More than a hundred years ago, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) outlawed the practice of polygamy. LDS records, however, indicate that early Mormon leaders, Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young, have both been “sealed” (married) for eternity to hundreds of wives. Despite its current temporal ban on polygamy, the LDS Church promotes polygamy on a perpetual basis. Polygamous unions, mainly on behalf of the dead, using living Mormons as proxies, are routinely performed in LDS temples.
Mormon fundamentalists — representing the sects of Mormonism which embrace early Mormon teachings that made polygamy a central part of the Mormon faith — are among the deceased people whose multiple marriages are now recognized by the LDS Church. Many polygamists who became Mormon fundamentalists were excommunicated from the LDS Church because they supported polygamy. The LDS Church has disowned Mormon fundamentalists. In sharp contradiction, the LDS temple system systematically validates the plural marriages of dead ex-Mormon polygamists through its marriage sealing rituals.
An example of many such individuals is Rulon Clark Allred, who was excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1940 for practicing polygamy. Allred was the leader of the Utah-based group of Mormon fundamentalists, known as the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB). A naturopath by profession, Allred was murdered in his office in Murray, Utah, on May 10, 1977, on the orders of Ervil LeBaron, the head of a rival polygamous group. At the time of his death, Allred was the husband of at least seven wives, the father of forty-eight children, and the spiritual leader of thousands of Mormon fundamentalists.
Mormon records show that Rulon Allred has been sealed by proxy to five of his wives: Katherine Lucy Handy, from whom he was divorced; Beatrice Marjorie Lloyd; Ethel Jessop; Mabel Finlayson; and Ruth Rachel Barlow. Allred was sealed to two of his wives, Ethel Jessop and Ruth Barlow, on December 16, 2008 in the Ogden Utah (LDS) Temple. Ethel Jessop became a plural wife of Rulon Allred in 1945 — five years after his excommunication from the LDS Church. Allred’s posthumous sealing to Jessop in 2008 was an LDS endorsement of Allred’s post-excommunication polygamy.
LDS proxy rituals for Rulon Allred appear to be ongoing. Allred was sealed to Mabel Finlayson on September 17, 2009 in the Panama City, Panama, (LDS) Temple. LDS files also indicate Allred is “Ready” to be sealed to Melba Finlayson, Mabel’s twin sister.
As though killers will share an eternal reward with their victims, Ervil Morrell LeBaron — the Mormon fundamentalist behind the death of Rulon Allred — was sealed by proxy in 2002 to Delfina Salido, from whom he was divorced. LeBaron is in the process of being sealed to several of his other wives. LDS records show that marriage sealings for LeBaron to Maria De La Luz (Mary Lou) Vega and Lorna Chynoweth are currently “In progress.” A marriage sealing for LeBaron to Yolanda (Lina) Rios is listed as “Ready.”
Helen Radkey is a Salt Lake City–based researcher into the practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose groundbreaking research showing that the church was continuing to posthumously baptize victims of the Holocaust sparked outrage in recent years. Her most recent article for Pensito Review was Mormons Posthumously Baptize Notorious Killers.