Davis County Cooperative Society
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Davis County Cooperative Society
Latter Day Church of Christ
OrientationLatter Day Saint movement
TheologyMormon fundamentalism
Prophet and
Presiding Priesthood
(Trustee in Trust)
Paul Elden Kingston
AssociationsDavis County Cooperative Society Inc.
HeadquartersSalt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
FounderOrtell Kingston (Elden Kingston was founder of the Davis County Cooperative Society)
OriginJanuary 1, 1935
Bountiful, Utah, U.S.
Separated fromChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints[1]

The Latter Day Church of Christ[2] is a Mormon fundamentalist denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement. Also known as the Kingston Clan, Kingston Group, or The Order, it evolved from the Davis County Cooperative Society, though not all members of the latter became members of the church.[3] There are approximately 3,500 members of this group.[4] It is notable for being one of the few Mormon denominations that still practices polygamy.[5]


According to his autobiography, Charles W. Kingston became disenchanted with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 1926 because of its abandonment of plural marriage. Kingston began preaching polygamy amongst fellow members of the LDS Church as well as distributing pamphlets and the book, Laman Manasseh Victorious: A Message of Salvation and Redemption to His People Israel, First to Ephraim and Manasseh, which he had co-written. This eventually resulted in his excommunication from the LDS Church in 1929. By 1935, his followers began moving to Bountiful, Utah, with the intention to live under a United Order communalist program as defined by Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants.[6] On February 7, 1941, the community founded by Elden Kingston officially declared themselves the Davis County Cooperative Society Inc. The corporation produces goods and services that are used by members, and sold or traded to other cooperatives and to the public.[7] In 1977, Elden's brother Ortell Kingston began to file for legal recognition of the church later organized as The Latter Day Church of Christ.[8][verification needed]

The Latter Day Church of Christ is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a presence in Bountiful, Utah.[5]


Over the decades, the Cooperative has maintained extreme secrecy while developing an extensive cooperative system with assets at an unconfirmed value of over $150 million.[9] Their secrecy comes from a fear of arrest for living in plural marriages, which originated in 1959-1960 when being investigated by the Davis County Grand Jury, which they claim was organized by LDS Apostles Mark E. Peterson and Spencer W. Kimball.[10][11]

Financial holdings include: a 300-acre (1.2 km2) dairy farm in Davis County; a 3,200-acre (13 km2) farm in Tetonia, Idaho; a coal mine in Emery County;[12] 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) in Terreton, Idaho; a cattle ranch and a discount store; Desert Tech Firearms; Washakie Renewable Energy; a grocery store; and a restaurant supply in many western cities including Tucson, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Boise, and Portland. J. Ortell Kingston aggressively pursued a financially expansive agenda for the Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.[13]


The Davis County Cooperative Society claims to maintain the original beliefs and teachings of Joseph Smith. It began the practice of plural marriage shortly before the establishment of the cooperative.[14][15] Members of the Latter Day Church of Christ are also members of the Davis County Cooperative Society (a separate legal entity) which practices the law of consecration and United Order.[6]

During the first years of the Davis County Cooperative Society, Kingston and his followers wore unique outer garments that led to people referring to them as "blue-coats." Men and boys wore blue coverall-type suits tied with strings; women and girls wore plain blue dresses. As a symbol of their renunciation of worldly goods, the outer clothing contained no pockets in which possessions could be carried, although later an inside pocket was provided for the sanitary measure of carrying a handkerchief. All went bareheaded and barefoot.[16]

The community practices plural marriage. One long time leader, Ortell Kingston, encouraged marriage of close relatives in an effort to improve the genetic profile of the group. Some of these marriages were considered incestuous, according to the laws of the state of Utah.[13]

Following the teaching of Brigham Young who on January 27, 1860, said "I am a God to this people and so is any man who is appointed to lead Israel or the kingdom of God",[17]Charles W. Kingston taught that "Every individual ... no matter what authority, standing, or station he is in, is responsible to the one above him in exactly the same way as if that individual was the Savior himself .... We must look at the one above us in the same light as we look at the Savior."[18] This doctrine is known as the Law of One-above-another. (See the Book of Abraham Chapter 3,[19] from the Pearl of Great Price as produced by Joseph Smith, as well as John 13:13-20.)[20]

According to a 2011 document prepared by the Attorneys General of the states of Utah and Arizona, the church describes itself as emphasizing family values, education, and self-sufficiency, and that every child is a priceless blessing. Children are allowed to attend public school and many go on to college.[3]


Intra-family marriages

The church's theories on genetics, that could be used to "purify" the Kingston-family pedigree, were reportedly developed at the Kingston Dairy, owned by the co-op in Woods Cross, Davis County, Utah,[4][21] and that use of these theories encouraged incestuous marriages of close relatives in order to "perfect" the Kingston bloodline.[21] Those marriages, if proven, could be considered illegal under Utah's consanguinity laws.[22] Connie Rugg, formerly one of Ortell's plural wives, stated: "Ortell Kingston experimented [with] inbreeding with his cattle, and then he turned to his children."[4]

Some examples include:

Example of Intra-family Marriages within the Kingston Clan
Mary Gustafson
LuAnn Kingston[b]
John O. Kingston
Jeremy O. Kingston[a]
LaDonna Peterson
Charles W. Kingston
Joseph O. Kingston
Orlean Kingston
Luwanna Gustafson
Clyde Gustafson
Marriage of Jeremy Ortell Kingstona and Aunt/Cousin LuAnn Kingstonb
Hales (2006), Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalists, p. 399
  • LDCC member Jason Ortell Kingston married his half-sister Andrea Johnson, who became pregnant in 1992. She suffered from preeclampsia before being brought in for medical treatment. A C-section was performed to save the baby, but Andrea died. Utah state officials believe that obstetrical care was withheld because of the possibility that the incestuous relationship would be discovered.[23]
  • Jeremy Ortell Kingston was sentenced to a year in prison in 2004 for having taken LuAnn Kingston, his cousin and aunt, as his fourth wife in 1994. At the time of marriage, Jeremy was 24, and LuAnn was 15.[24]
  • LDCC member David Ortell Kingston married his 15-year-old niece Mary Ann Kingston, who attempted to run away but was apprehended and savagely beaten by her father, John Daniel Kingston. Mary counted 28 lashes before passing out.[25] He was arrested and pleaded "no contest" to the charge of child abuse and served seven months in jail. David O. Kingston was convicted of incest and unlawful sexual conduct and sentenced to a 10-year prison term, of which he only served four years. Mary Ann later filed a $110-million lawsuit against members of the Kingston Clan, alleging intentional sexual abuse of a child and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the lawsuit did not hold up in court.[26]

Child marriage

It is believed that the Latter Day Church of Christ briefly practiced child marriage of girls just attaining puberty, non-members and ex-members claiming that Kingston Clan leaders who claim a "pure bloodline" are given priority over almost any other members when choosing plural wives.[4] It is believed by some that girls as young as 13 were coerced into marriage as new plural wives.[27]

However, Charles W. Kingston in his autobiography denied all of these claims stating: "...inferred in news paper clippings and in public utterances that the Davis County Cooperative Society was [g]uilty of 1 - Living off of Relief 2 - Marrying teen age girls, two of the worst practices that people as a whole condemned the most. The first charge...The Davis Co Cooperative Society records will show that more than fifty one % who joined, were taken off relief rolls and put in a position to make their own living; thus saving the Government and the State more than two hundred thousand dollars in relief money in the last 25 years. The second charge is just as absurd and unreasonable as the first."[28]

Financial fraud

Despite the wealth of the Kingston Clan leaders, plural wives have been found living in deplorable conditions.[29] Often, wives' homes consisted of only small rundown clapboard houses with peeling paint and broken windows.[30] Connie Rugg stated: "The men in the Kingston group do little or nothing to support their many wives and children".[30] Sometimes wives will "go gardening," scrounging through garbage cans to provide food for their children and themselves.[30]

The Latter Day Church of Christ has also been accused of engaging in welfare fraud and tax evasion.[31] The members have larger families, which is typical of the older Mormon teachings. John Ortell Kingston was accused of tax evasion and fraudulently obtaining welfare by having his wives claim to be single mothers. Ortell's holdings were estimated at $70 million. In 1983, Utah sued Ortell Kingston for repayment of welfare subsidies his plural wives had received. While admitting no wrongdoing, Ortell paid the state $250,000 and the case was dropped.[]

In 2016, the State of Utah with federal law enforcement raided various properties in connection with the Kingston family or Davis County Cooperative Society with the intention of finding welfare fraud. The State of Utah stated: "It was a specific investigation that we were approached by [federal law enforcement] to participate in." However, after two years of investigating, they did not find any welfare fraud. "State investigators found no wrongdoing among members of the Davis County Cooperative Society, also known as the Kingston Group."[32]

In July 2019, Jacob Kingston, Isaiah Kingston, and two others pled guilty to fraud related to $512 million of federal renewable-fuel tax credits taken since 2010 through a company named Washakie Renewable Energy LLC. One of the guilty pleas states they "cycled" fraud proceeds through Order-related businesses and then back to Washakie's bank accounts, falsely calling them loans or profits. As part of the plea deal and restitution, they will forfeit their WRE plant[33][34]


Kingston Group assets

The Utah holdings of the Davis County Cooperative are estimated at more than $2 billion,[4] including the following:

  • A-1 Disposal
  • AAA Alarm
  • AAA Security
  • Advanced Copy (located next to Family Stores True Value)
  • Advance Vending
  • AM Security Alarm Co.
  • American Digital Systems
  • ANR Company Inc.
  • Arrow Real Estate
  • Bail Bond Specialists
  • Best Distributing Amusement Games
  • Brown Company Farms
  • C.O.P. Coal Development Co.
  • C.W. Mining Co. (Related entities: Co-Op Mine; CoOp Mining Co.)
  • Coalt Inc.
  • D.U. Company Inc.
  • Davis County Cooperative Society Inc.
  • Desert Tech[35]
  • Johns Market
  • Family Stores True Value
  • Fidelity Funding Corp.
  • Fountain of Youth Health & Athletic Club
  • Garco Industrial Park
  • H.K. Engineering Inc.
  • Hiawatha Coal Co. Inc.
  • Holtz Inc.
  • IA Castle Corp.
  • Lake Elsinore Casino
  • Kalvin Property Company
  • Kingston Dairy
  • Little Red School House Montessori
  • L.P.M. Corporation[36]
  • Men's Shoe Repair and Men's Store
  • Mountain Vendors Machine Distributors
  • Mountain Coin Machine Distributors
  • N.U.B. Corp.
  • National Business Management Inc.
  • P.M.C. Inc
  • PGAC Inc.
  • Premier Catering
  • RE Company Inc.
  • Speciality Consulting Services Inc.
  • Spezialized Inc.
  • Sportsman's Bail Bond Specialists
  • Sportsman's Fast Cash
  • Sportsman's Pawn Shops
  • Standard Industries Inc.
  • Standard Restaurant Equipment Company
  • Stevens Wearhouse (located also by Family Stores on the opposite side)
  • The Larken Ranch
  • U.P.C. Inc
  • North Low Creek Irrigation & Power Co.
  • Westmark Inc.
  • Western Enterprises
  • Washakie Ranch
  • Washakie Renewable Energy[33]

See also


  1. ^ Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, pp. 75-81
  2. ^ Utah business entity number 689669-0140.
  3. ^ a b Utah Attorney General's Office and Arizona Attorney General's Office. The Primer, Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities Archived 2013-01-27 at the Wayback Machine. Updated June 2006. Page 23.
  4. ^ a b c d e Moore-Emmett, Andrea (2004). God's Brothel. San Francisco, CA: Pince-Nez Press. pp. 28, 67, 85, 88, 146 & 146. ISBN 1-930074-13-1.
  5. ^ a b "I left Mormonism". January 29, 2009 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ a b Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, pp. 141-142
  7. ^ Articles of Incorporation of the Davis County Cooperative Society, 7 February 1941. As found in: Shields, Steven L. (June 1, 1990). Divergent Paths of the Restoration. Independence, MO: Herald Pub House. pp. 134-35. ISBN 0-942284-13-5.
  8. ^ Utah business entity number 561222-0140.
  9. ^ Quinn, D. Michael (Summer 1998), "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 31 (2): 19, fn. 56, archived from the original on 2013-10-21, retrieved His information source was an interview with "Jane Doe Kingston," a member of the clan.
  10. ^ "Salt Lake Tribune". Davis County Clipper. July 7, 1959. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, pp. 60-64
  12. ^ Hales, Brian C. "The Kingstons". mormonfundamentalism.com.
  13. ^ a b Hales, Brian C., "John Ortell Kingston (Elden's Brother) Leads 1948-87", MormonFundamentalism.com, archived from the original on 2013-10-18, retrieved
  14. ^ "Clan leader pleads guilty to incest". Chicago Tribune. November 7, 2003. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Ginos, Becky (July 31, 2008). "Patterns of Polygamy Davis County's Kingston clan - County's polygamy roots run deep". Davis County Clipper. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Wright, Lyle O. (1963). Origins and Development of the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times (Thesis). Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University. OCLC 13952557.
  17. ^ (PDF), Sandy, Utah: FAIR Conference, 2009 https://www.fairmormon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2009_Brigham_Youngs_Teachings_On_Adam.pdf Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, pp. 141-142, spelling and punctuation standardized.[full ]
  19. ^ Book of Abraham, Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ
  20. ^ The Gospel of John: The King James Translation, Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ
  21. ^ a b Burton, Greg (April 25, 1999), "When Incest Becomes a Religious Tenet", The Salt Lake Tribune, Archive Article ID: 100EEB119553820E (NewsBank)
  22. ^ "Title 30 Husband and Wife: Chapter 1 Marriage: Section 1", Utah Code, Utah State Legislature |contribution= ignored (help)
  23. ^ Nii, Jenifer K. (August 25, 1998). "Probe into death in clan reopens". Deseret News. Retrieved .
  24. ^ Thomson, Linda (October 31, 2003). "Kingston pleads guilty to incest charge". Deseret News. Retrieved .
  25. ^ Nichols, Judy (October 15, 2003). "Wives suing to bring end to abuse under polygamy". The Arizona Republic. p. A1. As found in: Harris, Sam (January 22, 2007). "God's Hostages". The Washington Post. Retrieved .
  26. ^ Rivera, Ray (July 23, 1998), "16-Year-Old Girl Testifies Of Beating", The Salt Lake Tribune, p. B1, Archive Article ID: 100F3A528F528F0F
  27. ^ Tracy, Kathleen (2002) [2001], The Secret Story of Polygamy, Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, p. 95, ISBN 1570717230, OCLC 46858494
  28. ^ Autobiography of Charles W. Kingston, p. 59
  29. ^ Breton, Ana (August 11, 2007), "Polygamist's home found in squalor", The Salt Lake Tribune
  30. ^ a b c Quinn, D. Michael (Summer 1998), "Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 31 (2): 1-68, retrieved
  31. ^ Salt Lake City Tribune, August 16 and 23, 1998, and January 1999.[full ]
  32. ^ Carlisle, Nate (February 7, 2018), "Utah investigated the polygamous Kingston Group for welfare fraud 2 years ago. It didn't find any.", The Salt Lake Tribune
  33. ^ a b Voreacos, David (July 22, 2019). "Polygamists Admit $512 Million Fraud for U.S. Fuel-Tax Credits". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2019.
  34. ^ "CEO And CFO Of Utah Biodiesel Company And California Businessman Charged In $500 Million Fuel Tax Credit Scheme". August 24, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  35. ^ "BLOOD CULT". SPL Center. Southern Poverty Law Center. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 2019.https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/blood-cult
  36. ^ L.P.M. Corporation is a Nevada Corporation, Entity number C5790-1989, NV Business ID NV19891023178, President J. A GUSTAFSON, Secretary & Treasurer C. R. FINLEY. http://nvsos.gov/sosentitysearch/CorpDetails.aspx?lx8nvq=4bml6lxcT4h29MWIz34BRw%253d%253d&nt7=0 David E. Kingston represented L.P.M Corporation in LPM CORPORATION, a Nevada corporation, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. Paul C. SMITH and Sandra A. Smith, Defendants and Appellees. No. 20050950-CA. Decided: June 22, 2006. https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ut-court-of-appeals/1140716.html Gustafson & Kingston are identified as members of the Kingston family at http://kingstonclan.com/ L.P.M Corporation owns a 95-acre farm on the outskirts of Kaysville, UT in the Boynton Road area (Davis County UT parcels no. 110410012, 110410026, 110410029, 110410036, 110410047), including a 1-acre parcel with a home owned by Ruth C. Finley (parcel no. 110410032). Davis County property ownership verified 2 Nov 2016 at http://www.co.davis.ut.us/treasurer/taxinfo A Salt Lake Tribune article of 1 July 2004 identifies Ruth C. Finley as grandmother of children of "Joshua Paul Kingston, 25, oldest son of Kingston clan leader Paul Kingston". "Judge leaves Kingston clan kids with grandma" by Brooke Adams, The Salt Lake Tribune, July 1, 2004. http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2366268&itype=NGPSID

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