John Ortell Kingston
|J. Ortell Kingston|
Kingston in the Military
|Prophet and Presiding Priesthood Leader
|July 8, 1948 – August 25, 1987|
|Successor||Paul Elden Kingston|
|Born||John Ortell Kingston
May 19, 1919
Idaho, United States
|Died||August 25, 1987
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
|Resting place||Bountiful Memorial Park
|Spouse||At least thirteen, inculding:
Marion H. Tucker
|Parents||Charles W. Kingston
Latter Day Church of Christ membership
J. Ortell Kingston was the son of Charles W. Kingston, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) who was previously excommunicated from the LDS Church on March 4, 1929. Ortell joined his brother's (Elden Kingston) Church shortly after its establishment. When Elden Kingston died unexpectedly in 1948, leadership of the Kingston Clan formally passed from Elden to his Brothers Ortell and Merlin Kingston, but Ortell made most of the day-to-day decisions and he was eventually recognized as the leader of the group.
Despite the wealth of the Kingston Clan leaders, the plural wives of leaders have been sometimes found living in almost inhumane conditions, due to the recovery of the Depression. Often wives homes consisted of only small rundown clapboard houses, with peeling paint and broken windows. Connie Rugg (a former member) stated: "The men in the Kingston group do little or nothing to support their many wives and children". Sometimes wives will "go gardening" (scrounging through garbage cans to find food) for themselves and their children.
Ortell evaded taxes and fraudulently obtained welfare by having his wives clam to be ‘single’ mothers.” and that he was not the father of their children. Ortell's holdings were estimated at $70 million. In 1983 the State of Utah sued Ortell Kingston for welfare subsidies his alleged wives had received. While admitting no wrongdoing, Ortell paid the state $250,000 and the case was dropped.
Ortell was living plural marriage until his death; he had married at least 13 wives and had dozens of children.
Like Elden Kingston, Ortell believed he came from genetically superior ancestry and that he was a direct literal descendant of Jesus Christ. Ortell had worked on a dairy farm owned by the co-op at Woodscross, Davis County, Utah where he reportedly developed theories on genetics that he later decided could be used to purify his own family pedigree. Using these theories he implemented practices which encouraged intra-family marriages of close relatives, in order perfect his own bloodline. Those marriages, if discovered, would be considered incestuous under Utah consanguinity laws. Connie Rugg, one of Ortell’s daughters, stated "Ortell Kingston experimented (with) inbreeding with his cattle and then he turned to his children."
Ortell also taught child marriage to girls just attaining puberty. Ortell and other members of the Kingston clan, having a "Pure Bloodline", had an advantage over almost any outsider in convincing teenage women, sometimes as young as fourteen, to join their bloodline as part of the polygamous family.
Ortell died in 1987 and was living plural marriage until his death. Ortell accumulated at least thirteen wives and dozens of children. Ortell's seven sons from his first wife comprised most of the members of the highest echelon of leadership within the financial conglomerate as well as the primary focus of plural marriage activity within the group.
- 1890 Manifesto
- 1904 Second Manifesto
- Big Love HBO series about a fictional independent polygamous Mormon fundamentalist family
- Under the Banner of Heaven, a history of the LDS and fundamentalist LDS movement by Jon Krakauer
- John Ortell Kingston at Find a Grave
- Hales, Brian C. "John Ortell Kingston". MormonFundamentalism.com, accessed 2009-06-06
- Hales, Brian C. "John Ortell Kingston". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- In 1941, Elden Kingston formally registered the "Davis County Cooperative Society Inc" with the state of Utah. In 1977 J. Ortell Kingston registered "Latter Day Church of Christ" with the state of Utah
- Ana Breton, "Polygamist's home found in squalor" Salt Lake Tribune, 11 August 2007
- D. Michael Quinn, "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 31(2) (Summer 1998): 1–68, accessed 06 June 2009.
- Ray Rivera “Utah Attorneys Key Figures in Polygamist Kingston Clan” Salt Lake Tribune, July 19, 1998
- Greg Burton, "When Incest Becomes a Religious Tenet", Salt Lake Tribune, 25 April 1999
- Moore-Emmett , Andrea. God's Brothel. San Francisco, CA: Pince-Nez Press, 2004, pages 28, 67, 88, 146 & 146
- Utah Code: Title 30 Husband and Wife: Chapter 1 Marriage: Section 1 Incestuous marriages void.
- Also quoted as, "My father experimented inbreeding with his cattle and then he turned to his children."
- Tracy, Kathleen. The Secret Story of Polygamy. Chicago, IL: Sourcebooks, 2001, page 95.
|Latter Day Church of Christ|
|Prophet and Presiding Priesthood Leader
July 8, 1948 - August 25, 1987
Paul Elden Kingston