Ex-Members Sue Polygamist Church

By KRISTEN MOULTON .c The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Three former members of a polygamist church say they turned over a total of $264,390 - all their worldly possessions - to the sect's leader in the belief that it was the only way to meet Jesus Christ.

Angered because no such meeting materialized, the trio is suing Jim Harmston, who heads The True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days, for taking advantage of their ``deepest spiritual needs'' and failing to deliver on his promise.

Harmston, from his home in Manti, Utah, on Wednesday called the lawsuit ``felonious'' and said the church would countersue.

``We're getting tired of this kind of thing, the defamation and libel that goes on,'' he said.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Ivan Douglas Jordan, a former apostle in the church; Kaziah May Hancock, one of Jordan's wives, and Cindy Stewart.

The three said they were excommunicated last year from the church, which has about 300 members. It is rooted in Mormonism and teaches the world will soon end with only its members being saved.

Its faithful believe Harmston is God's spokesman on earth - a reincarnated Joseph Smith - and that members can meet Jesus Christ if they consecrate all that they have to the church, Hancock said.

Smith founded the Mormon church in 1830. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints - now with some 10 million members worldwide - disavowed plural marriage in 1890. Polygamy is illegal in Utah but the laws against it have not been enforced for several decades.

AP-NY-04-09-98 0540EDT


The views and opinions stated within this web page are those of the author or authors which wrote them and may not reflect the views and opinions of the ISP or account user which hosts the web page.

Return to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank