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Tue Nov 5, 2019, 02:22 PM

Murder in Mexico: Mormon Families Have a Long History There

The brutal killing of nine members of a family in northern Mexico on Monday highlights the long history of American religious settlers in the region.

The LeBarón family, some of whose members were targeted in Monday’s attack, has lived in the turbulent border region for decades, part of a wave of settlers who moved to Mexico in the early 20th century seeking at the time to practice polygamy, which was forbidden by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today polygamy has largely faded from the community.

Long unaffiliated with the mainstream church, fundamentalist Mormon communities in northern Mexico originated in the late 1880s, when a number of families moved to the states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The Mormons who put down stakes included Miles Park Romney, the great-grandfather of Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah and the party’s presidential nominee in 2012.

Religious communities that date themselves to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often call themselves Mormon. The mainstream church has abandoned the moniker, in part because of negative connotations around polygamy.


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