Musser and have your patriarchal keys which you received from your father confirmed: for he is the only man among the Fundamentalists that has sufficient authority to do so; for he has received his second anointings and holds the fullness of the priesthood.

I called the home of Bro. Musser; one of his wives answered the phone, and I asked for an appointment to see him: but she informed me that he was not feeling well.

Continue reading