Writing in Religion Dispatches last month, Cristina Rosetti takes a look at a new Mormon religion that has adopted the QAnon conspiracy theory as part of its doctrine.
According to a PRRI study, around 21 percent of Mormons subscribe to the Q cult -- many of them are people who felt ostracized by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' leadership's adherence to COVID-19 restrictions during the outset of the pandemic, "and some began questioning their membership in the LDS church altogether. Others took these events as confirmation that the hierarchy of the Church had gone astray," Rosetti writes.
The pivot of some church members towards QAnon was sparked by a man named Denver Snuffer, the leader of the Remnant movement. Snuffer pushed the idea that people can be saved by Jesus Christ without the need for a religious institution. He was excommunicated from the church in 2013 and has since continued his movement.
"Snuffer's claims became controversial in historical circles in 2017 when he began preaching that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, did not practice polygamy; that he was, in fact, an ardent opponent of the practice," Rosetti writes. "According to Snuffer, the LDS Church began a long downward spiral following the death of Smith. After his death, Brigham Young rose to power and used Joseph Smith's history to justify the formation of the controversial marital practice."
But Snuffer's movement sparked a movement within, namely by a man named Phil Davis who took Snuffer's claims a step further with his "Doctrine of Christ."
"Earlier this year," writes Rosetti, "the [Doctrine of Christ] movement linked the perceived apostasy of the LDS Church to the political claims that circulated in conspiracy circles, beginning with the Church's endorsement of 'globalist agendas' and promotion of the 'secret combinations' that control the Covid-19 narrative."
Doctrine of Christ supporters think the COVID-19 virus and the vaccines to combat it are part of the "Arch Tyrant" plan to depopulate 90% of the earth, with the United Nations being integral to carrying out this mission, "with others citing the Illuminati, Masons, Jesuits, and other entities historically linked to end times apocalypticism. The conspiracies that found their place in American homes and internet forums became doctrine," writes Rosetti.
Read her full report over at Religion Dispatches.