6 Oct 2008

Patterns of Polygamy - Son of ‘Kingston Clan’ founder comes forward

Davis County Clipper - Bountiful,UT
October 2, 2008

by Tom Busselberg
Fourth in a Series

BOUNTIFUL — To hear the son of Kingston clan founder Elden Kingston tell it, the organization is no stranger to such things as incestuous relationships, a favored “royal” bloodline among its leaders, a dependence on governmental assistance and polygamous marriages by some that make it hard for other males to find even one wife.

Kingston’s son Lionel recently came forward to meet with Clipper editors to take issue with statements made by Carlene Kingston Cannon and Heidi Foster, in an article published on Aug. 14.

His purpose, he said, was not to denigrate his father’s work but to call attention to disturbing changes that have occurred since his father’s death in the late 1940s.

Lionel, a Bountiful resident, believes in the organization his father started, and even in polygamy. He never married more than one woman but said leaders wanted him to give up his future wife and marry another — which he refused to do.

“I’m not against polygamy,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here” without it. “I wanted to live it when I was younger.”

He says he was kicked out, along with his 80-year-old mother and other family members, in 1990.

Where Lionel draws the line, however, is in what he considers incestuous marriages that first took place in 1950, two years after his father Elden died.

“They claim they would build the bloodline” and keep it pure, he told the Clipper.

But there have been some physical and mental problems as a result of that practice, Lionel said.

“They have mental problems; some of them are handicapped,” he said. “A few go in and out of mental hospitals.”

But he said most with severe deformities “die, usually when they’re born. They take them to the hospital (usually the University of Utah Medical Center), where it’s free” for medical care, he said.

In most cases, though, babies are not delivered at a hospital. “They always do home births. Paul (Kingston) has delivered more babies than most doctors, and he’s good at it,” Lionel said.

Paul Kingston, the group’s current leader, is an attorney, by formal training and is Lionel’s cousin.

“He kicked my mother and all of my full siblings, out,” Lionel said, referring to the 1990 ousting of his family.

He insists that the organization run by Paul today is characterized by distrust of outsiders or even the banishing of certain former members.

Officially the group is known as the Davis County Cooperative Society, which is a secular organization distinct from the Kingstons’ religious worship.

Current Kingston spokespersons, Carlene and Heidi, prefer being called members of the cooperative and dislike the term “clan” although Lionel has no objections to the word because he feels it truly operates as a clan.

Even those differences in how to describe the organizan underscore the vastly contrasting views presented by Lionel (along with former Kingston Rowenna Erickson and LDS scholar Brian C. Hales, and others) and those held by Kingston supporters.

Carlene and Heidi are frankly mystified by their uncle Lionel’s views. In one area of agreement, they concur with Lionel’s assessment that the Kingstons number about 2,000, with many in Davis County, some in other parts of the state and a few in other states.

But for the rest, their views are widely divergent from those espoused by Lionel and others.

They say they are not aware of forced, underage marriages and contend they have always operated within the law.

“It’s a myth,” Carlene said of forced underage marriages. “No young girls were entering marriages, and all made their own choices.

“We’ve always been law abiding, and since they’ve changed the law, we’ve followed it.”

By this, Carlene and Heidi mean that no girls were married at younger than age 16 when the law considered 16 the age of consent. Now that it has been raised to 18, they also raised their minimum age to 18 — although Lionel remains skeptical about this.

Carlene is also mystified by Lionel’s statement that his mother was kicked out. She checked the records, she said, and notes that they indicate his mother died as a member in good standing.

Lionel, however, insists that his mother was kicked out of the Kingston cooperative, although her church records may have remained intact.

He says Paul Kingston personally handed him a check in excess of $80,000 as his mother’s settlement for her years of financial contributions to the co-op. Lionel and the rest of his family members also received smaller checks, Paul telling him that once they received their money they were no longer members.

Heidi, meanwhile, is perplexed by the insistence of Lionel and other former Kingston members that key people were given numbers that corresponded with levels of power and importance. Under that theory, those with the lowest numbers always outranked those who came later and had higher numbers.

“I can’t wrap my mind around it,” she said. “My dad raised us to be whatever we wanted to be. I don’t understand where that came from.”

While Heidi does not deny there is domestic violence and sexual abuse within the organization, it only reflects society as a whole.

“There is abuse in any community,” she said.

“While we haven’t done a study of the Kingstons over the last eight or nine years, a lot of things are done differently now (than when Lionel was involved).

“Classes are held and information is provided on what services are available and what to do in certain situations. We offer parenting classes and car seat classes just to make sure children are safe.”

This article was found at:



Settlement reached in Kingston polygamy lawsuits

Survivor of abuse by Mormon polygamists documents accounts of sex crimes in the FLDS and other fundamentalist groups

Mormon fundamentalist leader must testify in tax case and reveal details of polygamy and child brides in Bountiful


  1. New website targets Kingston polygamous group

    by Nate Carlisle, Salt Lake Tribune July 16 2015

    A new website details what it says are plural marriages and family trees within the Kingston polygamous sect and accuses the group of being the "Largest Sex Crime Organization in the United States of America."

    The publishers of www.kingstonclan.com do not identify themselves. The Tribune inquired with some Kingston observers. None were willing to disclose who published the site. The Tribune also was unable to verify much of the information on the website.

    The website includes photos of seven Kingston men. Upon clicking each photo, users are shown what is said to be that man's family tree with a list of wives and children.

    The men include Kingston leader Paul Elden Kingston and two of his brothers, David Ortel Kignston and John Daniel Kingston. David Ortell Kingston served a four-year prison sentence after being convicted of incest and unlawful sexual activity.

    John Daniel Kingston served 28 weeks after pleading no contest to child abuse following a 1998 episode in which he belt-whipped a girl.

    There also is a link to a Change.org petition to have men in the group investigated and prosecuted.

    The Kingston clan is also known as the Davis County Cooperative. It has become the subject of increased scrutiny.

    A new television show called "Escaping Polygamy" focuses on young Kingston women who have left the group and help others leave.


  2. Federal agents raid Utah offices of polygamous Kingston Group

    By NATE CARLISLE | and Brian Maffly The Salt Lake Tribune February 10, 2016

    Federal agents on Wednesday raided Utah offices of businesses associated with the Kingston Group, the polygamous family known for its fundamentalist Mormon beliefs and forced marriages.

    It was unclear if arrests had been made. Federal agencies who participated Wednesday, including the IRS, Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, did not offer comment.

    Assisted by South Salt Lake police, IRS agents searched a one-story brown brick building at 10 W. Century Park Way (about 2950 South). Multiple businesses are listed at the address, including the Davis County Cooperative, a corporate name for the Kingston Group. A lawyer for the cooperative confirmed that the IRS served it with a sealed warrant seeking account records.

    "They're giving their full cooperation and they're proving access to what ever files, computer records," said F. Mark Hansen, the lawyer.

    "I am informed there is nothing to hide," Hansen added.

    A copy of what appeared to be a federal search warrant with the word "Sealed" written across the top sat on the passenger seat of his car as he spoke to reporters. Hansen declined to provide a copy to The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Law enforcement also conducted a raid in Sandy at the home of Jacob Kingston, one of the owners of Washakie Renewable Energy.

    Contacted Wednesday, company officials said the nature of the action was not clear.

    "We do not have an official comment and it will stay that way until we have a better understanding of the situation," said Washakie's general counsel Jason Foulger.

    Law enforcement apparently did not raid Washakie plant itself, located in Plymouth, 100 miles north of Salt Lake City. Box Elder County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dale Ward said that office had been told search warrants would be served then received a call Tuesday saying the warrants had fallen through.

    Kingston sons Jacob and Isaiah built the Washakie plant in 2008 to turn oilseed such as canola and soy, into biodiesel. Washakie has become a frequent advertiser during Utah Jazz broadcasts.

    But according to court records, the plant did not reliably produce. Apparently it was more successful at collecting federal subsidies intended to promote production of alternative fuels, even when it wasn't producing these products.

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  3. Between January and October 2010 a period when the plant failed to produce any biofuels, it reaped $2 million in credits based on 7.2 million gallons that someone else produced, according to a notice of violation filed by federal regulators in 2011.

    Later that year, however, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Office extended the company a $496,750 grant, observing Washakie's process could help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

    Last year, Washakie agreed to a $3 million fine to resolve these allegations. Former employees who asked to not be named said the plant was still on producing as of six months ago.

    In a 2011 Rolling Stone interview, then-Attorney General Mark Shurtleff described the Kingstons as an "organized-crime family."

    Despite this troubling history, current Attorney General Sean Reyes has accepted $31,000 from Washakie and its executive Sally Kingston, Jacob's wife, according to campaign finance disclosures.

    Besides the Kingston Group and the Davis County Cooperative, the sect is also known as the Latter Day Church of Christ. Unlike Utah's better-known polygamous sect, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Kingstons are integrated into the Wasatch Front. They wear conventional clothing and members own perhaps hundreds of businesses, from Washakie Energy to refuse companies to management firms. The sect has its own banking system for members.

    The group is said to be lead by Paul E. Kingston. A brother, John Daniel Kingston, gained notoriety for forcing teenage female members into marriages with older relatives. In 1999, he was sentenced to 28 weeks in jail for beating a 17-year-old daughter who refused to submit to a marriage to her uncle.

    In 2004, Jeremy Ortell Kingston was sentenced to a year in jail for "marrying" and having sex with a 15-year-old cousin.

    And in 1999, David Ortell Kingston — who is Jeremy Kingston's uncle — was sentenced to the Utah State Prison for up to 10 years for committing incest with the 16-year-old niece who became his 15th wife. David Kingston was released from prison in 2003 after serving four years behind bars.

    In recent years, former members have lobbied for law enforcement to take action against the sect. Three sisters who left the sect are the stars of a reality television show called "Escaping Polygamy."

    Two of the stars, half-sisters who only go by the names Jessica and Shanell, were at the South Salt Lake scene Wednesday with a camera crew. They said they had no advanced notice of the raid and declined to answer any more questions.

    Last year www.kingstonclan.com went online. It accuses Kingston leaders of various crimes.

    The Tribune will update this story as more information is available