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DESTRUCTIVE MORMON SPLINTER
GROUP, LED BY JEFFREY LUNDGREN

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This was a destructive, doomsday cult founded and led by Jeffrey Lundgren. He was the leader of a small group of about 2 dozen members that broke away from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), now called the Community of Christ. The RLDS Church has a membership of about 250,000, and is centered in Independence MO. The much larger Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints split from the RLDS when the former moved to Utah. Lundgren, in turn, split from the RLDS in 1987 because of its liberal tendencies (e.g. allowing women to be ordained as priests). There is also suspicion that he had embezzled money from the Church. Members prepared for an expected war in which they would attack the original Temple in Kirtland which is now preserved as a historical site by the RLDS. They engaged in strange sexual rituals, and para-military training. One family, the Averys, opposed some of Lundgren's rulings, were executed and buried on the group's ranch. He referred to the killings of the parents and three daughters as: "pruning the vineyard."

According to CNN:

"In an unsworn statement at his 1990 trial, Lundgren told the jury that he and his cult were preparing for the second coming of Jesus Christ, which they believed would occur at the Reorganized Church's temple in Kirtland. He said the spiritually unclean had to be dealt with."

"Lundgren said a combination of messages from the Bible told him to kill the Averys. Cult members had testified that although the Averys were members of the sect, Lundgren considered them less enthusiastic." 1

Lundgren was sentenced to death for his crimes; his wife and son received long prison sentences.According to a spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General's office, Lundgren has exhausted all of his appeals. He is scheduled to be executed on 2006-OCT-10.

A Christian group. Total deaths: 5.

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Reference used:

  1. "Cult leader gets date with executioner" CNN.com, 2006-AUG-28, at: http://www.cnn.com/

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Latest update: 2006-AUG-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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