House of Aaron
|House of Aaron|
|House of Aaron logo|
|Founder||Maurice L. Glendenning|
|Separated from||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
The House of Aaron, formerly the Aaronic Order, is a Christian sect founded in 1942 by Maurice L. Glendenning (February 15, 1891 Randolph, Kansas – October 5, 1969 in Utah). The House of Aaron states its mission is "to participate in and hasten the preparation of the Body of Jesus Christ for His second coming." Its vision is to "restore the Biblical, Levitical ministry to its prophesied fulness in Jesus Christ and to reconcile individuals, families, and fellowships to their places in the Body of Christ."
Glendenning and his family were unfamiliar with the Mormon religion, but as a boy, he confided in his father that he could hear heavenly music even when wide-awake. As a young teen, the heavenly music became interspersed with angelic voices uttering poetry, which Glendenning began to write down in notes he kept private out of fear of ridicule. As a young man, the "angelic poetry" evolved into doctrinal and philosophical statements, and Glendenning gradually began sharing the text of his messages with more and more friends and relatives.
In the late 1920s, Glendenning was urged by Mormon missionaries to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), because they saw LDS beliefs promoted in the angelic messages he had written down in preceding years. Glendenning and his wife were baptized in April 1929, but then he was excommunicated two years later because some LDS Church General Authorities asserted that while people could receive inspiration for themselves, no one could receive authentic divine messages for the church except the President of the Church. However, Glendenning had not claimed to have received divine messages for the church, but was accused of wrongdoing presumably because he claimed to have received divine inspiration that, if true, would affect the validity of some of the teachings of the LDS Church.
Thoroughly embarrassed by the invitation-turned-repudiation, Glendenning was disenchanted with the LDS Church, and Mormonism in general. However, similarities between Glendenning's claims and those of Mormonism's founder Joseph Smith, Jr.—as well as the Utah location of the commune he established in the 1950s, and the LDS roots of most of its founding members—has caused the Aaronic Order to be associated with Mormonism in scholarly and popular view.
In 1978 the Levitical Writings were published by the Aaronic Order. This book was a compilation of 1944's Book of Elias, or the Record of John, 1948's New Revelations for the Book of Elias, or the Record of John, and 1955's Disciple Book.
The organization claims not to be a part of the Latter Day Saint movement, although many of its original members were former Mormons, the House of Aaron basic beliefs have never included the Book of Mormon, nor any other LDS scriptures. The House of Aaron considers its beliefs to be strictly Biblical. The House of Aaron is part of the broader messianic movement united under the Messianic Israel Alliance (MIA). In contrast with stricto sensu Mormonism, the House of Aaron does not believe in or practice plural marriage.
In 1955 the church established a communal settlement called EskDale, Utah, named after Eskdale, Scotland. The House of Aaron currently has branches in EskDale, Partoun, and Murray, Utah. The House of Aaron's membership is less than 1,000.
The following statement comes from the official House of Aaron website:
The House of Aaron is the Biblical name of the family of Israelite priests ordained by God to serve Him at the Tabernacle in the wilderness and, later, at the temple in Jerusalem. Aaronites were a family within the tribe of Levi. This entire tribe was called by God to minister to him and then to the people. The specific duties of the Levites were to assist Aaron in the work of the Tabernacle, in teaching, ministering in music and judging all the tribes of Israel. God made clear that Levi was to have no inheritance in the land but Him. (Deuteronomy 18:1–2) Thus, no territory was identified as Levi and Aaron's home. Instead, 48 Levitical cities were scattered about the land, some in each tribe to remind Levi that his ministry extended to all the tribes of Israel.
The organization does not consider itself to be part of the Latter Day Saint movement; however, researchers have categorized it as part of the movement because of Glendenning's membership and excommunication from the LDS Church.
- Blanche W. Beeston, "Purifed As Gold and Silver" 1966 pp. 34–38
- Stein, Joshua R. (Thursday, October 11, 2007), Definition: Religion?, The Harvard Crimson, Inc., "Of the official symbols, 17 are directly related to Christianity, including such obscure denominations as the Aaronic Order Church, a 20th-century outgrowth of the Latter Day Saints movement that has fewer than 2,000 members nationally."
- J. Gordon Melton (1995, 5th ed.). Encyclopedia of American Religions (Detroit: Gale, ISBN 0-8103-7714-4) p. 561.
- Beeston, Blanche W. (1966). Purified as gold and silver. Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, ID.
- Beeston, Blanche W. (1957). Now my servant; a brief biography of a first-born son of Aaron. Caxton Printers, Ltd., Caldwell, ID.
- Conrad, Robert & The Aaronic Order. Basic Beliefs of the Aaronic Order. The Aaronic Order, Murray, UT.
- Glendenning, Maurice L. (1955). Church of the First-Born, The Church of Christ, The Church of Jesus Christ, The Church of God : a treatise. Corporation of the President of the Aaronic Order, Salt Lake City, UT.
- The Aaronic Order. (1978). Levitical Writings. Aaronic Order, EskDale, UT.
- Baer, Hans (1988). Recreating Utopia in the Desert: A Sectarian Challenge to Modern Mormonism
- Hans A. Baer, "The Aaronic Order: The Development of a Modern Mormon Sect" Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought vol. 12, no. 1 Spring 1979 pp. 57–71
- Frederick S. Buchanan, "A Refuge in the Desert: Eskdale, Utah", Sunstone, Jan–Feb 1979, pp. 33–36.
- "To survive, children of Aaron coming of age: Isolationist sect finds it must let a little of the world seep into its commune to keep it alive", Los Angeles Times September 6, 1993.
- "Order of Aaron: A communion with Nature, God", Los Angeles Times January 25, 1966 (re-published in the St. Petersburg Times weekly supplement "News of Religion" on February 19, 1966).