Did you know there are over 500 Mormon Denominations?! Rick Bennett won’t cover them all but will give a guided tour of about 20 groups that date to the time of Joseph Smith, as well as some of the newest groups out there! I’ll introduce you to several Mormon schisms. Check out our conversation…
GT 21:36 The fourth one here we have is Alpheus Cutler, known as the Cutlerites. This is another interesting group. If you’re there in Independence, you’re probably familiar with this group. They’re just a few blocks south of the Independence temple. I was out there, I’ve got some pictures that I wanted to share. So, they were reorganized in 1853 by Alpheus Cutler. That is their church/temple. From what I understand, the main floor is the church and then the upstairs is kind of their temple. Oh, they’re called The Church of Jesus Christ. By the way, the Bickertonites are also called the Church of Jesus Christ. So, it’s the exact same name. You can see why it’s very, very hard to keep these straight if you don’t use another naming convention.
|Figure 5 – Rick B, Mr. Lane, Virginia Lane|
GT 23:16 Alpheus Cutler left Brigham Young to start the Church of Jesus Christ. I believe it was April 6, 1853, although I saw another thing that said October, so that date might not be correct, but that’s what I understand. They once had a congregation in Minnesota, but they’re down to about nine total members. I’ve got a picture of two of those members. I can’t remember the gentleman’s name, but his wife was Virginia Lane. She gave me a tour of their church. Maybe I’ll jump ahead there, really quick. So, I got to see the Cutlerite Chapel. From what I understand, if you can kind of see, there’s a little bit of a line here. I think they’ve got a baptismal font in the floor, at least that’s what I’ve been told. But it’s a very small building. Virginia was just one of the friendliest people. I asked her if she would be on a podcast, and she would not. So, I’m telling you all of this from memory in my conversation with her. A lot of historians are like, “Wow, you could talk to a whole religion here.” There’s only nine members. Most of them are getting up in age, but they do have, and I can’t remember if it’s Virginia’s grandson or somebody else’s grandson, in his 30s, that lives in Colorado. They’re not concerned about dying out. If this grandson marries somebody, he could maybe keep it going. But they just meet together. So, one of the interesting things, they’re one of the few, I will say, non-polygamous groups that actually still believes in temple work. They do practice sealings and endowments for the living only. She told me that there is no marriage in heaven, so they don’t do any endowments or sealings for the dead. They still practice baptism for the dead, however. They are strongly against polygamy. I’ve got a few other interviews with, I think, Steven Shields and I can’t remember who the other one was with there. They talk a little bit about the Cutlerites. Anyway, that’s kind of the inside of their church there.
Hedrickites (Temple Lot)
|Figure 6 – Image Courtesy Randy Sheldon|
GT 25:39 Topic five, Granville Hedrick[‘s group is] known as the Hedrickites. Granville was baptized in 1843, just a year before Joseph Smith’s death in Woodford County, Illinois. He joined with Brigham Young for a time and then had a revelation that they were supposed to return to Missouri, and they were going to get the temple lot. So, they’re known as the Church of Christ (Temple Lot.) Well, this is one of the interesting things, they actually own… Originally, Joseph Smith, had planned 24 temples in both Independence and Kirtland, but they own the original lot. I’m going to skip ahead here a little bit, if I can find it. I must not have put them in there, darn it. I can’t believe I didn’t put that picture in there. There’s a picture they have where the people are standing around the foundation of the original temple in Missouri, that, of course, was never actually built. Granville Hedrick was ordained an apostle by Hiram Page and became leader of the Church of Christ in July of 1863. The interesting thing is, even though he had the revelation to return to Missouri to claim the temple lot, his brother, and I can’t remember his brother’s name, actually returned and bought the land where the original temple lot was. So, they actually tried to rebuild the temple in the 1930s. Then the Depression hit, and they just didn’t have any money. Most of this information I’m getting is from R. Jean Addams. He’s LDS, but he’s probably the best expert on the Temple Lot [Church.]
|Figure 7 – Image courtesy Randy Sheldon|
GT 27:51 Once again, when I spoke to them, just like with the Cutlerites, they did not want to speak on camera, but were very friendly. They reject the Doctrine and Covenants in favor of the Book of Commandments. They occasionally practice speaking in tongues. They have apostles that lead their church, but often drop below 12. I believe they’re less than 12 right now. That original building has been burned twice by arson, which is just terrible to me. There’s a link to my interviews with Jean Addams. This is a picture of the first Church of Christ Temple Lot, the first building from 1889 to 1898. This picture here on the right is interesting because this is the son of Granville Hedrick standing in front of that original building. You can see how small it was. That one burned, and it was by arson. I think it was an irate member of the congregation that burned it down. Back in the 1930s, they tried to build the temple lot. And you can see there’s a big hole here and they were putting in the footings here. Bishop Alma Frisbee, they’ve got a picture here. They found two of the original stones that were used to mark, I believe the cornerstones or at least some sort of markers for the temple, that were laid, I won’t say by Joseph Smith, but probably.
Lori Vallow/Chad Daybell/Jeff Lundgren
GT 41:50 This is another terrible story. We’re going to do about three terrible stories in a row. This one’s in the news lately. Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell. I don’t believe they’re polygamous, as far as I know. But they’re an LDS breakoff based up near Rexburg, Idaho. They’re part of the prepper movement where, they’re into end times and have your guns ready, and the world’s going to end at any time. So, Chad Daybell was an influential writer of visions prior to his arrest. Chad and Lori married soon after both of their previous spouses were deceased under suspicious circumstances. Lori’s first husband was killed by her brother, which is kind of weird. Then her brother died. They have some really strange beliefs that children were possessed by devils and became zombies.
GT 42:46 I think Lori’s child was autistic or something. Anyway, the children were missing for months, Lori and Chad got married and then went on a honeymoon in Hawaii. Everybody was like, “Where are the children?”
And they were like, “Oh, they’re fine.” The bodies were discovered buried on Chad’s property. So, just recently in the news, Lori has had her legal status changed from incompetent to competent to stand trial. Trials of both of them are to take place soon.
GT 43:19 I interviewed a guy named Christopher Blythe. He’s a professor at BYU and he talked about that. So, it’s a very unpleasant story. I know we’ve got Under the Banner of Heaven. I don’t actually have them in [this presentation.]
GT: There’s another story about Jeff Lundgren. He is an RLDS break-off, very similar style sort of story. He believed the story of where Nephi killed Laban authorized him to have a hit list. So, he had a hit list of several prominent RLDS leaders. He killed a family of five in Ohio and was never remorseful at all. He was executed by lethal injection in 2006. I have an upcoming interview with Bill Russell from the Community of Christ, and he’s going to give a few more details on that story. Bill’s really interesting, because while he loathes–I don’t think that’s too strong of a word–Jeff Lundgren, he’s also strongly against the death penalty and actually testified in an attempt to save Jeff from the death penalty. But, of course, he was executed back in 2006. There’s a link to Bill’s Sunstone talk. I think it’s from 1993, where he talks about the story of Jeff Lundgren killing this family of five in Ohio.
Remnant Movement (LDS Schism)
GT 44:54 So, time to move on to happier topics. The Remnant Movement. So, we’ve talked about the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ, which was Jim Vun Cannon and that group. Well, this is the Remnant Movement with Denver Snuffer, not to be confused. The Remnant Church with Jim Vun Cannon is an RLDS break-off, or a Josephite break-off. Denver Snuffer is a Brighamite break-off. One of the interesting things is, Denver says that God didn’t ask him to set up a church. And he doesn’t like to be called a prophet, even though he basically functions as a prophet. So, Denver was excommunicated in 2013 over the book, Passing the Heavenly Gift. He claims to meet with Jesus often. He has published his own version of the Bible. I’ve got a copy on my shelves here somewhere, where sometimes Joseph would give sermons and he would say, “Well, this scripture means this,” and so Denver would take those and add what Joseph Smith said, into his version of the Bible. So, it’s like the Inspired Version of the Bible that the RLDS use plus. So, they’ve recently published that. Denver’s had many revelations. He rejects D&C 132 and many other revelations. He used to be more LGBT-friendly or polygamy friendly than he is now. But he claims that God has told him that those things aren’t of God. He now believes Joseph was a monogamist. He didn’t used to believe that. In fact, we talked about that in my interview with Denver. One of the interesting things about Denver, because it’s not a church, you don’t have to quit your church to join his movement. He is talking about building a temple one day. He’s based here in Sandy, Utah, not far from my house. [He’s a] very friendly guy. This has just been since about 2013 that his church has started.
Reborn LDS Church
GT 47:17 Another break-off is the Reborn LDS Church. So, this guy in the red shirt here in the middle, a guy named John Pratt. He was the guy I interviewed. The interesting thing about John, he joined with Denver, and he’s a descendant of Parley P. Pratt. So, John Pratt is quite an interesting character.
|Figure 10 – Mauricio Berger, unknown, John Pratt, 2 other women|
GT 47:44 This person on the left here, holding the gold plates is Mauricio Berger. He’s based in Brazil. He claims that the angel Raphael came to him, ordained him a prophet and gave him the actual gold plates that Joseph Smith had. So, you can see these are loose pages, but over here, they’re bound pages. He has translated a portion of the sealed plates. I know he’s been in a lawsuit with the LDS Church, because they don’t want him to refer to it as the sealed Book of Mormon. So, they’ve got, you can download a copy over the internet, but they’re not supposed to sell the sealed portion, due to a lawsuit. But, anyway, I joked with John, because John told me in the interview, that he was to be a witness of a second sealed portion that was going to be translated. Well, the unfortunate thing is, I interviewed John last summer. It was June or July, and I told John, it was going to take me some time, because I’m always slow getting these interviews out. It’s a lot of work. And he passed away in October from COVID. Unfortunately, he wasn’t vaccinated, so he was not able to be a witness for this second, sealed portion. So, I was really sad to hear that. But I’ve got a link to that interview. He talks a little bit more about Mauricio Berger. John’s an astrophysicist. One of the other interesting things is he thinks that he’s figured out that the First vision took place on March 2[6th], if I remember. I think that’s the right date, 1820. He’s made some calculations and some calendars and sorts of things. Anyway, so that’s the Brazil group, the Reborn LDS Church.
Check out the video to hear about some of the other groups. Were you aware of the schisms? What are your thoughts?
I was recently interviewed about one of the branches of Mormon Fundamentalism in the UK here:
They are planning more interviews with those who are or were associated with different restoration groups.
Nice posting. Here are a few things I learned from a visit to Independence in 2016.
The CofChrist (RLDS) is headquartered there with a few dozen congregations, but it isn’t the majority denomination in Independence. Many of the breakaway groups have just one church located in the center place. That and belief in the Book of Mormon are the only common link between them.
While there I met an LDS couple that had just toured the CofChrist temple and were totally confused. As a former RLDS, I was able to clarify a few things.
The LDS visitors center has changed considerately. Years ago the tour focused on the church’s history in Jackson co. but now is basically a missionary outreach. I liked the way it was.
The RLDS went to court attempting to acquire the temple lot in 1890 but failed. The Hedrickites’ push to build the temple came from a large influx of people from the RLDS. Rumor has it that Truman, when he became President, made them fill in the excavated site so visiting dignitaries to his hometown wouldn’t see an ugly dirt pit.