Utah Mormons

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Utah Mormons


Aaronic Order

Box 57095 Murray,
UT 84157-0095

The Aaronic Order was organized by followers of Dr. Maurice Lerrie Glendenning. While still a young man, Glendenning began to receive messages and insights pertaining to God's work for Israel and for Levi and Aaron. Some of these messages, together with some of his letters and epistles, were later assembled into a book known as the Levitical Writings. (This book is also referred to as the Book of Elias or the Record of John.) The Bible, however, is considered the basic scripture of the Aaronic Order and the final authority in all matters of doctrine and practice. The Levitical Writings are seen as consistent with and supportive of the Biblical revelation. The order considers itself a Christ-centered and Bible-based church.

In 1928 he and his family moved to Provo, Utah where he continued to receive revelations from Elias (Elijah) and to share them with interested people, many of whom became convinced of their divine origin. His followers increased over the years, and in 1942 incorporated the Aaronic Order under the laws of the State of Utah.

The order has a Chief High Priest who functions primarily in the spiritual area; a First High Priest who functions primarily in the temporal area; a Second High Priest who is in charge of ordinance and ceremonial work; and a Branch Priest who is appointed over each congregation. The ruling legislative body is the Supreme Council of seventy members.

The order stresses discipleship and consecration which require full members to relinquish title to all goods and property. Any property or goods held by a full member constitutes a stewardship under direction of the Supreme Council of the Aaronic Order. The church also has several communal settlements, known as Levitical communities, which practice the Biblical teachings of "all things common." These practices are in harmony with the ministry of Levi and Aaron in early Israel which required that this tribe could have no ownership or inheritance of the temporal things in Israel. The priesthood and the service at the altar were the heritage of Levi and Aaron for all time.

According to the order's teachings, the beginning of the Levitical priesthood dates to 1736 B.C.E., when the priesthood was granted to Levi and his descendents forever. The priests were known as Levites, Aaronites, Zadokites and Essenes at various times, and many of them became Christians in the New Testament period. One line of the Aaronic priesthood continued through the Middle Ages by lineage of Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, and through one branch of his family known as Glendowyn, brought to America by the Glendennings (or Glendonwyns) in 1742. This family maintained a constant awareness of their lineage and priesthood heritage and passed this on from father to son by written blessings, some of which are in possession of the order.

The headquarters and a branch of the order are located in Murray, Utah (a Salt Lake City suburb). Other branches are located in Provo and Partoun, Utah, and in Independence, Missouri. One of the most important thrusts of the work, however, is in the Levitical community of Eskdale, Utah, which was established in 1956 in the western desert area near the Utah-Nevada Border. In the 1980s, the Order came into contact with a Sacred Name group, Bet HaShem Midrash, headed by Shmuel ben Aharon of New Haven, Indiana. The Indiana group merged into the Order and increased awareness of the Hebrew names of the deity and of Jesus into the larger community. Members not associated with a branch are located across the United States.

Membership: The order does not believe in keeping member-ship figures. In 1995 there were six centers of the order approximately 1,000 members, and 20 ministers.

Periodicals: Aaron's Star. A. O. Publishing, 1100 Circle Dr., Esk Dale, UT 84728-9702. • Pathlight, c/o Ken Hill, 550 Trout Creek, UT 84083.

Remarks: The Aaronic Order is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor does it consider itself as having been derived from it. It should be noted, however, that Glendenning was a member of the church, and was excommunicated from it because of his revelations. Also, the Levitical Writings begin with chapter 137 while the LDS edition of the Doctrine and Covenants ends with section 136.


Beeston, Blanche W. Now My Servant. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Printers, 1987.

——. Purified as Gold and Silver. Idaho Falls, ID: The Author, 1966.

Erickson, Ralph D. History and Doctrinal Development of the Order of Aaron. Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 1969.

Levitical Writings. Eskdale, UT: Aaronic Order, 1978.


Church of Christ (Brewster)


The Church of Christ (Brewster) was a Latter-day Saint-inspired communal group founded by James C. Brewster in 1848 soon after the martyrdom of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., the resulting disruption of the Mormon community at Nauvoo, Illinois, and the movement of the majority of the saints to Utah. Prior to the founding of the church, Brewster had a lengthy career as a would-be prophet. In 1836, when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was but a few years old, a 10-year-old Brewster claimed that he had communicated with the Angel Moroni (from whom Smith claimed he had originally obtained the Book of Mormon). Church leaders disfellowshipped Brewster.

Two years after his being put out of the church, Brewster began writing a book eventually finished and published in 1842 as The Words of Righteousness to All Men, Written from One of theBooks of Esaras, Which Was Written by the Five Ready Writers, In Forty Days, Which Was Spoken of by Esaras, in His Second Book, Fourteenth Chapter of the Apocrypha, Being one of the Books Which Was Lost, and Has Now Come Forth, by the Gift of God, In the Last Days. Over the next few years, Brewster wrote additional books criticizing Smith's new revelations and the direction taken by the church he headed. Brewster was not far away when the Mormon settlement was disrupted, and in 1848 he began to work directly among those members who had not joined the exodus westward. As the church was being organized, a periodical, The Olive Branch, or, Herald of Peace and Truth to all Saints, began to appear from Kirkland, Ohio, where the church's headquarters had been established. Brewster claimed that by 1842 Smith had been led astray and that a reorganization of the church was needed.

Among the first converts to Brewster's cause was Hazen Aldrich, a former member of the First Council of Seventy in the church at Nauvoo. When the church was formally organized, Aldrich was named president, with Brewster and Jackson Goodale as counselors. Other members filled out the remaining hierarchy of the church. Brewster guided the church with a series of communications from the spirit world. Brewster designated an area in the Rio Grande Valley as the gathering place for the saints, and he and Goodale migrated there while Aldrich remained behind in Kirkland.

The church held together for several years, but in 1851 Aldrich proclaimed his belief that Brewster had misconstrued the writings from Esaras. Brewster answered Aldrich's charges with a revelation suggesting that Aldrich had improperly usurped authority. Meanwhile, Goodale was found guilty of a transgression and put out of the church. In the midst of the infighting, the church fell apart. A short time later, Brewster moved to California and became a lecturer for Spiritualism, which found strong support among California Mormons. He remained a Spiritualist the rest of his life.


Brewster, James C. An Address to the Church of Christ, and Latter Day Saints. Springfield, IL: The Author, 1848. 24 pp.

——. A Warning to the Latter Day Saints, Generally Called Mormons. An Abridgement of the Ninth Book of Esdras. Springfield, IL: The Author, 1845. 16 pp.

——. The Words of Righteousness to All Men, Written from One of the Books of Esaras, Which Was Written by the Five Ready Writers, In Forty Days, Which Was Spoken of by Esaras, in His Second Book, Fourteenth Chapter of the Apocrypha, Being one of the Books Which Was Lost, and Has Now Come Forth, by the Gift of God, In the Last Days. Spring-field, IL: Ballad and Roberts, Printers, 1942. 48 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Church of Christ (Whitmer)


David Whitmer was one of the original witnesses to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and during the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a close associate of the church's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. However, he had disagreements with Smith in the 1830s and he separated from the main body of the church. In the late 1840s he refused to assume the leadership of a group of Mormons who did not move to Utah. Afterwards, little was heard from him for many years, however, in the years after the Civil War he gathered a small following and by the mid-1870s formed an independent church organization. He commissioned missionaries who went out to preach and assemble groups of believers. He remained active until his death in 1888.

Among Whitmer's last activities was the writing and publication of a booklet, An Address to all Believers in Christ(1887). In this work he not only attested to his belief in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, but expressed his opinion that Joseph Smith, Jr. was called to translate the Book of Mormon and to preach the restored gospel, but was never called to receive revelations or to lead a church.

After Whitmer's death, the movement seems to have been headed by John J. Snyder. In 1889, Ebenezer Robinson began to edit a periodical, The Return, which was published intermittently until 1900 when it was superseded by The Messenger. A hymnal was issued in 1890 and an edition of the Book of Mormon under the title The Nephite Record, in 1899, and the Book of Commandments in 1903. The church seems to have continued until 1925 when Snyder led the membership of several hundred members in Missouri, Iowa, and Kansas, to unite with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).


Brown W. P. Defense of the Church of Christ; and Exposure of the Errors of Mormonism. Newton, KS: Democrat Publishing House, 1887. 30 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.

Snyder, John J. The Solution to the Mormon Problem. Independence, MO: Zion's Advocate, 1926. 16 pp.

Whitmer, David. An Address to All Believers in Christ. By a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon. Richmond, MO: The Author, 1887. 75 pp.


Church of Jesus Christ (Bulla)

PO Box 1126
95 E. Hwy. 98, D-107
Calexico, CA 92231

Art Bulla joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around 1970. While a member he had come to believe that he was the "One Mighty and Strong" who was spoken of in Mormon scriptures who was to come and set God's house in order. He organized the Church of Jesus Christ in the early 1980s. The organization's web site is found at http://www.artbulla.com/zion/toc.html.

Membership: Not reported.


Bulla, Art. The Revelations of Jesus Christ. Salt Lake City, UT: The Author, 1983.


Church of Jesus Christ of Israel


The Church of Jesus Christ of Israel was founded in 1936 by J.H. Sherwood, a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints residing in Los Angeles, California. Sherwood had come to believe that he was a literal descendent of the Biblical Aaron, the older brother of Moses, and the first high priest of Israel. As a result of his relation to Aaron, Sherwood demanded that the Church give him the office of Presiding Bishop. That demand was refused and thus he claimed that on September 13, 1936, the priesthood authority was withdrawn from the LDS Church and all ordinances performed by the church's priests after that date were invalid. Sherwood was excommunicated and founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Israel. His small but dedicated following persisted quietly over the next few decades.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Israel followed the basic belief and practices of its parent body, Sherwood's issue being primarily administrative. His allegiance to Latter-day Saint practice was demonstrated in 1954, at which time Sherwood briefly emerged out of his obscurity when he requested the use of the facilities ofthe temple in Salt Lake City for a service of baptism for the dead. His request was denied and he performed the service at a lake near Ventura, California. The service consisted of a proxy baptism for all of the dead, which Sherwood claimed would do away with the necessity of putting so much time and energy into genealogy.

The church was organized around two levels of membership. Members of the church partaking in the celestial glory were required to live communally according to the united order. All the members of the priesthood were of the celestial order. Those of the lesser glory, the terrestrial, were required merely to tithe. In recent decades nothing has been heard from the church and it is presumed to be defunct.


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

The main body which carries the history and theology of the Latter-day Saints tradition described in the introductory material in this chapter is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

History. After the assassination of Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1844, the Saints were forced to evacuate Nauvoo, Illinois, and most of them moved to Iowa. Brigham Young (1801-1877), the former president of the Council of Twelve Apostles under Smith, became their leader and three years later was formally installed as president of the church at the reorganization of the First Presidency. Young led the Saints across the Plains states to the Rocky Mountains, where in 1847, they settled the present site of Salt Lake City. Under Young's leadership the Saints colonized more than 300 settlements from Canada to Mexico.

During the early years in Utah, polygamy, which had begun to be practiced among church leaders in Nauvoo, became openly discussed, practiced, and advocated. Possibly more than any other issue, polygamy thwarted Young's plans for a western state of Deseret, the original name proposed for Utah, while bringing the power of the federal government down on the church. During the 1880s, laws were passed against polygamy. Church leaders were obligated by law to move against the practice and to move against those church members who continued to participate in plural marriages. Since 1890, the church has been officially opposed to polygamy.

In 1849, they stepped up their worldwide mission previously initiated in Nauvoo. They concentrated on Western Europe, primarily England and Scandinavia. The many converts they made constituted the basis for the spectacular spread of the church throughout the world in the twentieth century. While becoming an international religion of some importance, the church spread along the Rocky Mountains from Phoenix, Arizona to Boise, Idaho and westward to the Pacific. From their western base, the Saints have gradually spread across the United States and currently have congregations in every section of the country.

For many years, the church was criticized for its stance on admitting black people to the lay priesthood, an essential structure in the church for male members. That condition was changed in 1978, following a revelation given to President Spencer W. Kimball.

Organization. The church is organized along patterns revealed to Joseph Smith Jr. Leading the church internationally is the First Presidency, comprising three men (the president and two counselors) who are assisted by the Council of Twelve Apostles. Young succeeded Smith, the first president of the church. Since Young's tenure, the church has been served successively by the following: John Taylor (1880-1887); Wilford Woodruff (1889-1898); Lorenzo Snow (1898-1901); Joseph Fielding Smith (1901-1918); Heber J. Grant (1918-1945); George Albert Smith (1945-1951); David O. McKay (1951-1970); Joseph Fielding Smith (1970-); Harold B. Lee (1972-1973); Spencer W. Kimball (1973-1985); and Ezra Taft Benson (1985-1994); Howard W. Hunter (1994-1995); and Gordon B. Hinckley (1995-present). The First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles regulate the affairs of the church generally. The Quorums of the Seventy, including a seven-man presidency and (in 1995) 73 additional members, administer the affairs of 22 "areas" of the world, under the direction of the First Presidency and the Twelve. The Presiding Bishopric (three men) has charge of the temporal affairs of the church, including the building and welfare programs. The structure of the international organization is somewhat repeated in structures at the regional (stakes) and local (wards) levels.

Integral to the belief and practice of the church are temples. Such structures are used for special weekday ceremonial work rather than being centers for the weekly gathering of worshippers. The four main services performed in the temple are the baptism for the dead, in which the living are baptized as proxies for those who died in generations past; the temple endowments; temple marriage; and sealings, which establish family structures in the life beyond earthly existence.

The church has expanded rapidly, especially in the decades since World War II. It now has missions in most countries of the world. Wherever the church is, its ministry is assisted by the Relief Society (the woman's auxiliary organization), the Primary Association (a children's organizations), the Young Women and Young Men organizations, and the Church Welfare Services Program (to assist church members in need).

Membership: In 1997, the church reported 4.8 million members and over 10,000 congregations in the United States, and an estimated 140,000 members and 420 congregations in Canada. There were more than 9 million members worldwide in 160 countries and territories.

Educational Facilities: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah and Laie, Hawaii.

Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho.

LDS Business College, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Periodicals: Deseret News. Send orders to Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110. • The Ensign. • New Era The Friend. Send orders to 50 East Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150. • The Church News. Send orders to PO Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110.

Remarks: Beginning with the polygamy era, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been the object of evangelical Protestant Christian missionaries. Since the 1960s, efforts to convert Mormons and to denounce the church have increased in proportion to the church's growth. Currently, the single largest number of Christian counter-cult organizations operating in the United States are focused entirely on Mormonism. Prominent among anti-Mormons have been Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, former Mormons who head Utah Lighthouse Ministry in Salt Lake City, and Baptist minister Walter Martin of Christian Research Institute in San Juan Capistrano, California. The vast outpouring of anti-Mormon literature has led to the production of literature defending the church and countering the attacks on the faith. Besides that material produced by the church specifically for the use of missionaries, Mormon Miscellanies prints a variety of shorter works and Robert L. Brown and his wife, Rosemary Brown have produced a set of substantive polemical texts which attempt to answer the attacks of the Tanners and Martin. The literature on Mormonism is vast, and has been greatly increased in the past decade due to the work of the Mormon History Association.


Arrington, Leonard J., and Davis Bitton. The Mormon Experience. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979.

Bitton, David, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, eds. New Views of Mormon History. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1987.

Bushman, Richard L. Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1984.

Church History in the Fullness of Times. Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989.

Richards, LeGrand. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1968.

Shipps, Jan. Mormonism. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Smith, Joseph S. Gospel Doctrine. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Books Company, 1969.


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Walter Murray Gibson)


Among the most colorful leaders in Latter-day Saints history is Walter Murray Gibson. He arrived in Hawaii in 1861 for a stopover on his way to Japan as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He found the remnant of a small Mormon mission which had succeeded in getting the Book of Mormon translated into Hawaiian in 1855 and had since turned its attention to converting the native Hawaiians. Unfortunately, the missionaries had been withdrawn in 1858 because of the impending War Between the States. Gibson stayed in Hawaii rather than continuing his journey. He reorganized the remaining Mormons and established headquarters on Lanai which he saw as the future center of the kingdom of God. He designated himself "Chief President of the Islands of the Sea and the Hawaiian Islands for the Church of Latter-day Saints." He raised money for his various concerns through simony (the selling of church positions). One of his concerns was building a temple, and he chose a site on the island for the future erection of the temple.

In 1864 a delegation of Mormon leaders arrived from Salt Lake City to investigate Gibson's mission. As a result, they decided to excommunicate him. Initially, most of his followers stayed with him, and Gibson continued on his course. His plans for expansion, however, were somewhat shattered by the lack of necessary water on the area of the island he owned. After a number of unsuccessful schemes to develop his property on Lanai, his following dwindled away and Gibson moved to Honolulu.

Since Gibson's church leadership career was over, he turned to politics and in 1882 became prime minister of Hawaii. For the next five years he was the most powerful white man in the islands, an articulate spokesperson for the cause of keeping "Hawaii for the Hawaiians." He was toppled in the revolution in 1887 and fled to California. He died there the following year.


Adler, Jacob, and Robert M. Kamins. The Fantastic Life of Walter Murray Gibson: Hawaii's Minister of Everything. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

Gibson, Walter Murray. The Diaries of Walter Murray Gibson, 1886, 1887. Edited by Jacob Adler and Gwynn Barrett. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1973.

Joesting, Edward. Hawaii: an Uncommon History. New York: W. W. Norton, 1972.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.


Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High


The Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High, a short-lived Mormon group of the 1860s, was founded by Joseph Morris (1824-1862). Morris converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1848. Prior to his 1853 relocation to Utah, Morris lived in St. Louis and affiliated with the Congregation of the Presbytery of Zion, another Mormon splinter. He became known for his piety, which some considered "excessive." Then, in 1857, he had a revelation in which he was told he was a prophet of God. In a series of letters written to Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Morris proclaimed God's rejection of the church leaders and His desire that the saints unite around Morris. Morris believed he was a reincarnation of the Biblical Seth and Moses. He identified himself with the seventh angel of the Book of Revelation. He also opposed the Mormon practice of polygamy.

In 1860, Morris moved to South Weber, Utah, and began to attract a few followers, including the bishop of the South Weber Ward. In 1861, along with 17 followers, Morris was excommunicated, a rebuff that led to the formal organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Most High in April 1861. The following month Morris issued a call for people to move to his settlement on the Weber River, predicting the imminent appearance of Jesus. In the meantime, the group would live communally; over 300 responded.

In 1862, in the midst of a legal dispute, the militia was ordered to Morris' settlement. In a brief skirmish, Morris was killed. Following his death, the church splintered into several factions as new prophets arose. It is believed the largest group became a part of the Church of the First Born (Prophet Cainan), a faction led by George Williams, also known as the Prophet Cainan.


Morris, Joseph. The Spirit Prevails. San Francisco, CA: George S. Dove and Company, 1886.


The Church of the First Born (Dove)


The Church of the First Born (Dove) was a short-lived Mormon group founded in the mid-1870s by George S. Dove. Dove was a follower of George Williams, the Prophet Cainan, who founded the Church of the First Born (Prophet Cainan). In the early 1870s Dove, whose father James Dove had been an active worker on behalf of Cainan, began receiving revelations. He did not claim to be a prophet, but he assumed pastoral functions and baptized five people, including his father. He began to proselytize among the former followers of Joseph Morris and over the next several decades gathered a small following primarily in California and Montana. With his father, Dove also published many of the revelations of Joseph Morris.

The beliefs of the Church of the First Born were outlined in its Articles of Religion. They follow the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in many areas, but also make several important departures. The Godhead is believed to consist of God and Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost being identified with angels of God. The church advocated a second chance for sinners through reincarnation, rather than through punishment in hell.

This small faction seems to have existed into the 1890s, fading by the end of the century.


Anderson, C. Leroy. For Christ Will Come Tomorrow: The Saga of the Morrisites. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1981.

Dove, George S., and James Dove. A Voice from the West. San Francisco, CA: Church of the Firstborn, 1879.

Dove, James. A Few Items in the History of the Morrisites. San Francisco, CA: Church of the Firstborn, 1892.


Church of the First Born (Prophet Cainan)


George Williams (1814-1882), a pious Mormon, participated in the religious revival which swept Utah in 1857; he had been rebaptized as a sign of his commitment. In April 1862 he received a revelation telling him to prepare to follow the ministry of Joseph Morris, a prophet who had established a colony on the Weber River in Utah. Morris had been receiving and publishing revelations for several years. He rejected the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and, after founding his settlement near South Weber, Utah, was excommunicated. In spite of official disapproval, over 300 joined him in his new church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High. In June 1862 the militia attacked his settlement, and Morris was killed in the battle.

At the time of Morris's death, Williams was not involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High. Then in the fall of 1862, he began to circulate a manuscript entitled, "A Description of Interviews with Celestial Beings." Subsequently, he was ordained by two spiritual beings, Elias and Enoch. Williams was identified as a reincarnation of an angel, Cainan, and of the Old Testament priest, Melchisedec (or Melchizedek). He assumed the title and became known as the Prophet Cainan.

From his home in Salt Lake City, Cainan began to visit the Morrisite settlement. Some of those who accepted his revelations moved to Montana and settled at Deer Lodge Valley. In 1868 Cainan announced his intention of joining them. After only a year, however, he appointed William James as leader of the church, and returned to England, his birthplace. Cainan led the group in Montana through his letters, until his death in 1892. The group remained in existence into the twentieth century. James was eventually suspended from membership in the church for rebelling against its teachings. He was succeeded by George Thompson (d.1894) and Andrew Hendrickson, one of the church's bishops. Hendrickson served as president until his death in 1921. The last leader was George Johnson (d. 1954). By the 1940s less than a dozen members were reported.


Anderson, C. LeRay. For Christ Will Come Tomorrow: The Saga of the Morrisites. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1981.

Eardley, J. R. Gems of Inspiration. San Francisco, CA: Joseph A. Dove, 1899.


Church of Zion


The Church of Zion was a short-lived, but important, movement that grew out of a major disagreement over economic policy in post Civil War Utah. In late 1868, William S. Godbe, Elias L. T. Harrison, and some associates began to receive revelation confirmed by various spiritual manifestations that instructed them to oppose some of the new policies being introduced by church president Brigham Young. The revelations represented a direct challenge to Young's power. The focus of the dissent by Godbe was the newly organized Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institute, a structure to coordinate the economic resources of Utah Mormons. All Mormon business were ordered to join it and faithful Mormons were to do their buying through it. Young saw ZCMI as a step in building a self sufficient Mormon community.

Godbe and the Church of Zion members believed in an open economy of free enterprise and opposed the controlled economy exemplified by ZCMI. Godbe looked to the future integration of Utah into the United States as a whole and argued for industrialization, the bringing of Gentile (non-Mormon) culture to Utah, and an openness to non-Mormons in general. Godbe had no doctrinal quarrel with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including its doctrine of plural marriage.

The Godbeite movement flourished for only a few years. A periodical, the Utah Magazine, lasted for two years (January 1868-December 1869); Godbe continued to publish into the early 1870s. However, it soon became evident that his views were not shared by a significant minority of Utah residents and the church disbanded.


Godbe, William S. Manifesto from W. S. Godbe and E. L. T. Harrison. Salt Lake City, UT: The Authors, 1869. 4 pp.

——. Polygamy; its Solution in Utah A Question of the Hour. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake Tribune, 1871. 16 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990. 336 pp.

Walker, Ronald W. "The Commencement of the Godbeite Protest: Another View."Utah Historical Quarterly42 (Summer 1974): 216-44.


Kingdom of Heaven


One of the most unusual groups in Mormon history, the Kingdom of Heaven was established by William W. Davies (b. 1833). Davies was a British Methodist who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and migrated to Utah in 1847. He became dissatisfied with the church leadership, and in 1861 joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High, founded by the prophet Joseph Morris. Davies was present at the Morrisite settlement on the Weber River in June 1862 when Morris was killed by the militia. In subsequent years he associated himself with the Church of the First Born (Prophet Cainan) and migrated to Montana. Eventually he settled at Deer Lodge Valley, where a number of the followers of George Williams (also known as the Prophet Cainan) resided.

When Williams moved to Montana in 1868, Davies had departed. In 1866 Davies had a vision which convinced him that he had been chosen as an instrument through which God would speak His will to humanity. He was directed to begin the millennial Kingdom of Heaven near Walla Walla, Washington. With forty followers, Davies migrated there in 1867, purchased 80 acres, and established a communal life. The group was joined over the next few years by a few additional converts, including John Livingston, one of the original apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High.

In the Kingdom of Heaven, reincarnation and the designation of the true identity of some of the more illustrious residents became central to the life of the group. Davies claimed to be Michael the Archangel, a reincarnation of Adam, Abraham, and King David. Following the birth of his son Arthur on February 11, 1868, Davies revealed that he (Arthur) was Jesus Christ returned. Soon after the announcement, the size of the community doubled. A second child, David, was revealed to be none other than "God, the Eternal Father of Spirits." Both children were believed to be incarnate members of the Godhead, which, among various factions of the Morrisites, consisted only of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

The colony survived for a decade, but a series of events in 1879-80 led to disaster. First, Davies' wife died. Then, in the winter of 1880, both of the divine children died from diphtheria. The disgruntled members of the community turned upon Davies; one sued him and received a $3,200.00 judgment. The Kingdom's land was sold to satisfy the judgment and court costs. The loss of the land effectively destroyed the Kingdom of God. Davies moved to Mill Creek, Washington, with a few followers, remarried, and proclaimed that the daughter born to his second wife was the rein-carnation of his first wife. A short time later he abandoned all semblance of rebuilding the Kingdom and moved to San Francisco, dying in obscurity.


Anderson, C. Leroy. For Christ Will Come Tomorrow: The Saga of the Morrisites. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 1981.


LDS Scripture Researchers


Also known as the Believe God Society and Doers of the Word, the LDS Scipture Researchers was a small group headed by Sherman Russell Lloyd, a music teacher in Salt Lake City. They believed that the present age is the time for the promised return of Joseph Smith, Jr., in the flesh reincarnated. He was believed to be a member of their group. While accepting the basic Mormon scripture, they also read the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. The group was organized under the authority of the one spoken of in Third Nephi 20:23, who would come forth with fabulous information. They did not publish a periodical but did publish several pamphlets.


Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The Restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was founded in 1971 under the leadership of F. Elwood Russell of San Diego, California. For several years during the late 1960s Russell had been receiving revelations that suggested that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had lost the priesthood during the presidency of Joseph Fielding Smith (p. 1901-1918). Russell was directed by God to restore the power of the priesthood to the church. The Church rejected his claims and excommunicated him, the immediate occasion of the founding of the Restored Church.

The members of the Restored Church believe Russell to be the Messenger of the Covenant as foretold by the prophet Malachi. That messenger was to lead in the restoration of all things from which the Latter-day Saints had fallen and to prepare for the return of Jesus Christ to earth. It is their belief that the Latter-day Saints had fallen by changing the ordinances and breaking the covenants. In particular, the Church's general authorities had led in the fall by setting up a salaried ministry and by investing church funds in secular businesses.

At the time of its founding, the Restored Church believed that Jesus had already returned and was living quietly on earth making ready for his appearance. The keys of the priesthood, having been withdrawn from the Latter-day Saints, have been given to the Restored Church. San Diego County is believed to be the place designated by earlier prophecies as the New Jerusalem. It is the place where the Saints should gather as a place of refuge from the times of trouble and war, which will continue until the endtime. The leadership of the church believes itself to have been selected to save the constitution of the United States and eventually to establish theocratic rule in the land.

Membership: Not reported.


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


School of the Prophets

PO Box 820882
Fort Worth, TX 76182

The School of the Prophets was organized March 1982 in response to a revelation from the Lord. This revelation was one of many received on a continuing basis, dating from 1961 by R. C. Crossfield, a Canadian Melchizedek Priesthood holder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was first published in 1969 as the Book of Onias

Before this school was set up, several individuals who believed in the book eventually gathered in Boise, Idaho. They published a monthly newsletter called Restorers. In 1980 the majority of these early believers broke with Crossfield, some started their own organization, one couple joined Fred Collier's Church of the First-born, and others followed different paths.

Yet, a few remained and the school was organized. Early in 1984 it was moved to the Salem area in Utah. The revelations are now entitled The Second Book of Commandments and are received in an ongoing basis, with the latest one being Section 172. Among other things, they contain continual instructions to His servants that will eventually be elaborate enough to establish God's true Zion upon the earth. They recognize that the only true church is the one established in Salt Lake City, known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, they instruct that this church has now been polluted by the Gentiles, whose times have now been fulfilled, and that the church will soon be restored to its purity by God's true Israel, whose identity has now begun to be revealed.

The school's belief is that Joseph Smith not only set up the church, but three other distinct organizations: 1. The School of the Prophets–which is the Educational arm of Zion; 2. The Kingdom of God–Political Arm; 3. The United Order–Economic arm; and lastly 4. The Church–which is the Missionary arm. The arms are what constitute the four Squares of God's true Zion.

The Second Book of Commandments reveals many truths, laws, and ordinances that will be needed to set up the coming millenial society of Zion. Prime examples of outstanding revelations are: Section 51, a revelation on the law of Adoption; section 61, which reveals the United Order covenants, and identifies the Four-square organization of Zion; Section 135, which reveals many of the powers of the Adversary, and instructs how we may be able to overcome them; Section 46 which explains the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage in clarity, allowing patriarchal plural marriages by revelation only.

The school recognizes that John Koyle, the prophet of the Salem, Utah Dream Mine, was a true instrument in God's hands to provide a means of survival at a time yet to come when great destructions and chaos will encompass the earth. Much of the present work of the school is to prepare places of refuge for those who will be guided to them when the calamities begin to fall upon the present nations.

"And ye Shall set up the School of the Prophets first, for from it cometh all truth and authority upon the face of the earth, and from it shall go forth the power to set all things aright, both temporally and spiritually." (2nd BC 75:6)

Membership: The school does not consider itself a church, consequently those who study under its aupices are free to retain membership in their present denomination. Records of the students are not made public in order to protect their church affiliation. Some of the students are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Periodicals: The Restorer Newsletter. Send orders to PO Box 396, Salem, UT 84653.


Crossfield, R. C. Book of Onias. New York: Philosophical Library, 1969.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.


School of the Prophets (Wood)

Current address not obtained for this edition.

The School of the Prophets (Wood) was founded in 1986 by Archie Dean Wood, a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On June 12, 1986, Wood was one of 13 peoplevisited by Jesus Christ. Within a few weeks Wood produced a booklet, The Grand Delusion, in which he both affirmed the legitimacy of the position of Ezra Taft Benson as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and complained of mistakes coming into the church. Wood also had received a set of personal revelations that were gathered together as The Book of Azrael.

Wood and the members of the school see their purpose as preparing Latter-day Saints for the second coming of Jesus Christ; they seek to train members to become prophets, seers, and revelators. They also wish to correct the errors that have become a part of Latter-day Saint life.

Membership: Not reported. There are fewer than 100 members.


Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Research, 1990.

Wood, Archie Dean. The Grand Delusion. Pocatello, ID: The Author, 1986.


United Outcasts of Israel


The United Outcasts of Israel was a small, short-lived Mormon group that emerged in the 1950s under the leadership of Noel B. Pratt. Pratt, a descendent of Parley Pratt, a first generation leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left that church and joined the polygamy-practicing Church of the First Born of the Fullness of Times soon after its founding in 1955. In 1957 he became the editor of The Rolling Stone, a periodical for the Church of the Firstborn. However, by the end of 1958, Pratt's opinion of the church's founder, Joel LeBaron, had changed dramatically, and in the December 1958 issue of The Rolling Stone, he attacked LeBaron and his brothers, who were working with him. As a result, Pratt was excommunicated from the church and, with a small following, founded the United Outcasts of Israel headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.

Pratt emerged as the champion of a barter system of economics and he advised people to put all of their money into tangible assets, especially in real estate. He founded a credit association, a bank, and a political party to further embody his ideals. Then as quickly as he emerged, Pratt quit, for reasons not altogether clear, but possibly from a lack of support. In November 1960 he announced, "My records and books are burned, as a testimony that I no longer shall seek to set myself up as a light unto the world." The united Outcasts of Israel was dissolved.

Within a year, however, Pratt developed a new cause, the restoration of Native Americans–the present outcasts and rightful heirs of Israel–to their proper place in the world. In this regard he founded American Indians Restoration Enterprises, an organization dedicated to the organization of American Indians into a self-governing body. In that effort he published a new edition of the Book of Mormon under the title, The Indian Bible. In the introduction he presented the book as a history of Native Americans. He suggested that in the near future Native Americans would be restored to their white skin and would subsequently build a great city centered upon a temple to the Great Spirit. In so doing the Indians would save the present white people from selfdestruction. Like the United Outcasts, American Indian Restoration Enterprises lasted only a few years.

Pratt pursued at least two further efforts to find a following. In the mid-1960s he emerged in Independence, Missouri and called attention to his preaching through some advertisements in the local newspaper. His presence was noted because of his prediction that the leadership of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be killed by lightning. His prediction was not fulfilled and he returned to a period of obscurity. In the mid-1980s he emerged in Salem, Massachusetts, as the head of Praetorian Press. After several years, the Press was relocated to Maine.


Pratt, Noel B. An Apology of Conscience. N.p.: The author, 1959. 24 pp.

Shields, Steven L. Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Los Angeles: Restoration Press, 1990. 336 pp.


Zion's Order, Inc.

Rte. 2, Box 104-7
Mansfield, MO 65704

In 1938, Dr. Merl Kilgore felt called by the Lord to work among the older Mormon churches; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite). He wanted to call them back to the United Order, the communal structure practiced in the early days of the church, which must be lived when Christ returns (D.C. 104). He worked with the LDS Church until 1950 when differences with his bishop led him to join the Aaronic Order. He moved to Bicknell, Utah, to aid a Mr. Taylor in his sawmill. Once there, he persuated Taylor to leave the Aaronic Order and help him form a new church, which they called "Zion's Order of the Sons of Levi." After several moves, they bought a farm near Mansfield, Missouri, in 1953. There are slightly over fifty members governed by a presidency, counselors, a bishop, and a patriarch. They use all the Mormon scripture with the exception of Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants. They have adopted a communal lifestyle.

Zion's Order claims more than 650 revelations through Mr. Kilgore since 1951. Most of these have to do with the particularities of the life of the group. They claim the site of their commune as the place referred to by Isaiah (2.2) where the Lord's house should be built. They have tried to have other groups join them in building Zion anew, but these attempts have been unsuccessful to date. However, Kilgore resigned as president in 1969 to do mission work among Indians in the Southwest, which has brought a number of members into the church. Zion's Order of the Sons of Levi became known simply as Zion's Order, Inc. in 1975.

Membership: In 1988 the order reported 55 members and six ministers at the single location in Missouri.