Monday, July 7, 2008

The UEP Trust

In the 1930's a group of Mormon Fundamentalist men wanted to live the "United Order" or "All things in common" So they wrote up a Trust and all donated their lands around Short Creek, AZ into the "United Trust". John Y Barlow was the head of it, but the men were not united.

“Thursday Lewis [Kelsch] and I had a personal talk with Bro. John Y. Barlow. We pointed out our fears that under the present set-up the group could not prosper; that there seemed a disposition toward a one man rule; that the present arrangement was not in accordance with the spirit of the action of the Priesthood recently taken, whereby it was advised that Bro. Barlow resign from the Management of the affairs of the group and confine his labors more particularly to the spiritual field; that our work was especially along the line of keeping faith in patriarchal marriage alive, and not in the directing of colonizing. ” (Joseph Musser Journals November 8, 1936.)

"President Barlow went away for a day or two. This situation put me in mind of what Moses passed through when he went into the mountain ans was gone for several days, and the thought he was no more, so they built a golden calf to worship. Brother Barlow was out of this place for a few days. People got anxious, and they got together and formed an organization and voted a man in it to lead them. I remember, President Barlow came to me and he said "Roy, if I can get one man to stay with me, we can build up the Kingdom of God" I said, "You've got one man, John. As far as I am concerned, you've got one man that will stay with you." He went to two other men in the town, and they said the same thing. The result was, the others stepped aside. We hung together- three of us." (Leroy S Johnson 6/20/1960)

The United Effort Plan was a new Trust formed several years later, on November 9, 1942, centered around the homestead property of President Leroy S Johnson.

Forty-seven years later, in 1989, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court against the leaders of the UEP by a group former members who left the FLDS church in 1984. Most of whom are part of the Centinnial Park fundamentalist group. The suit was based upon the fear that they had of being evicted. Saying they were told that the property was theirs if they built on it.

Utah Federal Court Judge Bruce (J.A) Jenkins ruled in 1990 for all of the church records, Bishops records, and personal records of the leaders of the FLDS be seized and turned over to the court and the attorneys of the apostate former members in an attempt to find UEP funds. After appeal, the records were still required to be given to Judge (J.A.) Jenkins for his personal perusal to see if they could be turned over to the apostates. The following was sent with the records.

Portions of a affidavit given by President Rulon T. Jeffs Given July 30, 1991:

"I am the only person now living who has personal knowledge of the deliberations that resulted in the creation of the United Effort Plan.... In 1942 Joseph Musser, then a member of the Priesthood Council of the fundamentalist church, asked me to be a member of a committee to help create an organization that would allow our people to live the United Order...

"Our purpose was to attempt to create an organization prominently mentioned by the early leaders of the church, such as Brigham Young and John Taylor which the lawyers could not pick apart and which would allow the people to live the law of consecration..."

"The purpose of the United Effort Plan was to allow all of the property of the people to be held in common, and to do away with the selfishness inherent in the concept of private ownership and the attempt to exclude others from what we have. It is our belief that the Lord owns all things and we are mere stewards of property, not the owners thereof.

"Therefore we provided in document that there would be no private ownership of property. Any representation to the contrary, as alleged by the plaintiffs, would be completely contrary to spirit and intent of the document..."

"The United Effort Plan provides that a person can be expelled for conduct prejudicial to the interests of the Plan [unity of members] In our declarations, this directly relates to the instructions of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 42:37, in which one who sins and repents not shall be cast out and shall not receive back that which he consecrated"

"The Plan is to assist the church in providing for the "just wants and needs" of the people, as set forth in scripture..."

"The primary purpose of the United Effort Plan was to hold real property that had been consecrated to the priesthood work. In the early days of the United Effort Plan, we attempted to operate other businesses, such as a sawmill at Mile and a Half Spring in the Kiabab National Forest, and a farm at Bloomington as provided in the Declaration of Trust, but these attempts were ultimately abandoned because they could not pay for themselves and became a burden on the consecrations of the people. Following the late 40's, the ownership of the United Effort Plan was limited to real property, which is still the case today.

"There are no UEP funds. There are funds of the church that are derived from the religious offerings of the people. The UEP itself does not generate any funds whatsoever. Therefore, it is impossible that any of the accounts could contain UEP assets, because those assets, for the last nearly 40 years, have been limited to real property..."

"At the time that the Declaration of Trust was drafted, we used the term "member" to describe those who participated in the Order. The term has reference to members of the Church who were found worthy to participate on the plan based on consecration that the trustees deemed adequate. We did not use the term "beneficiary" and the term was never used in our deliberations. It was not our intent to give persons rights that were not scriptural, nor to impose on ourselves any duties that the Lord did not require of his leaders.

"It was also a prominent item of our discussions that we were not trying to duplicate the law of consecration, but rather to form an organization that would allow the people to come closer to the concepts inherent in that law, with the hope that some day we would be able to live the complete law"

The records sat in the judges possession and were never released to the suers. The case was finally dismissed after three years, and the church records were returned to the FLDS in August of 1993.

Reed Lambert, lead attorney for the bitter former members said in open court just before the dismissal of the complaints:
"There's never been a time in this action, at least when I have stood before this court, and said this isn't a religious dispute in some measure. There is no question that these people are religious people, and had we been able to bring a cause of action to change the one man doctrine to the leadership of Council, we would have brought that claim. What I am telling you is there is a religious dispute underlying the division of the parties. Unfortunately, religion is a nice cloak to hide in some respects. What I'm telling you is that even if God Himself were to appear on the earth, at least He's assuming to civil laws. If He is to enter int a contract or make a representation on somebody upon which they rely on their detriment, it is going to be actionable by the law"

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