Sociologically, the FLDS is a high-demand, high-control, destructive cult. Among other things, it teaches and practices polygamy, breaks up families and marriages, and has engaged in arranged and forced marriages.
Rooted in the early ministry of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith [...], polygamy was later denounced by the church but embraced by fundamentalists, who now number in the thousands. About 10,000 claim membership in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The ranks of the Apostolic United Brethren number about 7,500. The Kingston family has approximately 1,200 members, and about 2,000 belong to the Centennial Park, Ariz., group.
Since the fundamentalist offshoots of the Mormon church (along with their respective sects) adhere to the fundamental ('foundational') teachings on which Mormonism was founded, the offshoots are in turn also considered to be - theologically - cults of Christianity.
"The [FLDS] is highly secretive and its leaders rarely grant interviews. It is one of the polygamist sects that have been the target of allegations of welfare abuse and forced marriages of teen girls."(Note 2)
In recent years the FLDS, currently led by 'prophet' Warren Jeffs, has been in the news for a variety of issues:
It's been a difficult spring for Warren Jeffs, the reclusive leader of a secretive polygamist sect that is building a large settlement and an imposing stone temple a few miles outside of town.
In Texas, the governor recently signed into law measures aimed directly at the polygamists, including raising the age of consent to marry from 14 to 16 and outlawing "stepfather marriages."
In Utah, a state judge in late May removed the trustees — including Jeffs — who had controlled the multimillion-dollar trust that owns most of the land, homes and businesses used by sect members.
In Arizona, officials two weeks ago seized control of the public school district in Colorado City — Jeffs' former stronghold. The district, which had been run by the polygamists, is heavily in debt and assets are missing.
And on June 10, in the first fruits of a long-running criminal investigation into underage marriages within the sect, a grand jury in Kingman, Ariz., indicted Jeffs on two felony charges.
Aside from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, other sects of Mormonism include the Apostolic United Brethren, the Kingston Family ("The Order," also known as the Kingston Clan), and the Centennial Park group. For a more complete, albeit not exhaustive, listing, see Polygamous Sects [back]
Subject: Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS)
First posted: Jan. 13, 1997
Last Updated: July 16, 2005
Editors: Anton and Janet Hein
Copyright: Apologetics Index
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