Friday, June 20, 2008

The UEP Attack

Summary by Samuel S. Barlow

“On July 29, 1963, J. Marion Hammon invited Harold Blackmore to move to Hildale, Utah. He was assigned a lot on United Effort Plan property, but soon became apostate, and demanded payment for the consecrations of materials and time he had made.

"The first day of spring 1968, he left after expressing his greed and denouncing the effort in unity. On June 8, 1976, Harold Blackmore made a demand for a deed from the United Effort Plan to his son James Blackmore, who had now joined him in his apostasy. They threatened a civil lawsuit in the courts of Arizona if the demand was not met. On July 22, 1976, a civil summons and complaint was served on the Prophet Leroy S. Johnson in an attack on the United Effort Plan. There then followed a barrage of letters to the public officials against the Priesthood Council, the public schools, the religious community in general, and the United Effort Plan. The Priesthood was publicly branded as the "Holy Mafia" by Blackmore.

"On July 17, 1977, a letter of complaint was sent from Harold Blackmore to the Attorney General attempting, through bold accusations and falsehoods to get the State of Arizona to take up a cause against the religious leadership of the United Effort Plan.

"On July 21, 1977, Harold Blackmore aired his gripes before the Utah Board of Education in an attempt to get them to take up his cause. There followed a media crusade, an investigation by a national syndicated columnist, and feature articles in the major newspapers of Arizona and Utah which were very negative.

"President Johnson made reference to Blackmore's activities in a sermon dated September 3, 1978, at Salt Lake City: "We are not out of the woods yet, and we are still being persecuted by the enemies of righteousness. We all know what went on a year ago when Harold Blackmore was trying to blackmail us."

New Apostates Seek Harold Blackmore's Help

"During the early 1980's, there was a group of apostates who rebelled against the Prophet Leroy S. Johnson. They joined with Harold Blackmore (who is without question the most vocal apostate of our time) in a conspiracy to destroy the United Order Effort which had been established in the Short Creek Valley since 1935.

"They selected Harold Blackmore as a guiding spirit because he had attempted to destroy the United Effort Plan in the courts of Arizona in the 1970's. The new generation of apostates now sought his leadership and began to participate with him.

"Blackmore's plan, as he described it in his sworn deposition testimony, was to activate the mass communication media and bring the world in upon us, and in this way put as much pressure on the elected governmental officials as they possibly could through allegations of criminal wrongdoing. They then planned to call on the public officials to do something that would destroy us or put a stop to our unity.

"They started a media campaign which went every direction. It attacked the local officials, the Bishop, the United Effort Plan, the Prophet Leroy S. Johnson, and the Prophet Rulon T. Jeffs. The apostates objected to every effort of progress appointed by the Prophet.

"They also objected to the formation of the Colorado City Town Corporation, and the organization of a High School District. They publicly lamented any adjustments that were made by the brethren in managing the United Effort Plan, such as requiring people to live properly.

"They conducted a very intense crusade of anonymous letters and negative news reports with reckless disregard for the truth. They alleged that assault weapons were cached on United Effort property, fanaticism, fear, and a forsaking of respect for life and property, predicting bloodshed, mass graves, etc.

"After they were unable to get any of the local officials, the county attorneys, or the County Sheriffs to take any action, they requested help from the State Highway Patrol, and the State Criminal Intelligence investigators, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who commenced an investigation and interviewed President Rulon T. Jeffs.

"Each new ear that would listen, they approached it in such a bombastic way that no public official dared turn a deaf ear to their inflated stories and complaints. But after comparing what was alleged by the apostates with the truth, all evidence of criminal wrongdoing was extinguished by the lack of evidence.

"In desperation, this coalition of apostates sought help from the Attorney Generals of both Utah and Arizona. They then went to the U.S. District Attorney trying to find a way to have some governmental agency carry the expense of their desired attack on the Priesthood work and the United Effort Plan.

"Because these efforts to stimulate a criminal investigation all failed, they came to a point in time when they decided to file a civil action in the Federal Court. Because of threats against religious leaders by the Ervil LeBaron followers, there was a major law enforcement coverage acting in the security and protection of the Prophet Leroy S. Johnson during that period of time, much to the disappointment of the apostates.

"The storm clouds were gathering during the latter part of Uncle Roy's administration as the one man on the earth who held the keys of the sealing powers of the holy Priesthood. Some of those who claimed to be brethren, some of them having high and holy callings, actually joined with the enemies. They were very active in promoting a program that would bring distress and destruction and dissolution of the United Effort Plan, and whatever possible hardship they could bring on the leaders of the Priesthood. They had become traitors. This was the environment when the Prophet Rulon T. Jeffs took the leadership of the Priesthood after the death of the Prophet Leroy S. Johnson."

Tenant-at-Will Letter -- Summary by Elder Samuel S. Barlow

"President Jeffs sent notice out to the people who lived on the United Effort Plan property, setting forth the UEP's policy in support of the building code that had been adopted by the newly organized town of Colorado City, Arizona, and the town of Hildale, Utah. This building code was the uniform state building code of the State of Utah and Arizona. This was designed to provide for orderly growth of the area, which included development on the United Effort Plan land.

"A great howl went up in the camp of the apostates because the words "tenant-at-will" were used to describe the occupancy of the land without a term lease. This phrase "tenant-at-will" was then used as a "bone of contention" by the coalition of apostates that had formed by this time.Harold Blackmore declared in deposition:

"But then they did us a marvelous favor. They wrote the Tenant at Will there, and that tipped the scale. And the suit that's filed is the result."

"He stated the base of opposition was broadened enough so that they could collect sufficient money to file a major lawsuit in the Federal Court. He also admitted to having gifted and loaned money to fund the initial filing of the federal lawsuit.”

Tenant-at-Will" Letter:


"As you know and as was explained to you in great detail when you became residents on the property, you are tenants at will and reside on the property at the pleasure of the trustees.

"Some or all of you have made improvements to the property with the consent of the administration of the trust. Any such voluntary improvements become part of the land and are not to be moved, transferred, demolished or assigned to other occupants without the consent of the United Effort Plan.

"The above policies have been in effect since the creation of the United Effort Plan and this letter is not intended to represent any change but merely the written clarification of pre-existing policy.

"Since the incorporation of both Hildale and Colorado City certain additional formalities are required before any improvements can be constructed on the property located in either of those towns. The United Effort Plan is most supportive of the governments of those towns and desires that all of the ordinances with regard to building permits and inspections be complied with. The United Effort Plan will require that building permits be issued by the proper authority before any improvements are made on the property. As the residents have no authority to improve the land without the consent of the United Effort Plan, the application for each building permit must be approved by one of the agents for the Plan and we are notifying the towns of Hildale and Colorado City of this fact and request that they not grant any building permit unless approved by an agent.

"The agents of the trust authorized to approve applications for building permits are the trustees of the Plan: (6 men listed)

"The willful violation of any of the policies set forth above shall constitute grounds to terminate the violator's tenancy at will on the property.

Very truly yours,
(Signed:) Rulon T. Jeffs
President of the United Effort Plan by order of the Board of Trustees. (Stamped USPS June 29, 1987)

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