Episode 178: Jim Harmston and the TLC

Written by Lindsay Hansen Park on . Posted in Uncategorized

Join Lindsay as she interviews Dr. Cristina Rosetti about the history of the True of Living Church (TLC) also known as the “Manti group.”

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  • Shellie Parker

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    Loved this podcast! Jim (Dee) Harmston was my uncle. Elain (his wife) was my Dads sister. I learned more from your podcast then any one in the family will talk about. If you ever want info about his life beforeTLC I could give a little incite. Thanks for the work you do!

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  • Anne L Cloward

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    This podcast was interesting to me. My late husband was from Benjamin, Utah. He was the youngest of five. His upbringing was horrible and contained much physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Their father was the county drunk and all of the family suffered from his behavior.
    The third child in this family was named Melvin (Pete), and he married a local girl, and immediately started having kids. I joined the family in 1968, and they had three by then. Chris, Darcey, Morrie, and Jana. Every holiday and family event over the years was spent with the cousins and my kids can to know them well.
    Pete and his family lived in Alpine, on a road that was later widened and then razed to widen the route to the hospital. It was at this time that they all moved down to Manti. Pete, his wife, Louanna, and Darcey and Morrie all moved down to Manti. Their other six kids were getting married and leaving home.
    By 1996, I had left the family through divorce, and did not have much to do with Pete and his family. When my ex-husband died in 1996, we reconnected with Pete and family at his funeral. The cousins asked my kids if they could send them some family genealogy information. This was a harmless request and I did not give it much importance. A week later a package came in the mail from the cousins. It consisted of a whole bunch of pamphlets from the TLC. Maybe the ones you have seen were OK, but I had a fit at these. The spelling and grammar was totally lacking, as well as any thought. I read through them and then tossed them out.
    It seems that my nephew and niece had joined the group. In fact, my niece was sealed to Harmiston as his sixth wife. I did not keep in touch with them for a while, since I was busy raising my kids in Salt Lake, and they were down in Manti. Eventually, I moved to Portland, and was on a temporary assignment in Salt Lake in 2010. It was in the summer that we heard the worst news from down Manti way. Two of my nephew’s sons committed suicide on the same day, just hours apart. It took the family several days to find my nephew, Morrie, since he was off with his other wife, I believe. This was only a rumor that I heard, since I was not there. My son went down to the funeral, and met Harmiston, who spoke. I have not heard too much from the family since then. My brother in law died, my sister in law still lives in Manti, as do my nephew and niece. I understand that Darcey is still involved in the community, but has been in a bitter feud with Morrie, her brother, for the past few years. Once in a while I hear something about them, through cousins, but have not kept in touch with them since 2010. I do not know all the details, and what I do know may not be completely accurate, since it has been passed on to me second or third hand. I can only view this group with sadness, since I connect it with the death of two young men, who felt they had no place in the community and were so depressed by it.
    This is a long post, I know. I have been listening to your podcast since the beginning. I still send you a small amount each month, wishing it could be more. I know from my own experiences in family and Mormon history that the whole story has still not been told. Keep on podcasting, and I will keep supporting you with my widow’s mite.
    Anne Cloward

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    Have you listened to the This American Life episode 21 about the TLC group? They interview Jim Harmston, talk about their sexual experimentation, even have part of a very Mormon sounding sacrament meeting.

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