Prophets of God have three things in common. First, they are called by a direct revelation from God. Second, they are ordained at the hands men that held that office in the flesh (with the exception of Adam and Jesus). Jesus was ordained under the hands of the Father (Heb. 5:4). Third, their teachings on the same subject are consistently the same.
Joseph Smith left four revelations from God stating that in the event of his impending death he would appoint "another" to stand in his place (Doctrine and Covenants, 28:7, 35:18, 43:4-7, 90:4). Joseph Smith wrote this Letter of Appointment on June 18, 1844; and was mailed in Nauvoo June 19. It is not in Yale University Library. On July 27, 1844, Joseph was murdered by a mob in Carthage Jail, Illinois; where he was being held under the protective custody of the Governor. At the same hour of his death, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels; although he was 400 miles away and had no way of knowing of the death of Joseph. The Letter of Appointment arrived at Burlington, Wisconsin on July 9. This was the first news of the death of Joseph Smith.
James taught the same as every prophet of God
before him. He wrote, “As prophet, I have
foretold in the name of God, the ills that were coming on men, and directed all
who received the word of the Lord how and where to come out from among
the wicked, that they receive not of their plagues. "
Many different words were translated as prophet in the Bible. “A prophet may be a minister, a singer, a priest, or some other person. In short, a prophet is anyone who presents the Word of God to his fellowmen, or who praises the works of God.” (Young’s Analytical Concordance To The Bible) Webster’s Dictionary gives three primary definitions for the word prophet: (1) a person who speaks for God, (2) a religious teacher or leader regarded as, or claiming to be, divinely inspired, and (3) a person who predicts future events in any way. James fulfilled all three definitions of the term prophet.
The Spirit of Truth received when a person is born of the Spirit includes a gift of prophesy. “13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16) One of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is the gift of prophesy. The Apostle Paul placed great value on this gift. “1 Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14)
Generally, the higher a person progresses in the priesthood, the greater this gift is manifested; until a person is ordained to the Prophetic Office and enjoys a fullness of this gift. Prophets often see various times like rows of hills at different distances. Seeing both the near times and the far times, they often speak of different times in the same verse.
are often referred to as prophets in the Bible.
James wrote, “They
who are faithful in the calling, have the gift of prophecy.
Hence High Priests are frequently spoken of under the name of
Prophets.” (Book of the Law,
There is also the Prophetic Office. This is the highest order of the Melchisedec Priesthood and presides as First President over the people of God. The superior office is that of first degree Apostle; and is a Lawgiver, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator. “This Degree is sole, and gives the word of God as from his own mouth.” (Book of the Law, p. 214) James fulfilled all of these duties. He stood as First President having communion with God; and offered many Revelations from God giving the people guidance on the will of God. Communication with God is limited only by the faithfulness and obedience of the people. When men turn from the will of God to the commandments of men and delights of the world, they lose communication with God. Eventually the Spirit is completely withdrawn. The command that the people should gather, have all things in common, and be as one, was broken both under Joseph and James.
James provided numerous revelations from God to the people. These are addressed in the chapter, James the Revelator. James also continually offered the people guidance on the will of God through various tracts; and through his teachings in the official church journals. He published four Pastoral Letters to the church that are included in this chapter. The prophecies which he gave (up to this generation) have been perfectly fulfilled. His prophecies of events yet future, agree with those in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants.
As a translator he provided the Voree Record and The Book of the Law of the Lord. The latter remains the most valuable document given through James to the people of God. It was the most sacred of all the books of Scripture. It is noted by name over twenty times in the Bible; and as the law of God hundreds of times. The teachings of James bring a wealth of information on doctrinal subjects. They are included in the chapter, James the Teacher.
After the loss
of the Melchisedec Priesthood in
This office if that of second degree Apostle; and is Counselor, Prophet, Seer, and King. In the absence of a Lawgiver, this lower office can stand at the head of the people; when specifically given that commission; as was Joshua. James explained the possible succession in the office of second degree Apostle, “If there was an interregnum in the Priesthood of Lawgiver, the oldest Apostle of this Degree… would stand at the head till the place was filled.” (Book of the Law, p. 219)
Only those who
have been properly called to the Prophetic Office have authority to stand at the
head of the
stood at the head of the people, and held the keys of mysteries and revelation,
his office was that of an interpreter and administrator (of existing laws)—he
could not give new commandments to the people.
After Joshua, Prophet Judges, and Prophets stood at the head of the
people of God; and provided communication with God.
The inferior Kings in
A distinguishing feature of Prophets of God is communication with God. God does not separate Himself from man. It is man who, through lack of faith and disobedience, separates himself from God. “1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59) James was the only person who claimed to succeed Joseph; and who provided this essential communication with God.
claimed to stand at the head; as a third degree Apostle.
This lower degree is that of Ambassador and not of Prophet; and holds no
royal (presiding) authority in
hundred years before
The first vacancy in the twelve third degree Apostles, left by Judas, was filled by Matthais (Acts ). The calling of Peter to the Prophetic Office left a second vacancy in the Twelve. The vacancy left by Peter was filled by Paul. Peter addressed his epistles to the church; where Paul addressed his only to the churches within his jurisdiction.
John was the last Prophet of God in the former Gentile dispensation. The final book in the Bible is the book of Revelation by John. It begins with a strong warning to the Gentile churches. The gentiles had already begun to fall back into their pagan traditions and evil practices. Jesus gave them one final warning. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5)
They would not.
God called no more Prophets; and no longer spoke with them.
Prophesy, ecclesiastical history, and church leaders agree that the
Gentiles returned to paganism.
John saw a
And there are seven kings: five are fallen [
The final form
of the beast—Papal Rome—was established in 570 AD.
After the 1260
years, John prophesied that divine authority and the gospel of Christ would be
restored to the earth; and Jesus taught the gospel would be preached one last
time as a witness against the Gentiles before their destruction.
“And I saw another
angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto
them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and
people.” (Rev. 14:6) Jesus
said, “this gospel of the
kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and
then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14)
years later, on
This was to be
the last time the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles.
ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time--for the last time call upon the
inhabitants of the earth.” (Doctrine and
Covenants, 43:28) Again,
the Gentiles refused to live by the will of God.
Joseph Smith was martyred on
Joseph Smith had left several revelations that, in the event of his impending death, he would appoint “another” in his place. Joseph also noted the law of God provides that only one ordained at the hands of angels has a legitimate claim to the higher Prophetic Office held by Joseph.
But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this
gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have
power except to appoint another in his stead. 5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of
any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; 6 And this I give
unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. 7
For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the
gate and be ordained as I have told you
before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive
through him whom I have appointed.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 43; see also D&C 28:2, 6, 7; 35:17,
18; 43:3; and 90:3, 4)
familiar with the
He was ordained
an Elder by Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph and Patriarch to the church, on March
3rd. As Hyrum laid his hands upon
James’ head, he prophesied that he would hold the same priesthood as Enoch,
Moses, and Elijah.
February in the year eighteen hundred and forty four James J. Strang in company
with Aaron Smith and under his teachings visited Nauvoo the city of the Saints
and there was more fully instructed by Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and Sidney
Rigdon, in the Gospel.
the twenty fifth day of February in that year he was baptized by Joseph Smith
who gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands and blessed
him with many and great blessings and said I seal upon thy head against God's
own good time the keys of the Melchisedec Priesthood and afterwards but in the
same ordinance Thou shalt hold the keys of the Melchisedec Priesthood, shalt
walk with Enoch, Moses and Elijah and shalt talk with God face to face.
on the third day of March in the same year he was ordained an Elder of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints by the laying on of hands of Hyrum
Smith according to the testimony of the spirit of prophecy and the word of the
Holy Ghost, and he said I perceive by the spirit which is within me that thou
shalt carry the gospel with the Spirit like flaming fire to many nations and by
thee shall God save the pure of his people. (Chronicles
of Voree, p. 6)
On June 18th, Joseph wrote a letter appointing James
as his successor in accordance with the law of God.
It was sent by regular course of mail from Nauvoo on
There was a change in the vision, and the people with lively pace and smiling
countenances thronged the streets and passed by.
There was another change, and they were all assembled in a vast hall, and James
J. Strang, surrounded by wise men and counselors and priests and eloquent
orators, arose and taught the people; and the Spirit of prophecy witnesseth unto
him, so shall it be; and the vision ended, and he was strengthened but his faith
was weak." (Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)
recommended the area around
“I have long felt that my present work was almost
done, and that I should soon be called to rule a mighty host, but something
whispers me it will be in the land of spirits, where the wicked cease from
troubling and the bands of the prisoner fall off.
My heart yearns for my little ones, but I know God will be a father to
them, and I can claim face to face the fulfillment of promises from him who is a
covenant-keeping God, and who sweareth and peformeth and faileth not to the
“The wolves are upon the scent, and I am waiting to
be offered up, if such be the will of God, knowing that though my visage be more
marred than that of any, it will be unscarred and fair when archangels shall
place on my brow the double crown of martyr and king in a heavenly world.
“In the midst of darkness and boding danger, the
spirit of Elijah came upon me, and I went away to inquire of God how the Church
should be saved.
“I was upon the hill of the
“The Almighty came from his throne of rest. He
clothed himself with light as with a garment. He appeared, and moon and stars
went out. The earth dissolved in space. I trod on air and was borne on wings of
Cherubims. The sweetest strains of heavenly music thrilled in my ear, but the
notes were low and sad as though they sounded the requiem of martyred Prophets.
“I bowed my head to the earth and asked only wisdom
and strength for the Church. The voice of God answered, My servant Joseph, thou
hast been faithful over many things and thy reward is glorious; the crown and
sceptre are thine, and they wait thee. But thou hast sinned in some things, and
thy punishment is very bitter. The whirlwind goeth before, and its clouds are
dark, but rest followeth, and to its days there shall be no end. Study the words
of the vision for it tarrieth not.
And now behold my servant James J. Strang hath come to
thee from far for truth when he knew it not, and hath not rejected it, but had
faith in thee, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel, and to him shall the gathering
of the people be, for he shall plant a stake of Zion
in Wisconsin, and I will establish it; and there shall my people have peace and
rest and shall not be moved, for it shall be established on the prairie on White
River, in the lands of Racine and Walworth; and behold my servants James and
Aaron shall plant it, for I have given them wisdom, and Daniel shall stand in
his lot on the hill beside the river, looking down on the prairie, and shall
instruct my people, and shall plead with them face to face.
“Behold my servant James shall lengthen the cords
and strengthen the stakes of
“And I will have a house built unto me there of
stone, and there will I show myself to my people by many mighty works, and the
name of the city shall be called Voree, which is, being interpreted, garden of
peace, for there shall my people have peace and rest and wax fat and pleasant in
the presence of their enemies.
“But I will again stretch out my arm over the river
of waters, and on the banks thereof shall the house of my choice be. But now the
city of Voree shall be a stronghold of safety to my people, and they that are
faithful and obey me I will there give them great prosperity, and such as they
have not had before; and unto Voree shall be the gathering of my people, and
there shall the oppressed flee for safety, and none shall hurt or molest them.
“And by this shall they know that I have spoken it;
the people there and the owners of the land shall show kindness to them, for
great calamities are coming on the church, and such as have not been, and if
they scatter, the ungodly of the world shall swallow them up, but if they gather
to my city of Voree there will I keep them under the shadow of my wings, and the
cities from whence my people have been driven shall be purged with a high hand,
for I will do it, and my people shall be again restored to their possession; but
dark clouds are gathering, for the church is not yet wholly purged.
“And now I command my servants, the Apostles and
Priests and Elders of the Church of the Saints, that they communicate and
proclaim this, my word, to all the saints of God in all the world, that they may
be gathered unto and round about the city of Voree and be saved from their
enemies, for I will have a people to serve me.
“And I command my servant Moses Smith, that he go
unto the saints with whom he is acquainted, and unto many people, and command
them in my name to go unto my city of Voree, and gain inheritances therein, and
he shall have an inheritance therein, for he hath left all for my sake; and I
will add unto him many fold if he is faithful, for he knows the land and can
testify to them that it is very good.
“So spake the Almighty God of heaven. Thy duty is
made plain, and if thou lackest wisdom, ask of God, in whose hands I trust thee,
and he shall give thee unsparingly, for if evil befall me thou shalt lead the
flock to pleasant pastures. God sustain thee.
Fear God and be strengthened and obey him, for great is the work which he hath
required at thy hand. Go on in hope and strength, and falter not, and he will
sustain thee, and thou shalt triumph, for the voice of the Lord by the mouth of
Joseph will he fulfill.
And the Angel of the Lord stretched forth his hand unto him and touched his
head, and put oil upon him and said, Grace is poured upon thy lips, and God
blesseth thee with the greatness of the Everlasting Priesthood. He putteth might
and glory and majesty upon thee, and in meekness and truth and righteousness
will he prosper thee.
Thou shalt save his people from their enemies when there is no arm to deliver,
and shalt bring salvation when destruction walketh in the house of thy God. Thou
hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore thy God hath anointed
thee with oil and set thee above all thy fellows.
Thy words shall be like sharp arrows in the heart of the wicked. Thou shalt
rebuke those who pervert the word of thy God. Thou shalt preach righteousness
and the sublime mysteries in the ears of many people, and shall bring the gospel
to many who have not known it and to the nations afar off.
Thou shalt drive backward and put to shame those that do evil, and the workers
of iniquity shall fall. They shall be cast down and shall not be able to rise.
With purity will the Lord thy God arm thee, and purity and truth shalt thou
Keep the law of the Lord thy God in thy heart, and none of thy steps shall
slide. With thee is the fountain of truth. In thy light shall the people of thy
God see, for thou shalt speak his word unto them, and from thy lips shall they
The blessing of their God shalt thou put upon them, and his curse upon evil
doers, if, after being oft rebuked, they repent not; and before my people shalt
thou go to lead them into my ways, for unto thee has the Lord thy God given
In righteousness shalt thou rule. Thou shalt redeem the poor and the needy from
suffering and violence, and to thee God giveth judgment for them. Thou shalt
deliver the prey from the spoiler, for God, thy God, hath put them in thy hand.
And in weakness will he make thee strong. Thou shalt rule among his people. Thou
shalt break in pieces the rod of the oppressor and the yoke of the unjust ruler.
They shall flee away, but the way of peace shall they not find.
While the day of the wicked abideth, shalt thou prepare a refuge for the
oppressed and for the poor and needy. Unto thee shall they come, and their
brethren who are scattered shall come with them, and the destruction of the
ungodly shall quickly follow, for it already worketh. Go thy way and be
strong.” (Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)
three weeks James taught of this appointment, without any knowledge of the death
of Joseph. The letter of appointment
Emma Smith recollects well of her husband receiving a letter from Mr. Strang,
and holding a council on the subject, and names Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards
and John P. Green as present at that council, and also that a letter was sent to
Mr. Strang in answer, but of the import of the answer she was not informed.
after the martyrdom of Joseph, John Taylor, Willard Richards and William W.
Phelps took a kind of temporary direction of the affairs of the church,
instructing the saints to wait patiently the hand of the Lord; assuring them
that he had not left them without a shepherd, and that all things would be made
known in due season. To every
question of the saints, Who is the prophet?
replies were made, in substance, that the saints would know in due
season, but that nothing could be done until the Twelve got home, because the
appointment of a prophet and the directions for salvation of the church from
the perils they were in, was contained in sealed packages directed to them.
Orson Hyde and others of the Twelve, who were then in the east, stated in
public congregations in New York, Philadelphia and other cities, that Willard
Richards had written to them that the appointment of a prophet was left with
him, under seal, to be opened on the return of the Twelve.
This assertion was so often made that the whole church were daily
expecting to hear a new prophet proclaimed.
On the 8th day of August, 1844, when Sidney Rigdon endeavored to obtain
authority to lead the church, John P. Green, marshal of the city of
had simply to suppress documents in their hands to set themselves up in power,
or overthrow themselves and their pretensions by publishing them.
These, and many other facts which we have not room to state, make an
array of testimony of the strongest kind in favor of this letter.
It is worthy of consideration that no one fact has been relied on against
it, but that in various quarters different false tales have been told to
disparage it, which a mere inspection of the letter or of public records would
prove false. The only reason which
can be given for this continual resort to falsehood is that there is no truth
(The Diamond, p. 3)
Of all the
various men who claimed succession after the death of Joseph, only
James J. Strang was appointed by
Joseph and claimed to have been ordained
at the hands of angels. James made
his claim known from the time of his ordination on June 27, by mail and by word
of mouth. Until the letter was
delivered on July 9, there was no official news from Nauvoo. The
letter from Joseph proved the claim that James had made almost two weeks
James kept the
letter open for public examination throughout his life.
It is now in Yale University Library.
James put all question concerning its validity to rest forever.
The validity of Mormonism actually rests upon the validity of this
letter. If Joseph failed to appoint
“another” as successor, and no one came forward claiming a proper ordination
as his successor, Joseph was a false prophet.
James wrote in a letter to Mrs.
Corey, which was later incorporated into The
Prophetic Controversy, “It
is seldom that any one having a letter in possession, if its genuineness was
disputed, could absolutely show it. No
matter how perfect the handwriting or post stamp, it may be said, ‘they might
have been forged.’ I ask you, which one of the written revelations is
surrounded by as much evidence of genuineness as this?
of all, the letter is prophetic. Many
things were predicted in it so improbable, the Brighamites formerly appealed to
them as evidence that it was not genuine. Among
these is the prediction of the necessity of a refuge for the saints out of
Nauvoo. You know how fearfully this
has been fulfilled.
was received at Voree before any notice of Joseph's death or arrest reached
there, and nothing is more certain than that that fearful tragedy struck the
whole country with astonishment. To
suppose that such a letter would have been forged at that time, is merely
ridiculous. In the chapter of
accidents it would not stand one chance in a million of making a genuine hit.
if a forgery, the crime must have been committed by some person having no
conceivable interest in it, and who has never come forward to claim or seek any
advantage growing out of it, and must have been worked through the postoffice
somewhere by official connivance and criminal contrivance.
it is beyond contradiction, and has been proved by an abundance of witnesses,
now living, that this letter did reach Burlington in the mail, duly enveloped
and billed as from Chicago, and was taken from the office and carried to me, and
read, and its contents made public the same day.
believe that it is a forgery, you must believe that all these difficulties were
encountered and overcome by some persons unknown, and not yet suspected, and
for what purpose? None, within man's
imagination. So much more credulous
is unbelief than the strongest faith.
fact worth all the rest is, that in the many thousand places in which this
letter has been exibited, its genuineness has never been questioned, except at
Florence, Michigan; and among the quarter of a million of people who have
examined it, nearly all interested in discrediting it, Brighamites, because it
was evidence of my calling, and Gentiles, because it was evidence of the truth
of Mormonism, nobody ever questioned its genuineness, except less than a half
dozen Brighamite elders. All the
rest who call it a forgery are persons who never saw it.
other fact goes further in support of the divine institution of Mormonism; no
other fact in its support is so universally credited.
What an infatuation on the part of Mormons to seek to discredit it.
It quite equals the perversity with which several leading Mormons have
long sought to destroy the credibility of the original witnesses to the Book of
Mormon; a blunder and a crime of which Mr. Ferris, late Secretary of Utah, in
his book against Mormonism, took advantage with most telling force.
nearly all the world were interested in impeaching this letter, out of a quarter
of a million who have examined it, less than a half dozen have questioned its
genuineness. This fact alone raises
about as strong a case of human evidence as the mind of man can conceive.
pressing the inquiry, on what ground did they dispute it?
Not that the postmark was made of black ink, or was made with too large
letters; for no such fact existed, and no such was ever suggested till it was
stated at Nauvoo, as a kind of sweep all, to silence inquiry, not expecting it
would ever reach me, to be contradicted.
only objection made to it then, was, that the postmark, or stamp, had a dot at
the left of the top of the J in "June," which ought not to be there.
This is conceded. My answer
to it then was, that there were so many chances by which such a dot could be
made without design, that its presence proved nothing.
question was discussed at length, as well as every other objection made to the
appointment of a prophet in that manner, and the result was that I was
sustained by the Conference. Thirteen
elders were present, and after a majority had expressed themselves in my
favor, Green, Dunn and Jacob counseled caution and prudence, and proposed
cautious and prudent resolutions, to the effect that "those of the elders
who were satisfied with the evidence of my calling, might proclaim it, taking
themselves the responsibility in case it should prove an error, and those who
were not satisfied should say nothing on the subject, till further
directions." Such was the
compromise which my opponents were glad to make, to avoid my being fully
recognized by the Conference at
the adjournment of the Conference these men began a most assiduous effort to
change the face of matters, assuming authority as I have often seen
Brighamites do since then; and by threatening and cajoling, partly silencing
those who had been disposed to hear me, and then called them together again and
assumed to lecture me, as ill bred old women lecture disobedient children of
told that I was to hear and not reply, and satisfied that I could not get a
hearing without a quarrel, I left with one of the brethren who received me at
his house, even after which I was received as a prophet by most of the Saints
who attended that Conference.
license was demanded as I left the house, but not understanding that Elders
could exercise discipline over the First President, I did not deliver it. Dunn
says I had none. But if he will call
on me, I will show it to him. Possibly
he will say that is a forgery also. I
have a good many papers that Brighamites would like to have forgeries.
much stress was laid on the fact of the dot before the J in the mailing stamp,
that a more thorough investigation was had than the subject called for, and the
result was that every letter that could be found mailed at Nauvoo the 19th June,
had the same dot before the J. Here
then sprung up an unlooked for evidence of the genuineness of the letter of
appointment, the strongest which the human mind can conceive.
corrupt the heart, or skillful the head, how could the forger know that on that
particular day for the first time since the office was established, a little
splinter would get into the mailing stamp, and mark every letter with one dot
which ought not to be there? He
could not have known it. It was
impossible. Thus the proof that this
letter was duly mailed at Nauvoo
single fact of this dot, once the sole ground of impeachment of this letter of
appointment, has thus established its genuineness by the most singularly strong
combination of facts ever presented in human evidence.
very strength of evidence is so great as to be repugnant to the human mind.
It struggles for something on which to hang a doubt, unwilling that that
which rests in testimony should be absolutely beyond a doubt.”
this I shall rest the evidence that I did receive a genuine letter of
appointment to the prophetic office from Joseph Smith, written a few days
previous to his death. But in
preferring to rest the evidence here, I wish to notify you that there is also a
mass of evidence showing the writing and sending of that letter, quite as
satisfactory as this of its reception. This
evidence is now in a scattered state, and the task of arraying it so as to do
justice to the subject is more than I have time now to undertake.
But when it is needed it will be forthcoming, and will show that some of
the Brighamite leaders are just as well assured of my calling to the prophetic
office as of their own to any priesthood they really and legally hold.
is the mode in which I came to the prophetic office, and such are the evidences
that I did so come in. That these
evidences are satisfactory, I believe no one will dispute or question, but such
as are predetermined that this truth shall not be true.” (Prophetic Controversy, pp. 32-34)
James wrote of the critical
importance of every Prophet of God being properly called and ordained at the
hands of angels.
“1. In the general infidelity of the times the doctrine of Angelic
ordinations strikes the ear as a discarded old superstition.
Though the half converted disciples of Joseph assented to that truth in
his case, it was with such a savor of unwilling faith as would not believe that
the like would ever again occur. So
unwilling are men to believe that God works now, as he did in the ages past.
“2. Jesus commenced his ministry after John the
Baptist, the forerunner or porter, opened the door of that dispensation; being
inducted into the Church by baptism, and the Priesthood by a call by the voice
of God, and by the ministration of an Angel.”
“5. Moses was called by the voice of God, (Ex. iii,
4, 10,) and sent by the hand of the Angel who appeared to him when God spoke
from the flame. (Acts vii, 35.) Joseph
was likewise called by the voice of God, (D. & C. i, 4,) and sent by the
hand of Angels. (D. & C. 1, 2, 3.) And
in the same manner was James called and sent. (Post xx, 6, p. 169.)
“6. In the calling of Joseph there was a necessity
that he be called by the direct revelation of the word of God to himself; for
there was no Prophet or Priest of God on earth, by whom God should speak and
minister in calling and ordaining him to the Prophetic and Apostolic office.
Consequently God called him by his own voice, and sent Peter, James and
John to ordain him to the Priesthood, because they, having been duly called and
set apart, and filled an acceptable ministry on earth, had entered into life,
capable of ministering in heaven and on earth, as God should send them.
“7. The necessity was equally strong that the
successor of Joseph should be ordained by the hand of an Angel.
He could not be ordained by any of the surviving Priesthood; because none
were equal to Joseph in authority, and the less is blessed of the greater.
Moreover, the keys of David, given him and his house forever, by the oath of
God, had to be bestowed on the heir of David on earth, before the Kingdom could
prevail and exercise dominion. They
could only be bestowed by him who held them.” (Book
of the Law, p. 165)
the death of Joseph, James and Aaron Smith left to intercept the Twelve who were
returning from missions in the East. After
The family of
Joseph Smith did make their beliefs concerning the claims of James known; as did
Apostles, the church Patriarch, and others.
A few of these testimonies are included at the end of this chapter.
I would strongly recommend
that you read the notes of James concerning the office of Prophet and Lawgiver
on pages 214 to 219 in the Book of the Law.
I will quote only the last paragraph.
“21. In the last days Joseph Smith, of the tribe of
Ephraim, was called to the Prophetick office, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel,
according to the prophecy of Jacob; (Gen. xlix, 24;) and after him James, of the
tribe of Judah, and of the lineage of David, was called according to the
prophecy of Jacob, (id. 10,) the prediction of Joseph in
wrote two tracts which addressed the law of God on prophetic succession:
The Diamond and The
Prophetic Controversy. He also
wrote many articles on the true order of the priesthood and prophetic
succession. He wrote to Mrs. Corey
(included in The Prophetic Controversy)
in September, 1854, “Either
Joseph has given the word of God appointing another in his stead, or those
revelations have fallen to the ground, and Joseph has proved himself a false
prophet, and Mormonism an imposture.
you nor I can take the latter alternate. We
are both obliged, by our faith in Joseph as a true prophet, to say that
‘through him God has appointed another in his stead.’
has been so appointed? It is
needless to say that there is not a person on earth who pretends to have
received such an appointment except myself.
During the ten years since the martyrdom of Joseph, I, and I alone, have
stood up as a prophet of God, claiming to have been appointed by revelation of
God through Joseph, and to have been sent by the hands of Angels, as he was.
there is no escaping the conclusion that either I am a true prophet, and his
lawful successor, or Joseph is a false prophet, and Mormonism an imposture.
This is the only alternate with you.
With me there is none. Called
by the voice of God, and ordained by the hand of Angels, since the day of his
death I have known my calling, as he did his in the days of his ministry.
forcible is the position I have above stated, that for years after Brigham Young
assumed to stand at the head of the church, the promise was held out continually
that a prophet was yet to rise, who had been appointed by Joseph.” (Prophetic
Controversy, p. 3)
It should not be necessary
to answer all the claims of men who established themselves as presumed heads of
the church. We have only to verify
whether their claims are legitimate according to the law of God.
Any successor to Joseph had to be directly appointed by Joseph and
ordained at the hands of angels. Only
James claimed communication with God and offered prophecies, revelations, and
At the death of Joseph there were three degrees in the office of Apostle. Joseph was a first degree Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver; and stood above all other officers in the church. He was First President over the entire church. Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams were second degree Apostles, Prophets, and Counselors to Joseph in the First Presidency. Their priesthood was inferior to that of Joseph.
“1 Behold, I say unto thee, Oliver, that it shall be
given unto thee that thou shalt be heard by the church in all things whatsoever
thou shalt teach them by the Comforter, concerning the revelations and
commandments which I have given. 2 But, behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee,
no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church
excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses…
6 And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the
church; 7 For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations
which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead.” (Doctrine
and Covenants, Sec. 28)
The Twelve were third
degree Apostles and Ambassadors of the gospel to the world.
They did not hold the office of Prophet; and held no jurisdiction in
Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the
Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the
institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of
the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.”
“91 And again, the duty of the President of the
office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be
like unto Moses--
“92 Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a
revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he
bestows upon the head of the church.” (Doctrine
and Covenants, Sec. 107)
James fulfilled the office of Prophet in five ways: (1) as First President of the church, (2) as one who speaks for God [offers communication from God], (3) as one who predicts future events, (4) as a translator, and (5) as a teacher divinely inspired. This chapter will address the truth of his mission by showing that he fulfilled the first three duties. The fulfillment of his duty as a Revelator, Translator, and teacher are the subjects in separate chapters.
James wrote, concerning the fulfillment of his duties, “As
First President, I have regularly presided over the Church and took the
direction of its affairs in all the world, according to the law of God.
“As prophet, I have
foretold in the name of God, the ills that were coming on men, and directed all
who received the word of the Lord how and where to come out from among
the wicked, that they receive not of their plagues.
“I have obtained
covenants and promises of God and at his hand obtained an everlasting
inheritance for the Saints, which I have divided among them by lot, without cost
or price. God is our God and we are
his people forevermore.
a Seer, I have seen the visions of the Almighty, and as a Revelator have
received knowledge of his purposes and commandments, and made them known among
the children of men. As a
translator, I have brought forth hidden treasures, and revealed the old record
to all who love the truth, and seek unto it.
The visions of the past and the hidden lore of future ages are laid by
the side of present hopes and future knowledge.
“As an apostle I have borne a faithful testimony of
the kingdom and the coming of the Lord Jesus.
I have fought a good fight. I have kept the faith.
I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God.
In the treasure-house of the Almighty there is laid up for me a
crown of glory richer than all diadems of earthly kings.
“Of all that dwell on earth, God has made me the
most happy. From men I fear no evil.
May God bless you abundantly with the same blessings, and especially with
the love of the truth.
“Truly and sincerely,
As First President of the Church of Christ, James received revelations and commandments for the church, provided Pastoral Letters to the church, was given visions from God, set the house of God in order, established the High Council, was given a safe gathering place for the saints, directed missionary work, translated ancient records, and maintained order according to the law of God. The revelations and commandments which he received are the subject of the next chapter. His Pastoral Letters to the church follow.
STRANG, a Prophet of the Most High God, and an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ,
unto the Elders of the
1. I am
in continual remembrance of your past work in the upbuilding of the Kingdom of
God and of the evils done at the hands of ungodly men, and I would that ye
remain no longer ignorant of the refuge that God has appointed you, and follow
not after any who usurp the authority of God in the Holy City.
not unmindful of the flock who know not the true Shepherd, but are following
hirelings, among whom are grievous wolves, and they bleat like sheep by day and
devour by night. God be praised that
some of you have escaped them. I
would that none of you go astray but that you all unitedly might follow after
the true Shepherd: lest coming short
after escaping the first perils you enter not into your rest.
beseech you, brethren, that you be not unmindful of the words of the Lord by the
mouth of the prophet Joseph; that you be not deceived; that you receive not the
teachings of any that come before you as revelations and commandments, except
they come in at the gate and be ordained according to the command of God. (1835
wist ye are not ignorant of the office and place of the prophet Joseph, that he
was an Elder and an Apostle, (1835 D.C. 46:1;
Suffer me in all patience to remind you of the law of the Lord which he revealed
unto us aforetime that the place of the prophet Joseph should be filled by
another; (1835 D.C. 14:1‑2; 11:4 last clause; 51:2 last clause; 84:2; Utah
D.C. 43:4; 35:18; 28:7; 90:4; Reor. D.C. 43:2a; 34:41; 27:ld; 87:2a); that the
appointment of his successor is by revelation from God; (1835 D.C. 5:6; 11:4;
it is said in one place that if his gift be taken from him he shall not have
power except to appoint another in his stead; and in another place it is said,
if he abide not in me another will I plant in his stead. And at the organization
of the High Council of the church it was written that the President of the
church, who is also President of the council, is appointed by revelation.
Finally it is said, I have given unto him the keys of mysteries and
revelations which are sealed until I appoint unto them (the church) another in
these testimonies and by many more it doth clearly appear that it was the duty
of the prophet Joseph before his martyrdom to appoint another to fill his place
when he should be removed. If he has
not done so then we have no evidence that he was a prophet for what he hath
spoken hath not come to pass.
only rational conclusion which any man can arrive at in view of these
testimonies is that in the order of this church the Presidency, with its several
gifts, offices, and duties, is perpetual. God having thus organized the church,
and the power of the devil having accomplished the martyrdom of two of the chief
officers, will any saint teach that satan has changed the order of the church
and abolished those offices which God instituted, and by the martyrdom of
prophets established a new and better order?
I trust not.
9. I am
well aware that Sidney Rigdon claimed his place above the Twelve, and that he
sought to do some acts by virtue of his office as one of the First Presidency
which were generally very much disapproved of, but though he had a perfect right
to officiate in his place he had no right to place himself at the head of the
office as an associate or member of the First Presidency does not constitute him
a regular successor to Joseph Smith, the claim in his favor to succeed as the
highest surviving officer of the church, not being a claim of an appointment
of God by revelation through Joseph Smith to fill his place, which is the only
form of appointment known to the law of God.
11. I am
aware, also, that the Twelve claim in their first Apostolic letter after the
death of Joseph (Letter of Brigham Young, Aug. 15, 1844, in the Times and
Seasons of that date) to preside over and dictate all the affairs of the church
in all the world. And they emphatically charge us, Let no man presume for a
moment that his place (Joseph's) will be filled by another.
Thus they assumed to abolish the First Presidency of the church and usurp
its duties to themselves.
claim, however, is not only utterly unsupported by any one testimony, but is in
many points directly contrary to the word of God.
The Twelve are a traveling and not a local or general, high council, and
though they are required to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs
thereof in all nations, they are to do so expressly under the direction of
the Presidency of the church, agreeable to the institution of Heaven. (1835
Moreover, it cannot be that the Twelve should dictate all the affairs of the
church in all the world, because they not only are under the direction of the
First Presidency, but the high council is above them, and they are amenable to
it. "The most important business of the church, and the most difficult
cases of the church, in as much as there is not satisfaction upon the decision
of the Bishop or Judges, it shall be handed over and carried up to the council
of the church before the Presidency of the high priesthood; and the Presidency
of the council of the high priesthood shall have power to call other high
priests, even twelve, to assist as counselors; and thus the Presidency of the
high priesthood and its counselors shall have power to decide upon testimony
according to the laws of the church. And
after this decision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord, for
this is the highest council of the
what pretense is this claim of the Twelve founded?
Upon the trial of Sidney Rigdon, they took pains to state it as strongly
as possible, and they make out no more than this, that when Joseph Smith was
candidate for President of the United States, and knew by the Spirit that some
great thing was to happen, but did not know what it was, he gave them an
endowment of ordinances (not the oracles), and told them that on their shoulders
would rest the responsibility. (See trial of S. Rigdon, Times and Seasons, Sept.
15, 1844, page 647, remarks of Orson Hyde).
These ordinances are intended for the whole church ‑ men, women and
children. Will they all have power
to dictate all the affairs of the church in all the world then? If not, how do
these ordinances give the Apostles that power now? If these ordinances gave
certain power to some men, why not to others?
the Twelve were not present and did not receive these ordinances.
Whence their claim of power? Several
persons, not of the Twelve, were present and received all these ordinances with
such of the Twelve as were there. Why
are not they included in the favored number?
Joseph survived this meeting some months.
Why did not they find out that he had resigned his office and devolved
its duties on them, till after he was dead? If his giving an endowment of
ordinances, and rolling the responsibility of giving counsel, etc., upon some
twenty‑five men with their wives, as he commenced a political
career vacated his office and those of his counselors, and superseded
the First Presidency and an entire quorum of the church, it is certainly
most extraordinary. A very moderate
share of common sense, or any acquaintance whatever with the laws of the church,
accompanied with integrity of heart, will reject so preposterous a claim at
first blush. The responsibility of
leading the church by good counsel in proper order would devolve on a few of its
most influential members, necessarily, whenever Joseph's attention was turned
from them, by any means whatever, not in virtue of any offices they might hold,
but as leading men. Since the death
of Joseph, they have used that responsibility to lead the church from the
rock of revelation, out of the true order, and from the place of refuge God has
appointed unto them. Thus have a few
led, sanctioned by the votes of Conferences instead of the voice of God, till
the destruction which not only lurks in midnight darkness, but stalks boldly
at noonday, is upon them.
Twelve have never, in any known publication, claimed, either for themselves or
any one of their number, to be First President of the church, or President of
the high priesthood. Their claim is
to supersede the First Presidency, put the high council which God has made the
highest council of the church, (1835 D.C. 3:35; Utah D.C. 107:78‑80; Reor.
D.C. 104:35a‑c), below themselves, and put a bishop over it, where God
placed a President, (1835 D.C. 3:9; Utah D.C. 107:18‑19; Reor. D.C.
104:9a‑b), and finally, that ex officio, as Apostles and not as Presidents
of the high priesthood, they are to hold the keys and powers which devolved on
the First Presidency and its counselors, and to discontinue the offices of Seer,
Revelator and Translator in the church.
Nothing is more certain than that no law was made at the death of Joseph, or for
some years previous, changing the order of the church, or abolishing any of its
offices or quorums. Down to the time
of his death, it was properly understood by the whole of the church that he
alone received revelations from God to be taught by way of commandment in the
church; that he and his two associates in the Presidency had the chief
administration of the affairs of the church, and that they, with the twelve high
counselors, were a court or judicatory of final resort in all important cases,
and that the Twelve Apostles were the chief traveling elders and under the
direction of the Presidency. And the
man who, during the life‑time of Joseph, had said that the Twelve were at
the head of the church, would have been looked upon either as a reckless and
hair‑brained liar, or utterly insane.
To have held this then was unblushing apostacy.
To hold now that they are not so is equally apostacy with the leaders in
Nauvoo. Whence is the change?
In God or man? Does truth
thus belie itself?
should not the place of Joseph be filled by another?
Says Brigham Young, "Because he stands in his own place and always
will." (Apostolic Letter, Aug. 15, 1844).
But in the same paragraph he also says the Twelve Apostles of this
dispensation stand in their own places and always will.
Brother Young, will not their places be filled by others when they fill
the measure of their days? Then why
was Brother Patten's place filled? Again:
Who will be at the head of the church when the Twelve are all fallen
asleep? Will not the High Priests
and the Seventies all hold their own places? If so, shall anyone succeed them?
Then where will the priesthood be when the present generation is dead?
says someone, God promised Joseph that the keys of the kingdom should never be
taken from him in this world, neither in the world to come.
Very well. They were never
taken from Christ, but his holding them did not prevent Joseph, and in the
eternal worlds all who are joint heirs with Jesus Christ will hold them at one
and the same time.
Brethren, I exhort you as you look for the coming of the Lord Jesus, follow not
after these blinding fables. Set up
no more the work of men's hand against the voice of God.
Trust not in your own wisdom to improve or alter the law of God.
You that have gone astray return to the order of God's house.
Let all the quorums take their proper order as God has established them.
Let the President who has wandered in darkness return to his proper
place which God gave, nor covet that which men may offer.
Let the Twelve take their place as a traveling high council with the
keys of the opening of the gospel to the nations. Let the high counselors give
counsel and assistance to the Presidency, which has been called to the high and
responsible calling of leading the church to peace and happiness and preparing
a people for the coming of the Son of God. Let
the high priests teach the law of God unto the people.
Let all the elders learn not to put their faith in some great man and say
all is well, but let them buckle on the whole armor of God and stand up, bold
defenders of truth, rather than men.
in my weakness and in the infancy of my ministry I call upon you to assist me.
It hath pleased God to put it into the heart of Joseph to appoint me to
receive mysteries and revelations unto this church.
And he has been faithful unto the vision and voice of God by sending me
his epistle containing the revelation which God gave him, the Lord God
confirming the same by sending his angels unto me to charge me with this
ministry in the same hour that Joseph was taken away, and by witnessing the same
to the brethren in those wonderful works which the brethren here are ready to
testify unto you.
not my call to you be in vain. The
destroyer has gone forth among you and has prevailed.
You are preparing to resign country and houses and lands to him.
Many of you are about to leave the haunts of civilization and of men to
go into an unexplored wilderness among savages, and in trackless deserts, to
seek a home in the wilds where the foot‑print of the white man is not
found. The voice of God has not
called you to this. His promise has
not gone before to prepare a habitation for you.
The hearts of the Lamanites are not turned unto you, and they will not
regard you. When the herd comes the
savages shall pursue. The cloud
which surrounds by day shall bewilder, and the pillar of fire by night shall
consume and reveal you to the destroyer; and the men in whom you trusted when
you rejected the promises of God shall leave you early and not be found of you
in your greatest need.
the oppressed flee for safety unto Voree, and let the gathering of the people be
there. Let the evil who have gone to
the holy city be rejected and given to the law.
Let the Twelve go out and preach the gospel to the nations according to
the command of God, instead of staying at home as a prominent mark to bring
cruel enemies on their brethren. Let
the filth of
Causeless the curse has not come, and causeless it shall not fall.
They that ask justice let them do it.
They that cry out against mobs let them abstain from violence.
Those who hate persecution let them regard the rights of others.
that preach God and the gospel let them remember the Law and forget not the
order which he has revealed and their own mouths have proclaimed.
Let them not buffet others for changing the ordinances and breaking the
everlasting covenant unless they themselves will abide the word of God.
James J. Strang, a Prophet of the Most High God, and First President of the
Church of Jesus Christ, to all them that believe in God and obey his law
throughout the world.
who created the earth in days of old, and holdeth it in his hand at the present
moment, who taught the fathers, and spoke to the children of men by prophets and
apostles; who hath in the last days lifted up his hand to redeem the earth as
well as the children of men having in his good pleasure and abundant grace
called me to the service of the sanctuary, and the ministry of the new and
everlasting covenant, and revealed to me many and glorious things pertaining to
the dispensation of the fulness of times, I feel constrained by his spirit to
speak to you of the things that God hath shown me, and especially to put you in
remembrance of his law and his precepts; desiring that you should become wise
in all that God hath revealed, and be made perfect by his word.
Blessed and happy are all those who, being reconciled unto God and to his word,
and delivered from the dominion of sin and Satan, by obedience to the law of the
gospel, remain and abide therein, pressing on towards the fountain of all light
and all truth; never content to stop till they become perfect as God our Father
is perfect. Such is the high
privilege offered to the true disciple of Christ in the covenant which God hath
made, and which shall never be broken. In
this covenant all the living members of the Church may be bound to one another
in the unity of the spirit, and supplied with zeal and strength and courage to
do the will of our Heavenly Father.
desire, therefore, that all the saints, individually, may participate in the
bonds of union, the fellowship with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and
may not rest satisfied, without knowing for yourselves the things that pertain
to the kingdom of God, and that you be no longer conformed to the world, but
transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the renewing of your
minds, and turned from darkness to light. Wait
for and patiently receive the word of God, which shall be as a shining light
unto you; then will you be enabled to see and to walk in the path of duty.
charge you that you steadfastly seek to commend your profession of faith by
keeping ALL THE COMMANDMENTS of God, and truly following him who was meek
and lowly in heart. In the exercise
of a tender and enlightened conscience, maintain an upright testimony to the
purity and intellectuality of his religion, though it be through suffering.
Be careful, that neither for the sake of worldly reputation, from a love
of ease, nor from a fear of being plundered of your possessions, you incur the
condemnation conveyed in the words, "He that loveth father or mother more
than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me,
is not worthy of me; and he that taketh not up his cross and followeth after me
is not worthy of me."
Neglect not the assembling of yourselves together.
Be diligent in public instruction; and put off all slothfulness in family
devotions and secret prayer. Subject
yourselves frequently to an honest self examination in the light of God's word,
remembering that God's law by which he judges both the living and the dead is a
law of perfect truth, and admits of no concealment.
If you are hereby made sensible of manifold transgressions, and of cause
for humiliation, you will value more highly the principles and the ordinances of
the gospel of Jesus Christ, and will rejoice exceedingly that the shepherd and
bishop of our souls speaketh unto God, and is a minister and an high priest in
HIS tabernacle, by an everlasting and unchanging priesthood, made not without an
the present state of society, with the strong disposition generally manifested
to speak evil of and persecute the saints, it is especially incumbent upon all
to carefully watch their varied engagements in life.
In conducting your pecuniary affairs whether in agriculture or trade, or
as professional men, and in the investment of your property scrupulously avoid
doing anything that may compromise your Christian testimonies, or lessen their
force on the minds of unbelievers. Maintain
plain dealing and strict integrity with all men, treating them with respect and
courtesy, and at the same time showing that your first concern is to lay up
treasure in heaven. It is especially
incumbent on you that you enter not upon the manufacture of, or trade in
intoxicating liquors, or other things used principally for immoral or vicious
purposes, and that you obtain no inheritances, except at places where God has
called the saints together; for where your treasure is there will your hearts
be; and if ye neglect these sayings the day of your redemption approacheth
"The friendship of the world is enmity with God."
Therefore in fulfilling your duties as citizens, be cautious how you
seize on any occasion which may occur to serve the public in a civil capacity as
a public officer. Forget not that
your being thus engaged may bring, not only the eyes, but possibly the
indignation and hatred of the unconverted upon you.
When I consider the seductive influences of popularity, and the
self‑satisfaction consequent upon successful efforts of the intellectual
powers, even in a good cause, I feel bound with affectionate earnestness to
warn you against taking an undue part in the many exciting movements of the
present day. It is our duty to aid,
as far as in us lies, in lessening the amount of vice, ignorance and misery;
but be especially watchful that you do not engage in any such work MERELY for
applause and public notice, lest thereby you mar the work of God in your hearts,
interfere with your duties in the church, and bring down on yourself and
brethren that spirit of persecution which a less prominent station might avoid.
more earnestly do I warn and admonish you against taking part in the wars and
fightings of the nations of the earth. In
the present war between the United States and Mexico, where our own country is
pursuing successful conquest of an enemy, at whose hand she has suffered many
injuries, long unredressed, the occasion may seem to justify a belligerent
position; but it should not be forgotten that God has not decreed the war, and
its conquests are still but added to the stronger of the oppressive.
In THIS NATION SAINTS are PERSECUTED and SLAIN, and
all manner of evil is spoken against them for righteousness sake.
They have been robbed and plundered, and the powers that be have winked
at it. They have been exiled from an
entire state. Their complaints were
laid at the feet of the judge, and he would not hear them; then they laid them
at the feet of the governor, and he refused them redress; finally the Prophet
Joseph, his Counsellor Sidney, and Gen. Robert D. Foster, an high priest, went
to Washington, and laid their complaints at the feet of the President, and in
the halls of Congress, and were told that THEY could do nothing for them.
There they bore a FAITHFUL TESTIMONY, and have become witnesses at
the judgment seat of God, who hath sworn that he will "vex the
nation." So though God uses
this nation to chastise the Mexicans for all their wickedness and their
high‑handed oppressions of the seed of Joseph (as he used Babylon to
chastise Israel in days of old) yet the people whom they conquer shall be as
poison in the veins of the nation, and the spoils of conquest shall be the seed
of future wars; apparent success shall end in destruction unless they make
speed to put off their own sins. Since
this faithful testimony was borne the prophet has been slain for the testimony
which he bore, in a public prison, in charge of public officers, and no effort
has been made to bring the murderers to justice.
Beneath the alter of God he cries continually, "How long, O Lord,
holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on those that dwell on
the earth." And in the END of their probation, God is waiting
on the nation that they may "turn unto him, and REPENT of all their
evil deeds; and no more slay the prophets, but hearken unto them;" and if
they do it not, his fierce anger shall fall upon them and all that are joined
with them. Therefore as you give
your testimonies against wars and fightings see that you engage not in them, and
suffer a curse with those that make them.
9. It is
meet also that the Saints shall not mix up in the turmoil of politics.
It is preferable that you take no part even in elections in ordinary
cases, leaving all such matters to others. But
while you thus leave both the making and the administration of the laws to
others, scrupulously avoid breaking them; "for he that keepeth the laws of
God hath no need to break the laws of the land; wherefore be subject to the
powers that be, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all
enemies under his feet. Behold the laws which ye have received from my hand, are
the laws of the church; and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold here
is wisdom." 1835 D.C. 18:5 or
Finally, brethren, give no heed to backbiters and tale bearers, especially those
who are accusers of their brethren. But
remembering that as there have been apostates, false teachers, and those who
bear false witness and speak evil of things they understand not in all ages of
the world, so there shall be until the coming of Christ in flaming fire to take
vengeance on all who know not God.
steadfast in every good work, not driven about by every rumor.
The grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Accept this sincere greeting and testimony from your fellow servant.
STRANG. An Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a Prophet of Almighty God, to
the Churches in all the world, and to all the Saints scattered abroad,
as much as it hath pleased God to reserve unto himself a people to serve him in
these times, when the whole world is sunk in wickedness, and the fullness of the
Gentiles is very nearly come in, and the time is near that God will pour out his
wrath on them without pleasure, it behooves us that we commune oft with one
another, and communicate spiritual treasures, such as God bestows upon us: and
especially that we gather together and strengthen one another’s hand, lest we
be overcome of Satan and perish in the destruction of the ungodly.
I am more impressed to address you now, because when iniquity is pouring
forth among the Gentiles without measure the church has not altogether escaped
from the inevitable consequence of too great a conformity to the world: except
so far as influenced and changed by gospel principles, mankind are much the same
in all countries and all ages. And
if we do not PRACTICALLY conform to gospel principles, their influence is lost
on us. Though men may subscribe to
and teach gospel principles all their lives, yet unless they conform thereto in
the transaction of our common intercourse with men their influence will be
directly lost upon us. And the same
consequence which has fallen upon the Gentile world in consequence of their
corrupt systems, will also befall the saints if they continue therein.
Of this truth the history of the last few years has furnished us many sad
has been much speculation among men as to the cause of the great falling away in
the church during the last four years. It
has been attributed to a great variety of different causes, none of which are
sufficient to produce so general corruption and such wide spread ruin.
But there is one unnamed cause, abundantly equal to the production of
such results, which remains to this day, still active and doing its work.
So long as the saints conform in all things to Gentile usages and
customs, so long they must expect to share the fate of those they thus imitate.
And the poverty, suffering and sin which are wide spread throughout the
earth, as the consequence of speculation, swindling and the most unblushing
oppression of the poor and needy, cannot be escaped among the saints while they
do these things. Let us now try to
make our religion a reality. The
time has come that the saints must practice their religion and profess their
faith, and he that will not do it will be cut off from them.
The same causes under like circumstances cannot fail to produce like
effects. And as the Gentile social system has produced poverty, want and crime
in all the world, in the face of the greatest improvements in the science of
agriculture and the mechanic arts, so that in countries where machinery, steam
and water do the work of millions of men there is a real want of both food and
clothing, we cannot flatter ourselves that while we pursue the same course we
can escape a still greater amount of suffering, beginning in poverty, as most of
have been constrained by the most obvious signs of the times to look over
the world and see if there was anything in the state of the nations to justify
the oft repeated assertion that the Lord delayeth His coming.
Again, I have turned my thoughts inwardly, to contemplate the things
which God has revealed relative to these days: and as the servant of God set
upon the walls of
earth presents to us a most unhappy picture.
are the consequences of the Gentile social system, under the most favorable
circumstances. The examples I have
named can be found in kind wherever man is, differing only in degree as the
system has been more or less expanded. So
entirely have they carried out the system of setting man against man, that the
very commandment "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" has been
struck out of the decalogue, and men have forgotten that God has engraved it on
stone as a perpetual memorial against this ungodly generation.
The selfishness engendered in all the intercourse of men is the fruitful
cause of national wars and individual sufferings.
The affairs of men have been so regulated, and the institutions
established among them are of such kind and nature as to set man against his
fellow man, and make it the interest of everyone to injure others.
While the interest of man is sought in the injury of his neighbor, it is
vain to hope that men will do to others as they would that others should do to
them. And though we may go forth
proclaiming gospel brotherhood and gospel equality from year to year, yet so
long as we practice on the same system which has produced all these evils among
the Gentiles, so long we must suffer them among ourselves.
It is vain to talk about or to hope for the fullness of the spirit of
God, or the establishment of His kingdom, if we will not make our religion a
practical reality, by doing the things we teach.
doctrine of the equality of the saints in their temporal things was taught in
the beginning of the church. Such an equality has been the hope of the poor and
the virtuous from the commencement of the gathering.
As early as January, 1831, the word of the Lord came by His prophet
showing by parable the justice of equality among the children of the kingdom;
(1835 D.C. 12:5; Utah D.C. 38:21-26; Reor. D.C. 38:5) and adds "BE
ONE: if ye are not one, ye are NONE OF MINE."
A most thrilling admonition is also given that the cry of the poor has
ascended up to God, (id. 4.) and that the enemy in secret chambers sought
their lives, and inconsequence thereof the Lord said, "ye hear of wars in
far countries, and ye say there will soon be wars in far countries, but ye know
not the hearts of them in your OWN LAND; wherefore treasure up wisdom
in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men REVEAL these things to
you WITH A VOICE LOUDER than that which SHALL SHAKE THE
EARTH.'' (1835 D.C. 12:4-6;
revelation by the wickedness of wicked men has been made so often, that the
saints ought now to seek to obey God rather than to follow their own devices.
As the saints learned not wisdom by what they heard, will they also
refuse to learn by what they suffer? When
God requires us to make any sacrifice to His cause, He requires a willing
sacrifice. But if we give not
willingly, He will not suffer us to possess what He requires.
When the church went up to
February, 1831, less than one year after the organization of the church, a
command was given that the saints consecrate their property for the poor, by a
deed which could not be broken: receiving their inheritances according to their
several wants, and requiring them to put all their surplus production from
time to time into a common storehouse, and receive supplies of what they lack
from it. (1835 D.C. 13:8 & 10‑12;
In May, 1831, those who had so
consecrated their substances, are commanded to organize themselves that they may
be alike and RECEIVE ALIKE, and have a common storehouse. (1835
In August, the same year, Martin Harris and all who were going up to
Zion were commanded to make this consecration, to purchase lands
in Zion for the saints. (1835 D.C. 18:6. 7 & 10-12;
In November, of the
same year, the Lord said, "in your TEMPORAL THINGS you SHALL BE
EQUAL, and this NOT GRUDGINGLY, otherwise the abundance of' the manifestations
of the SPIRIT shall be withheld. Now
this commandment I give unto my servants for their benefit while they
remain, for a manifestation of my blessings on their heads, and for
a reward of their diligence; and for their SECURITY for FOOD
and for RAIMENT, for an INHERITANCE; for HOUSES and for
LANDS, in whatsoever circumstances I the Lord shall place them,
and withersoever I the Lord shall send them." (1835 D.
C. 26:3, 4;
the succeeding years the ancient order established by revelation of God in
the antediluvian world was again revealed as the order of the church for
an EVERLASTING ORDER, and with many other precepts and commandments the
following were received:‑-
(1835 D.C. 75:1-3;
"And now, verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient that all things be
done unto My glory; wherefore a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and
organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.
"And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the church,
and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of satan until the day of
redemption. Behold this is the
preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample, which
I give unto you whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given
you, that through My providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall
descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other
creatures beneath the celestial world, that you may come up unto the crown
prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the
Holy One of Zion."
(1835 D.C. 86:4, 5;
"This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you and unto
your successors. inasmuch as you sin not."
(1835 D.C. 98:1‑-3 & 10-12;
"A commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves, and
appoint every man his stewardship, that every man may give an account unto Me of
the stewardship which is appointed unto him: for it is expedient that I, the
Lord, should make every man accountable, as stewards over earthly blessings,
which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and builded the earth as a very
handy work: and ALL things therein are MINE: and it is my purpose to
PROVIDE for my SAINTS for ALL THINGS ARE MINE: but it must
needs be done in mine own way: and behold this is the way, that I the
Lord have decreed to provide for my saints: that the poor shall be exalted, in
that the rich are made LOW; for the earth is full, and there is enough
and to spare, yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of
men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore
if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his
portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor, and the needy, he
shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
"Let all things be done according to counsel of the order, and united
consent, or VOICE of the ORDER.
"And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship
which I have appointed unto you: behold ALL THESE PROPERTIES ARE MINE, or else
your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have
made unto me are broken: and if the PROPERTIES are MINE then ye are
STEWARDS, otherwise ye are no STEWARDS.
But verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over
mine house, even stewards indeed: and for this purpose I have commanded you to
organize yourselves, even to shinelah, (write or publish,) my words, the
fullness of my scriptures, the revelations which I have given unto you, and
which I shall hereafter, from time to time, give unto you, for the purpose of
building up My church and kingdom on the earth, and to prepare My people for the
time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.
"And ye shall prepare for yourselves a place for a treasury, and consecrate
it unto My name; and ye shall appoint one among you to keep the treasury, and he
shall be ordained unto this blessing; and there shall be a seal upon the
treasury, and all the sacred things shall be delivered into the treasury, and no
man among you shall call it HIS OWN, or any PART of it, for
it shall belong to YOU ALL with ONE ACCORD; and I give it unto you
from this very hour: and now see to it, that ye go to and make use of the
stewardship which I have appointed unto you, exclusive of the sacred things, for
the purpose of shinelane, (writing or publishing,) these sacred things, as I
have said: and the avails of the sacred things shall be had in the treasury, and
a seal shall be upon it, and it shall not be used or taken out of the treasury
by any one, neither shall the seal be loosed which shall be placed upon it, only
by the voice of the order, or by command.
"And again, there shall be another treasury prepared and a treasurer
appointed to keep the treasury, and a seal shall be placed upon it; and all
moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties
which I have appointed unto you, in houses or in lands, or in cattle, or in all
things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto
Myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as
you receive moneys by hundreds, or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by
fives; and let not ANY MAN among you say that it is HIS
OWN, for it shall not be CALLED HIS, nor any part of it; and
there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by
the VOICE and COMMON CONSENT of the ORDER."
These commandments, though they are more perfect in system than any other
whereas recorded, contain no other doctrine than what has always been taught by
the gospel and the Melchizedek priesthood. Before
Finally, it pleased the Lord, when he chose me to be the shepherd of the flock,
as he chose David to be king of Israel, not from among princes and rulers, but
from the field, to show me still more clearly by many visions and revelations
the true order for establishing judgment and justice, exalting the poor and
delivering the needy. The work was
once begun both in Kirtland and
25. The time has now come.
The command went forth in July, 1846. (See Voree Herald, No. 7.)
The work is begun, and everything is ready for those who will come up to
the help of the Lord, against those who have trodden down his children and had
no compassion on the needy and the oppressed.
The organization (including children) now consists of sixty persons, and
applications for admission are being constantly received.
The entire system is founded on
26. This we offer to the saints as the home of the
poor and the asylum of the oppressed. Here
we propose to share each others joys, and each others sorrows; each others
toils, and each others possessions: and to teach mankind that LOVE and
TRUTH WINS WITH peace and sweetness, what FORCE and FRAUD labors
in vain to COMPEL. Here we intend to
gather a COMMUNITY WHO SHALL BE EQUAL IN THEIR TEMPORAL THINGS: WHO SHALL DO TO
OTHERS AS THEY WOULD BE DONE BY: AND WHO SHALL LOVE THEIR NEIGHBORS AS
THEMSELVES. HERE SALVATION SHALL BE
PRESENT, and the GOSPEL A PRACTICED REALITY.
HERE PEACE SHALL REIGN.
27. The Lord and His saints say come.
Let him that heareth say come. He
that is poor and needy, let him come. Yea,
come buy food, raiment and habitation, a perpetual inheritance in
JAMES J. STRANG.
Shepherd to the Saints Emigrating from
who in days of old spoke on divers occasions and in many ways to the house of
Israel by the prophets, and afterwards to all the earth by his son, whom he made
ruler over all things, last of all in these days restored the gospel to the
earth by the ministry of angels, and the priesthood which he conferred on the
prophet Joseph by their hands; and has thereby established a church by an
everlasting and unchanging order, conferring upon that priesthood the keys of
the kingdom of God, and of the rest which he has reserved to the saints, and of
Apostles, High Priests, and Elders have received from the highest authority of
this priesthood mission and commandments to visit you, and in the name of the
God of all the earth to preach the gospel unto you, and have, in virtue of the
jurisdiction thus obtained, taught you the law of the gospel, and inducted you
into the household of faith. From the first proclamation of the gospel in
I rejoice that so many of you have received these truths, and laid hold on
salvation. And it would be serious
cause of grief, if, after all the buffetings and persecutions you have endured
for receiving the faith, and the perils you have passed through in coming to
this country, you should still throw yourselves under the authority of a mere MAN‑MADE
priesthood, and trust your salvation to the administrations of men merely
elected by the people. Joseph, our
martyred prophet, became a prophet and the first and presiding elder of the
much as has been said on this subject, and little to the purpose, I beg leave to
call to your minds particularly the principles involved in the ordination of a
prophet to stand at the head of a dispensation.
When Moses received the dispensation of
Christ received the dispensation of the gospel, though he found John the
Baptist, a priest after the order of Aaron, yet he could not receive the
priesthood from him, but had a dispensation and a higher priesthood immediately
from God, who made him a high priest by his oath.
For when John baptized him, the voice of God was heard, saying,
"This is my Son, hear ye him;" and a messenger from heaven descended
on his head and designated him as the Messiah.
So likewise, when the dispensation of the fullness of times was committed
to Joseph, God not only spoke to him and gave him commandments by his voice, and
sent also his angels to ordain him to the priesthood which they also had before
held. (1835 D.C. 50:2-3;
Moses failed to make
Likewise, two persons cannot stand at the head of the dispensation of the
fullness of times, holding the keys of mysteries, revelations, and commandments,
and consequently Joseph could not in any way ordain or bring anyone into his
authority, but the act of God is necessary to consummate such priesthood.
In other words, it requires the same power and the same ordinances to
confer that priesthood on the successor to Joseph as it required to confer it on
Joseph. And as Joseph was called by revelation, and ordained by angels, so must
his successor be. (1835 D.C. 5:6; 11:4; 14:1-2; 50:2-3; 51:2;
Joseph, if he had abided in God in all things, would have stood on the earth and
at the head of the dispensation at the coming of Christ.
When Christ sent forth the fullness of the gospel by him, it was with
promise that if Joseph abided in him, the keys of mysteries and revelations
(which pertain to earth and not to heaven) should not be taken from him
till Christ came. In February, 1831,
a new promise was made that if Joseph did not stand, whether taken away or being
rejected, he should appoint another in his stead; but with this distinction:
that if his priesthood was taken from him he should only have power to
appoint another; but if God took him (which he did June 27th, 1844), there was
no limit or cutting short of his priesthood while he remained.
In 1833, as Joseph had not abided in Christ perfectly, but had committed
sin, God said he should give the oracles to another, to the end that they might
remain in the church as before. But
as Joseph had repented of his sins, God also accepted his offering, and sealed
him up to everlasting life by promising him the keys of the kingdom in this
world and the world to come. (1835 D.C. 84:2;
likewise, no one can be elected to the place which Joseph held, for that would
both be contrary to first principles, which require as much authority to place
any other in that priesthood as it took to confer it on Joseph, but also
contrary to the law which says his gift shall not be conferred on any other
except it be through him, (Joseph). But
even conceding that one might be elected to stand as First President and
prophet, the question returns, by whom shall he be ordained?
Not by Apostles, High Priests, or Elders, for all are below him in
priesthood, and none can confer higher authority than he possesses.
None can ordain to a higher priesthood than he holds.
Elders cannot confer the high priesthood, and apostles cannot make
prophets with the keys of the dispensation; because, though the priesthood is of
the same order, it is higher.
The question returns, Who can ordain? God
has answered it. In February, 1831,
God said, "He that is ordained of me (God) shall come in at the gate (be
appointed by revelation, for that is the gate or lawful place of coming in), and
BE ORDAINED AS I HAVE TOLD YOU (Joseph) BEFORE." (1835 D.C.
Against this rule, those who wish to pervert the word of God sometimes quote the
law concerning the three presiding high priests. (1835 D.C.
should not be forgotten that for nearly four years past the church has suffered
continual perils, and such calamities as never before fell on it.
If God has all that time left them without a prophet, there is no hope
that he will give them one. And if
the power existed in the church to make one (which I have shown does not), it
was the last degree of folly not to exercise it.
Most truly do I say to you that the only reason why usurpers and
apostates are now promising you to organize the church according to the ORIGINAL
PATTERN with a First Presidency is because so many have appealed to the law
and said, "a church without a prophet is not the church for me."
Having no God‑made prophet, they are about to offer you one made by
themselves. Since you have rejected
manmade parsons, bishops, and archbishops, will you accept a man-made
Brethren, in this appeal to you I have spoken upon principles and not men.
Those who say they are apostles but are not, have gone beforehand to you
with terrible accusations against me. I
shall not retaliate on them by so much as naming their real errors.
If they have the authority to lead the church, in spite of all their
faults, their authority is good till regularly taken away.
On the other hand, if I have not the authority, no matter what the
sanctity of my life, I have no right to assume it till it is regularly
conferred. I am ready to test these
matters by the word of God. Fully
persuaded that no man can do me any real or lasting injury but myself, I am
content to leave both accusation and defense to others.
your true Shepherd I invite you to the fold and refuge God has prepared for you.
Both at Voree and Beaver Island God has provided for the saints peace,
abundance and safety. The saints are
gathering in a church with a God‑made prophet, and an authorized
priesthood, and keeping the law of God, having all their goods and possessions
common and wanting nothing. We do
not claim authority in virtue of numbers. We
have never yet subscribed to the doctrine that the voice of the people is the
voice of God, or that men are made prophets by the will of man.
We know very well that Christ was rejected by the voice of the people.
Truly did he say to the
After the saints had gathered to Nauvoo God gave them the following promise:
(1846 D.C. 103:13-14;
"If ye labor with all your mights, I will consecrate that spot, that it
shall be made holy; and if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the
voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I
say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.
But if they will not hearken unto my voice, nor unto the voice of these
men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine
holy grounds, and mine holy ordinances, and chatters, and my holy words, which
I give unto them.
"And it shall come to pass, that if you build a house unto my name, and do
not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you,
neither fulfill the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord; for
instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation
and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations
which you practice before me, saith the Lord."
the saints in Nauvoo obeyed faithfully the words of Brigham Young and his
associates from the death of Joseph till their final expulsion from that place,
and the laws which they gave as the law of God, they themselves have abundantly
proved. Heber C. Kimball and others
of the Twelve at the April Conference, 1845, and at other times, said they
were the most obedient people that ever existed.
Why were they removed out of their place?
Was it because the arm of God is shortened that he cannot save? Or was it
because they obeyed the voice of men whom God did NOT appoint to be their
leaders? The promise is express,
that if they will obey they shall not be removed, and if they will not obey they
shall be cursed. They were removed,
and bitterly have they been cursed, for they are plundered, exiled, scattered,
and vast numbers of them have perished of exposure and want.
The only conclusion to which anyone can arrive, who believes in Joseph,
is that they have not followed the leaders whom God appointed, but only such as
are appointed by men.
Brethren, will you run the same race? Will
you drag the same curses on your heads which have fallen so heavily on them?
Will you expose not only yourselves but wives and children to all the
perils of wicked men in a waste, desolate wilderness a thousand miles from the
utmost verge of civilization, for the sake of having your trust in the arm of
flesh, or in a man‑made priesthood, departing from the Lord and dwelling
in the heath of the desert, and inhabiting the parched places of the wilderness,
in a salt land, and not inhabited? (Jer. 17:5‑6.) Rather see good, for it
has come, and flee from the evil while there is refuge. JAMES J. STRANG.
James received his first
We do not know how many other visions James received. The foregoing was published for public instruction.
The first prophecy of James
is found in his vision of
James prophesied the fall
of Nauvoo. Joseph Smith received a
revelation from God at
“45 And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and
unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold,
verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.46 But if they
will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have
appointed, they shall not be blest, because they pollute mine holy grounds, and
mine holy ordinances, and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. 47
And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do
the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you,
neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord. 48 For
instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation,
and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your
abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord.” (D&C 124)
In The Prophetic
Controversy (p. 20) James notes that he prophesied in 1844, of the fall of
short time after receiving my prophetic calling, sister Louisa Sanger addressed
me a letter in which she made a demand upon me similar to that contained in your
letter. In my reply, guided by the
spirit of truth, by which this revelation was given, though it had not been
published, I predicted their expulsion as the consequence of following the wrong
leaders. She showed this letter to
H. C. Kimball and Orson Pratt, and begged them to reply to my strong reasons, if
any answer could be made. They
declined that task, as they always will; but they threw my letter on the floor,
and danced on it their defiance of the prediction.
Two years did not pass around till the prediction was fulfilled, and thus
another witness testified that I was a Prophet inspired of God, and that they
were blind and uninspired. By their
own words, as well as by the voice of God, were they condemned, and I sustained.
not an agreeable task for a prophet to compare prophecy with history, for the
purpose of proving that he has not spoken one word more or less than the
Lord has spoken by him; and I shall not, without a special occasion, undertake
it, for myself. But, whenever the
occasion does arise, it will find me fully prepared to show that every leading
and material fact in the history of the Brighamite party, for the ten years of
its existence, has been by me distinctly and publicly predicted, before it was
spoken of among them, and that in all their misfortunes I have offered them such
relief as subsequent experience has shown would have been sufficient.
So far as this proves me a true prophet, I am entitled to the benefit of
In 1846, Brigham Young and his followers were driven from Nauvoo. The prophecy of James was fulfilled. Their persecutions are among some of the blackest pages in the history of a country pretending religious freedom; while at the same time driving a whole community from their homes solely on the basis of their religious beliefs.
most somber prophesy of James was the failure of the saints to obey the will of
God and the subsequent loss of the Church of Christ; and in time the
dispensation to the Gentiles. Throughout
the revelations and prophecies of James there are no unconditional promises to the Gentiles.
All promises to the Gentiles were conditioned
with an "if." The Lord
told James on
covenant between God and the Gentile converts, like the one made under Moses,
carried with it both blessings and curses (Deut. 28).
All of the promises and covenants made with
Gentile converts were conditioned with an IF, "unto
the faithful is this promise."
will remember you in mercy and in blessings IF ye serve me... IF
they will not hearken unto thee, they shall be cast out from among my people... IF
my people will build a house unto me according to my commandments... IF
they will diligently serve me, and give heed unto all my words... IF my
people will cease all their contentions... IF my servants serve me; and
upon the Hill of Promise shall ye build a hall... IF ye do all these
things, dominion shall be given unto you... IF they will hearken to my
word when it comes to them... IF they harden not their hearts... IF
this people will turn unto him, and repent of all their evil deeds, and no more
slay the prophets which he sendeth unto them... IF ye are not one, ye are
none of mine... IF ye do these things, I will give you strength that
your enemies shall not prevail over you... IF ye will therefore possess
these things, remember my law, to keep it... IF ye will not live by it,
the promise is not unto you. It is a vain thing for you to witness my word, IF
ye will not regard it, to live by it... will give them the kingdom, IF
they abide in well doing... IF they do not redeem and preserve it, they
must be afflicted with sore affliction. IF
they are faithful unto me, my strength shall shield them and prosper them... IF
they do not walk in my ways more perfectly, I will yet cast them off... They
that are of the flock hear his voice. IF not, they go astray to
destruction... IF ye uphold him in faith and confidence and prayer... IF
they had obeyed me... For your enemies shall be upon you, and ye shall flee
before them, IF ye turn not to me to be faithful...IF ye remember
the Lord your God, whose name is great and glorious, and keep his statutes... IF
ye neglect these sayings the day of your redemption approacheth not... IF
they do it not, his fierce anger shall fall upon them and all that are joined
with them... IF we do not PRACTICALLY conform to gospel principle, their
influence is lost on us.... It is vain to talk about or to hope for the fullness
of the spirit of God, or the establishment of His kingdom, IF we will not
make our religion a practical reality, by doing the things we teach... IF
we give not willingly, He will not suffer us to possess what He requires... IF
ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly
things... IF you will that I give unto you a place in the
celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have
commanded... IF, after all the buffetings and persecutions you have
endured for receiving the faith, and the perils you have passed through in
coming to this country, you should still throw yourselves under the authority of
a mere MAN‑MADE priesthood, and trust your salvation to the
administrations of men merely elected by the people... IF ye labor with
all your mights... IF my people will hearken unto my voice... IF
they will not hearken unto my voice... The blessing of their God shalt thou put
upon them, and his curse upon evil doers, IF, after being oft rebuked,
they repent not... IF they scatter, the ungodly of the world shall
swallow them up."
Even thou James had to suffer severe tribulations and persecution; he never turned away from his duties as Prophet and First President of the church. He was constantly confronted with tale bearers, apostates, Brighamite persecutors, and the possibility being martyred. The tale bearers were finally rebuked in “An Appeal” published twice in the Gospel Herald.
is seldom that I address the public concerning myself, and very seldom that I do
so by way of complaint. On the whole I have great reason to be thankful for the
kindnesses that I have received at the hands of those with whom I have
associated and corresponded. I owe a debt of gratitude, great, but never unacknowledged
for ten thousand acts of benevolence and generosity received at the hands of
numerous strangers, both at home and on my various journeys; which I am ever
ready to reciprocate, both to the same persons and to the rest of mankind,
whoever they may be. Asking a generous respect and kindness at the hands of all
I meet, notwithstanding the peculiar views I represent, I endeavor always to
show the same to all others. I have never treated with contumely or neglect
any individual because his doctrines were unpopular or different from my own.
Much less have I ever joined in the wholesale scandal which is usually heaped on
the founders and representatives of new and unpopular theories. Even when they
have been clearly shown guilty of offences against the order of society, I have
not trumpeted those things to raise prejudice against their doctrines, but have
been content to oppose them by logical reasoning and trust every cause on fair
common sense, rather than pique, prejudice or personal malfeasance. Though I
claim exemption from these faults, I am far from professing perfection. And when
I begin to complain, I hope it will not be supposed that I think injuries have
blotted out kindnesses, or that I am in any respect destitute of friends.
Considering the very arduous and difficult mission which God has committed to
me, I have every reason to be thankful that my perils have not been greater. By
a very large portion of my fellow creatures I have been treated full as well as
I deserved, and my labors have been prized quite higher by most men than by
myself. I never could see in myself the talent I have had the credit for.
there is a class of injuries?) which have been for a few years past poured out
upon me without measure or sparing, cruel and wicked in their import, and where
successful, irreparable in their consequences, which I do not feel the least
obligation to patiently submit to. And these injuries come much more from those
who claim the name of saints than from mere Gentiles. These injuries consist
principally in giving credit to every tale that may be put afloat, until it is proved
false. The common and only just rule among men is that every man be held
innocent until proved guilty. At a very early period after the organization of
the church the community adopted the opposite rule in regard to the prophet
Joseph, and always believing him guilty of every act that any foul mouthed
slanderer saw fit to accuse him of, they had actually convinced themselves that
he was the author of more crimes than one man could commit in a lifetime of five
ridiculous and unjust this course may have been, while confined to mere enemies,
it was comparatively harmless. But of late, a great body of those calling
themselves saints have adopted the same rule in regard to their prophet. I do
not ask any immunity from personal public responsibility in all my actions.--But
it is cruel and heartless beyond measure to adopt the rule, which has been acted
on in my case, of holding every accusation upon me true till it is proved false.
If a mere charge is put afloat upon me, without one word of proof to sustain it,
vast numbers will take it up, as a settled truth, an undoubted fact. With no
evidence against me, and as much to prove my absolute innocence, as if against
me would be sufficient to show guilt, they still believe the charge. And though
the whole course of my life, in addition, gives the lie to such an accusation,
it is believed all the same.--There can be no reason for this course, except
that men love lies more than the truth. To believe not only without evidence and
contrary to ones whole life, but in defiance of strong testimony, every tale
that malice may invent, is abominably unjust, and betrays deep corruption of
heart in those who are the subjects of it.
is no greater truth than that men usually judge of the conduct of others upon
the standard of moral conduct, by which they are themselves governed. Whoever is
ever ready to suspect the motives and conduct of others, becomes a lively
witness of his own ill motives and vile conduct. The man who is ever fearful
that another is doing wrong in any particular circumstances, proves that he
would do the like wrong in the same circumstances. The fearful and the
unbelieving go to the same end, and our Lord has classed together those that
love and those that make lies.
became a member of the church only a few months previous to the martyrdom of the
prophet Joseph. It is very well known that about the time of, and immediately
after his decease, certain doctrines of a most deleterious tendency were sown
broad cast throughout the church, and cultivated with so skillful a hand as to
become deep rooted. I believe no man denies that at that time I maintained an
unstained moral character. It is a matter of universal notoriety that from the
very beginning of my ministry I took high ground against those doctrines, and
have maintained that opposition without one single change or shadow of turning.
Numbers of persons who had drank in those errors have, professing to turn from
them, joined the church under my leading, and after a short time, being
overtaken in their former ways and cut off therefore, have gone off howling
against me. It is a fact perfectly notorious throughout the land that my
principal accusers are those whose life has been chiefly devoted to the same
crimes which they charge me with, and for which they profess to abandon me.
Those saints who credit their lies, have placed themselves in the ridiculous
predicament of believing that a man whose character was always fair, whom they
acknowledge as the Lord's anointed, and who is and has been during his ministry
principally surrounded by men of exalted virtue and unsuspected reputation, is a
vile scamp because those whom they know to be such, say he is like them, and
that therefore they cannot endure him.
men really respectable, and whose respectability I desire not to question,
should both believe such tales and publish them as undoubted facts, in such
manner that the world should believe they speak upon personal knowledge, is both
ridiculous and outrageously wicked. For any one to fear that such things may
be true is foolish. There is a naked possibility that any man may commit any
crime known among men. But we ought not therefore to fear that he will do it.
Such fears will produce neither safety, peace or happiness. It is better to risk
the bare possibility of being sometime betrayed than never to trust.
never existed among men without confidence. Wherever confidence is reposed,
there may be betrayed. It ought not to be reposed when betrayal is
probable, nor refused because it is possible. Every man may be a great scamp
if he prefers it. Should we, therefore, suspect him without evidence? And
believe him guilty of every crime he might commit till he proves himself
innocent?--And after he has proved his innocence begin to say, “if"
and “ but " and "I don't know but they
lie to screen him?" And must a prophet in order to maintain a fair
character among the saints, keep a band of witnesses to watch him
hourly and inspect all his correspondence, to PROVE to the SAINTS that
he commits no secret sins? Shame on the man, saint though he be, whose actions
demand it! He is like a painted sepulcher, which, though the outside be clean,
is within filled with dead mans' bones and all uncleanness. The pure are not so
ready to think ill of human kind, nor the faithful of the ministers of God's
a week passes by without some tale being put afloat [Page 91/403] upon
me, charging me with some offence against public law, on which, if convicted, I
should be subject to imprisonment. A triumphant cry is raised among apostates,
very frequently, that they have got Strang now where he can't wiggle out
of their hands, and they shall put him through. Yet no prosecution has ever been
commenced against me. Several times they have threatened to try me in their
self-constituted tribunals, and once went so far as to advertise in the secular
press a long string of charges on which I was to be tried at a fixed day. But
then, as on every other occasion, when the day came my accusers and their
witnesses were no where. The witnesses were a chimera, and accusers hid their
heads. I will not inflict on your patience a long list of scandal, but to show
to what littleness men will stoop, and by what folly men professing the faith
are overthrown, I name a few of the thousand and one falsehoods which have
been both published and believed against me.
Voree Herald contained articles from other papers, representing that
Miller accuses me of lying in saying that in my ordination the angel touched
me, and brings a certificate of two or three who were present at our interview
to prove that I did not then say so, &c. But a majority of those present
certify that I did say so at that time. If I said it, his witnesses might not
have heard it.--But if I did not say it, the others COULD NOT. Yet
several persons have apostatized on it. They believed the negative of a few,
stronger evidence than the affirmative of several, and enough stronger to
convict a gentleman of good character of falsehood. And that falsehood utterly
objectless, contrary to what he had said and written many times a day both
before and after. Such a charge would not be worthy of notice on any testimony
and unopposed. It proves its own falsehood.
is very well known that the second day of January, 1847, some 24 of the
saints met at my house and some ordinances of some kind were administered. As
the meeting was not public, much curiosity has always been felt to know what
they were. The transaction is usually spoken of by the name of
"ILLUMINATION." Immediately after it occurred a rumor was put afloat
that some terrible imposition had been practiced by me. It was alleged that I
had gathered the saints in a lower room with a loose floor overhead, and
causing a bright light to shine through the cracks, had pretended that it came
from heaven! And that by burning pitch or other combustibles in the chimney
had caused a pillar of light to rise up as the channel of communication! Men
were found to believe that two dozen respectable gentlemen and ladies could be
imposed on by such means! And that one in any circumstances was capable of
stooping to it
the Elkhorn Star and the New Era published that fire was produced on the heads
of the saints by the use of a galvanic battery, secretly concealed in another
room. All scientific men know very well that the battery would destroy human
life before it produced an illumination. Yet E. A. Utter, an editor and an M.
D. was willing to give his sanction to it. Every man of science will say it is
impossible. Yet the saint says, "I don't know. It is best to look out for
deception," and makes shipwreck of faith because possibly the
prophet has done what no man on earth could do.
Smith has published far and near and got it in the religious papers generally
that I got a house built on the promise of a heavenly illumination, which I then
gave by anointing the heads of the saints with phosphorus and oil. He goes on to
say that he discovered the cheat and accused me of it on the spot, and that I
both acknowledged it and justified it by saying that all miracles are similar
cheats. Had such a story been told on any body else, the
I ask, in all candor, I put it to the good sense of every man, could the church
have been preserved under my leading a single day after such an act? Would it
not have produced universal indignation and denunciation, immediate and
unqualified? Would even a man's person be safe among those who had been
subjected to such base imposture? William Smith spent that winter in Knox
and oil only produces a dim light in a warm dark room. It barely makes itself
visible, and could not possibly for a single moment be mistaken for
the glory of God. So if such an imposition was practiced, it must have been
detected on the spot.--If an impostor, could I be such a fool? Why did not
these men expose it! Within three days of that meeting the whole band
of apostates in the place, amounting to some forty, were continually accusing
the saints of having been imposed on in the illumination, and every soul of them
denied it, and scouted the very naming of it. In order to believe that they TELL
THE TRUTH NOW, we MUST BELIEVE that they LIED THEN. It was the
principal topic of conversation in Voree for some weeks, and every person
present in the most pointed and positive manner constantly denied that there had
been any attempt at imposition. They are therefore estopped from asserting it,
and as often as they say so stultify themselves and impeach their own
testimony. They ask you to believe them NOW, because they LIED
BEFORE. I cannot conceive that such testimony proves any thing, only that the
AUTHOR of it is a SCAMP and an UNBLUSHING LIAR.
Fuller, the first one of the number who asserted the use of phosphorus, gave me
on the tenth day of February following a letter directed to Mrs. Emma Smith, in
which he expressed the most unqualified confidence in me as the prophet of God
and as an honest man. The very day of his apostasy he scouted the least
suggestion of imposition, and declared that it had never been pretended that
the glory of God was more manifest in the illumination than in the eucharist.
Those who have since gone out from among us and taken up this calumny,
then treated it the same as I do now. The principal men among them stood up at
the April Conference following and expressed their faith and confidence in me as
the Lord's anointed, faithful and true, not only in the strongest language that
they could command, but many of them (including J. M. Adams, William Smith and
U. C. H. Nickerson) added that they knew these facts by revelation. U. C. H.
Nickerson took a mission to the western camp, visiting on the way most of the
shall not trouble you further with the detail of the falsehoods told on me.
Suffice it to say, that less than five years since I became a member of the
church; having an unblemished moral character; I have labored faithfully in
preaching the gospel; I have kept myself unspotted from the world; I have
sought no personal indulgence or immunity; I have cut myself off from all the
luxuries and most of the comforts of life; I have denied myself nearly all the
ordinary pleasures of society; I have, by precept and example, set my face as
flint against every kind of immorality; I have not shunned to declare the whole
counsel of God; I have endeavored as much as possible to avoid offending the
follies of the prudish; I have not so much confidence in myself as to flatter
myself that I ever can do better or conduct more prudently for the same length
of time, than I have during the time that has elapsed. Yet I cannot conceal from
myself that a feeling of suspicion deep and broad pervades the land, of a kind
which, if just, should exile me from society.” (pp. 97/409, 97/409)
facing severe persecution for many years, and knowing the probability of
martyrdom, the Northern Islander
published an “Apology For The Mormons” on
prophecy of his own death became a reality after he fell by assassin’s bullets
three weeks later, on
prophecy concerning the failure of the gentile dispensation came true.
“IF ye will
not live by it, the promise is not unto you. It is a vain thing for you to
witness my word, IF ye will not regard it, to live by it.”
The organization of the
The official church
journals note many times that the Church of Christ must have a living head—a
Prophet of God. Apostle Chidester
gave the final instruction of James to the Apostles in a letter to Apostle Post
inquire what to do. His direction
was for every man to take care of his family and do the best he could till he
found out what to do. You will
understand when you receive this how to act, as well as any of us; you have it
second hand, I had it from his own mouth.” (Record
of the Apostles of James, p. 31)
Apostle Chidester wrote
Apostle Post again on
Apostle Post wrote, “Again
on the 6th of December there was another Conference appointed; but the poverty
of the Saints, and the inclemency of the weather, prevented there being much
done at that Conference. The Saints being anxious to obtain the word of the
Lord, concerning them, and the cause of
Apostle Page wrote, “You know, or rather ought to know, (unless you are given over entirely to the powers of blackness and darkness forever) that the law and faith of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is, that the church cannot exist, as the church of Christ, without a prophet, seer, revelator, and translator.” (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 8, p. 32/84) See the Subject Index for the Gospel Herald series and the Northern Islander: Church without a Prophet.
James’ first mission was to the Gentiles. It failed. The Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and church journals all tell of the loss of the final Gentile dispensation; and the return of the gospel dispensation to the House of Israel.
There are many references in the Bible that tell of the Gentiles in the last days. “5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24)
of Mormon gives a similar account. “10
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when
the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my
gospel [the second time], and shall be lifted up in the pride of their
hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall
be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all
manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret
abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the
fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.
11 And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people,
O house of
Joseph gave a similar revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants. “28 And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel; 29 BUT THEY RECEIVE IT NOT; for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men. 30 And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (D&C 45)
offered a similar prophecy. “But
in this matter I think you can discover evidence of the peculiar justice of
God's judgments. The time is
hastening when he will cut off the gentiles as he did the Jews.
And as he judged the Jews out of their own mouths, so will
he judge the gentiles. Christ came
to the Jews as their king. They
rejected him, saying, 'let his blood be on us and on our children.'
God took them at their word; and the undying anathema which Moses
pronounced on them in eighty-four curses (Deut. xxxviii.) has followed that
whole people for eighteen centuries as a witness that god's words are true, and
that he judged them out of their own mouths.--His blood is upon them and upon
"...And when the times of the
gentiles are come in, that they fully reject this testimony, as the Jews
rejected Christ, then as surely as God has destroyed Israel with all the
curses which he pronounced by the mouth of Moses, so surely will he take
those curses off from Israel and put ALL OF THEM UPON THE GENTILES." (Zion's
Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 26, p. 107/159)
“22. The whole course of prophecy
indicates that the nations of the earth will not be converted to Godliness; but
that they will increase in wickedness, and be destroyed. The day has not yet
come, but is in the future, which ‘shall burn as an oven; and all the proud,
and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble,’ and shall be burnt up, leaving
neither root nor branch; when they that fear the Lord shall tread down the
wicked, as ashes beneath their feet. (Mal. 4:1, 3)
“23. Paul assures us that the coming of
Christ shall be ‘in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.’ (2 Thess. 1:8, 9)
Isaiah says, the earth shall be made empty, and few men left. (Isa. 24:1,
3, 6) Those days are days of vengeance, when Christ shall tread the wine press
of the wrath of God, and the blood shall blow unto the horses’ bridles. (Rev.
14:20.) As those times are approaching, the judgment is pronounced on
“8 And the daughter of
“8 The LORD hath purposed to destroy the
wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not
withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall
to lament; they languished together… 10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit
upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they
have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their
heads to the ground… 13 What thing shall I take to witness for thee?
what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of
James gave several sermons
on Micah 4. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang],
the strong hold of the daughter of
Jesus told of the exact
time when the final dispensation to the Gentiles would end.
“24 And they [the
Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into
all nations: and
A sign of the times was given by God in the spring of 1997. Comet Hale-Bopp was seen by more people that any other comet. On its previous rendezvous with earth it was the birth star of Abraham. Could its appearance thirty years after the end of the Gentile dispensation only be a coincidence?
The dominion of the kingdom
was established on
Every prophecy that James
gave concerning events to this day have been fulfilled.
James prophesied of a
record of an ancient people buried near
James prophesied of the fall of Nauvoo shortly after he was ordained as Joseph’s successor. Within two years, the followers of Brigham Young were driven from Nauvoo. God’s promise did not fail. They rejected the authority which God had established; and followed a false prophet.
James prophesied of the
disobedience of the people and their violation of the everlasting covenant.
He also spoke of his own impending death.
With his death came the realization that the Gentile dispensation had
failed. The Lamentations of Apostle
Warren Post are found in the Record of the
Apostles of James (p. 49). The
dominion given to the saints on
The only divine authority
left on the earth was evangelical. That
is, they only held divine authority to preach the gospel and administer its
saving ordinances. The spiritual
kingdom of heaven remains as long as there is one active in the Melchisedec
The complete loss of the Gentile dispensation became a reality in 1967.
Jesus had prophesied, “24
James taught that Micah 4
addressed him and the daughter of
When the angel ordained
James to the office of Lawgiver, he noted that James would one day be a
Deliverer, Judge, and Destroyer. “13.
In righteousness shalt thou rule: thou shalt redeem the poor and the needy from
suffering and violence; and to thee God giveth judgment for them. Thou shalt
deliver the prey from the spoiler; for God, thy God, hath put them in thy hand.
“14. And in weakness will he made thee strong. Thou
shalt rule among his people. Though shalt break in pieces the rod of the
oppressor, and the yoke of the unjust ruler. They shall flee away, but the way
of peace shall they not find.
“15. While the day of the wicked abideth, shalt thou prepare a refuge for the oppressed, and for the poor and needy. Unto thee shall they come, and their brethren who are scattered shall come with them; and the destruction of the ungodly shall quickly follow; for it already worketh.” (Book of the Law, p. 171)
In “Establishment of the Law” it is clear that James will be both Deliverer and Destroyer. “4. Arise and smite them, O Daughter of Zion, and thou, O Tower of the Flock, whose power is above the clouds, possess thy dominion, and be thou a refuge… 7. Arise and thrash, for I will make thy power iron: the tread of thy foot shall crush: thou shalt break in pieces many people, and shalt consecrate their spoil unto God, and their dominion to the Lord of the whole earth.” (Book of the Law, pp. 203-205)
Compare the words of the
ordination of James with those in “Establishment of the Law” and in Micah 4
(read the whole chapter). “13
Arise and thresh, O daughter of
The deliverance of the
elect of God, the judgments that are to come upon the world and the
establishment of the kingdom of heaven for the Millennium, is a primary subject
in the prophecies of James. All of
his teachings perfectly correspond with those in the Bible.
“We further ask that you, by some public act,
condemn in behalf of the nation the martyrdom of the saints and their exile from
some of the States. Unless you do this, will posterity and God hold the nation
guiltless of the blood of the saints and prophets? What evidence has ever yet
been given that the nation sanctions not the deed? How has she washed her hands
of this blood?”
are now without a prophet present with you in the flesh to guide you; but you
are not without apostles who hold the keys of power to seal on earth that which
shall be sealed in heaven, and to PRESIDE OVER ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THE CHURCH IN
ALL THE WORLD; being still under the direction of the same God, and being
dictated by the same spirit, having the same manifestations of the Holy Ghost TO
DICTATE ALL THE AFFAIRS OF THE CHURCH IN ALL THE WORLD to build up the kingdom,
upon the foundation that the prophet Joseph has laid, WHO STILL HOLDS THE KEYS
OF THIS LAST DISPENSATION, AND WILL HOLD THEM TO ALL ETERNITY, as a king and
priest unto the most high God, ministering in heaven ON EARTH, or among the
spirits of the departed dead, as seemeth good to him who sent him.
“LET NO MAN PRESUME FOR A MOMENT THAT HIS PLACE WILL
BE FILLED BY ANOTHER; FOR REMEMBER, HE STANDS IN HIS OWN PLACE AND ALWAYS
WILL.” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5,
It was not until two and half years after the death of Joseph that Brigham Young admitted that only a Prophet can stand at the head of the church. He admitted their church was in an unorganized condition; and needed a prophet. “in our unorganized state… at this period of the church, THEY HAD TO SELECT A FIRST PRESIDENCY and they would admit the first argument of the apostates (viz., that the organization was not complete) was correct." See Prophetic Controversy.
How was this to be realized; as God had neither called, nor ordained Brigham to the Prophetic Office? He simply held a conference in which the people took a vote and elected him by the voice of man.
moved and seconded that Brigham Young should be our First President.
It was carried unanimously.” (Minutes of Conference held Dec. 24, 1847)
I call Brigham Young as my
“I do not profess to be a Prophet.
I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are
all the time telling me I am." (Journal
of Discourses, 5:177)
"A person was mentioned to-day who did not
believe that Brigham Young was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator.
I wish to ask every member of this whole community, if they ever heard
him profess to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as Joseph Smith was?...Who
ordained me to be First President of this Church on earth?
I answer, It is the choice of the people, and that is sufficient."
"The brethren testify that Brother Brigham is
Joseph's legal successor. You never
heard me say so. I say I am a good
hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock." (Ibid., 8:69)
"It has been remarked sometimes, by certain
individuals, that President Young has said in public that he was not a prophet
nor the son of a prophet." (Ibid., 13:166)
The will and “needs” of
man do not constitute a legitimate calling to the priesthood of God. James wrote
the voice of the people is not the voice of God—Crucify Him!
James wrote, “...For
as Aaron was called of God by the mouth of Moses, who held as high authority as
that to which he called him, being both Prophet and High Priest, after the order
of melchisedec; so no man lawfully taketh the priesthood unto himself, but he
that is called by revelation of God, BY THE MOUTH OF ONE LAWFULLY IN THE
PRIESTHOOD AND HOLDING AS HIGH AUTHORITY AS THAT TO WHICH HE CALLS." (Gospel
Herald, Oct. 7, 1847, p. 118/170) Only
a person holding a particular level of priesthood has authority from God to call
another. The people have the right
to recognize the First President; but, they hold no divine authority to call
anyone to the priesthood.
this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) Brigham taught many false
doctrines that also testify that he was not a Prophet of God.
Among these false doctrines is the nature of God.
Brigham taught that God was once a man; even Adam.
Adam was made of the dust of this earth. This
I do not believe." (Ibid., 2:6)
"Brother Pratt... could not believe that Adam was
our God or the Father of Jesus Christ. President
Young said that He was that he came from another world & made this brought
Eve with him." (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, Sept. 17, 1854)
"...so we had a grandfather or we would have had
no father, and our grandfather had a father and grandfather and
great-great-great- grandfather so far back there is no beginning - They always
existed on some world - and when this world was made - our God who is Adam came
and commenced the peopling of it -
Though he is God and had lived and died and had been resurrected on some other
planet - and obtained his exaltation and begat the Spirits of children enough to
people this world." (The Teachings of
President Brigham Young, Vol. 3, 1852 - 1854, Comp. and Ed. by Fred D.
Collier, Collier's Publishing Co., October 1987, p. 369)
There can be nothing clearer in Scripture than God is without change. “6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 6) Joseph Smith taught the same as other Prophets of God before him. In Part One of the original Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph taught, “21 But it is equally as necessary that men should have the idea that he is a God who changes not, in order to have faith in him, as it is to have the idea that he is gracious and long suffering. For without the idea of unchangeableness in the character of the Deity, doubt would take the place of faith. But with the idea that he changes not, faith lays hold upon the excellencies in his character with unshaken confidence, believing he is the same yesterday, to-day and forever, and that his course is one eternal round.” (Lecture Three) Brigham Young simply removed Part One (Doctrine) from his Doctrine and Covenants, leaving only a Book of Commandments. James taught of the correct character and perfection of God in the Book of the Law, “The True God.”
“In the progress of human events a crisis is near at
hand when in all human probability the decision will rest with you and your
colleagues whether, the people unto whom you and your colleagues act as leaders
shall be rejected as a Church with their dead, or shall be accepted of God and
bring up those who slept without the Gospel. And whether they shall be moved out
of their place at the holy city, and the
“I know very well that you were never ignorant of
the fact that your Mission as an Apostle is solely to the nations of the earth
and not to the Church, and that you hold only the keys of the opening of the
Gospel to the nations and not the keyes of ordinances blessings and revelations,
and finally that you can do nothing, except it be under the direction of the
Presidency of the Church, and can direct none but the seventies.
“God by the mouth of the Prophet Joseph gave promise
to his people when he established them at Nauvoo that if his people would
hearken unto his voice, and unto the voice of his servants whom he had appointed
to lead them, they should not be moved out of their place. That people have
hearkened to the Twelve as man never before hearkened to the voice of Spiritual
leaders. If you are the men appointed of God to lead the Church why is it that
they are about to be moved? The desolation and destruction daily falling on the
Church are attributable solely to the misgovernment of those who usurp authority
“I therefore solemnly admonish and direct you to
cease all your usurpations in the Church: to cease to exercise any of the
authorities and powers of the first Presidency of the Church, and to go out and
preach the gospel to the nations of the earth that have not received it. And I
direct and require that you first report yourselves to the Presidency of the
Church, at the Stake of Voree and there make satisfaction, for the wrongs you
have done as it is said, or in the alternate to answer to charges to be
preferred against you, and receive the directions for your further guidance; And
give you until the first day of April next to appear there.
Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, William
Smith, John Taylor, John E Page, Willard Richards, and George A. Smith.”
motion of H. P. Charles B. Thompson
Strang proposed to appoint James Madison Van Nostrand, Pres. pro. tem. of the
Elders Quorum, and the conference concurring therein he was appointed.
Council Meeting on
Charges included “Conspiracy to overthrow the order of the Church, “Usurpation,” “Tyrannous Administration,” “Teaching False Doctrine,” and “Blasphemy;” with accompanying accusations.
“It is adjudged that Brigham Young, Heber C.
Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Willard Richards and George
A. Smith, be excommuncated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints:
their Priesthood taken away; and they delivered over to the buffetings of Satan
in the flesh.
“[by] Marvin M
Aldrich , John Gaylord, James M Adams, P H. Bozzart, Charles B. Thompson,
William Marks, Jehiel Savage, Reuben Miller, J. B. Whelan, J. W. Bartholf,
Eleazar Davis, A. W. Smith
also rebelled against the authority of James.
James and various members of the church labored with him.
Finally, a conference held at Voree on
“The General Conference of the Church of the Saints
assembled at Voree on the nineteenth day of October in the year eighteen
hundered and forty six having under consideration the standing of Sidney Rigdon,
on of the Firist Presidents of the Church who acteth not in his presidency and
cometh not up to do his duty and stand in his calling, could not sustain him
with their faith and prayers; therefore they with one voice desired James J
Strang the prophet of the Lord to enquire his will concerning his servant Sidney
“And now this is the answer of the Lord concerning
“Behold verily my servant Sidney Rigdon rebelleth
against me and hath rebelled against me for a long time and I was grieved with
him yet I felt after him and had compassion on him and remembered his faith and
his labours, and reproved him by my Spirit and by afflictions and by judgements
but he would none of my reproofs. Satan troubleth him and he hath sought to
establish his own work and not mine; for Satan inspireth him thereto and hath
enterd into him and giveth him thoughts and dreams and visions. Therefore he
shall not stand in his presidency for I do take his office from him and give it
unto one who will serve me.
“Therefore my servant George J. Adams shall be one
of the first Presidents of my Church to stand instead of Sidney Rigdon to assist
my servant James J Strang in the Presidency of my Church that my word may go
forth to the ends of the earth and to all the nations thereof, to the Gentiles
first and then to the Jews; for the day cometh and is near at hand when the arm
of the Lord shall be revealed in power in converting the heathen and the house
of Ephraim and the house of Manasseh of the gospel of their salvation.
“And the fullness of the unpolluted Gospel shall go
forth to all nations and the unpolluted words of the Prophets who are in their
graves shall be spoken again to men on earth, that they may know that I am God
and there is none else.”
When Wingfield Watson published the Revelations of James J. Strang, he included the testimony of people who he considered as unimpeachable witnesses. “Some years ago in poring over the first volumes of the Voree Herald, the organ of the Strangites in Voree, Wis., I found the following, to me, interesting testimonies, and thinking that they would be at least as interesting to others, I have thought it well to re-publish them, and leave every man to form his own conclusion concerning them." Those testimonies, with slight variation, are included here.
“I sit down a few moments to send a line to you, by
the hand of Brother Fielding. I have
been always on good terms with you, and I hope we ever shall be, but the time
has come when all the faithful elders should speak out.
I saw your wife the other day poor and broken hearted; she has now gone
“For so I must call you; as there is little time
left me I will be brief— The church has passed through much affliction, and it
pains my heart that it should suffer more. The Twelve (Brighamites) have abused
my son William and trampled upon my children; they have also treated me with
contempt. The Lords hand is in this
to save the church; now mark it; these men are not right, God has not sent them
to lead this kingdom; I am satisfied that Joseph appointed J. J. Strang.
It is verily so. Now Brother
Reuben I exhort you for the love you bear for the truth to hear my voice, and
warn the Saints concerning these things, and your reward shall be double in the
heavenly world. This from your
“This is to certify that We the undersigned members
of the Smith family fully accord with the sentiments expressed above.
W.J. Salisbury , , ,
“I called in to see sister Emma, to enquire
concerning the appointment. Sister
Emma says that Joseph received a letter from Mr. Strang—Hyrum was present and
he called in brother J. P. Green; at first Joseph thought all was not right, but
Hyrum thought otherwise. They talked
over matters a while and came to the conclusion that Joseph would write a
letter; so Joseph and brother Green went out for that purpose.
“Emma also states, that her son Joseph saw a woman
come into a room in
“I remember myself that Joseph said; “My work is
almost done, I feel that I shall rule a mighty host, but not in this world, the
wolves are on the scent &c.” Joseph
bid his wife and mother farewell saying, I am going as a lamb to the slaughter;
this was his impression. And I
further state that Joseph did not appoint the twelve as his successor, and I was
in the last council with him, and had an opportunity of knowing and hearing his
sentiments in regard to these things.
“I also heard Joseph say, that should the time ever
come that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball would lead this church, that they
would lead it to hell. This was said
in the hearing of sister Emma Smith.—The whole Smith family of the Joseph
stock join in sustaining J. J. Strang.
“It is to be remembered that soon after Joseph and
Hyrum’s death, brother Green died, and he was heard by numerous individuals to
say, that Joseph had appointed Strang.
“This is to certify that the Smith family do believe
in the appointment of J. J. Strang.
William Smith, Patriarch.
March 1st. 1846.” (Voree Herald,
Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 31)
former letter to Brother Strang, acknowledging the theory of his claims, having
been published in the Herald, (Voree) I wish to add this testimony to all the
faithful; that having visited and traveled with him, and minutely investigated
all the evidences produced in his favor, as well as against him, I have been
compelled to acknowedge him as a prophet of God placed at the head of this
he alone claims the authority according to the law of God.
his conduct is fitting to that high calling.
his teachings carry with them the witness of the spirit.
he produces the proper works of a seer.
the evidence that he receives revelation from God is stronger than can be
produced to the like fact in favor of any other man from the beginning of the
world to this present moment. John E. Page
the Saints Scattered Abroad;
withdrew from them and their wicked ways, I determined never to take a stand
until I could take one in righteousness and truth, according to the order of the
house of God. The time has come and
the man also,
calling upon God, in the name of his son Jesus, he condescended in a glorious
manner to manifest his will and purpose to me concerning Brother James J.
Strang; and I now bear testimony to all the world that he is a prophet, seer and
revelator, appointed and chosen of God to stand in the place of Brother Joseph,
to give the word of God, and hold the Keys of power that is to bear off this
Testimony of Johnathan Sumner
Johnathan Summer, do hereby testify that I was present at the conference held at
Nauvoo soon after the Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, which was called by
those who sought to place Sidney Rigdon at the head of the church.
While in conversation with a number of elders, talking on the question
of Sidney Rigdon's right to lead, John P. Green, marshal of the city, said;
'They need not trouble themselves about it, for Joseph had appointed one to
stand in his stead.' I asked him why
he was not here to take his place? He
said he was not ready, but would be here 'after a time.'
I asked him where he lived, and he said, `Up north a considerable
distance.' I asked his name and he
said, 'Strang, James J. Strang.' I
asked, what sort of a man, and he said, 'A young man.'
I then asked whether he had ever been in Nauvoo, and he said he had been,
and that Joseph baptized him."
P. Green died very mysteriously a few days after the above
No. 8 Vol,. 1.
The following is from the pen of Gen. George Miller, after some six years' suffering, privations and oppression, under the hands of both Brigham Young and Lyman Wight:
when I came to look about me, and fully realize the distracted condition of the
church in their scattered situation, without a shepherd that I knew of, I felt
in my heart that I was a mourner, and became almost weary of life.
While in this state of mind I had a dream, in which I saw Joseph Smith in
the heavens in a glorified state, together with countless numbers of glorified
beings, shouting hallelujah, praising God and the Lamb, and bidding me welcome
to the celestial abode.
thin veil separated us, and their brilliancy was whiter and brighter than the
sun, Joseph spoke to me, and told me that if I would come I might, but I had
best not come as my work was not yet finished on earth.
this time the spirit of praising God came upon me and I shouted.
Whereupon part of my family having not retired to bed hearing me,
supposed I had the nightmare and pulled me from my bed.
When I awoke my eyes were so affected from the light I had seen that I
could not for a time distinguish the surrounding objects.
another occasion I had a dream that I saw Joseph Smith sitting in a room
talking to a person whom I have since seen.
Upon my entering the room he (Joseph) looked at me, saying, God bless
you, Brother Miller. I am
instructing my successor in the prophetic office, how to manage and conduct the
affairs of the church.
appearance of this personage shown me by Joseph Smith, in this dream was so
stamped on my mind that I could not keep it from my mind for a single moment,
and it was secretly whispered that I would soon hear news that would cheer my
Further along in his history Brother Miller tells us that
soon after this vision certain papers with the tract called the Diamond, setting
forth the claims of James J. Strang to succeed Joseph in the prophetic office
arrived. After giving it "a
close and critical investigation" he says that he was thoroughly convinced
of the truthfulness of those claims. “From
this time,” he says, “I had frequent manifestations of Brother Strang being
called of God to lead the church even as Moses.”
of Young Joseph (The prophet’s eldest son)
Testimony of Young Joseph (The prophet’s eldest son)
comes to mind a circumstance which occurred about this time (1840) which was
attended by some degree of mystery. It
was my habit to take a nap in the afternoon upon a bed or couch in the
bedroom. The house had two room's,
one the living or ‘keeping’ room and the other a bedroom.
Into this latter the door leading from the keeping room opened inwardly,
opposite a window in the end of the building.
My mother was washing in the larger room and I, lying upon the bed in the
chamber, was awakened by someone coming through the door and across the room
past me. It was a man apparently
from thirty‑five to forty‑five years of age, sparely built, wearing
dark clothing somewhat shabby, and having on his head a rather tall crowned hat,
napless, as was the custom of the time. He
passed to the window and turned to came back toward the door, saying as he did
so, "We will all have to go to the
the door he turned again and came back toward the window.
As he turned at the window the second time to again pass by the bed he
repeated what ho had said before, ‘We will all have to go to to the
the man returned to the door the second time he passed out, as I supposed, into
the room where my mother was, I called to her and asked her who the man was.
She wanted to know to what man I referred.
I told her about the man I had seen in the room and repeated what he had
said. She had not seen him, nor did
either of us see him after, though we went at once to the door to look for him.
He was fairly tall, being a little over medium height, and had, a clean
shaven face. I relate the
circumstance because it impressed me at the time and because it is a mystery
that has never since been solved.’ ”
W. Briggs Testimony
W. Briggs Testimony
Jason Briggs was one of the founders of the
will now notice the argument, powerful as it may be, which you assert you have
found upon examination, touching the letter of appointment. But what examination
can this be to which you have found out that you spoke that which was not true?
When you declared in public congregations, and at your own fire side, and at the
fireside of your neighbors, that Joseph Smith wrote with his own hand the
‘letter of appointment,’ (for you saw him in a vision,) and your surprise
and faith in the ‘knocking spirits’ of
L. D. Hickey's Testimony
L. D. Hickey's Testimony
L. D. Hickey was one of the Twelve Apostles under James. He lived to be the last of the Apostles.
following statements were written to Charles Strang, and are now in my
seems to be my duty as well as privilege to suggest a few ideas, after my
very interesting visit. And when I
say interesting, I mean more than my language expresses.
It brought the days of other years to my mind, even the happiest days of
my life‑-when I met Charlie--as he came out of the dark room into the
business room, as he turned his back, and as he walked, it brought back such a
sensation that I love to think of them, just the form, just the turn, and it
seemed as though I almost stood in the printing office of other years where
James J. Strang stood, and met and parted with kind friends.
true it was not a reality--but it (was) a copy of the man we all
loved‑-and how could I help but feel well in my mind, and do to this
James was shot, I soon came home from
let the curtain fall, until the sleeping dust shall arise and then, instead of
being the object of scorn and ridicule a Crown of King and Martyr will be his to
wear. And it will be his to be
honored, as one who like Moses, tried to save the people from the ways of sin
and death. Sirs, think not that I
talk fiction for it is all a fact….”
why or what men may say about your father being King, etc.
He was accused and tried before the highest court of the
have stood by the man James J. Strang in the day of his prosperity-‑I have
known him as a prophet of God, as a citizen, as a neighbor, as a business man
and I lie not when I say if he had faults I never knew them.
Before his death I was often before the public and I had no cause to make
apologies for his faults--and since his death I have been prouder
than ever I ever was associated with that just man.
visited Voree when your father was there, I lived on the island also-‑and
when men talk of thieves and murderers I only ask, who has been murdered,
and who has been robbed and who has stole? Let
these questions be answered--and what is the reply--Mr. Strang
was shot, his family robbed of a whole printing press and his worthy family
sent out into a cold hearted world, without a home, and all his choice books
which he had gathered for the good of poor and rich were stolen (or most of
them). Men must not throw stones who
live in glass houses.” (The Revelations of James J. Strang, by Wingfield
Newspapers of the
From the Northern Islander, May, 31, 1855.
Israel—Twelvites--Rigdonites and Voree Mormons.--We stated yesterday that the emigrating Mormons had
assumed the cognomen of the ‘Camp of Israel,’ which we are informed includes
the awful corrupt ‘Twelve,’ the ‘Danites,’ the ‘Destroying Angels,’
and most of the ‘bogus makers,’ ‘Thieves,’ ‘assassins,’
‘police,’ and ‘vulgar herd,’ of that strange people.
From the best information we
can obtain, and we have taken some pains, they are as corrupt a set of ‘land
pirates’ as ever disgraced the earth; though they are much to be pitied on
account of the suffering women and children, who are emigrating with them.
The poverty and actual suffering of these poor creatures are enough to
sicken the heart of all feeling persons, while it should satisfy all who have
comfortable raiment, and a sufficiency of food, with their condition in life,
and learn them ‘to be therewith content.’
The people of
“Voree is the location of the ‘primitive
Mormons,’ under the new Prophet, James J. Strang, Esq., an attorney at law,
and formerly a political editor in
BELOW TO GO TO CHAPTER FOUR