Latter Day Church of Christ (Kingston Clan)

A polygamous sect intertwined with controversy, promoting unity through strict obedience and facing accusations of incest and financial fraud.

The Latter Day Church of Christ, also known as the Davis County Cooperative Society, and infamously referred to as the Kingston Clan or The Order, represents a complex faction within the tapestry of American religious movements. Emerging from Mormon fundamentalist roots, it has developed into a group with a rich and often controversial history, marked by its adherence to polygamy, allegations of incest, and a significant business empire.

Founded in 1935 by Charles Elden Kingston, the sect diverged from mainstream Latter-Day Saints (LDS) teachings, particularly with its continuation of plural marriage. Charles W. Kingston, the patriarch behind the movement’s ideological foundation, was excommunicated from the LDS Church due to his beliefs, notably his advocacy for plural marriage. The leadership of the sect has been kept within the Kingston family, with Charles Elden Kingston, John Ortell Kingston, and currently Paul Elden Kingston serving as successive leaders.

The Latter Day Church of Christ holds beliefs that mirror those of the LDS Church to an extent, such as the acknowledgment of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as scripture. However, it diverges in significant ways, including the rejection of LDS Church leadership after the Manifesto of 1890, which discontinued plural marriage among its members. The Kingston Clan emphasizes principles such as obedience to a hierarchical structure, the importance of unity to gain heaven, and a distinctive interpretation of polygamy and celestial marriage.

The sect’s practices have not been without controversy. It has been accused of engaging in incestuous marriages to preserve “superior bloodlines,” a practice informed by the breeding strategies of its early leader, John Ortell Kingston, with the farm’s livestock. This has led to legal scrutiny and public scandal, particularly highlighted by cases involving prominent family members. Despite these controversies, the group has managed to amass considerable wealth through its business ventures, which span various sectors of the economy.

Financially, the Kingston Clan has faced allegations of fraud, notably in a case involving the renewable-fuel tax credits scheme that resulted in guilty pleas from Jacob Kingston and others. While the group has publicly denounced fraudulent behaviors, these incidents have contributed to its notoriety.

Despite its wealth and influence, the Kingston Clan has remained relatively insular, with its leaders advocating for a lifestyle that balances modern education and economic success with adherence to their distinct religious beliefs and practices. The group encourages its members to pursue higher education and participate in the broader society while maintaining a commitment to the principles and doctrines of the church.

The Latter Day Church of Christ continues to operate within the framework of its unique interpretation of Mormon fundamentalism, navigating the challenges posed by legal scrutiny, public perception, and the evolving religious landscape of the United States​​​​​​.

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