This book was interesting. I like some true crime books. But this one was very sexually graphic and I wouldn't recommend it for most people. Personally, I think it would have been enough to say Lundgren liked perverted sex and forced his wife (and, later, his female followers) to participate without going into such graphic details. Suffice it to say, it was gross. Why Alice or any of the other women would allow someone to do that eludes me. So I didn't feel sorry for them after reading this book. They could have walked away at any time but they voluntarily chose to follow this creep and do the things he demanded no matter how gross, perverted or violent it was. The men also had choices and followed Lundgren and did anything he asked. I know people can be brainwashed and I think this happened to a degree. But I'm not sure people will do things if it goes against their deepest held beliefs. I think these people were getting something they liked out of this weird relationship or they wouldn't have continued it. Although Lundgren kept a gun on him, this book does not indicate that he held them against their wills. Some did leave without reprisal. At the end of this book (copyright 1992), Early quotes a communication Alice Keeler Lundgren had with Jeff Lundgren and she apologizes for having any doubts in him and that she loves him and believes in him. She was sure that he would be out of jail within 2 years and he would rescue her. Jeff gave her a line of bull about how he loved her and she was the only one. They chuckled together about their perverted sex in a nostalgic moment. If this is true, then Alice was still enthralled with Jeff and Jeff was still manipulating her. He married one of the female cult members, Kathy Johnson, in 1992-1993. So he must have gotten over his "love" for Alice pretty quick. Kathy Johnson was still his wife when he was executed and they conceived a child together. Ugh!
Jeffrey Don Lundgren was born in 1950 in Missouri and grew up as a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church). Lundgren accused his father of severely abusing him while his mother never protected him. He married Alice Keeler in 1970 when she was pregnant with their first child. Alice also claimed to have been abused by her father. Lundgren joined the U.S. Navy. Alice had a boy and was pregnant again in 1974 with their daughter. He was honorably discharged from the Navy and Alice had their third child, another daughter. She said, after the birth of their daughter, Lundgren became abusive to her. In 1980 they had their fourth child, another boy. Lundgren was unsuccessful in all the jobs he held. They had financial problems until he talked cult members into giving him their money.
Lundgren and Alice had been very active in the RLDS church but Lundgren began teaching strange things and was dismissed as a lay minister of the RLDS in 1987. Lundgren formed a cult with about 20 members from his classes at the RLDS church, Kirtland Temple. He began his own sect and taught study classes in his home. Cult members moved into a rented farmhouse with Lundgren, calling him dad, giving their paychecks, assets and money to the Lundgrens and attending Jeff's classes. He taught that he was God's prophet and his followers were required to give him all their money and share their wives with him. Lundgren said God commanded him, through interpretation of Scriptures, to kill the Averys, who moved from Missouri in 1987 to follow his teachings. It seems, their backing him and believing in him was not enough. The Avery's became the butt of the other member's jokes. He planned their murder for 2 years and called them “disobedient, lazy, wimpy, and strange.” - Whooo!, the pot calling the kettle black! - The Averys were not invited to live with the Lundgren family and were not invited to all of his study classes. He told the jury the spiritually unclean had to be dealt with and referred to the killings as "pruning the vineyard." He taught that Jesus would return to earth only when the Kirtland Temple (from which he had been dismissed) was recaptured. The men in the group undertook paramilitary training to prepare for a temple assault. In early 1989, Lundgren was stressing the need for his followers to go on a wilderness trip before Zion would be possible. By that time, two early followers had left the group, but Kathryn and Larry Keith Johnson had joined.
Avery family: Dennis, 49; Cheryl, 46, and their daughters, Trina, 15, Rebecca, 13, and 7-year-old Karen
Lundgren was upset by what he thought was the Avery family's lack of faith and arranged a dinner hosted by cult members on April 10, 1989. He had ordered his male followers to prepare a pit in the barn. After dinner together he had the men bring the Avery family into the barn one by one while the female members cleaned up the kitchen. He had the family members bound in tape and then shot each one of them.
The pit in the barn where Lundgren and his male followers buried the Avery family
Recovering the bodies of the Avery family
One disgruntled follower, Larry Keith Johnson, reported the murder to the police. He was upset that Lundgren had designated his wife, Kathy, to be Lundgren's "second wife". Police found the bodies in January, 1990. Lundgren and his wife and 13 followers were caught.
Alice Lundgren was given 150 years for conspiracy, aggravated murder and kidnapping.
Jeff and Damon Lundgren
Alice Keeler Lundgren
Damon P. Lundgren - Aggravated Murder (4 counts), Kidnapping (4 counts) - 120 years to Life. He will be eligible for parole in February, 2098. He spoke with his father for about 15 mintues on the day Jeff Lundgren was put to death.
Ronald Luff - Aggravated Murder (5 counts), Kidnapping (5 counts) - 170 years to Life.
Susan Luff - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder and was sentenced to 7-25 years
Ron and Susan Luff, a young Missouri couple who uprooted their two children so that the family might follow Lundgren. the Luffs considered themselves devout Christians, but they and many others like them had grown disenchanted with the church when elders decided to allow women to become top leaders in the faith, an extraordinary move considering that the church had always taught women to be subservient to men. They now live in prisons more than 100 miles apart, haven't communicated since a 1992 letter and were seeking a divorce according to an article written in 1999.
Sharon Bluntschly - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder - 7-25 years.
Deborah Olivarez - Conspiracy to Aggravated Murder - 7-25 years. Bluntschly, Luff, Alice Lundgren, and Deborah Olivarez - all live at the same facility (Marysville Prison For Women) where, officials say, they have been model prisoners. They talk but are not close. In 2005, Deborah was a 52-year-old grandmother of eight who worked maintenance and helped train dogs at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Ohio. She says she's learned a lot about what led her to follow a murderer. Olivarez and some other members of the cult decided they would go to authorities about the Avery murders after the holidays in 1989 were over but Larry Keith Johnson, the estranged husband of Lundgren's current wife, Kathryn Johnson, beat them to it.
Daniel Kraft - Aggravated Murder (5 counts), Kidnapping (3 counts) - 50 years to Life.
Gregory Winship - Murder (5 counts), 15 years to Life.
Richard Brand - Murder (5 counts) - 15 years to Life.
Kathryn R. Johnson - Obstructing Justice - 1 year.
Dennis Patrick - Obstructing Justice - 18 months, sentence suspended and placed on 1 year probation.
Tonya Patrick - Obstructing Justice - 18 months, sentence suspended and placed on 1 year probation
"For my last words I'd like to profess my love for God, my family, my children and my beloved wife. ... I am because you are," Lundgren said just before he was executed