Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
|Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|Leader||Gerald W. Peterson Jr.|
|Region||Iron County, Utah|
|Founder||Gerald Peterson Sr.|
|Origin||April 6, 1978
Iron County, Utah
|Separated from||Apostolic United Brethren|
|Members||100 - 200|
The Righteous Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as The Righteous Branch, The Branch Church, The Peterson Group and Christ's Church, is a fundamentalist Mormon sect of the Latter Day Saint movement. It is based in Iron County, southwestern Utah.
The Righteous Branch has approximately 100 to 200 members, most near Modena on Utah State Route 56 in Iron County, 7 miles (11 km) west of Beryl. The church's property was originally part of Peterson Sr.'s property outside of Cedar City, and is not part of the incorporated city. Some sect members live near Tonopah in Nye County, Nevada.
The Righteous Branch was organized on April 6, 1978, by Gerald Wilbur Peterson Sr. (born October 8, 1917 in Lusk, Wyoming, died January 1981). Peterson claimed that after Rulon C. Allred, the President of the Priesthood of the Apostolic United Brethren, was murdered in May 1977 by followers of Ervil LeBaron, Allred appeared to him and instructed him to preside over the keys of the priesthood.
Peterson organized a new church body with a new Mormon temple on April 6, 1978, two months before the LDS Church's 1978 revelation, which allowed priesthood ordination to black people. Peterson claimed he foresaw this "apostasy" through revelation. The Righteous Branch is organized similarly to the LDS Church with a First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve Apostles, Presiding Bishopric and other priesthood and auxiliary organizations. The Righteous Branch also actively proselytizes and performs proxy baptism for the dead.
As with other Mormon fundamentalist groups, the Righteous Branch believed a priesthood organization and council existed outside of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which passed from John Woolley to Joseph Musser, then Rulon Allred, next to Gerald Peterson Sr., and finally to his son, Gerald W. Peterson Jr., who moved their headquarters to St. George, Utah. Adherents claim Peterson was Allred's "worthy senior" chosen to succeed him, supporting that Peterson was ordained a patriarch and a "high priest apostle" (the latter being a priesthood office unique to some Mormon fundamentalist groups). However, there is no evidence that Peterson Sr. was a member of Allred's Priesthood Council and no ordination date has been provided.
Doctrines and practices
In addition to standard Mormon doctrines, ordinances, and practices, the Righteous Branch also practices plural marriage, teaches the Adam–God doctrine, the Curse of Cain doctrine, and lives the United Order. Adherents wear modern dress and do not allow women under 18 to be sealed into plural marriages.
Sect founder Gerald Peterson Sr. practiced homeopathic medicine. His son Gerald Peterson Jr., the current leader, is also a doctor of osteopathic medicine, practicing homeopathy in Tonopah, Nye County, Nevada. Peterson first studied and served as a medical officer in the United States Army.
- List of Mormon fundamentalist sects
- List of Mormon fundamentalist leaders
- List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement
- Utah Attorney General's Office and Arizona Attorney General's Office (June 2006), The Primer: Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities (PDF), p. 23, archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-19.
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