Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reforming Newspaper Wrecks City of Nauvoo and Makes Smith a Martyr, by Rev, Orien W. Fifer,

Despite their differing outcomes, there are a great many similarities in the stories of Joseph Smith, who founded the Mormon church in 1830, and Jim Jones, who is credited with ordering the self-destruction of the Peoples Temple in 1978, beyond the great migrations at the heart of both narratives. So many similarities, in fact, that the lives of these two charismatic spiritual leaders must represent some universal archetype as it is expressed within the field of temporal political affairs.

Both men were essentially frauds within their professions, who taught outlandish, illogical precepts that resulted in phenomenal, irrational growth for their respective churches. Each man then died violently, in endings triggered by sex scandals.

Both men were instruments of social control who were favored by the political classes of their day, who utilized the services provided by the organizations they'd helped build up in a cynical display of democracy. Despite Jim Jones' extreme political and theological pronouncements, he held a number of political endorsements that burnished his public reputation. Joseph Smith made an incremental march across five states in his war against culture and society without ever leaving the side of the throne of American power. At what should have been the lowest point in Smith's career--the expulsion of the Mormon church from Missouri under threat of genocidal extinction--his political power was at its zenith.

The following article about Joseph Smith and the Mormons makes clear two points. That his political power was at its greatest just before his destruction:
Politically the city was feared. Astute politicians courted the solid Mormon vote. Abraham Lincoln termed Joseph Smith a friend and courted his political favor. Stephen A. Douglas, from the beginning of their residence in Illinois was a prime friend of the Mormons, and favored them in substantial and frequent fashion. Congressional and county candidates bargained for Mormon votes.

The city also boasted in 1844 of a candidate for the presidency and a candidate for the vice presidency. Joseph Smith had been put forward for the presidency in January, 1844, and 137 elders, among them Brigham Young, had been sent out to electioneer for him through eastern states. Later Sidney Rigdon was named for vice-president. Nauvoo complacently complimented itself upon these political ventures, and it is an open question how far the issues of 1844 would have been affected if the Expositor had not been issued, if Smith had not been murdered, and the Mormons had cast their votes for their candidates in the autumn.
and that the moment of Smith's destruction was precipitated by the premature announcement of his revealed doctrine sanctioning the plurality of wives for church leaders, contained in the first edition, of a single issue of 1,000 copies, of a new newspaper put out by Mormon insiders (The Jim Jones' "sex scandal" was a cover up of news of his arrest for homsexual assignation in a Los Angeles movie theater in 1973, which if made public would have destroyed him and his church as thoroughly as the "revolutionary suicide" did, but more about that anon.)

A last word about the title the Rock Island Argus gives to the article it reprints from the New York Christian Advocate: "Reforming Newspaper Wrecks City of Nauvoo and Makes Smith a Martyr."

Although the times were much different between the 1840's and the 1970's, another important commonality between the Smith and Jones' stories is the role the media played in building up both men as what I see as secret franchises of a ruling government. In the 1840's, small towns of a few thousand souls could boast of competing newspapers, and the saga of the Prophet Joseph Smith received as much media attention back then as any Later-day celebrity does today. Even with the volume of facts available, determining any truth of perpetration or victimhood is elusive. Were the "gentiles" of Missouri justified in their abhorrent treatment of the Mormons as fellow citizens? As some have suggested, did the Mormons deliberately act to goad on a retaliatory response from a manufactured enemy, to manipulate public opinion? Back then, at least one point of view can be seen as a controlled synthetic result of media itself secretly enfranchised by the ruling government. By the 1970's, the power of ruling authorities over "airwaves" gave them control over three non-competing television networks, and allowed them to insert the media itself into the narrative, as it did in the Jim Jones' story with the NBC crew killed at the airport along with Congressman Ryan. But by the year 2000, control was so complete and integrated, an entirely fabricated reality of Biblical importance such as 9/11 could be computer generated and sold to the public like a brand of beer, or a new automobile. This leaves the "one-percent" as the all-knowing wizards behind the curtain--to whom, we are finally told, pay no attention.

December 24, 1912, The Rock Island Argus, page 9, When Mormons Quit the State; Reforming Newspaper Wrecks City of Nauvoo and Makes Smith a Martyr, by Rev, Orien W. Fifer,

Rock Island Argus. (Rock Island, Ill.) 1893-1920, December 24, 1912, HOME EDITION, Image 9
Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Persistent link: What is OCR?



Reforming; Newspaper Wrecks City of Nauvoo and Makes Smith a Martyr.


After a long search I have at last found a copy of one of the most interesting newspapers ever published, the Nauvoo Expositor. The Expositor was issued but once, June 7, 1844. but that number ruined a promising city, caused the mob-murder of Joseph Smith, the prophet, divided the church of which he was the founder, exploded a great commercial enterprise, and exiled thousands of people. Somewhat indirectly, but none the less effectively, the paper affected the political history of the nation. The stormy debates in congress, the fierce accusations by enemies, and stubborn resistance by friends of Mormonism in recent years, the grave influence of the Mormon vote upon political leaders and policies, and the complicated story of polygamy, with its dangerous social phases, can be traced to the one issue of this ill-fated newspaper.

In 1844, Nauvoo, Ill, now a placid little village, was the most important city politically and numerically in the state. In that year Chicago had less than 10,000 inhabitants, while Nauvoo contained nearly 15,000. Nauvoo teemed with industries. Steam boats were landing immigrants from Europe. A respectable college was flourishing. A temple costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in labor and material was approaching completion upon the high brow of the plateau which formed part of the site of the city. A real estate "boom" was on. Occupying one of the most beautiful sites for a city anywhere in the Mississippi valley, Nauvoo, in 1844, justified great expectations. Politically the city was feared. Astute politicians courted the solid Mormon vote. Abraham Lincoln termed Joseph Smith a friend and courted his political favor. Stephen A. Douglas, from the beginning of their residence in Illinois was a prime friend of the Mormons, and favored them in substantial and frequent fashion. Congressional and county candidates bargained for Mormon votes.

The city also boasted in 1844 of a candidate for the presidency and a candidate for the vice presidency. Joseph Smith had been put forward for the presidency in January, 1844, and 137 elders, among them Brigham Young, had been sent out to electioneer for him through eastern states. Later Sidney Rigdon was named for vice-president. Nauvoo complacently complimented itself upon these political ventures, and it is an open question how far the issues of 1844 would have been affected if the Expositor had not been issued, if Smith had not been murdered, and the Mormons had cast their votes for their candidates in the autumn.

Until that fateful day in June, 1844, Nauvoo was a power in Illinois and dreamed of unlimited power and influence. The one number of the Expositor changed all this. It was issued on Friday. By Monday evening, following, the press had been destroyed, the papers and office furniture burned, the building wrecked in part, and the owners and editor had fled for their lives. Within a little more than two years, the Mormon community was hastening across the savage-swept prairies to an undiscovered home, the streets of the city had been stained with blood of citizens slain in civil strife; the gorgeous parades and ceremonies had ended, the imposing Temple was desecrated, and the city itself was for sale. The paper, aiming only to reform the Mormon religion, had made the Prophet a martyr, aroused the State of Illinois to warfare against the so-called "Saints" and left the once prosperous city to dwindle to a village slumbering quietly amid strawberry beds and vineyards.

The copy of the paper before me contains four well-printed pages of six columns each. The edition numbered 1,000 copies. It was published by Mormons who had lived in Nauvoo, some of whom had been high in the confidence of Joseph Smith and the church. Their newspaper venture was the method chosen to assail the character and destroy the political power of Smith, and to disclose the secret teaching and probable practice of polygamy.

The Expositor contained the affidavits of William Law and his wife Jane Law, and of Austin Cowles. William Law stated that Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph, read to him a certain document and then gave it to him to read for himself; that he took the document home and read it to his wife Jane; that it contained authorization for certain men to have more than one wife in this world and in the world to come; and that Hyrum Smith had declared the contents of the document to be revelation from the Lord received by Joseph Smith. Jane Law declared in her affidavit that she had read the document, and that it contained the doctrine of more wives than one at a time and that wives who would not allow their husbands to have more than one wife would be under condemnation before God. Austin Cowles stated that in the summer of 1843 Hyrum Smith did introduce into the high council a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph sanctioning the plurality of wives, and that by reason of such doctrine being taught and practiced he had left the office of first counselor in the church.

The paper also contained a preamble of several columns, in which the definite statement was made that Joseph Smith had attempted to secure a plurality of wives. This preamble was followed by 15 resolutions passed by seceders from the church in Nauvoo, in which again and again the protest was made against the teaching of plurality of wives by Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

The effect of the publication of these charges was immediate and disastrous. The Mormons went through the process of at trial concerning the Expositor. The trial was one of the most curious in the history of jurisprudence. It was held on Saturday, the day following the publication of the paper. The trial was adjourned over Sunday, continued and completed on Monday. The paper itself seems to have been tried by the city council acting as Jury with the mayor, Joseph Smith in the chair. The owners, though absent, were tried without representation. Governor Ford, who writes largely from evidence furnished by the Mormons themselves, states that "one finds difficulty in determining whether the proceedings were the result of insanity or depravity. Nobody accused had notice of the trial. Nobody was permitted to defend the accused. No jury was called or sworn. No witnesses were put on oath. From the Mormon standpoint it was abundantly proved that the owners of the Expositor were sinners, in their eyes, swindlers, counterfeiters and robbers. It was the most curious and irregular trial ever fielded in any civilized country. The city council finally declared that the printing office that issued the Expositor was a public nuisance, also all the copies existing in the office, and the mayor was authorized to remove the same without delay in such manner as he might direct. The prophet ordered the city marshal to destroy the printing press, to "pi" the type and to bum all the Expositors found, together with libelous handbills which might be found.

The press was destroyed that evening, the prophet aiding strenuously in the destruction and engaging in something of a fist fight with a bystander. He later issued a proclamation reciting the charge that the city was infested with blacklegs, counterfeiters and debauchees, and that the proprietors of the Expositor belonged to that class.

The owners of the paper, who had fled to Carthage, filed charges against the Prophet and the city council for rioting. The legal incidents ensuing brought Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, under practical arrest to Carthage. A mob broke into the jail and shot Joseph, exalting him to martyrdom in the eyes of his people.

Six months later the state legislature repealed the unique city charter of Nauvoo, the most favorable ever granted to an American city. In the summer of 1845 a degree of civil war was witnessed in and around the city. In October of that year the Mormons agreed to evacuate the region in the spring of the following year and remove to some point west of the Rocky mountains. The exodus began in the winter and proceeded during the summer. Excitement, fanned by wild rumors, created suspicion and hatred among the enemies of the Mormons, and on Sept. 16, 1846, a battle was fought at Nauvoo. The following day the remaining inhabitants of the city departed across the river into Iowa, urged by deeds of violence and compulsion disgraceful to American citizenship. The city stood empty, despoiled, and where 15,000 people had toiled and worshiped, only silence reigned among empty houses and deserted temple.

Mormon writers of the polygamous and the non-polygamous branches always have characterized the Expositor as a venomous, filthy, false and disreputable sheet. Some of these writers doubtless never have read the paper. The paper deserves consideration. The literary style, is not superior, but the writing is straightforward and evidently the work of men possessing more than average courage. The paper needs to receive consideration as one of his elements in the better history of the middle west. Perhapi Illinois might have been saved from Mormon political domination without the Expositor, but the fact remains that the paper set in motion causes which relieved the state of any perils like those which menace more western commonwealths.

It is true also that one branch of the Mormon church preserves cleanness of practice and teaching concerning polygamy by reason of the one issue of the Expositor. The members of the church characterize the Expositor in bitter terms, but it may have preserved them from polygamy. The sudden death of Joseph Smith made it possible for all Mormons to look upon him in a siantly light, Mormons who went to Utah accepted the charges made by the Expositor and boldly announced the doctrine of polygamy with endorsements from Joseph Smith much as the Expositor had published. The Mormons who remained behind in Illinois and elsewhere never have admitted the paternity of polygamy in the Smith family. The Expositor sheds some light upon the issue.

One who reads the expositor now is convinced that these men who made protest against Joseph Smith were conscious of a real peril in their church and to their domestic welfare. The tone of the paper is serious and earnest. There is a convincing corroboration of the charges made in the paper by the later admissions of the polygamous Mormons. After the revelation concerning polygamy was published in Salt Lake City in 1852 and attributed to Smith, William Clayton, who had been a clerk in Smith's office in Nauvoo, testified in an affidavit made in 1874 that the prophet broached the subject of plurality of wives during February, 1843, and that later Hyrum Smith offered to read the revelation to Mrs. Smith if the prophet could write it out. In a history of Mormonism, by E C. Evans, of the Utah branch of the church, it is stated that the revelation concerning polygamy was read in part by Hyrum Smith in June, 1843, before the high council, all of whom except two or three received it as true doctrine.

This corroborates the affidavits of William Law and Austin Cowles in the Expositor. The time--the summer of 1843--the proffer of Hyrum Smith to read the revelation, the fact of the reading before the high council, are coincidences in the testimony of opposing parties which substantiate the truth of the charges published in the Expositor.

There is no foundation for the charge made so often by the Mormons that the Expositor was "reeking with libel and filth," or that "the leading citizens, men and woman, were spoken of and slandered in the most indecent terms." The editor of the paper, Sylvester Emmons, removed to Beardstown, Ill., and lived there until his death. For 16 years he was mayor of the town and lived in esteem. William Law, who signed the first affidavit, had been named as one of the first presidency, had been mentioned by name in the special revelation commanding the building of the Nauvoo house (which has a story in itself very interesting), and had been registrar of the university. In April of that very year, 1844, Hyrum Smith had spoken in high terms of William and his brother Wilson. These Law brothers ran a grist mill and a notice was printed in the Expositor that in view of hard times they would grind grain free on Thursdays for those who deserved charity. In the trial of the Expositor Joseph Smith complained that William Law had pursued him to recover $4,000 which he owed him.

There is much evidence to show that these men who published the ill-fated Expositor were men of strength and worth, and that they rendered the civilization of the Mississippi valley an inestimable service for good in the publication of a "martyr newspaper." New York Christian Advocate.


Another article that displays coincidences between the two religious figures:

1. Attempted or realized political assassinations
2. Both Jim Jones and Joseph Smith maintained secretive oath-sworn "hit squads" to effect political dirty work. Smith had his "Danites," and Jones his "Angels."
3. Smith and Jones both apparently enhanced their reputations for prophesy by announcing to supporters the impending deaths they themselves had arranged for. See my: Was the 1959 Car Crash That Killed Five Peoples Temple Members Murder?, for an early example, in which I've determined Jim Jones's recently adopted Korean daughter was sacrificed along with a carload of intended victims. Joseph Smith isn't shy about a prospective political hit job---nor his motive for going after the former Governor of Missouri: ice-cold revenge!

O. P. Rockwell
July 28, 1842, The Ohio Democrat, page 1, Mormonism Unveiled, by Gen. Bennett,

The Columbia Democrat. October 10, 1840, page 3, Vol. 3, No. 28 Whole No. 132
Mormonism Unveiled,
By the Sangamo Journal we have a portion of the promised disclosures touching the infamous conduct of the Prophet Joseph Smith, promised by Gen. Bennett, but recently a Mormon high in office and enjoying Smith's unbounded confidence. The disclosures show corruption such as had rarely been developed before the days of the Latter Day Saints, and and if the half Bennett states be true, Joe richly deserves the Penitentiary instead of reverence and obedience from his deluded followers. Bunnell, gives names freely, and calls upon many witnesses to sustain the truth of his statements.

Gen Bennett states that a band among the Mormons at Nauvoo called the Danite Band, is organized and bound together by covenants -entered into with uplifted hands, the object of which is to assassinate anyone who dares make disclosures in relation to the conduct of the Prophet, and to obey his behests in all things.

We copy Bennett's reasons for supposing that the attempt to assassinate Gov. Boggs of Mn., was made by a Danite.

2d. The fulfilment of Prophecy.--In 1841, Joe Smith prophesied, in a public congregation in Nauvoo, that Lilburn W. Boggs, Ex-Governor of Missouri, should die by violent hands within one year. From one or two months prior to the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs, Mr. O. P. Rockwell left Nauvoo for parts unknown to the citizens at large. I was then on terms of close intimacy with Joe Smith, and asked him where Rockwell had gone? -Gone,' said he, 'GONE TO FULFIL PROPHECY!' Rockwell returned to Nauvoo the day before the report of the assassination reached there and the Nauvoo Wasp remarked 'it yet remains to be known who did the noble deed!' Rockwell remarked to a person now in Nauvoo, and whose name I forbear to mention for the present, from motives of prudence and safety to the person, but which shall be forthcoming in due time, that he had been all over Upper Missouri, and all about where Boggs lived,' and this was communicated to me by that person before I withdrew from the church, and we had considerable conversation upon that daring act. Rockwell is a Danite, Joe's public memory is very treacherous on the subject I presume; but his private memory is so good that he has a guard around his house every night, with the State cannon and a full supply of small arms, for the protection of his person against any attempted arrest. He likewise requested me to write lt Gov. Carlin for his protection, which I agreed to do. and so accordingly did, asking the Governor whether he would be protected from any illegal act of violence, to which the Governor replied that all citizens should receive equal protection, but that he knew no privileged man or order of men, and that the dignity of the Stale should be preserved according to the strict letter of the constitution and the laws. This letter refused to show to Joe, as open hostilities had commenced between us, and he accordingly detailed a Court Marshall to try me for treason against the citizens of the State of Illinois! This Court I regarded as illegal, and treated it with that utter contempt which such an assemblage of inferior officers will always receive at my hands. Now I call upon Colonel Francis M. Higbee to come out and tell what he told Gen. Robison and myself in relation to the murder of a certain prisoner in Missouri. Col. Higbee do not fear lo tell the story--tell exactly how Joe had the murder done up and what part he ordered you to take in the affair, but which you did not take. Tell it as Robison knows it, and as you told me, and do not fear. Gov. Reynolds will make another demand, and Joe shall be delivered over, I will visit Missouri and tell the dreadful story. Let the call be made, and the laws shall he executed.

Bennett calls Joe Smith the great Mormon, seducer and mates that he has "clandestine wives under the new dispensation, and has seduced hundreds of single and married ladies in the name of the Lord!" Revolting details of the Prophets attempt to seduce the daughter of Sidney Rigdon, Mrs. Pratt, wife of Professor Orson Pratt, of Ihe Nauvoo University, and others, are given; and when repulsed, by his intended victims, .the infamous old scoundrel proclaimed that the refusal became a sin unless sacrifice was offered; and in one instance Bennett says Smith said to him--

"General, if you are my friend I wish you to procure a lamb, and have it slain, and sprinkle the door posts and the gate with its blood, and take the kidneys and the entrails and offer them upon an altar of twelve stones that have not been touched with a hammer and it will save me and my priesthood. Will you do it?" l will, I replied. So I procured the lamb from Captain John T. Barnett, and it was slain by Lieutenant Stephen H. Goddard, and I offered the kidneys and entrails in sacrifice for Joe, as he desired; and Joe said, 'all is now safe'--the destroying angel will pass over without harming any of us'

We may notice these disclosures further hereafter.---Cleveland Herald.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Parents Join to Combat Radical Youth Sect, by Edward B. Fisk and American's Death A Bangkok Puzzle, by Joseph Lelyveld,

Several news articles that go together to announce the likelihood that the devil, if not actually residing in the church, was never kept away from his hiding spot if he promised to be useful.

I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, turning 13 in 1970, and I remember Stephen Gaskin's great migration out from San Francisco in a fleet of rickety school buses to set up The Farm in middle Tennessee. I visited there with friends while still in high school, at the time Stephen was locked up for growing pot, which was pretty much my interest too, but I didn't get very far past the gatehouse. My mother, who was a newspaper reporter, visited with co-workers not long after the group arrived, at a time when they were building their first permanent structure---a bathhouse, which was designed to be communal--or inter-sexual--whatever the term was in those days for boys and girls being naked together doing practical things. I remember my mother's utter shock as the bolt went through her social conditioning, although I could see she was inwardly fascinated.

And now, 40 years later, the good trees are bearing fruit, with Stephen Gaskin's wife Ina May Garten threatening to take home the grand prize in the category of lasting impact for social good, with a deserved fame stemming from her book Spiritual Midwifery, 1977, and her career that resurrected a profession. 

I see that Wikipedia says Stephen, an ex-Marine and college English professor, is credited with having had four wives, none of whose dates of marriage overlapped, if certain other things did during that time of communal sexual experimentation. Now Stephen pledges his troth only to Ina May, promising her a defense with his Troubadour's sword

Such lifelong honesty and grace makes the Mormon way of plural marriage in this generation seem manifestly unworthy as even a secondhand media titillation for dangerously overwrought Christians or self-righteous Jews.

Now don't skip reading the articles. They're educational.

You know, 

The Farm, Plenty International
Spouse(s) Carol Groves, (1957-1959)
Carol Ladas (1961-1964)
Margaret Nofziger (1967-1975)
Ina May Middleton (1976-present)

April 9 1974, New York Times, American's Death A Bangkok Puzzle, by Joseph Lelyveld, Special to The New York Times,

Many Think Her Article on U.S. Sect Was a Factor

BANGKOK, Thailand, April 4 - The controversial American sect called the Children of God has suddenly found itself in the middle of a sensational murder mystery here. The victim was a young American woman named Claudia Ross, who worked as reporter on The Bangkok Post an English-language newspaper.

Her last article, which appeared five days before she was stabbed to death in her bedroom early on March 29, was presented as an expose of the Children of God. She characterized the sect as "a parasitic cult of Bible-pounding automatons" whose "dogma preaches hate."

The article recalled charges of kidnapping and extortion made against the Children of God by parents in the United States and Britain, who said the sect actively sought to cut them off from their offspring. Miss Ross implied that a similar effort would be made by the tiny contingent the sect has sent here-10 Americans and a New Zealander, who set up their center last month in a former noodle shop. A lengthy answer from the Children of God to the "slanderous, Iibelous and erroneous statements" in Miss Ross's article was carried by The Bangkok Post in an edition that was coming off the presses at about the time she was mur­dered.

Police See No Link

Her article had suggested a comparison between the "fa­natic loyalty" of the Children of God and that of the follow­ers of Charles Manson, who were involved in a sensational multiple murder in California in 1969. The Nation, another Eng­lish-language paper here, took up the suggestion and com­pared her murder to that of the actress Sharon Tate, a victim in the Manson case.

Two days passed before the Thai police started to indicate to the local press that the Chil­dren of God were not regarded as suspects. The police are un­derstood to have received a report from Interpol, the international police agency, saying that the sect had never been linked to violent crimes in countries where it has proselytized.

Nonetheless, the Children of God continue to be mentioned in virtually every article and conversation about the murder. There has been no evidence to connect the group to the crime except the victim's article, but that went so far in portraying its activities as sinister and po­tentially criminal that the con­nection is easily made.

In part that is because nothing else about the group has, been printed here; in part it is a reflection of the uncertain political situation in Thailand, where conspiracy theories grow spontaneously. There has even been speculation that the police were dropping the Children of God as suspects be­cause they saw the crime as an opportunity to smear the student movement that overturned the military-dominated Govern­ment last October.

Press accounts, noting that Miss Ross was close to the most outspoken of the student lead­er's, Seksan Prasertkul, report­ed that the police were search­ing for a political motive for her murder. The Children of God them­selves seem oblivious to the speculation swirling around them. When they were visited at the former noodle shop, they were just starting a period of their rigorously scheduled day they call "inspira­tion." This involves the spirited singing of religious songs ren­dered in a rock-music style, including one, which they de­scribed as their theme song, that has as its refrain the line: "You got to be a baby to go to heaven."

Childlike Trust Is Basis

The point of the song, like the sect's aim, seems to be that faith is essentially- an act of childlike trust. After the singing most of the young zealots went upstairs to memorize passages from the Bible and letters they receive from the sect's "chief shep­herd," David Berg, a former American traveling preacher who now calls himself Moses David. But the "elders" -two young men and a woman -stayed behind and willingly answered questions.

The Children of God adopt Biblical names; the chief spokes­man calls himself Gibeah, which he found in the first book of Samuel. Two years ago he was a college student in Los Angeles named George Dunbar.

Miss Ross signed the group's guest book with a false name the one time she visited the noodle shop, Gibeah said, and never identified herself as a reporter. The first reaction of the group to the killing was shock and sorrow, he said. The members also worried that the incident would prove to be a setback to their proselytizing efforts in this predominantly Buddhist country, but, he said, on reflection they realized that "God is going to use it for His glory." According to Gibeah then are 4,000 Children of God dispersed in small "colonies" in 65 countries.

February 21, 1972, New York Times, page 38, Parents Join to Combat Radical Youth Sect, by Edward B. Fisk,

Ill Winds Buffet Communal Sect, by James T. Wooten,

November 29, 1971, The New York Times, page 41, Ill Winds Buffet Communal Sect, by James T. Wooten, 

And a Man's Foes Shall Be They Of His Own Household,

 May 4, 1999, [1st web capture] What Is the IGI? aka The International Genealogical Index, a definition help page by Helen Schatvet Ullmann, Archived,
 August 12, 2003, [1st web capture of the Revised and Expanded page] What Is the IGI? aka The International Genealogical Index, a definition help page by Helen Schatvet Ullmann Archived,



a definition help page by: Helen S. Ullmann C.G.


I know this is long, but I really think it would be helpful to all of you who get so frustrated with the IGI.

Actually, I get frustrated too, but it's an incredibly useful tool. You may want to download this and print it out. Please contact me with questions or suggestions for improving it.

For a more detailed article on this subject, see the New England Historic Genealogical Society NEXUS of Dec. 1993 (v. 10). This is a simplified recap of that. (See the end of this for inf. on getting a reprint).

First, the International Genealogical Index (IGI) is just that, an index, a finding tool. However, it is not like an index in a book. In order to make good use of it, you must make some effort to understand how it is put together.

It is primarily an index to temple work for individuals, which explains why there are often multiple entries for the same person. Church members have often submitted names for temple work to be done without having first found out whether it has been done before. There are various reasons why this has been very difficult to do in the past. The new IGI addendum goes a long way toward making it easier than ever before.

There seems to be a general recognition that there are two main kinds of entries in the IGI, those submitted by church members (often called "patrons") and those extracted directly from original records. We tend to trust the latter entries, and it is relatively easy to check out the original source.

If using the IGI on microfiche, these extracted entries usually have a batch number beginning with C or M or occasionally another letter, but some begin with numbers. The CD-ROM edition gives pretty complete information for each entry. But if you're using the IGI on fiche there is no substitute for reading detailed instructional material about this. Basically I would like to discuss the patron entries, as these are the ones that give people the most trouble. In order to evaluate the entry, you need to get hold of the material "behind" it, i.e., the piece of paper submitted by the patron to initiate the temple work. And what you most need from that is the source(s) used by the patron.

Submission has been done differently at different times. I call them four eras:
  1. 1. Pre-1942
  2. 2. 1942-1969
  3. 3. 1969-ca. 1990
  4. 4. 1990 to the present.
When you find an entry, look at the dates of temple work to identify which era the entry falls under:

  • b = baptism
  • e = endowment
  • s = sealing to spouse or parents
Sometimes there will be a combination.

1. Before 1942 the resources referenced in the IGI are the temple books, the chronological records kept by the temples of the work done each day. These are on the films indicated on the IGI microfiche when there is a number in the batch number column and the word "film" in the sheet number column. Many of these films can be ordered at Family History Centers (FHCs), but check the fiche listing restricted films. If they cannot be ordered, they may still be in the open cabinets in the reading room in Salt Lake. You will need to find an agent to look if you can't go yourself. A few are in what is called the Special Collections room. (Ask at the FHC what this means; I'm trying to be brief.)

What is more useful is the index to these early records. The Temple Index Bureau (TIB) is a series of index cards, now on microfilm, which often give additional information. These too are in Special Collections, but you can access them by using a Temple Ordinance Index Request (TOIR) form which should be available at an FHC. They are free from the Church Distribution Center (where you buy PAF).

If you send in a TOIR (the cost is $1 for each search) and they find an index card, they may also find a family group sheet from the next era for you.

2. In 1942 patrons began sending in family group sheets. These too are indexed in the TIB and can be accessed by using TOIRs. Or you can look at these on microfilm. There are several other series of family group sheets, so look in the subject section of the FHLC (Family History Library Catalog) under "Mormons - Genealogy - Sources" and roam around until you find a series beginning with film #127... The sheets are arranged strictly alphabetically by the head of the household (sometimes an unmarried woman) and then by birth date of people with the same name. Many FHCs like to get these on indefinite loan to build the collection.

Besides getting more data on the family and a patron's outdated name and address, THE IMPORTANT PIECE OF INFORMATION ON THESE IS THE SOURCE OF INFORMATION. Hopefully you will be able to interpret it and go to a book you would never have dreamed of looking at for information on your family, i.e., the index (IGI) has worked! Note: this is the main point of this little dissertation.

If you cannot interpret the source, play with the FHLC first if you have a clue to author or title. Then call the Family History Library (801-240-2584) and ask for the first floor library attendants' window. They can convert old call numbers to new. They will love this if many of you do it :).

3. The IGI began in 1969. At the same time patrons began using new forms, called Individual Entry and Marriage Entry Forms. Sometimes family group sheets were still used. (These were assigned batch numbers beginning with F, 50 or 60). The value of seeing these is not only the source. The patron's address may still be current and there may be additional information. But guess what, WHAT YOU MOST WANT IS THE SOURCE! You get copies of these entry forms in either of two ways:
  • A. When received, they were assigned a batch number, with 99 sheets in a batch. (The first two digits of batch numbers beginning with 7 and 8 tell you the year they were submitted.) Then they were filmed. You can order the microfilm of them (about $3 apiece). If using the IGI on fiche you need to find out the film number (also called "Input Source") by using another set of fiche, the "Batch Number Index."
  • B. Or you can use the photo duplication form to get copies of 8 forms for $2.
(Again, read the small print. Some batch numbers with the 4th, 5th and 6th digits higher than 365 refer to extractions from New England vital records - [technical stuff - ugh]). I prefer option b.

That way a volunteer in Salt Lake gets to use his/her fingers walking through the microfilm. The films can be tricky to use. On the other hand, one film might have a great many useful entry forms on it. If you find a group of people with the same batch number, try it. In fact, try all these things. That's the only way you'll get comfortable with them

4. About 1990 we began using a new type of family group sheet (8 1/2 x 11 instead of 8 1/2 x 14). These are available by the same method as above. About the same time, the church began using Temple Ready to process submissions on disk. While this has been extremely useful in many ways, no longer are patron names and addresses and sources available. We are referred to the Ancestral File. This situation may eventually change, but for the present, we cannot get "behind" the IGI on these entries.

For many years there has been a project to extract the old pre-1970 records and add them to the IGI. Most of the pre-1942 baptismal records are in the 1993 CD-ROM edition. Many of the 1942-69 records are in the new Addendum. One final hint, if you find a patron listed on an old family group sheet, try looking for them in the Ancestral File. Then look for the submitter's name and address. You may find the current family historian.


  • IGI REFERENCE GUIDE, on microfiche Z
At libraries:
  • NEHGS NEXUS, 10(1993):148-151 (also available as a reprint from NEHGS, 101 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116 for $2 or $3)
  • GENEALOGICAL JOURNAL 20 (1992):5-21
  • GENEALOGISTS' MAGAZINE 24 (1993):294-97, 349-53 >
  • FGS FORUM 5 (Winter 1993):5-10 and 6 (Spring 1994):4-6

Have fun. Try these things one at a time. Reread often. Ask questions. Helen S. Ullmann, C.G. Howell Family History CenterLivingston County MI - USGenWeb Project Page© 1997 All Rights Reserved CFC Productions - For More Information Contact:



a definition help page by:

Helen Schatvet Ullmann, CG, FASG 


Since its inception in 1969, the International Genealogical Index (IGI) has been a marvelous finding tool — not a source in itself, but, as its name indicates, an index to records from all over the world. [[i]]

It has always been a good idea to understand the nuances of this database in order to make full use of it. While it is a great resource for locating people, one must not be misled by the many duplications and errors it contains. Now that the IGI is online, there are new ways to search it. But you will not be making optimum use of it unless you make some effort to go behind the individual entry and find the paperwork and sources associated with many of the entries. With this knowledge you will have a much better idea of when you will find information, how reliable that data is, and whether to pursue an entry that interests you.

Take, for example, my search for George Cook Stevens, a nephew of one of my ancestors. From a thorough check of many sources, I was sure he had been born in Cheshire, Connecticut, about 1811-12, and it seemed he had been married in Massachusetts shortly before 1850. But I had no date or place for any vital event. A check of the IGI showed:

STEVENS, George Cook, son of George Stevens and Savilla Hitchcock, born 16 Jan 1811 at Cheshire, New Haven Co., CT.LDS ordinances: baptized 17 Feb 1966 LG [Logan Temple], endowed 25 Feb 1966, sealed “pre-1970” Batch/film #0,448,102.[[ii]]Without going into much detail at this point, the above information led me to a family group sheet referring to the “Greely Fam., p. 698-9.” 

Indeed George H. Greeley, Genealogy of the Greely-Greeley Family (1905) treats George’s wife, Mary Ayer, and gives all vital data one could wish (though without sources). It would have otherwise taken quite a piece of serendipity to lead me to George Cook Stevens in that book.

Finding the book that included George was relatively simple since I knew how to deal with a 1966 IGI entry.  But what about his grandfather, Hubbell Stevens? There were two Hubbells — a father (who married twice) and his son. So, ideally, there would be five entries under the name: two birth records and three marriages. But I find over twenty! How can we evaluate and interpret these entries? Which are worth pursuing? More on that later.

Some hints for searching the IGI

There are differences between searching the IGI on the old DOS version of FamilySearch, which is available at Family History Centers (FHCs), and searching it online. However, both programs allow you to search in three different ways, for births or christenings of individuals, for marriages and for children of certain parents.

Trial and error is probably the best teacher in this case.  There are many nuances which you will pick up with experience.  For example, when doing a parent search in the DOS version, you will need to search three times, once with the wife’s full name, once with only her given name and once without a wife’s name.  Online you must enter at least the wife’s given name.  The search will find both those with and without her surname at the same time.

Actually, a search of the DOS version can be faster because you will be able to see the spouse’s or parents’ names on the index screen, which will help you decide whether to move to the detail screen.  However, the DOS version is static, containing entries made only up through the beginning of the year 2000, while the online version is updated weekly.

When searching the IGI by itself online, you have some options that are not available when doing a search in all the databases available at  For example, you can locate a woman by only her given name if you include her husband and/or other limiting parameters in the search.

Submissions in different time periods

In order to make best use of the IGI, you need to understand that entries have been made in different ways at different times. We can identify four distinct periods during which different types of records were generated. While this process may seem complex at first view, it is not really very difficult. These four eras are:

4.1990 to the present

For the first two periods there is a card index on microfilm, compiled by the Temple Records Index Bureau (commonly called “TIB”). The latter two periods are fully indexed in the present IGI, and church members have nearly finished adding in names from the first two periods.

First, though, it would be helpful to understand what the Mormons (or LDS, as we call ourselves) are doing with the IGI. This huge database was designed to keep track of “temple work” undertaken on behalf of deceased persons. Temple “ordinances” are performed by living church members as proxies for the deceased: baptism for the dead (c.f. I Corinthians 15:29), the endowment (a sort of course of instruction) and the sealing of married couples and of children to parents (c.f. Matthew16:19). Mormons believe that many persons who have died are waiting for these ordinances; others may yet decide to accept them. Since it is an index to temple work, and since many members of the church do not (or in the past could not) check to see whether work has been done, many temple ordinances are unnecessarily repeated. This explains why there are multiple entries for the same person.

From its inception, church leaders also visualized the IGI as a tool by which family historians could locate records in hitherto difficult-to-access or unexpected sources. The IGI only began in 1969, however; Mormons have undertaken genealogical work since 1836.

The first era (pre-1942)

Before 1942 members took lists of deceased relatives to the temple with them. The temples maintained separate ledgers of baptisms, endowments and sealings, arranged chronologically. The patron’s name appears at the head of a group of names as the person at whose “instance” the work was undertaken. The Church does not have accompanying family group records from this era, so there is no direct way to obtain further information. However, the TIB card index generated during this period can lead you to other material.  The TIB is only directly accessible by church members in Special Collections at the Family History Library, but anyone else can address a letter to the Photoduplication Department, Family History Library, 37 North West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150. Include a check for $1 for each name. [[iii]]

Most, but not all, of these names have been “extracted” from the old temple record books and are now in the IGI. You will recognize these entries by the word “relative” in place of parents or spouse when you are searching the DOS version of FamilySearch. Online, the entry will lack the name of a spouse or parent. When you click on the film number given in the entry, you will find yourself in the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC). When you click on the title and then on “film notes” you will find yourself at the beginning of a long list of microfilms. Scroll down until you find the film number and look at the date of the records on that particular film.

Most of the time you can order that microfilm at an FHC. Before ordering, read carefully to see if the film is restricted. Some of these films can be consulted only in Salt Lake City, so you may need to hire someone on the spot. However, most are no longer in Special Collections and can be viewed by anyone. Use the page and reference number given in the IGI entry to find the name.

These temple volumes may or may not be helpful, depending on the details given and on the surrounding names. Searching for an Edwin J. Mills in Michigan, I found him in the temple book among a group of Howlands. This was a clue to look at a Howland genealogy. Edwin had married Cornelia Howland.

The second era (1942-1969)

You may find, when you look at the date of the temple book, that it falls during this second period. From 1942 to 1969 temple patrons submitted names on family group sheets. The patron’s name, address and sources of information [[iv]] were listed. The “Family Group Records Archives” (FGRA) contains most family group sheets submitted during these years and is available on microfilm (where the George Cook Stevens family group sheet appears). While there are indeed numerous errors and omissions on these sheets, many are the result of meticulous research or reflect otherwise inaccessible family records.

To find these, search for film number 1275000 and you will find the whole series of films. These sheets are alphabetical by head of family, usually the husband. If the person is a wife or child, and the spouse or father is unknown, a TIB card may make a connection.

In compiling family group records during this period, patrons referred to the earlier TIB cards. On many of these sheets the baptism and endowment dates are pre-1942, but the sealing dates are later. So, if you see by clicking on the film number for the temple record book, that an ordinance was performed between 1942 and 1969, you can be fairly sure of finding a family group sheet. You may also find one for entries of the earlier period.

Generally, you will derive more information from the TIB card and family group sheets than from the temple record book films referenced in the IGI. A “P” or a “C” in the upper left corner of the TIB card indicates the person appears as a parent or child on a family group sheet. If you request a TIB card by mail, you should also receive the relevant family group sheets.

On the other hand, you may want to see the group of names submitted by the patron. In this case, consult the film referenced in the IGI.

The third era (1969-1990)

In the 1960s the Church began using computers and volunteers to extract births, christenings and marriages from many countries. And in 1969 the system for member submissions was again changed. Now there are two major types of submissions for temple work. When you look at the source information, you will almost always find that the origin of the entry is either “submitted by a member” or “extracted from” the church or civil vital records of a particular place. Both types of entries have “batch numbers.”

The more you understand about the batch numbers used since 1969, the easier it will be to know what lies behind any given entry. For member submissions, family group sheets were now only used when persons could only be identified in relationship to parents or siblings. Most of the time, individuals and spouses were submitted on “entry forms.” Three persons or three marriages appear on each form, with sources and the name and address of the submitter. When an entry form arrived in Salt Lake City it was assigned to a “batch,” the number beginning with the last two digits of the current year (e.g., a batch beginning with 73 or F73 arrived in 1973). The entry was assigned a sheet (i.e., page) number within that batch, and many batches were then microfilmed together. The resulting film is often called the “input source.”

Names derived from extraction projects also have batch numbers, which usually begin with a letter of the alphabet. In this case, the original records, e.g. Irish civil records, are the “input source” microfilms. You can see what the input source is by clicking on the film number and reading the consequent FHLC entry. Then decide whether to order the microfilm to see the original record.

In the case of extractions, an IGI entry may sometimes also refer to an alphabetical printout. You can order this too and use it as an index to the original record.

With member submissions from this period, you have two alternatives. You can order the input source film and look for yourself, perhaps finding a whole group of forms submitted by the same person. Or you can use a photoduplication form (available at FHCs) to send for a copy of the entry, which will include the patron’s name and address, source(s), and perhaps additional data on the person you seek.

Carefully read the fine print on the photoduplication form. There are exceptions, particularly in regard to New England extraction projects, which have all-number batch numbers. Also be aware that batch numbers beginning with F, 50 and 60 are patron-submitted family group sheets. A batch number beginning with “A” indicates that there may well be a family group sheet in the FGRA.

The fourth era (1990 to the present)

About 1990, members began submitting GEDCOM files on diskette. Patron names and sources are not presently available. However, these entries may include links to other family members and other information, such as death dates and places.

In this case it may be helpful to refer to the Ancestral File, which was conceived as a great match-maker among family historians. In fact, all genealogists were invited to contribute and make corrections to the Ancestral File. Submitting to this file did not initiate temple work. If you disagreed with data in the Ancestral File, you used to be able to make changes and document your information. Then searching for “History of Changes” would provide documentation.

However, no changes have been made to the Ancestral File for many years. The new Pedigree Resource File is the Church’s current collection of material submitted by GEDCOM. In this resource each individual submitter’s file remains intact. Evidently a new database is being planned.

The extraction projects will continue, and each extracted entry in the IGI will cite the original document.

Multiple entries

So what of all those entries for Hubbell Stevens? They are indeed bewildering, but intelligible. (The pre-computer TIB correctly has only three cards—for Hubbell himself, “Mrs. Hubbell,” and Hubbell Jr.) Five entries in the IGI are for “Mrs. Hubbell.” submitted before either wife was identified. Of the many remaining entries, two are for Hubbell Jr.’s estimated birthdate and four for his marriage to Elizabeth Clark. The original marriage sealing record was evidently typed “Hubber” so a patron submission in 1973 was not recognized as a duplicate. For some odd reason it is itself duplicated.

We are still left with at least twelve entries for Hubbell Sr., most for his birth. (1) The earliest, submitted in 1920, gave the wrong place of birth. (2) In 1934 the baptism was performed again, this time with the correct birthplace. (3) In 1972 a patron again submitted the name with 1934 ordinance dates, but he or she had evidently not consulted the FGRA, so the sealing (performed in 1946) was repeated. (4) In 1974 the Connecticut vital records extraction program noted his birth. The program recognized the earlier 1934 entry, but did not catch the 1972 patron submission, perhaps because the place name was spelled differently. (These initial four entries should, of course, have been more than enough.) (5) In 1987, a patron resubmitted the name. It was “cleared” again for temple work, but by the time of the 1992 edition of the IGI the 1946 sealing date to parents had been found and correctly added. (6) For some reason, however, in 1992 a patron submitted an entry with dates which, as far as I can see, are completely imaginary! Since 1992 three more entries appear, the result of patrons not bothering to do research and not even checking the IGI before submitting their own guesstimates as to birthdate and place. So the computer thinks these entries are for new people. Newer is not necessarily better!

This story highlights the need to research thoroughly and check for previous temple work before making a submission.

Turning to Hubbell’s marriages, we find at least six entries: one to “Mrs. Hubbell,” three to Anna Shepard, and two to Deborah Jones. The earliest with correct names are my own submissions (1986). Because these submissions were not available to another researcher they were duplicated around 1990. Then there are recent ones with imaginary dates.

The question remains, however: what is one to do with all these entries? A request for TIB cards or an FGRA film would yield the 1946 family group sheets. Of post-1969 submissions, the batch number beginning with F86 (1986 family group sheets) suggests that two recent family group sheets identify two different wives of Hubbell, Sr. You can view these records on film, or order copies using the photoduplication form mentioned above. Later entries can only send you to the Internet or to published material—you will find my article about Hubbell Stevens by using PERSI at

“How likely am I to find the person I am looking for in the IGI?”

There is no simple answer to this frequently-asked question. In the first place, temple work is only undertaken for persons known to have died. Thus, in a program extracting birth records, it is assumed that anyone born less than 110 years ago might still be living. For marriage records the cut-off date is 95 years earlier. Many of the extractions were done in the 1970s and 1980s. Thus you are not likely to find someone born after about 1875, unless an LDS relative supplied the death date in his member submission. Many of the extractions from New England were taken from published “vital records to 1850” series. Thus New Englanders in the IGI probably lived between the early 1600s and 1850.

Evaluating the entry

In using the IGI, those much-maligned terms “primary” and “secondary” are helpful. If one understands a primary source to be one created at or near the time of the event (or at least by the person[s] directly concerned), then a secondary source would be someone else’s use of that primary source. The IGI is at best secondary. But very often it is “tertiary” material. At times one might even call it “quaternary.” Among Kent, Conn., vital records I was puzzled by the appearance of a James Swift, born 25 December 1767. A Tamer Swift was baptized in 1769, but who was James? Microfilm of the original town record appeared to say “Tamer, daughter,” but I could see how the transcriber had read it as “James.”

The IGI contains extracted Connecticut vital records from the Barbour Collection, which in this case used an earlier copy of Kent data by James N. Arnold. We are now three steps removed from the original, hence quaternary.

In the case of a member-submitted entry, it is a good idea to check the source and/or look for verifying material elsewhere using the entry as a clue.

One final example

I'd just about given up looking for what became of John Belden Mills, last known to be in Saybrook, Conn., in 1824. The 1850 census listed a John B. in Utica, New York, born in New York, with wife Amelia and two children. Could he be the right person? Checking the IGI for John Belden Mills as a parent I found five children born in Nantucket. That was a surprise! The batch number led me to the published Nantucket VRs, which had used a Bible that for once gave places of marriage and birth, including John’s known date and place of birth in Chester, Connecticut. John and Amelia were married, and their children born, in upstate New York and Canada! Here was a good lesson in using the IGI as an index, not a source.

A little bibliography

For more detail see the LDS research outlines, The International Genealogical Index (On Microfiche), the FamilySearch instructions for the International Genealogical Index (On Compact Disc) and Finding an IGI Source, as well as the IGI Reference Guide (on microfiche "Z" of the IGI itself).

Articles on the IGI by G. David Dilts, AG, and/or Elizabeth L. Nichols, AG, appear in Genealogical Journal 20 (1992):5-21, Genealogists' Magazine 24 (1993):294-97, 349-53, and FGS Forum 5 (Winter 1993):5-10 and 6 (Spring 1994):4-6.

[i] © May 2003. This article is an update of my earlier work, "A Perspective on the 1992-93 IGI" which appeared in the New England Historic Genealogical Society's NEXUS, Vol. X, Nos. 5 & 6 (Oct.-Dec. 1993).
[ii] The IGI is updated weekly on, but only church members who register can view these dates online. However, anyone using FamilySearch at a Family History Center can go to the menu item LDS Options and view the IGI as "Ordinance Index," the same IGI but with the ordinance dates. Keep in mind though that that old DOS program, which uses CDs, only contains entries through about March 2000
[iii] Or you may be able to obtain a Temple Ordinance Index Request form (TOIR) at a Family History Center, but they are out of print.
[iv] These sources are often cryptic, sometimes incomplete. To translate into present-day call numbers, call the Family History Library, ask for the first floor library attendants window, and explain carefully what you want.

Howell Michigan Family History Center Librarians

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Phoenix New Times, Forbidden Fruit, by John Dougherty,

December 29 2005, Phoenix New Times, Forbidden Fruit, by John Dougherty,

Inbreeding among polygamists along the Arizona-Utah border is producing a caste of severely retarded and deformed children

Fifteen years ago, a strange-looking child suffering from severe physical maladies and acute retardation was brought into the office of Dr. Theodore Tarby.

The pediatric neurologist regularly deals with a wide range of serious childhood diseases as a doctor with the state-funded Children's Rehabilitative Services in Phoenix. Tarby says he quickly realized he was dealing with a very unusual condition that he could not diagnose.

He prepared urine samples and sent them to the University of Colorado Science Center's Dr. Steve Goodman, a professor of pediatrics who runs a laboratory that detects rare genetic diseases.

Dr. Theodore Tarby says FLDS polygamists will continue producing children afflicted with severe physical and mental disorders.

Life Magazine
Polygamist patriarch Joseph Smith Jessop with his youngest daughter shortly before his death in September 1953.

Colorado City resident Isaac Wyler says FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs is trying to create the "perfect race."

Goodman soon made a startling discovery: Tarby's young patient was afflicted with an extremely rare disease called fumarase deficiency.

"I had never seen a patient with it," Tarby says. "Right away I asked the parents if there were any other children with the same problem."

The parents said their daughter had cerebral palsy. Tarby asked them to bring the girl to him for an examination.

"As soon as I saw her, I knew she had the same thing as her brother," Tarby says.

The fact that fumarase deficiency had shown up in one child was startling enough -- there had only been a handful of cases reported worldwide. But now that it was appearing in two children in the same family was an indication it was being spread by a gene that was getting passed to the children by their parents.

Tarby and a team of doctors from Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix and the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson began researching the disease and soon discovered that fumarase deficiency was occurring in at least two other families living in the same isolated community that practiced an unusual custom.

Nearly everyone in Colorado City, Arizona, and the adjacent town of Hildale, Utah, was a member of a fundamentalist Mormon sect that practices polygamy and had long encouraged multiple marriages between close relatives.

By the late 1990s, Tarby and his team had discovered fumarase deficiency was occurring in the greatest concentration in the world among the fundamentalist Mormon polygamists of northern Arizona and southern Utah.

Of even greater concern was the fact that the recessive gene that triggers the disease was rapidly spreading to thousands of individuals living in the community because of decades of inbreeding.

Fast-forward to the present: About half of the 8,000 people living in the towns are blood relatives of two of the founding families that settled in the 1930s on the desolate high desert plateau against the base of the Vermillion Cliffs.

Religious leaders control all marriages in the community, and many of these relatives have married or likely will marry in the future. Some of these marriages will include parents who both are carriers of the fumarase deficiency gene, making it certain that more children will be afflicted with the disease.

"We have and will have a continual output of children with this condition," Tarby says.

In this isolated religious society north of the Grand Canyon, few secrets have been more closely guarded than the presence of fumarase deficiency.Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints elders, who control the community, have labored to keep the public from finding out why the disorder is manifesting. Many members of the fundamentalist community don't even know it's occurring.

The state of Arizona is contributing to the secrecy. The state Department of Health Services and the Department of Economic Security have been quietly providing services to assist the children and families of fumarase victims for more than 15 years. Both DHS and DES officials refused repeated requests from New Timesto document the type and cost of services the state is providing to treat fumarase deficiency. The agencies claim that federal health laws prohibit them from releasing records or allowing their authorities to comment on the situation.

Doctors and family members interviewed by New Timessay up to 20 children from families in the polygamist community are currently afflicted with the condition that requires full-time attention from caregivers. Victims suffer a range of symptoms, including severe epileptic seizures, inability to walk or even sit upright, severe speech impediments, failure to grow at a normal rate, and tragic physical deformities.

"They are in terrible shape," says Dr. Kirk A. Aleck, director of the Pediatric Neurogenetics Center at St. Joseph's Hospital. Aleck is a geneticist who participated along with Tarby and others in the groundbreaking study of several polygamous families with fumarase deficiency in the late 1990s.

There is no cure for the disease, which impedes the body's ability to process food at the cellular level.

"We can only treat the complications of the disorder," Aleck says. Once a baby is born with the condition, Aleck says, "You really can't treat the underlying disorder."

There is one documented case of a child dying from the malady since medical experts began studying it, but it is unknown how many others could have died in the fundamentalist community before the condition was diagnosed.

Before the plethora of fumarase deficiency cases was discovered in Colorado City and Hildale, many victims among the handful of cases documented worldwide died in the first several years of life.

"If you look in the literature, you won't find another dozen cases in the world that have been reported," says Tarby.

Experts say the number of children afflicted in the FLDS community is expected to steadily increase as a result of decades of inbreeding between two of the polygamous sect's founding families -- the Barlows and the Jessops.

"If you cross a Barlow and Jessop, you stand a high risk of getting this condition," Tarby says.

The genetic defect has been traced back to one of the community's founding patriarchs, the late Joseph Smith Jessop, and the first of his plural wives, according to medical literature, the Mormon Churchgenealogy database and residents of the community familiar with Jessop and Barlow family histories.

Joseph Smith Jessop and his first wife, Martha Moore Yeates, had 14 children. One of their daughters married another of the community's founding patriarchs and religious leaders, John Yeates Barlow. By the time Joseph Smith Jessop died in September 1953, he already had 112 grandchildren, the majority of them directly descended from him and Yeates.

Fifty-two years later, more than half of the 8,000 people now living in Colorado City and Hildale are blood descendants of the Barlows and the Jessops, says Benjamin Bistline, a lifelong resident of the area who has published a book, Colorado City Polygamists, on the history of the fundamentalist community.

An unknown number -- but believed to be in the thousands -- of Barlow/Jessop descendants carry the recessive gene that causes fumarase deficiency. If both parents carry the gene, the likelihood that their offspring will be affected by the disease or become carriers of the gene greatly increases, medical experts say.

"It's like any inbred disorder," Tarby says. "If the community gets larger, the number of people with fumarase deficiency gets larger."

Aleck says the fact that so many people in the polygamist enclave are blood relatives of the founding Barlow and Jessop families "shows the magnitude of the problem."

The disease is not widely known about even in Colorado City, a place where even normally public events such as marriages are conducted in secret. But residents who are aware of fumarase deficiency fear that the number of children afflicted with the disease will indeed increase.

"This problem is going to get worse and worse and worse," predicts 40-year-old Isaac Wyler, another lifelong Colorado City resident who was excommunicated from the FLDS in January 2004. Wyler's ex-wife's sister has had two babies afflicted with fumarase deficiency. "Right now, we are just looking at the tip of the iceberg."

For more than 70 years, all marriages in the isolated towns have been arranged by the leader of the FLDS, a breakaway sect of the Salt Lake City-based Mormon Church.

Marriages among first and second cousins have been common for decades in the community, where religious doctrine requires men to have at least three wives to gain eternal salvation. Only the FLDS prophet can arrange and perform polygamous marriages, and those marriages are taking place in a community in which almost everybody is related.

The current FLDS prophet is 50-year-old Warren Jeffs, who has not been seen publicly since August 2003. Last June, Jeffs was charged with seven felonies by Mohave County, Arizona, in connection with his performance of "spiritual" marriages of three underage girls to already married men. He was placed on the FBI's most wanted list last August. Eight other Colorado City polygamists have been indicted by a Mohave County grand jury for having unlawful sex with underage girls who were their plural wives.

The indictments have come amid a three-year investigation by New Timesof the FLDS community. That probe has uncovered widespread sexual abuse of young girls forced into polygamous marriages that, until recently, was downplayed by Arizona political leaders and law enforcement.

The state not only ignored the crimes for decades, it helped facilitate them by allowing the FLDS polygamists to set up a town government, a public school district and a police department that have received tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds despite the fact that polygamy violates Arizona's Constitution. The FLDS has had an iron grip on the local governments, because it has been impossible to get elected or hired to a taxpayer-funded post without the church's blessing.

The fundamentalist community has also benefited immensely from state health-care services for the poor and indigent by receiving more than $12 million a year in state assistance in Arizona to pay for health-insurance premiums.

It turns out that taxpayers also have been footing the bill for the fumarase deficiency children born to polygamists who insist that plural marriage involving close relatives is their divine right.

There is no doubt in the mind of any expert interviewed by New Times that the practice of polygamy combined with inbreeding has fostered the spread of fumarase deficiency.

"Polygamy leads to sexual predation, and that leads to genetic problems," says Rehabilitative Services' Tarby. "If you stop the sexual predation, you stop the genetic problem as well. But [FLDS members] don't think of it as sexual predation. That's the big problem."

"This man has left nothing of his worldly worth, but he has left far more than most people of God's work. There isn't another man in the U.S. that can boast this man's posterity," Life magazine quoted Virgil Jessop as eulogizing at the September 1953 funeral of his 84-year-old father, Joseph Smith Jessop.

Five decades later, it appears that Joseph Smith Jessop and his first wife also passed on the rare genetic disorder fumarase deficiency.

The stage was set for the appearance of the rare disease when their 12th child, Martha Jessop, married her second cousin, John Yeates Barlow, in 1923, according to LDS genealogy data and Colorado City historian Ben Bistline.

Like his father-in-law, John Y. Barlow became one of the towering patriarchs of the fundamentalist Mormon community and served as FLDS prophet from 1935 until his death in 1949.

The Barlow-Jessop marriage brought forth some of the major political and religious leaders of the community, including former Colorado City mayorDan Barlow, police officer Sam Barlow, public school superintendentAlvin Barlow, teacher Louis Barlow, and civic leader Truman Barlow. All of these men have or had multiple wives and scores of children.

Fumarase deficiency began to manifest in the community when three sets of Joseph Smith Jessop and Martha Moore Yeates' great-grandchildren married each other. The three marriages between second cousins have produced at least eight children afflicted with fumarase deficiency, according to a report in the May 2000 Annals of Neurology(based on the study conducted by the group led by Tarby and Aleck), interviews with doctors treating the disease and anecdotal evidence gathered from the community.

The children afflicted with fumarase deficiency from these three marriages include the grandchildren of Dan Barlow and his brother, the late Louis Barlow, and Merill Jessop, a top aide to fugitive prophet Warren Jeffs. It is Merill Jessop who is overseeing construction of a massive FLDS temple in Eldorado, Texas, where many believe Prophet Jeffs plans to move his faithful eventually.

Dan Barlow, who has been excommunicated from the FLDS, and Merill Jessop could not be reached for comment. But Isaac Wyler, a former FLDS member who was excommunicated from the church last year, says he has firsthand knowledge of multiple fumarase deficiency children in each of the three families.

"I know this off the top of my head," Wyler says. "I know these people personally."

Medical experts say the incidence of the disorder will increase because the FLDS community is refusing to accept recommendations to reduce the likelihood of producing babies with fumarase deficiency. Tarby says he discussed the disease and its causes during a town meeting on November 18, 2004, that was attended by more than 100 FLDS members.

Tarby says he explained to the gathering at Town Hall in Colorado City that the only way to stop fumarase deficiency in the community is to abort fetuses that test positive for the disease and for the community to stop intermarriages between Barlows and Jessops, Barlows and Barlows and Jessops and Jessops.

Tarby says members of the community made it clear that neither choice was acceptable. Tarby recounts a conversation he had with a member of the Barlow clan in which he tried to explain why so much fumarase deficiency was occurring among Mormon polygamists.

"I said, 'You're married to somebody you're related to. That leads to problems.'

"The man's response was, 'Up here, we are all related,'" Tarby says. "They just don't worry about the effects of intermarriage."

Tarby says the disease could begin to show up in children at Warren Jeffs' new FLDS headquarters under construction on a 1,600-acre ranch outside of Eldorado. The FLDS already has moved several hundred men, women and children to the compound, many of whom very likely carry the fumarase deficiency gene.

The only long-term solution to the health crisis is for Barlows and Jessops to have children with spouses from outside the polygamist community.

"They have to outbreed," Aleck says.

But this is a very unlikely scenario for FLDS faithful, who practice a religious doctrine that requires men to be strictly obedient to religious leaders and requires women to give birth to as many children as possible to increase the sect's numbers.

"Who [from outside the fundamentalist Mormon religion] would want to go in there and join their population?" Aleck asks. "It's probably hard to recruit into that environment."

Indeed, even if an outsider wanted to join the FLDS community, such a person would not be welcome.

"They are discouraging any new blood," historian Bistline says. "They've got this idea that their blood is pure and that they want to keep it pure."

With no other options available, more FLDS families will be faced with the difficult burden of caring for children suffering with fumarase deficiency. Rather than take steps to avoid the problem, the FLDS loyalists may believe it is their duty to accept their fate.

"They think it is a test from God," says Wyler, who was born and raised in the FLDS before he was booted out.

And a terrible test it is.

Fumarase deficiency is caused by a lack of the fumarase enzyme, an essential component in a biological process called the Krebs cycle, which converts food into energy within each cell. Not enough of the fumarase enzyme can lead to severe mental retardation and physical deformities.

"The kids that I have seen have terrible seizure disorders and developmental delays," says Dr. Aleck. "They are functioning way below their chronological age."

Yet, Aleck says, some children are more seriously affected by the disorder than others. "Some are very debilitated and some aren't," he says.

Some fumarase deficiency children, he says, develop a small degree of motor skills over time: "They don't remain infantile their entire life. They do develop to some degree, but it's way behind their peers."

Dr. Tarby, who routinely treats fumarase deficiency children at a state-funded clinic in Flagstaff, says, "They are funny-looking kids [with] biggish heads and coarse, thick features."

Their brains, he says, "are strangely shaped" and are frequently missing large areas of brain matter that has been replaced by water. An MRI of the brain of one fumarase deficiency child showed that more than half the brain was missing.

Tarby says most of the children "can say at least a word or two," but that all of them "have severe mental retardation" with IQs of less than 25.

Some of the kids can walk, but others have a difficult time even sitting. The children who can't walk, the medical experts say, have most likely suffered strokes during severe seizures.

Despite the secrecy in the community over fumarase deficiency children, Wyler says he has observed his ex-wife's sister's children and others on several occasions.

"People don't like to talk about their fumarase babies for obvious reasons," Wyler says. "I don't know how many who die within the first two or three years that we don't even ever know about."

Wyler says he has seen some fumarase deficiency children who can walk, but others can barely move and spend their entire lives prone.

Children of the latter variety, he says, "can't crawl. They can't sit up. They are lucky if they can even move their head and eyes a little bit."

All of the fumarase deficiency children Wyler has seen remain dependent on the parents or caregivers.

"They are totally helpless," he says.

Frequent and powerful seizures are among the most disturbing characteristics of the disease. Wyler says he once saw a fumarase deficiency child suffer a seizure while she was sitting with her mother and two other children also suffering from the disorder.

"All of a sudden [with] this one little baby, everything tightened up and she arched her back so hard her head was almost touching her toes," Wyler says.

"The mother," he says, "was just sitting there rubbing her hands on [the child's] back trying to get her to relax."

Families with fumarase children receive in-home help from the Division of Developmental Disabilities, a unit of the state Department of Economic Security. Much of the state care is simply helping parents with hygiene, feeding and mobility of the child.

"One lady I know, she just cannot physically pick [her son] up anymore to get him into the bathtub," Wyler says. "A lady comes in and helps her. And it takes two of them to get him into the bathtub just to wash him down and clean him up."

One advantage of polygamous families, Wyler says, is that the mother of a fumarase child will likely have other women in the household to lend a hand.

"A sister wife would be a godsend just to be able to help out," he says. "Not only to help physically, but to be somebody to talk to."

Arizona used to send doctors from Children's Rehabilitative Services, which is a division of the state health department, to Colorado City on a regular basis to examine fumarase deficiency children.

But doctors stopped going to Colorado City after the state and press stepped up scrutiny of the community in 2004. Doctors feared that the media would photograph fumarase deficiency children as they were entering a medical clinic in Colorado City.

"We had no desire to encounter ABC News at the clinic entrance," Tarby says.

The doctors only agreed to talk to New Times after Tarby was approached with a copy of the fumarase deficiency study.

Families now must drive fumarase children to Flagstaff for regular evaluations. Despite the frustrations doctors have with dealing with a community that refuses their recommendations on how to prevent the condition in the future, there is no question that treatment will continue.

"We do not deny medical care to people because of religious beliefs," Tarby says.

In fact, the state's willingness to provide medical assistance to afflicted children may be allowing Utah families to receive treatment paid for by Arizona taxpayers. "I don't know if all the patients I treat are technically eligible for my services [because they may live out of state]," Tarby says.

Researchers have identified a gene on the first chromosome that causes fumarase deficiency, but no test has been developed that could be used to identify individuals carrying the malady. If such a test were developed, a community-wide screening program could be instituted that would identify those carrying the fumarase gene.

Dr. Vinodh Narayanan, a pediatric neurologist at St. Joseph's Hospital, says he is seeking funding to develop a test that would allow public health officials to collect voluntary blood samples from as many FLDS members as possible. The samples could be tested for the gene at theTranslational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

He estimates the test would cost about $50 per sample and would provide crucial information to community members of who is carrying the recessive gene that causes fumarase deficiency.

Until the test is available, Tarby says, the best prevention measure remains refraining from crossing Barlows, Jessops and their relations -- who make up half the population of the polygamist enclave.

It's unlikely the polygamous community will heed the doctor's advice.

Even the few highly educated people there, including a medical doctor who practices at the Hildale Health Center, refuse to accept advice from any outsider, including doctors such as Tarby, who has treated their children for years.

"They don't believe anything written about Colorado City [by outsiders, even medical experts] carries much truth," Tarby says.

For Colorado City and Hildale to avoid more fumarase, polygamist leaders must use their authority to make sure that those potentially carrying the fumarase gene are not allowed to marry, says geneticist Aleck.

The leaders must also understand the ethical considerations of continuing behavior, he says, that is bringing children into the world who suffer tragic deformities.

"They have the authoritarian structure necessary to keep this from happening, but I don't think they have the advanced thinking," Aleck says.

"I try in my own, quiet way and tell them to outbreed. But that's like spitting in the ocean."

The ultimate decision on marriages rests with FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs. And Jeffs so far has shown no indication that he is concerned about the increasing prevalence of fumarase deficiency children in the community, former FLDS member Isaac Wyler says.

Even if a genetic screening test were available, Wyler says, Jeffs would have to be cautious about how he allowed it to be implemented. If the FLDS faithful believed that Jeffs was relying on science to determine marriages rather than divine revelation from God, he could lose control of the church.

"Warren has to be really careful that he doesn't lose his position as a god to these people," Wyler says.

FLDS marriages, Wyler and other community experts say, are an extension of a breeding program that began with Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith in the 1830s. The early Mormon Church practiced polygamy until 1890, when leaders abandoned the practice as a condition for Utah to gain statehood. The FLDS was formed by Mormons who refused to give up polygamy.

Warren Jeffs, like Joseph Smith before him, has emphasized the importance of obedience among members of the church. Jeffs is following a long-established practice -- started by Smith 170 years ago -- of excommunicating those who do not strictly adhere to church leaders' commands.

"The 'gene' that Warren is really selecting for," Wyler says, "is the 'obedience gene.'

"Joseph Smith was also selecting for the 'obedience gene.' He was kicking people out, too, who weren't obedient.

"I hate to talk like this about my own genealogy," Wyler says, "but, literally, they are keeping all the breeding stock -- the women, the [strictly faithful] men -- and weeding out the disobedient men."

The ultimate goal of the breeding program, Wyler says, is to create the perfect race.

"Remember how Hitler was trying to breed a perfect race?" he says. "Warren Jeffs is also trying to breed a perfect race."

The widespread presence of the fumarase deficiency gene in the bloodlines of the founding families of Colorado City is going to make reaching any such goal extremely difficult.

The few dissenters in the community say the serious genetic problems that are beginning to surface are an indication that the closed FLDS society could eventually collapse.

"Maybe it will just self-destruct," historian Bistline says of the fundamentalist church he quit 20 years ago because of a dispute over religious doctrine and property ownership. "In the meantime, the taxpayers have to pay the bills."