Tom Green died last month (Feb 28th, 2021). Here is his obituary. Tom was one of the most famous and controversial figures in modern Mormon polygamy. There is both much to love and much to disagree with in the life and person of Thomas Arthur Green. He lived a full and interesting life that spanned many different Mormon groups. His journey took him from the LDS Church, to the FLDS, to The Branch, to Fred Collier’s Group, to the LeBarons, to an Independent, and finally to the Kingston Clan. We were never closely associated with the Greens, but we have been privileged to meet Tom and some of his family members a few times in person. He has always come across to me as a humble, kind, and honest man. I believe the first time I met him was at a campout up Spanish Fork Canyon. It was an interesting get-together with fundamentalist Mormons of every stripe.
A few years later, at the same annual gathering, Tom gave those present an account of his life. I happened to have a recorder with me and captured his story in audio, which is nearly 3 hours long. It was a rainy evening up the canyon (as you will be able to hear in the recording) and we were all huddled under a tiny pavilion, some pop-up canopies, and tarps to keep out of the weather. There is also the occasional train in the background, and I dropped the recorder once; despite these distractions, it was a thoroly interesting and informative evening. It will probably spawn some additional blog posts – to comment on some of the things he relates in his telling.
This recording was made on August 11th of 2017, which was only a few months before this blog was started by my wife, Charlotte. One of the first things I wanted to post on this blog was the recording I had made of Tom sharing his memories. I asked Tom what he thought of my idea, and he wasn’t particularly comfortable with it. He asked me not to share it at that time, and I honored that request. You see, he was on parole at the time, and wasn’t particularly interested in stirring up the hornets’ nest so-to-speak. He had done so years earlier – he had been quite public and vocal about his practices and beliefs, and it had landed him in a lot of hot water. They (the government and society at large) don’t care if you are living polygamy (or any other “strange” practice), or hold to any less-than-mainstream beliefs, as long as you are quiet about them. Don’t openly resist the system, and you will be left alone – that is the deal. Well, Tom is dead now, his probation has ended, and I figure the time is right to share these memories. I hope you will find them interesting and useful. Below the recording, because it is so long, I have some breakdown of the times. The times are not linked to the recording (Sorry, I’m not that tech savvy), but you can just drag the play bar along to the spots you are interested in. Enjoy.
0:00:00 Introduction by Kevin Kraut.
0:01:11 Tom begins by telling us that he’s one of the old timers (seats get shuffled around).
0:03:36 Introduces Shane Whelan and his book, More Than One.
0:04:46 Continues about “old timers”.
0:08:00 Talks about Ogden Kraut.
0:09:56 Tom starts his story, talks about his grandfather in Canada as a polygamist.
0:11:45 Tom talks about his Patriarchal Blessing.
0:14:05 Discusses different branches of Mormonism.
0:17:10 Mormon Church History.
0:18:30 Tom tells about experiences while serving as an LDS missionary.
0:24:30 Home from his mission, answers to prayers, and finding a wife.
0:28:06 Tom gets married, early married life, early business life, and his introduction to Mormon Fundamentalism.
0:31:31 New business partner (Jethro Barlow).
0:32:25 Arranged marriages.
0:33:26 Being angry at God and being tested by God.
0:38:53 Discussion with Jethro Barlow.
0:43:10 Doing Church History research.
0:49:26 Comes to the realization that plural marriage is a true principle and that he has been a fundamentalist his entire life.
1:03:20 Matthew 10 vs Mark 10.
1:04:40 Meeting Rulon Jeffs, being ready to leave the LDS Church and be baptized.
1:08:20 Being introduced to the Righteous Branch (Peterson Group) by Bill Ander.
1:13:30 (Lights go out – power problems).
1:14:00 Tom joins the Peterson Group.
1:14:15 Studying Fundamentalist History, meeting Fred Collier, debates with Max Anderson.
1:17:12 Meeting Ortel Kingston.
1:19:00 Convinced of Collier/LeBaron lines vs. Lorin Wooley line and leaves the Peterson Group.
1:23:15 Following Ross LeBaron.
1:27:15 Beginning a plural family.
1:29:35 Dan Jordan got shot and the news interviews begin, Janet Bennion.
1:37:05 David Levitt (Juab County Attorney) gets involved.
1:41:15 Utah Common Law gets twisted, hearings and trial begin.
1:43:50 Charges Filed – Criminal Non-Support.
1:50:58 Charges Filed – Child Rape.
1:54:01 Thought he couldn’t be prosecuted, Haddlow vs Haddlow (Utah Supreme Court Case).
1:58:00 Sentencing and prison experiences.
2:11:25 Attorney experiences.
2:13:20 News coverage in prison and visiting family.
2:27:30 Dreams, adjustments to freedom (on parole), and meeting children for the first time.
2:35:00 Story about his father-in-law, looking for peaches in a hay-field.
2:38:10 Joining the Kingstons.