Latter Day Church of Christ

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For the church formally established by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830, see Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints).
Latter Day Church of Christ
Classification Restorationist
Orientation Latter Day Saint movement
Theology Mormon fundamentalism
Polity Hierarchical
Leader Paul Elden Kingston
Associations Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.
Headquarters Salt Lake City, Utah
Founder Elden Kingston
Origin January 1, 1935
Bountiful, Utah
Separated from Woolley Group
Members 2,000 – 3,500

The Latter Day Church of Christ[1] is a Mormon fundamentalist denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement, and is also known as the Kingston Clan, the Kingston Group, The Order, the Davis County Cooperative, and The Co-op Society.[2] There are approximately 3,500 members of this group.[3]

Establishment[edit]

The church was created in 1977 by the joint owners of the Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.,[4][verification needed] a cooperative created in 1941 to manage and hold the financial assets of the group. The Latter Day Church of Christ is based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the early 1920s, Charles W. Kingston was disenchanted with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) because of its abandonment of plural marriage and other doctrines. Kingston began preaching polygamy amongst fellow members of the LDS Church as well as distributing pamphlets and the book, Laman Manasseh Victorious: A Message of Salvation and Redemption to His People Israel, First to Ephraim and Manasseh, which he had co-written. This eventually resulted in his excommunication from the LDS Church. By 1935, following the excommunication from the LDS Church of Kingston's followers, the group migrated to Bountiful, Utah, to escape harassment, ridicule, and ostracism from members of their community that remained loyal to the LDS Church. They arrived in Bountiful one family at a time with the plan to combine their resources to escape the hardship resulting from the Great Depression. The first five families formed a governing council and elected Charles Elden Kingston, Charles W. Kingston's son, as the leader of the council. In 1941, the community founded by Charles W. Kingston officially declared themselves the Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.

The corporation produces goods and services that are used by members, and sold or traded to other cooperatives and to the public.[5]

Finances[edit]

Over the decades, the Cooperative has maintained extreme secrecy while developing an extensive cooperative system with assets at an unconfirmed value of over $150 million.[6]

Financial holdings include: a 300-acre (1.2 km2) dairy farm in Davis County; a 3,200-acre (13 km2) farm in Tetonia, Idaho; a coal mine in Emery County;[7] and 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) in Terreton, Idaho; a cattle ranch and a discount store; a grocery store; restaurant supply in many western cities including Tucson, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Boise, and Portland. It has been rumored that it owned the United Bank, but this has now been confirmed as incorrect.[citation needed] J. Ortell Kingston aggressively pursued a financially expansive agenda for the Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.[8]

Beliefs[edit]

The Davis County Cooperative Society claims to maintain the original beliefs and teachings of Joseph Smith. It began the practice of plural marriage shortly after the establishment of the cooperative.[9][10] The Latter Day Church of Christ also practices the Law of Consecration and United Order.

During the first years of the Davis County Cooperative Society, Kingston and his followers wore unique outer garments that led to people referring to them as "blue-coats." Men and boys wore blue coverall-type suits tied with strings; women and girls wore plain blue dresses. As a symbol of their renunciation of worldly goods, the outer clothing contained no pockets in which possession could be carried, although later an inside pocket was provided for the sanitary measure of carrying a handkerchief. All went bareheaded and barefoot.[11]

The community practices plural marriage and there have been numerous legal issues regarding this in the state of Utah; there have been several charges but only three convictions over 60 years.[8]

The male members of the Latter Day Church of Christ are designated by numbers: "Brother #1," "Brother #2," "Brother #3," etc. The children are numbered thus: If the numbered man is #47, his first wife is #471, the first male child is 4711 and the first female child 4712; the second wife's children would be #4721, #4722, #4723, and so on, with girls having even numbers and boys having odd numbers. It is not clear, even to members, why the people are numbered in this way. It has been rumored that the first leader mentioned that the numbering system was for the purpose of maintaining order on the chance that a new leader could not be elected. Therefore, a man that is numbered is considered to have leadership qualities and should be respected. There does not seem to be any hierarchy or other significance in the numbering system.

Charles W. Kingston taught that "Every individual ... no matter what authority, standing, or station he is in, is responsible to the one above him in exactly the same way as if that individual was the Savior himself .... We must look at the one above us in the same light as we look at the Savior."[12] This doctrine is known as the Law of One-above-another.

The church members believe that every child is a priceless blessing and that it emphasizes family values, education, and self-sufficiency. Children are allowed to attend public school and many go on to receive college educations. The church recently established a private school, which almost all of the children now attend.[2]

Controversies[edit]

Intra-family marriages[edit]

The theories on genetics that could be used to "purify" the Kingston-family pedigree were reportedly developed at the Kingston Dairy, owned by the co-op in Woods Cross, Davis County, Utah.[3][13] Use of these theories encouraged incestuous marriages of close relatives in order to "perfect" the Kingston bloodline.[13] Those marriages, if proven, could be considered illegal under Utah's consanguinity laws.[14] Connie Rugg, formerly one of Ortell's plural wives, stated: "Ortell Kingston experimented [with] inbreeding with his cattle, and then he turned to his children."[3]

Some examples include:

Example of Intra-family Marriages within the Kingston Clan
John O. Kingston Jeremy O. Kingston[a]
LaDonna Peterson Lunna Kingston[b]
Mary Gustafson
Charles W. Kingston
Joseph O. Kingston
Clyde Gustafson Lunna Gustafson
Mary Gustafson
Marriage of Jeremy Ortell Kingstona and Aunt/Cousin LuAnn Kingstonb
  • LDCC member Jason Ortell Kingston married his half-sister, Andrea Johnson, who became pregnant in 1992. She suffered from preeclampsia (toxemia) before being brought in for medical treatment. A C-section was performed to save the baby, but Andrea died. Utah state officials believe that obstetrical care was withheld because of the possibility that the incestuous relationship would be discovered.[15]
  • Jeremy Ortell Kingston was sentenced to a year in prison in 2004 for having taken LuAnn Kingston, who was his cousin and aunt, as his fourth wife in 1994.[16]
  • LDCC member David O. Kingston married 15-year-old Mary Ann Kingston, who attempted to run away but was apprehended by her father. Mary counted 28 lashes before passing out.[17] He was arrested and pled “no contest” to the charge of child abuse and served seven months in jail. David O. Kingston was convicted of incest and unlawful sexual conduct and sentenced to a 10-year prison term, of which he only served 4 years. Mary Ann later filed a $110-million lawsuit against members of the Kingston Clan, alleging intentional sexual abuse of a child and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[18]

Child marriage[edit]

The Latter Day Church of Christ, for a period, practiced child marriage of girls just attaining puberty. Kingston Clan leaders having a "pure bloodline" have priority over almost any other members when choosing plural wives.[3] With this advantage, girls as young as 13 were coerced into marriage as new plural wives.[19]

Financial fraud[edit]

Despite the wealth of the Kingston Clan leaders, plural wives have been found living in almost inhuman conditions.[20] Often, wives' homes consisted of only small rundown clapboard houses with peeling paint and broken windows.[6] Connie Rugg stated: "The men in the Kingston group do little or nothing to support their many wives and children".[6] Sometimes wives will "go gardening," scrounging through garbage cans to provide food for their children and themselves.[6]

The Latter Day Church of Christ has also been accused of engaging in welfare fraud and tax evasion.[21] The members have larger families, which is typical of the older Mormon teachings. John Ortell Kingston was accused of tax evasion and fraudulently obtained welfare by having his wives claim to be single mothers, claiming that he was not the father of their children. Ortell's holdings were estimated at $70 million. In 1983, Utah sued Ortell Kingston for repayment of welfare subsidies his plural wives had received. While admitting no wrongdoing, Ortell paid the state $250,000 and the case was dropped.[citation needed]

Leaders[edit]

Kingston Group assets[edit]

The Utah holdings of the Davis County Cooperative are estimated at more than $2 million.[3] including the following:

  • A-1 Disposal
  • AAA Alarm
  • AAA Security
  • Advanced copy (located next to family stores Aka true value)
  • Advance Vending
  • AM Security Alarm Co.
  • American Digital Systems
  • ANR Company Inc.
  • Arrow Real Estate
  • Bail Bond Specialists
  • Best Distributing Amusement Games
  • C.O.P. Coal Development Co.
  • C.W. Mining Co. (Related entities: Co-Op Mine; CoOp Mining Co.)
  • Coalt Inc.
  • D.U. Company Inc.
  • Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.
  • Desert Tactical Arms
  • Johns Market
  • Family Stores True Value
  • Fidelity Funding Corp.
  • Fountain of Youth Health & Athletic Club
  • Garco Industrial Park
  • H.K. Engineering Inc.
  • Hiawatha Coal Co. Inc.
  • Holtz Inc.
  • IA Castle Corp.
  • Kalvin Property Company
  • Kingston Dairy
  • Little Red School House Montessori
  • Men's Shoe Repair and Men's Store
  • Mountain Vendors Machine Distributors
  • Mountain Coin Machine Distributors
  • N.U.B. Corp.
  • National Business Management Inc.
  • P.M.C. Inc
  • PGAC Inc.
  • RE Company Inc.
  • Speciality Consulting Services Inc.
  • Spezialized Inc.
  • Sportsman's Bail Bond Specialists
  • Sportsman's Fast Cash
  • Sportsman's Pawn Shops
  • Standard Industries Inc.
  • Standard Restaurant Equipment Company
  • Stevens wearhouse (located also by family stores on the opposite side)
  • The Larken Ranch
  • U.P.C. Inc
  • North Low Creek Irrigation & Power Co.
  • Westmark Inc.
  • Western Enterprises
  • Washakie Ranch
  • Washakie Renewable Energy[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Utah business entity number 689669-0140.
  2. ^ a b Utah Attorney General's Office and Arizona Attorney General's Office. The Primer, Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities. Updated June 2006. Page 23.
  3. ^ a b c d e Moore-Emmett, Andrea (2004). God's Brothel. San Francisco, CA: Pince-Nez Press. pp. 28, 67, 85, 88, 146 & 146. ISBN 1-930074-13-1. 
  4. ^ Utah business entity number 561222-0140.
  5. ^ Articles of Incorporation of the Davis County Cooperative Society, 7 February 1941. As found in: Shields, Steven L. (June 1, 1990). Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Independence, MO: Herald Pub House. pp. 134–35. ISBN 0-942284-13-5. 
  6. ^ a b c d Quinn, D. Michael (Summer 1998), "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 31 (2): 19, fn. 56, retrieved 2013-09-16  His information source was an interview with "Jane Doe Kingston," a member of the clan.
  7. ^ Hales, Brian C. "The Kingstons". mormonfundamentalism.com. 
  8. ^ a b Hales, Brian C., "John Ortell Kingston (Elden's Brother) Leads 1948-87", MormonFundamentalism.com, retrieved 2013-09-16 
  9. ^ "Clan leader pleads guilty to incest". Chicago Tribune. November 7, 2003. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  10. ^ Ginos, Becky (July 31, 2008). "Patterns of Polygamy Davis County's Kingston clan - County's polygamy roots run deep". Davis County Clipper. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  11. ^ Wright, Lyle O. (1963). Origins and Development of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times (Thesis). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University. OCLC 13952557. 
  12. ^ Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, pp. 141–142 , spelling and punctuation standardized.[full citation needed]
  13. ^ a b Burton, Greg (April 25, 1999), "When Incest Becomes a Religious Tenet", The Salt Lake Tribune, Archive Article ID: 100EEB119553820E (NewsBank) 
  14. ^ "Title 30 Husband and Wife: Chapter 1 Marriage: Section 1", Utah Code (Utah State Legislature)  |chapter= ignored (help)
  15. ^ Nii, Jenifer K. (August 25, 1998). "Probe into death in clan reopens". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  16. ^ Thomson, Linda (October 31, 2003). "Kingston pleads guilty to incest charge". Deseret News. Retrieved 2013-09-16. 
  17. ^ Nichols, Judy (October 15, 2003). "Wives suing to bring end to abuse under polygamy". The Arizona Republic. p. A1.  As found in: Harris, Sam (January 22, 2007). "God's Hostages". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  18. ^ Rivera, Ray (July 23, 1998), "16-Year-Old Girl Testifies Of Beating", The Salt Lake Tribune: B1, Archive Article ID: 100F3A528F528F0F 
  19. ^ Tracy, Kathleen (2002) [2001], The Secret Story of Polygamy, Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, p. 95, ISBN 1570717230, OCLC 46858494 
  20. ^ Breton, Ana (August 11, 2007), "Polygamist's home found in squalor", The Salt Lake Tribune 
  21. ^ Salt Lake City Tribune, August 16 and 23, 1998, and January 1999.[full citation needed]