Three main polygamist offshoots of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) have some basic beliefs in common, but the reality is that they all have their own rules. Fundamentalist Mormon polygamous groups featured on Sister wives, keep Sweet: Pray and obey, and Escaping Polygamy have very different rules, but all seem to have similar origins.
‘Be Gentle: Pray and Obey‘- Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS)
Many people hear about the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) through the popularity of the four-part Netflix docu-series, Be Gentle: Pray and Obey.
The FLDS began when the mainstream LDS church changed its view of polygamy or “plural marriage” after renouncing it in the “Second Manifesto”. The FLDS was born after the group was excommunicated for refusing to adhere to new LDS teachings.
The FLDS Church has been led by a succession of men considered prophets who all believe they received visions to continue polygamy. In the Netflix documentary series, two leaders, Rulon Jeffs and his son, Warren Jeffs, are the center of attention.
The FLDS is the strictest when it comes to polygamy. The chief, or prophet, is the only one who can assign wives to husbands. They believe that God commands them to place wives with husbands according to their dignity.
They also have strict dress codes. Women should wear modest, long dresses with old-fashioned hairstyles. Warren Jeffs’ teachings promoted underage wives, abuse, child labor, incest, racism, and homophobia.
‘Escape Polygamy’ – ‘The Order’ / ‘The Kingston Clan‘
Network for life Escaping Polygamy follows three sisters, Andrea, Jessica and Shanell Kingston, all born to the same father, John Daniel Kingston. Four seasons of the show follow the girls after escaping the polygamous cult known as “The Order” or “The Kingston Clan”.
The Order was founded in 1935 by Charles “Elden” Kingston and is currently led by his great-nephew, Paul Kingston. He is considered by members of the Order to be “the man in the watchtower”. He would have 27 wives and more than 300 children. Three wives are his half-sisters, one is his first cousin and two are his nieces.
This sect is obsessed with the purity of its lineage. They are strengthened by the conviction that they are God’s chosen people. They practice polygamy with incest by forcing nieces to marry uncles and cousins to marry cousins. The Order’s obsession with purity means hatred of all non-whites and members of the LGBTQ community.
Although they do not dress as strictly as members of the FLDS, they are expected to remain modest. And although they are part of the community, they will avoid former members of the Order in their community if they leave. This sect is considered one of the most secretive and dangerous offshoots of the FLDS.
‘Sister Wives’ – Apostolic United Brethren (AUB)
TLC aired for the first time sister wives in 2010, after Kody Brown and his wives, Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Robyn Brown and his now ex-wife, Christine Brown. Between the four wives, the Browns have 17 children.
sister wives It was the first time America had seen polygamists living among the rest of society. The Browns looked like the family next door, with no old-fashioned clothes or hairstyles.
The Browns are followers of a fundamentalist Mormon sect called Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) or “The Group” or “The Priesthood”, also known to those outside the faith as the Allred Group. This sect of the LDS church was founded by Christine’s grandfather, Rulon C. Allred.
Allred branched off and created his own polygamist group to be as close to the teachings of Joseph Smith as possible. He wanted to create a group that would bring back the doctrines rejected by the modern LDS church.
These doctrines include polygamy, the teachings of Adam-God, and the prohibition against blacks receiving the priesthood. They also believe that a living prophet can never lead you astray – even if he deviates from the teachings and revelations of previous prophets.
However, unlike the Kingstons, LeBarons, and Jeffs, Allred never used his power to usher in further “revelations” as a prophet to further control the limbs.
By 1998, AUB had over 10,000 members in Utah, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, and Mexico. Members can attend public school, dress in modest modern clothing, and live within society.
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