In 2011, the Sister Wives Blog started out as a place to talk about the TLC reality show "Sister Wives", Kody Brown and his wives Christine, Robyn, Meri and Janelle. Today we not only discuss the show, we discuss Polygamy in our society, and the public perceptions of the Mormon Religion. We discuss "Polygamy USA" and will be covering "My 5 Wives."
This blog is geared towards the adult reader, so please, no one under the age of 18 years. Thank you!
I have gone to this site many a time for reference. FreeAnd Clear mentioned it, and so we need to take a look at it and discuss. There's much more to the site, check out the bottom of the page for the listing. Great Site! Let's Discuss! And again, he's relation to about everyone by Janelle. Thanks FAC!!!
August of 1935 is the first time Joseph Musser mentioned Rulon C. Allred in his journal. Rulon had been working in Long Beach, California and met Musser while visiting Salt Lake City. Raised an active member of the Church, Rulon Allred married Katherine Handy in the Salt Lake Temple in 1926 and moved to California to attend naturopathic school, passing his medical board examination in 1930. After opening a medical office there, they began to raise a family and build up the Church, Rulon being then called to serve as Long Beach Stake Genealogical Society President.
After reading his father’s A Leaf in Review published that same year, Rulon felt greatly distressed and wrote a letter accusing the elder Allred of “kicking against the pricks” by opposing Church leadership and doctrines. He also corresponded with Apostle Anthony Ivins, requesting that the Church begin disciplinary action against his father, saying that the polygamists continued to “further the work of Lucifer among many groups of the Saints in Idaho and Utah.... They have so fervently and extensively persisted in this propaganda that my Father and many of his family and also many other noble and good Saints have been deceived.”
His father was unmoved, prompting Rulon to reconsider the issues raised in A Leaf in Review including the practice of polygamy. After prayer, fasting and study, Rulon concluded that his father was right and almost immediately became obsessed with the idea. At that time, his wife Katherine wrote: “Rulon won’t even listen to my pleading any more. Everything he says is in favor of polygamy. He is like some demon possesses him. When I try to tell him what he’s doing to me, he says I’m doing it to myself by not being willing to accept the word of the Lord. When I really get frantic, he leaves and says he is going out into the hills to pray. Several times he hasn’t come back until morning. My heart it breaking.” Rulon began to “teach polygamy to everyone” who would listen and shortly thereafter secretly married several plural wives.
Unaware of his polygamous marriages, Katherine, continued her attempts to dissuade Rulon. On 11 March 1935, he recorded: “The rift between my wife and [me] has continually grown because of my belief in the necessity of plural marriage and because of my church work. I believe plural marriage is an essential of the gospel ordinances... and should be lived by worthy Saints, that it is now in force and has never ceased being a law of the priesthood and must be abided by those who hope to become like God.” It was at this time that he reported receiving a vision: “I was kneeling before the Lord in the silence of the night, and the Lord heard my prayer. He spoke to me, and my eyes were opened to see what I would have to endure in the years to come if I had a testimony of the fulness of the gospel and the integrity to comply with its provisions.”
Despite his beliefs and his clandestine plural marriages, Rulon continued to participate in Church activities and was called as a member of the stake high council a few months later, being its youngest member. He took his new calling as a sign that God approved of his secret polygamous unions, prompting him to give his wife Katherine an ultimatum to cooperate. In response, she filed for divorce in October of 1935 and left, taking with her their three children.
While Rulon’s Stake President was greatly concerned about Rulon’s possible involvement with polygamy, five years would pass before he was finally excommunicated from the church. In 1941 his plural wives were also cut off from the Church.
By the time Rulon Allred visited Joseph Musser in Salt Lake City in August of 1935, he had forever eclipsed monogamy. Joseph Musser then advised: “Told the Allreds to get out of California as soon as possible. This is Zion, not there. The Asiastics [sic] will tear that coast land all to shreds, but would not be permitted to enter these valleys of the mountains; neither would the Europeans be permitted to enter from the east. The Priesthood would keep them out. Come here and stand in holy places.”
In October Musser visited the Allreds in Long Beach where he spent “some three hours [of] informal talk with them revealing many of the mysteries of the kingdom.” Joseph explained: “Some people might enter [plural marriage] for evil purposes, but that is not likely. Only the best LDS are allowed to take more than one wife. Every man must first prove before the Priesthood that he has the capacity, love and worthiness to assume the great responsibilities of this heavenly law.”
Rulon Allred - “Counselor” to Joseph Musser
During the months after his first stroke in 1949, Joseph Musser was under the medical care of naturopathic physician, Rulon C. Allred. The son of B. Harvey Allred, Rulon first met John Y. Barlow and Joseph Musser while he was living in Long Beach, California in 1935. During a visit to Salt Lake City, he greatly impressed the two Council members with his devotion to plural marriage. Later that year Barlow commissioned him to perform plural marriages in California and reportedly told him that someday he would become a member of the Priesthood Council. Musser concurred and in a meeting together, Joseph positioned Allred’s left shoulder to his right shoulder and said: “You stood in this position next to me in the Spirit World, and you will occupy this position in the future.” Some believe that Musser was indicating that someday Rulon would rise to the top tier of the fundamentalist leadership echelon.
In 1937 Musser expanded Rulon’s authority by granting him permission to perform plural sealings outside of California. Then in the mid-1940s, he was secretly ordained a “Patriarch” and given the sealing power by Barlow and sent to build up the polygamist community at Las Parcelas, Chihuahua, Mexico. He was told that he was subject to no other priesthood leader, save Barlow himself. When Musser found out about the secret commission, he was in full agreement and asked Rulon to accept responsibility for answering correspondence between the Priesthood Council and any Lamanites (Mexican nationals) who had expressed interest in Truth magazine.
With Barlow’s death in 1949, Musser became the undisputed leader of all fundamentalists who followed the PRIESTHOOD leadership, having an unquestioned claim to the position of Senior Member of the Priesthood Council (Council of Friends). Revered by many polygamists, he had championed their cause and united them through his writings in Truth. Despite the stroke-induced handicaps, on 18 September 1950, Musser met with Rulon Allred who asked the presiding High Priest Apostle if the commission given to him by Barlow would continue, now that Barlow was deceased. “Joseph was silent for some time. Tears flowed down his cheeks, and he said: ‘I see it all clearly now. I am going to do it. I have prayed concerning this matter for a long time and thought somewhat of calling my son Guy as my Second Elder, but I was not impressed to do it. I am going to ordain you to that calling.’ He then got up and put his feet at the side of the bed and told Rulon to kneel down and said: ‘Brother Rulon C. Allred, by virtue of my Apostleship, I lay my hands upon your head and set you apart to be my First Counselor and to stand at my side as Hyrum stood to Joseph and as Leslie [Broadbent] stood to Lorin [Woolley]...’“
Musser’s words on this occasion created confusion. By designating Allred as his “Second Elder,” Musser was indeed telling his followers that at his death, Allred would succeed him as the leader of the fundamentalists. But in the ordination, Musser instead set Allred apart as his “first counselor,” a calling that would apparently end with Musser’s death. Additional questions arose involving whether or not Allred was thereafter a member of the Priesthood Council? And if he was, what was his seniority in that Council?
Members of the Priesthood Council were distraught upon learning of the proceedings. Although Musser’s calling Allred as his “counselor” was unprecedented, it might be acceptable if it did not affect the Council’s membership. They universally felt that Musser could not, without their approval, call additional members of the Priesthood Council. Frustrations escalated since they were neither consulted regarding the calling, nor invited to participate in the original ordination. They were suspicious regarding Musser’s sanity and Allred’s motives.
The issue of Musser calling Allred as his “Second Elder” was paramount. Years earlier in 1934, Joseph Musser and J. Leslie Broadbent had written: “The keys to Priesthood descend either to the one designated as the “Second Elder”... or the worthy senior in ordination.” The “either” option was becoming pivotal in determining who would eventually succeed Musser as presiding authority in the Priesthood Council. If Allred was appointed as Musser’s “Second Elder,” did that calling bypass the seniority of the other members of the Priesthood Council? Council members did not believe that Musser could single-handedly place Rulon ahead of them. Two of the Council were most vehement in their resistance, Guy Musser and Legrand Woolley. After they discussed their concerns with Musser, Joseph responded, “I will have a Second Elder... I have asked the Lord for a counselor, and I am going to have one.”
Days later Musser attempted to persuade all the members of the Priesthood Council that the ordination was right and even repeated it in their presence, but they unanimously resisted, blaming the lapse on Musser’s poor health, his age, or the stroke. They acknowledged that Allred could function as Musser’s “counselor” during his (Musser’s) lifetime, but that was all. It appears that Musser relented because when Rulon asked, “Joseph, when you are gone, will my appointment be terminated?” Musser replied, “Yes, but you cannot supersede the other brethren in the council. You are called as my counselor.”
At the end of October, 1950, Musser announced in a general Sunday meetings that his chosen counselor was Rulon C. Allred, who was authorized “to take charge in places throughout the world where he, Joseph, was unable to be, and that Rulon was to act in his behalf just as though it were himself.” This designation said nothing about succession, but it still placed Rulon above other Council members in the day-to-day activities of the PRIESTHOOD where Musser plainly presided and now, Rulon could act as his proxy. Allred declared that two different blessings given him earlier in his life prophesied of his appointment to the Priesthood Council, denying that he took advantage of Musser’s physical ailments brought on by the strokes.
The turmoil between Musser and Allred and the rest of the Council continued until on 6 May 1951, Musser again spoke in favor of Allred’s appointment. “I have a special work to do, a special work that has been committed to me before my termination or death... One business that I have to present tonight is that Brother Rulon Allred be made a Patriarch and be recognized as a Patriarch in the High Priesthood, and I recognize this as coming frm the Lord... I commend him as a member of this Council and ask you to receive him... All who heard this message will make it manifest in the usual way.”
The vote was not unanimous. Of the Priesthood Council, only Richard Jessop supported the motion and was willing to assist Musser who proceeded to set Allred apart to that calling right there in the meeting. Openly opposing the action were Charles Zitting, Rulon Jeffs, and Alma Timpson. (Louis Kelsch had been a nonparticipant for years and Guy Musser was ill that day.)
Zitting, who undoubtedly remembered Lorin Woolley’s instructions that standing members of the Council of Friends had to unanimously approve any new members, argued that since the Priesthood Council had not previously approved of Allred, he could not be called to the Council. In response, it was pointed out that Carl Holm and Alma Timpson had been called by Barlow without prior approval of the Council, an action that was later sanctioned by Council members.
A New Priesthood Council is Called
The discord heightened in the months that followed until in January of 1952, Musser released all the members of the Priesthood Council and called Rulon C. Allred, Elsie Jensen, John Butchereit, Lyman Jessop, Owen Allred, Marvin Allred and Joseph B. Thompson as replacements. In Musser’s eyes these men comprised the true Priesthood Council, displacing the old Council members who had opposed him. Accordingly, members of the old Council were expected to follow the new Priesthood Council that Musser had just assembled. In August Musser affirmed: “Whatever his former council did, was without authority from now on, unless he [Musser] sanctioned it and then it is done by HIS authority, not their own.”
Old Council members refused to be released so in the course of events, two Priesthood Councils existed with Joseph Musser supporting the second, newer group. In response, his son Guy opposed his father saying: “Brother Allred is a devil. He has tried for the last fifteen years to split up the Priesthood. My father is incompetent and is not able to give any man the Apostleship. Rulon has not got it. All that follow R. C. Allred, work under a spurious Priesthood and all his work done is unauthorized... Certain of the brethren have come to me and offered to take Brother Allred’s life if he continues to maintain his stand. Some of the brethren have tried to put me next to father, but I am seventh in the line down. My father cannot bypass his whole Council and put someone else ahead... The Council of the Priesthood is united in its stand against Brother Allred.”
Rulon C. Allred’s Opinions of Lorin C. Woolley and Joseph W. Musser
Surprisingly, Rulon Allred was at times somewhat critical of Lorin C. Woolley: “I lived through the tail-end of Brother Lorin C. Woolley’s administration in his endeavors to keep alive the fulness of the everlasting gospel, when it had dribbled down to just a few drops in the final flow of the gospel’s message and its light and truth to the world. Lorin C. Woolley took stands and positions that seemed to be entirely out of harmony with the spirit and the context of his responsibilities. But he did the best he knew how with what he had.”
Rulon C. Allred felt a close kinship with Joseph Musser and in a 1975 discourse remarked: “I rejoice to have had Brother Musser visit me once or twice since his departure.” Notwithstanding, he recognized some weaknesses in Musser’s works: “I saw the Priesthood Items and the Truth Magazine come out. I assisted in their publication, and I was on the staff with the members that did publish those magazines. There were many things in them that were hostile toward the Church, that were contrary to the Spirit of truth. But they are there. They manifested the weaknesses of the flesh and of men. I operated under the direction of Brother Joseph W. Musser’s tutorship for 25 years. I saw some weaknesses in Brother Musser, but I knew him to be one of the most perfect men that I ever had the opportunity to walk the face of God’s earth with.”
Teachings of Rulon C. Allred
Many of the teachings of Rulon Allred have been compiled in the two volume, Treasures of Knowledge. Additional teachings have been printed in a periodical entitled, Gems.
The Church President is a Prophet of God
Rulon Allred taught that the Senior Member of the Priesthood Council is the “one” man who holds the keys of sealing mentioned in D&C 132:7: “No marriage performed by anybody else that is not authorized by the man who holds these keys will be enduring in and after the resurrection.” Nevertheless, he explained in 1973: “I want to heartily sustain [Church] President Harold B. Lee [1899 ‑ 1973] as God’s prophet, because he is. The word of the Lord commands us to sustain the President of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve, as the prophets of God.” “The highest authority in the Priesthood is the apostleship.” “[The Church President] holds that apostleship. He may hold it in a limited sense in that he cannot and did not and will not function in its fullness.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
We recall that fundamentalist PRIESTHOOD leaders Lorin C. Woolley (1928-1934), Broadbent (1934-1935), Barlow (1935-1949), and Musser (1949-1954) universally taught that the PRIESTHOOD organization
presided over the Church, existing “above the Church, being God’s power on earth” and that the Church served as the “propaganda division” of the PRIESTHOOD. Although Rulon C. Allred was heir to the offices and authority reportedly held by these very men, it appears that he did not consider himself and his Priesthood Council to be superior to the Church and its leadership: “We are specifically instructed through John Taylor by Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ, and by Joseph Musser as well that we are not to interfere.... with the function of the Church...” “[We] are not in a position to dictate to the Church, or to presume that we preside over [Church] President David O. McKay [1873 ‑ 1970], or that we can send missionaries into the fields of labor, or that we can in any way dictate the affairs of the Church.” “God’s Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” He further explained: “We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no matter who may decry it or who may deny it.” “We are functioning within the spiritual confines of the Church but we are definitely outside of its legal organization.”
In early 1967 fundamentalist followers of Rulon C. Allred approached him with an important question. LDS theology teaches that receiving a fullness of the priesthood keys also includes receiving a fullness of priesthood responsibilities, including the need to perform missionary work and temple work (D&C 128:11). Equally, receiving specific priesthood keys includes receiving specific priesthood responsibilities such as the President of the Deacons Quorum has both limited authority (keys) and limited responsibility.
Accordingly, there was a question regarding what authority was held by the Mormon fundamentalist leaders throughout the decades back to the five men in 1886 (mentioned by Lorin C. Woolley). Allred explained:
If brother Samuel Bateman and brother George Q. Cannon and brother Joseph F. Smith and brother Lorin Woolley and brother John Woolley... were given the fullness of the keys, then why is it that they were not called to set the church in order in 1928, 1929 or 1930 when they stopped living the fullness of the Gospel? If they had the fullness of the keys, shouldn’t they preside over the Church? Shouldn’t they send the missionaries into their fields of labor? Shouldn’t they appoint Presidents of Temples? Shouldn’t they call the Quorum of Twelve and appoint the First Presidents of Seventies? The answer to the question is obvious, most certainly they should if they held the fullness of the keys... Those men then called and those holding authority since that time were called with a special right and special dispensation, not to appoint Apostles or Presidents of Temples, or to send missionaries to their fields of labor or to do any such things... They were to take this work up and carry it on and appoint others in their place, and to see to it that no year passed that children are not born into this covenant, and to keep the law of consecration alive.
Intimating that the five men did not receive a “fullness of the keys” appeared to contradict fundamentalist teachings from the 1930s. If the five men received only a “special” responsibility and a “special” authority, other questions arose: “Who then presided over all priesthood on earth?” and “Who was the ‘one’ man holding all priesthood keys as Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and John Taylor had done?”
A few weeks later Rulon provided an additional explanation explaining that John Taylor “called five men and set them apart and conferred upon them every key, power and authority that he himself possessed, ordaining them Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ... Why did he have to give these men so much authority? And here is the answer to your whole problem. Not so that they could run the Church. Not so that they could send the missionaries into their fields of labor. Not so that they could operate the Temples or any other thing, but so that they could keep two divine principles alive which were being abandoned, Celestial Marriage, and the united order, for if he didn’t give them all this authority and here is the crux of the whole matter, a President of the Church could come along in any time subsequent to the time that this authority was conferred, and say, ‘I hold more authority than you do, and I hereby revoke the authority that John Taylor gave you’... These men were told that they had a specific limited function to exercise. They held all the keys but could only exercise, if you please, certain keys...”
Apparently Rulon’s explanation satisfied his listeners. However, Church members would point out that his teachings seem to contrast earlier fundamentalist doctrines on the PRIESTHOOD, as well as LDS scripture. Regardless, Mormon fundamentalist leaders today generally claim to have received all priesthood keys as Joseph Smith did, but alternately claim to have received only specific priesthood responsibilities.
Missionary Work and Temple Work
The members of the Allred Group do no missionary work, delegating that responsibility to the Church. It appears that if a Church member were to convert to the Allred Group, he would immediately be relieved of the need to do member-missionary work. Allred explained the specific nature of his group members: “Our mission is to prepare a nucleus for the coming of Christ and of Adam at Adam-ondi-Ahman, for the establishment of the Kingdom of God, to answer questions and prepare the hearts of the people.”
Allred instructed in 1975: “The time is at hand when God is going to intervene in the matter, and the temples will be opened to us, and we will have our endowments and do our own work for our dead.” However, by 1981, the AUB had constructed their own endowment houses for ordinance work.
The Priesthood Authority of Church Members
In the 1886 eight hour described by Lorin Woolley, President John Taylor reportedly remarked: “I would be surprised if ten percent of those who claim to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood will remain true and faithful to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, at the time of the seventh president [Heber J. Grant 1918-1945], and that there would be thousands that think they hold the Priesthood at that time, but would not have it properly conferred upon them.”
Of comfort to Church members today are Rulon’s teachings: “The time will never come again that sufficient of the Priesthood is not with the Church to baptize and keep alive the Priesthood... the majority of the presiding brethren of the Church do hold the Priesthood, and they have had it properly conferred upon them.” “God Himself promised... that sufficient Priesthood and ordinances of the gospel would remain with the church to bear off the Kingdom triumphantly. God recognizes His Church and the ordinances that are properly performed there.”
A review of Rulon Allred’s teachings suggests that he emphasized different aspects of Mormon fundamentalist theology, almost to the point that the casual reader could identify contradictions between his instructions regarding the PRIESTHOOD and the ideas promoted by Lorin Woolley, J. Leslie Broadbent, John Y. Barlow, and Joseph Musser. One prominent author in the Allred Group, Robert Openshaw, concluded that the earlier descriptions of the PRIESTHOOD as found in fundamentalist writings of the 1930s were in error. In his monumental 602 page defense of Mormon fundamentalism entitled The Notes, he wrote: “When Brother Joseph W. Musser wrote articles defending and explaining Priesthood in the last day, he also gave hints, perhaps more specific hints, but upon closer scrutiny it is found that although his writings led the mind along a path closer to the keys, he yet did not reveal those things that were not to be found in the written record and unbelievers were not hard pressed to find the straw contained in that purposeful creation...”
Murdered in 1977 by followers of Ervil LeBaron, Rulon Allred’s funeral attendance was the greatest ever recorded in the state of Utah up to that time. Subsequently, his brother Owen assumed the leadership role within the Apostolic United Brethren.