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CASE STUDIES - GROUPS AND ORGANIZATIONS - UNITED ORDER FAMILY OF CHRIST


In 1968, the General Handbook of Instructions added "homo-sexual acts" to the list of sins for which excommunication was appropriate.

That change at LDS headquarters may have resulted from the discovery that gay men had organized a schismatic Mormon group in Denver, Colorado. In 1966 David-Edward Desmond formed the United Order Family of Christ, which involved only young men. Six years later he wrote: "The ages of our Order are from 18 to 30. Only one member of the Family is over 25." Because of the group's economic communalism ("We hold everything in common"), Desmond acknowledged that his organization was "Not for the great majority of the Gay LDS." However, as the spiritual leader, or "First Key," of this little-known group, he may have performed commitment ceremonies for gay male couples.

"David-Edward Desmond" was apparently an alias, since no one by either of those first names appears in the LDS Ancestral File, LDS Patriarchal Blessing Index (1833-1963), or LDS Church censuses for 1950-60.  Because so little is known about Desmond's group, there is no estimate of its highest membership level. Nor is it certain that the male couples received an equivalent or the LDS ordinance of "marriage for time and all eternity."

- from Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans by D. Michael Quinn, Univ. of Il. Press, 1996, p .382 and footnote (81.)