One of these men who was kicked out of the FLDS during the January 10, 2004 meeting was Joseph I. Barlow. Let’s examine who he is and what happened to him.
Joseph I. Barlow was a long-time residents of Short Creek. In 1941, he witnessed Leroy Johnson’s (Uncle Roy) ordination to the priesthood council by John Y. Barlow (his father) at the Woolsey Ranch. He was involved in the 1953 Short Creek raid. An arrest warrant issued for him, but he avoided arrest by staying in the Utah side of the community.
Joe was said to have worked with other Barlow brothers in bringing about the priesthood split of 1984. He spread rumors about priesthood council member, Marion Hammon, telling others that he “has always been a problem child of the Priesthood.” Joe helped set up Leroy Johnson has “the one” prophet.
In 1984 at a priesthood meeting, Uncle Roy had Joe stand up and presented him to be ordained a patriarch. He then ordained him. He didn’t know in advance that he would be made a patriarch. This was a shock to some because they considered him to be a dishonest man. In 1985, Joe was given a newly opened store with $52,000 to get going. Under Joe’s management the store was completely broke in less than one year. A plea went out to the people to raise money to bail him out and restock the store. But within another year, the store was broke again. The management was then turned over to Art Blackmore who made it a successful venture. (Bistline, The Polygamists, p. 244)
After the 1984 “Priesthood Split,” the followers of Leroy Johnson made many efforts to evict the other group from UEP property. Prior to Uncle Roy’s death in 1986, Joe convinced him to transfer many UEP assets to a secret trust, “The Majestic Security Trust.” The reason for this was to keep the assets at “arms length” from the reach of any who might fall away from the group and try to claim some property. In 1989 this was revealed during a deposition of Rulon Jeffs. Joe’s son Jethro had transferred several of the UEP companies to this secret trust. A lawsuit stopped these transfers. If they would have continued, Joe and his sons would have eventually drained the UEP. (Bistline, p. 298)
In 1989 Joe was very influential with the people to stir up hatred towards the “Second Warders” who were not following Rulon Jeffs. In a speech on December 24, 1989, Joe proclaimed, “We’ve got a group of men who will not listen to the servant of God because they’ve already compromised . . . morals . . . ingenuity . . . initiative. Everything they’ve got that was good, they’ve compromised on it. May we stand by those principles and give Uncle Rulon our total support, not just when we’re in meeting, not just when we’re enthused, but when we’re in our moment of temptation. Our golden moment comes to us, may we make that right choice and not compromise.” (Sermon of Joe Barlow)
By helping to firmly set up Rulon Jeffs as the one authority, Joe didn’t realize at that time that he was also setting up his son, Warren, in later years to establish a firm grip over the people. It would all backfire on him. On January 10, 2004, Joe lost everything he loved when Warren had him stand up in that meeting and cast him out of the community. He immediately resigned from the Hildale City Council. He had served on the City Council for 41 years since the city had been incorporated! His brother Dan Barlow, the mayor for 19 years had also been kicked out. He also resigned. When Joe was asked by a reporter how he was doing, he said, “No comment.”
On the day after the purge, anonymous letters criticizing Warren’s actions started to circulate through Short Creek. One of these letters discussed a dream and mentioned Joe. “I witnessed a great patriarch, Joseph I Barlow, raised up unto God’s work under the direction of Leroy S Johnson. And I did witness this patriarch apply himself with a fervor to the defense of God’s work and God’s sacred lands and to the institution of the UEP. And I saw that some were fearful of his fervor and did resent him.”
Joseph I. Barlow, in his late 70s, now was on his own, cast out of Short Creek, the community that he spent his entire life building up. He moved to St. George, Utah.
Four months later, Warren received a phone call from William E. Jessop, the bishop of Short Creek. He told Warren about a phone call he received from Joe. Joe told the bishop, “We, down here at St. George, are grieving. We need you to come and comfort us.” Warren told William, “Don’t touch it! If those men have the true Spirit of repentance they will have a prayer of rejoicing for the privilege to repent.” Wow! What a statement. Warren felt that he was doing Joe a favor by stripping him of his of this church membership, his family, his home, and his 41 years of leadership on the city council. Warren believed Joe was feeling despair because of his iniquity. He strongly warned the bishop if he went to comfort Joe and the other men, he would go against authority (him) and against the will of God. William promised to be very careful.
Warren was also mad that the men were meeting together and teaching each other. He said they had no authority to teach. He didn’t want them comforting each other and feared they would band together to conspire against him. In future “handlings” Warren would instruct men kicked out that they could not meet together. Since January he had continued his purge and had kicked out 19 more men in the past few months.
Warren was not happy that some of his followers were visiting Joe and these other men. “They are deceived to think these men have a humble spirit of repentance because they firmly declare loyalty to God and the Prophet, but they haven’t repented. They haven’t made it right with the Lord. So people need to be careful or they will find themselves losing Priesthood and Priesthood blessing through sympathy against authority, sympathy against the Lord’s will.” Above all else, Warren hoped that these men wouldn’t “turn traitor.”
Warren commented, “In the many letters I have received from some of these men they have declared that they are on a mission and going through a test. The Lord showed me . . . that many of these men are putting on a show of repentance to me but among themselves they don’t see why they are being handled.”
Four days later, Warren took Joseph’s former wives and married them to other men. “Richard Allred received Janice Smith, the former wife of Joseph I. Barlow.” Ten day later, “I told Aunt Alice Zitting, former wife of Joseph I. Barlow, that her former husband could not exalt her and the Lord had a place for her and she was willing to go forward.” Warren married Alice to his brother, Leroy Jeffs. (Later Leroy would be kicked out, so Alice was passed on to yet another husband. Three husbands in two years.)
On May 17, Warren got a report from Sam Roundy Jr. who had visited Joe and the other men in St. George. He reported that they were “voicing bitterness” against Warren because he had married their wives to other men. It bothered Warren so much, that he gave his family training that night, telling them about these “unworthy men.” He warned his family that if they had sympathy for any of those men, they would be turning against Priesthood.
Warren mocked Joe’s most recent letter. It “was a rehearsal of his little . . . profession of righteousness.” Joe wrote that the Barlows were not trying to take over. Warren was indignant. He was certain that the Barlows were conspiring against him. “I had told them on January 10, in public meeting, that they had established themselves as authority over the people by joining together and judging the people without authority. I had told them straight out what the Lord had told me and they still deny it.” He described Joe’s current state as “the mourning of the damned.”
Warren revealed a twisted principle that he believed in. When a man lost priesthood (was kicked out) the man had to make an atonement. Part of the atonement was to lose their wives. Warren couldn’t do anything for them and thus didn’t try to reach out to them to help them. But, they needed to stay true to Warren. Warren mocked these men’s belief that they were just going through a test. “In reality they have received a judgment and lost their blessings.”
As instructed by Warren, Joe sent letters to him. On June 19,2004, Warren revealed his true reason for kicking out Joe, “The Lord has shown me. . . that Joseph I. Barlow [and two others] DO know why they were handled (kicked out), do know their disagreements, even quietly with my father, and yet they claim they don’t know why they are handled. “ He believed they conspired to elevate Joe’s brother, Truman, to be first counselor to his late father, Uncle Rulon. If they would have been successful, Truman would have challenged Warren for leadership over the FLDS. They were still a major threat to his leadership and he needed to get rid of them.
“Some of these men had already sought the Apostleship from father in their aspiring efforts. It wasn’t yet time to correct those men during father’s administration, so he bore with them and carried them and yet the Lord worked around them, not even giving them new wives . . . which made them jealous and critical in their hearts, at least against the Prophets. . . . Now the judgment of God has come upon those men and the Lord has judged them unworthy of their own families. They are not able to exalt their families. Their aspiring nature has led them to lose the confidence of God. And the Lord warned . . . that if these men didn’t repent they would be instruments in the hands of the devil to lead many astray. That is working now as these men write me letters and say to me they don’t see why they are handled.”
Warren revealed an astonishing accusation. He believed that Joe was involved in pulling life support off of Parley Harker without the prophet’s permission and thus killed him. (Parley, the First Counselor in the FLDS Church died at age 85 in 1998 at the Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George Utah. Warren became the new counselor)
Warren believed that Joe and the others killed Uncle Parley because they “had in their hearts to put Truman Barlow in a position of authority and he would raise them up into authority as well as other evils of disagreements against the Prophet.” Warren believed Joe knew why he was kicked out and that he wasn’t repenting and holding on to his pride.
On June 28, 2004, Warren’s paranoia continued. He believed that Joe and his brothers were conspiring against him and that one of them, probably Joe, would soon claim to be a prophet. A couple of days earlier, Bishop William E. Jessop reported to Warren that one of Joe’s sons had told him how “Joseph I. Barlow was discouraged and down in his feelings and had declared, 'They just want me to stay out here and die.'”
On July 6, 2004, Warren learned that the men in St. George were still meeting together. “Joseph I. Barlow is in emotional up and downs of despair . . . ‘Poor me, why me?’” Warren’s paranoid mind started to churn again, “I can see that these men gathering together is the beginning of a movement to destroy the work of God. . . . None of them have the strength of heaven or the authority to teach, yet they are turning to each other.” Warren mocked their efforts, “It reminds me of two fallen beings trying to lift each other up to be exalted and they don’t have the power or authority or knowledge to do it.” Warren’s cruelty kept him even from considering sending men who did hold power to give them comfort and teachings.
In 2008, Joe was still away from the FLDS, but still a believer. When the United States Senate held a hearing regarding the FLDS Church and the polygamist lifestyle, Joe signed an online petition to legalize polygamy. “This sounds like a hearing before Judge Zane in 1885 during the "crusade" against the Mormons. It's a shame on the integrity of the senate. They don't want the facts they just want a way to create more animosity against the good people of Colorado City and Hildale.”