New FLDS President Called

According to a certificate filed with the Utah Division of Corporations & Commercial Code and obtained by the LDSgroups Yahoo Group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) has called a new church President: Wendell Loy Nielson. (The FLDS Church is one of the two largest fundamentalist Mormon denominations, the other being the Apostolic United Brethren.)

President Nielson was formerly First Counselor in the FLDS First Presidency under the previous church President, Warren Steed Jeffs. Jeffs resigned his position on December 4, 2007, shortly after his sentence of ten years to life by a Utah court.

It is not yet clear whether Jeffs also resigned as Prophet of the FLDS Church or whether Nielson has been called to succeed him as Prophet.

The certificate reads as follows:

CERTIFICATE

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

I, the undersigned, WENDELL LOY NIELSEN, have been called as the President of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in conformity with the constitution, canons, rites, regulations, or discipline of said church, and by virtue of such calling I am the corporation sole of the Corporation of the President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, organized under the laws of the State of Utah.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name at Hildale, Utah this 9th day of January, 2010.

Wendell Loy Nielson {his signature}

THIS IS TO CERTIFY that WENDELL LOY NIELSEN, following the resignation of Warren Steed Jeffs on December 4, 2007, is now the duly called President of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have signed this Certification.

Frederick Merril Jessop {his signature}

STATE OF UTAH )
:ss
COUNTY OF WASHINGTON )

On the 9th day of January, 2010, personally appeared before me WENDELL LOY NIELSON and FREDERICK MERRIL JESSOP, the signers of the above instrument, who duly acknowledged to me that they did sign the above and foregoing Certificate evidencing the calling of WENDELL LOY NIELSON as President of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Boyd Knudson {his signature}
NOTARY PUBLIC
Residing in the State of Utah
{his seal}

{Seals of the Division Director of the Utah Div. Of Corp. & Comm. Code, received Jan 13, 2010 and examined Jan 21, 2010}

I’ll be trying to get FLDS Church leaders to give us some additional clarification about the
change and comments about the succession process in general.

Bookmark New FLDS President Called

Comments

  1. MikeInWeHo says:

    I am sitting here watching the most recent episode of Big Love even as I read this post. Who cares about Warren Jeffs! The real question is: Who will replace Roman Grant as the prophet of Juniper Creek???

    And who can forget President Grant’s Christmas message last year??

  2. Interesting find, John. A quick search of Google News shows only one story from the Fox affiliate in Salt Lake picking this up so far.

    As for whether this announcement signals something as to Nielsen’s possible elevation to Prophet, I wonder if there is any clue in the use of the word “called” in the affidavit (as in, “I . . . have been called as the President”).

  3. Interesting find, John. A quick search of Google News shows only one story from the Fox affiliate in Salt Lake picking this up so far.

    Hunter, where do you think they got their info? BCC is the only true and living source of news.

  4. What is it with Nielsens, that they keep changing the way the name’s spelt? (or is that spelled?)

  5. Do the other leaders of the Church now accept Jeffs crime or is this a bureaucratic decision? Was the resignation forced because of his crime, so was it legal? If so then I suppose it is possible that making Nielson president could be a temporary move in order to accomplish certain legal tasks.

  6. re # 3, I’m betting it’s pronounced Nieltsen in Hildale.

  7. er, “Hildell”.

  8. The FLDS have avoided the question of whether or not Warren Jeffs is still the prophet. Steven Shields (researcher of restoration groups) believes that Nielsen has become the president for legal reasons following Warren Jeffs’ conviction (the FLDS Church being a corporation) but that Warren Jeffs remains the prophet. It does not necessarily follow that the president is also the prophet although they usually are.

    It will be interesting, John, if you can get a clarification from the FLDS themselves on this point.

  9. Very interesting indeed.

    I’ve had many questions about this very issue since I just finished reading “Lost Boy” (by Brent Jeffs) just this weekend.

  10. What is funny to me is that I have spoken to Wendell a couple of times on the phone for business reasons. Never sold him anything but I tried. Guy has the thickest Dixie accent ever.

    That was my first and only contact with any polygamous folks.

  11. Very interesting, thanks for the notice, John. Looking forward to any follow-up.

  12. Mike Parker says:

    Since polygamist groups differentiate between the offices of President and Presiding High Priest (in the LDS Church, one man holds both), this notice really doesn’t mean much.

    Nielsen is taking over the day-to-day operations of the FLDS church, but Jeffs is still the spiritual leader. It’s a CEO vs. COO thing.

  13. BiV (#8): I’ve written to FLDS Church leaders for clarification and comments, so hopefully we can get the accurate story from the people who actually know.

    Mike (#12): Many churches in the Restoration recognize a distinction between presidency of the priesthood and the president of a given church’s corporate entities — a point we made in the OP. However, that doesn’t mean that this development isn’t news. For one thing, there are precedents in Mormonism for acting legal leaders to eventually evolve into spiritual leaders (e.g., Brigham Young). On the other hand, within the broader movement there are also precedents for prophets to retire, i.e., the last three prophets of the Community of Christ.

  14. The Apostate says:

    Also, on the FLDS front: Judge Conn, in Arizona, ordered the suppression of all evidence taken in the Texas raid.

    http://www.mohavecourts.com/highprofile/743-Order%2002-05-10.pdf

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