The Quiet Passing of Fundamentalist Mormon Prophet Lynn A. Thompson Suggests Polygamy Recognition Remains a Distant Hope

Lynn A. Thompson, President of the Priesthood of the Apostolic United Brethren, the most significant Mormon fundamentalist faith, quietly passed away this 7 days on October 5, 2021.

‘Mormon fundamentalist religion’ is a phrase applied by equally early leaders of the motion and leaders inside the LDS Church to differentiate by themselves from those people who continued the controversial marital observe. According to the Apostolic United Brethren, they were charged with continuing the “fundamentals” of the faithparticularly polygamyimmediately after the LDS Church effectively brought an end to the observe in 1904.

Above the past two yrs, the legal and legal status of polygamy in the US has once all over again been at the heart of general public interest. At the start out of the 2020 Utah legislative session, Senator Deidre Henderson and Representative Lowry Snow released a invoice that sought to correctly decriminalize polygamy in Utah. SB102 reclassified the apply as an infraction for consenting grown ups, whilst polygamy linked with other crimes stays a felony.

The bill handed by an astronomical margin. At the heart of the bill’s discussion was damage reduction, and further more integrating polygamous households into broader Utah culture. Amid supporters had been numerous of Thompson’s young children who left the faith as grownups, and who identified the felony position of polygamy as contributing to a childhood marked by isolation, even inside of a extra “progressive” fundamentalist movement.

Even though Mormon fundamentalism is most frequently associated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), led by Warren Jeffs, the AUB has demonstrated the diversity of practice within the motion. Members of the local community have frequently appeared on television displays this sort of as My 5 Wives and Sister Wives. Their community existence has pressured men and women to interrogate their beforehand held strategies about polygamous Mormons in the U.S

Regardless of media attention more than the past decade, the AUB has usually been a marginalized and criminalized religion. Starting in 1933, in the confront of governmental prosecution and persecution from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-working day Saints, polygamous Mormons sought a location of refuge to follow their religion. Nevertheless, even in its earliest yrs, the polygamous Mormon motion was marked by schism.

In 1952, the fledgling polygamous Mormon local community in Utah underwent a split. Those who were faithful to Joseph W. Musser seemed to Rulon C. Allred as his successor and the new President of the Priesthood. Beneath Allred, the religion grew. Most notably, the team seasoned a progress in membership after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-working day Saints desegregated their temples. Soon just after, the group formally integrated as the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). By 1970, the team had communities in Pinesdale, MT, as effectively as in Bluffdale and Rocky Ridge, UT. 

When Allred died in 1977, he was succeeded by his brother, Owen Allred, adopted by LaMoine Jenson, the gentleman he appointed as his successor and who served as the leader of the community until eventually 2014. Thompson assumed management of the group subsequent Jenson’s loss of life, bypassing extra senior customers of the priesthood business.

Thompson’s management was not with no controversy. In November 2014, Rosemary Williams accused Thomson of abuse. Thompson denied the allegations, but was only met with further accusations of embezzlement and abuse.

With the passing of this controversial Mormon Prophet, the AUB at the time yet again raises the question of who is identified as “Mormon” (if any person is) and how polygamy contributed to the isolation that marks the AUB’s record. When LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson passed absent in 2018, Latter-working day Saints from across Utah frequented the Convention Heart at Temple Sq. to check out their late prophet and pay out their respects to his legacy. Global leaders despatched bouquets that lined the Hall of Church Presidents, with Monson’s casket positioned at the conclusion of the home embellished with photographs of his predecessors. 

Like Monson, Thompson was upheld as the person designated to direct the faithful, discuss on behalf of the divine, and seal family members collectively for eternity. However, with restricted media recognition of the demise, the spiritual community that surrounded him will go on rather unnoticed in the public sphere. Offered the continued prevalence of polygamy in Utah, and the authorized queries encompassing the religion Thompson led, the recognition of variety inside the Mormon Restoration is additional important than at any time.