Summarized by Kent Larsen
Is Time Up for Utah Polygamous Sect?
Salt Lake Tribune 19Dec99 N5
By Ray Rivera and Greg Burton: Salt Lake Tribune
MANTI, UTAH -- Authorities are carefully watching Jim Harmston's True
and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days (TLC), a
polygamous offshoot of the LDS Church, because the group's apocalyptic
statements lead some to fear violence. The group is one of a number of
fringe groups that law enforcement officials are watching.
Harmston's group recently said that it had been told by God not to make
any further statements to the public. "The day has now arrived," said
the church in an Internet message, "God has shut the mouths of his
servants and will begin to do His own work of rendering judgment and
calamity upon the wicked and ungodly." Harmston's statements indicate
that in the apocalypse, his Church will seize power over the Manti
valley and establish a new Zion. The group will also then take over the
LDS Church's Salt Lake Temple, according to Harmston's prophecies.
But inspire of the Internet message, Harmston's group isn't stockpiling
weapons or digging bunkers. One Church member, Dan Simmons, broke the
silence and told the Salt Lake Tribune, "It [the end of the millennium]
is certainly a date of great significance. But we don't think it's the
end of the world."
Former TLC Apostle Rodney Clowdus says that the group does believe that
their Church will have a significant role in the apocalypse. "He teaches
the first thing that will happen is he will get the power. Then he and
his apostles -- he calls them his warriors -- will go out and destroy
Sanpete County Sheriff Claude Pickett isn't worried about Harmston,
however. He is more worried that one of Harmston's disciples will act,
"My concern is that someone in his [congregation] will take what he's
saying literally and try to act on it. But until they actually march on
the temple, I'm not going to arrest them."
The Utah Public Safety Department has identified 63 groups in Utah that
it will watch during the millennium changes, but hasn't yet found any
reason for alarm with any of them. "Our feeling is these groups tend to
pull into themselves, they tend to be more focused on internal issues,"
says Public Safety spokesman Christopher Kramer.