A Mormon fundamentalist group practicing plural marriage and preserving early Latter-day Saint doctrines.
The Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) is a Mormon fundamentalist group known for its practice of polygamy and efforts to live according to the original teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Established in the mid-20th century, the AUB has sought to maintain the principles of the early Latter-day Saint movement, including the United Order, the Adam-God doctrine, and the exclusion of Blacks from the priesthood, alongside a strong belief in plural marriage as a central tenet of their faith.
Organization and Leadership
The AUB operates under a hierarchical structure led by a President of the Priesthood, supported by a Priesthood Council. This council oversees various religious and administrative bodies, including the Seventy, high priests, elders, Aaronic Priesthood members, and auxiliary organizations such as the Women’s Relief Society and Sunday School. The group’s leadership and organizational framework allow for the coordination of religious activities, social events, and educational programs across its congregations.
The AUB holds the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sacred scriptures and adheres to the Articles of Faith authored by Joseph Smith. Central to their doctrine is the practice of plural marriage, which they believe is essential for achieving the highest glory in heaven. This belief is rooted in a historical meeting in 1886, where LDS Church President John Taylor allegedly received a revelation to continue the practice of plural marriage outside the mainstream LDS Church. The AUB also embraces other early Mormon doctrines such as the United Order, the Adam-God doctrine, and historically, the exclusion of Blacks from the priesthood, which reflects their commitment to what they perceive as the original teachings of Mormonism.
Relations with the LDS Church
Despite significant theological differences, particularly regarding polygamy and other abandoned doctrines, AUB members generally view the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as an important vehicle for spreading basic Mormon teachings. The AUB’s founder, Rulon C. Allred, emphasized a non-interfering stance toward the LDS Church, recognizing its role in missionary work and temple ordinances, albeit predicting a future divine intervention that would reconcile differences and grant the AUB access to temple ordinances.
History and Development
The AUB traces its origins to a claimed 1886 revelation to John Taylor about continuing plural marriage, which became a foundational event for Mormon fundamentalists. Rulon C. Allred, who established the AUB in 1954, played a pivotal role in defining the group’s identity and practices. After Allred’s assassination in 1977, leadership passed through his family, with successive prophets continuing to navigate the group’s complex relationship with the broader Mormon community, legal challenges, and internal controversies.
The AUB encourages integration with surrounding communities, a contrast to more insular Mormon fundamentalist groups. This approach reflects the influence of former prophet Owen A. Allred’s policy of transparency and cooperation with law enforcement. Members live in medium-sized homes, engage in mainstream employment, and participate in public and private education, blending into society while maintaining distinct religious beliefs and practices. The group has faced criticism and legal scrutiny, particularly regarding its practice of polygamy and allegations of sexual misconduct by some of its leaders.
The Apostolic United Brethren represents a unique segment within the spectrum of Mormon fundamentalism, characterized by its adherence to early Latter-day Saint doctrines, plural marriage, and a desire for transparency and community integration. While facing challenges and controversies, the AUB continues to practice and promote its interpretation of Joseph Smith’s teachings, reflecting the diversity and complexity of the broader Mormon fundamentalist movement.