CBS Evening News for Wednesday, Oct 05, 1977
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(Studio) Mormons outlawed polygamy 87 years ago, but break away groups continue practice. Now scandals with regard to murder have beset polygamists.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(Salt Lake City, UT) Police say murder of Rulon Allred, in Salt Lake City suburb of Murray, UT, was act of religious terrorism. Allred was leader of 1 of largest polygamist sects in country [Leader's brother Owen ALLRED - says group has lost wonderful leader] Owen Allred is now head of sect. There are many living in West states who still believe in polygamy, as did their ancestors who settled in Colorado City, Arizona. Because they are usually peaceful and private, laws against polygamy are rarely enforced. Law now more interested in religious fanaticism of sect called Church of the Lamb of God, and its leader, Ervil LeBaron. LeBaron preaches death to polygamists who don't follow him; he and 10 followers are chgd. with murder of Allred. [Former LeBaron cult MPR. - says LeBaron believes he's had revelations to kill these people; has heard him say it.] Some LeBaron cultists have been apprehended in Dallas, Denver and Salt Lake City, but leader and 5 others still at large. Other killings and disappearances linked by officials to LeBaron include some near San Diego; Grantsville, UT; near Encinada and elsewhere in Mexico and murder of LeBaron's brother, Joel, in Encinada. [Salt Lake City deputy attorney David YOCUM - says group moves out just as officials locate them.] LeBaron cult is seen as embarrassment by most polygamists, some of whom are now beginning to talk openly with regard to plural marriage. Alec Joseph and 9 wives say plural marriage makes sense. [Margaret JOSEPH - isn't jealous re: sharing husband.] [Carmen JOSEPH - notes they regard jealousy and possessiveness as negative. Feels monogamy fosters these things.] Many polygamists now arming themselves due to LeBaron cult; Joseph says he's ready for LeBaron. [JOSEPH - wishes LeBaron would come around, because they'd prosecute him here, with .45 automatic.] LeBaron group has also threatened leaders of Mormon Church and security men were stationed at recent conference in Salt Lake City. Controversy with regard to polygamy goes back to days of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, who advocated plural marriage and was killed by mob. Mormons are as anxious as anyone to end LeBaron's cult, though they no longer practice polygamy within church, saying it's mockery of words of leader Brigham Young, with regard to wives, children, riches and dominion.
REPORTER: Don Kladstrup