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These people are not Mormons.

A recent article by the AP highlights allegations of community-wide misconduct by members of the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in the twin cities of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Colorado.

I felt it important to point out to my friends and associates that the word "Fundamentalist" is part of the name of an organization, and not an adjective.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered in Salt Lake City and with a worldwide membership now approaching 15 million, was founded in 1830. For a time, a small percentage of Church leaders and members practiced plural marriage. This practice was abandoned in 1890, and members who participate in polyamorous relationships are excommunicated.

The FLDS church was founded in the early 20th century by those who split from the main body of the Latter-day Saints, disagreeing with the 1890 Manifesto. It is currently ruled by Warren Jeffs, an imprisoned, convicted pedophile, who most recently commanded (from prison) that only 15 men will be allowed to father children for the religion.

I was actually quite pleased when the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (those who followed Joseph Smith's family after his death, rather than Brigham Young) changed their name to the Community of Christ - it sets them apart as a unique organization rather than tying them to a tradition which no longer reflects their views; conversely, I find it unfortunate that the name of Jeffs' organization tends to foster confusion and the perpetuation of negative stereotypes against the LDS Church. Even today, when I travel outside of Utah, I have had people ask me (should the topic of religion come up) how many wives I have.

I firmly uphold the right of people to believe what they will; Jeffs, however, is depraved and unstable, advocating the practice of "marrying" girls as young as 12 for the purpose of conjugal relations, which crosses every possible societal boundary imaginable. With this kind of man at the head of his community, I would have no problem believing that his followers were engaged in unusual behavior towards outsiders.

Time will tell how this all falls out, but in the meantime, it's important for the general public to understand that these people are not Latter-day Saints, and haven't been for over 100 years.


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Comments

deckardcanine
Jun. 22nd, 2012 04:28 pm (UTC)
Much as Mel Gibson, from what I read, is not a Roman Catholic. He belongs to some breakaway that didn't accept the Second Vatican Council and doesn't accept the legitimacy of the Pope.
dhlawrence
Jun. 22nd, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
When asked, tell people that these guys are as LDS as the nutcases in Westboro are Baptist. That should clear up the confusion.
deckardcanine
Jun. 23rd, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Depends whom you're addressing.
mermaidstitcher
Jun. 23rd, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I am always glad to have a mis-conceptions cleared up.

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