[Paleopsych] NYT: Owen Allred, 91, Leader of Polygamous Sect, Dies
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Thu Apr 7 16:57:51 UTC 2005
Owen Allred, 91, Leader of Polygamous Sect, Dies
February 17, 2005
By CHRISTOPHER LEHMANN-HAUPT
Owen Allred, head of the Apostolic United Brethren, one of Utah's
largest polygamous denominations, died on Monday at his home in
Bluffdale, a suburb of Salt Lake City. He was 91.
His death was announced by his son Carl.
Mr. Allred's group, thought to have about 6,000 members, is based in
Bluffdale. They live collectively and say they adhere to the original
revelations of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints.
Polygamy was renounced by the Mormons in 1890, when Wilford Woodruff,
the president of the church, said he had received a revelation from
God saying that the time for polygamy was past. From then on, the
church excommunicated members who supported the practice, including
Mr. Allred, who was excommunicated more than 60 years ago.
Although Mr. Allred accused the church of giving up polygamy to
achieve statehood for Utah, in 2000 he said he was in favor of the
Yet over his lifetime he had eight wives, raised 23 children and 25
stepchildren, and was estimated to have more than 200 grandchildren.
He kept his wives in four houses next to one another in Bluffdale.
"People have the wrong idea that we're old-time kooks who prey on
young girls," Mr. Allred said in a New York Times interview in 2002.
"I suppose I'm guilty of that. My youngest wife is 64. My oldest girl
"It takes twice as good a man to have two wives as it does to have
one," he added. "We require that the man show ability to support his
family and the woman be of consenting age."
Carl Allred said his father's successor would be Lamoine Jensen, the
second oldest of the church's Council of Twelve. He explained that the
oldest member felt himself too frail to take on such duties.
After Owen Allred was excommunicated, he and his brothers established
a community to sustain their families. He was designated a living
prophet by his group when his brother Rulon was shot to death by Ervil
LeBaron, the head of a rival group of polygamists.
When accusations of improprieties were leveled against his group in
1998, Mr. Allred cooperated with the authorities and pointed out that
the Apostolic United Brethren opposed arranged marriages or marriage
In March 2003, a judge ruled in a civil suit that members of the
Brethren had swindled a woman out of $1.54 million in a 1989
real-estate transaction. The woman was awarded more than $3 million in
compensation and interest. The same judge held that Mr. Allred had
laundered thousands of dollars.
In the interview in 2002, Mr. Allred defended himself in light of
these cases. "I'm not a wicked man at all," he said.
His Mormon lineage was strong. His great-grandmother Orissa Bates
started out on the cross-country journey with Joseph Smith in upstate
New York, the birthplace of Mormonism. In 1846, she married William M.
Allred, in Nauvoo, Ill., where Smith was attacked by a mob and killed.
His grandfather Byron H. Allred was born on the passage from Illinois
Mr. Allred's father, Byron H. Allred Jr., was a prominent church
elder, the speaker of the Idaho House of Representatives and a
About raising his family, Mr. Allred said in the 2002 interview: "It
wasn't easy, I'll tell you. Never have more than eight kids in the
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