Thursday, May 7, 2009

FLDS Beliefs 101 - One Man Rule

The FLDS traces its roots and authority from God back to a group of families who believed they were instructed by God to keep the principle of plural marriage alive after the Mormon Church abandoned the practice in 1890. Their families were led by a “priesthood council” -- a group of men. The council had a senior member, but they all made decisions together. In those early years they concentrated on keeping plural marriage alive. They didn’t worry about controlling the people or demanding loyally to one man. But over time things changed in the current FLDS doctrine where loyalty to the “one man” who has the sealing powers is more important than anything else, including families.

In the early 1980s, LeRoy Johnson was the senior member of the priesthood council. “Uncle Roy,” influenced by others seeking power, outlined extreme actions that other members of the council didn’t want to follow. He explained that it was not a democracy, that he didn’t need their support since he held all the keys (authority from God). Marrion Hammon, second in seniority questioned this belief, and referenced a past revelation that stated that all members of the council held the same keys (authority). Johnson insisted that the source of the revelation was of the devil. A serious split resulted in the priesthood council. Marrion Hammon and Alma Timpson could not accept the doctrinal changes Johnson and others were introducing in this power struggle. A split eventually occurred and about 1/3 of the families followed after Hammon and Timpson. They became what was referred to as “the Second Ward.” The rest stayed loyal to Johnson. The Second Ward today is not part of the FLDS and is known as the Centennial Park group.

Johnson decreed this new doctrine: “There is only one man at a time, and that is the way it has been throughout all the history of Gods dealings with people, both in this world and in the world before this one, and the world before that one. Only one man at a time holds the keys and power of the sealing power, and those who act during his administration are only acting under a delegated authority" (LSJ 2/12/84)

Under Rulon Jeffs’ leadership, he further solidified the “one man rule” doctrine. He went so far as to change the history of the group by eliminating from their succession of leaders, any senior member who had taught against the “one man rule” doctrine. In the 1950s, The FLDS magazine “TRUTH” showed their line of authority as: Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, John Woolley, Lorin Woolley, Leslie Broadbent, Joseph Musser, and Charles Zitting. But Jeffs changed history and now, if you look closely at picture of YFZ walls, and on the FLDS website, you will not see pictures of these men: Wilford Woodruff, Leslie Broadbent, Joseph Musser, and Charles Zitting. These men were eliminated from FLDS history and stripped of their priesthood posthumously because they taught things that didn’t line up with the “one man rule” doctrine desired.

It is rumored that they went even further by sanitizing transcripts of LeRoy Johnson’s sermons after his death, removing references to Joseph Musser during the time he was recognized as being “the one.”

Warren Jeffs taught the FLDS children a different version: “About 15-17 years ago, there were several apostles who turned traitor against President Johnson. Many apostles have fallen away, not believing. There is only one man who holds all the powers of priesthood and is the key holder, and that one man today is President Jeffs. He is our Enoch, our Moses, our Elijah. The work of all the prophets is now alive in President Jeffs. . . . A few years ago, Marion Hammon, Guy Musser, Alma Timpson - men who were ordained apostles - turned traitor against Uncle Roy. They wanted to be the great power over the earth, and they wanted Uncle Roy to die, but President Jeffs was there to help him.” (WSJ 11/20/95)

Now with this “one man rule” established, the FLDS prophet could call all the shots. To the FLDS, the prophet is God to them. They don’t worship the prophet, but his word is God’s word. “Because of this great power President Jeffs holds, he is everything to us. All your happiness comes through him. The Lord has promised this prophet, ‘Whoever you bless, I will bless. Whoever you curse, I will curse.’” “To obey the prophet is to obey God.” (WSJ 11/20/95) “You become like God through obeying the prophet - the man who stands as God.” (WSJ 11/20/95) “We worship the true and living God by obeying His prophet.” (WSJ 11/22/95).

As you can see, for the FLDS today, everything flows through the prophet. A chain of obedience exists. The man must obey the prophet. The woman must obey the husband as he obeys the prophet. If a woman disobeys her husband, she is disobeying the prophet, and disobeying God. “No father, can go off and make up his own rules. For him to stay a faithful father, he must live the prophet's rules. Nobody can be their own big boss and get to heaven, right up to our Savior, direct. You only get to heaven through the living prophet in your time. Because of this great power President Jeffs holds, he is everything to us.” (WSJ 11/20/95)

What is the consequence for not obeying the prophet? One bad thing, is death. “This land has to be cleansed of all the people except the priesthood people [faithful FLDS]. Only those who obey President Jeffs will survive.” (WSJ 11/19/95). “We've told you what happens to the disobedient. They will never see Heavenly Father again.” (WSJ 11/8/95)

A former FLDS member explains “THERE IS NO LOVE. The only motivation out there is FEAR. They live in fear of having all that they hold dear removed from them. They live in fear of going to hell because they do not implicitly obey the fiendish dictates of a man in a desperate power struggle, who just can't seem to get enough.”

An FLDS believer claimed these people aren’t controlled, they have choice: “They are just taught that they are the only true people of God. They don’t have to stay where they are. They choose to. They are true believers of Warren so it’s not like they don’t have a choice, trust me if they didn’t believe in him they would be kicked out.”

Believe or be kicked out, lose your home, family, all that you know and love. This is systematic removal of individuality and free choice in the name of “perfect obedience to authority.”