Not all groups in Steve Shields book should be considered denominations. In our next conversation, we’ll talk about some of these subgroups with official endorsement of the LDS Church, such as Affirmation and the Genesis Group.
Steve: Affirmation is a para-church organization. It provides a church-oriented fellowship for LGBTQ people who are not often welcomed in the standard ward and most of them are LDS folks in Affirmation. But, they’re providing a ministry that is, dare I say it? Tangential to the LDS Church. So, I consider that an expression.
GT: Would it be like the Genesis Group?
Steve: Genesis Group would have been a very similar kind of a group. Genesis had the full support of the church where Affirmation does not. So, there’s a little difference there. Maybe that’s a big difference, actually. Certainly, with the LDS Church’s policy of a couple of years ago about LGBTQ people, and their children being able to be baptized [that] would take them even one step further the other direction, away from seeing Affirmation [as a good thing]
GT: Whereas the Genesis [Group] was [fully supported by the church], right?
Steve: Yeah, they were. Right.
GT: Just for people who may not know what Genesis Group is, I know we do. But can you describe Genesis Group?
Steve: I probably don’t know very much about it. It was before blacks were allowed to be ordained and it was a ministry group for black LDS Church members, their families and friends. They could be members of the church and it was a support. It was supported by the church, mostly here in the Salt Lake area, I think. Darius Gray, who is well-known in Mormon thought circles, was one of the key people, as I remember.
GT: Yeah, he was one of the original counselors and he went on to become President later. He’s a great guy.
Steve: So that was an important ministry in the era of civil rights upset in the United States. Ultimately then in 1978, when full ordination was finally permitted for all.
It’s sad to say that some groups that believe in the Book of Mormon are notorious for the crimes they have committed. In our final conversation with Steve Shields, we will discuss the Lafferty brothers, and Ervil Lebaron. Both groups were involved in murder.
Steve: It’s really hard to deal with some of those that are just so grossly offensive in what they do. A lot of people, especially Bob Crossfield’s folks would rather I not talk about the Laffertys. But I say, well, I can’t not [talk about them] because they exist or existed, and there was something going on. Bob Crossfield was a self-proclaimed prophet from Canada who eventually developed what they called the School of the Prophets and Bob himself issued more than 100 revelations. The Lafferty brothers, Ron and Dan got involved in Crossfield’s School of the Prophets, but quickly took over what that was all about and turned it into something evil. Evil, maybe that’s not objective, but when you receive or proclaim a revelation that says, “God tells me to kill this person and kill that person and kill that person…” They were a modern-day resurrection of Ervil LeBaron. Ervil was evil. Most of the family members that I know in the LeBaron clan would say the same thing. I don’t know any of the Lafferty folks, but I do know Bob Crossfield’s people. They were just devastated by how the Laffertys twisted everything that Bob Crossfield is all about and turned it into something so horrible. History is not always pretty. Thankfully there haven’t been too many of those kinds of things happening in all of Latter-day Saint history, but every now and again, some of that stuff crops up and you have to deal with it the best way you can.
What are your thoughts about Affirmation & the Genesis Group? Have you heard of the Laffertys or Ervil Lebaron?