JAMES J. STRANG:

PROPHET LIKE UNTO MOSES

James J. Strang was one of only two men in the last days to claim a calling and ordination of God as the head of the Church of Christ. Joseph Smith was the first to claim an ordination at the hands of angels as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses, Jesus, and others. He was shot and murdered at Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844; while under the protective custody of the Governor of Illinois. At the very moment of his death, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained to the same priesthood; although 400 miles distant, and without any means of knowing of the martyrdom of Joseph.

In May, 2004, Samuel E. West completed a book entitled: James J. Strang, Prophet Like Unto Moses. This book provides evidence beyond doubt that James J. Strang was the legal successor of Joseph Smith; as Apostle, Prophet, Lawgiver, Revelator, Translator, and divine Teacher. Part One includes chapters on James J. Strang the Man, the Prophet, the Revelator, the Translator, the Teacher, the Martyred Prophet, and the future Deliverer in Zion. It includes his divine calling and ordination as compared to others of his day, Pastoral Letters, Prophecies, Revelations, the Voree Plates, many teachings essential to the happiness and eternal life of man. Part Two includes all of the writings of James that are not included in the Book of the Law. With the Book of the Law it represents all of the teachings of James that were included in official church publications. Published in Shreveport, Louisiana, 275 pages, 8½ x 11, soft bound, ten point type. Copyright, 2004, Samuel E. West. Copies are available from the publisher.

This book has nine chapters. You may click on any chapter listed below to go to that chapter (e.g. Chapter Six: James J. Strang: The Teacher).  You can proceed to any subject in that by is clicking on that subject (e.g. James J. Strang Joseph Smith).

Chapter One: Introduction (continues below)
Chapter Two: JAMES J. STRANG: THE MAN
Chapter Three: JAMES J. STRANG: THE PROPHET
Chapter Four: JAMES J. STRANG: THE REVELATOR
Chapter Five: JAMES J. STRANG: THE TRANSLATOR
Chapter Six: JAMES J. STRANG: THE TEACHER
Chapter Seven: JAMES J. STRANG: THE KING
Chapter Eight: JAMES J. STRANG: THE MARTYRED PROPHET
Chapter Nine: JAMES J. STRANG: THE DELIVERER

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
ONLY A FEW
ENTER JOSEPH SMITH
ENTER JAMES J. STRANG
TIMES OF THE GENTILES
HARVEST DISPENSATION
JOSEPH SMITH AND JAMES J. STRANG


 INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this book is to provide evidence beyond doubt that James J. Strang was the legal successor of Joseph Smith; as Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver; and to provide the laws, revelations, prophecies, and teachings of James J. Strang. This book, combined with the Book of the Law of the Lord, provides all of the teachings of James that were published in official church documents.

Part One includes the life of James; and James J. Strang as Prophet, Revelator, Translator, Teacher, Martyred Prophet, and future Deliverer. Part Two includes all of the teachings of James as written in tracts and made public in the various official church journals.

The most sacred book of Scripture is the Book of the Law of the Lord. It is mentioned by name over twenty times in the Bible; and hundreds of times as the law of God. Scripture is sorely defective without it. No record of the book itself is found in the Bible until the time of Moses. It is evident, though, that it was given to Adam. Without the law they could not have obeyed the law; and without obedience to the law they could not have been righteous men. When Cain violated that law he was severely condemned. When men turned from the ways of godliness to the delights of the world, they were destroyed by the great flood. The law was passed through first born sons from Adam to Noah.

Noah and Shem taught the law to Abraham. It was evidently lost during the 400 year captivity in Egypt . The Book of the Law was restored through Moses—written by the finger of God. The tables of the law were kept in the Ark of the Covenant. Copies for public use were transcribed from the tables. Most of these were lost in 588 BC, during the Babylonian Captivity. The law was still understood in the days of Jesus. The Book of the Law was not included in the Bible; either because of loss, or intent. A copy was taken out of Jerusalem in 600 AD, preserved by the early Native Americans, recovered by Joseph Smith, and translated by James J. Strang. Many of the difficulties now encountered in understanding the Bible can be resolved by reference to the Book of the Law.

Shortly before the gathering of the house of Israel in the last days, Ezekiel prophesied of two books which would be brought forth (by Prophets of God). “19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37)

The stick of Joseph, “which is in the hand of Ephraim,” is the Book of Mormon. There is no other book of Scripture which is a record of the seed of Joseph. This was soon to be followed by the stick of Judah . Only the Book of the Law of the Lord could fulfill this prophecy. Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim and James was of the tribe of Judah . These books will be united when the house of Israel is gathered. The Book of the Law, being the most sacred book, which applies to all people, will go forth to the world from Zion .

“12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. 13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel , saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3)

“2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Micah 4)

Although occasional verses from the Book of the Law will be quoted in this book, it is requisite to have a copy for reference. This book includes information on the personal life of James. It affords evidence that James was the only person who was properly called and ordained to succeed Joseph as First President; and fulfilled all of the duties of that office. It includes the visions, ordination, revelations, and pastoral letters of James. Together, with the Book of the Law of the Lord, it includes all of the tracts and teachings of James from official church publications. The terms man and men are used to include both male and female.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Joseph Smith wrote, “All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and of death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject. Could we read and comprehend all that has been written from the days of Adam, on the relation of man to God and the angels in a future state, we should know very little about it. Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. Knowledge of these things can only be obtained by experience through the ordinances of God set forth for that purpose. Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.

“We are only capable of comprehending that certain things exist, which we may acquire by certain fixed principles. If men would acquire salvation, they have got to be subject, before they leave this world, to certain rules and principles, which were fixed by an unalterable decree before the world was.

“The disappointment of hopes and expectations at the resurrection would be indescribably dreadful.

“The organization of the spiritual and heavenly worlds, and of spiritual and heavenly beings, was agreeable to the most perfect order and harmony: their limits and bounds were fixed irrevocably, and voluntarily subscribed to in their heavenly estate by themselves, and were by our first parents subscribed to upon the earth. Hence the importance of embracing and subscribing to principles of eternal truth by all men upon the earth that expect eternal life.”—History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 50.

The single most important object in the life of every person should be to seek the kingdom of God and eternal life. “33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6) “5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6)

This salvation requires us to worship the true and living God of Israel, honor Jesus as the literal seed of David and our Savior, obey the gospel of Christ, and live by the law of God. “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17)

“16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” ( Rom. 1) Both Jesus, and the Apostles after His resurrection, taught the same gospel. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3) “8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1)

“37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2)

“1 Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.” (Deut. 11) “3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5)

The kingdom of heaven is not entirely unlike those of man. Or, more accurate, man has recognized an order for society which resembles the order of the house of God. First, there must be a head. Second, there must be laws to govern the kingdom. Third, there must be officers to administer the laws and care for the welfare of the kingdom. All men are born in the flesh alien to the kingdom of God . Fourth, men become citizens in the kingdom of God through obedience to the gospel. They can retain this membership only by remaining faithful and obedient to the law of God.

ALL officers of the kingdom of God must be called and ordained of God to either the Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood, or the Melchisedec Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood was first administered under Moses. The Melchisedec Priesthood was first held by Adam. Adam could not have been a Lawgiver without holding the Melchisedec Priesthood. It was originally called the order of the Sons of God. For various reasons, God changed the name to the Melchisedec Priesthood. Melchisedec is believed by some to be Shem, the first born son of Noah. “1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem , priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.” (Heb. 7)

Only God holds authority to call men to the priesthood; and only one properly ordained holds divine authority to ordain another. “Thou shalt not take upon thyself the honour of the Priesthood; neither shalt thou confer this honour on any but him whom the Lord they God shall call. For no man shall administer in the name of God, but he that is called by the revelation of God’s will, and set apart by the hands of those upon whom the authority of his name is sealed.” (Book of the Law, p. 163)

Not even Jesus was exempt from this law. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5)

Aaron was called by prophecy through Moses. Every officer in the kingdom of heaven must be called by the spirit of prophesy and ordained by one holding that priesthood. “10 …for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19) Paul told his son Timothy, “14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4)

The Melchisedec Priesthood was held from Adam to Abraham, by Isaac, Jacob, and his sons. It was lost to Israel during the 400 years captivity in Egypt . Moses restored the Melchisedec Priesthood; as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver to Israel . It was lost again about 400 years before Jesus; and was restored by Jesus. Jesus was an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like unto Moses. “22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3)

Holding this highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood, Jesus held and established all other officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 FOR the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 TILL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)

The purpose of these officers in the kingdom is “for the perfecting of the saints” and “work of the ministry.” In other words, no one can either preach the gospel, or administer the saving ordinances of the gospel, without holding one of these offices. “22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1) “7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name [authority] in vain.” (Ex. 20)

No alien can become a citizen of the United States without a proper naturalization through one authorized by the government. A person may believe the U.S. is the place for him, and desire it above all others; but, without one duly authorized to perform the necessary ceremony, none can become citizens. A person may believe in the President; but that has no bearing on his citizenship. The same is true for the kingdom of heaven. Without the Melchisedec Priesthood and administration of the proper ordinances, none can enter the kingdom of heaven.

Before Jesus began His ministry, He went to John for baptism of water. John, as a Priest of the Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood, held divine authority to baptize with water; but not of the Spirit. “11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3)

After His baptism, forty days in the wilderness, and being tempted of Satan, “angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt. 4:11) What did they minister? Jesus was called of God and ordained as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Holding this higher office, He also held all lower offices; including that of High Priest. After receiving authority from God, “from that time Jesus began to preach.” (Matt. 4:17) “38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10)

Jesus then called and ordained the twelve Apostles. “14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3) This ordination to the Melchisedec Priesthood empowered them with divine authority to preach the gospel, administer baptism of water and the Spirit, and have their works recorded in the book of life. “19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16) “5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3)

Jesus and the Apostles called and ordained High Priests (Evangelists) and Elders (Pastors). It takes seventy to form a quorum of Elders that are sent to travel and preach the gospel. “1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10) Jesus appointed at least a hundred and forty such Elders.

This same organization of officers continued after Jesus. Peter was called and ordained as Apostle, Prophet, and head of the people. “17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21)

Matthias was called to fill the place in the Twelve held by Judas (Acts 1:26 ). Paul was called to fill the vacancy left by Peter. Peter addressed his epistles to the church; where Paul addressed his to churches within his jurisdiction. The twelve called Elders to preach the gospel and stand as pastors to the various branches of the church. “23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14)

As noted by Paul in Hebrews, only those called of God by the spirit of prophesy and ordained by one holding that priesthood are recognized by God. He reminded his son of the same. “14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4)

The most basic duty of every member of the Melchisedec Priesthood is to preach the gospel of Christ and administer its ordinances. Jesus quoted from the book of Esaias, “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed [ordained] me to preach the gospel to the poor; he [the Father] hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (Luke 4) The Apostle Paul wrote, “18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power [authority] in the gospel.” (1 Cor. 9) Any man who is paid for preaching the gospel is not a minister sent of God.

The first principle of the gospel is faith in the true and living God of Israel; and in Jesus Christ. “6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11) “12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [Jesus] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4)

Gospel faith is realized only through the preaching of one who holds divine authority to baptize into the kingdom. “14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ( Rom. 10)

The laws of God specify the requirements for membership in the kingdom. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3) Even Jesus had to be baptized to enter the kingdom. Only those holding the Melchisedec Priesthood have authority from God to baptize with both water and the Spirit.

Members of the kingdom of heaven are promised eternal life in the kingdom, if they remain faithful to the law of God throughout their mortal lives. “7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.” ( Rom. 2) “13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24)

After death their spirits dwell with Abraham and all other members of the kingdom until their resurrection. All others are taken to the spirits in prison (hell). Saints of God are the first to be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body. Many were resurrected after Jesus. They are promised life on the earth after it is restored to its original glory as a paradise for the Sabbath of Creation—the Millennium. All others must wait to be resurrected until the thousand years are over (Rev. 20).

Here is the hope of all members of the kingdom of heaven. Here is the time when the kingdoms of man cease; and Jesus stands as King over the whole earth. “25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job 19) “6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20)

After the Millennium, Satan is “loosed out of his prison” for a short season. The nations of the world are gathered for war and, “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Mortal man comes to an end; and the rest of mankind are resurrected and stand before the judgment bar of God. Then there is to be a “new heaven and a new earth;” and the earth enters its final celestial glory and the saints inherit the earth for eternity with the Father and the Son (See Rev. 20 – 22).

“3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son… 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” (Rev. 21)

Those who have not believed and obeyed the gospel of Christ cannot inherit the kingdom of God on the earth. Other places have been prepared. “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14) “40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 15) Although the lowest glory in eternity compares as a star with the sun, it will be more glorious than the mortal mind can comprehend.

ONLY A FEW

Adam taught his children the ways of God; but, even among Adam’s children, man divided into those who were willing to live their lives according to the will and law of God, and those who rebelled and followed their own will and pleasures. Cain was the first example of mortal man rebelling against the law of God. From that first generation came a division in mankind. “1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,” (Gen. 6)

Members of the kingdom of heaven were first called sons of God. All others were called sons of men. After the flood they were called Gentiles (also translated heathen). Saints of God will continue to be known as sons of God. “12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1)

Saints of God are those that worship the only true and living God, honor Jesus as the literal son of David and their Savior, obey the gospel of Christ, and remain faithful and obedient to the laws of God throughout the rest of their lives. After the flood, the distinction between saints and sinners was acknowledged when Abraham was made the father of all saints of God. “3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12) “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ… 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3) All other men are known as Gentiles.

There have always been only a few saints of God. Most men never enter the kingdom of heaven during mortal life. Man has generally been determined to follow his own will and pursue the delights of the world. When man departs from loving the true and living God, and obeying His will and laws, he separates himself from communication with God; and the door to the kingdom is soon closed. “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)

This division of man, between saints and sinners, was primarily the product of the works of man during his first estate; as spirits. We all lived together as spirits before the foundation of the earth. “13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3)

Spiritual opportunities in this life are the result of works in the spirit. “7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38) Lucifer’s rebellion caused him, and a third of the spirits of this creation, to be cast down—never to receive a physical body. The works of only a few loyal spirits (sons of God) provided them with an opportunity to know God, obey the gospel of Christ, and become members of the kingdom while in the flesh.

“4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1)

Nine generations after Adam, mankind had almost entirely departed from the will of God. Only Noah and his family remained faithful. The average lifetime of men during the time from Adam to Noah was over eight hundred years. As the flood came only a thousand years after the fourth generation was born, it is easy to conclude that most of the people born in the time before the flood were still alive at the time of the flood. How few saints there must have been among the people from Adam to Noah? Only Noah and his family of eight survived.

There is to be a similar circumstance at the time Jesus returns. “26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” (Luke 17) Jesus will soon return, “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1) “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) “8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18) “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentile] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1)

Abraham was born in the meridian of time between Adam and Jesus in 2052 BC. He lived with Noah and Shem for thirty-nine years in the land of King Nimrod in Babylon . God commanded him to separate himself and his family from the unbelievers of his day. “1 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12)

Abraham became the father of the elect people of God. This covenant was passed to his son Isaac, and to his grandson Jacob. Jacob had twelve sons who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel . Jacob was renamed Israel by God. The two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, were blessed by Jacob with his sons; and all were united as the House of Israel. At the time Israel entered Egypt they numbered only seventy.

Israel departed from the Lord during the four hundred years of captivity in Egypt . God called Moses as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver to restore the Prophetic Office, bring delivery to Israel , order to the house of God, and open the door to the kingdom of heaven. “2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” (1 Cor. 10)

Moses ordained Joshua a lesser Apostle and Prophet to be the head of the people of God after his death. “18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. 22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: 23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Num. 27) God called various Prophets to stand at the head of the people of God from Moses to Malachi.

The house of Israel divided a year after the death of Solomon. The tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and half the tribe of Manasseh became known as Judah . The other ten tribes became known as Israel . In 720 BC, Israel was taken captive into Assyria ; and has never been heard from again. They are mentioned in 2 Esdras 13:40, in the Apocrypha. In 588 BC, Judah was taken captive into Babylon ; and then released seventy years later.

From the time of the kings, the house of Israel continued to drift further from the will of God; until about four hundred years before Jesus, when Judah lost the Melchisedec Priesthood, God no longer spoke to them, and the door to the kingdom of heaven was closed.

Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood, opened a new dispensation of the gospel, provided communication with God, brought order to the house of God, and opened the door to the kingdom of heaven. The Jews once again had the opportunity to become the people of God. Again, they would not. They were cut off and the Gentiles were grafted in.

Jesus had forbidden the Apostles to take the gospel to the Gentiles; until the times of the Jews had been fulfilled. A dispensation of the gospel was then given to the Gentiles. “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16)

Paul noted that Gentiles were brought into the kingdom only because the Jews had rejected it; but, warned, “lest he also spare not thee.” Paul foretold of the time when the Gentiles would reject the authority of God; even as the Jews before them. The natural branches were to be grafted back in after the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled. Israel will once again become the people of God.

“20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” ( Rom. 11)

The Gentile Christians began returning to their pagan traditions even before the end of the Apostles. The Apostle Paul warned that before the return of Jesus there would be a falling away—an apostasy of the Gentiles. “3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition… 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2 Thess. 2) Paul was martyred in 69 AD.

John was the last Prophet and head of the church. Jesus offered a final warning through him to the Gentiles in the second and third chapters of Revelation. “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 were commanded to repent and do their first works (baptism). They failed. If they had not apostatized, there would have been a continuous line of Prophets among the Gentiles; even as there had been among the house of Israel from Moses until Malachi.

God did not stop speaking to them because they had become righteous; but, because they had returned to their pagan traditions and the pleasures of the world. It is man who severs communication with God through a lack of faith and disobedience. “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)

There were several centuries when, most likely, a remnant of the saints remained. By the time the final form of the beast in Revelation was organized–the Papacy in 570 AD–Satan had gained control over ALL the souls of man. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME THEM: and power was given him over ALL kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13:7)

Scripture, ecclesiastical history, and church leaders have noted this apostasy of the Gentiles and return to their pagan origins. “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God.” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4)

The Church of England in the “Homily Against Peril of Idolatry,” first published about the middle of the sixteenth century, admitted of the great Christian apostasy. “So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom– a horrible and most dreadful thing to think– have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more.”

John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, commented on the decay of the Christian faith. Among his writings about the gifts of the Holy Ghost is found, “The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church–because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left.” (John Wesley’s Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)

For 1,260 years not one person was to enter the kingdom of heaven. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” (Rev. 13:5) The Church of Christ was to be taken from the earth for 1,260 years. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” (Rev. 12:6) During these 1,260 years, Satan was to have complete power over the souls of mankind (570 to 1830).

The Reformation attempted to return the church to some form of its original purity. Unfortunately, you cannot get good fruit from a bad tree. “16 Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 7) The Melchisedec Priesthood had been lost; and could only be restored by God.

This Reformation is noted by John. “15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Rev. 13) Only Protestants can fulfill this prophesy of an image of the beast. To emphasize that the Catholic Church was Mystery, Babylon the Great, the King James Version capitalized those words. “5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17:5) Granting that the Catholic Church is Mystery, Babylon the Great, we must ask, “who are the harlots.” They can only be those churches who derived their doctrines out of the Catholic Church. The Reformation churches continued to worship the god of Babylon (adopted by Constantine for the Christian church), usurped the authority of God, and honored “the venerable day of the sun.” The result was a minor reformation; but, the underlying evil remained.

ENTER JOSEPH SMITH

God promised the Gentiles they would be given a final opportunity, in the last days, to enter the kingdom and live by His law. The gospel would be preached to the Gentiles one last time; but, as a witness against them. “And 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)

Only a heavenly restoration of the original pure doctrines and gospel of Christ, with the Melchisedec Priesthood, could restore the Church of Christ and the original order of the house of God. After the 1,260 years, there was to be another Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver called and ordained of God to establish a new dispensation of the gospel and divine authority. “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) The gospel would only be preached to every nation, if every nation had already lost it.

Joseph Smith has been the only man to claim such a restoration. His teachings are evidence of his divine calling. Joseph was called of God, the same as Moses and Jesus before him, to the Melchisedec Priesthood; as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. He opened a new dispensation of the gospel, restored divine authority and the gospel, and opened the door to the kingdom of heaven. God once again spoke with man. The Church of Christ was organized according to the freedom of religion provision of the Constitution on April 6, 1830 , exactly 1,260 years after the establishment of the final form of the beast–Papal Rome in 570 AD.

Through Joseph Smith the house of God was set in order. All of the officers of the kingdom, that were in the church during the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles, were called and ordained according to the law of God. The gospel was again taken to the world. Jesus noted, “20 …The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15) And so they did. The persecutions of the Mormons are some of the blackest pages in the history of this country. They were driven from Kirtland , Ohio , Independence , Missouri , Nauvoo , Illinois , and Beaver Island , Michigan , solely on the basis of their devout life style and religious beliefs.

Joseph Smith was taken into the protective custody of the governor of Illinois ; when more false charges were brought against him by his enemies with the intent to kill him. While in jail, the governor’s forces retreated, the mob took over the jail, and both Joseph and his brother Hiram were murdered. As this assassination was under the protective cloak of the governor of Illinois , the murderers were never punished.

ENTER JAMES J. STRANG

Joseph had given several revelations that he was going be taken from the earth; but, before his death, he would appoint “another” to stand at the head and continue communication with God. “4 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)

At the very hour of Joseph’s death on June 27, 1844 –400 miles away–James J. Strang was ordained at the hands of angels; as Joseph’s successor. The letter from Joseph appointing James, and confirming his death, arrived on July 9th.

Brigham Young, on the other hand, claimed that Joseph’s place would never be filled. For two and half years he tried to stand at the head of the people as head of the twelve Apostles. He was never ordained a Prophet (Kirtland Council Record Book, p. 72). In December, 1847, he admitted that only a Prophet can stand at the head of the Church of Christ , called a general conference, and was elected by the vote of the people to be their Prophet and First President. Brigham Young admitted on several occasions that he was never called and ordained to the Prophetic Office. “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)

James continued to provide communication with God, gave the will of God through revelations, translated the most valuable book of Scripture, and wrote hundreds of pages of instruction on the order of the kingdom and the will of God.

Sadly, the Gentiles were to depart once again from the will of God; and the dispensation of the gospel would be taken from them, as it had been taken from the Jews almost two thousand years earlier. The saints were given numerous commandments; which they failed to obey; because they would not seek first the kingdom of God —their first love remained their own will and the delights of the world, “if you are not one, you are none of mine.” They were commanded to gather as one; and have all things in common. This has been a law to the people of God since the days of Abraham. “4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18) They would not.

James was shot by assassins on June 16, 1856 . He was returned to Burlington , Wisconsin , where he died on July 9, 1856 . His murderers were protected aboard the U.S. Steamer Michigan. They were given a mock trial and set free.

All of the promises to the Gentiles were conditioned with an “if.” “And 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, but will hearken unto them to do the things which they shall speak unto them, and keep the words of the Lord, and his commandments to do them, then will he exalt the nation and establish it.” (Revelation of James, August 25, 1846) The Gentiles rebelled against God and murdered both prophets. God no longer speaks directly to the Gentiles.

“4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 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)

“11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8)

The gospel had been preached to the Gentiles, and the door to the kingdom of heaven opened to them, for the last time.   Jesus prophesied, “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) The gospel was not to be accepted by the Gentiles; but rejected, and would serve as a witness against them.

Joseph Smith and James J. Strang were not just coincidences in history; but, the fulfillment of the plan of God to offer the approbation of the kingdom of heaven to all men a second time before His return. But, as in the days of Noah, men are determined to live by their own will; and in so doing, severe the ties that bind men with God.

TIMES OF THE GENTILES

The times of the Gentiles to receive a dispensation of the gospel came in two parts. First, they received the gospel and Melchisedec Priesthood after the Jews rejected it. Last, they received it again after Satan had complete control over the souls of men for 1260 years.

Joseph prophesied of the failure of the Gentile dispensation. “28 And when the times of the Gentiles is come in [under Joseph Smith], 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.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 45)

Jesus gave the time. “24 And they [the Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled…32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21)

This prophesy of Jesus was fulfilled in 1967. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman Army in 70 AD. It remained trodden down of the Gentiles from that time until 1967. After the six day war, Jerusalem was no longer trodden down of the Gentiles. The last forty year Biblical generation, that will witness the return of Jesus, was opened. In 1997, thirty years later, the birth star of Abraham was seen by more people than any previous comet. It was called comet Hale-Bopp. It appears to have marked the beginning of the final decade before the return of Jesus.

There is to be a very small remnant of the last Gentile dispensation that will live to see the return of Jesus. “8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom , and we should have been like unto Gomorrah .” (Isa. 1)

“8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion , unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion [ July 8, 1850 ]; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem . 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Micah 4)

HARVEST DISPENSATION

Even as the dispensation was taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles, it was taken from the Gentiles to be returned to Israel . Jesus will not return to Rome , London , or New York . He will return to His own elect people, gather them from every place they are scattered, establish them above all the nations of the world, and live and reign with them for the Sabbath of Creation. “37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Jer. 32)

“25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” ( Rom. 11)

“14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 15 But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. 16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” (Jer. 16)

“37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: 39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. 41 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. 42 For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.” (Jer. 32)

What will happen to the Gentiles who expect to be caught up in an imaginary Rapture? Paul told the Thessalonians that those who were alive at that time, and obeyed the gospel, would be raised from their graves and meet Jesus in the clouds. “17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4) This was not a reference to men living two thousand years later.

The Gentiles will suffer even as they made Jesus and the elect of God suffer. Egypt took Israel captive. What happened to ancient Egypt ? Assyria took Israel captive. Where is that mighty empire today? Babylon took Israel captive. The remnants of this once mighty empire are still being found in the deserts of Iraq . Rome murdered over ninety percent of the people of Judea ; and took the rest captive into what became the ten kingdoms of Europe . Where is that mighty empire today?

The government of the United States participated in the murder of the two latter day Prophets of God: Joseph Smith and James J. Strang. The Governor of Illinois actually issued an extermination order against the Mormons. Some were murdered; and all were driven from their homes in the middle of winter and their property stolen. Joseph appealed to the Congress of the United States for equal protection under the law. Their appeal was ignored.

They settled in Nauvoo , Illinois (south of St. Louis ); and built one of the most prosperous towns in the country. Their dedicated religious lives did not agree with the ruffians that lived on the western frontiers of this country. Governor Ford of Illinois allowed the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum; while under his protective custody. Their murderers were never punished. He then permitted the expulsion of the Mormons from Illinois ; and the robbery of their property based solely on religious discrimination.

On April 6, 1850 , James J. Strang wrote a “Testimony to the Nation” pleading for equal protection under the law. “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 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?”

James also offered his blood as a testimony for the gospel of Christ; and against a country of presumed religious freedom. The United States Steamer Michigan assisted in his murder, took his assassins to Beaver Island , protected them after their murderous deed, and returned them to the mainland for a mock trial and release. Will God hold this country harmless when He has destroyed every nation that caused Israel to suffer? “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21)

“15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen [gentile] drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1)

JOSEPH SMITH AND JAMES J. STRANG

  In that day, “when my work shall commence among all my people,” James will stand as a Deliverer for the people of God. “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 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. 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.” (Ordination of James, Book of the Law, p. 171)

James will also stand as a Judge and Destroyer. “13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.” (Micah 4)

The teachings of Joseph Smith and James J. Strang are unique among all Christian churches. They claimed a restoration of the gospel and Melchisedec Priesthood. The order of the kingdom was the same as that established by Jesus, “Till we all come in unity of the faith.” Their teachings were identical to those of all the prophets of God. They taught of the true and living God of Israel, the Melchisedec Priesthood, the original gospel of Christ, and the law and will of God. Their works were not just historical coincidence; as the lives of other Christian church leaders. They had missions that were essential to the plan of salvation. The Gentiles had to be offered the gospel one last time. The Bible prophesied of their works; and ecclesiastical history proves the truth of their missions.

A very small remnant of the daughter of Zion , that holds the Melchisedec Priesthood, remains. Any hope of escaping the desolation that is about to come upon the world is possible only through that ministry. Jesus will soon return, “8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1)

Chapter TWO: JAMES J. STRANG: THE MAN

James J. Strang was a somewhat of an ordinary man born in 1813, of a respectable family.  He had little formal education; but, was able through self-study to become a lawyer of some distinction.  His normal life was turned around after he became convinced of the truth of Mormonism in 1844, was baptized and confirmed by Joseph Smith, and ordained an elder under the hands of Hyrum Smith.  On June 27, 1844, he claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels to the same office of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver held by Joseph.  On July 9, 1844, he received the official Letter of Appointment from Joseph–written in accordance with the laws of God that had already been given.  This was the first news of the death of Joseph.  Under command of God, he gathered those saints who understood the law of God to Voree, near Burlington, Wisconsin.  His life was meager at best.  In 1850, God declared Beaver Island as a stake of Zion; and the gathering place for the saints.  They endured the most terrible persecutions from the whiskey traders in Mackinac.  James and many saints were arrested, detained in Detroit, and found innocent of all charges.  The continued strife that existed due to the devout life style of the Strangites ended in the assassination of James on June 16, 1856.  He died on July 9, 1856.

LIFE OF JAMES
CHARACTER OF JAMES
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JAMES J. STRANG

Life of James

James was born on March 21, 1813 , in Scipio , New York . In his Autobiography, he wrote, “My parentage was decidedly respectable.” He described his childhood as “painful, and at this day I am utterly unable to comprehend the feeling of those who look back with pleasure on their infancy, and regret the rapid passing away of childhood… I learn from many sources that in childhood I exhibited extraordinary mental imbecility.”

In 1816, his family moved to Hanover , New York ; where they remained for twenty years. “There I grew up, and around that place cluster nearly all the recollections, pleasant and painful, of my childhood and youth.” He attended grade school until he was twelve years old, “but the terms were usually short… I estimate my attendance during the whole period as equal to six month’s steady attendance with health for study.”

Those associated with James were evidently unable to recognize the genius that lay just under the surface. Strang’s mental abilities, at an early age, are evident from his Autobiography. He recalled “my mother carrying me in her arms, nursing me, and conversing with her sister about me.” He recalled, from the age of seventeen months, his father’s residence “so perfectly in memory that after twenty year’s absence I was able to recognize the location in riding through.” Even as an infant he pondered questions that adults could not understand. “My mind wandered over fields that old men shrink from, seeking rest and finding none till darkness gathered thick around and I burst into tears and cried aloud, and with a voice scarcely able to articulate told my mother that my head ached.”

Although lacking in formal education, James continued an exhaustive self-study program. He was admitted as a competent lawyer to the bar at age twenty-three. James became a postmaster, lawyer, editor, and publisher. On November 20, 1836 , he married Mary Perce, the daughter of a Baptist minister. They had four children: Myraette, Mary, William, and Hattie. In 1843, he moved with his family to Burlington , Wisconsin , and started practicing law.

His life was turned about in early 1844. His brother-in-law, Benjamin, joined the Mormon Church. Moses Smith, a highly respected member of the church, visited Burlington . The extreme interest generated by this visit caused him to return with Aaron Smith on foot some 400 miles in the middle of winter, in February, 1844, to Nauvoo , Illinois –the gathering place of the Mormons.

On February 25, he was baptized by water and the Spirit by Joseph Smith. On March 3, he was ordained an Elder by Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph and Patriarch to the church. As Hyrum laid his hands upon James’ head, he prophesied, “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.”

Joseph gave James a charge to search out the land around Burlington . James wrote a report on the area; and mailed it to Joseph on May 24. He suggested the area around Burlington for a Stake of the church; because of its climate, water supply, farm land, manufacturing potential, and availability to the Great Lakes . His answer was written on June 18—the day Joseph appointed him to be the next Prophet and head of the people, in accordance with the laws of God. “4 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.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 43) On this same day James received a vision in which he saw the area as a thriving community and himself at some future time, “surrounded by wise men and counselors and priests and eloquent orators.”

On June 27, 1844 , Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered in Carthage Jail; while under the protective custody of the Governor of Illinois. At the same hour, some 400 miles away, in Burlington , Wisconsin , James claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver–as Joseph’s successor. For almost two weeks James taught of this appointment, without any knowledge of the death of Joseph.

The letter of appointment arrived in Burlington on July 9, 1844 , in which Joseph prophesied of his coming death and appointed James as his successor. Thus began the difficult and trying work of James the Apostle, Prophet, Lawgiver, Seer, Revelator, and Translator like unto Moses.

From 1844, until 1850, James worked to gather the saints to the new Stake of Zion called Voree—near Burlington . Interpreted, Voree, means “ Garden of Peace .” The saints who gathered to Voree were promised by God “if they will diligently serve me, and give heed unto all my words,” not to be persecuted. Although they were not persecuted by the Gentiles in Voree, they faced considerable dissension from the followers of Brigham Young and others from among their own ranks.

When the people failed to abide by the commandments to gather and be as one, and to build the Tower of Strength and Temple , the gathering was moved by commandment of God to Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan . James, with four other saints, first investigated Beaver Island in 1847. “They tell us that Strang’s object in pretending to be a prophet is, to live at his ease, upon the luxuries of the earth. They talk to us of his being rich,& c., &c. Talk not thus to me. I happen to be somewhat acquainted with the gent. And I am well persuaded from personal acquaintance that few men live poorer or endure more privations and hardships than this same Mormon prophet does. And that too without the least murmur or complaint. Well do I remember of this reputed rich man making a breakfast of cold water and bread, and that mixed up by uninitiated hands, and baked before a fire out of doors. And, to use a com­mon expression, would make good whetstones. And after having taken off the only pair of pants that he had, and mending them for half or three-fourths of an hour, then starting in company with myself for the purpose of ex­ploring the Island.

“It was through beech forests and cedar swamps, and cedar swamps and beech forests again that we traveled. Thus we traveled until near night, when we started for home. I soon became quite weary, but still pressed onward. Night soon overtook us, when, although a young man just in the prime of life, I rolled down in the sand and boldly avowed that I could go no further. So we encamped for the night, without either dinner or supper, fire or cover other than the broad canopy of the heav­ens.

“Here we lay until some time past midnight , when I was laying awake nearly stiff with the cold, I was saluted with the well known voice of the prophet inquiring if I was not sufficiently rested so that I could proceed. I replied that there was but two alternatives, to either go or freeze. So on we went, and arrived at the cabin about sun rise. We eat the last bread we had for breakfast, making about half a meal. All this did the prophet unmurmuringly submit to, for not a syllable of complaint did I hear from him. You may inquire why it was that we had no more to eat. It was ear­ly in the spring, and there had not as yet any provisions arrived. Consequently all on the Island were just out, and there was none here to be had.

“The foregoing I have merely given for the information of those who suppose that the prophet lives at his ease, and upon the fat of the land, being furnished by his followers with an overabundance of everything to insure his comfort and ease; hoping at the same time that those who are disposed when they arrive here now, under ten times as disparaging circum­stances, yet found murmuring and complaining, may derive some valuable hints therefrom.­–Could they but have been here from the start, and continued until now, they would be ready to exclaim:­–

“If nature’s blessings can satisfy the human breast. Most assuredly the sons of Beaver are greatly blest.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 4, No. 158, p. 236/824)

Life on Beaver Island was an almost continual harassment by excommunicated Mormons and Gentiles alike. Opposition against the Mormons was centered in Mackinac. The fire of persecution was kept burning by the illegal Indian whiskey trade. The Light House and Post Office was called Whiskey Point. The ruffians, mostly Irish fishermen, gathered there to replenish their supply of whiskey. They gathered and continually harassed the saints. The saints were met with abusive language and physical violence every time they went to pick up their mail. James noted, “No fact can be more certain than that throughout the United States there is no legal protection to a Mormon.” (Northern Islander, April 13, 1851).

A new persecution began under the leadership of the O’Malley clique with the aid of Sheriff Granger of Mackinac County . Criminal warrants were issued against thirty-eight of the saints. To serve these warrants the Sheriff used, “a posse of 30 intoxicated Indians and eight or ten drunken Irishmen armed with guns.” The villainous story is told in the May 1, 1851 , Northern Islander.

The dire condition of the saints is exemplified in the Northern Islander of April 3, 1851 . “Mr. Strang and various others, including all the principal men among the Mormons, live in the continual consciousness that there are men around them seeking their lives; and that, should they be killed, the murderers would never be brought to justice by the authorities of the State.”

The persecutors of Mackinac swore not to rest until all the Mormons were either driven from the island, or destroyed. To affect this horrible act, they invented various charges by which they could have the men on the island taken to Detroit for trial. About 100 men and women were involved in the trial, which lasted over six weeks; and included the most grievous charges. The story from the July 24, 1851 , Northern Islander follows.

“IMPRISONMENT OF THE PROPHET, AND MANY OF THE SAINTS.

“On the 24th day of May last the U. S. war steamer Michigan, with a large number of civilians and a full compliment of men and arms, came into this place charged with the duty of arresting the prophet and some thirty of the saints, who were accused of every crime known to the laws of the Union, from treason to building a camp fire on a naked beach, with sticks of dry wood which grew on Congress land.

“Disappointed at meeting with no resistance, and finding no hostile array, they finally determined on taking nobody but James J. Strang, Joseph Ketcham, Finley Page, and William Townsend. Mr. Strang became bail for four others, and all the rest were discharged.

“At Detroit , where the prisoners were taken, fourteen bills of indictment were found against Mr. Strang, and thirty persons in all were indicted. The proceedings were kept up incessantly until the 8th of July, when a verdict was rendered in favor of thirteen defendants, and they were discharged. This decision also discharged ten others, who had not been taken into custody, and in effect overthrows the whole prosecution.

“Pending these proceedings sixteen others were arrested and taken to Mackinac, charged with murder, whose only fault was assisting an officer in the execution of process in a case of violent and dangerous resistance, and under the imperative direction of the law officer of the State.—Fourteen of these are yet (July 23d) in custody, but it is thought they will soon be discharged.

“Several other arrests have been made on various pretences, but in every case the parties have been set free. During these proceedings the policy has been openly avowed, by our enemies, of continuing the arrests, until they took off all the men, and then to drive off and destroy their families. But this attempt has signally failed. We are rapidly returning, while others of our brethren are gathering up, and the legal redress which we shall seek for these wrongs will tend to scatter our enemies, or gather them to their appropriate resting place at Jackson .

“In the whole course of this persecution, with perjury and falsehood without stint against us, no one has been found guilty of an offence, even on the showing of the prosecution. Generally, the defendants have introduced no witnesses, and in no case was it necessary in order to their acquittal.

“These prosecutions have been carried on with the purpose (in many cases avowed) of destroying the settlement here, but we shall outlive them all, and live to remember the authors of them.—The Lord reward them according to their works.

“The government has expended more money in this attempt to crush this infant settlement than the whole of Beaver Island would sell for. In some countries governments are instituted for the protection of the weak. We have even heard old people say that such purposes were once entertained in the United States , but we do not ourselves recollect the fact. We are inclined, however, to credit it; for we found in Detroit a righteous Judge, but he was appointed to office so long ago that we cannot remember his patron.”

“MORMON PERSECUTION.

“We are gratified in being enabled to announce a verdict of acquittal in the United States District Court, of all the defendants. We had feared that such would not be the result, notwithstanding our entire confidence in their innocence. The labored efforts made the Advertiser clique, in Detroit , to convict the defendants in advance of the trial, we had feared would have been felt in the jury box.

“The jury, we learn, was composed of ten Whigs and two Democrats, from which we infer the result to be anything but gratifying to those who have attempted to enlist the elements of political warfare for the purpose of convicting men innocent of the crime alleged against them.

“The Free Press of the 10th inst. reads the Advertiser a beautiful homily upon the impropriety of lending itself to such ‘base uses as manufacturing through its columns public opinion, to be felt in the jury box.’ We perfectly agree with the Free Press in the moral sought to be inculcated; and cannot forebear entering our solemn protest against the employment of branded and convicted felons with promises of reward, to hunt out and report the moral delinquencies of our fellow citizens, and by their own [?] to bring down their victims to a level with themselves.—St. Clair Observer.

“The trial of King Strang and other Mormons, in the U. S. Court , in Detroit , for obstructing the mail,& c., has been concluded—verdict of the Jury, not guilty.

“While we have no doubt this verdict, by an honest jury, is justified by the evidence in the case, and in strict keeping with every principle of right and justice, it could not have been otherwise than positively mortifying to the Detroit Advertiser. That paper with a great flourish of trumpets, heralded the departure of District Attorney Bates and Marshall Knox, with the U. S. war steamer to Beaver Island, to arrest Strang and his party—gave its own one-sided and bitterly prejudiced version of the affair, and to complete the matter, actually pre-judged the case and condemned the parties unheard—a step grossly abusing the license of the press, and for which no excuse can be offered. Nor did the Advertiser stop here. Thwarted in its designs to wreak vengeance on the Mormons by the verdict of an intelligent jury, it barely attacks the District Judge by insinuating that this verdict was rendered because of instructions by the court. Verily, this is a poor subterfuge to escape the indignation every man must feel for the unprecedented and unjustifiable course of the Advertiser. It is a hard lesson—may it not be in vain.— Mich. State Journal.”

With the saints having no representation under the law, James won a seat on the 1853 Michigan State Legislature. He served two terms. The Detroit Advertiser, on Feb. 10, 1853 , wrote of James, “Mr. Strang’s course as a member of the present Legislature, has disarmed much of the prejudices which have previously surrounded him. Whatever may be said or thought of the peculiar sect of which he is the local head, I take pleasure in stating that throughout this session he has conducted himself with the degree of decorum and propriety which have been equaled by his industry, sagacity, good temper, apparent regard for the true interests of the people, and the obligations of his official oath.”– Detroit Advertiser, Feb. 10, 1853

As the numbers of saints grew, the animosity of the citizens of Mackinac against the Mormons grew even stronger. Through a dismemberment of Emmet County , including Beaver Island , the saints were left without any protection under the law. The Northern Islander of June 5, 1856 , included a testimony against the persecutions, which the Mormons had faced without resistance, since the church was first organized in 1830. In this dialogue it was noted: “We have not been suffered to live with other men. Shall we not be permitted to live alone? God made the earth for all men. Of the vast all he has given us a few little islands. They are the work of his hands; not man’s. Why should man sell God’s work?

“For nine years our communities have dwelt here in peace among themselves. The few small schisms which have arisen, have yielded to the ordinary course of discipline, and the wrong doers have either amended or departed from among us, doing us very little injury, except as they were abetted by public officers, religious boobies, the newspaper press, and bands of lawless men. Yet we are pursued from day to day with continual threatening. An effort is continually made to convince us that we are to have no rest forever.

“Three times have we fled before our persecutors, because we would not repel injuries by force. We understand by the word of God that it is our duty to flee no further. We do not learn from the divine writings that it is our duty never to resist evil deeds.—The time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue.

“While men around us have for years threatened us with fire and blood, and we only asked legal justice, they have been continually commended for the forbearance, and we continually menaced with invasions, expatiation and death.

“We have ceased to take to ourselves any trouble about these matters. We have known for years what our persecutors seem so anxious to impress upon us, that, when the public vengeance is waked up the law will not protect us and that among an angry people innocence is no shield.

“We do not expect Governor or President to protect us against mobs. We live in the continual assurance that any one of us might be murdered in a neighboring county, and not a magistrate could be induced to issue process against the murderer.

“Yet we trust in God. We walk in conscious security. We laugh in bitter scorn at all these threats. And we tell these wolf hounds, marshal your myrmidons, and send them along, to make a spoil of beauty and booty, as soon as you please. We bid them a bloody welcome to hospitable graves; over which, each year, we will pile stones, with a muttered curse, against the day of the resurrection of damnation.

“We will neither purchase temporary peace and future calamities by dishonorable trafficking with political jugglers, nor will we yield our homes to enemies. If we live, here will we live. If we die, here will we die, and here shall our bones be buried, expecting in the resurrection of the just to possess the land forever, and dwell with the righteous during the lifetime of the Eternal.

“God judge between us and all men.”

On June 16, 1856 , the US Steamer Michigan docked at Beaver Island . With the help of Capt. McBlair, two apostate Mormons mortally wounded James. This black day in the history of freedom was remembered by Apostle Warren Post (included in James the Martyred Prophet). He was taken home to his parent’s home where he died on July 9, 1856 .

In 1855, James began an Autobiography; but, it was never completed. The manuscript is among the Strang Manuscripts in Yale University Library, Section A, page 1.

Autobiography of James J. Strang

“I was born March 21st, 1813 , on Poppe Ridge road, town of Scipio , Cayuga county, New York . My infancy was a period of continual sickness and extreme suffering, and I have understood that at one time I was so low as to be thought dead, and that preparations were made for my burial. All my early recollections are painful, and at this day I am utterly unable to comprehend the feeling of those who look back with pleasure on their infancy, and regret the rapid passing away of childhood. Till I had children of my own, happy in their infantile gambols, the recollection of those days produced a kind of creeping sensation akin to terror.

“My parentage was decidedly respectable. My father is a descendant of Henry de l’Estrange, who accompanied the Duke of York to the new world to conquer the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now the State of New York, and the family has ever since retained an honorable rank, and is now scattered over nearly all the States, and branches of it are found in British America and the West Indies.

“Tradition says they originally settled at New Utrecht, on Long Island , but Henry de l’Estrange, before his death, removed to the town of Rye, Westchester County, New York, where some of his descendants remained till since 1840.

“Tradition also says that my great-grandfather accompanied the first English expedition to Michilimackinac, during which he contracted a dangerous sickness, that he was sent back for medical treatment, and died on the way from the residence of Sir William Johnson to Albany. .

“He left two sons, William and Gabriel, who were brought up among their mother’s relatives, and by that means became separated from the family. They settle at a very early period at Stillwater , in Saratoga County , New York , and were lost sight of by the Strangs in the south part of New York , and on numerous genealogical trees found in that country the limb breaks off with their names.

“My father, Clement Strang, is the fifth son of Gabriel Strang.   Coming originally of a Norman stock who have continually intermarried with the Dutch and German families of the Hudson , he partakes (as I do) more of the German type than any other. Counting continually in the male line for ten generations back, our ancestors are Jews, but so large is the admixture of other blood that the Semitic type seems to be quite lost.

“My mother is of the purest Yankee stock from Rhode Island, her father, Jesse James, and her grandfather, James James, having left there about the time of her birth, and settled in Greenfield, Saratoga County, New York, where they died full of years and honors.

“My father and mother are yet living (1855), with a reasonable prospect that they may remain many years. They are both small of stature, my father being only five feet three or four inches, and mother less; of comely appearance, amiable, affectionate, charitable, remarkably industrious, skillful in labor and judicious in business, and unsullied moral and religious character. I have a brother, David Strang, two years older than myself, and a sister, Myraette Loser, five years younger, and it is a great pleasure to know that there has never been a disagreement to amount to so much as a momentary coldness between any two members of the family.

“I learn from many sources that in childhood I exhibited extraordinary mental imbecility. Indeed, if I may credit what is told me on the subject, all who knew me, except my parents, thought me scarcely more than idiotic. Several facts remain in my recollection which support this opinion. I well recollect that school teachers not unfrequently turned me off with little or no attention, as though I was too stupid to learn and too dull to feel neglect, and my school fellows did not forget to add their plight.

“I doubt not my appearance at least justified this opinion. I remember myself as little disposed to play, seldom cheerful, and scarcely ever taking the slightest interest in the plays of others. Long weary days I sat upon the floor, thinking, thinking, thinking! Occasionally asking a strange, uninfantile question and never getting an answer. My mind wandered over fields that old men shrink from, seeking rest and finding none till darkness gathered thick around and I burst into tears and cried aloud, and with a voice scarcely able to articulate told my mother that my head ached.

“During the first and part of the second year of my life my father’s residence was in that part of Scipio now included in Ledyard. He left for Manlius in August, 1815, when I was about seventeen months old, and with a singular tenacity of memory I kept that place so perfectly in memory that after twenty years’ absence I was able to recognize the location in riding through.

“To the present time the recollections of my mother carrying me in her arms, nursing me, and conversing with her sister about me, and of the road along which they walked, and the work going on by the roadside, is as distinct as the events of yesterday. It is the brightest of the few bright spots of may childhood, the only recollection of long years not accompanied with a sensation of pain.

“Until 1816 my parents remained in Manlius, my father carrying on the farm of Mr. Fleming, an extensive farmer from Maryland , who also kept a very popular tavern on the Great Western turnpike. I have very few recollections of that period beyond an ill-defined but strong attachment to several members of his family and several of the colored people he brought there, and none of them in forty years, and none of them in thirty-two. Such are the affections of childhood; at least, they are such with me.

“In February, 1816, my father removed with his family to Hanover , Chautauqua County , New York , where he remained twenty years. His first location was two miles northeast of Forestville, and three-fourths of a mile from Walnut Creek, on the east side of the road, at the four corners, but a few years of the latter portion of that period we lived on Walnut Creek flats, in the same neighborhood.

“There I grew up, and around that place cluster nearly all the recollections, pleasant and painful, of my childhood and youth.

“On our journey I remember Buffalo as a small, straggling village of thirty or forty houses, occupied as taverns and drinking shops; so crowded that it was a matter of favor to get entertainment; where the same low, open, filthy room was used for barrom, dining room and kitchen, and a few hours the latter part of the night accommodated as many drawy, drunken and tired sleepers as could lie down upon the floor.

“From Buffalo we went to the mouth of Cattaraugus Creek on the ice. Father was heavy loaded and obliged to travel slow. There had been a day or two of mild weather; the snow was melted on the ice and had already thawed many a treacherous opening, and covered with water as the ice was, it was difficult for a stranger to keep the way over the thirty miles of dreary waste of ice without a landmark.

“To secure a passage by daylight father got a man who was going with a two-horse sleigh and no load but his wife to take my mother and her two children as far as Cattaraugus. I only remember that the water sometimes came into the sleigh box, that the driver frequently jumped the horses across wide chasms in the ice, and sometimes found them so wide that he dare not cross them and went great distances around, and that my mother was terribly frightened, and hugged my brother and I to her with an almost suffocating grasp.

“I have since I was grown up frequently heard her speak of that passage as having terrified her almost to distraction, a terror much heightened by the continual quarrels and mutual profanity of the couple with whom we rode.

“We lost sight of father immediately after starting, and next saw him at Mack’s tavern, Cattaraugus. The wind got into the northwest the afternoon of the day we started, and towards night one of the worst snowstorms of that latitude came on, obliterating in a few minutes every vestige of track on the ice, filling the air so that a man could not see the length of sled and team, and rendering it utterly impossible to keep a course even for a few rods.

“This storm overtook father midway in the lake, about twenty miles above Buffalo . What he suffered and how he survived none can know, only those who have experienced a similar catastrophe.

“I only remember that my mother cried incessantly, and ever and anon clasped my brother and myself convulsively in her arms, till three days passed, when he came to us as one from the dead. Several reports of his death had reached us, some by persons who had seen his frozen body. Whether some persons had really perished and been mistaken for him, or the reports were wholly false, I do not know, but the former is probable.

“From Cattaraugus to my father’s place in the same town was then two day’s travel, though on an air line not six miles. the route was by Sheridan Center and Forestville .

“I attended school the following summer where the most moderate qualifications for teaching were satisfactory. there were but two scholars who knew the alphabet, and none who spelled “easy words of two syllables.”

“From this time till I was twelve years old I attended district school more or less every year, but the terms were usually short, the teachers inexperienced and ill qualified to teach, and my health such as to preclude attentive study or steady attendance. I estimate my attendance during the whole period as equal to six months’ steady attendance with health for study.

“My parents had good government. Their family were raised without beating. I can remember being very slightly whipped by my father twice and my mother once. My sister was raised twice and my mother once. My sister was raised without ever suffering chastisement either at home or in school, and my brother’s fortune——[Here the writing ends as if the writer had been disturbed, and never afterward had opportunity to resume the work.]”  (The Strang Manuscripts, Section A, page 1 -8)

Character of James

A most interesting description of the personal characteristics of James comes from a Phrenological Description of James J. Strang, as given by S. R. Wells on Sept. 11, 1846 ; and published in the Nov. 22, 1849 , issue of the Gospel Herald (Vol. 4, No. 36, p. 185/773).

“Your brain is quite large, full as much as you have physical power to sustain. Your mental temperament predominates, giving you a desire to exercise your brain more than your body, and hence will be liable to exhaust your strength, unless you take especial care of your health. You have more energy and activity of character than power of endurance. You have strong attachments to friends and home, yet you are fond of traveling for the sake of seeing the world and gaining knowledge. You are fond of variety and change. It is difficult for you to keep your mind on one thing long at once, but it flies from one thing to another without waiting to finish up a subject. Thus giving you versatility of talent, which enables you to attend to a variety of things without confusion.

“It would be well if you had more of this quality of mind in order to connect and com­plete your thoughts more perfectly. All your feelings are positive. You are never half way, but either the one thing or the other. You should be known among your acquaintances for your energy and perseverance, so long as you are engaged in a cause. You are never lazy, but on the contrary are apt to work too hard. You have been thrown upon your own resources, I should judge, and hence have cultivated force of character. You have a great deal of the feeling of resistance; are very fond of debate; like to take up on the opposite side for the sake of argument, if it does not come in your way otherwise, but you could not take pleasure in being unkind or injuring the feelings of another. It would be far more natural for you to relieve pain than to create it. You have less stern execut­iveness than spirit and courage.

“Your appetite is not extravagant, yet quite strong enough for your digestive apparatus. You should not use stimulus of any kind, as you are already too excitable, and they would only increase it. You are very sensitive to the opinions of others–cannot bear blame, par­ticularly from your friends–have a high sense of honor, a good deal of independence, love of liberty, and self-respect. You are very tenacious and unyielding in your views and opin­ions, after you have once decided in your own mind. You are anxious to do right and to know the truth, and then hold fast. It is easy to persuade you, but you will not be driven by anyone. You have not a miserly disposition, but want property for what it will accomplish; not to hoard up. You are frank and open hearted in the expression of your feelings–say just what you think–are sometimes too plain and blunt in your remarks, though this tendency of mind is modified by your ability to judge of the character and motives of others and adapt yourself to their peculiarities.

“Should you undertake to play the hypocrite, “lay low and keep dark,” you would very soon expose yourself in some way, for you have not tact and cunning enough to enable you to carry it out into any great speculation or enter­prise. Yet at the same time you are impulsive, and inclined to act upon the spur of the mo­ment. It is well that you have cautiousness so strongly developed in order to guard your impulsiveness. You are very much inclined to think and investigate for yourself, and form your own opinions–are quite radical in your notions, slow to believe, unless you think you have good witness. You respect persons in proportion as their conduct and talent merit it, rather than on account of wealth, station or title.

“You have some reverence for sacred things, but are not particularly devotional. You are not extravagant in your anticipation, but gen­erally realize more than you expected. You have very strong sympathies and desire to do good, and spread happiness not only around you, but on a more extensive scale, so that it may reach all human beings. You may feel a good deal of indignation for a time, but it would be contrary to your nature to be cruel or revengeful. Your principles are averse to war. You would do all your fighting with your tongue and pen. It is hard for you to say “no,” even when your judgment would dictate it, especially if a friend should ask a favor. You are fond of children or pets; are warm-hearted and ardent in your social feel­ings, fond of home and the social circle. You are not wanting in refinement of feelings, yet have not a very brilliant imagination. You appreciate the grand and sublime more than the merely beautiful. You can adapt your­self very well to the manners and customs of others, yet you have a character peculiar to yourself rather than copied from others. You have a very quick perception of the absurd and ridiculous–can enjoy jokes much, but yours are apt to be sarcastic. You could ridicule to pretty good advantage, if you should allow yourself to do so. You have better mechanical judgment than ability to execute–are not so skillful in the use of tools as many. You have a good memory of places, faces, forms and outlines, ideas and general events, but poor of details and particulars, and also of col­ors. You are very neat and systematic. You have a comprehensive mind–are capable of thinking and reasoning closely and clearly, and are very good at drawing inferences. You are more theoretical than practical. You need to cultivate the perceptive faculties in order to balance the reflections. You identify things better than you remember them. You have more ideas than capacity to communicate what you know. Your temperament is such as to make you talk rapidly, especially when ex­cited, but you have not that full, free, copious command of language that would do justice to your thoughts.

“In summing up your character I should say that the strong points were activity, energy, excitability, love of home and friends, fondness for debate, watchfulness and regard for consequences, sensitiveness and love of approbation, independence and will, love of liberty, perse­verance, sense of moral obligation, great kindness and sympathy of feelings, powers of sarcasm, ability to understand and reason, mem­ory of faces and places, love of order, judg­ment of the character and motives of others, and a faculty to win confidence and adapt your­self to circumstances. The greatest deficiency in your organization are want of strength and power of endurance, too much change and vari­ety of thoughts, too little economy and tact, a want of spirituality of mind and devotional feeling, and rather a poor memory of particu­lars. You are apt to be more injudicious in your expressions than actions. You have greater love for music than ability to execute. You should take particular care of your health, exercise enough, but guard against excesses of all kind.

“>>We publish the foregoing to gratify many friends. It is not improper to add that Mr. Wells did not know whom he was exam­ining until he had completed his work, and was not a little surprised on learning the name of his subject. The brothers Fowler separately reviewed the examination, and to the cred­it of the three Professors their results, were precisely alike. As Pres. Strang is now in the eastern States he will doubtless procure a re-examination to learn what change three years has made in his organization.”

James J. Strang was honored both by saints and enemies for his impeccable character. In one of his revelations, the Lord declared him “more patient than Job, and meeker than Moses”

John Greenhow, President of the High Priest’s Quorum, wrote, “With regard to our beloved prophet, he already triumphs over all his enemies; and whilst the enemies of God and all righteousness are lifting up their puny arms in rebellion, I assure you that it only excites his pity. Such a man (I was going to say) as Collins Pemberton does exist, who was very anxious to be known, and therefore adopted his present course, and I have taken some pains that he should be known. The character of President Strang is far above their reach, and I have all confidence in him; and no one has had a better opportunity of judging his character, both public and private, than myself, for I had the happiness of living several weeks in the same house with him, and it was seldom indeed that his labors ceased before two or three o’clock in the morning, and he was invariably up before day-light, and laboring through wet and dry for the support of his family till dark, and then commenced his writing again to YOU. While I am on this subject I hope I may be excused if I make you acquainted with one secret, that in paying for letters, finding paper, and many other trifling expenses, which I could enumerate, his family have been deprived of the comforts which you enjoy. I say no more on this subject, but pray that you may long enjoy the comforts of this life, and in the world to come life everlasting. I do verily know that God is with him, and committed a dispensation unto him. He has labored faithfully and diligently to accomplish the work which our God has given him to do.” (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 15/67)

“THE TOUR.–Pres. Strang left Voree June 8th, to visit the east­ern churches. He way absent eight weeks, and in that time trav­eled 3,860 miles, principally by steamboat and rail road, and occa­sionally by stages and on foot; attended five Conferences; preach­ed 81 sermons: laid the foundation of the Indian mission house; spent a fortnight in a most minute survey of Beaver Islands, and visited nearly all the principal places between Wisconsin and the Hudson river, and many of the principal men; and has made con­verts to the cause and friends to himself wherever he went. He has so arranged that the mission house will progress to completion this season. And to secure to the settlers the advantages of trade and commerce, he has also arranged with capitalists engaged in the lake trade to have a steamboat of staunch construction at Beaver to make trips regularly to the various ports in the north part of lake Michigan; by means of which Beaver harbor will become the center of trade for an extensive region.” (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 22, p. 91/143)

“Pres. James J. Strang, since his appointment to the prophetic of­fice, (by Pres. J. Smith,) has proved himself to be one of the most laborious, self‑denying, persevering men that the people of this the nineteenth century ever witnessed, to lay before the church his claims to the Presidency and to reform its character.

“Pres. Strang has labored by day and by night in extreme poverty, and it is not saying too much to say in hunger and rags, to redeem the church from apostacy and destruction. The fact is, there is now no excuse for any person (that has had the opportunity of reading the ‘Voree Herald’ and ‘ Zion ‘s Reveille’ for doubting or caviling any longer on the question. Who is the true President of the church?” (John E. Page, Pres. of the Twelve and the Presidents of the Seventies, Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 23, p.96/148)

“A MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM FOR OUR PRIVATE LETTER WRITERS TO ANSWER:‑-Suppose Mr. A. [James] is an officer in a church or a stake in which the interest of that community is, in a greater or less degree, invested; then suppose Mr. A. should receive four letters every day for one year, from private letter writers, and each of them required an answer immediately, and each answer would require three pages of common paper, price of paper one cent per sheet, and then add to that the probable expense of quills, ink and wafers; and then add to the bill of expenses one dollar per day for the time of writing‑-what would be the amount of the whole expense of Mr. A. for one year for letter writing in answering private correspondents? Four let­ters per day, 1,460 letters; each letter three pages of foolscap, 12 pages per day, 4,380 pages per year; price of paper per year, $14,60; one dollar per day for writing $365,00.

Then consider Mr. A. [James] has no salary for his official services, and as for his private estate he has neither lands, houses, cattle, herd or money at interest, or on hand. After you have solved thee above complex problem then answer the most difficult question of all‑-how is Mr. A. to support himself and family, when his wife wants a dress or a pair of shoes or any other article common for life, or when his children cry for bread, how is he to obtain it for them? What a fine thing it would be if Mr. A. could shoulder the whole world and carry them all to heaven on his own expense entire‑-yes, verily!” (John E. Page, Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 25, p. 104/156)

“HERE WE ARE.

“Yes, here we are, seated in a rough board shanty only twelve feet square, and that set in a hole dug in the ground for the want of means to make a warm house above ground. And who cares any thing about that? O, no body, as we know of. Our Savior said, when he lived among the proud and covetous on this earth, “that he had not WHERE to lay his head.” Ho also said, “the servant should not be above his Lord.” Jesus says again, “except a man deny himself, and take up his cross daily, he cannot be my disciple.”–­How thrilling the thought, that men, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who profess to believe in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the word of God given through his prophets Joseph Smith and James J. Strang, which all go to confirm the doctrinal fact that the generation has now come that shall not all pass away before the Lord of glory shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire and burn up all the proud, the covetous idol­aters, and all that do wickedly, with all of these unbelieving and equally disobedient offsprings, that there shall not be left of them root or branch to encumber the heritage of God.

“With these facts so plainly delineated before the eyes of men, and clear as language can make them, yet there are some on whom a kind providence has lavished more than a mere competence of this world’s goods, who will quietly look on and leave the faithful, tried servants of God to live on less and coarser fare than what their horses or cattle do. If this was not a fact we would not say it, and was it not for the cause of God and his eternal truth’s sake we would not say it at all. Oh! false hearted! Oh! hypocrite! Oh! idolater! How do you expect to escape the damnation of HELL!

“We realize the importance of our calling and station in this last dispensation, in which God has placed us, and not ourselves.–­There are many no doubt who are still following the old fashioned custom of the world of by-gone time, which is to lay up in store a goodly supply for posterity to enjoy when you are dead and gone. ­But let me tell you in great plainness that the time is near at hand that it shall be with you and your posterity as it was to the antedi­luvians when Noah had finished the ark and himself, wife and chil­dren had entered into it and God shut them in, only this difference, your destruction will be by fire sent down from heaven, while their (the antediluvians) was by water, What then will avail all the accumulated wealth of the wicked who withhold their substance from the servants of God, who are called to build a place of deliverance for the righteous, viz., Mount Zion, according to the word of Cod.

“We are often asked the question, brother Page, when are you go­ing out to preach again? In point of strength and constitution of body we are about 331/3 percent, when compared with most other men who engage in common labor for a living; that is to say, in six days we can earn the wages of two days work, which is about $1,50. When, by this scanty income, I call supply my wife and children with dally bread and can lay up in store enough for them to subsist upon a few weeks in my absence, if God please, we shall then go out, and tell the church and the world to repent of all their ungodliness, worldly lush, and COVETOUSNESS, WHICH is IDOLATRY. Besides the above, my wife must have a pair of shoes so that she can go to meeting, for at present she cannot for the want of them; and more, my children must have somc winter clothes and shoes that they may go to school, and especially to our Sunday school taught by Pres. Strang. Ah ! that is the place for our chil­dren to unlearn sectarian thinkso’s, maybeso’s,& c., and learn the knowledge of things as they are. Now, reader, draw your own conclusion when we shall go out to preach. If we should realize any thing at any time from any person to assist us in this matter why we should go the sooner, if not we shall go when it is consistent, for then it will become an imperative duty, and there we have it. This we have written not for the sake of yourself alone, but for all the well tried and faithful elders in the church who have given them­selves entirely to the ministry for a series of years, and are worthy of the confidence of all good people, and especially the saints.

“God bless the rich and poor who labor for Zion.     “JOHN E. PAGE.”     (Gospel Herald, Vol. 2, No. 37, p. 114/166)

“PRESIDENT STRANG.     “Ye SAINTS! how long shall it be so! that a man of the TALENT, INTELLECT, HIGH and HOLY calling of Pres. JAMES J. STRANG, with all the care and well being of the church of God on his hands, and the responsibility of editing the Gospel Herald, and the greatest share of the matter it contains originates with him. I ask, how long shall he be left to do that which, in the business of life, could be done by a mere dolt, whose talents are not adequate to any high­er business than to carry stone in a basket to wait on a mason in the repairing of Pres. Strang’s dwelling house. With my own eyes I witnessed this thing done by the person of Pres. Strang. Who does not know that if Pres. Strang had means to pay a common la­borer for doing that business, at the simple pittance of 50 or 75 cts. per day, that he would do in the same time with his pen a thousand times more good for the church and the world. Ye rich! suppose you try the experiment of sending him some of your V’s, X’s and C’s, if you please, and then patiently wait the Lord’s time and see what will be your reward in the kingdom of God . As the Lord liveth, you will rejoice for so doing in the day of the coming of the Lord to sever the wicked from among the just.     “JOHN E. PAGE.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 2, No. 37, p. 167/219)

“Nor do I press this matter with so much earnestness from any egotism of success. True, with all my friends, I expect to suc­ceed entirely. But our confidence is in the cause, not in the man. The same would be expected of any of the Elders, who is able to make himself understood. I possess no one advantage over the common mass of my countrymen, except the intrinsic merit of the cause I have espoused. Born of poor parentage, raised on the very borders of civilization, suffering with debilitating disease from in­fancy, I had a most indifferent opportunity of obtaining even a com­mon school education. I have neither had the benefit of a private tutor, nor attended school one week since I was fifteen years of age. I have never known one day of health since I was born; and at the age of thirty-five find the weakness of youth and the decrepitude of old age meeting in me. Yet in this cause I feel myself able to endure all things, and the thought of failure never enters my heart. I seek the encounter, knowing that among my friends the most flat­tering success is but barely what they would expect of any one, and will bring with it no honor; and that the slightest failure would bring with it the most overwhelming disgrace.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 98, p. 182/494)

“Now, brother, imagine that the prophet is sitting down by your side before your warm fire, and as the rich bounties of earth come on your table your wife and yourself vie with each other in excu­ses because it is no better. As you gather round the table, why does he yet linger at the fire? Do you know he has no over coat? not a shred of flannel about him? wears a summer vest? and both coat and pants are half worn? that he wears a straw hat at mid­winter? And he has been a prey to rheumatism for years. Well, let him warm by the fire. This is all the clothing he has. But do not help him to more; for if you do as soon as he gets home he will divide with his brethren of the Order of Enoch, who are as bad off as he is. Give him nothing but water to drink. It is so long since he has drank anything else, he might not know what it was. Give him neither cakes, pies or sweet meats. He will remember in bitterness that his children at home can have none.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 105, p. 219/531)

“STRANG, about midnight , July 4th, started for Bea­ver Island on his sixth trip, and third for this season. His labors are so onerous that he was obliged to continue his toils till that hour, and then travel twenty-seven miles to take the morning boat. Indeed, for some months he has not slept in a bed two nights in a week. Yet, except a slight attack of bronchitis, his health is ex­cellent.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 4, No. 321, p. 76/664)

“As to the question of morals I am prepared to justify it. And upon any question of morals, until the law interposes, I have a right to judge for myself. Though I acknowledge myself amenable to public opinion, I shall not answer at the bar of men who avail themselves of every opportunity to corrupt a neighbor’s wife or prostitute his daughter. I never did such a deed, and never stepped my foot inside a house of ill fame. Doubtless there are men who think those venial offences, and mine mortal. On the other hand I think mine no offence at all, and theirs very abominable—destructive of peace and life. If I am in error, I err with Patriarchs, Prophets and Apostles.” (James J. Strang, Northern Islander, Vol. 5, No. 80, p. 234)

“Camp of 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 Illinois have determined that all the Mormons, of every clique shall leave the State. There are now three principal cliques of Mormons – 1st. The “Twelveites,” who are moving off somewhere to the west, with the most corrupt, abandoned, licentious, low and groveling portion of the church, now called the “Camp of Israel.” 2d. The “Rigdonites” who are locating their “ Zion ” near Chambersburgh , Pennsylvania . They include in their number, it is said, many excellent men and estimable citizens, who left the Twelveites in consequence of their “spiritual wife doctrine” and other abominations. 3rd. The “Voree Mormons” who acknowledge James J. Strang, Esq., as their prophet.–This portion of the church is evidently the most orderly and law-abiding, and includes most of the talent and virtue of that people. They are rapidly increasing in numbers, and most of the churches out of Nauvoo have declared for “Strang and Voree;” and “ Voree , Wisconsin ”, is to be the “great gathering place” of the sincere and virtuous portion of the “Latter Day Saints.”— Ohio Union .” (Northern Islander, Vol. 5, No. 68, p. 188)

James J. Strang was a somewhat of an ordinary man born in 1813, of a respectable family.  He had little formal education; but, was able through self-study to become a lawyer of some distinction.  His normal life was turned around after he became convinced of the truth of Mormonism in 1844, was baptized and confirmed by Joseph Smith, and ordained an elder under the hands of Hyrum Smith.  On June 27, 1844, he claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels to the same office of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver held by Joseph.  On July 9, 1844, he received the official Letter of Appointment from Joseph–written in accordance with the laws of God that had already been given.  This was the first news of the death of Joseph.  Under command of God, he gathered those saints who understood the law of God to Voree, near Burlington, Wisconsin.  His life was meager at best.  In 1850, God declared Beaver Island as a stake of Zion; and the gathering place for the saints.  They endured the most terrible persecutions from the whiskey traders in Mackinac.  James and many saints were arrested, detained in Detroit, and found innocent of all charges.  The continued strife that existed due to the devout life style of the Strangites ended in the assassination of James on June 16, 1856.  He died on July 9, 1856.

REVELATIONS OF JAMES: Revelation given on January 17, 1845 (Service required of saints) Revelation given on September 1, 1845 (Voree Plates) Revelation given on July 1, 1846 (Strang and House of God)  Revelation given on July 8, 1846 (Planting a Stake at Voree)  Revelation given on August 25, 1846 (Beaver Island)  Revelation given on October 19, 1846 (Sidney Rigdon & George Adams) Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, young Joseph) Revelation Extract given on December 21, 1846 (Kirtland)  Revelation given on January 7, 1849 (Church and Order of Enoch)  Revelation given on August 9, 1849 (Baptism for the Dead)  Revelation given in February, 1851 (Calling of a King)  Revelation given in February, 1851 (Inheritances)  Revelation given in February, 1851 (Feasts) Revelation given in February, 1851 (Establishment of the Law)  Revelation given in February, 1851 (True God) 

Revelation given on January 17, 1845 (Service required of saints)

  1. On the seventeenth day of January, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, the word of the Lord came unto James J. Strang, the Prophet of the Most High God and Revelator unto the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying, 2. Let all the saints humble themselves before me, and obey my commandments. Let them not forget my law, nor make my precepts of small account. Let them give heed unto the gospel, and be continual witnesses for me before the world. Behold, I the Lord God have spoken it. Let him that regards my voice obey. I have required this service of you, and I am not impoverished that you should lose your reward. 3. I have given you a trial of your faith, in that you are few in number, that you might have a witness before the world that your hearts are single toward me and that you seek not your own advantages; but I will remember you in mercy and in blessings, for I will reward the faithful for all they shall suffer, many fold on earth, and more than ye have thought to ask in heaven. 4. Behold, for the trying of your faith and that my Church might be purified, have I sent lying spirits unto those whose hearts are set for gain and not for the flock, and strong delusion unto those who have lifted themselves up in pride and power, and have forgotten the law of the Lord, even my law which their own lips have taught. Behold, now have they their reward, but shame and swift destruction followeth. 5. The reward of the righteous is with me, and unto the faithful are the promises: And now I am your God, I require this service of all the saints: that they go unto Voree and the country round about, and gain inheritance as they are severally able. When they hear, let them obey with prudence and speedily. And there let them assemble together on the first day of every week, to strengthen one another, and to receive instruction and blessings from me. 6. Again I require of all who have received the priesthood, that they go out and preach the gospel, and teach as they are sent, the first day of every week. 7. And this tithing do I require now of all my saints, to the end that Voree may be established and may be a holy city unto me. Yea, verily, I the Lord God require of all the saints, besides the assembling of themselves together and going out to preach and to teach on the first day of the week, that they shall consecrate unto me one tenth of their time and labor. Yea, let those who will, go out and preach the gospel and the gathering unto Voree, according as I have commanded. Yea, let those who will, consecrate unto me and pay into the Treasury of the Church, which is at Voree, the value of their labor. Yea, let those who will, labor for the support of my servants who labor continually for me. Yea, let those who will, serve me continually while they have wherewith to support their families, and the saints shall minister unto them while they preach the gospel and gathering, as they shall severally need. Yea, let the saints give liberally according as they shall possess, but let none excuse himself that he consecrate unto me one tenth his time and labor, for thus shall my holy city be established. Yea, verily, and the reward of the faithful is with me, and I will repay him many fold on earth, and in heaven with everlasting life. 8. Yea, and let my servant James J. Strang send out the Elders and those who have received the priesthood far and near, as my Spirit shall teach him; and they shall go and bear witness in my name, for thus shall my Church be built up, till all the quorums assemble together in my holy city. 9. Be ye faithful, 0 ye children of the kingdom, for this is the covenant between me and you. I will remember you in mercy and in blessings if ye serve me. And this will I do. Behold I the Lord have spoken it. I will give unto my servant James the plates of the book that was sealed, that he may translate them for you. Yea, unto the faithful is this promise. Serve and obey me, and I will give unto him the plates of the ancient records which are sealed up, and he shall translate them unto you; and this shall be a witness between me and those that serve me; and unto my servants who serve me faithfully, yea, unto whom I will, shall he show the plates, and they shall be faithful witnesses unto me, and thus shall my words be established. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 15; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

Revelation given on September 1, 1845 (Voree Plates)

  1. The Angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the light shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thummim. And out of the light came the voice of the Lord saying, My servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because I have tried thee and found thee faithful. Behold, my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which shall be to those who love me, an immutable testimony; to those who know me not, a stumbling block; but to those who have known me and have turned their hearts from me, a rock of offence. Yea, let them beware, for shame and destruction walk in their tracks, and their time abideth, but not long. 2. A work shall come forth, and the secrets of the past shalt thou reveal. Yea, by little and little shalt thou reveal it, according to the ability and faithfulness of my church, and of my servant whom I have placed above them. Behold the record which was sealed from my servant Joseph. Unto thee it is reserved. Take heed that thou count it not a light thing, nor exalt thyself lest thou be stricken; for by myself I swear that, as thou servest me faithfully and comest not short, thou shalt unlock the mysteries thereof, which I have kept hid from the world. Yea, as my servants serve me, so shalt thou translate unto them. 3. But in their weakness I have not forgotten them. Go to the place which the Angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig for the record of my people in whose possession thou dwellest. Take with thee faithful witnesses, for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee, but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars, and shall not stumble for their words. 4. Speak thou unto the Elders of my church, and say unto them, Hear my voice and hearken to my words, for they are true and faithful. Testify, testify unto all the saints. Testify, testify in all the world. He that rejecteth you, him will I reject in the day that I come in my kingdom. Testify, testify unto him who has received my word and turned away. Let him now return unto me and obey and serve his God, lest he be smitten with a curse and his children curse him and his name be blotted out of the Book of Life. 5. Yea, those to whom I have revealed myself, let them hearken unto me now lest they be cast off in the day of my indignation, lest the consuming fire of the day of trial burn them up. Yea, lest the second death make them his prey, and they be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. 6. Rejoice, ye holy, for the day of your deliverance is near, and the time of your exaltation is at hand. Faithful and true are my words, dividing the marrow from the bones, and truth from rottenness. He that rejecteth them, will I reject when I come in my kingdom. And while I was yet in the Spirit, the Angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the east of Walworth, against White River in Voree, and there he showed unto me the record buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a large man; it was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the ground as deep as to a man’s waist; and I beheld it as a man can see a light stone in clear water, for I saw it by Urim and Thummim; and I returned the Urim and Thummim to the Angel of the Lord, and he departed out of sight. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 21; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

Revelation given on July 1, 1846 (Strang and House of God)

  1. The word of the Lord God came unto the prophet James, on the first day of July, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, when James Knox Polk was president of the United States; and behold they were at war with the republic of Mexico, and the kings of Europe looked on with fear and anguish, but they knew not what the Lord would accomplish; neither did any of them heed his word, for in their pride are they exalted, and men have gone after their iniquitous ways. 2. But verily, verily, saith the Lord, I will send a rebuke and my judgments upon them, and they that have lifted up themselves will I abase, and I will give judgment to my servant, even to my servant James J. Strang, whom I have taken from among the honorable men of the earth, and have built up by my strange counsel. Verily, if he fails not of his meekness, and obeys my commandments, and remembers to keep all my precepts, I will lift up his head to redeem the oppressed, and to give comfort to the poor among all people. Upon thrones shall he sit, and the scepter shall be in his hand, and he shall lift up an ensign to all the earth, and my servants who are faithful to me shall be princes and rulers over many people. 3. Therefore, my servant James, if thou wilt receive honor and glory, verily, verily, thou shalt lead my people, and my word shalt thou receive from me and teach unto my people. And verily, I will not now excuse thee or accept any other service at thy hands, for this is thine office: verily, verily, thou shalt be Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, and shalt preside over my people, or thou shalt have no priesthood in my church, and shalt receive no honor in my kingdom. 4. Therefore, complain unto me no more, but rebuke the complainers faithfully for my name’s sake, and if they will not hearken unto thee, they shall be cast out from among my people. Thy strength shall be in meekness and in my word which I shall speak unto thee, and with words of fire shalt thou consume those whose voices are raised against thee, and their hearts shall fail them at thy rebuke, until they are altogether cast off, and my Spirit departs from them. 5. It pleases me that it hath been in the hearts of my servants to build a house for thee to dwell in, for I have required thee to serve me continually, and not to serve thyself. Take heed therefore, that thou have a room for translations therein, for it is my will that thou translate ancient records, hidden truths, unto my people. It is my will that thou do it in thy house, and not in the field as thou hast, nor in the houses of unbelievers, that they may look upon sacred things. Therefore, whoso seeketh my word, let him make speed, and let every good work be accomplished speedily. 6. And then shall my people build a house unto my name, that I may institute those ordinances which pertain to the dispensation of the fullness of times. For since my people have been sifted, I will try them again whether they will receive the truth, and pervert it not. And I will show unto my servant James all things pertaining to this house and the priesthood of those who shall minister therein. And I will give unto him the preparation for an holy endowment therein, that he may instruct my people in the principles of the mysteries of my kingdom, as they are severally able to learn. 7. And if my people will build a house unto me according to my commandments, and will not be slothful therein, but will make speed to build, then will I endow them, even so many as are faithful and obey me and hearken to my words and to the words of my servants whom I have appointed to be their leaders. But to the disobedient and rebellious will I not give power, and if they receive the word, it shall be dead unto them, and they shall not have power nor understand it. And I will separate between the righteous and the wicked, and between the obedient and the rebellious. And I will try my people with a great trial. And because they have been tried in chastisement, I will now even try them in faith and in obedience to my law. And if they will diligently serve me, and give heed unto all my words, that I have spoken and shall speak unto them by the mouth of my servant James, behold, in the house which they shall build unto me, will I reveal unto them things which have been kept in the secrets of heaven from before the world was, things without which the kingdom of God cannot hold dominion, nor men be redeemed from deceit and violence; and these things are exceeding precious and to be obtained by obedience and patience and devotion to truth. 8. Therefore, whosoever will not abide the preparation faithfully, shall not be blessed, neither shall ye teach him the mysteries of the kingdom, nor will I give him power; but of all you teach the mysteries, shall you take a great covenant. And he that abideth not in his covenant, shall receive of the wrath of God according to the measure of his covenant and the evil he doeth therein; yea, verily, out of his own mouth shall he be judged, and as he hath spoken, so shall it be done unto him. 9. Therefore, let all my saints set their hands diligently to build a house unto my name, that I may come and dwell therein, and that I may restore unto them that which they have lost, and may give unto them those things which I gave unto my church in former days, and may reveal unto them things which have never been revealed among men. And if my people will cease all their contentions, and their backbitings and jealousies, and will present themselves holy before me, then will I appoint unto them, in the days of their poverty, a place for their baptisms for their dead, which pertains unto my house. But in their controversies and contentions I will not bless them, nor bestow upon them mine authority in the most holy things, because they do not understand my law, nor do they know for whom they shall baptize; and while they contend one with another, they will not receive my word, nor receive wisdom from me; they call evil good, and good evil, and they are not wise. Therefore is the blessing withheld till they humble themselves, and hearken to the voice of truth, which my servant James, who is faithful, speaketh unto them. 10. And I will show unto my servant James the pattern of the house which ye shall build unto my name, and all things pertaining thereto; and it shall be built on the prairie near White River, to the northwestward of the Hill of Promise, and the city of Voree shall be built around it, both on the plain and on the hills. And it shall be a holy city and a strong hold of truth and righteousness unto me, if my servants serve me; and upon the Hill of Promise shall ye build a hall which shall be a strong tower unto me, and the pattern thereof, and all things pertaining thereto, will I show unto my servant James, for it is the beginning of the preparation whereby the poor may be exalted, and the oppressed lifted up, and all my servants made equal in their temporal things; for unless they be one in their temporal things, the fulness of my Spirit shall be withheld from them. 11. Therefore, come all ye my servants, and bring your silver and your gold and your precious stones, and bring ye timber and stone, and labor with your hands and with cattle, and build a house unto me; and see that ye do all things according to the pattern which I will show unto my servant James, as he shall deliver it unto you; and make ye a freewill offering, and build a tower of strength unto me upon the Hill of Promise; for if ye do all these things, dominion shall be given unto you, and Daniel the prophet shall proclaim the kingdom of your God, and shall call forth the saints to possess it. 12. Take heed therefore, O ye my saints, for three unclean spirits have gone forth among you to destroy you. The first is jealousy, and she dresseth in garments of modesty. Envy walketh before her, and discourseth of prudence. She saith to every one, There is none like me to you before the Lord. 13. The second is ambition. Distrust followeth her, whispering into the ears of each passer by. Of every industrious servant she says, I fear he seeks more than his own; and of the prudent, I fear he will never accomplish his work. 14. The third is lust. Sensuality walks before her, and adultery at her right hand. They clothe themselves alternately in the garments of virgins and matrons. Their tongues discourse sweet music to him whose feet begin to slip, and they rebuke unsuspecting virtue harshly; but they walk in the way of death, and their path goes down to the pit. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. 15. And now let every unclean thing be put away from among you, and purify yourselves before me, that ye may be prepared for your washings and your anointings and the blessings and revelations which I have in store for you; for unless ye do these things, ye cannot receive the blessings. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 88; Voree Herald, July, 1846, p. 29)

Revelation given on July 8, 1846 (Planting a Stake at Voree)

  1. On the eighth day of July, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, the word of the Lord came unto James J. Strang, concerning the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the planting of the stake of Voree, saying: Trouble not yourselves any more concerning those who have been driven out of my city, and gone into the wilderness. For in the day that they fled to the wilderness where I had not told them to go, and were cast out of my holy city, which they had polluted, and from their habitations round about; even in that very day were they rejected of me. For with much long suffering and patience had I waited on them, and warned them, and sent my servants unto them, and with judgments had rebuked them; and they would not return unto me. And all their usurpations and lyings and false teachings have been an abomination unto me, and a stink in my nostrils; and their unlawful administrations have been as naught before me; and therein have I judged them with grievous sickness and sore judgments; therefore are they utterly cast out. But all who have hearkened unto my voice, and gave heed unto my words before I cast out those who polluted my holy city, and all who will hearken to the strong testimony which my servants, the Elders, have carried out, and not altogether reject my words which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants in these last days; even they shall be preserved in the bosom of my Church, and shall be taught in the way of truth. If they have done wrong, they shall make restitution. If they have followed usurpers and apostates, they shall renounce them. But if they will hearken to my word when it comes to them, they shall not be cast out. But if they will utterly reject it, they shall be cast out and shall be to you as heathen men. 2. And I will feel after those whose feet slid and whose steps faltered; and if they harden not their hearts, they shall be converted, and I will heal them, and will make their hands strong in the way of truth. 3. Therefore, let not my servants trouble themselves with vain contentions, nor make themselves wise above my word; and trouble not thyself about those who have been rejected of me, but seek ye diligently for wise men filled with the Spirit and obedient unto my law and unto my servants whom I have set above them. And appoint them to the several quorums and offices of the Church; and if they become disobedient and rebellious, they shall be removed and others put in their places. And this shall ye do in wisdom and with prudence, but the First Presidency ye shall appoint by my word only, for this is a law unto you. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 93; Voree Herald, September, 1846, p. 37)

Revelation given on August 25, 1846 (Beaver Island)

  1. I, James J. Strang, was at Elizabeth, on the Monongahela River, on the twenty-fifth day of August, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, and had a vision; and lo, I beheld a land amidst wide waters, and covered with large timber, with a deep broad bay on one side of it. And I wandered over it upon little hills and among rich valleys, where the air was pure and serene, and the unfading foliage, with its fragrant shades, attracted me till I wandered to bright clear waters, scarcely ruffled by the breeze. And Indians in canoes glided about, and caught fish, and sat down to eat; and they gathered in assemblies, and were taught words of truth and ways of holiness, and they hearkened. And I beheld many wonders there. 2. And one came near unto me, and I said, What meaneth this? And he answered and said, Behold, here shall God establish his people, even the sons of Joseph, on an everlasting foundation; and from hence shall the gospel of the kingdom go unto the tribes, and they shall not any more be despised, for the nations that set the foot upon their necks will be cut off that they be no more a people. Behold, he hath already begun it. The sword is already bathed in blood, which spareth not their destroyers. And blood shall not cease till their most haughty oppressor is laid low to rise no more. 3. And he hath chosen this nation to begin vengeance for them. And 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, but will hearken unto them to do the things which they shall speak unto them, and keep the words of the Lord, and his commandments to do them, then will he exalt the nation and establish it, for he hath raised it up by the hands of wise men, whom he set up for that very purpose, to be the instrument of his purpose in the last days. 4. And upon this land where thou standest shall the gospel of the kingdom be established among the Lamanites, and from thence shall it go forth to their tribes. And blessing and honor and great glory shall be on those that teach them, for he will make their arm strong, and their bow shall abide in strength, and they shall not bow to the oppressor; and the power of the Gentile shall not be on them, for the arm of God shall be with them to support. 5. And here shall the Lamanites come to learn the law of the Lord their God, who hath preserved them, that they be not utterly destroyed. And other barbarians shall come also, and shall learn ways of holiness; for the Lord their God shall teach them, and his people shall instruct them, and shall go forth as ministers of truth unto all people. 6. And I asked him, What meaneth all this? And he said unto me, Thou art carried away in the spirit, and brought to this land in the midst of waters, in the north country, that the Lord might show thee what he will do hereafter. For here shall be a stake and a corner stone of Zion, for the strengthening of her curtains round about. Here shall the house of Manasseh and the house of Ephraim and the Gentiles build a house unto me, and bow down to me therein. For the sons of Jacob shall lay the foundations thereof, and therein shall they worship their God. And to this house shall the thousands of the house of Israel come, when the ice melts at the north. And there shall they meet their brethren in peace, and God shall be in the midst of them. 7. Behold, thou shalt see this land with thine own eyes before thou returnest to thine house, and shalt long to set thy foot upon it. Nevertheless, when the children of the household of faith have peace, then thou shalt go there and minister in the work of the Lord thy God. Spy it out, therefore, and let the servants of God dwell there to do his work, for it hath abundance in the riches of the forest, and in the riches of the earth, and in the riches of the waters; and there shall the children of God learn his law to do it. 8. And the Lord God shall add possessions unto the faithful, and give good gifts unto them that keep his law, and he will establish them therein forever. And their possession shall become as a paradise, yielding fruits every month, and the strength of Zion shall be there to do the work of the Lord, to work deliverance to the captive and judgments upon the ungodly, in the day of the Lord. For he will exalt his people in righteousness, and deliver them in judgments. And the Gentiles shall be made the instruments of his purposes, and by them will he work deliverance. The Lord will show thee all things in his time. 9. For the day is near when thou shalt meet many Lamanites, and shalt talk with them of these things. And with them shalt thou behold this land, and then shalt thou begin this work. If Satan hinder thee, strive against him, and thou shalt overcome and shalt prevail, for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 114; Zion’s Reveille, January 14, 1847, p. 53)

Revelation given on October 19, 1846 (Sidney Rigdon & George Adams)

  1. The General Conference of the Church of the Saints, assembled at Voree on the nineteenth day of October, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, having under consideration the standing of Sidney Rigdon, one of the First 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 inquire his will concerning his servant Sidney Rigdon. 2. And now this is the answer of the Lord concerning him: 3. 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 labors, and reproved him by my Spirit and by afflictions and by judgments, 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 entered 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. 4. 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 to the gospel of their salvation. And the fulness 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. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 117)

Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, young Joseph) Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, young Joseph)

  1. On the sixth day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-six, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet James, saying, Because my servant Aaron hath not been faithful in his calling to stand up and give counsel unto thee, and to hold up thy hands as a faithful Counsellor unto thee, but hath set himself up to teach by revelation in my Church, and hath yielded himself unto evil doers to contend against thee, and to bind thee with bands that thou should not speak my words, and hath weakened thy hands and borne them down; therefore shall he not be any more thy Counsellor. 2. For he abideth not in his wisdom which I gave unto him, and hath turned his thoughts unto foolishness, and hath become a stumbling block unto many who are afar off by his follies. And because he will not hearken unto my words to do them, but speaketh evil of the truth; therefore is my hand upon him to remove him, lest he lead my people astray that they enter not into my rest, and wrath, indignation, and overwhelming destruction fall upon him, and there be none to deliver. 3. And because my servant William Marks loveth me with full purpose of heart, and seeketh unto me to serve me; therefore shall he be Counsellor unto thee instead of my servant Aaron, and shall assist thee by his counsels and by his wisdom which I have given unto him in establishing a stake of Zion at Voree, and in lengthening the cords and strengthening the stakes of Zion, that my work may no longer be delayed and hindered, because my servant Aaron doeth it not; for I the Lord will accomplish mine own work in mine own time, and I will set up the faithful and remove the unbelieving as to me seemeth good, for none shall hinder me. And if my servant William will be a faithful Counsellor, then will I sustain him and lift him up, and by his hands the poor shall prosper. And the words which I speak unto thee, shall thy Counsellors speak in the ears of my people, and they shall teach them in wisdom; for through thy ministration, by means of the keys I have given thee, shall my words be given, and thou and thy Counsellors shall proclaim it unto my people and to the nations of the earth, teaching all my words as thou shalt give unto them, even as thou receive them from me. 4. And thou shalt take my servant Joseph Smith, the son of the prophet Joseph, who was slain by the hands of wicked men, for he hath been consecrated unto me in his infancy, and thou shalt anoint him with oil, and shalt lay thy hands upon him, and ordain him, and shalt set him in the Presidency as one of the First Presidents of my Church. For he is filled with the Holy Ghost and with wisdom, and my covenant with his father will I keep with him and with his posterity after him, if they serve me. 5. And I will exalt him in strength and might and majesty, and he shall be President and Patriarch in the true Israel of faith in these last days, even as was my servant Hyrum, whose blood with the blood of my servant Joseph crieth unto me for vengeance continually. 6. And in his youth my servant William Marks shall assist him, and uphold him, and be in all things a Coadjutor unto him in the First Presidency of my Church. Let my servant William therefore take heed unto his ways, that he give unto him wise counsel, and build him up in righteousness, and hold up his hands, and admonish him of every evil; for if he do this, my arm shall sustain him forever, and my grace shall be sufficient for him in the day when all mine come unto me. Yea, I will do good unto him both in this world and in that which is to come, and will remember his posterity after him forever, because he showeth kindness unto the fatherless. And the voice of my servant Joseph shall be a witness unto me against the nations. 7. And his mother Emma shall be a counsellor unto him, for I am with her and have delivered her from the hands of her enemies, that I may exalt her to stand in her lot among the saints in my holy place. She loveth him tenderly, and because she hath set her heart to righteousness, and resisteth evil doers; therefore shall she watch over him, and in life or in death shall she observe his ways to do good unto him. She hath been faithful unto me in many perils, and in much tribulation. Therefore will I remember her in the days to come. She shall abide in her standing, and the holy unction which hath been placed upon her shall not depart from her. Amen. 8. And unless my servant Aaron make speed to humble himself before me, and cease to deny my words, I will stretch out my hand upon him, and he shall be brought very low, and none shall heed him or do good unto him. And he shall know that I am God. But if he will return unto me, and hearken to my words, I will again raise him up, and remember the works which he hath done in the times that are past, and his patience and his faith. And I will raise him up, and his voice shall be heard again on the mountains and in the valleys, and he shall sit in the councils of honorable men in the house of Israel ; and I will give him wisdom again, as I gave him wisdom in days that are past, and he shall serve me forever. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 119)

Revelation Extract given on December 21, 1846 (Kirtland)

  1. Because Kirtland is filled with unbelief and apostasy; and those who have gathered there and taken my name upon them regard not my word, and hearken not to my law, neither observe my counsel nor hear the words of my prophets, but have altogether rejected mine anointed, done violence to the truth, refused my word, and rebelled against my law and mine authority; therefore shall Kirtland be a waste and a desolation, a den of wickedness, and a habitation of the unfaithful, the unbelieving, and the rebellious. And the desolation thereof shall continue, nor shall it be cleansed of its uncleanness until they who have polluted it be utterly destroyed therefrom; for they seek continually to deceive and to be deceived, and will neither be faithful themselves nor suffer others to become pure in their midst. And they seek the establishment of their own will rather than mine, but they shall be utterly confounded, and their desolation shall increase and become heaps, and their substance shall waste, and their houses shall fall, and their land shall fail of its increase, and the waters thereof shall dry up. There shall Satan’s seat be, and there shall be the gathering of unclean things, for they will not obey me. And their power, and their authority, and their blessings, I take from them, that I may bestow them upon another people whom I will call together; and from the midst of Kirtland will I call all who will turn unto me and serve me, that they may escape its curses. Let all my saints flee from Kirtland as from a desolating scourge, and let them not gather there; for it is no longer a stake for the curtains of the strength of Zion, but is a rent and a weakness and a nakedness of unbelief. (Zion’s Reveille, 2:2:60 January 21, 1847)

Revelation given on January 7, 1849 (Church and Order of Enoch)

  1. Hearken, 0 ye saints, and give ear; for the time to favor Zion is at hand, and the day of her redemption draweth near. Draw near unto me and learn, for the ways of man are foolishness before me. Behold, ye shall be one; and if ye are not one, ye are none of mine. And ye shall all speak the same thing. Ye are cursed; ye are confounded, because ye have many tongues, like unto Mystery Babylon, and many are running to and fro, speaking in their own wisdom, which is folly before me. 2. By their speech gross darkness filleth the minds of the people. Those whom I have called to preach the gospel to the nations, have left serving me to contend against mine anointed, and I have not strengthened them, neither has their work prospered. They have only accomplished to scatter, and their evil ways follow them. 3. But I have a few names left in Voree who have not denied my word, nor rebelled against mine authority, nor done despite to mine anointed. And they shall be mine when I come to be glorified on earth. And there are a few in the Isles of the North who have not denied my name. When dominion is given to the saints, I will remember their works. Nevertheless, as a people, ye have been slack in serving me. Ye have broken my commandments, and despised mine authority, and my precepts have been to you a vain thing. Ye are a stiff necked and rebellious people, who delight in your own vanities, and prefer your lusts to the chief of the things which God giveth. But such of you as draw near unto me, I will draw near unto them, and will save them. I have given you good gifts, and you have consumed them upon your lusts; I have chastised you, and ye have taken my name in vain; I have called you together to enjoy the blessings of my people, and ye have not heeded my call; I have revealed my authority to those that gathered, and they have spurned it; I have appointed shepherds unto you, and ye have despised them, and have walked in your own ways, where they did not lead you; and because of your rebellious hearts are you blind and deaf, that seeing you perceive not, and hearing you understand not. 4. Ye have robbed me in tithes and in offerings, and have been slothful in building a house unto my name, that I may dwell in it, and in building a tower of strength for the defense and the dwelling of Zion. Come now, therefore, and bring in your tithes, and build a house unto me, that I may reveal most precious things unto you. And make unto me a freewill offering, for a strong hold upon the Hill of Promise, according to the pattern which I have shown unto my servant James, and of which he has begun to lay the foundation, and I will show all things unto him in their time. And if ye do these things, I will give you strength that your enemies shall not prevail over you, and this shall be your possession. Moreover, I have given you the Islands in the Great Lakes for a possession. There shall you dwell apart from the Gentiles, and none shall make you afraid. For my law shall be kept there, and judgment shall be rendered against those that despise it. 5. If ye will therefore possess these things, remember my law, to keep it. Forget not the precepts which I have given you, but act wisely, according to the wisdom which I have revealed unto you; and despise not my word, for it is not a vain thing. I have given you wisdom, with promise. 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. 6. At Voree shall your possessions be purchased with money, and you shall make speed to redeem that which you have purchased. To that end have I blessed you, and you have consumed the blessings on things which are not good for you; yea, even the Order which I have commanded you to establish according to the Order of the church of the first born, have done this. Yet because the chief among them have sought unto me, and have admonished unto faithfulness, and have kept my words, I will yet bless them, and will give them the kingdom, if they abide in well doing. 7. Once more I command all my saints to bring in their tithes, according to the law I have given them, and build a house unto me. Whosoever will not do it, shall not enter into the house of the Lord. Let mine Apostles call on all the saints, both by word and proclamation, to do this thing. And let faithful and chosen ones be sent unto them, to receive of their tithes for this work, and let the work progress from this time forward. 8. And send faithful ones unto the saints, and call on them to make a freewill offering for the tower which I have commanded you to build on the Hill of Promise; and let the same be built, that it may be a habitation and a defense for the saints that shall gather together and keep the Order of Enoch, which I have revealed unto my servants; and let a subscription be circulated, that those who have not sold their possessions and cannot yet gather up their goods to the places appointed, may assist in building the towers of Zion, and may obtain an inheritance among the faithful. 9. And ye shall establish this Order at the stake which I have appointed among the Lamanites, and there shall ye keep it in all your habitations. And I will multiply you, and increase you exceedingly. And those that are strong in my ways, will I make patriarchs and rulers in their tribes, and princes in their houses. Their inheritances shall be appointed unto them, and to their houses, and their posterity after them for a perpetual possession. Let many gather to the Islands which I have appointed for your gathering, that this Order may be kept more perfectly; for there will I give you much possession for an inheritance, if ye will go up and possess it. And such as shall be appointed of the Order of Enoch, by the voice of the Order, shall go up and possess the land, but they shall retain a strong hold at Voree, for it must needs be that they keep a possession there, and my work requires it. And 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. 10. And let this Order be an example unto all, both to the believing and to the unbelieving; for if they do not walk in my ways more perfectly, I will yet cast them off. For the properties of this Order are all mine. He that draws back from this Order, and takes away that which he has consecrated, robbeth me, saith the Lord. Nevertheless, now, ye shall not withhold; for he shall be trodden down by whom I will, in my own time. And ye have polluted yourselves by your excess of flesh which ye have eaten, and by the unclean things and the poisonous drugs which ye have consumed upon your lusts. Behold, ye say ye need these things. But I say they are not good for you. Who is man, that he should prefer himself to God? And for these are ye in debt to your enemies. Except I deliver you, they shall oppress you. But the righteous will I establish, and the wicked will I cast off. 11. Put away covetousness. Remember that all that ye possess is mine. Cast all idlers out of this Order. Let no man call aught his own, nor buy nor sell as though it were his. But let all be the common property of all, as I have given unto you; and let those buy and sell, who are appointed by common consent. And this shall be your inheritance, and the inheritance of your children forever. He that is faithful in this little, shall be made prince of a village, or ruler of a tower; and he that is faithful therein, shall be made patriarch of a tribe, or ruler of many cities in my kingdom. 12. And ye shall not provoke one another. But ye shall console and strengthen one another. Ye shall strengthen the weak; for with kindness and much charity will I give you to prevail, and ye shall save them. And ye shall not contend against one another. 13. Rebel not against my servant James; for I am with him, and I have given unto him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever receiveth me, receiveth him. Whosoever receiveth him, receiveth those whom I have sent. Whosoever heareth not his words, heareth not mine. Whosoever heareth not his words, hearkeneth not to the words of those whom I have sent. For I have made him the chief shepherd of the whole flock on earth. They that are of the flock hear his voice. If not, they go astray to destruction. 14. Behold, I am his friend; for he has been faithful unto me. And the keys which I have given to him shall not be taken from him in this world, neither in the world to come. They that speak evil of him are enemies unto me, saith the Lord. They have given themselves unto lies, and their hearts to wickedness. For he is meeker than Moses, more patient than Job, and has kept himself unpolluted in the midst of the lustful and ungodly till they have departed from him. 15. Ye know not his patience, nor his faith, nor his trials and sufferings. How have ye cast your toil on him? Ye have required him to bring redemption to Zion, and prosperity to you, when ye lifted not your hands. Because he has not done it, many have reviled him and denied my name. But to as many as are faithful, will I give power to become heirs of the kingdom of heaven. And I have a great work for him to do, and with speed shall he do it, if ye uphold him in faith and confidence and prayer. For my hidden word shall be translated, and given to those that will receive it. And I have called him to this work. 16. And if my servant George J. Adams will be his Counsellor, let him come and dwell near unto my servant James, and assist him in presiding, and in the school of the prophets, and in carrying my word to the saints, and to the nations, and to far countries. But let his dwelling be in the inheritance of the saints. If he do this, I will sustain him and will make him a host, and the head of nations. 17. Behold, my servant William Marks has gone far astray in departing from me, yet I give unto him a little space that he may return and receive my word, and stand in his place; for I remember his work that he has done in the time that is past. If he will return and abide faithful, I will make him great, and his possessions shall be great, and he shall possess a city, and his children shall dwell therein; a nation shall call him blessed. 18. And my servants the Apostles have not filled their mission in preaching my gospel to the nations of the earth, but have betaken themselves to their own work. If they had obeyed me, I would have given them a host as the fruit of their labor, and added to them their food, raiment and possessions also. Do I not possess all? And am I impoverished that I cannot reward the faithful? I will provide for him that obeys me, and array him that regards my words. 19. I have protected you from all your enemies; I have turned men’s hearts that they should do good unto you, and not persecute you; I have given you a home in a bountiful land; and ye have not done good according to my abundant mercies, nor regarded me according to my loving kindness. But ye have made yourselves like the Gentiles, and have sought your own ways, and not mine. And now turn unto me, all ye my people, lest the disobedient and the rebellious be cut off, and cast out of his possession, and persecution and wrath come on those who are slack in serving me, and I give you chastisement and much sorrow. For your enemies shall be upon you, and ye shall flee before them, if ye turn not to me to be faithful. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 178; Gospel Herald, 3:43:233, January 11, 1849, p. 545)

Revelation given on August 9, 1849 (Baptism for the Dead)

  1. A revelation from Jesus Christ, according to the power which God appointed unto him; and he sent Elijah the prophet unto his servant James, to make it known unto him, and to command him to cause the living and the dead to hear the word, and to give him power to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Hearken unto me, all ye ends of the earth, saith the Lord God, and give ear and hear, ye depths of the pit, and ye shall live; for I have committed the gospel of the resurrection and of everlasting life to my servants who hold the keys of the dispensation of the last times. Therefore, hearken unto them and obey them, ye that live; that you may obtain honor, and glory, and power, and everlasting life. 2. Behold, I have tried my saints with a great trial, and some have been found faithful; for they have not denied my name, but have remembered my word, and kept my commandments. And because my servants have put away contentions from among them, and have united with one heart and one mind to do the work which I have committed unto them, and with their whole hearts have drawn near unto me to serve me; therefore I appoint unto the saints that there shall be baptisms for the dead at Voree, during their poverty, and until a sufficient time to build a temple unto my name, as I have commanded them. 3. And I sanctify White River unto them, and make it holy for this ordinance, even from the bathing pool unto the water wheel. 4. And I command you, ye saints, saith the Lord, that a record shall be kept among you of all baptisms for the dead; and witnesses shall record their testimonies of all your administrations therein 5. And the recorder shall be present, and shall be an eye witness of your baptisms; and shall hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth; that in all your recordings, it may be recorded in heaven; that whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven. And if more than one recorder be necessary, yet there shall be but one record, to which all the recorders shall bring their testimonies to be recorded. 6. And whosoever acts as recorder, shall be called and ordained to that authority, that what he records may be valid, and may be recorded in the archives of heaven. And let all your records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple, saith the Lord, to be had in remembrance from generation to generation. And no one shall administer baptism for the dead, but he who is appointed thereunto. And all who are called, shall be anointed and ordained to this calling. 7. And these shall be baptized for the dead: all the faithful saints who keep and abide in the Order of Enoch; all who have paid tithing according to my law, for the building of a house unto my name in Voree, and for the upbuilding of my Church; all who from this time forward will and do come up and do these things, striving faithfully to redeem the time, that a house may be speedily built unto my name, wherein I may reveal mysteries, and institute among the saints the ordinances for the endowment of Zion and all her municipals; and all who, standing in the priesthood, have labored faithfully in their several ministries from the time the commandment went forth to build a house unto my name in Voree. 8. And for these shall ye be baptized: every saint according to his right, and in his order, shall be baptized for any deceased husband, wife, posterity, or progenitor, to the third and fourth generation; any brother, or sister, whom he in faith believes has received the gospel in the spirit. Every saint shall be baptized for any relative unto the third and fourth generation; for any person betrothed to him in marriage; for any foster father, mother, brother, sister, or child, who shall be signified to him by tongue, or dream, or vision, or spirit ministering in fire, or angel, or voice from God. And if I will that any of my faithful servants of the Aaronic Priesthood be baptized for any other, I will send my angels to signify it unto them. But unto my servants of the Melchizedec Priesthood will I speak by mine own voice, or minister in fire. 9. And, behold, every Apostle shall be baptized for whosoever shall be committed to him for redemption from death, by my word, saith the Lord, as I reveal my will severally unto them, that they may be saviors of the dead, and may get honor, and glory, and majesty, and dominion unto themselves forevermore; and by their voices will I appoint redemption, and honor, and glory unto whomsoever I will. 10. Behold, my servants Joseph, and Hyrum, and David, and Moses, and many of their fellow laborers in this dispensation, who have gone with them to the pit to preach redemption to the prisoners, have prevailed; and waiting hosts cry unto you that live, continually, saying, How long do ye forget our prison house of darkness, and regard not us who perish continually? Therefore, I have remembered the little flock who have not denied my name, to make them great in my everlasting kingdom, and to give dominion over the dead unto them, saith the Lord. 11. And now let all who are scattered abroad, and all who have robbed me through covetousness, and in tithes and offerings, and all who have neglected to administer in the gospel as I have called them, come, and from this time forward assist my servants who are building a house unto my name, and who are proclaiming my word unto the nations, that they may enjoy this blessing with them; for only they who labor shall receive the reward; and those who labor to build my house, and to proclaim my word, and to establish my kingdom, will I make saviors; and upon mount Zion shall they stand with crowns on their heads. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 194; Gospel Herald, 4:23:101, August 23, 1849, p. 689)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Calling of a King)

  1. THE Lord your God hath made the earth and established it, and unto him the dominion thereof belongeth. He created man, and gave him dominion over it. The nations are the workmanship of his hands; and he hath the right to rule. 2. He appointed Kings, and Rulers, and Judges; but man rebelled against them. He made laws, but man broke them, and trampled on them, and forgot them. 3. Unto Noah gave he dominion over the earth: and to Shem after him; but the people rebelled against him, and established their own ways; and those that oppressed them were their Kings, and ruled over them in unrighteousness. 4. Moses was King in Israel ; but the people kept not the Law of God; and, rebelling, set up a false god, and worshipped it. When God would make them Kings to rule the earth, they despised his majesty, and went after other gods. 5. Men have everywhere rebelled against God: nevertheless, the earth is his, and the fulness thereof. The dominion of it belongeth to him, and he conferreth it upon whomsoever he will. 6. He hath chosen his servant James to be King: he hath made him his Apostle to all nations: he hath established him a Prophet, above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion: by his own voice did he call him, and he sent his Angels unto him to ordain him. (Book of the Law, p. 168, 169)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Inheritances)

  1. I HAVE appointed the Islands of the Great Lakes for the gathering of the Saints, saith the Lord God. I have given the Islands to them for their inheritance; even all that man walketh not unto from the main. 2. And I have appointed my servant James the anointed Shepherd of my flock, to apportion unto every one his portion, for a perpetual inheritance. 3. Let him, therefore, appoint unto everyone his inheritance, sufficient for him, and for his children: and to the Princes their portions, that they have an abundance for their servants, and their households; lest they be tempted to take reward for judgment, or feed not the poor for lack of bread, or deliver not the oppressed for the weakness of their arm. (Book of the Law, p. 298)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Feasts)

  1. THESE are the feasts of the Lord; holy convocations, even convocations and feasts unto the Lord your God. 2. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath day: ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings: ye shall take care that nothing perish, but ye shall not labour for hire nor increase; ye shall have a holy convocation in all your Temples and Synagogues. 3. The day (8th of July) that James, the Prophet of God, was established King, and sat upon his throne, is a notable day; it shall be kept in remembrance forever. 4. As oft as this day returneth shall all the Saints assemble together. It shall be a holy convocation. They shall assemble in their Temples, and in their Synagogues, and in publick places, to offer a thankoffering, an offering of praise unto God, because he has given the Kingdom to the Saints. 5. The King shall, therefore, offer a heifer, without blemish; in the presence of the congregation shall he offer it. In the morning shall he offer it, and the same day shall it be eaten: he and his household shall eat of it. Not a bone of it shall be broken: they shall eat it with bread, and seasoned with herbs. 6. After this manner shall all the children of the Kingdom sacrifice: every man a heifer, or a lamb, or a dove. Every man a clean beast, or a clean fowl, according to his household. 7. Ye shall take the victim of the sacrifice which ye shall offer, and shall bring it before the Lord in the presence of the congregation, and shall bring it to the Priest, and shall say, 8. I profess this day unto the Lord God, that I am come into the Kingdom which he promised by the mouth of all the Prophets: praised be his name for his glorious goodness, and his great power. 9. And the Priest shall slay the victim, and thou shalt say, We were a people, few in number; scattered among our enemies: they killed our Prophets, murdered our brethren, robbed us of our possessions, and banished us from among them; but God has made us a Kingdom: and the fear of us is upon those who hate us. 10. When the Gentiles evilly entreated us, and afflicted us, and thrust us out, we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers; the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and sorrow, and homelessness; and he gave us this land for an everlasting possession; and hath made us a Kingdom: and now have I brought unto him this victim for a thankoffering, and a perpetual memorial. 11. And thou shalt eat of the sacrifice: thou and thy household, and thy neighbour; but the stranger, though he dwelleth in thy gates, and in thy house, shall not eat of it: thou shalt eat it with herbs, and the Priest with thee, in the congregation of the Lord; it is a holy convocation, and a feast unto the Lord: ye shall do no servile labour that day. 12. And when thou hast eaten, thou shalt say unto the Lord thy God, I have come into the land which thou gavest to thy Saints: I have heard thy Law, and have entered into covenant with thee to keep thy Commandments; and I have eaten of the sacrifice before thee as a witness forever. 13. Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless us this day, even all the children of thy Kingdom; and the land which thou hast given us, and establish us forever. 14. When ye are come into the land which the Lord your God giveth unto you, and have gathered the harvest of your inheritance, ye shall bring a portion of the firstfruits of your fields before the Lord your God, for an offering of firstfruits. 15. At every Temple where the name of the Lord your God is named, shall the Priest appoint the day of firstfruits, according to the days of your principal harvests of food; and by that day shall ye all bring your offering of firstfruits unto the Priest, in the Temple and the Synagogues, and ye shall have a holy convocation before the Lord in every place to which ye bring the firstfruits. 16. Ye shall lift up unto the Priest who ministereth unto the Lord a portion of firstfruits, by the day of the holy convocation of the harvest; on the selfsame day ye shall offer an offering of flesh also; a clean beast, or a clean fowl: it shall be a sacrifice and feast of thanksgiving unto the Lord, for the abundance of the harvest. 17. And ye shall not eat of your harvest, neither bread, nor grain, nor green ears, nor roots, nor germs, till ye have brought your offering of firstfruits before the Lord your God. He that eateth thereof, shall add a fifth to what he ate, and bring it and the increase, and the firstfruits also: and the firstfruits shall be an abundance for the feast, every one for his household: and the rich shall bring for the poor, out of his abundance, and for the Priests also that minister. (Book of the Law, pp. 291-297)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Establishment of the Law)

  1. Fear not, little flock, for your Father, in his good pleasure, hath given you the Kingdom; the dominion is yours forever; ye shall smite the nations with a continual stroke; for the Lord your God hath spoken it: ye shall break them in pieces, and destroy them; for the day of his vengeance has come. 2. He hath judged the nations that are near, and decreed destruction upon them, and their day continueth not: the nations far away are covered with their abominations as with a garment; their iniquities are not hid: he will not spare them. 3. The Saints of the former days have sat in judgment upon them; they have judged the earth, and the nations thereof shall not be spared: Fire goeth before: famine followeth after; and the pestilence shall waste them. 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: for Judah shall be bent, in his strength; as an arrow, Ephraim shall fill him: Manasseh shall be his barb; and Jacob shall be in the midst of the Gentiles, in the empire of nations, as a Lion among the beasts of the forest; as a young Lion in the flocks of sheep, who, when he goeth through, treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none shall deliver. 5. Let your fear be upon all men; and the terrour of you upon your enemies; for this is the day of vengeance of the Lord, and of your recompense upon your enemies. Joseph shall possess his land again; for the throne of David is establish­ed as the days of the sun; his Kingdom is everlasting. 6. And now, O Daughter of Zion, the land of robbers, the empire of many nations, shall gather her troops against thee, to look upon thee, and to defile thy dominion: but they have not known the thought of the Lord; neither have they understood his counsel; for he shall gather them as sheaves of the floor. 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. 8. Babylon the Great shall perish before thee; for thou shalt do unto her as she hath done unto thee: thou shalt render unto her as she hath rendered to thee, and reward her double for all her sins. Her cities shall be given to the flames, and the inhabitants to the sword: her government shall be broken in pieces, and her dominion taken away. 9. For in her is found the blood of Saints and Prophets; and the spoil of the children of God in the midst of her: and she hath drank of the cup of the indigna­tion, and of the fury of God, with all the nations of the Gentiles. 10. Against her, Apostles have washed their feet on earth, and borne witness in heaven; and by the testimony and the blood of Prophets have her sins been made known in heaven: the great Prince, whose throne is as burning fire, hath judged her, saying, Let not her days be prolonged. 11. For by this Law shall men be judged in the portion of Joseph: God will give it to you, that you may possess it for an everlasting dominion. In the midst of the Gentiles shall ye establish your Synagogues, and gather out the just while ye wait for the judgments of God. 12. Ye shall, therefore, read in it all the days of your lives. Ye shall read it in your solemn assemblies, and in your joyous meetings; with the shout of triumph when your enemies flee before you; and in the voice of mourning when you have sinned against God, and have fled before them; ye shall read it in the gathering of your neighbours and in the household with your children. 13. Ye shall talk of it in the house, and in the field, and by the wayside, and in the forest, and on the waters; in the camp, and on the march: when ye labor, and when ye rest shall ye speak of this Law to your neighbours, and to your wives, and to your children, and to your servants. 14. And ye shall think upon it in your joy, and in your sorrow; when upon the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and when far away; both in the midst of the multitude, and in your loneliness; all the days of your lives shall ye read it, and talk of it, and think upon it; and it shall be inscribed upon your hearts continually. 15. For by this Law hath the Lord your God sanctified you, and given you judgment, and justice, and dominion. Remember that ye stood before him; your King, and your Princes, and your Nobles, the men of you, with your wives and your children, and your little ones, and entered into covenant with the Lord your God, to be a people unto him, and to obey his Commandments, and to keep this Law; and that he covenanted with you to be your God, and to make you a nation of Kings and Priests to the nations of the earth. 16. Keep, therefore, this Law, and obey these Commandments; for so doth God sanctify you, and so will he establish you, and prosper you, more abundant­ly than in former days. The land of Joseph shall ye possess forever, and Israel and Judah shall dwell again upon their own mountains. 17. Your vineyards, your gardens, and your orchards, ye shall plant again, and they shall flourish, and ye shall eat the fruit thereof: ye shall build houses, and shall inhabit them; and children’s children shall be in them, for a crown of glory to you, if ye remember the Lord your God, whose name is great and glorious, and keep his statutes. 18. And now if there be among you a man whose heart turneth away from the Lord your God, to serve the god of Babylon, and to honour the names of the nations; if there be a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and when he heareth the curse in this Law, he bless himself, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, the Lord will not spare him. 19. But the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, and his fierce wrath, shall smoke against that man: and all the curses that are written in this book shall be upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. 20. At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year, when all the children of the Kingdom are gathered together before the Lord in Temples, and in Tabernacles, and all the people are assembled, Princes and Nobles, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that dwelleth in your gates, ye shall read this Law before them all, in their hearing, and shall make it known in the midst of them. 21. And your children, and the strangers dwelling in your gates, that have not heard it, shall learn this Law, and ye shall all remember it again, and shall all lift up your hands, and shall enter into covenant with the Lord your God to keep this Law, and to obey his statutes, that he may prolong your days upon the land. (Book of the Law, pp. 203-209)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (True God)

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob is our God; this is his name forever, and this is his memorial unto all generations. He created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them are the workman­ship of his hands. He created man in his own image, that he might have domi­nion over the earth, and over the beasts of the field, and over the fowls of the air, and over the fishes of the sea. 2. Man, being in the likeness of God’s person, they all recognize him as their Lord, and fear him as a God. And notwithstanding his degeneracy, he has retained so much of the divine likeness, that beasts, birds, and fishes, fear him, and his power is over them as a mighty one. It is diminished as he has departed from the likeness and perfections of his Creator: and that spirit of rebellion, which man has received so redundantly, he has communicated to them also, that they rebel against him, as he rebels against God. Yet the fear of man is on them con­tinually; and his dominion is over them throughout the earth. 3. God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend; and walked with Enoch, who was faithful unto him in the midst of a corrupt race: he communed with Noah, the father of a new world; and covenanted by his own oath, with Abraham the faithful. 4. He commanded a fiery law, with a voice of thunder, in Sinai: the earth quaked at the tread of his foot: the rustling of his garment was as low thunder; and his voice as a mighty thunderbolt: the beaming of his face was as the sun in the morning; and the flash of his eye as the fierce lightning. The nations trembled at his presence; and the tribes said, “Not unto us; not unto us. Oh Lord God, but unto Moses, be thy voice known.” 5. For they heard the voice of God, as the voice of a trumpet; and as loud thunder: and they saw the lightning: and the mountain smoking; and they felt the earth tremble; and they fled far away, crying, “Not unto us; not unto us: but unto Moses, declare thy law, Oh God, and we will obey his voice, and live, for, who shall abide in thy presence?” 6. His word was made known to the Prophets, and his sacraments were established in Israel. Kings ruled in his glorious name; and the nations who forgot him were destroyed. 7. He hath appointed everlasting life in the Lord Jesus; and given the keys of death and of hell unto him who alone among mortals, hath kept his glorious word in all things. He hath chosen him the first born among many brethren; for he is the first begotten of the dead, and hath the keys of the resurrection, and of life forevermore. 8. He maketh his Apostles the witnesses of his Law, unto the nations; and of his gospel unto every kindred, and tongue, and people. His word is among men; and the revelation of his power, in the midst of the earth. 9. The Lord our God is glorious in his perfections; there is none like him. The gods of the heathen have no voice: neither do they see, nor understand. The God of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Churches, before whom all her daughters bow down, is naught; he is as wind, and vanity; he can neither be seen nor heard, nor felt; he hath no dwelling place: where shall any abide with him? Passionless, is he; and can neither love the good, nor hate the evil: who shall adore him, or fear him? 10. Without members and parts; he cannot hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. Neither can he speak, nor come unto those that worship him, nor smite the disobe­dient and rebellious. Handless, footless, mouthless, eyeless, and earless; a shapeless chaos, conceived in the imagination of the vain: ye shall not fear him, nor bow down unto him, nor adore him. 11. The Lord our God hath an incommunicable name; never polluted by the breath of the ungodly: which none can know, but he who ministereth in his holy sanctuary; by which he revealed himself unto Moses; and in which he establisheth this law, for an everlasting covenant. 12. God alone hath immortality. Adam, the first of men, the Ancient of Days, the great Prince; Abraham, to whom God gave an everlasting possession; David, whose throne was established as the days of heaven, forever; all died. Enoch, who walked with God, and was not found, because God took him; and Elijah, who ascended to the throne of God, in his own fiery chariot; shall return to the earth to sleep with their fathers. The change which is sealed upon all the sons of Adam, shall come upon the faithful, who stand on the earth, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God, and obey not the gospel. And he, the Prince of the Kings of the earth; who in the days to come, shall speak with the voice of a trumpet, and the dead shall hear his voice and live; died once, that he might live forever­more. He praised God, who alone hath immortality, that he would not leave him in the place of the dead: he preached the gospel to the spirits in prison, and ob­tained the key of life everlasting: but God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to us: infinities, as units to the mathematician. Our God alone hath immortality. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 13. God alone hath omniscience. He clotheth himself in light as a robe: his ministers, who at midday, are as a flaming fire in the dark night, are blind before him; he apprehendeth the motion of the atom which floateth in the invisible ele­ment, and discerneth the speck in the centre of the star, which the light of the sun hath not reached since the day that the sons of God shouted for joy that the earth was created, as a mountain in the eye of mortals. He never sleepeth; his eye closeth not; and there is no darkness before him. Our God alone hath omnis­cience. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 14. God alone hath omnipotence. He looketh upon the nations. and they melt in the fury of his countenance: he frowneth, and the mountains dissolve to smoke; the vallies are consumed in the breath of his nostrils. He spoke, and worlds were created: he thought, and they were lost in space. Earthquakes are but the whisper­ings of his voice; the rustling of his attire causeth lightning, and thunder; and with the shadow of his garment he blotteth out the sun. The Prince of the Kings of the earth; by whom the world was created; and who liveth and reigneth forever; receiveth power from him, and rendereth it unto him. Who shall stand before him? Our God alone hath omnipotence. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 15. God alone is omnipresent. His presence filleth the immensity of space as a point. In the midst of the bottomless pit, is he; the pavilion of his feet, is the face of the earth: the stars, are his home: his breath, is fragrant odour to the blessed, in the highest heaven; and it enliveneth the crumbling frame of the dead. The rays of the sun, have not found his bourn: nor the light of the stars, the place he inhabiteth not. His rest outspeedeth the lightning; it leaveth the mor­ning ray behind it: and his speed is more rapid than the thought of angels. Our God alone is omnipresent. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 16. God alone is one. There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow. A great King, is to him as the unseen spawn before the monsters of the deep; Methuselah, as the ephemera of a day: the most glorious spirit, is bodiless, and a breath. And the Lord Jesus, who created the earth, and redeemed it; whose kingdom filleth the earth, and the heavens; possesseth but a speck, amid the stars he made. He alone is one. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Thou shalt adore him, and serve him, and obey him; and beside him, thou shalt have no other God: for he alone hath immortality, and omniscience, and omnipotence, and omnipresence. He alone is one; and they who obey his law, shall be like him. (Book of the Law, pp. 253-254

Chapter Three: JAMES J. STRANG: THE PROPHET

 

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.     “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.     “As 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.”

Prophets
VISION OF JAMES J. STRANG ON JUNE 18, 1844
LETTER OF APPOINTMENT FROM JOSEPH SMITH
ORDINATION OF JAMES J. STRANG ON JUNE 27, 1844
DELIVERY OF THE LETTER OF APPOINTMENT
JAMES J. STRANG THE PROPHET
PASTORAL LETTERS
PROPHECIES FULFILLED
PROPHECIES YET FUTURE
BRIGHAM YOUNG AND THE TWELVE
SIDNEY RIGDON
TESTIMONIES FOR JAMES

Prophets

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.

High Priests 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, p. 225)

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 Israel , during the Egyptian captivity, Moses was called to the office of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver; and received the Book of the Law of the Lord on tables of stone—written by the finger of God. Before the death of Moses, God commanded Moses to call Joshua to the second order of the Prophetic Office. “18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; 19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. 20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. 21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.” (Num. 27)

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 Church of Christ . After the death of Joseph, Sidney Rigdon, a second degree Apostle, attempted to stand at the head. His claim could have been valid if he had been specifically ordained as head the people. But, James had already been ordained as a first degree Apostle above him. The lesser is always blessed by the greater. The office of First President, and head of the people, requires a specific ordination by one holding greater authority. Moses stood above Joshua in the priesthood. Joseph and James stood above Sidney Rigdon.

Although Joshua 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 Israel [e.g. David and Solomon] were subject to the Prophets; as they held the lower office of High Priest.

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.

Brigham Young 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 Zion . They can act with presiding authority only under the direction of the Presidency. Brigham Young was never ordained according to the law of God to the Prophetic Office (See the Kirtland Council Record Book, p. 72). He held the office of First President only by a popular vote of his followers—in rebellion to the authority established by God through James. Having no communication with God, Brigham never fulfilled the office of Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator. Only the last section in the Utah Doctrine and Covenants alludes to Brigham giving “The Word and Will of the Lord.” As Brigham was never ordained to the Prophetic Office, this section is a bold usurpation of the authority of God.

About four hundred years before Jesus , Judah had become so corrupted they became separated from God; and lost the guidance of a Prophet of God. Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood and the office of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. After the death of Jesus, Peter, James, and John were successively called at the head of the people. Jesus told Peter, “17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” (John 21)

The first vacancy in the twelve third degree Apostles, left by Judas, was filled by Matthais (Acts 1:26 ). 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. Constantine completed the conversion of Christianity to paganism—changing only the names. Mosheim, the noted ecclesiastical historian, traced this apostasy during each century after Jesus. He wrote of the fourth century under Constantine , “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God.” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4)

John saw a beast (Mystery, Babylon the Great) that was to overcome the Church of Christ , the divine authority of God, and close the door to the kingdom of heaven for 1260 years. “5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months… 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13)

“10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen [ Egypt , Assyria , Babylon , Persia , and Greece ], and one is [Pagan Rome], and the other is not yet come [Pagan Christian Rome]; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space [325 AD to 476AD]. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth [Papal Rome], and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Rev. 17)

The final form of the beast—Papal Rome—was established in 570 AD. The kingdom of Satan now had complete control over the souls of man. There were many dissenters against the doctrines and rule of the Popes. Constantine had declared resistance to the doctrines of the Catholic Church heresy–a civil crime punishable by death. It has been estimated the Popes were responsible for the martyrdom of 50,000,000 people.

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)

Exactly 1260 years later, on April 6, 1830 , Joseph Smith, established the Church of Christ; according to the freedom of religion provisions of the first amendment. He had previously been ordained under the hands of Peter, James, and John as Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. He restored the same order to the house of God that Jesus had done almost two thousand years earlier. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers.” (Eph. 4:11)

This was to be the last time the gospel would be preached to the Gentiles. “Wherefore, labor 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 June 27, 1844 ; and gave his blood as a witness to the truth of his calling.

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.

“4 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)

James became familiar with the Church of Christ through two of his brothers-in-law. His brother-in-law, Benjamin, joined the latter day saints. Moses Smith, a highly respected member of the church, visited Burlington , Wisconsin . The extreme interest generated by this visit caused James to return on foot with Aaron Smith, some 400 miles in the middle of winter, in February, 1844, to Nauvoo , Illinois –the gathering place of the saints. On February 25, he was baptized of water and the Spirit by Joseph Smith.

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.

“In 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.

“On 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.

“And 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 June 19, 1844 ; and was received in Burlington , Wisconsin on July 9. On the same day that Joseph wrote the letter, James received a vision in which he saw himself, “surrounded by wise men and counselors and priests and eloquent orators, arose and taught the people.” At the same hour that Joseph was murdered in Carthage Jail on June 27, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained at the hands of angels to the same Prophetic Office; as Joseph’s successor; and head of the people of God. James offered a thorough examination of the law of God on succession in the Presidency and his claims to the Prophetic Office in the tract The Prophetic Controversy.

Vision of James J. Strang on June 18, 1844 .

“1. On the eighteenth day of June, eighteen hundred and forty‑four, James J. Strang was in the Spirit, and he was in the grove above the stone quarry on White River, and he had a vision; and behold, he was carried away in the Spirit to the top of the hill in the west border of Racine, and Gardner’s prairie was to the north, and the White River marshes to the south, and he saw in the vision; and the lands round about were covered with many houses and gardens, and there were streets, and shops, and people; even a city of many inhabitants. And the city was built of stone, and there were few houses of brick and less of wood, and the gardens were many; and a few houses were very great, and their inhabitants many.

“2. There was a change in the vision, and the people with lively pace and smiling countenances thronged the streets and passed by.

“3. 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)

James recommended the area around Burlington for a Stake of the church; because of its climate, water supply, farm land, manufacturing potential, and availability to the Great Lakes . Joseph gave James a charge to search out the land around Burlington . James wrote a report on the area; and mailed it to Joseph on May 24. His answer was written on June 18, in which Joseph appointed him to be the next Prophet and head of the people, in accordance with the laws of God.

Letter of Appointment from Joseph Smith.

“Nauvoo, Ill., June 18th, 1844 .     “My Dear Son:–Your epistle of May 24th, proposing the planting a Stake of Zion in Wisconsin , and the gathering of the Saints there, was duly received, and I, with most of the brethren whose advice I called in, were of opinion that you was deceived by a spirit not of this world, great but not good. Brother Hyrum, however, thought otherwise, and favored the project, not doubting it was of God. I, however, determined to return you an unfavorable answer for the present. But, Oh! the littleness of man in his best earthly state! Not so the will of the Almighty. God hath ruled it otherwise, and a message from the throne of grace directed me as it hath inspired you, and the faith which thou hast in the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, hath been repaid to thee a thousand fold, and thou shalt be like unto him; but the flock shall find rest with thee, and God shall reveal to thee his will concerning them.

“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 uttermost.

“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 Temple . The calm father of waters rolled below, changeless and eternal. I beheld a light in the heavens above, and streams of bright light illuminated the firmament, varied and beautiful as the rainbow, gentle, yet rapid as the fierce lightning.

“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 Zion , and my servant Aaron shall be his counselor, for he hath wisdom in the gospel, and understandeth the doctrines, and erreth not therein.

“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.

JOSEPH SMITH.”

Ordination of James J. Strang on June 27, 1844

“1. On the twenty‑seventh day of June, 1844, at five and a half o’clock in the afternoon, James J. Strang was in the Spirit, and the Angel of God came unto him and saluted him, saying,

“2. 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.

“3. 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.

“4. 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.

“5. 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.

“6. 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 teach.

“7. 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 receive it.

“8. 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 salvation.

“9. 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.

“10. 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.

“11. 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)

On June 27, 1844 , Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered in Carthage Jail; while under the protective custody of the Governor. At the same hour, some 400 miles distant, in Burlington , Wisconsin , James claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels as an Apostle, Prophet, Lawgiver, and Joseph’s successor.

For almost three weeks James taught of this appointment, without any knowledge of the death of Joseph. The letter of appointment arrived in Burlington on July 9, 1844 , in which Joseph prophesied of his coming death and appointing James as his successor. Thus began the difficult and trying work of James as Apostle, Prophet, Lawgiver, Seer, Revelator, and Translator; which he sealed with his own blood on July 9, 1856 .

Delivery of the Letter of Appointment. By, James J. Strang.

“This letter was received at Burlington by regular course of mail, coming through the distributing office at Chicago , and bears the Nauvoo postmark of June 19th, the day following its date. It arrived at Burlington July 9th, and was immediately taken from the office by C. P. Barnes, Esq., a distinguished lawyer. at that place, who, in con­sequence of the rumors of persecution and civil war against the Mormons, and a general anxiety to hear the latest news, immediately carried it to Mr. Strang, with the request to be informed of any news of public interest which it might contain. It therefore became public the same evening…

“Mrs. 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.

“Immediately 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 Nauvoo , told them, “They need not trouble themselves about it, for Joseph had appointed one James J Strang, who lived up north, to stand in his stead.” The sudden death of John P. Green immediately after this declaration (under very extra­ordinary circumstances) left Willard Richards and John Taylor sole repositors of all documents on this subject, except this letter.

“They 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 against it.” (The Diamond, p. 3)

James J. Strang the Prophet

There have always been distinctive characteristics which identify a true Prophet of God. First, they all claim direct communication with the throne of grace. Second, they all claim a calling and ordination at the hands of angels by a direct command of God. Third, they all fulfill the duties of their calling. Fourth, they teach the same as all prophets of God on the same subject. Fifth, in many instances they seal their testimony with their own blood.

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 earlier.

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?

“First 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.

“It 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.

“Moreover, 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.

“For 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.

“To 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.

“A 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.

“No 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.

“When 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.

“But, 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.

“The 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.

“The 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 Florence ; facts which fully appear by the original records of the Conference.

“After 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 washing days.

“Being 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.

“My 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.

“So 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.

“However 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 the 19th of June, 1844 , is astounding; actually overwhelming.

“The 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.

“This 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.”

“Upon 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.

“Such 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)

Shortly after the death of Joseph, James and Aaron Smith left to intercept the Twelve who were returning from missions in the East. After they reached Sandusky , Ohio , without making contact, James had become sick with a fever and returned to Voree.   Moses Smith was sent to Nauvoo to present the claims of James to the church. Moses Smith had been honored among the saints. He had helped saints flee from Missouri ; and was a Nauvoo merchant and highly respected High Priest. He was not permitted to present the claims of James. See the Chronicles of Voree, page 13.

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 Egypt , (B. of M. 2d Nephi ii, 2,) and the covenant of God with David, (2d Sam. vii, 12, 15, 16. Ps. lxxxix, 19, 20, 25, 27-29, 36, 37,) and stands in the office of Lawgiver, having translated most of the Law given to Moses, organized and established the Kingdom of God, and established the Law of God in it.”

James 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.

“Neither 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.’

“Who 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.

“Therefore 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.

“So 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 translations.

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 Zion .

“33 The 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.

“As 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,     “JAMES J. STRANG.” (Prophetic Controversy, p. 38)

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.

Pastoral Letters
Pastoral Letter, December 25, 1845 Pastoral Letter, January 21, 1847 Pastoral Letter, February 3, 1848 Pastoral Letter, May 1, 1848.

Pastoral Letter, December 25, 1845

JAMES J. STRANG, a Prophet of the Most High God, and an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, unto the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:

  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.
  2. Be 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.
  3. I 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 D.C. 14:2; Utah D.C. 43:5‑7; Reor. D.C. 43:2b)
  4. I 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; Utah D.C. 21:1; Reor. D.C. 19:1a.) a Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator, called to go before the church as Moses went before Israel . (1835 D.C. 3:42 ; Utah D.C. 107:91‑92; Reor. D.C. 104:42a‑b)
  5. 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; Utah D.C. 102:9; 35:18; Reor. D.C. 99:6a; 34:4f); and that through Joseph only could that appointment be made. (1835 D.C. 14:2; 84:2; Utah D.C. 43:4; 90:4; Reor. D.C. 43:2a; 87:2a)
  6. For 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 his stead.
  7. By 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.
  8. The 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 church.
  10. His 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.
  12. This 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 D.C. 3:12 ; Utah D.C. 107:33; Reor. D.C. 104:12) They hold the keys of the opening of the gospel to the nations, (1835 D.C. 3:13 ; Utah D.C. 107:34; Reor. D.C. 104:13a), but the keys of mysteries and revelations belong to Joseph as First President, Prophet, Seer, and so forth, and to his successors regularly appointed by revela­tion through him. (1835 D.C. 5:6; 11:4; 14:1‑2; Utah D.C. 102:9‑11: 35:17‑18; 43:1‑7; Reor. D.C. 99:6a‑c: 34:4e‑f; 14:la‑2c). The keys of the kingdom belong to Joseph, for time and eternity, but still with a regular succession as to the oracles or gift of receiving revelation for the church. (1835 D.C. 84:2; Utah D.C. 90:3‑5; Reor. D.C. 87:2a‑b) The Melchizedek priesthood, by its presidency, holds the keys of ordinances and spiritual blessings. (1835 D.C. 3:9 & 31; Utah D.C. 107:18‑19 & 60‑67; Reor. D.C. 104:9a‑b & 31b‑f) And in all these things the Twelve are without power, their duties being to open the preaching of the gospel.
  13. 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 church of God , and a final decision upon controversies, in spiritual matters. (1835 D.C. 3:35 ; Utah D.C. 107:78‑80; Reor. D.C. 104:35a‑c) There is not any person belonging to the church, who is exempt from this council of the church. (1835 D.C. 3:36 ; 5:13 ; Utah D.C. 107:81; 102:30‑32; Reor. D.C. 104:36; 99:13a‑b)
  14. Upon 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?
  15. All 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.
  16. The 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.
  17. 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?
  18. Why 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?
  19. But, 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Now 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.
  22. Let 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.
  23. Let 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 Zion be cleansed and her garments of peace put on. Let neither gun nor sword be lifted in defiance, nor rest be taken upon the arm of flesh, and the city of our God shall be saved and the Temple of his holiness be unpolluted by the hand of the Gentile.
  24. 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.

They 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.    December 25, 1845 .

Pastoral Letter, January 21, 1847

From 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.

  1. God, 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I 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.
  4. I 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.”
  5. 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 oath.
  6. In 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 not.
  7. “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.
  8. Still 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 Utah D.C. 58:21.
  10. 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.
  11. Be 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.

JAMES J. STRANG     (Zion’s Reveille, 2:2:7, January 21, 1847, p. 59)

Pastoral Letter, February 3, 1848

JAMES J. 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, greeting:–

  1. For 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 examples.
  2. There 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 us do.
  3. I 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 Zion to watch, I admonish you to come out of Babylon and separate yourselves from her uncleanness. For the day of God’s wrath upon her is near, and the time is at hand when his vengeance will be poured out.
  4. The earth presents to us a most unhappy picture. The United States is engaged in a most bloody war against the most powerful sister republic which she has on the earth. This war she has waged without the authority of God, and for causes very far from commensurate to the blood she has shed or the misery she has inflicted. And passing by the nature of the cause (for I will not pretend that this war is causeless) there is good reason, from what God has said, to believe that the greatest portion of its evils will fall on those who have waged it. In the period of less that two years that has elapsed since its commencement, with the very small force engaged, the loss of life has been not less than ten thousand Americans, and probably three times that number of Mexicans. And the hatred, blood‑thirstiness, and passion for violence it is engendering, will remain through generations to come, the consequences of men’s corruptions and the instruments of God’s wrath upon the nations. Whatever may be the future fate of Mexico , she is practically denationalized. Yet every object professedly sought by the war is further off than at the beginning. Unceasing hostility and the desolation and waste of cities, towns and provinces will follow thick in the future history of the daughter of Babylon, and pestilence and famine will soon commence their work, as they have already in the old world.
  5. So, too, though Europe is not convulsed with any general war, the elements of disorder and destruction are everywhere active. The British Empire , which has by her policy and arms for a long time held sway throughout the earth, is just beginning to crumble to dust. A little territory of the extent of a small State, she has extended her dominion throughout the sea and to the four quarters of the earth. The sun never sets on her empire. The reveille on her legions beats time to the hours as the earth rolls round. The terror of her arms has carried desolation into every country on the face of the earth, and the bones of her sons who have fallen in her wars lie bleaching in the sun forever. So omnipresent has been her power that neither wilderness, mountain or island sufficed to hide the refugee from the emissaries of her oppression. The very name of Britain has become a terror to the most secluded and savage tribes. And with a mechanical power in actual use equal to the labor of one half the human race, the fifteen or sixteen millions of inhabitants of England are now in a state of destitution bordering on starvation. A majority of the people are real paupers, dependent on public and private charities for the bread that preserves life. And with the immense wealth and power of the nation, it has not the ability to furnish bread to fill the mouths of starvation.
  6. France , Germany, Poland, Hungary and provinces of other countries of Europe have suffered for want of food. And this not because there is any lack of men to work the lands, not because there is a lack of skill or any indisposition to work, but because the established order of things makes some men drones and others swindlers: and the habit of individual spunging and swindling induces those habits in nations. And the loss of that fellow‑feeling among men which is necessary to heartily loving our neighbors as ourselves and doing as we would be done by is so general and pervasive in its influence, that few men ever think of consulting the interest and general good of mankind in any of their undertakings or avocations. And the man whose entire income is derived from the labors of others, without making any real return, and, consequently, who in a moral religious view lives by mere swindling and robbery, is no less respected in society than those who are engaged in producing that which is necessary for the use of man.
  7. Such 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.
  8. The 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; Utah D.C. 38:13-30; Reor. D.C. 38:4-6)
  9. This 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 Missouri they went under a special command to consecrate their property, that all might be made equal. This command was never kept: yet they did not keep that which they refused to consecrate. Because the rich refused to make the poor rich with them, their enemies made them poor with the poor. Together were they driven out in destitution. From that time to this they have been driven from city to city, and from country to country: constantly going out robbed and plundered of that which they have greedily kept back from the Lord. Saints, will you that these things shall always be?
  10. In 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; Utah D.C. 42:29-36 & 40-47; Reor. D.C. 42:8 & 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 D.C. 23:2; Utah D.C. 52:7-9; Reor. D.C. 51:2)

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; Utah D.C. 58:2-1-37 & 49-56; Reor. D.C. 58:6.7 & 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; Utah D.C. 70:9-18; Reor. D.C. 70:3, 4).

  1. In 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:‑-
  2. (1835 D.C. 75:1-3; Utah D.C. 78:1-16; Reor. D.C. 77:1-3) “Verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand, and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of My people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of My people, both in this place and in the land of Zion, or in other words, the city of Enoch, for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto My church, to advance the cause which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven, that you may be equal in the bands of heavenly things, yea and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things; for if ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things: for 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 you and required of you.
  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.
  4. “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.”
  5. (1835 D.C. 86:4, 5; Utah D.C. 82:11-21; Reor. D. C. 81:4, 5) “It is expedient for My servant Alam and Ahashdah, Mahalaleel and Pelagoram, and My servant Gazelam, and Horah, and Olihah, and Shalemanasseh, and Mehemson, to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships, to manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion, and in the land of Shinehah; therefore I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord. Behold here is wisdom, also, in Me, for your good. And you are to be EQUAL or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your steward­ships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just: and all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents: yea, even a hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the COMMON PROPERTY of the whole church, every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.”
  6. “This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you and unto your successors. inasmuch as you sin not.”
  7. (1835 D.C. 98:1‑-3 & 10-12; Utah D.C. 104:1-23 & 54-77; Reor. D.C. 101:1-3 & 10-12) “Verily I say unto you My friends. I give unto you counsel and a command­ment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order, which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come, with promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful, they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings: but inasmuch as they were not faithful, they were nigh unto cursing. Therefore inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the cove­nant, by covetousness and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse: for I the Lord have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man, belonging to the order, shall be found a transgressor: or, in other wards, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will.
  8. “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.
  9. “Let all things be done according to counsel of the order, and united consent, or VOICE of the ORDER.
  10. “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.
  11. “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.
  12. “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.”
  13. 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 Israel went in Egypt each patriarch was the head of a house, consisting in some instances of many thousands of persons, all holding one common estate and inheritance, in the use of which they enjoyed equal benefits. The family of Job could not have been less than 10,000 souls: that of Melchizedek was doubtless larger, and Abraham’s probably numbered 4,000, ALL HEIRS WITH HIM of the promise of the land of Canaan for a perpetual inheritance. Gen. 17:7-13. Israel , when they entered into the land of Canaan , received their inheritances by families, not by individuals, and usually each family received a city and the country around extending half way to the next city for its possession. During the ministry of Christ, He and the chief of His disciples had no separate property, but Judas, one of the twelve, was treasurer and purveyor for the whole. And though doubtless some individual disciples retained their estates, yet when a certain rich young man came inquiring what he should do to inherit eternal life, Christ told him to “sell what he had and give to the poor,” and follow him. Matt. 19:21. And about a year after the crucifixion of Christ, when the church was receiving great accessions, “the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own: but they had ALL THINGS COMMON: neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of houses or lands, sold them and brought the price of the things that were sold and laid them at the Apostles’ feet: and distribution was made to every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:32 , 34, 35.
  14. 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 Zion , but failed by means of a multitude of transgressions. And from that time till this the church has not ceased to be scourged by her enemies, nor will she until she obeys this commandment. So general was the feeling in favor of the common stock and equality at the time the church was finally driven from Missouri , that Joseph wrote from prison to prevent it, telling them that though the principle was correct they had no authority to do the act, and must wait until God gave commandment. In His wisdom He has withheld the commandment till the great falling away is past.
  15. 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 UNION , EQUALITY, and a strict regard to the LAW of GOD and the DISCIPLINE of the CHURCH. The association owns a farm of five hundred and sixty acres of land, four hundred acres of which might be cropped the coming season, and consider­ing soil, water, salubrity and location, probably the very best in Wisconsin: several good stone buildings, a valuable water power and a property in all worth not less than $11,000, on which they owe debts a very little over three thousand. This property lies in, and in the immediate vicinity of Voree, is beautifully located, very productive and entirely healthy.
  16. 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.
  17. 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 Zion , without money and without price. And whosoever will, let him come and possess the land with us freely.

JAMES J. STRANG.     (Gospel Herald, 2:221, Feb. 3, 1848, p. 273)

Pastoral Letter, May 1, 1848 .

The True Shepherd to the Saints Emigrating from Great Britain and Ireland to America‑-Greeting.

  1. God, 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 everlasting righteousness.
  2. 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 Great Britain you were taught that God spoke now, as in days of old, by the mouth of prophets, and that a priesthood elected and chosen by KINGS, MAGISTRATES, or PEOPLE, was unauthorized, and its administrations would not avail to salva­tion. Truly have they cried out to you that all your administrations by a man­made priesthood, whether they be Catholics, Episcopalians, or Protestants were vain, and but a mockery of God’s ordinances. And that unless men are truly call­ed by revelation of God, and set apart to the ministry by the hands of those who were thus called and set apart, they cannot act as ministers and priests of the true church.
  3. 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 church of God by revelation of God and the ordination of angels. (1835 D.C. 14:2; 1:4; Utah D.C. 43:4-7; 1:19 ; Reor. D.C. 43: 2a-c; 1:4c) And what authority and ceremonies it took to make him a prophet and the first and presiding elder, the same authority and ceremonies it would also take to con­fer the same office and priesthood on anyone to stand in his place.
  4. As 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 Israel, Jethro, and probably many others, were priests of the true God. But as Moses was called to a higher authority than any of them possessed, the Lord himself spoke to Moses to give him the authority; and though we are not expressly told that he was ordained by the hand of angels, yet we are plainly told that the angel of the Lord appeared to him, and are left to infer that he ap­peared for some rational purpose. Ex. 3:1-12.
  5. When 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; Utah D.C. 27:8 & 12; Reor. D.C. 26:2d & 3a)
  6. When Moses failed to make Israel a nation of priests unto God, and brought them in under the law of curse, making one tribe only priests to all the rest, and God saw fit to take away the most holy priesthood, Moses, by revela­tion of God, ordained Joshua to an inferior species of priesthood. So Christ, when he was rejected as the Messiah, the king of the Jews, and the offer of deliverance to Israel was withdrawn, conferred on Peter the keys of the dispensation, with the power of binding and loosing both on earth and in heaven, and of remitting and retaining sins. In each of these cases the authority conferred was less than that of him who conferred it. Two persons could not stand at the same time holding the authority which God conferred on Moses. Consequently Moses could not or­dain anyone to it. But he put part of his honor on Joshua. Two persons could not stand at the same time having the authority of Christ, as king of Israel and head of the gospel dispensation. Consequently Christ did not ordain Peter to the same authority which he held, but to a less. (John 21:15-17.)
  7. 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; Utah D.C. 102:9; 35:18; 43:1-7; 27:8 & 12; 28:2-7; Reor. D.C. 99:6a; 34:4f; 43:la-2c; 26:2d & 3a; 27:2a-d) And, as Joseph was established as the Prophet, Seer and Revelator, it was necessary that the revelation appointing his successor should come through him, because the church are forbidden to receive revelations and commandments from others. And, as this is established as a positive law, no instances are necessary to justify it; but if any were wanting, they might be found in the case of Samuel and Elisha. Samuel succeeded Eli, who fell by wickedness, and the Lord reveal­ed to Eli, and then to Samuel, that Samuel should stand as prophet in his stead. (1 Samuel 3rd Ch.). Elisha succeeded Elijah as a prophet. Elijah abode faithful to God in all things, but many years before he was translated, God had, through him, chosen Elisha to be his successor. (1 Kings 19:16 ) Yet, after he was translated to the chariot of the Lord, and ceased to be of the earth, he conferred that priesthood on Elisha, which he alone held while he ministered among men. (2 Kings, 2:9-15.)
  8. 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; Utah D.C. 90:4; Reor. D.C. 87:2a) This promise was sure and unconditional; but it was less than the former pro­mise, which was of life everlasting without seeing death. For if he held the keys of mysteries and revelations until Christ came, he would, at the head of all the saints, ascend on high to dwell with him.
  9. So, 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.
  10. 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. 14:2; Utah D.C. 43:4-7; Reor. D.C. 43:2a-c) So if we can learn what God told Joseph before on this subject, the answer is perfect. In September, 1830, five months before, and only five months after the organization of the church, God said: “I have sent unto you Peter, James, and John (angels), BY WHOM I HAVE ORDAINED YOU, ” etc. (1835 D.C. 50:3; Utah D.C. 27:12; Reor. D.C. 26:3a) Most clear and true, therefore, is it that a prophet of this dispensation cannot be either elected or ordained of man, but must be chosen by revelation and or­dained by angels.
  11. 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. 3:11 ; Utah D.C. 107:22; Reor. D.C. 104:11b) It will be observed, however, that that is not a revelation, but only a law of the church, and cannot change the interpretation of a revelation. 2nd. That those three are not the Presidents of the church, but the Presidents of the high priests. For we are told expressly that their necessity grows not out of the organization of the church, but of the priesthood. (1835 D.C. 3:1 & 11; Utah D.C. 107:1 & 22; Reor. D.C. 104:1 a & 11b) Whereas, the Presidency of the church existed of necessity, before the priesthood was organized at all. 3rd. That they are inferior to the First Presidency in power, for they are only equal with the Twelve, either seventy or a high council of a stake, all of which councils and quorums are inferior to the First Presidency, and subject to it. 4th. These three presiding high priests are chosen by the body and ordained by the church. Whereas, we have shown, both by the letter of the law, and the force of fundamental principles, that the First Presidency cannot be thus chosen and ordained. To say that this law relates to the First Presidency is equivalent to saying that all the revelations concerning the appointment, or­dination, and power of the prophet are false.
  12. It 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 prophet?
  13. 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.
  14. As 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 Israel of his day, ye are the children of those that slew the prophets. Moreover the prophet Joseph has given us a full test of those who say they are apostles and are not. Though we will not accuse them, yet we believe the word of God by his prophet will stand, and by that they must fall.
  15. After the saints had gathered to Nauvoo God gave them the following promise: (1846 D.C. 103:13-14; Utah D.C. 124:45; Reor. D.C. 107:13e)
  16. “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.
  17. “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.”
  18. That 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.
  19. 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.

Voree, May 1st, 1848 .

  Prophecies Fulfilled

I received an e-mail one day inquiring if we had a book of prophesies of James. The Revelations of James was compiled by Wingfield Watson and published in 1885. Reprints and other compilations of this work have been made over the years. Unfortunately, prophesies of James have never been compiled. For the purposes of this book, they are divided into two categories: (1) those that have been fulfilled to this day, and (2) those that are to be fulfilled in the future.

James received his first vision on June 18, 1844 , the same day that Joseph wrote the letter of appointment, foretelling his being called to stand at the head of the people. This vision was fulfilled when he was ordained at the hands of angels as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver at the same time Joseph was murdered—although some four hundred miles away.

On September 1, 1845 , James received a vision in which he prophesied of a record of an ancient people buried on a hill beside the White River . He took four respectable local men with him on September 13, 1845 , to the place where the angel showed him the record was buried. They found the buried record beneath a large tree, at a depth of about three feet, exactly where James had prophesied. A clay case contained three brass plates—the Voree Plates. James translated this ancient record. It is included in the chapter, James the Translator.

On August 25, 1846 , he received a revelation and vision concerning the gathering of the saints. Beaver Island was later established by revelation as a stake of Zion and the gathering place for the saints.

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 June 18, 1844 —the day Joseph wrote the letter of appointment. He saw himself as head of the people. James had no way of knowing that Joseph was soon to be martyred and that he would stand at the head of the people. On June 27, 1844 , Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob in Carthage Jail, Missouri . At the same time of Joseph’s death, James was ordained as Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver at the hands of angels to be Joseph’s successor. The prophecy was fulfilled.

James prophesied the fall of Nauvoo. Joseph Smith received a revelation from God at Nauvoo , Illinois , on January 19, 1841 . God promised as long as the people obeyed the priesthood that God set in order they would never be removed from Nauvoo.

“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 Nauvoo. “A 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.

“It is 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 the testimony.”

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.

The 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 January 17, 1845 , “9. Be ye faithful, O ye children of the kingdom, for this is the covenant between me and you. I will remember you in mercy and in blessings IF ye serve me. And this will I do. Behold I the Lord have spoken it. I will give unto my servant James the plates of the book that was sealed, that he may translate them for you. Yea, unto the faithful is this promise. Serve and obey me, and I will give unto him the plates of the ancient records which are sealed up, and he shall translate them unto you; and this shall be a witness between me and those that serve me; and unto my servants who serve me faithfully, yea, unto whom I will, shall he show the plates, and they shall be faithful witnesses unto me, and thus shall my words be established. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 15; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

The 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.”

“I 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 mineIF 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.

“AN APPEAL.

“It 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.

“(But 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 hundred years.

“However 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.

“There 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.

“I 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.

“That 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.

“Society 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 word.

“Scarcely 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.

“The Voree Herald contained articles from other papers, repre­senting that White River would afford a water power at Voree by means of dam and race of from 20 to 25 feet fall. It has been pub­lished far and near that this is a lie; that there is no water power here, and that six feet fall cannot be obtained. Men of respectabil­ity have taken it up and repeated it as an undoubted fact, by means of which real injury has been done to the growth of the place. On what authority is this slander put afloat? None at all. Not a man of all who dispute the existence of 25 feet fall ever walked along the river, much less made a survey of it. William Aldrich, who has circulated it very industriously, and probably done more than any other man in giving it currency, had but barely crossed the river at a single point, and on that boldly puts forth a statement in the face of careful observations of engineers that a dam and race crossing a bend and bringing to one point the fall of a rapid river for three miles would not produce 25 feet fall. I care not what a man’s char­acter may be, his guessing cannot stand against engineers measurements. Yet such is the best they have against me.

“Reuben 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.

“It 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

“Directly 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.

“William 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 U. S. would not have furnished seven fools to credit it. But being on the Mormon prophet, it must be true. I have no reason to doubt that it is generally believed. The saints are filled with fears that it may be so.

“Now 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 county, Ill. , and was not within 150 miles of Voree, within some three months of that time. But several others, men of a very different character from Wm. Smith, assert that the illumination was really an imposition by the use of phosphorus and oil, and as a few of them are men who are usually credited in other matters, it may be expected of me to show a reason why they should not in this. I have cheerfully done it as often as requested.

“Phosphorus 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.

“Amos 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 saints in Illinois and Iowa , and meeting this scandal wherever he went, perfectly laughed it down on its own innate folly. Yet such a man has become now the principal representative of my opponents, and chief accuser in the premises. To such shifts are men driven to make me vile. As I expect to return to the subject again, I for­bear remarks. “Most sincerely, JAMES J. STRANG.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 86. p. 90/402)

“I 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)

After facing severe persecution for many years, and knowing the probability of martyrdom, the Northern Islander published an “Apology For The Mormons” on June 5, 1856 . “We will neither purchase temporary peace and future calamities by dishonorable trafficking with political jugglers, nor will we yield our homes to enemies. If we live, here will we live. If we die, here will we die, and here shall our bones be buried, expecting in the resurrection of the just to possess the land forever, and dwell with the righteous during the lifetime of the Eternal. God judge between us and all men.”

The prophecy of his own death became a reality after he fell by assassin’s bullets three weeks later, on June 16, 1856 ; and later died on July 9. He sealed his testimony with his own blood; as Joseph had before him.

His 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 Church of Christ requires a Prophet (either first or second degree Apostle) to stand at the head to maintain communication with God. There was no second degree Apostle to stand at the head after his death. The Twelve were the highest authority remaining on the earth; but they could only function with royal (Presiding) authority under the direction of the Presidency. “33 The 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.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 107)

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 on July 14, 1856 . “I received your letter today, and hasten to answer. If you have not received the news ahead of this, it will be sad news to you. I closed the prophet’s eyes in the sleep of death the 9th of July, fifteen minutes before ten o’clock .

“You 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 August 3, 1856 . “In the first place we are without a head to our knowledge, in the flesh, our Prophet and King has been stricken down by the hands of wicked men… I suppose you understand there are two Priesthoods as well as myself, and in the Priesthood of an endless life two Orders, and that the Quorum of the Twelve are the third Degree of the First Order, and can only act under the direction of their superiors. The Twelve are without a President to their Quorum, and you speak of a meeting to consult about matters that concern us all. That is what Bro. Miller, Hickey, & myself were in favor of; but we were apposed,& no one authorized to take the lead, so we have concluded that the trial of the getting up such a meeting would be vain.” (Ibid., pp. 33, 34)

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 Zion , proposed a fast: and the last day of the year 1856 was kept by some of them as a day for fasting and prayer. The day was not kept, only by a few, for the people are determined to do what seemeth right in their own eyes. There were five of the Apostles, that met together (viz) L. D. Hickey, L. D. Tubbs, J Pearce, J. Hutchins, & W. Post on the 10th of Feb. 1857, in the wilderness 6 miles from Racine, and there prayed and communed with each other all night. We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves & families; and when occasion offered; minister to the necessities of the Saints, according to our abilities, until we have the word of the Lord to guide us on to other duties. This is truly a time of mourning, & fasting; for God has chastened us sorely for our sins, & we know not the extent of our sins, for God has not shown them unto us.” (Ibid., p. 45)

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)

The Book 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 Israel , and I will bring my gospel unto them. 12 And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel , that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel , and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.” (3 Nephi 16; 3 Nephi 20:26)

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)

James 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 their children.”

“…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 Babylon , ‘Reward her as she hath rewarded you, and double unto her double, according to her works.’ (id. 18:6.) Then shall the Saints execute vengeance on the heathen. (Ps. 149:6, 7), (Book of the Law, p. 213)

“8 And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, as a besieged city. 9 Except the LORD of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom , and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.” (Isa. 1)

“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 Jerusalem ? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion ? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?” (Lam. 2)

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 Zion , unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem . 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

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 Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled… 32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21) This prophecy was fulfilled in 1967, after the six day war. Biblical generations are forty years. If there is any remaining of the daughter of Zion who has tears that have not been shed, they do not understand.

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 July 8, 1850 ; when James was made a King in Zion with dominion over the kingdom of heaven on the earth. James became, truly, a Prophet like unto Moses. It has been said that James, during his whole life in the ministry, believed that it would end with the shedding of his own blood; and that he became more aware of his impending death about a week before he was shot. He was right. Some have said that his Bible was opened to Micah 4, when he left for the dock where he was shot. On July 9, 1856 , he offered his own blood as a witness of the truth of his prophecy “is there no king in thee?” The Apostles all passed away, “is thy counseller perished?” The people were scattered among the heathen in spiritual Babylon —confusion and wickedness. In the day when deliverance comes to the daughter of Zion , only half will be found worthy of deliverance (Matt. 25).

Every prophecy that James gave concerning events to this day have been fulfilled. On June 18, 1844 , James told of seeing himself at the head of the people. This was only possible if Joseph was to die. Joseph wrote the Letter of Appointment the same day. At the very moment of Joseph’s death on June 27, some 400 miles away, James claimed to have been ordained at the hands of angels to the same office held by Joseph. But, it was not until July 9, when James received the letter from Joseph. Both parts of the law– requiring an appointment by Joseph and an ordination at the hands of angels–were fulfilled.

James prophesied of a record of an ancient people buried near White River . The four respectable members of the community, who dug where James instructed them, found the Voree Plates.

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 July 8, 1850 , was lost. God did not appoint another to succeed James. The Church of Christ was taken from the earth.

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 Priesthood. On April 14, 1919 , Wingfield Watson wrote, “Besides the office of apostle there is also the office of High Priest and Elder, who holds the right to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances. It was not in the nature of things, to be expected that we could do a great work, for nearly all the men had families dependant upon them for support, and Mr. Strang’s last advice and counsel to use, was to let every man take care of himself and his family, and do the best he can until he is informed further what he shall do.”

The complete loss of the Gentile dispensation became a reality in 1967. Jesus had prophesied, “24 … Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21) Lloyd Flanders, High Priest, was first to notice this prophecy was fulfilled after the six day war. Its truth has been generally appreciated among the remnant of the followers of James.

  Prophecies Yet Future

It is evident, when studying the Revelations of James, that he realized only a part of his mission to the people of God during his mortal life. His first was to the Gentiles. His next mission will be to God’s elect people; and will include that very small remnant of the daughter of Zion . He is to stand as a Deliverer, Judge, and Destroyer in Zion shortly before the return of Jesus. This is the primary subject of the chapter James the Deliverer.

James taught that Micah 4 addressed him and the daughter of Zion . This prophesied of James being a future Deliverer of the remnant of the daughter of Zion . “8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion , unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem . 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.”

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 Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”

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.

In the April 3, 1851 , Northern Islander, James prophesied of the future destruction of this nation. “Many have looked for the downfall of the nation by the array of the north against the south. That will not be. The nation will perish in anarchy of laws despised and trampled on by the whole people. There is no wickedness, no act of oppression ever undertaken by a despotic government, which has not been successfully accomplished in this. There is no conceivable act which cannot be done under it, either in accordance with the law, or in spite of it.”

In the June 6, 1850 , Gospel Herald, James with George Adams, and Williams Marks wrote a Testimony To The Nation; which prophecies of the fall of this country. It tells of the horrible atrocities brought against the Mormons for their religious beliefs; since the beginning of the latter day saints. “For all these wrongs the laws and institutions of the country offer us no redress.”

“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?”

  Brigham Young and the Twelve

Almost two months after the death of Joseph, Brigham Young, as President of the Twelve, issued an epistle. He claimed that Joseph would never have a successor; and that the Twelve held authority to stand at the head of the church.

“You 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, p. 618)

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.

“It was 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 witness. “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.” (Ibid., 6:32 )

“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.

“And 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. “…you believe 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)

On Jan. 10, 1886 , Apostle Lorenzo Snow stated, “As man now is, God once was.” (Journal of Discourses, 26:368)

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.”

James Summons to the Twelve.

“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 Temple of our God delivered to the polluting hand of the Gentile or shall be built up in the most holy order preparatory to the coming of the son of God.

“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 therein.

“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. “Done at Ottawa January thirteenth eighteen hundred and forty six, by “James J. Strang, Pres. “of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

“To: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John Taylor, John E Page, Willard Richards, and George A. Smith.” (Chronicles of Voree, pp. 55, 56)

Voree Conference on April 6, 1846 .

“On motion of H. P. Charles B. Thompson “Resolved unanimously That all persons holding any priesthood in this Church and standing in rebellion against the First Presidency, and the regular authorities of the Church, be suspended of all their official functions and all power of their priesthood during the continuance of their rebellion, and that all acts done by them by virtue of their several offices or priesthood be void.

“Pres. Strang proposed to appoint James Madison Van Nostrand, Pres. pro. tem. of the Elders Quorum, and the conference concurring therein he was appointed. “On motion of Charles B Thompson, Resolved unanimously That in the opinion of this Conference the First Presidency ought to call a council of Twelve Highpriests for the Trial of such members of the Quorum of the Twelve as have been cited to appear here and have not answered or appeared.” (Chronicles of Voree, p. 66)

Trial of Brigham Young and the Twelve

“High Council Meeting on April 7, 1946 . ‘The President then arose and adressed the council. After which the following charges were presented by Stephen Bartholf against Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, Willard Richards and George A Smith, all members of the quorum of the Twelve.’ ”

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 “Members of the high Council “James J Strang “President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, and of the Council “Aaron Smith Counsellor.” (Chronicles of Voree, pp. 75, 76)

  Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon also rebelled against the authority of James. James and various members of the church labored with him. Finally, a conference held at Voree on October 19, 1846 , recommended that James enquire of the Lord concerning Sidney . Rigdon eventually established his own church; which evolved into the Bickertonites.

  Revelation of October 19, 1846 .

“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 Rigdon.

“And now this is the answer of the Lord concerning him.

“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.” (Chronicles of Voree, pp. 118, 119)

  Testimonies For James

God established the rule that every fact should be proved by at least two witnesses. “15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deut. 19) “16 …in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18)

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.

Testimony of the Smith family.

“Nauvoo, May 11th 1846     “Dear Brother Hedlock.

“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 to Galena to get a living. The Twelve and the brethren here have done all they could to ruin her; and gone off and left her to look out for herself, such is the charity of these men. The Twelve are not the appointed of God, to lead the church James J. Strang has the appointment, and we have evidence of it. The whole Smith family excepting Hyrum’s widow uphold Strang, and say this wilderness move is not of God. Do set the saints in order in England . My love to all the faithful. The family join in these sentiments.

WM Smith.”

“Nauvoo, May 11th 1840 .     “My dear son,

“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 mother.

Lucy Smith     Mother in Isreal.

“This is to certify that We the undersigned members of the Smith family fully accord with the sentiments expressed above.

W.J. Salisbury,     Catherine Salisbury,     Arthur Millikin,     Lucy Millikin.” (Voree Herald, Vol. 1, No. 6, p. 25)

“I have since I returned to Nauvoo last, for the first time been appraised of an appointment made by Joseph Smith to James J. Strang. On hearing this, I took pains to gather all the evidence that could be adduced to see if there was any foundation at all for the claims of Mr. Strang.

“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 Far West Mo. and told him this church would go to Voree; the boy was only eight years old—Joesph his father was in jail at the time—the boy remembers the vision &c. Joseph before he was martyred, when on his way from the temple hill home, saw a vision, and his mother recollects that when he came home, he put his hands upon his eyes and prayed that the vision might pass, and that he stated he heard as it were music in the Heavens, but the notes were low and sad as though they sounded the requium of martyred prophets.

“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.

William Smith.

“This is to certify that the Smith family do believe in the appointment of J. J. Strang.

William Smith, Patriarch.     Lucy Smith, Mother in Israel.     Arthur Milliken.     Nancy Milliken.     W. J. Salisbury.     Catherine Salisbury.     Sophronia McLerie.

“Nauvoo, March 1st. 1846.” (Voree Herald, Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 31)

Note: William Smith was Patriarch of the Church under Joseph. John E. Page and George J. Adams were apostles in the days of Joseph Smith.

John E. Page’s Testimony

“My 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 dispensation.

“First–Because he alone claims the authority according to the law of God.

“Second–Because his conduct is fitting to that high calling.

“Third–Because his teachings car­ry with them the witness of the spirit.

“Fourth–Because he produces the proper works of a seer.

“Fifth–Because 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

“Voree, May, 1846.”

George J. Adams’ Testimony

“To the Saints Scattered Abroad;     “Greeting–I feel it a duty that I owe to God, the church, and the age in which I live, to make known to you some facts in relation to the present situation of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. First, then, be it known to all men that James J Strang is the President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the church, appointed by Joseph Smith according to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants before his martyr­dom, and confirmed by the ministry of angels, according to the order of such calling and priesthood. The question may be asked, How do you know that such is the fact? I an­swer, that I know it by the same testimony that I received concerning Brother Joseph; I mean testimony from God by revelation. I know he is the only man that has claimed that calling according to the order of the church, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I know that he is the only man that is now giving proof to the nations of the earth of such calling, priesthood and authority. My beloved brethren, you know that previous to the death of Brother Joseph, I was acting as his counsel­or and spokesman; you also know that as soon as the Twelve usurped authority, I withdrew from their unholy and pernicious councils, after which they attempted, in their illegal and usurped authority, to cast me off and blacken my character and injure my usefulness. But you, among whom they and myself have traveled, can judge of their conduct and mine.

“After I 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,

“After 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 last dispensation.

“George J. Adams.     “Louisburg, Ohio, July 6, 1848 .”     (Voree Herald, Vol. 1, No. 7.)

Testimony of Johnathan Sumner

“I 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.”

“Johnathan Sumner.     “Voree, June 30, 1846.     “Signed in the presence of “Benjamin C. Ellsworth,     “George Eberson,     “Phineas Wright.”

Note–“John P. Green died very mysteriously a few days after the above statement.”‑-Voree Herald, No. 8 Vol,. 1.

Gen. George Miller’s Testimony.

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:

“But 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.

“A 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.

“At 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.

“On 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.

“The 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 drooping spirit.”

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.”     (Northern Islander, Oct. 11 and 18, 1855)

Testimony of Young Joseph (The prophet’s eldest son)

“There 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 land of Voree .”

“Reaching 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 land of Voree :’

“When 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.’ ”     (Memoirs of Joseph Smith, Saints Herald, Nov. 6, 1934, page 1415)

Jason W. Briggs Testimony

Jason Briggs was one of the founders of the Reorganized LDS Church . In a letter from Samuel Bacon to Jason Briggs, published in the Northern Islander on July 31, 1851 , it is noted that Briggs claimed to have had a vision in which he saw Joseph Smith write the letter of appointment to Mr. Strang.

“I 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 New York , from the fact they asserted the same?”

  1. D. Hickey’s Testimony
  2. D. Hickey was one of the Twelve Apostles under James. He lived to be the last of the Apostles.

“(The following statements were written to Charles Strang, and are now in my possession. Stanley L. Johnston.)

“It 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.

“It is 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 day….”

“When James was shot, I soon came home from Wis. instead of sneaking off as some did and sending for families. No gentlemen, I got a letter at Wis., from the Captain of the Propeller and got the medicine they sent for, and hastened to the place where the good man lay–even then the mob were on the alert, and I stood to my post when ex­posed to their shots. And when the word came that he wanted E. Chidister and L. D. Hickey-‑I felt it an honor as I do to this day to be one that was to stand by him through the storm. And all I ask of my Father in heaven is to have a home in his glory-‑even where the Father will place him.

“But 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….”

“As to why or what men may say about your father being King, etc. He was accused and tried before the highest court of the United States­ and was acquitted. And treason was one of the charges. But when the judge heard our faith and had the Whys, etc., etc., laid before him, he told the jury that the Latter Day Saints held to this order as a pre­paratory work for the millennium and that we had a scriptural and constitutional right to have a King and Kingdom, and that ended the greatest test trial that has been since Pilate’s day….”

“I 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.

“I 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 Watson)

Newspapers of the Time

From the Northern Islander, May, 31, 1855.

“Camp of 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 Illinois have determined that all the Mormons, of every clique shall leave the State. There are now three principal cliques of Mormons – 1st. The ‘Twelveites,’ who are moving off somewhere to the west, with the most corrupt, abandoned, licentious, low and groveling portion of the church, now called the ‘Camp of Israel.’ 2d. The ‘Rigdonites’ who are locating their ‘ Zion ’ near Chambersburgh , Pennsylvania . They include in their number, it is said, many excellent men and estimable citizens, who left the Twelveites in consequence of their “spiritual wife doctrine” and other abominations. 3rd. The ‘Voree Mormons’ who acknowledge James J. Strang, Esq., as their prophet.–This portion of the church is evidently the most orderly and law-abiding, and includes most of the talent and virtue of that people. They are rapidly increasing in numbers, and most of the churches out of Nauvoo have declared for ‘Strang and Voree;’ and ‘ Voree , Wisconsin,’ is to be the ‘great gathering place’ of the sincere and virtuous portion of the ‘Latter Day Saints.’— Ohio Union .

“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 New York–said to be a man of superior talents. The most worthy of the Mormon Twelve Apostles, have gone over to the ‘Voree Mormons,’ and many thousands are joining the standard of the new Prophet. Most of the talented and well disposed members throughout the country have united with the ‘Voree Mormons.’ Should they avoid the errors of the old Mormon ‘Twelve’ whose bad counsels and iniquitous practices resulted in the death of their former Prophet and Patriarch, and pursue a prudent course with a wise Presidency and Councilors, and an able and intellectual Presidency and Counselors, they will never be molested. It was the ‘bogus’ making, thieving, plundering and assassin like operations of the ‘Brighamite or Twelveite administration of the Mormon Church,’ which rendered them so odious in the eyes of all well disposed people. The vicious portion of them are emigrating beyond the pale of civilization into the wilderness.–Plymouth Rock.

Chapter Four: JAMES J. STRANG: THE REVELATOR

Revelation given on January 17, 1845 (Service required of saints)Revelation given on September 1, 1845 (Voree Plates)
Revelation given on July 1, 1846 (Strang and House of God)
Revelation given on July 8, 1846 (Planting a Stake at Voree)
Revelation given on August 25, 1846 (Beaver Island)
Revelation given on October 19, 1846 (Sidney Rigdon &George Adams)
Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, Young Joseph)
Revelation given on December 21, 1846 (Kirtland)
Revelation given on January 7, 1849 (Church and Order of Enoch)
Revelation given on August 9, 1849 (Baptism for the Dead)
Revelation given in February, 1851 (Calling of a King)
Revelation given in February, 1851 (Inheritances)
Revelation given in February, 1851 (Feasts)
Revelation given in February, 1851 (Establishment of the Law)
Revelation given in February, 1851 (True God)

Revelation given on January 17, 1845 (Service required of saints)

  1. On the seventeenth day of January, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, the word of the Lord came unto James J. Strang, the Prophet of the Most High God and Revelator unto the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying, 2. Let all the saints humble themselves before me, and obey my commandments. Let them not forget my law, nor make my precepts of small account. Let them give heed unto the gospel, and be continual witnesses for me before the world. Behold, I the Lord God have spoken it. Let him that regards my voice obey. I have required this service of you, and I am not impoverished that you should lose your reward. 3. I have given you a trial of your faith, in that you are few in number, that you might have a witness before the world that your hearts are single toward me and that you seek not your own advantages; but I will remember you in mercy and in blessings, for I will reward the faithful for all they shall suffer, many fold on earth, and more than ye have thought to ask in heaven. 4. Behold, for the trying of your faith and that my Church might be purified, have I sent lying spirits unto those whose hearts are set for gain and not for the flock, and strong delusion unto those who have lifted themselves up in pride and power, and have forgotten the law of the Lord, even my law which their own lips have taught. Behold, now have they their reward, but shame and swift destruction followeth. 5. The reward of the righteous is with me, and unto the faithful are the promises: And now I am your God, I require this service of all the saints: that they go unto Voree and the country round about, and gain inheritance as they are severally able. When they hear, let them obey with prudence and speedily. And there let them assemble together on the first day of every week, to strengthen one another, and to receive instruction and blessings from me. 6. Again I require of all who have received the priesthood, that they go out and preach the gospel, and teach as they are sent, the first day of every week. 7. And this tithing do I require now of all my saints, to the end that Voree may be established and may be a holy city unto me. Yea, verily, I the Lord God require of all the saints, besides the assembling of themselves together and going out to preach and to teach on the first day of the week, that they shall consecrate unto me one tenth of their time and labor. Yea, let those who will, go out and preach the gospel and the gathering unto Voree, according as I have commanded. Yea, let those who will, consecrate unto me and pay into the Treasury of the Church, which is at Voree, the value of their labor. Yea, let those who will, labor for the support of my servants who labor continually for me. Yea, let those who will, serve me continually while they have wherewith to support their families, and the saints shall minister unto them while they preach the gospel and gathering, as they shall severally need. Yea, let the saints give liberally according as they shall possess, but let none excuse himself that he consecrate unto me one tenth his time and labor, for thus shall my holy city be established. Yea, verily, and the reward of the faithful is with me, and I will repay him many fold on earth, and in heaven with everlasting life. 8. Yea, and let my servant James J. Strang send out the Elders and those who have received the priesthood far and near, as my Spirit shall teach him; and they shall go and bear witness in my name, for thus shall my Church be built up, till all the quorums assemble together in my holy city. 9. Be ye faithful, 0 ye children of the kingdom, for this is the covenant between me and you. I will remember you in mercy and in blessings if ye serve me. And this will I do. Behold I the Lord have spoken it. I will give unto my servant James the plates of the book that was sealed, that he may translate them for you. Yea, unto the faithful is this promise. Serve and obey me, and I will give unto him the plates of the ancient records which are sealed up, and he shall translate them unto you; and this shall be a witness between me and those that serve me; and unto my servants who serve me faithfully, yea, unto whom I will, shall he show the plates, and they shall be faithful witnesses unto me, and thus shall my words be established. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 15; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

Revelation given on September 1, 1845 (Voree Plates)

  1. The Angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the light shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thummim. And out of the light came the voice of the Lord saying, My servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because I have tried thee and found thee faithful. Behold, my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which shall be to those who love me, an immutable testimony; to those who know me not, a stumbling block; but to those who have known me and have turned their hearts from me, a rock of offence. Yea, let them beware, for shame and destruction walk in their tracks, and their time abideth, but not long. 2. A work shall come forth, and the secrets of the past shalt thou reveal. Yea, by little and little shalt thou reveal it, according to the ability and faithfulness of my church, and of my servant whom I have placed above them. Behold the record which was sealed from my servant Joseph. Unto thee it is reserved. Take heed that thou count it not a light thing, nor exalt thyself lest thou be stricken; for by myself I swear that, as thou servest me faithfully and comest not short, thou shalt unlock the mysteries thereof, which I have kept hid from the world. Yea, as my servants serve me, so shalt thou translate unto them. 3. But in their weakness I have not forgotten them. Go to the place which the Angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig for the record of my people in whose possession thou dwellest. Take with thee faithful witnesses, for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee, but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars, and shall not stumble for their words. 4. Speak thou unto the Elders of my church, and say unto them, Hear my voice and hearken to my words, for they are true and faithful. Testify, testify unto all the saints. Testify, testify in all the world. He that rejecteth you, him will I reject in the day that I come in my kingdom. Testify, testify unto him who has received my word and turned away. Let him now return unto me and obey and serve his God, lest he be smitten with a curse and his children curse him and his name be blotted out of the Book of Life. 5. Yea, those to whom I have revealed myself, let them hearken unto me now lest they be cast off in the day of my indignation, lest the consuming fire of the day of trial burn them up. Yea, lest the second death make them his prey, and they be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. 6. Rejoice, ye holy, for the day of your deliverance is near, and the time of your exaltation is at hand. Faithful and true are my words, dividing the marrow from the bones, and truth from rottenness. He that rejecteth them, will I reject when I come in my kingdom. And while I was yet in the Spirit, the Angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the east of Walworth, against White River in Voree, and there he showed unto me the record buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a large man; it was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the ground as deep as to a man’s waist; and I beheld it as a man can see a light stone in clear water, for I saw it by Urim and Thummim; and I returned the Urim and Thummim to the Angel of the Lord, and he departed out of sight. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 21; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

Revelation given on July 1, 1846 (Strang and House of God)

  1. The word of the Lord God came unto the prophet James, on the first day of July, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, when James Knox Polk was president of the United States; and behold they were at war with the republic of Mexico, and the kings of Europe looked on with fear and anguish, but they knew not what the Lord would accomplish; neither did any of them heed his word, for in their pride are they exalted, and men have gone after their iniquitous ways. 2. But verily, verily, saith the Lord, I will send a rebuke and my judgments upon them, and they that have lifted up themselves will I abase, and I will give judgment to my servant, even to my servant James J. Strang, whom I have taken from among the honorable men of the earth, and have built up by my strange counsel. Verily, if he fails not of his meekness, and obeys my commandments, and remembers to keep all my precepts, I will lift up his head to redeem the oppressed, and to give comfort to the poor among all people. Upon thrones shall he sit, and the scepter shall be in his hand, and he shall lift up an ensign to all the earth, and my servants who are faithful to me shall be princes and rulers over many people. 3. Therefore, my servant James, if thou wilt receive honor and glory, verily, verily, thou shalt lead my people, and my word shalt thou receive from me and teach unto my people. And verily, I will not now excuse thee or accept any other service at thy hands, for this is thine office: verily, verily, thou shalt be Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator, and shalt preside over my people, or thou shalt have no priesthood in my church, and shalt receive no honor in my kingdom. 4. Therefore, complain unto me no more, but rebuke the complainers faithfully for my name’s sake, and if they will not hearken unto thee, they shall be cast out from among my people. Thy strength shall be in meekness and in my word which I shall speak unto thee, and with words of fire shalt thou consume those whose voices are raised against thee, and their hearts shall fail them at thy rebuke, until they are altogether cast off, and my Spirit departs from them. 5. It pleases me that it hath been in the hearts of my servants to build a house for thee to dwell in, for I have required thee to serve me continually, and not to serve thyself. Take heed therefore, that thou have a room for translations therein, for it is my will that thou translate ancient records, hidden truths, unto my people. It is my will that thou do it in thy house, and not in the field as thou hast, nor in the houses of unbelievers, that they may look upon sacred things. Therefore, whoso seeketh my word, let him make speed, and let every good work be accomplished speedily. 6. And then shall my people build a house unto my name, that I may institute those ordinances which pertain to the dispensation of the fullness of times. For since my people have been sifted, I will try them again whether they will receive the truth, and pervert it not. And I will show unto my servant James all things pertaining to this house and the priesthood of those who shall minister therein. And I will give unto him the preparation for an holy endowment therein, that he may instruct my people in the principles of the mysteries of my kingdom, as they are severally able to learn. 7. And if my people will build a house unto me according to my commandments, and will not be slothful therein, but will make speed to build, then will I endow them, even so many as are faithful and obey me and hearken to my words and to the words of my servants whom I have appointed to be their leaders. But to the disobedient and rebellious will I not give power, and if they receive the word, it shall be dead unto them, and they shall not have power nor understand it. And I will separate between the righteous and the wicked, and between the obedient and the rebellious. And I will try my people with a great trial. And because they have been tried in chastisement, I will now even try them in faith and in obedience to my law. And if they will diligently serve me, and give heed unto all my words, that I have spoken and shall speak unto them by the mouth of my servant James, behold, in the house which they shall build unto me, will I reveal unto them things which have been kept in the secrets of heaven from before the world was, things without which the kingdom of God cannot hold dominion, nor men be redeemed from deceit and violence; and these things are exceeding precious and to be obtained by obedience and patience and devotion to truth. 8. Therefore, whosoever will not abide the preparation faithfully, shall not be blessed, neither shall ye teach him the mysteries of the kingdom, nor will I give him power; but of all you teach the mysteries, shall you take a great covenant. And he that abideth not in his covenant, shall receive of the wrath of God according to the measure of his covenant and the evil he doeth therein; yea, verily, out of his own mouth shall he be judged, and as he hath spoken, so shall it be done unto him. 9. Therefore, let all my saints set their hands diligently to build a house unto my name, that I may come and dwell therein, and that I may restore unto them that which they have lost, and may give unto them those things which I gave unto my church in former days, and may reveal unto them things which have never been revealed among men. And if my people will cease all their contentions, and their backbitings and jealousies, and will present themselves holy before me, then will I appoint unto them, in the days of their poverty, a place for their baptisms for their dead, which pertains unto my house. But in their controversies and contentions I will not bless them, nor bestow upon them mine authority in the most holy things, because they do not understand my law, nor do they know for whom they shall baptize; and while they contend one with another, they will not receive my word, nor receive wisdom from me; they call evil good, and good evil, and they are not wise. Therefore is the blessing withheld till they humble themselves, and hearken to the voice of truth, which my servant James, who is faithful, speaketh unto them. 10. And I will show unto my servant James the pattern of the house which ye shall build unto my name, and all things pertaining thereto; and it shall be built on the prairie near White River, to the northwestward of the Hill of Promise, and the city of Voree shall be built around it, both on the plain and on the hills. And it shall be a holy city and a strong hold of truth and righteousness unto me, if my servants serve me; and upon the Hill of Promise shall ye build a hall which shall be a strong tower unto me, and the pattern thereof, and all things pertaining thereto, will I show unto my servant James, for it is the beginning of the preparation whereby the poor may be exalted, and the oppressed lifted up, and all my servants made equal in their temporal things; for unless they be one in their temporal things, the fulness of my Spirit shall be withheld from them. 11. Therefore, come all ye my servants, and bring your silver and your gold and your precious stones, and bring ye timber and stone, and labor with your hands and with cattle, and build a house unto me; and see that ye do all things according to the pattern which I will show unto my servant James, as he shall deliver it unto you; and make ye a freewill offering, and build a tower of strength unto me upon the Hill of Promise; for if ye do all these things, dominion shall be given unto you, and Daniel the prophet shall proclaim the kingdom of your God, and shall call forth the saints to possess it. 12. Take heed therefore, O ye my saints, for three unclean spirits have gone forth among you to destroy you. The first is jealousy, and she dresseth in garments of modesty. Envy walketh before her, and discourseth of prudence. She saith to every one, There is none like me to you before the Lord. 13. The second is ambition. Distrust followeth her, whispering into the ears of each passer by. Of every industrious servant she says, I fear he seeks more than his own; and of the prudent, I fear he will never accomplish his work. 14. The third is lust. Sensuality walks before her, and adultery at her right hand. They clothe themselves alternately in the garments of virgins and matrons. Their tongues discourse sweet music to him whose feet begin to slip, and they rebuke unsuspecting virtue harshly; but they walk in the way of death, and their path goes down to the pit. Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall. 15. And now let every unclean thing be put away from among you, and purify yourselves before me, that ye may be prepared for your washings and your anointings and the blessings and revelations which I have in store for you; for unless ye do these things, ye cannot receive the blessings. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 88; Voree Herald, July, 1846, p. 29)

Revelation given on July 8, 1846 (Planting a Stake at Voree)

  1. On the eighth day of July, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, the word of the Lord came unto James J. Strang, concerning the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and the planting of the stake of Voree, saying: Trouble not yourselves any more concerning those who have been driven out of my city, and gone into the wilderness. For in the day that they fled to the wilderness where I had not told them to go, and were cast out of my holy city, which they had polluted, and from their habitations round about; even in that very day were they rejected of me. For with much long suffering and patience had I waited on them, and warned them, and sent my servants unto them, and with judgments had rebuked them; and they would not return unto me. And all their usurpations and lyings and false teachings have been an abomination unto me, and a stink in my nostrils; and their unlawful administrations have been as naught before me; and therein have I judged them with grievous sickness and sore judgments; therefore are they utterly cast out. But all who have hearkened unto my voice, and gave heed unto my words before I cast out those who polluted my holy city, and all who will hearken to the strong testimony which my servants, the Elders, have carried out, and not altogether reject my words which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants in these last days; even they shall be preserved in the bosom of my Church, and shall be taught in the way of truth. If they have done wrong, they shall make restitution. If they have followed usurpers and apostates, they shall renounce them. But if they will hearken to my word when it comes to them, they shall not be cast out. But if they will utterly reject it, they shall be cast out and shall be to you as heathen men. 2. And I will feel after those whose feet slid and whose steps faltered; and if they harden not their hearts, they shall be converted, and I will heal them, and will make their hands strong in the way of truth. 3. Therefore, let not my servants trouble themselves with vain contentions, nor make themselves wise above my word; and trouble not thyself about those who have been rejected of me, but seek ye diligently for wise men filled with the Spirit and obedient unto my law and unto my servants whom I have set above them. And appoint them to the several quorums and offices of the Church; and if they become disobedient and rebellious, they shall be removed and others put in their places. And this shall ye do in wisdom and with prudence, but the First Presidency ye shall appoint by my word only, for this is a law unto you. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 93; Voree Herald, September, 1846, p. 37)

Revelation given on August 25, 1846 (Beaver Island)

  1. I, James J. Strang, was at Elizabeth, on the Monongahela River, on the twenty-fifth day of August, in the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-six, and had a vision; and lo, I beheld a land amidst wide waters, and covered with large timber, with a deep broad bay on one side of it. And I wandered over it upon little hills and among rich valleys, where the air was pure and serene, and the unfading foliage, with its fragrant shades, attracted me till I wandered to bright clear waters, scarcely ruffled by the breeze. And Indians in canoes glided about, and caught fish, and sat down to eat; and they gathered in assemblies, and were taught words of truth and ways of holiness, and they hearkened. And I beheld many wonders there. 2. And one came near unto me, and I said, What meaneth this? And he answered and said, Behold, here shall God establish his people, even the sons of Joseph, on an everlasting foundation; and from hence shall the gospel of the kingdom go unto the tribes, and they shall not any more be despised, for the nations that set the foot upon their necks will be cut off that they be no more a people. Behold, he hath already begun it. The sword is already bathed in blood, which spareth not their destroyers. And blood shall not cease till their most haughty oppressor is laid low to rise no more. 3. And he hath chosen this nation to begin vengeance for them. And 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, but will hearken unto them to do the things which they shall speak unto them, and keep the words of the Lord, and his commandments to do them, then will he exalt the nation and establish it, for he hath raised it up by the hands of wise men, whom he set up for that very purpose, to be the instrument of his purpose in the last days. 4. And upon this land where thou standest shall the gospel of the kingdom be established among the Lamanites, and from thence shall it go forth to their tribes. And blessing and honor and great glory shall be on those that teach them, for he will make their arm strong, and their bow shall abide in strength, and they shall not bow to the oppressor; and the power of the Gentile shall not be on them, for the arm of God shall be with them to support. 5. And here shall the Lamanites come to learn the law of the Lord their God, who hath preserved them, that they be not utterly destroyed. And other barbarians shall come also, and shall learn ways of holiness; for the Lord their God shall teach them, and his people shall instruct them, and shall go forth as ministers of truth unto all people. 6. And I asked him, What meaneth all this? And he said unto me, Thou art carried away in the spirit, and brought to this land in the midst of waters, in the north country, that the Lord might show thee what he will do hereafter. For here shall be a stake and a corner stone of Zion, for the strengthening of her curtains round about. Here shall the house of Manasseh and the house of Ephraim and the Gentiles build a house unto me, and bow down to me therein. For the sons of Jacob shall lay the foundations thereof, and therein shall they worship their God. And to this house shall the thousands of the house of Israel come, when the ice melts at the north. And there shall they meet their brethren in peace, and God shall be in the midst of them. 7. Behold, thou shalt see this land with thine own eyes before thou returnest to thine house, and shalt long to set thy foot upon it. Nevertheless, when the children of the household of faith have peace, then thou shalt go there and minister in the work of the Lord thy God. Spy it out, therefore, and let the servants of God dwell there to do his work, for it hath abundance in the riches of the forest, and in the riches of the earth, and in the riches of the waters; and there shall the children of God learn his law to do it. 8. And the Lord God shall add possessions unto the faithful, and give good gifts unto them that keep his law, and he will establish them therein forever. And their possession shall become as a paradise, yielding fruits every month, and the strength of Zion shall be there to do the work of the Lord, to work deliverance to the captive and judgments upon the ungodly, in the day of the Lord. For he will exalt his people in righteousness, and deliver them in judgments. And the Gentiles shall be made the instruments of his purposes, and by them will he work deliverance. The Lord will show thee all things in his time. 9. For the day is near when thou shalt meet many Lamanites, and shalt talk with them of these things. And with them shalt thou behold this land, and then shalt thou begin this work. If Satan hinder thee, strive against him, and thou shalt overcome and shalt prevail, for the Lord God hath spoken it. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 114; Zion’s Reveille, January 14, 1847, p. 53)

Revelation given on October 19, 1846 (Sidney Rigdon & George Adams)

  1. The General Conference of the Church of the Saints, assembled at Voree on the nineteenth day of October, in the year eighteen hundred and forty‑six, having under consideration the standing of Sidney Rigdon, one of the First 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 inquire his will concerning his servant Sidney Rigdon. 2. And now this is the answer of the Lord concerning him: 3. 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 labors, and reproved him by my Spirit and by afflictions and by judgments, 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 entered 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. 4. 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 to the gospel of their salvation. And the fulness 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. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 117)

Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, young Joseph) Revelation given on November 6, 1846 (Aaron, Marks, young Joseph)

  1. On the sixth day of November, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-six, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet James, saying, Because my servant Aaron hath not been faithful in his calling to stand up and give counsel unto thee, and to hold up thy hands as a faithful Counsellor unto thee, but hath set himself up to teach by revelation in my Church, and hath yielded himself unto evil doers to contend against thee, and to bind thee with bands that thou should not speak my words, and hath weakened thy hands and borne them down; therefore shall he not be any more thy Counsellor. 2. For he abideth not in his wisdom which I gave unto him, and hath turned his thoughts unto foolishness, and hath become a stumbling block unto many who are afar off by his follies. And because he will not hearken unto my words to do them, but speaketh evil of the truth; therefore is my hand upon him to remove him, lest he lead my people astray that they enter not into my rest, and wrath, indignation, and overwhelming destruction fall upon him, and there be none to deliver. 3. And because my servant William Marks loveth me with full purpose of heart, and seeketh unto me to serve me; therefore shall he be Counsellor unto thee instead of my servant Aaron, and shall assist thee by his counsels and by his wisdom which I have given unto him in establishing a stake of Zion at Voree, and in lengthening the cords and strengthening the stakes of Zion, that my work may no longer be delayed and hindered, because my servant Aaron doeth it not; for I the Lord will accomplish mine own work in mine own time, and I will set up the faithful and remove the unbelieving as to me seemeth good, for none shall hinder me. And if my servant William will be a faithful Counsellor, then will I sustain him and lift him up, and by his hands the poor shall prosper. And the words which I speak unto thee, shall thy Counsellors speak in the ears of my people, and they shall teach them in wisdom; for through thy ministration, by means of the keys I have given thee, shall my words be given, and thou and thy Counsellors shall proclaim it unto my people and to the nations of the earth, teaching all my words as thou shalt give unto them, even as thou receive them from me. 4. And thou shalt take my servant Joseph Smith, the son of the prophet Joseph, who was slain by the hands of wicked men, for he hath been consecrated unto me in his infancy, and thou shalt anoint him with oil, and shalt lay thy hands upon him, and ordain him, and shalt set him in the Presidency as one of the First Presidents of my Church. For he is filled with the Holy Ghost and with wisdom, and my covenant with his father will I keep with him and with his posterity after him, if they serve me. 5. And I will exalt him in strength and might and majesty, and he shall be President and Patriarch in the true Israel of faith in these last days, even as was my servant Hyrum, whose blood with the blood of my servant Joseph crieth unto me for vengeance continually. 6. And in his youth my servant William Marks shall assist him, and uphold him, and be in all things a Coadjutor unto him in the First Presidency of my Church. Let my servant William therefore take heed unto his ways, that he give unto him wise counsel, and build him up in righteousness, and hold up his hands, and admonish him of every evil; for if he do this, my arm shall sustain him forever, and my grace shall be sufficient for him in the day when all mine come unto me. Yea, I will do good unto him both in this world and in that which is to come, and will remember his posterity after him forever, because he showeth kindness unto the fatherless. And the voice of my servant Joseph shall be a witness unto me against the nations. 7. And his mother Emma shall be a counsellor unto him, for I am with her and have delivered her from the hands of her enemies, that I may exalt her to stand in her lot among the saints in my holy place. She loveth him tenderly, and because she hath set her heart to righteousness, and resisteth evil doers; therefore shall she watch over him, and in life or in death shall she observe his ways to do good unto him. She hath been faithful unto me in many perils, and in much tribulation. Therefore will I remember her in the days to come. She shall abide in her standing, and the holy unction which hath been placed upon her shall not depart from her. Amen. 8. And unless my servant Aaron make speed to humble himself before me, and cease to deny my words, I will stretch out my hand upon him, and he shall be brought very low, and none shall heed him or do good unto him. And he shall know that I am God. But if he will return unto me, and hearken to my words, I will again raise him up, and remember the works which he hath done in the times that are past, and his patience and his faith. And I will raise him up, and his voice shall be heard again on the mountains and in the valleys, and he shall sit in the councils of honorable men in the house of Israel ; and I will give him wisdom again, as I gave him wisdom in days that are past, and he shall serve me forever. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 119)

Revelation Extract given on December 21, 1846 (Kirtland)

  1. Because Kirtland is filled with unbelief and apostasy; and those who have gathered there and taken my name upon them regard not my word, and hearken not to my law, neither observe my counsel nor hear the words of my prophets, but have altogether rejected mine anointed, done violence to the truth, refused my word, and rebelled against my law and mine authority; therefore shall Kirtland be a waste and a desolation, a den of wickedness, and a habitation of the unfaithful, the unbelieving, and the rebellious. And the desolation thereof shall continue, nor shall it be cleansed of its uncleanness until they who have polluted it be utterly destroyed therefrom; for they seek continually to deceive and to be deceived, and will neither be faithful themselves nor suffer others to become pure in their midst. And they seek the establishment of their own will rather than mine, but they shall be utterly confounded, and their desolation shall increase and become heaps, and their substance shall waste, and their houses shall fall, and their land shall fail of its increase, and the waters thereof shall dry up. There shall Satan’s seat be, and there shall be the gathering of unclean things, for they will not obey me. And their power, and their authority, and their blessings, I take from them, that I may bestow them upon another people whom I will call together; and from the midst of Kirtland will I call all who will turn unto me and serve me, that they may escape its curses. Let all my saints flee from Kirtland as from a desolating scourge, and let them not gather there; for it is no longer a stake for the curtains of the strength of Zion, but is a rent and a weakness and a nakedness of unbelief. (Zion’s Reveille, 2:2:60 January 21, 1847)

Revelation given on January 7, 1849 (Church and Order of Enoch)

  1. Hearken, 0 ye saints, and give ear; for the time to favor Zion is at hand, and the day of her redemption draweth near. Draw near unto me and learn, for the ways of man are foolishness before me. Behold, ye shall be one; and if ye are not one, ye are none of mine. And ye shall all speak the same thing. Ye are cursed; ye are confounded, because ye have many tongues, like unto Mystery Babylon, and many are running to and fro, speaking in their own wisdom, which is folly before me. 2. By their speech gross darkness filleth the minds of the people. Those whom I have called to preach the gospel to the nations, have left serving me to contend against mine anointed, and I have not strengthened them, neither has their work prospered. They have only accomplished to scatter, and their evil ways follow them. 3. But I have a few names left in Voree who have not denied my word, nor rebelled against mine authority, nor done despite to mine anointed. And they shall be mine when I come to be glorified on earth. And there are a few in the Isles of the North who have not denied my name. When dominion is given to the saints, I will remember their works. Nevertheless, as a people, ye have been slack in serving me. Ye have broken my commandments, and despised mine authority, and my precepts have been to you a vain thing. Ye are a stiff necked and rebellious people, who delight in your own vanities, and prefer your lusts to the chief of the things which God giveth. But such of you as draw near unto me, I will draw near unto them, and will save them. I have given you good gifts, and you have consumed them upon your lusts; I have chastised you, and ye have taken my name in vain; I have called you together to enjoy the blessings of my people, and ye have not heeded my call; I have revealed my authority to those that gathered, and they have spurned it; I have appointed shepherds unto you, and ye have despised them, and have walked in your own ways, where they did not lead you; and because of your rebellious hearts are you blind and deaf, that seeing you perceive not, and hearing you understand not. 4. Ye have robbed me in tithes and in offerings, and have been slothful in building a house unto my name, that I may dwell in it, and in building a tower of strength for the defense and the dwelling of Zion. Come now, therefore, and bring in your tithes, and build a house unto me, that I may reveal most precious things unto you. And make unto me a freewill offering, for a strong hold upon the Hill of Promise, according to the pattern which I have shown unto my servant James, and of which he has begun to lay the foundation, and I will show all things unto him in their time. And if ye do these things, I will give you strength that your enemies shall not prevail over you, and this shall be your possession. Moreover, I have given you the Islands in the Great Lakes for a possession. There shall you dwell apart from the Gentiles, and none shall make you afraid. For my law shall be kept there, and judgment shall be rendered against those that despise it. 5. If ye will therefore possess these things, remember my law, to keep it. Forget not the precepts which I have given you, but act wisely, according to the wisdom which I have revealed unto you; and despise not my word, for it is not a vain thing. I have given you wisdom, with promise. 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. 6. At Voree shall your possessions be purchased with money, and you shall make speed to redeem that which you have purchased. To that end have I blessed you, and you have consumed the blessings on things which are not good for you; yea, even the Order which I have commanded you to establish according to the Order of the church of the first born, have done this. Yet because the chief among them have sought unto me, and have admonished unto faithfulness, and have kept my words, I will yet bless them, and will give them the kingdom, if they abide in well doing. 7. Once more I command all my saints to bring in their tithes, according to the law I have given them, and build a house unto me. Whosoever will not do it, shall not enter into the house of the Lord. Let mine Apostles call on all the saints, both by word and proclamation, to do this thing. And let faithful and chosen ones be sent unto them, to receive of their tithes for this work, and let the work progress from this time forward. 8. And send faithful ones unto the saints, and call on them to make a freewill offering for the tower which I have commanded you to build on the Hill of Promise; and let the same be built, that it may be a habitation and a defense for the saints that shall gather together and keep the Order of Enoch, which I have revealed unto my servants; and let a subscription be circulated, that those who have not sold their possessions and cannot yet gather up their goods to the places appointed, may assist in building the towers of Zion, and may obtain an inheritance among the faithful. 9. And ye shall establish this Order at the stake which I have appointed among the Lamanites, and there shall ye keep it in all your habitations. And I will multiply you, and increase you exceedingly. And those that are strong in my ways, will I make patriarchs and rulers in their tribes, and princes in their houses. Their inheritances shall be appointed unto them, and to their houses, and their posterity after them for a perpetual possession. Let many gather to the Islands which I have appointed for your gathering, that this Order may be kept more perfectly; for there will I give you much possession for an inheritance, if ye will go up and possess it. And such as shall be appointed of the Order of Enoch, by the voice of the Order, shall go up and possess the land, but they shall retain a strong hold at Voree, for it must needs be that they keep a possession there, and my work requires it. And 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. 10. And let this Order be an example unto all, both to the believing and to the unbelieving; for if they do not walk in my ways more perfectly, I will yet cast them off. For the properties of this Order are all mine. He that draws back from this Order, and takes away that which he has consecrated, robbeth me, saith the Lord. Nevertheless, now, ye shall not withhold; for he shall be trodden down by whom I will, in my own time. And ye have polluted yourselves by your excess of flesh which ye have eaten, and by the unclean things and the poisonous drugs which ye have consumed upon your lusts. Behold, ye say ye need these things. But I say they are not good for you. Who is man, that he should prefer himself to God? And for these are ye in debt to your enemies. Except I deliver you, they shall oppress you. But the righteous will I establish, and the wicked will I cast off. 11. Put away covetousness. Remember that all that ye possess is mine. Cast all idlers out of this Order. Let no man call aught his own, nor buy nor sell as though it were his. But let all be the common property of all, as I have given unto you; and let those buy and sell, who are appointed by common consent. And this shall be your inheritance, and the inheritance of your children forever. He that is faithful in this little, shall be made prince of a village, or ruler of a tower; and he that is faithful therein, shall be made patriarch of a tribe, or ruler of many cities in my kingdom. 12. And ye shall not provoke one another. But ye shall console and strengthen one another. Ye shall strengthen the weak; for with kindness and much charity will I give you to prevail, and ye shall save them. And ye shall not contend against one another. 13. Rebel not against my servant James; for I am with him, and I have given unto him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever receiveth me, receiveth him. Whosoever receiveth him, receiveth those whom I have sent. Whosoever heareth not his words, heareth not mine. Whosoever heareth not his words, hearkeneth not to the words of those whom I have sent. For I have made him the chief shepherd of the whole flock on earth. They that are of the flock hear his voice. If not, they go astray to destruction. 14. Behold, I am his friend; for he has been faithful unto me. And the keys which I have given to him shall not be taken from him in this world, neither in the world to come. They that speak evil of him are enemies unto me, saith the Lord. They have given themselves unto lies, and their hearts to wickedness. For he is meeker than Moses, more patient than Job, and has kept himself unpolluted in the midst of the lustful and ungodly till they have departed from him. 15. Ye know not his patience, nor his faith, nor his trials and sufferings. How have ye cast your toil on him? Ye have required him to bring redemption to Zion, and prosperity to you, when ye lifted not your hands. Because he has not done it, many have reviled him and denied my name. But to as many as are faithful, will I give power to become heirs of the kingdom of heaven. And I have a great work for him to do, and with speed shall he do it, if ye uphold him in faith and confidence and prayer. For my hidden word shall be translated, and given to those that will receive it. And I have called him to this work. 16. And if my servant George J. Adams will be his Counsellor, let him come and dwell near unto my servant James, and assist him in presiding, and in the school of the prophets, and in carrying my word to the saints, and to the nations, and to far countries. But let his dwelling be in the inheritance of the saints. If he do this, I will sustain him and will make him a host, and the head of nations. 17. Behold, my servant William Marks has gone far astray in departing from me, yet I give unto him a little space that he may return and receive my word, and stand in his place; for I remember his work that he has done in the time that is past. If he will return and abide faithful, I will make him great, and his possessions shall be great, and he shall possess a city, and his children shall dwell therein; a nation shall call him blessed. 18. And my servants the Apostles have not filled their mission in preaching my gospel to the nations of the earth, but have betaken themselves to their own work. If they had obeyed me, I would have given them a host as the fruit of their labor, and added to them their food, raiment and possessions also. Do I not possess all? And am I impoverished that I cannot reward the faithful? I will provide for him that obeys me, and array him that regards my words. 19. I have protected you from all your enemies; I have turned men’s hearts that they should do good unto you, and not persecute you; I have given you a home in a bountiful land; and ye have not done good according to my abundant mercies, nor regarded me according to my loving kindness. But ye have made yourselves like the Gentiles, and have sought your own ways, and not mine. And now turn unto me, all ye my people, lest the disobedient and the rebellious be cut off, and cast out of his possession, and persecution and wrath come on those who are slack in serving me, and I give you chastisement and much sorrow. For your enemies shall be upon you, and ye shall flee before them, if ye turn not to me to be faithful. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 178; Gospel Herald, 3:43:233, January 11, 1849, p. 545)

Revelation given on August 9, 1849 (Baptism for the Dead)

  1. A revelation from Jesus Christ, according to the power which God appointed unto him; and he sent Elijah the prophet unto his servant James, to make it known unto him, and to command him to cause the living and the dead to hear the word, and to give him power to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Hearken unto me, all ye ends of the earth, saith the Lord God, and give ear and hear, ye depths of the pit, and ye shall live; for I have committed the gospel of the resurrection and of everlasting life to my servants who hold the keys of the dispensation of the last times. Therefore, hearken unto them and obey them, ye that live; that you may obtain honor, and glory, and power, and everlasting life. 2. Behold, I have tried my saints with a great trial, and some have been found faithful; for they have not denied my name, but have remembered my word, and kept my commandments. And because my servants have put away contentions from among them, and have united with one heart and one mind to do the work which I have committed unto them, and with their whole hearts have drawn near unto me to serve me; therefore I appoint unto the saints that there shall be baptisms for the dead at Voree, during their poverty, and until a sufficient time to build a temple unto my name, as I have commanded them. 3. And I sanctify White River unto them, and make it holy for this ordinance, even from the bathing pool unto the water wheel. 4. And I command you, ye saints, saith the Lord, that a record shall be kept among you of all baptisms for the dead; and witnesses shall record their testimonies of all your administrations therein 5. And the recorder shall be present, and shall be an eye witness of your baptisms; and shall hear with his ears, that he may testify of a truth; that in all your recordings, it may be recorded in heaven; that whatsoever you bind on earth, may be bound in heaven; and whatsoever you loose on earth, may be loosed in heaven. And if more than one recorder be necessary, yet there shall be but one record, to which all the recorders shall bring their testimonies to be recorded. 6. And whosoever acts as recorder, shall be called and ordained to that authority, that what he records may be valid, and may be recorded in the archives of heaven. And let all your records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple, saith the Lord, to be had in remembrance from generation to generation. And no one shall administer baptism for the dead, but he who is appointed thereunto. And all who are called, shall be anointed and ordained to this calling. 7. And these shall be baptized for the dead: all the faithful saints who keep and abide in the Order of Enoch; all who have paid tithing according to my law, for the building of a house unto my name in Voree, and for the upbuilding of my Church; all who from this time forward will and do come up and do these things, striving faithfully to redeem the time, that a house may be speedily built unto my name, wherein I may reveal mysteries, and institute among the saints the ordinances for the endowment of Zion and all her municipals; and all who, standing in the priesthood, have labored faithfully in their several ministries from the time the commandment went forth to build a house unto my name in Voree. 8. And for these shall ye be baptized: every saint according to his right, and in his order, shall be baptized for any deceased husband, wife, posterity, or progenitor, to the third and fourth generation; any brother, or sister, whom he in faith believes has received the gospel in the spirit. Every saint shall be baptized for any relative unto the third and fourth generation; for any person betrothed to him in marriage; for any foster father, mother, brother, sister, or child, who shall be signified to him by tongue, or dream, or vision, or spirit ministering in fire, or angel, or voice from God. And if I will that any of my faithful servants of the Aaronic Priesthood be baptized for any other, I will send my angels to signify it unto them. But unto my servants of the Melchizedec Priesthood will I speak by mine own voice, or minister in fire. 9. And, behold, every Apostle shall be baptized for whosoever shall be committed to him for redemption from death, by my word, saith the Lord, as I reveal my will severally unto them, that they may be saviors of the dead, and may get honor, and glory, and majesty, and dominion unto themselves forevermore; and by their voices will I appoint redemption, and honor, and glory unto whomsoever I will. 10. Behold, my servants Joseph, and Hyrum, and David, and Moses, and many of their fellow laborers in this dispensation, who have gone with them to the pit to preach redemption to the prisoners, have prevailed; and waiting hosts cry unto you that live, continually, saying, How long do ye forget our prison house of darkness, and regard not us who perish continually? Therefore, I have remembered the little flock who have not denied my name, to make them great in my everlasting kingdom, and to give dominion over the dead unto them, saith the Lord. 11. And now let all who are scattered abroad, and all who have robbed me through covetousness, and in tithes and offerings, and all who have neglected to administer in the gospel as I have called them, come, and from this time forward assist my servants who are building a house unto my name, and who are proclaiming my word unto the nations, that they may enjoy this blessing with them; for only they who labor shall receive the reward; and those who labor to build my house, and to proclaim my word, and to establish my kingdom, will I make saviors; and upon mount Zion shall they stand with crowns on their heads. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 194; Gospel Herald, 4:23:101, August 23, 1849, p. 689)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Calling of a King)

  1. THE Lord your God hath made the earth and established it, and unto him the dominion thereof belongeth. He created man, and gave him dominion over it. The nations are the workmanship of his hands; and he hath the right to rule. 2. He appointed Kings, and Rulers, and Judges; but man rebelled against them. He made laws, but man broke them, and trampled on them, and forgot them. 3. Unto Noah gave he dominion over the earth: and to Shem after him; but the people rebelled against him, and established their own ways; and those that oppressed them were their Kings, and ruled over them in unrighteousness. 4. Moses was King in Israel ; but the people kept not the Law of God; and, rebelling, set up a false god, and worshipped it. When God would make them Kings to rule the earth, they despised his majesty, and went after other gods. 5. Men have everywhere rebelled against God: nevertheless, the earth is his, and the fulness thereof. The dominion of it belongeth to him, and he conferreth it upon whomsoever he will. 6. He hath chosen his servant James to be King: he hath made him his Apostle to all nations: he hath established him a Prophet, above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion: by his own voice did he call him, and he sent his Angels unto him to ordain him. (Book of the Law, p. 168, 169)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Inheritances)

  1. I HAVE appointed the Islands of the Great Lakes for the gathering of the Saints, saith the Lord God. I have given the Islands to them for their inheritance; even all that man walketh not unto from the main. 2. And I have appointed my servant James the anointed Shepherd of my flock, to apportion unto every one his portion, for a perpetual inheritance. 3. Let him, therefore, appoint unto everyone his inheritance, sufficient for him, and for his children: and to the Princes their portions, that they have an abundance for their servants, and their households; lest they be tempted to take reward for judgment, or feed not the poor for lack of bread, or deliver not the oppressed for the weakness of their arm. (Book of the Law, p. 298)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Feasts)

  1. THESE are the feasts of the Lord; holy convocations, even convocations and feasts unto the Lord your God. 2. Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is the Sabbath day: ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings: ye shall take care that nothing perish, but ye shall not labour for hire nor increase; ye shall have a holy convocation in all your Temples and Synagogues. 3. The day (8th of July) that James, the Prophet of God, was established King, and sat upon his throne, is a notable day; it shall be kept in remembrance forever. 4. As oft as this day returneth shall all the Saints assemble together. It shall be a holy convocation. They shall assemble in their Temples, and in their Synagogues, and in publick places, to offer a thankoffering, an offering of praise unto God, because he has given the Kingdom to the Saints. 5. The King shall, therefore, offer a heifer, without blemish; in the presence of the congregation shall he offer it. In the morning shall he offer it, and the same day shall it be eaten: he and his household shall eat of it. Not a bone of it shall be broken: they shall eat it with bread, and seasoned with herbs. 6. After this manner shall all the children of the Kingdom sacrifice: every man a heifer, or a lamb, or a dove. Every man a clean beast, or a clean fowl, according to his household. 7. Ye shall take the victim of the sacrifice which ye shall offer, and shall bring it before the Lord in the presence of the congregation, and shall bring it to the Priest, and shall say, 8. I profess this day unto the Lord God, that I am come into the Kingdom which he promised by the mouth of all the Prophets: praised be his name for his glorious goodness, and his great power. 9. And the Priest shall slay the victim, and thou shalt say, We were a people, few in number; scattered among our enemies: they killed our Prophets, murdered our brethren, robbed us of our possessions, and banished us from among them; but God has made us a Kingdom: and the fear of us is upon those who hate us. 10. When the Gentiles evilly entreated us, and afflicted us, and thrust us out, we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers; the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and sorrow, and homelessness; and he gave us this land for an everlasting possession; and hath made us a Kingdom: and now have I brought unto him this victim for a thankoffering, and a perpetual memorial. 11. And thou shalt eat of the sacrifice: thou and thy household, and thy neighbour; but the stranger, though he dwelleth in thy gates, and in thy house, shall not eat of it: thou shalt eat it with herbs, and the Priest with thee, in the congregation of the Lord; it is a holy convocation, and a feast unto the Lord: ye shall do no servile labour that day. 12. And when thou hast eaten, thou shalt say unto the Lord thy God, I have come into the land which thou gavest to thy Saints: I have heard thy Law, and have entered into covenant with thee to keep thy Commandments; and I have eaten of the sacrifice before thee as a witness forever. 13. Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless us this day, even all the children of thy Kingdom; and the land which thou hast given us, and establish us forever. 14. When ye are come into the land which the Lord your God giveth unto you, and have gathered the harvest of your inheritance, ye shall bring a portion of the firstfruits of your fields before the Lord your God, for an offering of firstfruits. 15. At every Temple where the name of the Lord your God is named, shall the Priest appoint the day of firstfruits, according to the days of your principal harvests of food; and by that day shall ye all bring your offering of firstfruits unto the Priest, in the Temple and the Synagogues, and ye shall have a holy convocation before the Lord in every place to which ye bring the firstfruits. 16. Ye shall lift up unto the Priest who ministereth unto the Lord a portion of firstfruits, by the day of the holy convocation of the harvest; on the selfsame day ye shall offer an offering of flesh also; a clean beast, or a clean fowl: it shall be a sacrifice and feast of thanksgiving unto the Lord, for the abundance of the harvest. 17. And ye shall not eat of your harvest, neither bread, nor grain, nor green ears, nor roots, nor germs, till ye have brought your offering of firstfruits before the Lord your God. He that eateth thereof, shall add a fifth to what he ate, and bring it and the increase, and the firstfruits also: and the firstfruits shall be an abundance for the feast, every one for his household: and the rich shall bring for the poor, out of his abundance, and for the Priests also that minister. (Book of the Law, pp. 291-297)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (Establishment of the Law)

  1. Fear not, little flock, for your Father, in his good pleasure, hath given you the Kingdom; the dominion is yours forever; ye shall smite the nations with a continual stroke; for the Lord your God hath spoken it: ye shall break them in pieces, and destroy them; for the day of his vengeance has come. 2. He hath judged the nations that are near, and decreed destruction upon them, and their day continueth not: the nations far away are covered with their abominations as with a garment; their iniquities are not hid: he will not spare them. 3. The Saints of the former days have sat in judgment upon them; they have judged the earth, and the nations thereof shall not be spared: Fire goeth before: famine followeth after; and the pestilence shall waste them. 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: for Judah shall be bent, in his strength; as an arrow, Ephraim shall fill him: Manasseh shall be his barb; and Jacob shall be in the midst of the Gentiles, in the empire of nations, as a Lion among the beasts of the forest; as a young Lion in the flocks of sheep, who, when he goeth through, treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none shall deliver. 5. Let your fear be upon all men; and the terrour of you upon your enemies; for this is the day of vengeance of the Lord, and of your recompense upon your enemies. Joseph shall possess his land again; for the throne of David is establish­ed as the days of the sun; his Kingdom is everlasting. 6. And now, O Daughter of Zion, the land of robbers, the empire of many nations, shall gather her troops against thee, to look upon thee, and to defile thy dominion: but they have not known the thought of the Lord; neither have they understood his counsel; for he shall gather them as sheaves of the floor. 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. 8. Babylon the Great shall perish before thee; for thou shalt do unto her as she hath done unto thee: thou shalt render unto her as she hath rendered to thee, and reward her double for all her sins. Her cities shall be given to the flames, and the inhabitants to the sword: her government shall be broken in pieces, and her dominion taken away. 9. For in her is found the blood of Saints and Prophets; and the spoil of the children of God in the midst of her: and she hath drank of the cup of the indigna­tion, and of the fury of God, with all the nations of the Gentiles. 10. Against her, Apostles have washed their feet on earth, and borne witness in heaven; and by the testimony and the blood of Prophets have her sins been made known in heaven: the great Prince, whose throne is as burning fire, hath judged her, saying, Let not her days be prolonged. 11. For by this Law shall men be judged in the portion of Joseph: God will give it to you, that you may possess it for an everlasting dominion. In the midst of the Gentiles shall ye establish your Synagogues, and gather out the just while ye wait for the judgments of God. 12. Ye shall, therefore, read in it all the days of your lives. Ye shall read it in your solemn assemblies, and in your joyous meetings; with the shout of triumph when your enemies flee before you; and in the voice of mourning when you have sinned against God, and have fled before them; ye shall read it in the gathering of your neighbours and in the household with your children. 13. Ye shall talk of it in the house, and in the field, and by the wayside, and in the forest, and on the waters; in the camp, and on the march: when ye labor, and when ye rest shall ye speak of this Law to your neighbours, and to your wives, and to your children, and to your servants. 14. And ye shall think upon it in your joy, and in your sorrow; when upon the land which the Lord your God giveth you, and when far away; both in the midst of the multitude, and in your loneliness; all the days of your lives shall ye read it, and talk of it, and think upon it; and it shall be inscribed upon your hearts continually. 15. For by this Law hath the Lord your God sanctified you, and given you judgment, and justice, and dominion. Remember that ye stood before him; your King, and your Princes, and your Nobles, the men of you, with your wives and your children, and your little ones, and entered into covenant with the Lord your God, to be a people unto him, and to obey his Commandments, and to keep this Law; and that he covenanted with you to be your God, and to make you a nation of Kings and Priests to the nations of the earth. 16. Keep, therefore, this Law, and obey these Commandments; for so doth God sanctify you, and so will he establish you, and prosper you, more abundant­ly than in former days. The land of Joseph shall ye possess forever, and Israel and Judah shall dwell again upon their own mountains. 17. Your vineyards, your gardens, and your orchards, ye shall plant again, and they shall flourish, and ye shall eat the fruit thereof: ye shall build houses, and shall inhabit them; and children’s children shall be in them, for a crown of glory to you, if ye remember the Lord your God, whose name is great and glorious, and keep his statutes. 18. And now if there be among you a man whose heart turneth away from the Lord your God, to serve the god of Babylon, and to honour the names of the nations; if there be a root that beareth gall and wormwood; and when he heareth the curse in this Law, he bless himself, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of my heart, the Lord will not spare him. 19. But the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy, and his fierce wrath, shall smoke against that man: and all the curses that are written in this book shall be upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. 20. At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year, when all the children of the Kingdom are gathered together before the Lord in Temples, and in Tabernacles, and all the people are assembled, Princes and Nobles, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that dwelleth in your gates, ye shall read this Law before them all, in their hearing, and shall make it known in the midst of them. 21. And your children, and the strangers dwelling in your gates, that have not heard it, shall learn this Law, and ye shall all remember it again, and shall all lift up your hands, and shall enter into covenant with the Lord your God to keep this Law, and to obey his statutes, that he may prolong your days upon the land. (Book of the Law, pp. 203-209)

Revelation given in February, 1851 (True God)

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob is our God; this is his name forever, and this is his memorial unto all generations. He created the heavens and the earth, and all things that are in them are the workman­ship of his hands. He created man in his own image, that he might have domi­nion over the earth, and over the beasts of the field, and over the fowls of the air, and over the fishes of the sea. 2. Man, being in the likeness of God’s person, they all recognize him as their Lord, and fear him as a God. And notwithstanding his degeneracy, he has retained so much of the divine likeness, that beasts, birds, and fishes, fear him, and his power is over them as a mighty one. It is diminished as he has departed from the likeness and perfections of his Creator: and that spirit of rebellion, which man has received so redundantly, he has communicated to them also, that they rebel against him, as he rebels against God. Yet the fear of man is on them con­tinually; and his dominion is over them throughout the earth. 3. God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend; and walked with Enoch, who was faithful unto him in the midst of a corrupt race: he communed with Noah, the father of a new world; and covenanted by his own oath, with Abraham the faithful. 4. He commanded a fiery law, with a voice of thunder, in Sinai: the earth quaked at the tread of his foot: the rustling of his garment was as low thunder; and his voice as a mighty thunderbolt: the beaming of his face was as the sun in the morning; and the flash of his eye as the fierce lightning. The nations trembled at his presence; and the tribes said, “Not unto us; not unto us. Oh Lord God, but unto Moses, be thy voice known.” 5. For they heard the voice of God, as the voice of a trumpet; and as loud thunder: and they saw the lightning: and the mountain smoking; and they felt the earth tremble; and they fled far away, crying, “Not unto us; not unto us: but unto Moses, declare thy law, Oh God, and we will obey his voice, and live, for, who shall abide in thy presence?” 6. His word was made known to the Prophets, and his sacraments were established in Israel. Kings ruled in his glorious name; and the nations who forgot him were destroyed. 7. He hath appointed everlasting life in the Lord Jesus; and given the keys of death and of hell unto him who alone among mortals, hath kept his glorious word in all things. He hath chosen him the first born among many brethren; for he is the first begotten of the dead, and hath the keys of the resurrection, and of life forevermore. 8. He maketh his Apostles the witnesses of his Law, unto the nations; and of his gospel unto every kindred, and tongue, and people. His word is among men; and the revelation of his power, in the midst of the earth. 9. The Lord our God is glorious in his perfections; there is none like him. The gods of the heathen have no voice: neither do they see, nor understand. The God of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Churches, before whom all her daughters bow down, is naught; he is as wind, and vanity; he can neither be seen nor heard, nor felt; he hath no dwelling place: where shall any abide with him? Passionless, is he; and can neither love the good, nor hate the evil: who shall adore him, or fear him? 10. Without members and parts; he cannot hear, see, feel, smell, or taste. Neither can he speak, nor come unto those that worship him, nor smite the disobe­dient and rebellious. Handless, footless, mouthless, eyeless, and earless; a shapeless chaos, conceived in the imagination of the vain: ye shall not fear him, nor bow down unto him, nor adore him. 11. The Lord our God hath an incommunicable name; never polluted by the breath of the ungodly: which none can know, but he who ministereth in his holy sanctuary; by which he revealed himself unto Moses; and in which he establisheth this law, for an everlasting covenant. 12. God alone hath immortality. Adam, the first of men, the Ancient of Days, the great Prince; Abraham, to whom God gave an everlasting possession; David, whose throne was established as the days of heaven, forever; all died. Enoch, who walked with God, and was not found, because God took him; and Elijah, who ascended to the throne of God, in his own fiery chariot; shall return to the earth to sleep with their fathers. The change which is sealed upon all the sons of Adam, shall come upon the faithful, who stand on the earth, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who know not God, and obey not the gospel. And he, the Prince of the Kings of the earth; who in the days to come, shall speak with the voice of a trumpet, and the dead shall hear his voice and live; died once, that he might live forever­more. He praised God, who alone hath immortality, that he would not leave him in the place of the dead: he preached the gospel to the spirits in prison, and ob­tained the key of life everlasting: but God alone liveth forever: the eternal ages are unto him as moments to us: infinities, as units to the mathematician. Our God alone hath immortality. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 13. God alone hath omniscience. He clotheth himself in light as a robe: his ministers, who at midday, are as a flaming fire in the dark night, are blind before him; he apprehendeth the motion of the atom which floateth in the invisible ele­ment, and discerneth the speck in the centre of the star, which the light of the sun hath not reached since the day that the sons of God shouted for joy that the earth was created, as a mountain in the eye of mortals. He never sleepeth; his eye closeth not; and there is no darkness before him. Our God alone hath omnis­cience. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 14. God alone hath omnipotence. He looketh upon the nations. and they melt in the fury of his countenance: he frowneth, and the mountains dissolve to smoke; the vallies are consumed in the breath of his nostrils. He spoke, and worlds were created: he thought, and they were lost in space. Earthquakes are but the whisper­ings of his voice; the rustling of his attire causeth lightning, and thunder; and with the shadow of his garment he blotteth out the sun. The Prince of the Kings of the earth; by whom the world was created; and who liveth and reigneth forever; receiveth power from him, and rendereth it unto him. Who shall stand before him? Our God alone hath omnipotence. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 15. God alone is omnipresent. His presence filleth the immensity of space as a point. In the midst of the bottomless pit, is he; the pavilion of his feet, is the face of the earth: the stars, are his home: his breath, is fragrant odour to the blessed, in the highest heaven; and it enliveneth the crumbling frame of the dead. The rays of the sun, have not found his bourn: nor the light of the stars, the place he inhabiteth not. His rest outspeedeth the lightning; it leaveth the mor­ning ray behind it: and his speed is more rapid than the thought of angels. Our God alone is omnipresent. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. 16. God alone is one. There are choirs of angels; hosts of spirits; and multitudes of men: but God hath no fellow. A great King, is to him as the unseen spawn before the monsters of the deep; Methuselah, as the ephemera of a day: the most glorious spirit, is bodiless, and a breath. And the Lord Jesus, who created the earth, and redeemed it; whose kingdom filleth the earth, and the heavens; possesseth but a speck, amid the stars he made. He alone is one. Thou shalt love him with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. Thou shalt adore him, and serve him, and obey him; and beside him, thou shalt have no other God: for he alone hath immortality, and omniscience, and omnipotence, and omnipresence. He alone is one; and they who obey his law, shall be like him. (Book of the Law, pp. 253-254)

Chapter Five: JAMES J. STRANG: THE TRANSLATOR

James translated the most sacred book of Scripture:  The Book of the Law of the Lord.  One of the duties of a Lawgiver is that of a translator. James wrote, “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.” (Prophetic Controversy, p. 38) Among the professed successors of Joseph, James remained the only one to fulfill this duty.

The first translation of ancient records by James was the Voree Record. It tells of an ancient people, similar to the Nephites and Jaradites, who once lived on this land, “they have fallen in transgression and are not.”

James also translated the single most important book of Scripture: The Book of the Law of the Lord. It is mentioned over twenty times in the Bible by name; and over five hundred times as the law of God. The law of God is the foundation of all other books of Scripture. It was given to Adam, written on tables of stone to Moses, lost to the Bible, and restored by James. Only remnants of the law remain in the various books of the Bible.

The prophet Ezekiel foretold of both the Book of Mormon and the Book of the Law. “Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.” (Ezek. 37:19) Joseph Smith was of the seed of Joseph through Ephraim. The Book of Mormon was the “stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim.” James J. Strang was of the tribe of Judah . The stick of Judah was to be translated after the stick of Joseph. The Book of the Law is “the stick of Judah .” When James returns, all of these records will be united and serve to confound the doctrines of man.

THE  VOREE  PLATES:     The Voree Record

TESTIMONY OF WITNESS WHO DUG UP THE VOREE PLATES
TRANSLATION OF THE VOREE PLATES
B. DESCRIPTION OF ONE OF THE VOREE PLATES
EXCITEMENT OVER THE VOREE PLATES

THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF THE LORD
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
ORDER OF THE PRIESTHOOD
GOSPEL OF CHRIST
LOVE AND THE LAW OF GOD
SOCIAL ORDER AND POLYGAMY

SEALED RECORD   

The Voree Record Revelation given on September 1, 1845 (Voree Plates)

  1. The Angel of the Lord came unto me, James, on the first day of September, in the year eighteen hundred and forty-five, and the light shined about him above the brightness of the sun, and he showed unto me the plates of the sealed record, and he gave into my hands the Urim and Thummim. And out of the light came the voice of the Lord saying, My servant James, in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thee, because I have tried thee and found thee faithful. Behold, my servant James, I am about to bless thee with a great blessing, which shall be to those who love me, an immutable testimony; to those who know me not, a stumbling block; but to those who have known me and have turned their hearts from me, a rock of offence. Yea, let them beware, for shame and destruction walk in their tracks, and their time abideth, but not long. 2. A work shall come forth, and the secrets of the past shalt thou reveal. Yea, by little and little shalt thou reveal it, according to the ability and faithfulness of my church, and of my servant whom I have placed above them. Behold the record which was sealed from my servant Joseph. Unto thee it is reserved. Take heed that thou count it not a light thing, nor exalt thyself lest thou be stricken; for by myself I swear that, as thou servest me faithfully and comest not short, thou shalt unlock the mysteries thereof, which I have kept hid from the world. Yea, as my servants serve me, so shalt thou translate unto them. 3. But in their weakness I have not forgotten them. Go to the place which the Angel of the presence shall show thee, and there shalt thou dig for the record of my people in whose possession thou dwellest. Take with thee faithful witnesses, for in evil will the unfaithful speak of thee, but the faithful and true shall know that they are liars, and shall not stumble for their words. 4. Speak thou unto the Elders of my church, and say unto them, Hear my voice and hearken to my words, for they are true and faithful. Testify, testify unto all the saints. Testify, testify in all the world. He that rejecteth you, him will I reject in the day that I come in my kingdom. Testify, testify unto him who has received my word and turned away. Let him now return unto me and obey and serve his God, lest he be smitten with a curse and his children curse him and his name be blotted out of the Book of Life. 5. Yea, those to whom I have revealed myself, let them hearken unto me now lest they be cast off in the day of my indignation, lest the consuming fire of the day of trial burn them up. Yea, lest the second death make them his prey, and they be cast into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. 6. Rejoice, ye holy, for the day of your deliverance is near, and the time of your exaltation is at hand. Faithful and true are my words, dividing the marrow from the bones, and truth from rottenness. He that rejecteth them, will I reject when I come in my kingdom. And while I was yet in the Spirit, the Angel of the Lord took me away to the hill in the east of Walworth, against White River in Voree, and there he showed unto me the record buried under an oak tree as large as the body of a large man; it was enclosed in an earthen casement, and buried in the ground as deep as to a man’s waist; and I beheld it as a man can see a light stone in clear water, for I saw it by Urim and Thummim; and I returned the Urim and Thummim to the Angel of the Lord, and he departed out of sight. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 21; Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

Rather than dig up the plates himself, James J. Strang solicited the help of local men of renown that were highly respected in the area. The following is their account.

Testimony of Witness Who Dug Up the Voree Plates.

  1. On the thirteenth day of September, 1845, we, Aaron Smith, Jirah B. Wheelan, James M. Van Nostrand, and Edward Whitcomb, assembled at the call of James J. Strang, who is by us and many others approved as a Prophet and Seer of God. He proceeded to inform us that it had been revealed to him in a vision that an account of an ancient people was buried in a hill south of White River bridge, near the east line of Walworth County; and leading us to an oak tree about one foot in diameter, told us that we would find it enclosed in a case of rude earthen ware under that tree at the depth of about three feet; requested us to dig it up, and charged us to so examine the ground that we should know we were not imposed upon, and that it had not been buried there since the tree grew. The tree was surrounded by a sward of deeply rooted grass, such as is usually found in the openings, and upon the most critical examination we could not discover any indication that it had ever been cut through or disturbed. 2. We then dug up the tree, and continued to dig to the depth of about three feet, where we found a case of slightly baked clay containing three plates of brass. On one side of one is a landscape view of the south end of Gardner’s prairie and the range of hills where they were dug. On another is a man with a crown on his head and a scepter in his hand, above is an eye before an upright line, below the sun and moon surrounded with twelve stars, at the bottom are twelve large stars from three of which pillars arise, and closely interspersed with them are seventy very small stars. The other four sides are very closely covered with what appear to be alphabetic characters, but in a language of which we have no knowledge. 3. The case was found imbedded in indurated clay so closely fitting it that it broke in taking out, and the earth below the soil was so hard as to be dug with difficulty even with a pickax. Over the case was found a flat stone about one foot wide each way and three inches thick, which appeared to have undergone the action of fire, and fell in pieces after a few minutes exposure to the air. The digging extended in the clay about eighteen inches, there being two kinds of earth of different color and appearance above it. 4. We examined as we dug all the way with the utmost care, and we say, with utmost confidence, that no part of the earth through which we dug exhibited any sign or indication that it had been moved or disturbed at any time previous. The roots of the tree stuck down on every side very closely, extending below the case, and closely interwoven with roots from other trees. None of them had been broken or cut away. No clay is found in the country like that of which the case is made. 5. In fine, we found an alphabetic and pictorial record, carefully cased up, buried deep in the earth, covered with a flat stone, with an oak tree one foot in diameter growing over it, with every evidence that the sense can give that it has lain there as long as that tree has been growing. Strang took no part in the digging, but kept entirely away from before the first blow was struck till after the plates were taken out of the case; and the sole inducement to our digging was our faith in his statement as a Prophet of the Lord that a record would thus and there be found.     AARON SMITH,     JIRAH B. WHEELAN,     J. M . VAN NOSTRAND,     EDWARD WHITCOMB. (Chronicles of Voree, p. 25; Voree Herald, 1:1:4, January, 1846)

Translation of the Plates of Voree A. The Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito

  1. My people are no more. The mighty are fallen, and the young slain in battle. Their bones bleached on the plain by the noonday shadow. The houses are leveled to the dust, and in the moat are the walls. They shall be inhabited. 2. I have in the burial served them, and their bones in the Death‑shade, towards the sun’s rising, are covered. They sleep with the mighty dead, and they rest with their fathers. They have fallen in transgression and are not, but the elect and faithful there shall dwell. 3. The word hath revealed it. God hath sworn to give an inheritance to his people where transgressors perished. The word of God came to me while I mourned in the Death‑shade, saying, I will avenge me on the destroyer. He shall be driven out. Other strangers shall inhabit thy land. I an ensign there will set up. The escaped of my people there shall dwell when the flock disown the Shepherd and build not on the Rock. 4. The forerunner men shall kill, but a mighty prophet there shall dwell. I will be his strength, and he shall bring forth thy record. Record my words, and bury it in the Hill of Promise.

 

 

VOREE PLATES_edited-1

Voree Plates B. Description of one of the Voree Plates

  1. First, an eye. The symbol of God who is all-seeing: consequently it is called THE ALL-SEEING EYE, and has been used as symbolical of the DEITY in all countries, and in all ages of the world. 2. Second, the figure of a man down to the waist, having a crown resembling a cap, and composed of radiating lines, on his head; and a scepter in his hand. These are symbols of authority, and show him a ruler. As he has the sun, moon, and stars (all the natural lights) below him and only the ALL‑SEEING above him, he is Prophet, Seer, Revelator, Translator, and First President of the Church; governing not by natural light, or mere human wisdom, but by revelation, or the word of God, and derives his authority solely from God, and not in any sense from the actions of men. 3. Third, the sun on the right, and the moon on the left. These represent the two Vice Presidents, or Counsellors in the First Presidency; the two largest natural lights being used as symbols, because they are to assist the First President in wisdom or natural light merely, and not by revelation. 4. Fourth, a cross‑pillar above and resting upon the center large star and under the human figure; two pillars above and resting upon the two upper large stars, and below and between the sun and moon. These represent Coadjutors, assistants or helps, of whom there have been several since the beginning of the Church, appointed by revelation. 5. Fifth, twelve stars, six around the sun, and six around the moon. These represent the High Council of the Church. The division into classes of six each agrees with the established usages in the Church, one half to stand up for the accuser, and the other for the accused. This is not the High Council of a stake. 6. Sixth, twelve large stars, ten of these in two rows at the bottom of the plate, and the other two over them nearly between the sun and moon. They represent the Twelve Apostles. These stars are larger than those which represent the High Council of the Church, because the Apostles have a more important ministry; but are placed below them because they are subject to their discipline, and below the symbols of the First Presidency because they are subject to its directions. 7. Seventh, seventy small stars immediately within the points of the twelve large ones, being six to each, except the center one which has only four. They represent the Seventies, who are subject to the direction of the Twelve Apostles. 8. Eighth, a straight line dropping down before the scepter. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” “Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.” 9. These symbols were all prophetic of the order that should exist in the fullness of times. Thus God, in his goodness to those who lived in days past, has shown them not only the rest which he had in reservation for them, but the perfectness of the means by which he would accomplish it. Probably now we understand it only in part, but in times to come we shall “know as we are known.”

(Revelations of James J. Strang, Wingfield Watson)

Excitement Over the Voree Plates

One can only imagine the excitement the discovery and translation of these plates caused upon the people of the local area. James kept the plates open for public inspection during his whole life. The follow is an account given by him in a letter to Mrs. Corey; and found in the pamphlet The Prophetic Controversy, page 35. A copy of this tract is found in the section Mormon Books.

These occurrences waked up the whole country to a high state of excitement, and several thousand persons came to examine the ground and the plates, and inquire after the occurrence. The whole country was filled with the fame of the occurrence, and numerous newspaper notices of the matter were given to the public. Among them was the following in the Southport (now Kenosha) Telegraph, edited, by C. Latham Sholes, a man of distinguished talent and unblemished character, who has several times since then represented Kenosha in one or the other House of the Wisconsin Legislature, and held the office of State Printer and Secretary of State:

“Our curiosity was sufficiently excited to induce us to make ourselves more fully acquainted with the circumstances and facts. For this end we visited the gentleman alluded to as Seer or Prophet. We were cordially received, the plates were shown us, and we examined the spot from which they purported to have been taken. “The prophet appears to us a very intelligent man, devoid of anything like enthusiasm; and, so far as we could judge, honest and earnest in all he said. The men who subscribe the statement (of which the foregoing is an extract) are said to be among the most honest and intelligent in the neighborhood and, taking it altogether, it is something to stagger ordinary credulity. “The popular opinion will doubtless call it a humbug. So should we from the natural impulse of our mind. But when the testimony appears in opposition to such impulse, we are content to have no opinion about it.”

This transaction presented the world with the strongest evidence ever put into its possession in favor of Mormonism. Had all who have a name to be Saints but made half the effort to push its con­sequence before the public, that they have to discredit it, there can be no doubt that the Church would now have embraced hundreds of thousands in its bosom, who, as it is, are ignorant of the gospel, and believe not on prophets. Never before, since the world began, did the people act a policy so suicidal as the Mormon attempt to discredit this testimony; an attempt which has succeeded only so far as to do mischief; the end will never be accomplished. The most that skeptics can say is, that though the evidence is unanswerable, they will let it alone, and have no opinion on the subject.

For you readily perceive that whatever inducement I may have had to commit a fraud in the premises, there was no opportunity whatever. In order to succeed in a fraud, I must have deceived suc­cessfully four men, deeply interested in the bona fides of the trans­action, whose facilities of observing the truth were such that decep­tion was simply impossible. The circumstances and their characters were such that their veracity has never been questioned. And all the facts were open to public criticism.

These plates I translated. As to the accuracy of the translation the world and the Saints know just what I have told them, and what God has revealed to them. That is all they know of the plates which Joseph translated. God made him a witness of the work, and the world must take the translation on his testimony. So he made me a witness after Joseph’s death, and has vouchsafed me proper evidence of this calling, and the world will have to take this translation on my testimony.

This being the proper rule of testimony, I have not thought fit to go behind it; but it may not be improper to say that the accuracy of the translation has been tested to their satisfaction by a body of learned men, acquainted with the modern discoveries shedding light on the lost Levantine languages. And the result satisfied them that this record was written in a language bearing a common relation to all the languages spoken in the earliest ages in the Levant, and that the translation was genuine.

It would be too tedious to relate the process by which these tests were made, and they might not be well understood, except by men of profound learning; but they were made by those who wished to make a case against me, and the result was clearly in my favor, and so acknowledged without the slightest hesitation.

All the facts surrounding this matter were so clear and indisput­able, and the results derivable therefrom so significant of my calling, that Brighamites were for a long time at a loss on which side to make their attack. It finally came, not upon the veracity of my wit­nesses and testimony, but upon the divine authority of the record. Orson Hyde first took ground in the following beautiful “fruit of his saintly spirit”:

“James J. Strang, successor of Sidney Rigdon, Judas Iscariot, Cain & Co., Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of his most Gracious Majesty, Lucifer the L, assisted by his Allied Contemporary advisers, John C. Bennett, William Smith, G. J. Adams and John E. Page, Secretaries of Legation, have all acknowledged, taught and declared that the plates said to be found in the earth by Strang, in a supernatural way, were so very rusty and de­faced by time, that they could not be deciphered without undergoing some chemical process, being scoured up,” etc.–(Millennial Star, Vol. viii, p. 123.)

To the tail of this sweeping falsehood Mr. Hyde has hung on the words, “as we have been credibly informed,” in a vain effort to cheat the Almighty out of that law which says, “thou shah not bear false witness.” On this falsehood concerning the plates, Mr. Hyde quotes from the Book of Mormon (Alma, Ch. xvii., p. 349, Eng. ed.) to show that the plates are not a divine record. If the facts were with him, the argument would be conclusive. But no such facts existed in reference to the plates, and Mr. Hyde had not had any such information concerning them.

He was then but three months from Philadelphia, where his whole congregation and thousands of others had examined the plates, and received prompt answers to such inquiries as they thought proper to make. The delegation of American Elders who accompanied him to England, had met the matter in all the cities of Pittsburgh, Phila­delphia, New York and Boston, in each of which places they and the public had seen the plates, and examined them to their hearts content.

Not one of them was ever informed that the plates had been rusty, or defaced in any way whatever. Had any one been disposed to tell such a story, it was impossible. The plates themselves gave the lie to it. The minutest tool marks, and the slightest scratches of the material used in polishing them, were visible. They are yet, and stand as the unerring witness that the plates have undergone no corrosion.

Hyde says these statements were resorted to, “to prove the great antiquity” of the plates. The reason is as false as the assertion. The antiquity of the plates rested on the indubitable testimony (never met nor attempted to be met by apostate or gentile) that an oak tree as large as a man’s body has grown over the plates since they were deposited, and that the region of country had been unvisited by and unknown to civilized men till since the institution of Mormonism.

THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF THE LORD

The Book of the Law was given to Adam. The second law recorded in the Bible, before the physical creation of Adam is, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen. 2:2)

This was not the only law given through Adam. He was given that part of the Book of the Law that pertains to men of every generation. Where there is no law, there can be no accounting for transgression of the law, “13 sin is not imputed when there is no law… 15 for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom. 4:15 ) We know that Cain fell under condemnation for not obeying the law on the feast of first fruits. When he killed his brother Able, he violated the law “thou shalt not kill;” and fell under a terrible curse of the law.

Some have thought that Jesus changed the law; and through His blood offered a new law—a new covenant. “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5)

The Apostle John also taught that the law of God was given to man in the beginning. “5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.” (2 John 1)

A new gospel has been professed among the preachers of modern Babylon , “salvation by faith alone.” The supporters of this doctrine offer two passages of Scripture in their defense for changing the gospel. “5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)… 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Eph. 2) They fail to realize that Paul was addressing saints of God that had already obeyed the gospel; and not unbelievers. Against this the whole Bible stands as a witness of their error. No man can be saved while in the flesh. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 10:22)

Jesus preached the true gospel. “5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3) Peter made it very clear what was required before a man could have hope of salvation. “37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2)

When men divided into those who obeyed the gospel and those who followed their own will, the obedient were called the sons of God and the rest, the sons of men. “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Gen. 6:2) Saints of God are also known as sons of God throughout the Bible. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12) Only through obedience to the gospel can a person become a son of God. The gospel being a major part of the law of God, it had to be preached from Adam to Abraham. “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8)

There are two principles related to the spiritual law of God: (1) it was given to the first man and was to last for a thousand generations, and (2) as it is a perfect law, it can never change. “Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.” (1 Chron. 16:15) Only the temporal, added law of Moses, was given for a time. It was a punishment to Israel for their transgression at Mt. Sinai ; and was to remain until fulfilled by Jesus.

Righteousness is submitting one’s will to that of God, loving only the Father as GOD, honoring Jesus as our Savior, and living according to God’s law. Adam, Abel, and Noah could not have been righteous men without having the Book of the Law. It was evidently lost to Israel during the four hundred years of captivity in Egypt . Moses restored the law, written by the finger of God. Abridged, public copies, of the law were made for use among the people.

“10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law… 24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, 25 That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, 26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” (Deut. 31)

In about 640 BC, during the reign of King Josiah, the Book of the Law was discovered after it had been lost. “9 And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the LORD. 10 And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. 11 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” (2 Kings 22)

There was still a copy of the Book of the Law about 440 BC. “1 And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel . 2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. 3 And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law… 8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8)

The law was still understood in the days of Jesus. He constantly referred to the law; and was obedient to every part of the law. “15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14) It was lost by the time Constantine compiled the Bible.

In 600 BC, a Prophet of God, by the name of Lehi, was instructed by the Lord to depart Jerusalem . Together, with his family, he brought a copy of the Book of the Law on his journey to a promised land–the land of Zion —the isles of the sea. The northern isle is North America .

Lehi’s sons were commanded to go to the house of Laban and get the record of the Jews. Among these books was the Book of the Law. “14 And now, when I, Nephi, had heard these words, I remembered the words of the Lord which he spake unto me in the wilderness, saying that: Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise. 15 Yea, and I also thought that they could not keep the commandments of the Lord according to the law of Moses, save they should have the law. 16 And I also knew that the law was engraven upon the plates of brass.” (1 Nephi 4)

After the people arrived in Central America , they divided into two groups: the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites were generally obedient to the law of God. The Lamanites turned from the will of God; and were cursed with a darkened skin. The Lamanites were the early descendants of the Native Americans.

When the Nephites also became transgressors of the law, they were totally destroyed by their enemies, the Lamanites, in 421 AD. The last of their people, Moroni , buried their sacred books on a hill in what is now New York State. The evil works of the Lamanites caused them to be sorely punished under the hands of the white man.

In 1827, Joseph Smith was instructed by the Lord to recover the books; and translate an abridgement of the thousand year history of the Nephites. The first edition of the book was published in 1830. It is called the Book of Mormon.

These records also included the Book of the Law; which Joseph was not permitted to translate; because of disobedience of the people. It is from these plates that James translated The Book of the Law of the Lord. He wrote, “But of all the lost books the most important was the Book of the Law of the Lord. This was kept in the ark of the covenant, and was held too sacred to go into the hands of strangers. When the Septuagint translation was made, the Book of the Law was kept back, and the Book lost to the Jewish nation in the time that they were subject to foreign powers. The various books in the Pentateuch, containing abstracts of some of the laws, have been read instead of it, until even the existence of the book has come to be a matter of doubt.

“It is from an authorized copy of that book, written on metallic plates long previous to the Babylonish captivity, that this translation is made. And being made by the same spirit by which the words were originally dictated, it is beyond doubt as perfect as the language will admit of. The utmost pains has been taken to make the execution of it in all respects what it should be, and the editor flatters himself that no error has crept into the body of the work, and none of importance into the notes. That a little ambiguity may exist in some places, by means of the ambiguous or double import of words, is not doubted. Until a perfect language exists, it is not possible that it should be otherwise.” (Book of the Law, p. VIII)

“22. The Commandments, as here given, were translated by the Prophet James, from the plates which were taken by Nephi from Laban, in Jerusalem, (B. of M. 1st Nephi i,) and brought to America, in the time of Zedekiah, King of Judah; and are the substance of the two tables, written by the finger of God in the days of Moses.

“23 Though the exact words of the two tables were never written in any book, (Josephus’ Ant. B. iii, ch. v, 4,) except that kept in the most holy place, the substance was carefully written out by the inspired Prophets, and to the paraphrases so prepared, all transcribers of repute made their copies conform.

“24. Subsequent to the Babylonish captivity, the Jews were without the Divine Tables, and the literal copy of the Law which belonged to the Sanctuary. They had only the copies used by the Prophets. These have long since been lost.” (Book of the Law, p. 43)

The law of God requires the testimony of at least two witnesses to establish a fact. “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18:16) James was commanded to show the plates to competent witnesses. The testimony of seven witnesses is included in the Book of the Law. “BE it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, to whom this Book of the Law of the Lord shall come, that James J. Strang has the plates of the ancient Book of the Law of the Lord given to Moses, from which he translated this law, and has shown them to us. We examined them with our eyes, and handled them with our hands. The engravings are beautiful antique workmanship, bearing a striking resemblance to the ancient oriental languages; and those from which the laws in this book were translated are eighteen in number, about seven inches and three-eights wide, by nine inches long, occasionally embellished with beautiful pictures.

“And we testify unto you all that the everlasting kingdom of God is established, in which this law shall be kept, till it brings in rest and everlasting righteousness to all the faithful.

“SAMUEL GRAHAM,     SAMUEL P. BACON,     WARREN POST,     PHINEAS WRIGHT,     ALBERT N. HOSMER,     EBENEZER PAGE,     JEHIEL SAVAGE.”

The first edition of 200 copies was published in 1851; and contained 80 pages. Only a couple copies of this edition remain. A second edition of 336 pages was printed in 1856; but James was martyred before it could be bound. The unbound copies were carried by the saints with them; when they were driven from Beaver Island . The first signature of 16 pages, containing introductory information, was evidently lost. Subsequent reprints have used the introductory pages from the first edition. It also contains a couple hundred pages of notes by James.

All of the 47 chapters of the book were translated from the plates; except: (1) Chapter II, The True God, “written by the prophet James, by inspiration of God;” (2) Chapter XII, Baptism for the Dead, “a revelation from Jesus Christ, given to James J. Strang, Aug. 9th, 1849;” (3) the first six sections of Chapter XX, Calling of a King, “written by the prophet James, by inspiration of God, and the nine following sections are the words of the angel of God when he conferred upon James J. Strang the prophetic authority, and made him the chief shepherd of the flock of God on earth;” (4) Chapter XXXV, Establishment of the Law, “a revelation given Feb., 1851;” (5) Chapter XL, Feasts, “a revelation given Feb. 1851, except the first two sections;” and (6) the first three sections of Chapter XLI, Inheritances, “a revelation from God, given to James J. Strang, July 8th, 1850.”

The Book of the Law contains the everlasting covenant and principles that reveal God’s will toward man, man’s duty to God, and man’s responsibility toward his fellow man and his environment. Other laws have been given through Prophets of God for the specific guidance of each generation. It contains:

(1) the Constitution of God’s law; which is the Ten Commandments,     (2) a correct knowledge of God and Jesus Christ,     (3) the gospel of Christ,     (4) the order of the house of God,     (5) laws governing the social and environmental responsibilities of man for his temporal and spiritual guidance, and     (6) a couple hundred pages of notes by James giving, as the standard expounder of the law, give interpretations of the law of God.

The Ten Commandments

The most glaring evidence that the Book of the Law is truly a divine work is the uniformity of all these subjects with the teachings of all God’s holy prophets. Nowhere else in modern Christianity are all these truths to be found. The first chapter in the Book of the Law provides the Ten Commandments; as they were given to Moses.

1) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.
2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
4) Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
5) Honour thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not kill.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness.
10) Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s inheritance.

The greatest law given to man is circumcision of the heart. “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22)

When Constantine made Christianity the state religion, he adopted the doctrines and mysteries of Babylon into his new Catholic Church. Among those changes was adoption of the Trinity in place of the true and living God of Israel, turning Jesus into a demi-god like those of Rome , usurping the authority of God, and changing the Sabbath to the “venerable day of the sun.”

The Book of the Law, and the teachings of James, restored a true knowledge of all these most important subjects. Without a true knowledge of God and Jesus, none can inherit eternal life. “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17)

The second chapter in the Book of the Law addresses “The True God.” This chapter was added to the 1856 Edition by inspiration of God. Additional information on this subject is included in the chapter, James the Teacher. James proved beyond controversy that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not the god of Constantine; and all of the Christian sects that adopted the Trinity. Consider the source. “In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolise that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day. In both cases such a comparison is most degrading to the King Eternal, and is fitted utterly to pervert the minds of those who contemplate it, as if there was or could be any similitude between such a figure and Him who hath said, ‘To whom will ye liken God, and what likeness will ye compare unto Him?” (The Two Babylons, pp. 16, 17)

The fourth law begins, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Book of the Law, p. 24) Sectarian Christian churches around the world still attempt to use the nine commandments found in the Old Testament (Ex. 20; Deut. 5); dividing them as they see fit to make ten. The problem with this practice is that although the fourth commandment was lost to the Bible; it was still a part of Scripture in the days of Jesus. “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22)

It is obvious that sectarian Christian churches fail in identifying the Constitution of God’s law. It is likewise a great testimony for James and the Book of the Law that the Ten Commandments are given in their true form.

Another of the Ten Commandments that we find in its true context is the Sabbath. The third law in the Book of the Law begins, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” (Book of the Law, p. 22)

Joseph Smith was given a special dispensation to use Sunday in observance of the Sabbath. This practice continued until the translation of the Book of the Law. The Book of the Law specifically identifies the seventh day as the Sabbath. This departure from previous teachings reveals that God’s work was not finished by Joseph. The stick of Judah , the Book of the Law, noted by Ezekiel had to be revealed after the stick of Joseph, the Book of Mormon (Ezek. 37:19).

The Sabbath was instituted by God before the physical creation of Adam, “2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen. 2)

It was given as a sign and a perpetual covenant between God and His people. “13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you… 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31)

Some have thought Jesus changed this law; but, this is an ignorant error. Jesus obeyed the Sabbath. “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matt. 5)

Others have contended that the Apostles changed it. The seventh day Sabbath was honored by Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians. It was changed by an unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine , to “the venerable day of the sun.” This was simply one of the many pagan doctrines and traditions which Constantine brought into the Christian church. “As seen in Constantine’s originating piety, that supreme deity would have been associated with the sun, and pagans would have recognized, with reason, their own solar cult in such Christian practices as orienting churches to the east, worshipping of ‘sun day,’ and celebrating the birth of the deity at the winter solstice.” (James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, p. 183)

James wrote in his notes on the Sabbath, “7. The very language of this Commandment, seems to pre-sage the propensity of man to change the Sabbath; remember the Sabbath day; and God, foreseeing what wicked men would do, has placed on his chosen a special injunction that they keep that day in all their generations for a perpetual covenant; (Ex. xxxi, 13-17;) and awful penalties are denounced against those who abolish it.” The Sabbath is also addressed in the Book of the Law, Chapter 40: Feasts.

A most significant teaching in the Book of the Law is the necessity of an organized priesthood having divine authority from God. Additional information is available in the chapter, James the Teacher. Not even Jesus was exempt from this law. He was ordained under the hands of the Father. “4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5)

Order of the Priesthood

The organization of the priesthood in the Book of the Law is identical with that of Jesus. These officers are required “for the perfecting of the saints” and “for the work of the ministry.” They are to remain in the Church of Christ “till we all come in the unity of the faith.” “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)

The Bible records Jesus calling and ordaining the Twelve Apostles. “14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” This calling and ordination gave them divine authority to preach the gospel and have their ordinances (baptism of water and the Spirit) recorded in heaven. “19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16)

High Priests are often known as Evangelists. “It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers [High Priests], as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 107:39) 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, p. 225)

This is the first rank in succession below that of Apostle. The recognized ecclesiastical historian Eusebius, noted, “Of those that flourished in these times, Quadratus is said to have been distinguished for his prophetical gifts. There were many others. Also, noted in these times, who held the first rank in the apostolic succession.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Chapter XXXVII, p. 123)

Jesus also called and ordained Elders. Seventy of these, who were traveling preachers of the gospel, comprise a quorum. Jesus sent out several quorums of Elders. “1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10) Others stood as Pastors over the various branches of the church. “23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14)

These same officers of the kingdom are identified in the Book of the Law; and were administered under James. Only the latter day saints have claimed to have Apostles, Prophets, High Priests, and Elders called and ordained by the will of God. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain… whosever is not chosen of him, the same is a usurper, and unholy.” (Book of the Law, p. 20) “1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10)

The Book of the Law included many chapters on the will of God concerning the behavior of men towards his fellow. There is a chapter on Oaths. James wrote, “1. It is profaning the name of God to swear vain oaths, such as are not appointed in the Law, or are not necessary to justice. The oath was appointed of God for great occasions, and not to be made a light thing of by familiar use.” (Book of the Law, p. 88) It includes the law of God on blessings, curses, prayer, thanksgiving, monuments, blessing of infants, marriage, healing, and absolution.

Gospel of Christ

The Book of the Law includes the law of God on the gospel of Christ; and entry into the kingdom of heaven. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5) It includes chapters on baptism, baptism for the dead, confirmation, and the Eucharist. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53) Jesus will soon return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:8) This subject is covered in depth in the chapter James, The Teacher.

Love and the Law of God

Jesus taught the law of God is based on love (Matt. 22). Love of God and man forms the foundation for all other laws. James wrote, “6. Though God has founded his government in love, and made that the chief sanction of his law, we are not allowed for one moment to imagine that he will not punish sin, or that he will look upon it with any degree of allowance.

“7. For in the same breath he tells us that he is a jealous God, visiting iniquity on all that hate him; not as some have said, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon their innocent posterity; but upon their children who abide in their sins.” (Book of the Law, p. 19)

This eternal love permeates all of the relationships between God and man; and between men. In the kingdom of heaven, marriage and the family are sealed for eternity. Heathen marriages, performed by men who do not hold divine authority, are only “until death do us part.” Two unique characteristics of the law of God, found in the Book of the Law, are: (1) that love is a required element in marriage; and (2) that spiritual marriage among believers is for eternity. “When thou takest a wife, thou shalt take such a one as thou lovest, and who loveth thee, and whom thou mayest lawfully marry… by him shall ye be joined in marriage, that she may be thine in life, thine in the resurrection, and thine in life everlasting; and that the children which she beareth thee, may be with thee in the everlasting kingdom.” (Book of the Law, p. 159)

This same principle is taught in the Bible. Abraham and his seed were promised the land of Canaan . This was never realized during his mortal life. When Jesus returns and resurrects the saints of God, Abraham and his seed will inherit that land with their wives and children; even as Judah and Israel in the days of Solomon. “And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine [tribe] and under his fig tree [family], from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:25 ) “2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” (Micah 4)

Social Order and Polygamy

The Book of the Law restored the original law on social order. This included polygamy. Nothing can be more obvious in the Bible than God ordained and sanctioned polygamous marriages. The twelve tribes of Israel were the offspring of such marriages. The major kings in Israel had numerous wives. The progenitors of Jesus were polygamists.

James was opposed to polygamy; until he translated that part of the Book of the Law. L. D. Hickey, an Apostle under James, stated that James first learned of the legality of polygamy while translating the Book of the Law. He stated that James was very upset and would not translate for some time (Temple Lot Testimony, pp. 408, 409).

Polygamy under James was closely controlled. It was dependant on the ability of the husband to provide for his wives and children; and to protect their rights. “5. Thou shalt not take unto thee a multitude of wives disproportioned to thy inheritance, and thy substance: nor shalt thou take wives to vex those thou hast; neither shalt thou put away one to take another.” (Book of the Law, p. 314) An extensive discourse by James on the subject is found in the Book of the Law in the chapter “Household Relations.”

The inclusion of the law to love one’s neighbor, the original law on the Sabbath, the law on eternal marriage, the law on the order of the priesthood, the law on polygamy, and the law on social order provides a significant testimony of the truth of the Book of the Law and the true calling of James, as a prophet of God. Many of the teachings found in the Book of the Law are found nowhere else in the Christian world.

When Jesus returns, all people in the world will be judged by the Book of the Law. The law will come forth out of Zion — North America . Mountains mean kingdoms in Biblical symbolic language. “2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 5 O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light [law] of the LORD.” (Isa. 2; Micah 4:1, 2)

Wingfield Watson in his correspondence of August 15, 1877 with Henry A. Chaney offered one of the best testimonies to the Book of the Law; and therefore, to James J. Strang. “This book, so far as my knowledge or reading goes, is in itself unique; both as regards its general construction, or plan and the nature of its contents. To the sincere student, and true lover of the Scriptures, it opens many mysteries, and gives the why and the wherefore, for many of its sayings, and doings, which cannot be learned from any other Book existing.”

“The Old and New Testaments, both show that between the people and the Almighty, there were always men chosen by him to lead the people, that among these different officers, there were various degrees of authority; that these different officers were amenable to, and subject to each other, according to the office held, or the authority exercised; but that all were the servants of the people, and that the greatest were servants of all the rest.

“This Book of the Law shows that the priesthood of the New, and Old Testament times, are one, and the same; and outside of this Book, there is not another on the earth, that will show the order of this priesthood, or show the true relationship of any one of these officers to the one above or below it.”

“The Old and New Testaments, both show that between the people and the Almighty, there were always men chosen by him to lead the people, that among these different officers, there were various degrees of authority; that these different officers were amenable to, and subject to each other, according to the office held, or the authority exercised; but that all were the servants of the people, and that the greatest were servants of all the rest.

“This Book of the Law shows that the priesthood of the New, and Old Testament times, are one, and the same; and outside of this Book, there is not another on the earth, that will show the order of this priesthood, or show the true relationship of any one of these officers to the one above or below it.”

“In this work there are many other things that might be said to concern only the secular affairs of the people. But God’s law recognizes no difference, and never did, between what is now called the secular, and spiritual affairs of his people. The whole object of God’s law, both in the past and in the present, is the happiness of man upon the principle of obedience to it; and whatever maintains, and supports life, peace, prosperity, happiness and enjoyment here, will be necessary throughout all ages to support the same things, as we understand it. In other words, we look upon the Law and the commandments of God, as laid down in all the divine writings, as an external series of causes that ever produce the same most excellent effects, by obedience to them. That as the transgression of these great and glorious rules, has ever cursed, corrupted, degraded, and ruined mankind, so obedience to them has ever blessed, and will ever bless, perfect, exalt and preserve the human race. Accordingly, when ‘the rest of God,’ or that ‘Milleniel reign of peace,’ which so many are looking for at the present time, is finally ushered in upon the earth, it will be only the successful establishment of the divine law every where over it; which often in the past has been sought, but as often failed through the rebellion and corruptions of man. We are unable to conceive how perfect peace, and universal happiness, can ever be arrived at only in obedience to a perfect law, or rule of action. Such only are those rules that have emanated from God.”

“These rules that could help people to establish this perfect peace is contained in a little book entitled ‘The Book of the Law of the Lord.’ It is a sad fact, though, that this book that has so much to offer has been appreciated by only a few.” (Strang MSS, Yale University Library, Book IV, Sec. II, p. 80, 84-86)

In 2000, I republished the Book of the Law. This reproduction was page for page, line for line, and word for word according to the original 1856 Edition. It is available either on 100% rag paper and leather bound, or on 25% rag paper with regular hard back binding.

SEALED RECORD

There is a promise of a future translation for James in the Revelation of James on September 1, 1845 . “Behold the record which was sealed from my servant Joseph. Unto thee it is reserved. Take heed that thou count it not a light thing, nor exalt thyself lest thou be stricken; for by myself I swear that, as thou servest me faithfully and comest not short, thou shalt unlock the mysteries thereof, which I have kept hid from the world. Yea, as my servants serve me, so shalt thou translate unto them.”

This “sealed” record is yet to be revealed. Our late Bro. Lloyd Flanders wrote, “James J. Strang was shown the plates of the Sealed Record: but HE RECEIVED ONLY the Urim and Thummim: given him to see the 3 Voree Plates under an Oak Tree—but he did NOT receive the Plates of the Sealed Record—then or any other time—but he received the promise (par 2) that he would receive it IF the saints and himself were faithful to the degree that the Order of Enoch could be set up among them. This failed at Voree—and the Kingdom with a Perpetual Inheritance System was set up in it’s stead on Beaver Island . Such a condition of Complete Unity existed in Jerusalem and among the Nephites for some time—and was tried as a United Order under both Joseph and James.”

“Some of our ‘Tracts’ carry the idea that the Book of the Law was translated from the Plates of Laban—as part of the ‘Plates Sealed from Joseph Smith’ or part of the ‘Book of Mormon Plates’ which is not true. Nephi mentioned the Sealed Book—and he was much closer to the days of the Deluge and Jaredite Settling in America than Mormon or Moroni ! The Inspired Version—Isaiah Chap. 29—is headed ‘God’s judgment upon Jerusalem—The Sealed Book’—which in part refers to the Book of Mormon—and in Part the ‘Sealed Record’ of Ether.”

The sealed record was a part of the golden plates of which the Book of Mormon was a part. “These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed.” (History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 537) The Book of the Law was translated from plates that were “about seven inches and three-eights wide, by nine inches long.” (Book of the Law, Testimony)

Chapter Six: JAMES J. STRANG: THE TEACHER

The greatest testimony of James’ claim as a Prophet of God is found among his teachings.  His teachings agree with all the Prophets of God before him.   Joseph wrote that no man can have faith in God toward salvation without having a correct understanding of “his character, perfections, and attributes.” James brought us all of these.  James left us with an understanding of God and Jesus not found anywhere else in the Christian world.  If religion were taught as a science, as James said it would one day, James would certainly be honored as most precious gem in the stream of knowledge.  He left us with a treasure of teachings on all the subjects related to our spiritual welfare and temporal behavior.

GOD AND JESUS CHRIST
GOSPEL OF CHRIST
ORDER OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
NECESSITY OF THE PRIESTHOOD
LOSS OF THE PRIESTHOOD
CALLING AND ORDINATION
ORDER OF THE PRIESTHOOD
LAW OF GOD
TEACHINGS OF THE PROPHET JAMES J. STRANG
APOLOGY FOR THE MORMONS

James embraced the concept embodied by Joseph Smith that religion should be taught as a science. Its principles and laws are as perfect and unchanging as those of other sciences. James used principles of science to prove the existence of God. Theology should be understood as that revealed science, which treats of the true nature and characteristics of God, His will towards man, man’s duty to God, and man’s duty to his fellows. The principles and doctrines taught by Adam, Noah, Moses, Jesus, and all other Prophets of God on a particular subject always compliment each other. “8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1)

In his notes in the Book of the Law, James wrote, “108. In all else, the united testimony of those who have studied the facts, is deemed sufficient and satisfactory proof. The facts of Geology, the facts of Astronomy, the facts of Chemistry, the facts of Botany, the facts of Zoology, are all proved by testimony like this in kind, less in accumulation. And upon facts so proved are based the principles of those sciences. The facts were thus determined. And the principles are but deductions from them.

“109. The existence of God, the Lord of the universe, a being of intelligence, motive and will, is proved by more testimony than that of Julius Caesar. And a world of spirits is proved by more living witnesses, and has been in every generation of men, than can or ever could be adduced to prove the existence of one half the species of living animals on the earth.

“110. Enter into the closet of your friends’ hearts, open the door that shame and the fear of being called superstitious has shut, induce men to speak to you as they commune with their own hearts, and how many will you find, who have never beheld the spiritual? How many who have never been spoken to by the invisible? How many who have never been led by the intangible?

“111. The world is now a vast crowd of living witnesses of the spiritual, shamed down to silence by the Atheistical doctrines of modern Christianity. This truth is a spring that can never be dried up.

“112. A generation shall yet arise who, taking facts as they find them, will make religion a science, studied by as exact rules as mathematics. Then will these facts be sought for as are new discoveries in Geology and Astronomy. Facts well attested will be generalized. Rules be drawn from them. Man’s prejudices will cease to minister to his blindness. The mouth of the Seer will be opened, and the whole earth enlightened.” (pp. 85, 86)

It seems that James’ whole life, after being ordained a Lawgiver, on June 27, 1844 , was dedicated to the instruction of spiritual truth. He worked to build his own house, feed, and clothe his family; although they had only a meager existence. But, the bulk of his time was dedicated to reading and teaching. He preached several times a week–with a single sermon sometimes reaching eight hours. He edited official church journals, wrote many articles, attended nearly every church conference, traveled hundreds of miles preaching the gospel, and carried on a correspondence with over five hundred elders. His teachings were spread by his many travels, by those whom he instructed in righteousness, and in the many books and articles which he wrote.

Joseph Smith wrote, “What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other.” (Joseph Smith’s Teachings, p. 101)

The primary subjects that affect our salvation are:

(1) God and Jesus Christ,    (2) the gospel of Christ,    (4) the order of God/kingdom,    (5) the law of God, and    (6) the teachings of God’s holy prophets.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21)

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)

God and Jesus Christ

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.–Deut. 6:5

There is no subject of greater importance than a true knowledge of God and Jesus. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) “15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel , The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3) “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22) Jesus will soon return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:8)

Knowledge and belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was removed from the Christian church by Constantine—an unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor. Constantine took the Roman Empire by the sword. His kingdom, though, was divided on religious grounds. About ten percent of Rome had become Christian; and the rest followed in the mysteries of Babylon. Constantine was a loyal follower of the sun God.

“As seen in Constantine’s originating piety, that supreme deity would have been associated with the sun, and pagans would have recognized, with reason, their own solar cult in such [new] Christian practices as orienting churches to the east, worshipping on ‘sun day,’ and celebrating the birth of the deity at the winter solstice [December 25].” (James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, p. 183)

He established a new Christianity as the state religion. In 325 AD, he called the first church council; and created the first creed of the Christian church. This Creed of St. Athanasius established three points of doctrine: (1) it established the Catholic faith as the only acceptable religion, (2) it changed the identity and nature of God, with the Trinity as the foundation of the Catholic faith, and (3) it changed the identity and nature of Jesus.

(1). Constantine stood as the absolute head of the Catholic Church; and as god on earth. ” Constantine wanted to unify the empire in every way… His political impact on Christianity is widely recognized, but his role as a shaper of its central religious idea is insufficiently appreciated.” (James Carroll, Constantine’s Sword, p. 173) “The unity of the empire–under himself–was to him the absolute political virtue… So in turning to religion, unity of belief and practice, not tolerance of diversity, had to seem paramount… Constantine really understands himself by now as ‘the vice-regent of god.’ ” (Ibid., p. 187)

The Trinitarian Creed stated, “This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.” Prior to Constantine it had been the Church of Christ. Constantine made it heresy (a civil crime punishable by death) for anyone to hold contrary beliefs; and Constantine had many thousands killed and banished to enforce this law. “What never varied in Constantine’s otherwise fluid religious self-understanding, something that carried over from Apollo to Christ, was that it was divinely commissioned ‘that the rule of the whole world should belong’ to him.” (Ibid., p. 181) “…unification was by definition a matter of domination…For Constantine, religious differences were impediments to the power that had replaced Maxentius and Licinius. In this way, the choice (‘heresy’) to be religiously different defined as treason, a political crime.” (Ibid., pp. 179, 189)

The mission of the Church of Christ was to afford people the opportunity of choice between the delights in mortality and an eternity in the kingdom of heaven. Although Jesus had twelve legions of angels at His command (Matt. 26:53), He never forced anyone to believe the good news of the gospel. God will not force anyone to either believe, or perform a given act. Satan cannot force anyone; except through unholy rulers. Even then, men have the choice between their beliefs and mortal death. “28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10) We do not know how many thousands were killed under Constantine and his successors. It has been estimated that 50,000,000 were martyred under the direction of the Papacy for holding beliefs contrary to Catholic doctrine.

Joseph Smith wrote, “We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

Everyone of every religion was welcomed in the community of saints; and invited to address the saints concerning their beliefs. Joseph and James taught and were martyred while teaching freedom of religious beliefs.

(2). The Creed of St. Athanasius in 325 AD, which embodied the Trinity, changed the nature of God for Christians to that of paganism. The Trinity originated with Nimrod, a grandson of Noah and King of Babylon. “So utterly idolatrous was the Babylonian recognition of the Divine unity, that Jehovah, the Living God, severely condemned His own people for given any countenance to it: ‘They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens, after the rites of the ONLY ONE, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together.’ (Isaiah 66:17). In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolize that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day. In both cases such a comparison is most degrading to the King Eternal, and is fitted utterly to pervert the minds of those who contemplate it, as if there was or could be any similitude between such a figure and Him who hath said, ‘To whom will ye liken God, and what likeness will ye compare unto Him?’” (Rev. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 16)

Joseph Smith taught the critical importance of knowing God. He taught, “that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. First, the idea that he actually exists. Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes. Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.” (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Part One, Lecture Three)

Joseph described the Father and the Son as two distinct personages. A young farm boy restored knowledge of God and Jesus that had been lost since Constantine and the Papacy. Some people believe that God is only a spirit (John 4:24). All men are spirits. When their spirit is joined with a physical body, it becomes a living soul; and is said to have a tabernacle (physical body). The official church journal in 1842, which Joseph edited, clearly described both the Father and the Son as having physical bodies. “Joseph Smith opposes vice and error, and supports his positions from revelation: no odds whether there be two, three, or ‘Gods many.’ The Father and the Son are persons of Tabernacle; and the Holy Ghost a spirit, besides the sons of God: for the scriptures say: ‘Ye are Gods.’” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 926)

Joseph Smith went to great lengths to teach a correct understanding of God in his Lectures on Faith (1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Part One). He explained that God is (1) merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, long suffering, of a forgiving disposition, (2) without change, (3) love, (4) no respecter of persons, (5) a God of truth, (6) a God of Justice, (7) a God of Judgment, (8) possessed of all knowledge, and (9) holds supreme power over all things.

James composed Chapter Two, “The True God,” in the Book of the Law through inspiration of God. He provided further definition and explanation of God and Jesus Christ. He explained the sacrifice of Christ in the chapter “Eucharist.”

The Book of the Law notes that God: (1) is The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (2) is glorious in his perfections, (3) alone has immortality, (4) alone has omniscience, (5) alone has omnipotence, (6) alone is omnipresent, and (7) alone is one.

James, in his notes, offered the Creed of Saint Athanasius; and then proved its errors. He wrote, “25. This is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Ye shall not bow down to the God of Babylon, for the God who spoke in Sinai, said, ‘Thou shalt not bow down unto, nor adore anything that thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only.’

  1. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, was not the offspring of adultery; nor was he born of woman; he was not carried about in a nurse’s arms, nor dependent on his mother’s milk for sustenance; he never died, nor did he cry to himself, and find no helper. (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34.) Eternal ages are but pulsations in his lifetime, and his might is omnipotence.” (Book of the Law, p. 58)

When Constantine reorganized the Christian Church and adopted all the doctrines, mysteries, and traditions of paganism into Christianity, he changed the identity of both God and Jesus. Constantine died two years before the birth of Ambrose, the bishop of Milan , who became a leading writer of Catholic doctrine. Ambrose gave a definition of this new god of Christianity. He wrote in The Confessions, “when God is thought of, our thoughts should dwell on no material reality whatsoever.” Truly, the Trinity leads one to worship the unseen god of mystery Babylon. “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22)

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a literal personage. He is called the “living God” thirty times in the Bible. In his notes on the True God, James wrote, “9. The God who created Adam had a body, with all its parts; for as truly as Adam, when he begat a son, begat him in his own likeness, after his image, (Gen. v, 3) so truly God, when he created Adam, made him in the likeness and after the image of God. (Gen. i, 26, 27. v, 1. ix, 6. 1st Cor. xi, 7. Jas. iii, 9.)

“10. Abraham worshipped the same God; for when God visited him, Abraham at first mistook him for a man; and, with genuine Patriarchal hospitality, invited him into the tent to eat, and offered to wash his feet. (Gen. xviii.)

“11. Jacob also, worshipped the same God; for after wrestling with him, he tells us he saw him face to face. (Gen. xxxii, 24, 28, 30.) Surely the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has a body and parts, face and feet.

“12. The God who spoke to Moses from the fire in the bush, and in a voice of thunder in Sinai, gave the Commandments; wrote the Commandments on tables of stone, with his finger; (Deut. ix, 10;) conversed with Moses face to face, as a man converses with his friend; (Ex. xxxii, 11;) passed by covering Moses with his hand, and allowed him to behold his back parts. (Ex. xxxiii, 22, 23.) Truly this is not the God without body or parts, which Episcopalians, Methodists, and all other Christians worship.

  1. The God of the Prophets and Apostles was in bodily form, with all the appropriate parts, as imaged in his creature man.” (Book of the Law, p. 54)

James conducted a written debate in the Gospel Herald on the fact that God exists as a literal personage. He offered an article on “The Lineage of Christ” in the Gospel Herald. He also conducted a written debate with a Catholic spokesman, Charles Rafferty, which was published in the Gospel Herald; and included the following.

“Upon the fore front of almost every one of your creeds, catechisms, and confessions of faith, whether established by Catholic councils or Protestant convocations, stands out the doctrine ‘That there is but one true God, the creator of heaven and earth, who is WITHOUT BODY, PARTS, Or PASSIONS; which is precisely equivalent to saying, ‘WHO DOES NOT EXIST AT ALL;’ and is the creed of mere Atheism. Thus has this wind of doctrine carried you away from the Apostles’ creed, which declared their faith in ‘God the Father Almighty,’ without immediately adding that he did not exist; because the Apos­tles who made it believed, with other men who receive revelations, that ‘God made man in his own image,’ (Gen. i. 26, 27. v. 1,) precisely in the same sense in which Adam begot his son Seth ‘in his own IMAGE,’ (Gen. v. 3,) to wit: having a body in the same general form, and the same number and kind of limbs, joined on in a similar manner. And, consequently, believed that God had both body and parts, which Moses also well knew when he BEHELD the FACE (not in its illumination or glory,) and the BACK PARTS of God. (Ex. xxxiii. 11 to 23.)

“And Abraham not only talked with the Lord, but washed his feet and fed him, and did the like also for two angels; when, accord­ing to your creed, neither Lord or angels have any feet, or stomachs, or mouths; though they looked so like men that Abraham knew not that they were not men till he saluted them. (Gen. xviii.)­And Jacob named a certain place Phanuel, (the face of God,) saying, I have seen God face to face.’ And all the ancients, having a CERTAIN STANDARD or RULE of FAITH SUFFICIENT to DECIDE INFAL­LIBLY ALL QUESTIONS of DIVINE TRUTH which men need know, have concurred in speaking of God, not by way of figure, but reality, as a being in form similar to man, having the same limbs, members, parts and passions; a being walking, talking, eating, riding in a chariot, loving, hating, being angry, jealous, &c., &c.”

“Not satisfied with making Atheism the first article in the Chris­tian creed, Polytheism follows close after, in the declaration that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are equally the very and eternal God. To put it beyond doubt that these are THREE DISTINCT GODS they declare their faith in ‘God the Father Almighty, WITH­OUT body, parts, or passions,’ and in Jesus Christ, very and eternal God, and very man, who was crucified, died, and raised again, and ascended to heaven, body and soul, flesh bones and all which he possessed as a man on earth, and that with such body and soul, flesh and bones, he has set down at the right hand of God the Father, as a God in heaven; consequently being a God, WITH body and parts, really in the image of a man, at the right hand of another God of an altogether different make; and God the Holy Spirit which emanated from these two, and necessarily must partake somewhat of the nature and likeness of both; and consequently a monster, par­tially without body, having some parts.

“To make these creeds utterly, hopelessly, and irrevocably false and impossible, impossible with Omnipotence, as well as with man, it is next asserted that these three are one God, being and substance; that they are all like one another and alike eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent; though the second emanated from the first, and the third emanated from both the others. I do not, I will not, speak of this as a mystery. It is a lie. A lie absolutely and immutably. A lie that OMNIPOTENCE CANNOT MAKE TRUE. As well might you talk that three times four does not make twelve in abstract mathematics, but that it makes ten in a mysterious sense, and that we ought to subscribe to it as a Christian mystery, which we can believe but not comprehend.

“To make the matter as ridiculous as it is infidel, heathenish as it is false, Catholics tell us of the ‘mother of God,’ as though it was God that was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary; begotten by himself on a creature he had made, that he might be eternally begotten. And Protestants not willing that the Catholics should monopolize all the folly and falsehood, have trumped up, or borrowed from their mother, the Catholic church, the doctrine of an ‘infinite atonement’ by means of infinite sufferings in the crucifixion and death of one of the three Gods. And as they still insist that these three Gods are verily and in truth but one God, self-existent, indivisible and eternal, it follows that the eternal uncreated and self existent God became a PRIEST unto HIMSELF, and offered HIMSELF a SACRIFICE unto HIMSELF, to make propitiation unto him­self for sins against himself, and became Mediator between himself and his rebellious subjects.” (Gospel Herald, Nov. 25, 1847)

It is noteworthy that James taught the same as Joseph on the identity and nature of God and Jesus. Brigham Young, on the other hand, taught that God was once a man; and is still in a state of eternal progression. He taught that Adam was God and Eve was his wife from another planet. He also taught that man can progress to an identity equal with God.

The teachings of James on God and Jesus agree perfectly with the Bible (with the exception of the alteration in Matt. 1:18 -25). When we think of God, we think of a real, living personage whose appearance is like ours; and who is possessed of the most perfect and supreme characteristics.

The Creed of Saint Athanasius states, “And the Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity… Such as the Father is, such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost… The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal… The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible… So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty… And yet they are not three Gods, but one God… The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another… He therefore that will be saved, must think of the Trinity. Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ… This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.”

Three Gods or One? The Bible makes it clear there is one God, the Father, and one Saviour, Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is never spoken of as God. “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, AND Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3)

“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” (Deut. 4:35) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:6) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5) “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Cor. 13:14)

The Bible teaches the Father has a physical body similar to ours; although man cannot look upon the face of God in all His glory. Moses had spoken with God face to face; but, he wanted more. He asked to see God in all His glory. “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend… And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” (Ex. 33:11, 18-23)

In the Trinitarian creed, God the Son is equal and coeternal with the Father and the Holy Ghost. It makes Jesus the Father. Who was Almighty God when Jesus was a one celled embryo; and while Jesus was carried about in His mother’s womb? Who was Almighty God while Jesus was a babe? Why did Jesus pray to the Father, if he was equal to the Father? Why was He ordained by the Father (Heb. 5:5), if He was the Father? The lesser is blessed of the greater. Who was God Almighty, while the Son lay dead for three days? If He is equal with the Father, did God die? Why didn’t Jesus raise Himself? Does He now sit at His own right hand? How can the Son be equal to the Father, when only the Father knows the exact time of His return? “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36) Jesus told us He was not equal with the Father, “my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) See the thirty-one questions posed to Rafferty in the Catholic Discussion (Part Two of this book).

In this creed, God the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son. The Holy Ghost, being coeternal, could not exist until the Father had begotten the Son. Clearly this creed establishes the Father as the first identity, the Son as the second identity, and the Holy Ghost as the third. Three gods! Yet, they are all three coeternal. Since all three are coeternal, the Father and Son were begotten through the Son by themselves. This concept actually denies all three. Since the Holy Ghost is coeternal with the Father and the Son, the Father and Son could not exist until the Holy Ghost. Yet, the Holy Ghost was last in this grand series of begetting and proceeding. Since the Holy Ghost could not exist until both the Father and the Son existed, none can exist. Their existence becomes a nonentity.

The Bible clearly teaches of only one God; and of His Son, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus, throughout his whole mission, taught that the Father was superior to Himself. God alone has a name never known among the Gentile. It was never spoken above the breath; and then, only between three High Priests, after the order of Melchisedec (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 2, ch. 12:4). God alone has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16). Jesus, who was a spirit similar to us, became mortal like us, died like us, and was then resurrected; even as we will be resurrected. God alone never changes. God alone has perfect knowledge. Jesus tells us only the Father knows the day and the hour of His return. (Matt. 24:36) God alone holds all power. Jesus received power from the Father. God alone is one. “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; AND one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

This creed would have us worship the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as one god. Yet, throughout the Bible men prayed to the Father. Jesus commanded, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9)   “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” (John 16:23) The Bible never speaks of either the Son, or the Holy Ghost as God. Who are we to believe?

All alike? “Such as the Father is, such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost… The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.” The creed admits the “The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.” The Son was begotten of the Father. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. The Father is the only GOD spoken of in the Bible. Jesus is always addressed as the Son, having a lesser power. How can three different substances, with three different existences, be one? Admittedly three different identities; coming into existence at three different times.

The Father is obviously the first personage to exist in this Trinity. The Son being begotten of the Father cannot be either identical, or eternal with the Father. The Holy Ghost is not even recognized as a personage; but, only as proceeding. The Father had to exist before the Son. The Father and Son had to both exist before the Holy Ghost. The Son also existed by the substance of His mother. “And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.” By this creed, Jesus was not the Son of God; but, the son of a ghost (that was half Himself).

All three gods Almighty? “So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.” Jesus was not Almighty. Nowhere in the Bible is Jesus addressed as the Almighty. During his whole ministry, He submitted His will to the Father. A person can submit their will only to a superior. Even in death, Jesus subjected His will to God, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

I call Jesus as my witness, “my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) Jesus is also inferior in knowledge to God. “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32 ) The very fact that Jesus was begotten of the Father renders him unequal. How can he be coeternal?

Nowhere in the Bible is the Holy Ghost spoken of as God. If the Holy Ghost is God Almighty, he begat seed upon one of His creatures to become the Son, Almighty. Where is the real Almighty during all these carryings on?

There are many occasions in the Bible where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are represented in different places. Were all of these men hallucinating? “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven [Father], saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:16, 17) Jesus spent three days in the grave. Did God the Father and God the Holy Ghost follow? “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19 )

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” (Luke 2:52) How can an Almighty increase in wisdom? “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32 , 33) How can an Almighty receive more power?

Were both Jesus and the Holy Ghost Almighty when Jesus received the Holy Ghost, and when He was anointed by the Holy Ghost? “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38 ) If Jesus was the Father, how could He anoint Himself? Was the Holy Ghost Almighty when Jesus bestowed the Holy Ghost on others? “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” (John 20:21, 22)

If Jesus was Almighty from all eternity, how could He be conceived of Himself? How could He be Almighty in His mother’s womb, as an infant, and as an alien to the kingdom of God until He was baptized? Was He Almighty in death? If He was Almighty, why was He raised by the Father? Does he sit at His own right hand? “For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord [Father] said to my Lord [Jesus], Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Mark 12:36 )

One can only be blessed by a superior. Jesus was ordained and sent by the Father. “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:5, 6)

All equal? “And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another.” The Father had to be “afore;” as the Son was begotten of the Father. The Holy Ghost was “after;” as he could not proceed from the Father and Son until the Son was begotten.

As the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and Son, he must be “less” than both. The very mortality and death of Jesus demonstrates a personage of inferior nature. Jesus was carried in his mother’s womb as a fetus, born as a helpless infant, learned obedience from the things he suffered (Heb. 5:8), died on the cross, spent three days in death with the spirits in prison (hell), was resurrected, and sits at the right hand of the Father. Not so of God. “For I am the LORD, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6)

“Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him… Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.” (Deut. 4:35, 39)

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; AND one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” (1 Cor. 8:6, 7)

The Bible consistently teaches there is only one God; and that Jesus is inferior to the Father. He was begotten by the Father. He submitted His will to the Father. He prayed to the Father. He received His divine authority from the father. “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” (Acts 10:42 )

All incomprehensible? This creed defines the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as incomprehensible. Does it not seem a little more than strange that such a doctrine is found nowhere in the Bible, during four thousand years of personal relationships between man and God? By defining the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as incompressible, the creed removes from man the opportunity of eternal life. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

Was the Father incompressible when he walked, talked, and knew Adam as a familiar friend (Gen. 2:3)? Was He incomprehensible when he walked with Enoch (Gen. 5:24)? When He spoke with Noah (Gen. 6:14-21)? When Abraham mistook him for a man? (Gen. 18)? When He wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 32:30)?   When He conversed with Moses face to face (Ex. 33:11; Deut. 5:4)? Soon, He will gather His people and again plead with them “face to face.” “And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt , so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezek. 20:34-36)

Is the Father incomprehensible? Jesus did not think so. Why did Jesus pray to Him during His whole ministry and cry to Him on the cross? “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)

Was Jesus incomprehensible? Simply read the New Testament. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3)

Was Jesus incomprehensible when he appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and dined with them? (Luke 24:43) Was He incomprehensible when He said to the disciples, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)

How can man have faith in an incomprehensible? “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) How can man love an incomprehensible, “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”? (Matt. 22:37)

I will grant Constantine the fact his Trinity is incomprehensible. Not so the Biblical God. The whole Bible is a story of God’s direct association with man. God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend (Gen. 2:3). He walked with Enoch (Gen. 5:24). He spoke with Noah (Gen. 6:14-21). Abraham at first mistook him for a man; and invited Him into his tent to eat (Gen. 18). He wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 32:30).   He conversed with Moses face to face (Ex. 33:11; Deut. 5:4). Which god in this Trinity is incomprehensible, the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost? Or, is it the Trinity itself which is the mystery?

James J. Strang wrote in the Book of the Law of the Lord, “24. And, as by their faith, these three gods are one and the same god, it follows that the Lord God Almighty, uncreate, incomprehensible, and eternal, became a Priest unto himself, and offered himself a sacrifice unto himself, to make propitiation unto himself for sins against himself, and became a mediator between himself and his rebellious creatures; and has risen from the dead, though he alone hath immortality, and ascended on high, where he has received all power from himself, and sat down at his own right hand; where, with his human body, flesh and bones, and all that pertains to the perfection of man’s nature, raised to immortality and everlasting life, he ‘is the express image of the invisible God,’ (Col. i, 15. 2d Cor. iv, 4,) ‘and the express image of his Father’s person,’ (Heb. 1, 3,) who has not any such body or any part of it, and is nevertheless the same identical person with himself.” (p. 58)

(3). Constantine also changed the very nature of Jesus, the son of David according to the flesh, to that of pagan gods begotten by their god upon virgin females. The most grievous form of blasphemy is against the Holy Ghost. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” (Matt. 12:31) Yet, Constantine had Saint Athanasius change chapters in Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke to embody the pagan doctrine of gods born of virgins. “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matt. 1:18) What an imposing statement of blasphemy. A direct denial that Jesus was of the seed of Abraham; as required to be the Messiah. This doctrine makes Jesus the illegitimate son of a ghost. Joseph and Mary were married (espoused) when this conception took place.

An understanding of this fabrication requires a study of Constantine ‘s Creed of Saint Athanasius, the Bible, and pagan doctrine. With a little effort, the deception can be uncovered. Matthew states in the first verse, this is “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.” In the first seventeen verses, he traces the genealogy of Jesus through Abraham , Judah , David, and Joseph. This was the bloodline required for Jesus to have any claim to being the Messiah. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom. 1:3; Acts 2:30) See the “Lineage of Christ” written by James in Part Two of this book.

Constantine, entangled with pagan and demi-god doctrines, most likely knew nothing about the laws of the Jews. Consider Matthew, verse 18, which states Mary, the wife of Joseph, was found with child of the Holy Ghost, before they came together. It was required by Jewish law and tradition that they come together on the night of their marriage (espousal). Verse 18 states Joseph was a just man; and when he found her with child he did not want to make her a public example. The law of God, to which Joseph was bound, required that Mary be taken to her father’s house and stoned to death.

Verses 22 and 23 are direct fabrications. First, the child was not named Emmanuel; but, Jesus. The prophecy was a sign given through Isaiah to Ahaz; and fulfilled in those days. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.” (Isa. 7:14-16)

Young’s Analytical Concordance To The Bible, notes, “Immanuel, A symbolic name given to the child who was announced to Ahaz and the people of Judah as the sign that God would give them deliverance from their enemies.” The sign was to Ahaz; and had no reference to Jesus. The sign was fulfilled in the next chapter; over 700 years before Jesus. The child’s name was not Immanuel; but, “Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” The addition of Immanuel to the text was a simple fraud. This fabrication calls the whole account after verse 17, into question. Truth has no fellow with anything counterfeit. The first 17 verses support the law of God on the lineage of Jesus. The next 8 verses deny the first 17; and are an obvious fraud. Strange indeed that only this one account tells of this adulterous union between God and a married woman; when the whole context of the Bible tells just the opposite.

First, the basic question is whether Jesus was the legitimate son of Abraham. Or, was he the offspring of adultery; and the illegitimate son of a ghost, that was half Himself? This deception claims, “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”   The Creed of Saint Athanasius declares, “The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son.” If this deception were true, Jesus was not “of the Father alone;” but, was one-fourth the son of Himself. This creed made Him the illegitimate son of the Father and Himself.

An espousal (betrothal) in Israel was a legitimate contract of marriage. Joseph and Mary were married; and had “came together” long before the conception of Jesus. The public ceremony was often held at a later time. Martin Luther’s own Bible when referring to Mary used “yungfrau.” It is interpreted as a “young married woman” or just “young woman.” No inference as to being a virgin. Verse 19 admits “Joseph her husband.”

Luke notes that Joseph and Mary were espoused/married in verse 27, “virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David;” and then in verse 31, at a later date, notes, “thou shalt conceive in thy womb.” (Luke 1:31) How many other women in the Bible conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost? Abraham’s wife Sarah conceived Isaac by the power of the Holy Ghost. Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was barren; when she conceived John the Baptist by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Marriages were immediately consummated. Should the new wife prove not to be pure, the law of God required her to be returned to her father’s house and be stoned to death. How long does it take for a woman to be “found with child?” Joseph could not be a “just man” without obeying the law of God. “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.” (Deut. 22:20, 21)

The word virgin in the English language does not admit of the true meaning of the term. A virgin can be either a woman (or man) that has not had sexual intercourse, or a woman (or man) that has remained true to her (his) marriage vows and has had intercourse with none other. “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled.” (Heb. 13:4) Thus, Luther’s “yungfrau,” in reference to Mary, could be either single, or married.

Adultery was forbidden by the law of God, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Ex. 20:14) God cannot violate His own law. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) Had the Holy Ghost beget seed upon a married woman, GOD would be guilty of sin; and therefore subject to death, “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23 ) “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10)

The creed states, “The Son is of the Father alone.” This supposed conception by the Holy Ghost denies this doctrine and makes Jesus the son of the third person in the Trinity and not by “the Father alone.” It would have God violate His own laws and commit adultery on one of His creation. Further, it would make Jesus an illegitimate son of a ghost; and not the Messiah of the house of David (according to the flesh). Jesus was not the offspring of adultery.

Second, the law of nature is another of God’s laws. Genetics are much better understood today than by the pagans of Constantine’s day. The woman carries only half the genetic code required for human reproduction. Only the male seed carries the X/Y chromosome. Without this, Jesus could not have been a male–like begets like. A gorilla, the closest to man in genetic code, cannot beget seed upon man.

A spirit is not flesh, blood, and bones. According to the Creed of Saint Athanasius, the Holy Ghost only proceeds. “The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.” The best definition, supporters of the creed have provided, is that this “proceeding” can be compared to light from a fire. Not of substance; but only of essence.

A spirit cannot beget seed upon mortal woman; anymore than a beam of light. Satan and his angels (spirits) have been visiting earth since Adam. If spirits can beget seed upon women, imagine what evil Satan’s angels would work upon women. Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven to the earth after the resurrection of Jesus (Rev. 12:4). If this creed be true, can any man know for certain that he is the father of his wife’s children? Jesus called himself the son of Man about eighty times in the Bible.

Third. All the prophets in the Bible, who spoke of the Messiah, wrote that He had to be of the royal line of King David. Only Joseph carried the proper seed of Abraham, Judah, and David; as noted by both Matthew and Luke.   God promised Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen. 22:18) No woman is given in the lineage of Jesus from Adam to Mary. The seed of man, “according to the flesh,” is carried only through the male line. “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.” (Heb. 7:9, 10) Jesus could only fulfill the law on lineage through his father Joseph. If Joseph was not the father of Jesus, the whole story of the Messiah is a fabrication.

Paul declared Jesus was the seed of David, “according to the flesh.” “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom 1:3) Matthew declared at the beginning of his book, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ.” The first seventeen verses give a clear account of the lineage of Jesus from Abraham, through Judah, David, and his father Joseph (Matt. 1:16 ).

Luke does the same; except beginning with Adam. Mary was a cousin of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36 ); and therefore of the tribe of Levi. The claim of Jesus to the house of David would not have been legitimate through Mary. Jesus had to identify with the correct lineage to have any claim as the Messiah. That was possible only through Joseph.

When telling a lie, it is often impossible to cover all your tracks. Many references remain that identify Jesus as the legitimate son of Joseph. I call Mary as my first witness. “And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” (Luke 2:48) I call Jesus as my second witness. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Heb. 2:17)

In the King James Version of the Bible Matthew 1:16 is rendered, “And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” In the Sinaitic Manuscript Matthew reads, “And Jacob begat Joseph, and Joseph, to whom was betrothed Mary the Virgin, begat Jesus, who is called Christ.”

Joseph is called the father of Jesus. “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)

Jesus was always referred to as the son of Joseph, the Son of David, the Son of Man, or the Son of God. It is obvious that Jesus became the Son of God through His ordination to the royal priesthood by the Father. “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5:4)

Surely, the friends and family of Jesus would have been aware of this miraculous conception and calling–had it been true. Yet, on Jesus first missionary trip to Nazareth , He encountered friends and neighbors who were offended with Him and sought to kill Him. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22; read 16-30) “18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.”

Consider the source. Demi-gods were a tradition in Babylon , Greece , and Rome . The story of the virgin mother and her child were an integral part of paganism long before being adopted by Constantine. “Now, when the mother of the Pagan Messiah came to be celebrated as having been thus ‘Assumed,’ then it was that, under the name of the ‘Dove,’ she was worshipped as the Incarnation of the Spirit of God, with whom she was identified. As such as she was regarded as the source of all holiness, and the grand ‘PURIFIER,’ and of course, was known herself as the ‘Virgin’ mother, ‘PURE AND UNDEFILED’… The purity of this ‘Holy Virgin’ did not consist merely in freedom from actual sin, but she was especially distinguished for her ‘immaculate conception.'” (The Two Babylons, p. 126)

“In Papal Italy, as travelers universally admit (except where the Gospel has recently entered), all appearance of worshipping the King Eternal and Invisible is almost extinct. Exactly so, in this latter respect, also was it in ancient Babylon . The Babylonians, in their popular religion, supremely worshipped a Goddess Mother and a Son, who was represented in pictures and in images as an infant or child in his mother’s arms. From Babylon , this worship of the Mother and the Child spread to the ends of the earth.” (Ibid., p. 20)

By adopting the Babylonian doctrines of the Trinity and the Mother and Child, Constantine turned Christianity into a people guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. The beast which John saw rising out of the sea, “having seven heads,” was none other than Pagan Christian Rome. Only Rome has been synonymously known as the city of seven hills. “9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen [ Egypt , Assyria , Babylon , Persia , and Greece ], and one is [Pagan Rome], and the other is not yet come [Pagan Christian Rome begun by Constantine]; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space [325 to 476]. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth [Papal Rome], and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Rev. 17)

The first beast which John describes in Chapter 12:3 is Pagan Rome. The beast changes in Chapter 13:1, “and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” By changing the nature and character of God and Jesus to those of mystery Babylon, Constantine brought Christians under the condemnation of blasphemy. “3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17) The Harlots, the image of the beast, can be none other than Protestantism that retained these same mysteries and blasphemy.

What is to happen to Christians who became entangled with the mysteries of Babylon ? “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19:20)

How different the teachings of James. “37. Such a one was the Lord Jesus Christ. Down to the age of thirty years, in the retirement of a peasant’s life, he never stepped aside from the path of rectitude, to do a single evil deed. Not one even of the least of all the Commandments or precepts of God did he ever transgress, nor did an evil thought enter his heart. Conscious that he was the lawful heir to the throne of David, and that the whole house of Israel were his inheritance; never did he turn aside from the present duties of the humble position in which he was born, to disturb the peace, and peril the safety of his brethren, even in claiming his own.

“38. Made of the seed of Abraham. (Gal. iii, 16. Heb. ii, 16,) of the tribe of Judah, (Heb. vii, 14,) and of the house and lineage of David (Rom. i, 3. 2d Tim. ii, 8) according to the flesh, tempted and tried in all things as we are, (Heb. iv, 15,) and partaking with us of the common infirmities of human nature, he was holy, harmless, and without sin. (Heb. iv, 15. vii, 26-28)

“39. It was fit that such a one should receive the keys of the resurrection and of life everlasting (John xi, 25, 26,) and be exalted on high with divine power; for he had maintained the divine characteristicks through all the trials of his mortal existence; and having ever “loved righteousness and hated iniquity,” (Heb. i, 8, 9. Ps. xlv, 6, 7,) he was exalted by his Father and his God to be our God, and the Father of the world to come. (Isa. ix, 6.)

“40. Jesus Christ, having committed no sin, deserved to suffer no evil that was avoidable. Taking upon himself the Priesthood to which God called him, and working a faithful ministry with the sole view to the salvation of mankind, without regard to any suffering he might bring upon himself, he suffered bitter persecution, and a cruel death, all which he might have avoided, without sin against God or man, by doing less for the salvation of others. It was thus that he became a natural sacrifice for the sins of men.

“41. But having loved righteousness and hated iniquity, through the severest temptations, and never swerved one moment, God raised him to an incorruptible, and immortal life, and gave him the power to raise up all others; a power which, as he had already resisted every temptation, he could not be moved to abuse. Thus was established that incorruptible dominion of man over the creation of God, which the divine goodness had sought from the beginning, by the most direct means to establish.

“42. He was not demanded of God as a victim to divine vengeance, but offered himself as the victim of man’s malevolence. And having walked in the way of life everlasting, through death and the resurrection, he was capable of leading others the same road. Thus, by the appointment of God, and the requisite intelligence, he was possessed of the keys of the resurrection, and life everlasting.

“43. He is a propitiation for the sins of all men, in this, that whereas all, both by inheritance were doomed to death, and by actual guilt had aggravated that doom, he brings the actual resurrection of the body to all, (1st Cor. xv, 22,) and puts it in their power by obedience to a law which he makes known, to lay hold on everlasting life.

“44. By means of this law the way of life is ever so guarded that none can lay hold on immortality, except those who have, through the experience of temptation, a settled and unconquerable hatred of sin, and an unchangeable love of righteousness, so that the keeping of the Law of God, instead of being a restraint on them, is their chief desire and greatest pleasure. No other can enter into life.” (Book of the Law, pp. 156, 157)

James in his debate with Mr. Rafferty, in The Catholic Discussion, asks thirty-one questions that any believer in the Trinity and Virgin Birth need to answer. Truth has no fear of investigation. During this discussion, James noted, “He [Jesus] has BECOME PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERING, Heb. ii. 10. v. 9, obtained the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18, received power from God, John v. 19 to 30. Acts xvii. 31, ascended on high, Acts i. 9, 10, 11, and being perfect as his Father in heaven is perfect, has set down, not in place of God, but at his right hand, Heb. i. 3. Eph. i. 20, as the principal viceroy and highest minister unto him, Heb. i. 4, 9. Eph. i. 20, 21, 22, being one with God, not in person, essence or individuality, nor in any mysterious sense, but in the same manner in which the saints are all likewise required to be one with him and each other, John xvii. 11, 21, 22, 23. Gal, iii. 28; that is, one in faith, one in purpose, one in interest and one in posses­sion and enjoyment. And he, as son, being heir of God; that is, as high priest having an inheritance in the power of God’s king­dom, seeks to bring us to a like perfection, that we also may be sons, that is, high priests after the power of an endless life, that we may be also heirs of God, joint heirs with him in this inheritance, Rom. viii. 17. James ii. 5, setting down with him on thrones in the kingdom of God , Matt. xix. 28. Luke xxii. 29, 30. 1 Tim. vi. 15. Rev. i. 6. Y. 10. xx. 6; retaining to Christ his double portion as first begotten, because whereas we shall be kings, princes and lords, he will be king of kings and Lord of Lords, Rev. xvii. 14. xix. 16. And in this inheritance, as he is so like his father as to be declared the express image of his person, and the brightness of his glory, Heb. i. 3, so we shall be like him, Phil. iii. 21.

“Christ constantly spoke of himself personally as “the son of man,” Matt. xvi. 13, &c. As the redeemer he is expressly declar­ed to be a man,” 1 Cor. xv. 21. In that greatest treatise on priest­hood, the epistle to the Hebrews, it is said that because he loved righteousness (and of course not till he had done so) God exalted him in power above all others, Heb. i. 9; became a son of God by being made an high priest by the oath of God, Heb. v. 5, 6. vii. 21, and it was by the word of the oath, and not by the act of carnal generation, that he became God’s Son, Heb. vii. 28.

“For what trash have men bartered away the truths of God? All for want of the proper priesthood, which God set therein as a perpetual and unerring standard of truth.” (see Catholic Discussion, Gospel Herald, April 13, 1848 )

Gospel of Christ

No other subject, other than a proper knowledge of God and Jesus, is as important to man as the gospel of Christ. Every minister of the gospel is ordained (given authorization and power) to preach the gospel. James constantly addressed the subject of the gospel and the necessity of divine authority in his personal preaching, through many articles in the church journals, and in The Book of the Law of the Lord. The teachings of James were, again, complimentary to those of Joseph Smith and the Bible. He even republished articles on the gospel from earlier church journals.

God established a plan of salvation for mankind before the foundations of the earth. Those who were obedient during our first estate as spirits are afforded the opportunity to hear the gospel in the flesh. “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 4)

Salvation in the kingdom of heaven is realized through obedience to the gospel of Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” ( Rom. 1:16)

There is only one gospel; and obedience is required to inherit eternal life. Those who obey the gospel have the opportunity to inherit the earth in eternity. All others must spend a time with the spirits in prison (hell). “15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16)

The gospel never changes. Whatever was required to be saved in the days of Jesus, was the same in the days of Adam, and remains the same forever. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)

The gospel is a perfect law because it had a perfect author. Had it not been perfect, it could not promise eternal life; as no one could be sure the gospel they obeyed today will be the gospel that brings eternal life tomorrow. When changed by man, it is no longer the gospel. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)

Every man is born alien to the kingdom of heaven. Without worshipping the true and living God, and obeying the gospel of Christ, none can enter the kingdom of heaven. Soon, Jesus will return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:8)

This plan requires men to submit their will to the will of God; and remain obedient to His commandments for eternity. God’s law is not given for any selfish reason like many of the laws of man. His law was given for the good, happiness, and salvation of man; and was founded on love. There are no blessings, though, without sacrifice. The gospel is one part of that law. An understanding of this law could only come through a direct association with God. Through Adam, God provided both the law and the order (officers) to administer the ordinances of the kingdom of heaven. Adam was an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses. The Ten Commandments, the gospel, and the law of God were given to Adam. Cain violated the law, “Thou shalt not kill.” Without the gospel, Adam could not have entered the kingdom of heaven.

Adam knew Noah’s father for fifty-six years. Noah knew Abraham for fifty-eight years; and his son Shem knew Abraham for two hundred and ten years. It is easy to see how knowledge of God and the plan of salvation passed from Adam to Abraham. From Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this knowledge passed to all the house of Israel.

Failure to submit our will to God and obey His law will bring unimaginable anguish after death. Experience is a harsh teacher; as Lucifer learned. God is long suffering, always desiring the salvation of man, and ready to forgive the penitent. Those who take joy in violating the law of God will find punishment almost eternal. “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21)

The plan of salvation was made so simple that “every creature,” every man, could understand and obey it. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15 )

Abraham obeyed the gospel. “8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.” (Gal. 3)

Moses taught the gospel; and partook of the sacrament of bread and wine. “1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10)

Jesus obeyed and taught the gospel. He explained to Nicodemus two of the essential parts of this plan. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5) Jesus compared this baptism of water with a new birth. When Jesus commissioned the Apostles to take the gospel to the Gentiles, He told them, “He that believeth AND is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not [and is not baptized] shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16 )

Peter preached the gospel to the congregation on the day of Pentecost; and added that it applies to ALL men in all ages that are called of God to hear the gospel. “37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to ALL that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2)

Every government established both laws and men authorized to administer those laws. No alien can be admitted as a citizen of the United States without an authorized official of the government and without proper naturalization. A person could read a book written on the subject of becoming a citizen; but desire could never make one a citizen. The ordinances required are only legal if done by an authorized officer using the proper procedure. Anyone impersonating an officer of this country would be arrested. The same is true for those impersonating officers of the kingdom of heaven. “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7)

The adoption process into the kingdom of heaven is called the first principles of the gospel. God set officers in the kingdom of heaven with divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. Adam was called and ordained to this authority. Even Jesus was not permitted to preach the gospel; until he received the Melchisedec Priesthood. He was ordained at the hands of the Father. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. 5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:4) Without both knowledge of the gospel and officers called by God, neither Adam, nor anyone after him could enter the kingdom of heaven. When the Lord sent an angel to Cornelius, he was told to send for Peter. Why? Peter held the Melchisedec Priesthood and divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel.

It is evident that the gospel requires authorized officers to administer it. How did man receive this authority? Every minister of God is called by God through the spirit of prophesy (like Aaron); and ordained at the hands of one holding that authority (like Moses). “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) The twelve Apostles, High Priests, and Elders were all called and ordained under Jesus and the Apostles. “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4:14)

The fullness of the gospel consists in both word and power (authority). “Thou shalt not take the name [authority] of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” (Luke 4:32) “For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:29) “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1 Cor. 4:20) “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 1:5)

The power of the gospel is authority from God to perform those ordinances; and have them recorded in heaven. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)

Cornelius is believed to have been the first Gentile to obey the gospel. He was a devout man who loved God and Jesus; and who had obeyed the fundamental laws of God. His devout life caused him to be called of God to hear the gospel of Christ. “3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter.” (Acts 10)

Why was Cornelius commanded to send for Peter? Peter held the Melchisedec Priesthood and the power of the gospel to baptize him with water and the Spirit. When Peter met Cornelius, what did Peter tell him to do? “46 …Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.” (Acts 10)

A person could read the Bible all their life and listen to a thousand sermons; but never enter the kingdom of heaven. No man can enter the kingdom of heaven without the administration of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Abraham held the Melchisedec Priesthood. Moses restored the fullness of the Melchisedec Priesthood, after it had been lost for hundreds of years. Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood, after it had been lost four hundred years before Him. Jesus ordained the Twelve to this priesthood and divine power. “14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15 And to have power.” (Mark 3)

Jesus also called and ordained Elders to preach the gospel in all Judea. There are seventy Elders to a quorum; and they are sent out two at a time. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10:1)

When the gospel went to the Gentiles, the Apostles called and ordained Elders in every branch of the church. “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23 ) The gospel of Christ is not complete without this authority to baptize with fire—to confirm a person into the kingdom of heaven, bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, and have their ordinances recorded in heaven. This is the power and fullness of the gospel.

Gospel faith must be distinguished from simple belief. A person can believe; and still lack gospel faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) Gospel faith is an assurance that is given through the Holy Spirit of the will of God and the truth of the gospel, “even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (1 Cor. 2:11)

The foundation of the gospel is the spirit of prophecy. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17) “…the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)

Ministers of God are called of God by the spirit of prophecy. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Paul reminded his son Timothy not to forget that the power of the ministry which he received was through a calling of God by prophecy and an ordination by the laying on of the hands by one holding that priesthood.   “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” (1 Tim. 4:14)

Men are called of God to hear the gospel and given gospel faith as an assurance of spiritual truth. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Only those called of God will receive gospel faith. “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1)

Gospel faith is received only through the preaching of one holding divine authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. What good would be realized if a man understood the door into the kingdom; and was not able to enter? “14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10)

Repentance is another key feature of the gospel. It is necessary for a person to submit their will to the will of God before they can enter the kingdom of heaven. For a person to become a citizen of the United States , it is necessary for him to become subject to its laws. God requires not only obedience, but a fervent desire to live by love and therefore obey the law of God as a natural consequence of their love for good. “And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.” (Rom. 4:11 )

Baptism of water cleanses a person of sin; thereby preparing the candidate to enter the kingdom pure and without sin. “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Mark 1:4) “4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19)

Jesus explained baptism as a new birth to Nicodemus. “3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God . 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3) The candidate enters the water in sin; and comes up out of the water as pure as a new born child.

Jesus was without sin; but, He still had to obey the law of the gospel. “13 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3)

James commented on baptism both in the Book of the Law and in articles in official church journals. There is a popular notion being taught by ministers of today, who do not hold divine authority, that being born again is accepting Jesus as our personal Savior. James wrote, “1. The language, ‘born of water,’ as found in this Law, and in the discourse of Jesus to Nicodemus, is sufficient to settle the controversy as to the manner in which baptism should be administered.

“2. For a birth is a coming forth out of something that covers and conceals. Such is baptism, only when the subject, being covered in water, is brought forth out of it.

“3. It would be folly in the extreme to say of one, upon whom a few drops of water had been sprinkled, or a small quantity poured, that he was born of the water. It cannot even be said that he is sprinkled, or poured. It is the water that is sprinkled, or poured.

“4. Nor can any one say that this language, ‘born of the water,’ was not used of baptism. For if baptism is not the thing here spoken of, then there is another ceremony to be administered in water, besides baptism, so entirely essential that without it no one can enter into the Kingdom.

“5. And that other ceremony would also be baptism; that is, an immersion in water. For as no one can dispute that, it is necessary to be born of water, in order to enter into the Kingdom, so, whether baptism is or is not an immersion, nevertheless, immersion is essential to entry into the Kingdom.

“6. This discourse of Jesus with Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, has given a further key to the manner of administering baptism. He reproached Nicodemus for not understanding what it was to be born again.

“7. Why that reproach? Because the Jews were at that time making considerable numbers of converts to their faith, all of whom were baptized; and they always spoke of this baptism as a new birth.” (Book of the Law, p. 116)

When the Catholic Church replaced baptism with sprinkling, not one more person entered the kingdom of heaven. After the Bible was published, a great fear came over many people; as they realized that no one had been baptized for centuries. Many were immediately baptized. Some denominations used baptism as the basis of their religion; although they held no divine authority to administer baptism. Such baptisms are void.

Baptism of the Spirit confirms a person into the kingdom of heaven, joins him, spiritually to all the other saints of God, bestows upon him the Spirit of Truth, and leaves him with a gift of the Holy Ghost. “21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” (John 17)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant… 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 11)

“27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3)

Some have thought these gifts of the Holy Ghost ceased after the days of the Apostles. The noted historian Eusebius wrote, “Of those that flourished in these times [after the Apostles], Quadratus is said to have been distinguished for his prophetical gifts. There were many others. Also, noted in these times, who held the first rank in the apostolic succession… The holy Spirit also, wrought many wonders as yet through them, so that as soon as the gospel was heard, men voluntarily in crowds, and eagerly, embraced the true faith with their whole minds. As it is impossible for us to give the numbers of the individuals that became pastors or evangelists, during the first immediate succession from the apostles in the churches throughout the world, we have only recorded those by name in our history.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Chapter XXXVII, p. 123)

It is true these gifts eventually ceased; but, Jesus, Peter, and Paul all said they were given to all men who obey the gospel. Why did God stop speaking to man after John? “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)

Ecclesiastical historians and church leaders have agreed they were lost because the people turned from the pure doctrines of Christ to the doctrines of mystery Babylon. John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, commented on the decay of the Christian faith. Among his writings about the gifts of the Holy Ghost is found, “The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church–because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left.” (John Wesley’s Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)

Baptism for the dead is administered under revelation from God through His holy Prophets. It was practiced by the Apostles of Jesus, after Jesus went to the spirits in prison (hell) after His death; and opened a dispensation of the gospel to them. Here is one of the most glorious features of the gospel. All men are afforded an opportunity to obey the gospel either in the flesh, or in the spirit. “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 4:6) “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:29)

A special dispensation for baptism of the dead was given through Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, in 1842. It was closed with the death of Joseph on June 27, 1844 . Another dispensation was given through James at Voree, in 1849. See the Revelation of James on baptism for the dead in the chapter James the Revelator. A final dispensation was given on Beaver Island , in 1855. The death of James on July 9, 1856 , ended all baptisms for the dead.

When the next gospel dispensation is soon opened to Israel , a final dispensation for baptism for the dead will be given. Those who are baptized for the dead will be like saviors for the dead. “18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it… 21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.” (Obad. 1)

James wrote concerning those who are candidates for baptism of their dead, “2. Those who are under condemnation for disobedience to any word of this Law of God, whether it be a Commandment, a statute, a precept, or whatsoever word it may be, are unfit for saviours of others, because they are not themselves in a state of salvation, nor even progressing forward towards it.

“3. But those who are not regular members of any family, duly organized, have no place to bring those for whom they shall be baptized; they have no home for them to abide in, in the everlasting life. The chief thing in the salvation promised in the gospel, is in the family relation, and love, of a holy people. They who lack that relationship, are unsaved themselves, unprepared to save others.” (Book of the Law, p. 138)

“3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God… 11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord. 12 For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of god.” (1 Cor. 11)

Through the administration of the Eucharist men bind themselves to the law of God, the Holy Spirit, and have hope of eternal life. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)

Some believe the first time the sacrament of the Eucharist was observed was the day before Jesus was crucified. Jesus identified it as a required sacrament for eternal life. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and all other righteous men had to observe this sacrament. Unfortunately, the condition of the Bible has left little trace of many great truths that were originally in the sacred writings. It does tell of the Eucharist being practiced 2,000 years before Jesus. “18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” (Gen. 14)

The Eucharist is available only to those who have been baptized and have a pure conscience before God. Like baptism of the Spirit, only those holding the Melchisedec Priesthood have divine authority to administer the Eucharist. See the Book of the Law, Chapter XIV, Eucharist. James added an excellent dialogue on the sacrifice of Christ.

Joseph Smith stood alone in his claim to restore the Melchisedec Priesthood. Yet, if he did not, the door to the kingdom of heaven is still closed. Ordinances by the authority of man are vain (Matt. 7:22 ). At the death of Joseph, James J. Strang was ordained by angelic administration to stand at the head. He maintained the same officers of the church established by Jesus and Joseph Smith before him.

James left a treasure of writings on the gospel, the priesthood, and the order of the church and house of God. Only the teachings of Joseph and James are identical with those of all the other prophets of God. See the Book of the Law, pp. 20, 21, and pages 168-282.

Order of the Kingdom of Goda

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.–Ex. 20:7

Kingdoms of man resemble the organization of the kingdom of heaven. The government of the United States is defined by its Constitution, amendments, laws, and officers. Every kingdom and government has a King or head, laws, officers, members, and a process for admitting new members.

God has set officers in the kingdom to administer its laws. Every officer must be called of God by the spirit of prophecy and ordained at the hands of one holding that authority. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Not even Jesus could represent the kingdom without obeying the same law. “So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5:5)

Should a man pretend to be an officer of this government, without being properly called and set in office, he would be arrested. The day will soon come when Jesus will stand as King over the earth, the kingdom of God will have dominion over the whole earth, and all men will be bound by the law of God. Those who have usurped the authority of God (acted in His name) will be severely punished. “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7)

Necessity of the Priesthood

Under this heading, James wrote in the Book of the Law, “1. Men never institute a Law, without officers to be the keepers, expounders and administrators of that Law. Should they do so, the endless questions of interpretation arising in practice would nullify the Law.

“2. When God revealed his Law to men, he instituted a Priesthood, and set it in order, to be the keepers, the expounders and the administrators of his Law. Hence the say-ing, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2d Pet. i, 20.)

“3. Without such a Priesthood, qualified to truly expound the word of God, the Scriptures would be wrested by those who do not understand them, to their own destruction. (1st Cor. ii, 16. 2d Pet. iii, 16.)   The instructions of the authorized Priesthood should be received as an interpretation of the Law, and as obligatory on the faithful. (Deut. xviii, 15, 18, 19. xxxii, 7. Acts iii, 22, 23. 1st Cor. xi, 2. 2d Thess. ii, 15. iii, 6. 2d Tim. i, 13. ii, 2. iii, 14.)

“4. If any one had for a moment imagined that it would be consistent and wise in God to institute a Law among men, without also instituting a body of men to keep, expound and administer that Law, the result of the experiment, which has been tried with the Bible, ought to brush away all such imaginings.” (p. 227)

James wrote in the Book of the Law, on the second of the Ten Commandments, “7. Priests made by the authority of man, and not called of God; Priests who constantly profess to have received no dispensation from God, and who deny that he has revealed himself to any for eighteen hundred years, do constantly administer in his name, as boldly as though they were sent by him.

“8. They baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and   the Holy Spirit; they go about doing works in the assumed power and might of God’s ministers, of whom Jesus Christ said, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ (Matt vii, 23.)

“9. He did not deny that they had preached, prophesied, or worked miracles in his name. He denounced them as workers of iniquity, because they were unknown to him; that is, were not his ministers. They took God’s name in vain.

“10. God has appointed a door to the priesthood; a call of God by revelation, and an ordaining by the hands of his ministers; (Heb. v, 4. Ex. xxviii, l. 1st Tim. iv, 14. Acts vii, 35;) and Christ declares that he that comes not in by the door, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. (John x, 1.)” (p. 21)

Loss of the Priest hood

James also wrote in the Book of the Law on the loss of the Priesthood in Christianity, “1. It clearly appears from the old Scriptures, as well as the recent revelations, that no one can act in the name of God; that is, no man can act in the Priesthood, but he that is called by revelation of God, and ordained by the hands of those holding the Priesthood. (Ante i, 2, pp. 20, 21.)

“2. Thus the call of Joshua was revealed to Moses, by the word of God, and he was ordained under Moses’ hand. (Num. xxvii, 18, 23. Deut. xxxiv, 9.) Aaron also was called by direct revelation, (Ex. xxviii, 1,) and was consecrated by Moses, by most august ceremonies. Paul, speaking on this subject, says, ‘No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.’ (Heb. v, 4.) So all- pervading did he regard this rule, that he goes on to show   that Jesus Christ himself did not assume the Priesthood, but was elevated to it in conformity with this rule.

“3. The Apostles practiced by this rule, and held that only by it could a qualified Priesthood be obtained. Paul, in exhorting Timothy, says, ‘Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.’ * (1st Tim. iv, 14.) Thus the gifts necessary to a faithful and successful ministry are supposed to be conferred with the Priesthood, in the manner determined by the Law of God.

“4. This being the rule in God’s Law, it is a matter of unquestionable fact, established by all history, that all Christendom are destitute of the Priesthood. There is not a single one of all the Christian Churches which makes the slightest pretension to having a Priesthood, so called and ordained.

“*In the Doway this verse reads, ‘Neglect not the grace which is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the imposition of the hands of the Priesthood.’” (p. 230)

Calling and Ordination

James also wrote in the Book of the Law, “Ordination,” that ministers must be called of God through those holding that priesthood. “1. The Scriptures, in all their parts, show very clearly that no one can lawfully exercise any Priestly office, except he is duly called and duly consecrated to that particular Priesthood. Though many Priests are spoken of, and nothing said of the manner in which they were inducted into the Priesthood; as often as that manner is mentioned, it is shown to be a calling by the word of God, and a setting apart by the hands of those who hold the same or superiour power. This has been the uniform rule in every dispensation, whatever the nature or duties of the Priesthood or calling. Kings were called by revelation, anointed, and ordained; and those not so called, were deemed usurpers.

“2. No instance is given in the oracles of God of men, for want of a valid Priesthood, selecting one among themselves, and elevating him to be their Priest, and thus conferring on him a true Priesthood. On the contrary, God has instituted a Priesthood by direct revelation, and the ministration of   Angels, as often as the Priesthood, or the superiour grade of it, was lost on earth.” (p. 164)

James explained that “called of God, as was Aaron” means that a person must be called by the mouth of one holding that priesthood; and ordained by one holding at least that high an office. “In order to being called of God as was Aaron, it is not necessary to be called by the mouth of a prophet, but by the mouth of any one who has the authority to ordain.” (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 12, p. 50/102)

Order of the Priesthoodb

The order of the house of God—the priesthood–has been the same since Adam (with the exception of the Levitical Priesthood). The kingdom has had both laws and officers to administer those laws. Jesus organized the kingdom with the same officers. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) These officers are required “for the perfecting of the saints” and “for the work of the ministry;” and they are required “till we all come in the unity of the faith.”

There are only two orders of the priesthood noted in the Bible: the Melchisedec and the Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood. The Melchisedec Priesthood has existed since Adam. The highest order of this priesthood is that of Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. Since the law of God was first given through Adam, he had to hold this priesthood.

The Melchisedec Priesthood is essential to the administration of the gospel. John the Baptist recognized his limitation as a Priest of the Aaronic order. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11)

The Melchisedec Priesthood is a priesthood of an endless life (it is retained in eternity); and administers in the spiritual affairs of the people. The Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood is a priesthood of life; and administers primarily in the temporal affairs of the people. The Melchisedec Priesthood is bestowed with either Evangelical Authority or with Evangelical and Royal (ruling) Authority. Evangelical authority has divine authority to preach the gospel, administer its ordinances, teach, and care for the spiritual affairs of the people. It holds no royal (ruling) authority over the people. Standing officers of the kingdom hold royal authority; and represent the evangelical, judicial, and administrative arms of the kingdom.

James wrote, “5. Hence taking the name of God in vain, is taking his authority without being authorized; it is attempting to govern, without being called to that office; in any matter wherein God has declared a law, and appointed an administrator of the law.” (Book of the Law, p. 21)

“2. Whosoever is called by the voice of God to the royal authority, shall be anointed and ordained by the hands of those who stand in royal authority above him.” (Ibid., p. 163)

Ruling authority exists only under the direction of a Prophet; as the standard expounder of the law. All prophets of God hold royal authority. The Twelve Apostles and High Priests are given royal authority over specific districts within the church; but then, only under the direction of the Prophet.

“33 The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 107) “10 High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency. “ (Ibid.)

With the loss of the Prophetic Office at the death of James, all royal (presiding) authority ended; but, evangelical authority remained. Five of the remaining Apostles met on February 10, 1857 . “We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves and families.” (Record of the Apostles of James, p. 45)

James taught the proper order of the priesthood in the Book of the Law and in church journals. His teachings conformed to those of Jesus and Joseph Smith before him.

There are two orders to the Melchisedec Priesthood: Apostles and Priests. The office of first degree Apostle is Lawgiver; and stands at the head of the people, holding all authority and jurisdiction over the whole church. He is called only by direct revelation from God. As only one person can hold this office on the earth at one time, he must be ordained by one that held that office in mortal life (or by God). A Lawgiver holds evangelical, legislative, judicial, and administrative authority over the people and Church of Christ . He is the First President over the people and Church of Christ . Only a Lawgiver can give revelations and commandments to the church as a whole. As Adam was a Lawgiver, he held this office. Moses and Jesus both held this office. Joseph and James held this office in the last days.

The High Council is organized through the First President. “This day a general council of 24 High Priests assembled at the house of Joseph Smith Junr. by revelation and proceeded to organize the High Council of the Church of Christ, which was to consist of twelve High Priests, and one, or three presidents, as the case might require. This High Council was appointed by revelation, for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the Church, which could not be settled by the Church, or the Bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.” (Kirtland Council Record Book, p. 26; see D&C 102) It was reorganized after the death of Joseph in Voree under James.

The High Council is the highest judicial branch of the church. It acts similar to the Supreme Court. In the event that satisfaction between all parties is not realized in lower courts, the matter may be appealed to the High Council. In difficult cases the matter may then be taken to the Lord through the First President. The word of the Lord is final.

Second degree Apostles are Counselors (Viceroys) to the First President; and in some cases have succeeded first degree Apostles as head of the people of God. Joshua succeeded Moses in this office. Counselors, hold evangelical, judicial, and administrative authority. These counselors are equal to the First President in authority to administer the laws already given; but are not permitted to give commandments and revelations to the people. They stand in office below the First President.

The First President with his Counselors forms a quorum of the Presidency. Below these stand various quorums of the priesthood. The President, Counselors, and High Council represent the highest judicial order in the house of God in Zion .

Third degree Apostles are Ambassadors to the nations of the world. They are first ordained to the evangelical order of this priesthood. Their royal authority is limited to specific districts within the church given through the Presidency. They hold no royal authority in Zion ; unless specifically given such by the First President; and hold no royal authority over the whole church. The law of God states, “Of these there shall be twelve. They shall be Apostles and witnesses to the nations, and Rulers in all places where the Lawgiver shall send them.” (Book of the Law, p. 220) James wrote, “1. The Apostles have the duty chiefly of preaching the gospel in all places, where it has not gone….”

“2. The Degree of an Embassador is more honourable than that of the Kings of the earth; for these Embassadors speak by authority, and Kings, who do not obey them, will be cast down.

“3. But high as is the Priesthood conferred on them, they have no right to stand in the place of the Lawgiver. They cannot fill the place of Prophet, Seer, Revelator and Translator. They have not the keys of mysteries and revelations. (D. & C. xi, 4. xiv, 1, 2. li, 2. ciii, 39.)” (Ibid., p. 220)

The office of Priest has two degrees: High Priest and Elder. High Priests provide spiritual guidance for the people. They hold evangelical authority. When properly called and ordained they hold royal authority as the High Council and as Presiding High Priests; under the direction of the Presidency. Joseph Smith taught, “The duty of a High Priest is to administer in spiritual and holy things, and to hold communion with God; but not to exercise monarchial government, or to appoint meetings for the Elders without their consent. And again, it is the High Priests’ duty to be better qualified to teach principles and doctrines, than the Elders; for the office of Elder is an appendage to the High Priesthood, and it concentrates and centers in one.” (History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 338.)

James wrote concerning High Priests, “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, p. 225) High Priests may also be called and ordained to the office of King under the Prophet. James wrote, “All inferior Kings (e.g. David), Patriarchs, or heads of tribes, and Nobles, or heads of clans, ought to be of this Priesthood.” (Book of the Law, p. 224) The Prophets of the Old Testament made and broke Kings.

The duties of an Elder were given by revelation through Joseph Smith, “39 And to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons; 40 And to administer bread and wine–the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ–41 And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures; 42 And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church; 43 And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost; 44 And to take the lead of all meetings. 45 The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 20)

Elder’s courts were appointed as a judiciary to hear all regular offenses. In all courts truth and justice were a necessity. Their decisions could be appealed to the High Council. The decision of any court that failed to abide by the proper due process of the church was void. Although there were courts before the High Council was appointed, it was highly undesirable. Joseph Smith noted, “I have never set before any council in all the order in which a council ought to be conducted, which, perhaps, has deprived the council of some, or many blessings. He said that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his own heart was pure, and that we frequently are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right decisions.” (Kirtland Council Record Book, p. 22)

While a prisoner in jail at Liberty , Missouri , Joseph wrote, “That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” (History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 299)

Before any action can be taken against a member, the law of God requires the offender to be labored with. “88 And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. 89 And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 42) Only after every effort has been made is a member subject to court action.

James taught the due process necessary to take court action against any member. “1st, That he be accused of some act forbidden, or of neglecting some thing commanded by the law of God.—2d, that he [be] brought or required to appear before some quorum or council having jurisdiction of both the person and the offence. 3d, that he have a trial. 4th, that his defense be heard. 5th, that on such trial he be condemned. 6th, that sentence… be passed upon him.” (Voree Herald, p. 11) James wrote that “authority is good till regularly taken away.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 71, p. 26/338)

The Aaronic (Levitical) Priesthood is covered in detail in the Book of the Law. This order of the priesthood has three degrees: Priest, Teacher, and Deacon. John the Baptist was a Priest of this order. The duties of Priests and Teachers were given through revelation to Joseph. The duties of all these officers are also given in the Book of the Law.

“46 The priest’s duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, 47 And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. 48 And he may also ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons. 49 And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no elder present; 50 But when there is an elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, 51 And visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. 52 In all these duties the priest is to assist the elder if occasion requires.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 20)

Jesus was ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood (by the Father) before He began His mission (Heb. 5:5). After being baptized by John, spending forty days in the wilderness, and being tempted of Satan, “angels came and ministered unto him… from that time Jesus began to preach.” (Matt. 4:11, 17)

He set the house of God in the same order as Joseph and James in the last days. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Eph. 4)

Jesus was an Apostle and Prophet. “1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” (Heb. 3) “22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3)

He called and ordained the Twelve Apostles. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14 ) None were authorized to preach; until they were ordained. “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:22 )

High Priests are often called Evangelists. The Bible often refers to High Priests as prophets; because they hold prophetic gifts. It does not tell how extensively this office was used. It is the first rank in the priesthood below that of Apostle. Eusebius, a noted historian contemporary with Constantine , wrote there were many in this first rank below that of Apostle; and noted they only remained for a short period after the Apostles. “Of those that flourished in these times, Quadratus is said to have been distinguished for his prophetical gifts. There were many others. Also, noted in these times, who held the first rank in the apostolic succession.” (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Chapter XXXVII, p. 123)

Jesus called quorums of Elders to preach the gospel. Seventy elders compose a quorum. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10:1) After the Apostles were commissioned to take the gospel to the Gentiles, they called and ordained Elders as pastors in every branch of the church. “23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23 )

This divine organization of the kingdom began to fade very early in the Christian era. Jesus was crucified in 34 AD. All of the twelve Apostles had been martyred by 69 AD, with the exception of John. John was banished to the isle of Patmos , where he recorded the Book of Revelation. It is believed that he returned to Ephesus , where he died in 99 AD.

All offices of the Melchisedec Priesthood were lost within a couple centuries; and even knowledge of the order of the house of God was lost. The order of the house of God was first Apostles and Prophets, then High Priests (Evangelists), and then Elders (Pastors) of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Below them were Priests, Teachers, and other officers of the Aaronic Priesthood.

The office of Bishop is an appendage to the office of Priest in the Levitical Priesthood. This inferior temporal office of Bishop soon became the presumed superior spiritual office in the Christian church. There were no more officers called and ordained according to the law of God. Satan was given complete control over the souls of man. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13:7)

Pagan Rome declared war on the Church of Christ , divine authority, and all the saints of the Most High. Pagan Christian Rome (under Constantine ) disregarded the laws of God, adopted pagan gods and traditions into the Christian church, changed the Sabbath to “the venerable day of the sun,” and changed the organization of the kingdom. Constantine and later the Popes, “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God , shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:4)

In 325 AD, this unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor stood as the absolute head of the Catholic Church. Constantine simply usurped the authority of God. “Immediately upon coming to power as the sole ruler of the empire, but only then, Constantine asserted the right to exercise ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY OVER THE ENTIRE CHURCH.” (Constantine’s Sword, p. 188) “ Constantine fully understands himself by now as ‘the vice-regent of God.’” (ibid., p. 187) His authority was the sword. No claim can be made for Constantine receiving authority from God, to stand at the head of the church. He was not even baptized until his death bed.

Pagan Christian Rome fell in 476 AD; but, the Papacy rose in 570 AD to take its place. “Our Lord God the Pope… Named God by Constantine … The power of the pope is greater than all created power, extending itself to things celestial, terrestrial and infernal, and that the pope doeth whatsoever he listeth even things unlawful, and is MORE THAN GOD.” (Dissertation on the Prophecies, Rev. G. S. Faber, Vol. 1, pp. 203, 204)

Pagan Rome , Pagan Christian Rome, and Papal Rome all ruled by the sword. Constantine formulated a civil law that made opposing the Catholic Church heresy—a crime punishable with death. “…unification was by definition a matter of domination…For Constantine, religious differences were impediments to the power that had replaced Maxentius and Licinius. In this way, the choice (‘heresy’) to be religiously different defined as treason, a political crime.” (Constantine’s Sword, p. 189)

There were thousands killed and banished for contending against Constantine .   Even St. Athanasius was banned. It is estimated that 50,000,000 were martyred by the Papacy. Some of the worst atrocities and degradation of man occurred under the Popes. Finally, a reformation was begun in the twelfth century. These early reformers were martyred. On October 31, 1517 , Martin Luther successfully stood in rebellion against the Pope on the issue of Indulgences. The Church of England broke ties with the Pope; when Henry VIII was refused a divorce by the Pope. Reformation churches arose all over Europe .

Martin Luther had been a deacon in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church presumed to hold divine authority back to Peter; as first Pope in Rome . In reality, Constantine was first to stand at the head of the church after the Apostles. The first Pope with authority in Rome was in 570 AD. When the reformists broke with the Catholic Church, they were cut off. If the Catholic Church actually held divine authority, the Protestants lost it through excommunication. Since the Catholic Church actually held none of the offices of the Church of Christ, they held no divine authority for the reformists to claim.

Martin Luther resolved this dilemma by inventing a new gospel. He simply stated that men could be saved by faith alone. That way he needed no claim to divine authority. The problem was this new doctrine was a violation of the law of God; and represented a new gospel. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:8)

Men generally establish their own beliefs and then find some passages from the Bible, out of context, to give them support. The Bible resolves any question about this new doctrine in three ways. First, it was never taught in the Christian church before the reformation.

Second, it is in direct opposition to Bible teachings. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2)

Third, the gospel was consistently taught to include repentance, baptism of water, and baptism of the Spirit with a gift of the Holy Ghost. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5) “16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not [and is not baptized] shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16 )

A Priest of the Aaronic Priesthood holds divine authority to baptize with water. Only one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood holds divine authority to baptize with the Spirit. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11) Jesus had to be ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood after being tempted of Satan; as He immediately began to preach the gospel and ordain others. “5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5)

Not one minister in all of catholicity makes any claim to holding the Melchisedec Priesthood. Without divine authority and by declaring a new gospel, they closed the door to the kingdom of heaven to all their followers. “5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (1260 years)… 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, AND TO OVERCOME THEM: and power was given him over ALL kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13)

The words of James resound, “For what trash have men bartered away the truths of God? All for want of the proper priesthood, which God set therein as a perpetual and unerring standard of truth.” (Gospel Herald, April 13, 1848)

Among all of the diversity of faiths within the Christian religion, only one claims a restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood and the gospel of Christ: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On May 15, 1829 , Joseph Smith was ordained to the Levitical Priesthood. Shortly after, he was ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood. On April 6, 1830 , he organized the Church of Christ ; and set the house of God in order. The offices of Apostle, Prophet, High Priest, and Elder once again stood in their proper order on the earth.

At the very moment of Joseph’s murder in Carthage Jail, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, although 400 miles distant, James J. Strang claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels to hold the same office as Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. The full order of the house of God continued until his death at the hands of assassins on July 9, 1856 . The door to the kingdom of heaven continues to remain open; as long as one Elder has a valid claim to that priesthood.

Law of Godc

After a person has entered the kingdom of heaven, it is essential that he remain faithful and obedient to that law. Salvation is realized only after living our life in accordance with the law of God. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matt. 24:13) “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5)

Prophets of God have been the standard expounders and interpreters of the law. The law of God contained in the Bible remains a foundation stone in the building of eternal life. The Doctrine and Covenants published under Joseph Smith contains revelations given for the regulation of the church. The 1835 Kirtland Edition was the only edition approved by the Presidency, the High Council, the various quorums, and the General Assembly. James quoted almost exclusively from this edition. The last Nauvoo edition was the 1846 Edition. It included all of the sections from the 1835 Kirtland Edition; and added sections 101-107. The 1876 Salt Lake City Edition deleted Part One, “Doctrine.” Joseph’s teachings did not agree with Brigham Young’s new doctrine on God. This left only a Book of Commandments; rather than a Doctrine and Covenants. Section 101 in the Kirtland Edition (109 in the Nauvoo Edition) on Marriage was deleted from the Utah Edition. Twenty-four new sections were added; although they had never been included either under Joseph, or in the last 1846 Nauvoo Edition.

The Book of the Law, translated by James J. Strang, is the most sacred book of Scripture. It is mentioned by name over twenty times in the Bible; and more than 500 times as the law of God. It is the backbone of Holy Scripture; as righteousness requires obedience to the law of God. Sin is transgression of the law. No man can plead ignorance of the law before the judgment bar of God; as the law has been available since the Restoration. Much of the law is found in pieces throughout the Bible. James wrote, “In all their public controversies the Bible is the universal standard; but in their domestic affairs, THE BOOK OF THE LAW OF THE LORD IS THE END OF CONTROVERSY.” (Northern Islander, Sept. 7, 1854)

Salvation in the kingdom of God requires obedience to the whole law of God. This includes the laws given in the Bible, through Joseph, and those given through James. The Book of the Law is the most complete compilation of the law of God.

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” (Deut. 7:9)

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5)

“53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6)

“10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15)

The Apostle Paul wrote, “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. (1 Cor. 13:2)

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.” (Col. 3:12-14)

“And above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Pet. 4:8)

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:4-8)

Teachings of of the Prophet James J. Strang

James published, edited, and wrote many of the articles for the Voree Herald, Zion’s Reveille, and Gospel Herald—the official church journals from January, 1846, to June 6, 1850; when the printing equipment was moved to Beaver Island. These books contain some of the best teachings among latter day saint works. A facsimile reprint of these was made by Richard L. Drew in 1994. The total work was 1,004 pages; with the type on many pages only six and eight point. From this work, I was able to make a modern typeset/digital reprint in 2003.

James continued his association with church literature with printing of the Northern Islander, the official church journal, from Dec. 12, 1850 , until June 20, 1856 . Although he was not the publisher and editor of the paper, he spent a great deal of time assisting in its production, and writing many articles for the paper. I made a modern typeset/digital reprint of the most important doctrinal articles in 2003; and a CD-ROM containing both these articles and JPEG files of each page.

Possibly his greatest work was the translation of the Book of the Law of the Lord. The first printing was in 1851. The work was enlarged, with additional commandments and revelations and notes by James, from 80 pages to 336 pages in the second edition of 1856. I completed a modern typeset/digital reprint of the 1856 Edition of the Book of the Law in 2000.

All of the writings of James (including the various tracts, debates, revelations, pastoral letters, epistles, articles, and correspondence in the Voree Herald, Zion’s Reveille, Gospel Herald, and Northern Islander) are included in Part Two. A “Subject Index” of these works is included in the reprint of the Gospel Herald, Volume 5; and in the Northern Islander. There are additional letters and writings of James in the Coe Collection and The Strang Manuscripts in Yale University Library. Other libraries in Wisconsin and Michigan have writings of James. The library of the Community of Christ, previously named the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Independence , Missouri , has a section on James that is open to the public.

  1. 1848. The Diamond. James wrote and published this 20 page tract on Succession in the Presidency of the true Church.

Catholic Discussion. James wrote and published this 60 page tract; which was a debate on Mormonism and the Roman Catholic Religion between himself and Charles Rafferty. It was also published in the Gospel Herald from Vol. 2, No. 27 to Vol. 3, No. 101.

  1. 1850. James with his Counselors in the Presidency, George J. Adams and William Marks, wrote a lengthy Testimony To The Nation: To the President and Congress of the United States, and to all the People of the Nation. This Testimony was included in the last issue of the Gospel Herald. It was a cry for equal justice for the latter day saints under the laws of the country; and recounted some of the persecutions and killings they endured. It also was a plea to occupy the uninhabited lands of the islands of the Great Lakes . It was presented to the U. S. Senate on June 15, 1850 . The Senate referred it to the Committee on Public Lands, where it was discharged.
  2. 1854. James wrote a tract entitled Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac. It was printed in the Northern Islander under the title Beaver Islands and Emmet County , in the first four issues of Vol. 4 of the Islander. It is available either as part of the Northern Islander, or as an individual tract.
  3. 1856. James wrote the Prophetic Controversy, a 44 page tract on Succession in the Presidency of the true Church of Christ .

James provided sixteen revelations; and three pastoral letters. These are found in Chapter Four, James J. Strang the Revelator.

James wrote many articles for the Voree Herald, Zion’s Reveille, and Gospel Herald. He also answered many letters; and offered instruction on many doctrinal subjects.

The Mormon Discussion began in the Oct. 28, 1847 , issue of the Gospel Herald; and continued through four issues of the Herald.

       Infant Baptism began in the Jan. 20, 1848 , issue of the Gospel Herald; and     continued through four issues of the Herald.

       Lineage of Christ began in the Feb. 17, 1848 , issue of the Gospel Herald; and continued through four issues of the Herald.

       Existence of God began in the Oct. 19, 1848 , issue of the Gospel Herald; and continued through 24 issues. It was a debate between James and Edwin Burgess.

       Divine Authority of Mormonism began in the Oct. 26, 1848 , issue of the Gospel Herald; and continued through three issues. It was a debate with Professor Graham on the question of whether God opened a dispensation of the gospel in the latter days.

James also wrote many articles for the Northern Islander. Again, he also answered many letters; and offered instruction on various doctrinal subjects. Some newspapers of that day offered their readers false information on the Mormons. James answered every such falsehood; whether against the people, or against himself.

The Deluge was included in the Dec. 12, 1850 , issue of the Islander.

Apology for the Mormons

James, most likely, either wrote, or assisted in the writing of Apology For The Mormons in the June 5, 1856 , issue of the Islander. He was shot by assassins on June 16, 1856 ; and died at the home of his parents on July 9, 1956.

APOLOGY FOR THE MORMONS.

The 6th day of April, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized at the town of Fayette, in the State of New York, consisting of only six members, two of whom, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, were Elders; being the only true and living Church existing by the commandment of God on earth.

The members of this Church, guided by revelations of God, have always sought to come out from among unbelievers, and be separate. Knowing that others were offended with their religion, they endeavored to avoid giving offence by removing from among them, keeping the commandment, “Come out from among them, that ye be not partakers of their sins, and receive not of their plagues.”

Almost immediately after the organization of the Church, the Saints commenced assembling at Kirtland, Ohio, for a temporary rendezvous; but at the same time a few went up to Missouri, to locate a permanent residence, and selected the site of Independence, Jackson county, as their future home, and commenced a settlement there.

Agreeable to a commandment which God gave them, they purchased large quantities of lands of the government of the United States , and paid the full price therefore to the officers of the United States , the ministers of your predecessors in office. Upon these lands our breth­ren, the saints, made extensive settlements, continually showing themselves the most indus­trious, peaceable and law-abiding citizens of that section of the country.

At the time of which we speak no one among them was accused of any violation of the law, or of a want of at­tachment to the constitution and government of the United States , or of the state of Missouri.

Notwithstanding these facts, and the legal rights of our brethren, a numerous meeting of cit­izens of Missouri was held at Independence , in Missouri , which decreed the expulsion of the saints from that part of the State. This meeting issued a manifesto to the public, giving to the world the reasons for banishing from their neighborhood a numerous class of citizens; the entire church of the Latter Day Saints.

In giving these reasons they stated that our religious senti­ments and domestic habits were incongruous with theirs, and that it was necessary for their happiness that our brethren should leave; and as the grievances of which they complained were not recognized by the laws, and the saints had not violated any existing law whereby they were subject to regular prosecution in the courts, therefore they would take redress into their own hands, and compel us to leave the country, peaceably if they could, forcibly if they must.* This decree was carried out by the expulsion of the saints from Jackson Co., Missouri. _____________________________________________________________________

*The western Monitor, of 2d August, 1833 , contains this manifesto. We extract from it the following: “The evil is one that no one could have foreseen, and is therefore unprovided for by the laws, and the delays incident to legislation, would put the mischief beyond remedy.

“it requires no gift of prophecy to tell that the day is not far distant when the civil government of the country will be in their hands. When the sheriff, the justices, and the county judges will be Mormons, or persons wishing to court their favor from motives of interest or ambition.

We do hereby most solemnly declare:–

“That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.

“That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice.

“That the editor of the `Star’ be required forthwith to close his office, and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration, and upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.

“That the Mormon leaders here, are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above requisitions.

“That those who fail to comply with these requisitions, be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination, and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them.

After adopting this manifesto a committee was sent to exact a pledge of compliance from the Mormons, and on their refusing to give it, “It was unanimously resolved by the meeting, that the `Star’ printing office should be razed to the ground, the type and press secured,” which was immediately done. _____________________________________________________________________

They then settled in various counties on the north side of the Missouri river, but continual collisions took place, till finally they were banished from the State by authority of a mandate guilty issued by Lillburn W. Boggs, acting Governor, distinctly commanding that the saints (in de­rision called Mormons) be banished from the State, or exterminated. We are perfectly aware that this mandate of the acting Governor was unauthorized by the law, and in violation of the constitution of the State of Missouri.

But the Legislature of that State, in failing to impeach the Governor, and by appropriating the money to pay the expense of executing his order, has affirmed and adopted the act as the crime of the State. In accomplishing this expulsion ten thousand persons,, men, women and children, were plundered of their possessions, exiled from their homes, and driven in destitution, hunger, and want, in mid winter, to a distant land, passing much of the way in the midst of hostile foes, who not only refused them shelter and food, but kept them in continual danger.

Many were separated from their families and incarcerated in prison, whence, after long deten­tion, they escaped only by paying large sums of money to prison keepers, judges and lawyers, as the price of their enlargement. Besides a feeble few, who, after learning that their perse­cutors were without compassion, were slain while defending their wives, their children and their firesides; eighteen persons, unarmed, and engaged in the worship of God, were murder­ed unresisting, and in cold blood, in the early part of these persecutions; one of them a mere child, who died mixing together the words of his prayer to God, and his supplication for mer­cy from his murderers; another, an old man, bowed down with suffering and sorrow, scarred with the wounds he had received fifty-seven years before in defense of American liberty and American independence; all yielding up their lives for the name of Jesus, and the witness of the gospel. Others, at different times, shared the same fate; how many, we know not.

Subsequently the saints settled in great numbers in the State of Illinois, and built up, besides many villages, the city of Nauvoo, at one time the most populous city in that State. At their first settlement they were kindly received; but after building up flourishing towns, be­coming numerous as a religious people, and strong in their political influence, religious prejudice, political interests and commercial rivalry combined together to destroy them.

On this occasion our persecutors sought to justify their violence by accusing the saints of enormous crimes, and the most astounding corruptions. That these accusations were utterly unfounded is clearly shown by the fact that with courts, jurors and prosecuting officers con­stantly and assiduously selected from among our persecutors, few of the saints were ever pros­ecuted on criminal charges, and very few indeed ever convicted.

That the best informed and most intelligent men of the nation are fully aware of their entire innocence, is shown in the fact that territorial government has been organized under an act of Congress, possessing as full powers as any other territorial government can, organized under the jurisdiction of the United States; giving its entire executive and legislative power to the same people then exiled; and the men among them who exercised most influence and control in their affairs, and who if they were criminal were most guilty, have received the offices of Governor, Marshall and Secretary of a Territory, as well as numerous minor appointments under the United States government both Whig and Democratic administrations.

The very high character given them by Senator Douglass who presided over the criminal courts of the Mormon District of Illinois, during the period of their sojourn there; by Col. Kane of the United States army; who witnessed their expulsion; and Captains Stansbury and Gunnison, of the Topographical Engineers, who spent a year with a large body of them in their new mountain home, have dissipated all suspicion in the minds of intelligent men that they had given any occasion for the harsh treatment which they received at the hands of the people of the State of Illinois.

The unequivocal testimony of Thos. Ford, Governor of Illinois, at the time of their expulsion, who was present most of the time at the scene of action, is that their character and conduct were far better than those arrayed against them.

Nevertheless this persecution was carried on until our fellow servants, the prophets, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, were martyred; the houses of hundreds of the saints burned down before their eyes; the entire community amounting to 25,000 banished from that section of the State, and four millions of dollars worth of property sacrificed.

After the banishment of the Saints from Illinois, a few of them came into Michigan, and commenced settlements on the Islands of the Great Lakes, then uninhabited, but occasionally occupied by roving borderers, engaged in fishing and selling liquor to the Indians, in violation of law, and in criminal courses still more reprehensible.

The attempt to build up permanent and populous communities in the midst of these valuable lake fisheries, especially at Beaver Island, where there is an excellent harbor, and every facility for an extensive and prosperous commerce, excited the jealousy of those who at Mackinac had for a long time monopolized the entire Indian and fishing trade.

The wretched men of the borderers who had sought a home beyond the haunts of civilization, that they might indulge in unrestrained debauchery and enjoy impunity in crime, could only regard settlers who sought good order and legal government as invaders and enemies. They early exhibited a hostile disposition, and a determination to prevent the establishment of legal government.

As early as 1849 we were subjected to numerous injuries, for which it was impossible to obtain redress. Women were insulted, and men assaulted with impunity. At the same time a concerted effort was made throughout the lake country to render us infamous, by telling false tales upon us. The numerous whiskey dealers on the fishing grounds, whose entire income was derived through criminal means, joined by most of the merchants at Mackinac, who were most seriously alarmed at the growing up of a commercial rival at Saint James, engaged in the undertaking and enlisted the officers and men on nearly all the boats and vessels in the upper lake trade, by means of their acquaintance with them. Every manner of false tale was thus continually put afloat, and no matter by what falsehood originated, was circulated through respectable newspapers, on what was taken for good authority.

By such means, in a short time the mass of the public were persuaded that the Saints at Beaver Island were the offscourings of all things, and the dregs of the inhabitants of the earth.

Under these circumstances, with no means of becoming generally known to the public, except through the representations of those thoroughly enlisted against us, in 1850, extensive preparations were made throughout the fishing region for an armed assault upon us, by a force more than four times as numerous as we could furnish for defense. The Saints were thoroughly schooled in the practice of nonresistance, and were unarmed.

But by the prophecies and commandments, it appeared that having three times fled before their persecutors, it was now our duty to withstand them, and that in doing so God would give us the victory. We resolved to repel force with force, and return blow for blow, and stroke for stroke, publicly announced one determination and prepared for the issue; and our enemies gave way without bloodshed.

In 1851 they succeeded in enlisting the United States government in a violent and lawless crusade against us, in the course of which immense quantities of private property was seized, and taken from us; numerous individuals were arrested on charge of felonies and misdemeanor of almost every manner, and carried prejudged and foredoomed, to distant places for trial, in the courts of their enemies; the United States military and naval force was put in requisition to awe our families in the absence of nearly all the men, while numerous armed bands of our persecutors were left to roam undisturbed through our settlements, taking and destroying what they pleased, and insulting and assaulting when they would.

From all these perils God delivered us. Every one of the accused were acquitted. Though numerous persons were assaulted and cruelly beaten, every one recovered. Only a small portion of the property which had been taken from us was ever restored; but the justice of our cause was vindicated by the decision of the proper officers that we were entitled to all of it, and the actual loss was by the outright stealing of public officers.

While these acts were going on, a few people from Mackinac, and a numerous horde of border ruffians, sometimes under pretence of legal process, but oftenest by mere force of arms, seized nearly all the movables of value possessed by our population. For these acts we pursued many of them at law to final judgment, who have abundance of executable property, but in very few of these cases have we been allowed to make collections on executions.

This persecution resulted in separating our enemies from among us, and leaving us the undisturbed occupancy of a territory sufficient for our use for many years to come; and at the next session of the Legislature acts were passed for establishing the necessary municipal authorities in that territory, organizing town and county government, and a regular judiciary.

Irritated at this, and suffering a great loss of trade by our growing prosperity, the people of Mackinac set on foot an armed invasion, for the avowed purpose of resisting all legal government in the county of Emmet , a purpose not concealed, but declared in the resolutions of their public meetings, and published in the newspapers.

A conflict ensued in which several of the Saints were wounded, and several thousand dollars of property destroyed; but the invasion failed, and the invaders fled as the wicked often do, when no man pursued. The criminals engaged in this invasion were duly indicted, but by the connivance of officers and citizens they were able to escape a trial and have gone unpunished. But their flight from this region left us in the enjoyment of peace and undisturbed order.

But the action of the State Legislature, at its next session in cutting up the county of Emmet, legislating its officers out of office, and denying a judiciary to the new county of Manitue , indicated a settled determination to deny us legal protection, and secure from punishment those who had committed crimes against us.

For all these wrongs the laws and institutions of the country offer us no redress. It is vain to answer that such acts are contrary to law, and that the courts are open to us. There is a law in the land stronger than statutes–more potent than the usages of courts. The will of the masses, however vicious and partial, no matter by what influences produced, has been able to trample on all precedent, and ride down all law. It has done more. It has produced legislation according to its wishes, in violation of all constitutional securities; and not merely contrary to precedent, but destructive of natural right.

This unrecognized law, found only in the will of the masses, has been enforced in destroy­ing houses, offices and valuable papers of some of the most distinguished citizens of the coun­try, public buildings of various kinds, printing presses and rail roads owned by wealthy com­panies, churches and convents of the most ancient and numerous religious denomination in the country, and to overthrow contracts which had stood the vicissitudes of two hundred years, the ordeal of civil war and national revolution, though defended by the sanctity of constitution­al and statute law; usages older than the language we speak; the power of a great State; the wealth that seven generations of thrift had accumulated; and backed by an aristocracy made honorable by deeds of benevolence, justice, patriotism and valor as boundless as the sources of its greatness.

If these cannot resist the power of this new element of national and state government mob law, how shall we? We are aware that our name is cast out as evil, as a kind of apology for the uncounted injuries which have been heaped upon us. But you will not forget that in ear­ly times among all the most polished nations the name christian was looked on as a name for fanaticism and debauchery; that the learned Greeks and victorious Romans held them canni­bals, and that, even now, in half the civilized and christian nations democracy is considered synonymous with anarchy and lawlessness–how justly, you can judge.

And if the sanctity of the ancient christian faith, and the greatness of your nation have not protected them from these aspersions, what shall protect us from equal wrongs? We protest against this nearly universal practice of assuming that we are guilty of great crimes, as an ex­cuse for denying us the regular protection of the government in our legal rights. But when we examine the evidence of the truth of these assumptions, they are most conclusively falsified.

Joseph, the martyred prophet, whose blood stains on the jail at Carthage are as indelible as those of Jesus on the cross, has been arrested thirty-nine times on criminal charges. Thirty nine times he has been tried in the courts of his enemies; many times at the bar of men who advocated his murder. And thirty-eight times, in such courts, at the bar of such men, has he been acquitted.

The only offence of which he was ever convicted is that of unlawful banking–an offence committed with impunity by other men in nearly every State in the union. Nor did he es­cape conviction by the testimony of his brethren. Such men would stop their ears against it. If this is not a sufficient vindication of him as a law-abiding man, no array of facts could be.

That the charge on which he was finally arrested and imprisoned was merely trumped up for the purpose of seizing upon him and detaining him till a convenient time for his destruction, is as clearly proved as any fact whatever in the history of the country.

And when we add that his murderers were indicted, arraigned and acquitted at the instance of their own friends, without any attempt to introduce the necessary evidence against them, and merely for the purpose of interposing a legal bar to their punishment, in some more healthy period of the public mind, we think it will not require argument to convince all mankind that, the State of Illinois has adopted that murder as its own.

In this place, during the persecutions of 1851, ninety-nine men were arrested on false charges, taken to distant places and tried in the courts of their accusers, and though prejudged and foredoomed, were every one of them acquitted.

For all these wrongs we are denied redress. We have not forgotten that there are tribunals in which causes partially similar in kind, immeasurably less in aggravation, are sometimes examined, perhaps occasionally righted. But these tribunals are closed against us by the law now, and at all times by the power of that law already referred to, which is above statute, precedent and right.

If a period cannot be put to these wrongs, then there is presented to the world the melancholy spectacle of the greatest republic on earth, a christian nation, acknowledging itself powerless to judge; unable to protect the right; a nation on whose righteousness half the earth rest the hopes of man, confessing that there is a power above the law, riding down the constitution, which stalks abroad to plunder and banish the citizens, and none to rebuke; murders the unoffending innocent, and none to say, “why do ye so?” which sancti­fies its deeds of violence, even in the eyes of religious men, by blackening the fame of the glorious dead, with the name of crimes which in their life time it dared not attempt to prove, even in its own tribunals.

The administrators of the government have been appealed to in vain. Unless the wrongs redressed, they must rest on the nation forever, and bring down the wrath of God on those who have done, and those who have permitted them? If you fear not God, how will you answer to man­kind and to posterity, for such a desecration of republicanism, in a christian country.

For all these wrongs we do not ask a grant of lands, nor a State or Territorial government–We acknowledge that we have had enough of these. We shall never sell the lands of our brethren and ourselves, the inheritance of the martyred and of their children, for new grants of which we are equally liable to be deprived by some new act of violence.

There is now in the States of Missouri and Illinois four millions of dollars worth of houses and lands purchased with the money and produced with the skill and industry of our brethren the saints, which they are not permitted to occupy.

Courts, State Legislatures, and State executives are deaf to us. When we speak, they cannot hear. When we ask justice, their faces are turned from us. True, when they do speak, their voice is for us. But it comes after the deed is done, or it is so faintly heard that the lawless do not think it earnest. The forms of law hold us as victims, and the power that is above law overwhelms us. Thus have two of our prophets died in the hands of public officers, and under the destroying protection of a State Governor, personally superintending the proceedings, and no one act of public indignation has rebuked the deed. By every form of .judicial proceeding known to the laws of the land, the perpetrators have been legally shielded from the punishment which the law itself denounces against such crimes.

The fact that our brethren are the owners of large tracts of land, purchased of the United States, and secured to us by the name and seat of the President, which they have never sold, and which they are not permitted to occupy, by the powers actually existing, and that our brethren have been banished and murdered, and their persecutors are unrebuked, and positively and legally screened from punishment, is as indelibly stamped on the history of the country as the declaration of independence, or the victory of Buena Vista.

We do not ask compensation in money or land for the blood of the dead, or the persecutions of the living. The lands we have been robbed of, we shall continue to claim for the banished, and for the widows and orphans that murders have made, till the day when the judgment of God shall be revealed on the nation, and his wrath no longer slumbers; and they shall go up and possess it, though the nation ceases.

But these things admonish us that we are not to expect peace or protection in the midst of the people who have done us this iniquity. Both by the commandment of God and from the necessity of our situation, we are seeking a home in a land where religious sects and political parties are far removed from us, a land uninhabited.

We have not been suffered to live with other men. Shall we not be permitted to live alone? God made the earth for all men. Of the vast all he has given us a few little islands. They are the work of his hands; not man’s. Why should man sell God’s work?

For nine years our communities have dwelt here in peace among themselves. The few small schisms which have arisen, have yielded to the ordinary course of discipline, and the wrong doers have either amended or departed from among us, doing us very little injury, except as they were abetted by public officers, religious boobies, the newspaper press, and bands of lawless men. Yet we are pursued from day to day with continual threatening. An effort is continually made to convince us that we are to have no rest forever.

Three times have we fled before our persecutors, because we would not repel injuries by force. We understand by the word of God that it is our duty to flee no further. We do not learn from the divine writings that it is our duty never to resist evil deeds.—The time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue.

While men around us have for years threatened us with fire and blood, and we only asked legal justice, they have been continually commended for the forbearance, and we continually menaced with invasions, expatiation and death.

We have ceased to take to ourselves any trouble about these matters. We have known for years what our persecutors seem so anxious to impress upon us, that, when the public vengeance is waked up the law will not protect us and that among an angry people innocence is no shield.

We do not expect Governor or President to protect us against mobs. We live in the continual assurance that any one of us might be murdered in a neighboring county, and not a magistrate could be induced to issue process against the murderer.

Yet we trust in God. We walk in conscious security. We laugh in bitter scorn at all these threats. And we tell these wolf hounds, marshal your myrmidons, and send them along, to make a spoil of beauty and booty, as soon as you please. We bid them a bloody welcome to hospitable graves; over which, each year, we will pile stones, with a muttered curse, against the day of the resurrection of damnation.

We will neither purchase temporary peace and future calamities by dishonorable trafficking with political jugglers, nor will we yield our homes to enemies. If we live, here will we live. If we die, here will we die, and here shall our bones be buried, expecting in the resurrection of the just to possess the land forever, and dwell with the righteous during the lifetime of the Eternal.

God judge between us and all men.     Saint James, June 1, ’56 .

Chapter Seven: JAMES J. STRANG: THE KING

James J. Strang was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, Lawgiver, and spiritual King in Zion the same hour that Joseph Smith was martyred in Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844 . Both Joseph and James were first degree Apostles, Lawgivers, and spiritual Kings in Zion . The office may be given either as a spiritual office, or with both spiritual and civil authority (dominion). Adam, Noah, Shem, and Moses were all spiritual Kings; but having a dominion, they ruled over both the spiritual and civil affairs of the people.  Jesus could only be a spiritual King. Judea was captive under the Roman government; and already had a civil king. James was crowned as King in Zion on Beaver Island with a dominion on July 8, 1850 . He was assassinated by apostates and died on July 9, 1856 . James is to return as a King in Zion before the return of Jesus (see James J. Strang, The Deliverer). When Jesus returns, He will be King with dominion over the whole earth.

KINGDOM OF GOD
OFFICERS IN THE KINGDOM
GOVERNMENT OF THE KINGDOM
KINGS
KINGDOM WITH DOMINION
FINAL KINGDOM

Kingdom of God

Governments of man resemble the kingdom of God . The kingdom of God consists of laws, officers to provide and administer those laws, and members who have been properly admitted into the kingdom. All men are born aliens to the kingdom. Even Jesus had to obey the gospel to enter the kingdom of God .

The kingdom of God exists on the earth anytime there is a duly authorized officer of the Melchisedec Priesthood. All officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood are given evangelical authority to preach the gospel, confirm members into the kingdom through baptism of water and the Spirit, and administer the Eucharist. Jesus never preached the gospel; until after He received the Melchisedec Priesthood. Government of the kingdom only exists when there is a Prophet of God on the earth. Unlike worldly governments the kingdom is ruled by men who have direct communication with God; and are not permitted any degree of injustice. The final authority in the kingdom is direct communication with God through the Prophet. When there is no Prophet on the earth, there is no ruling authority.

Joseph Smith wrote to the saints from Liberty Jail, “the rights, of the priesthood, are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven; and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled, only upon the   of righteousness, that they may be conferred upon us, it is true, but when we undertake to cover our sins, to gratify our pride, vain ambition, or to exercise dominion or compulsion over the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness; behold the heavens withdraw themselves, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, then amen to the priesthood, or to the authority of that man.” (History of the Church, Vol.1, p. 31)

The first difference between the government of man and the kingdom of God is the kingdom has officers with spiritual authority over the souls of man in eternity. Their basic duty is to preach the gospel and administer its saving ordinances. Every officer of the Melchisedec Priesthood is called and ordained to this divine authority and duty. They may also bless infants so their hearts will turn to the will of God. They can bless and administer the holy Eucharist. They can marry members of the kingdom for time and eternity; and adopt for the same. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) Marriage among unbelievers is “until death do you part.” If we want to be the master of our destiny in eternity, there are many important reasons to “seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness.” (Matt. 6:33)

Although the terms the “ kingdom of God ” and “kingdom of heaven” only occur in the New Testament, it is obvious that it exists whenever there is an officer of the kingdom empowered to both preach the gospel and administer all of its saving ordinances. Adam was certainly a member of the kingdom of God . Jesus taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” (John 3:5) John the Baptist only held divine authority to baptize with water. When Jesus restored the Melchisedec Priesthood, the kingdom of God was once again on the earth. “Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5:10)

Abraham preached the gospel and partook of the sacrament with Melchisedec. “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8) “18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth.” (Gen. 14)   Moses preached the gospel and baptized in his day. “And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea [born of water and the Spirit].” (1 Cor. 10:2)

Members of the kingdom are bound by an oath to worship only GOD, honor Jesus as their Savior, and obey the laws of the kingdom. When there is only a spiritual kingdom, members are bound to the law of God through voluntary submission. Punishment for rebellion and disobedience extends only to removal from either the priesthood, or as members of the kingdom. Such reprobation will cause one to suffer with the spirits in prison (hell).

Others who live within the community are not bound by oath; but, are expected to voluntarily live according to the same laws. When the kingdom is established with a dominion, all that live within the dominion are bound by oath to live by the law of God. “10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: 13 And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” (Deut. 31)

This oath is called the everlasting covenant; and is given to every generation who are members of the kingdom; and to all that live within the dominion of the kingdom. The choice to make and live by the oath always rests upon individual members. “9 Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do… 12 That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with thee this day: 13 That he may establish thee to day for a people unto himself, and that he may be unto thee a God, as he hath said unto thee, and as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Deut. 29)

The covenant requires members to worship only the true and living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, honor Jesus as their Savior, and live by the law of God. It was given through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, and in all generations when the kingdom of God was established either spiritually or spiritually with civil authority (dominion).

The everlasting covenant was renewed every eighth of July under James. “4. As oft as this day returneth shall all the Saints assemble themselves together. It shall be a holy convocation. They shall assemble in their Temples , and in the Synagogues, and public places, to offer a thankoffering, an offering of praise unto God, because he has given the Kingdom to the Saints… 12. And when thou hast eaten, thou shalt say unto the Lord thy God, I have come into the land which thou gavest to thy Saints: I have heard thy Law, and have entered into covenant with thee to keep thy Commandments; and I have eaten of the sacrifice before thee as a witness forever” (Book of the Law, p. 293, 295)

After the death of Moses, the covenant was renewed every seven years. “10 And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, 11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 31)

The annual renewal of the everlasting covenant was part of sacrificing and feasting after the establishment of the dominion under James. It was lost with his death. Members of the kingdom today are required to renew the oath every seven years. “20. At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year [July 8], when all the children of the Kingdom are gathered together before the Lord in Temples, and in Tabernacles, and all the people are assembled, Princes and Nobles, men, and women, and children, and the stranger that dwelleth in your gates, ye shall read this law before them all, in their hearing, and shall make it know in the midst of them.

“21. And your children, and the strangers dwelling in your gates, that have not heart it, shall learn this Law, and ye shall all remember it again, and shall all lift up your hands, and shall enter into covenant with the Lord your God to keep this Law, and to obey his statutes, that he may prolong your days upon the land.” (Book of the Law, pp. 208, 209)

This everlasting covenant was to be renewed every seven years beginning on July 8, 1850 . I do not have a record of the people renewing the covenant on July 8, 1857 . During the Hixton, Wisconsin , conference on December 25, 1863 , “Bro. W. Post offers a resolution: Shall we not meet in Conference the 8th of July 1864 , to again enter into Covenant to keep the law, etc? Moved and seconded that there be a conference held on the 8th day of July next, 1864.”

If we take July 8, 1850 , and add seven year increments, 1997, became a year to obey the law and renew the everlasting covenant. Elder Samuel E. West led in the renewal of this covenant in a telephone conference of those members who chose to obey this law of God.

Officers in the Kingdom

All officers in the kingdom of God must be called of God by the spirit of prophesy through the mouth of one holding that authority; and be ordained by one holding that authority. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Not even Jesus was exempt from this rule (Heb. 5:5). Aaron was called by revelation through Moses; as a Priest and head of the Levitical Priesthood. Joshua was called by revelation and ordained through Moses; as a second degree Apostle and Prophet to stand at the head of the Melchisedec Priesthood and the people after his death. They were both ordained by Moses who held a higher degree of priesthood (first degree Apostle).

No kingdom can stand without laws and officers to interpret, administer, and enforce those laws. These officers have been the same since Adam; and are to remain “Till we all come in the unity of the faith.”

Jesus organized the kingdom with the same officers as Prophets before Him. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [high priests]; and some, pastors [elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4)

Jesus was called of God as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like unto Moses. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3:22 )

Jesus then called and ordained the other officers of the kingdom with divine authority to preach the gospel and administer its saving ordinances. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14 ) It is not written in the Bible how many High Priests were called during the time of Jesus and the Apostles. Since many High Priests are also known as Evangelists, and Jesus called Evangelists, the office certainly existed during the Apostolic Era. High Priests stand in authority below the Twelve Apostles. Eusebius noted there were many of these during the first generation after the Apostles. Both Jesus and the Apostles called Elders (pastors) of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Seventy traveling Elders comprise a quorum. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10:1) “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23 )

The gospel was not given in word alone; but, also with power (divine authority) to administer the ordinances of the gospel. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance [faith]; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 1:5) Through calling and ordination to the Melchisedec Priesthood, men receive divine authority to have their ordinances recorded in heaven. “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19)

The law of God provides, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: thou shalt not usurp dominion as a ruler; for the name of the Lord thy God is great and glorious above all other names: he is above all, and is the only true God: the only just and upright King over all: he alone hath the right to rule; and in his name, only he to whom he granteth it: whosoever is not chosen of him, the same is a usurper, and unholy: the Lord will not hold him guiltless, for he taketh his name in vain.” (Book of the Law, p. 20)

James wrote in the Book of the Law, “Ordination, “1. The Scriptures, in all their parts, show very clearly that no one can lawfully exercise any Priestly office, except he is duly called and duly consecrated to that particular Priesthood. Though many Priests are spoken of, and nothing said of the manner in which they were inducted into the Priesthood; as often as that manner is mentioned, it is shown to be a calling by the word of God, and a setting apart by the hands of those who hold the same or superiour power. This has been the uniform rule in every dispensation, whatever the nature or duties of the Priesthood or calling. Kings were called by revelation, anointed, and ordained; and those not so called, were deemed usurpers.

“2. No instance is given in the oracles of God of men, for want of a valid Priesthood, selecting one among themselves, and elevating him to be their Priest, and thus conferring on him a true Priesthood. On the contrary, God has instituted a Priesthood by direct revelation, and the ministration of   Angels, as often as the Priesthood, or the superiour grade of it, was lost on earth.” (Book of the Law, pp. 164, 165)

James wrote, “1. By the first Commandment God establishes a government among men, which he makes supreme in all things. But as every government, besides laws and the sovereign power whence they emanate, must also have officers by whom the laws shall be administered; so those officers must derive their authority from the sovereign, in legal form.

“2. All officers act in the name of him from whom they de-rive their authority.   In the several American States the official acts of most State officers are done “in the name of the people of the State.”

“3. Officers of the Federal Government, act ‘in the name of the United States of America .’ In the monarchies of Europe , official acts are done ‘in the name’ of the sovereign. And in voluntary societies and corporations, the officers act ‘in the name’ of the society or corporation.

“4. It therefore appears that to act in the name of any one, is to act by his authority; and to act in the name of God, is to act by his authority.

“5. Hence taking the name of God in vain, is taking his authority without being authorized; it is attempting to govern, without being called to that office; in any matter wherein God has declared a law, and appointed an administrator of the law.

“6. It follows, therefore, that every form of government among men, which was not instituted of God, is a usurpation, (Zech. xiv, 9, 17, Dan. ii, 44. vii, 14. Rev. xi, 15,) and that every exercise of the proper functions of government under it, is a taking of the name of God in vain, as every exercise of functions not proper to government, is tyranny.

“7. Priests made by the authority of man, and not called of God; Priests who constantly profess to have received no dispensation from God, and who deny that he has revealed himself to any for eighteen hundred years, do constantly administer in his name, as boldly as though they were sent by him.

“8. They baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and   the Holy Spirit; they go about doing works in the assumed power and might of God’s ministers, of whom Jesus Christ said, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ (Matt vii, 23.)

“9. He did not deny that they had preached, prophesied, or worked miracles in his name. He denounced them as workers of iniquity, because they were unknown to him; that is, were not his ministers. They took God’s name in vain.

“10. God has appointed a door to the priesthood; a call of God by revelation, and an ordaining by the hands of his ministers; (Heb. v, 4. Ex. xxviii, l. 1st Tim. iv, 14. Acts vii, 35;) and Christ declares that he that comes not in by the door, but climbs up some other way, is a thief and a robber. (John x, 1.)” (Book of the Law, pp. 20, 21)

Those ministers of sectarian Christianity who are not called of God by the spirit of prophesy and ordained by one holding that office; and who hold none of the offices established by God, will not have their works recorded in heaven. “22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock [revelation].” Matt. 7)

There are only two orders of the priesthood in the kingdom of God : the Melchisedec and Levitical Priesthoods. The Levitical Priesthood was initiated under Moses; because of the transgressions of the people to administer the new added temporal law. The Melchisedec Priesthood is necessary to administer all of the saving ordinances of the gospel; and has existed since Adam. John the Baptist, a Priest of the Levitical Priesthood, held divine authority to baptize only with water. Jesus, holding the Melchisedec Priesthood, held divine authority to also baptize with the Spirit. This same authority was given to the Twelve Apostles, to High Priests, and to Elders.

There are two basic divisions within the Melchisedec Priesthood. Evangelical authority only holds divine authority to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances. The twelve Apostles only held authority to ordain evangelical High Priests. “It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 107:39) An evangelical High Priest only holds authority to ordain other evangelical High Priests and (evangelical) Elders. Elders are commanded “to ordain other [evangelical] elders, priests, teachers, and deacons.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 20:39)

Royal authority (presiding and standing authority) represents the government of the kingdom. The Prophet stands at the head of all royal authority on the earth. All presiding and royal authority exists only under the direction of the Prophet, who is the President of the church; and has direct communication with God. It is only given through one who stands higher in royal authority. “2. Whosoever is called by the voice of God to the royal authority, shall be anointed and ordained by the hands of those who stand in royal authority above him: but he that is first, by the angels of God.” (Book of the Law, p. 163) Joseph and James both stood as first degree Apostles and Lawgivers and were therefore ordained at the hands of angels who held that authority during mortal life. Jesus was ordained to the highest office under the hands of the Father (Heb. 5:5).

Government of the Kingdom

Government of the kingdom of God has always been administered by a Prophet of God. Adam, Noah, and Moses were all first degree Apostles and Kings with a dominion. Joshua was called and ordained a second degree Apostle and Prophet through Moses to succeed him. A chain of Apostles and Prophets continued until the death of Malachi—about 400 years before Jesus.

In the kingdom of God the Legislative, executive, and judicial powers are all vested in a first degree Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. “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, 107)

James wrote concerning the office of Lawgiver, “1. There is no word in language which properly expresses the varied duties of this Priesthood. It is the greatness of the everlasting [Melchisedec] Priesthood; and has all the gifts, and all the keys conferred on man. It is so full of itself that it carries the Church of God with it, and can both institute and act in place of every other Priesthood.” (Book of the Law, pp. 214, 214)

Lawgivers hold both spiritual and royal authority in the kingdom of God on the earth. They must be called by direct revelation from God; and ordained at the hands of angels. Only one Lawgiver can exist on the earth at the same time; as they are the highest authority in the kingdom on earth (next to Jesus). Only a first degree Apostle and Lawgiver is permitted by God to give revelations and commandments to the Church of Christ . They stand as the center of legislative, executive, and judicial authority.

The U. S. Constitution provides for a division of power between the three branches of the government. The legislative power of the United States is vested in the Congress and House of Representatives. Executive power is vested in the President. Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court; and lower courts appointed by the Congress.

Only a first degree Apostle has power over all three of these branches of the kingdom. He also maintains evangelical authority and duties. James traveled extensively preaching the gospel; and left a treasure of writings on the gospel and the kingdom of God . As the legislative branch, a Lawgiver is the only one that holds divine authority to give revelations and commandments to the kingdom. “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 (Oliver Cowdery) 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.” (Ibid., 28) Oliver Cowdery was a second degree Apostle; and member of the Presidency below Joseph in royal (ruling) authority. The President is the standard interpreter and expounder of the law.

As President and King, he stands at the head of the executive branch. He also stands at the head of the judicial branch of the kingdom. The High Council stands in the kingdom similar to the Supreme Court in the United States . Its organization is composed of the President of the church, two other members of Presidency (if so called), and twelve High Priests (in no case less than seven). The President can also transact business alone. It is called by revelation from God; and in certain cases a judgment of the High Council may be appealed. The President then obtains the will of God in the matter. From such there is no appeal.

“9 The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by revelation, and acknowledged in his administration by the voice of the church. 10 And it is according to the dignity of his office that he should preside over the council of the church; and it is his privilege to be assisted by two other presidents, appointed after the same manner that he himself was appointed. 11 And in case of the absence of one or both of those who are appointed to assist him, he has power to preside over the council without an assistant; and in case he himself is absent, the other presidents have power to preside in his stead, both or either of them… 18 In all cases the accuser and the accused shall have a privilege of speaking for themselves before the council, after the evidences are heard and the councilors who are appointed to speak on the case have finished their remarks. 19 After the evidences are heard, the councilors, accuser and accused have spoken, the president shall give a decision according to the understanding which he shall have of the case, and call upon the twelve councilors to sanction the same by their vote… 23 In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.” (Ibid., 102:9)

A primary difference between the handling of cases in the kingdom is that it is the duty of every member to first make their best effort to resolve any conflict. Transgressions of a member of the kingdom are not for public dissemination. “88 And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. 89 And if he or she confess not thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.” (Ibid., 42) Jesus gave the same law, “15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” (Matt. 18) If there is a real offense, the offender must be labored with. It is required of all members in the kingdom to love their brethren and to forgive. Disputations are resolved at the earliest opportunity.

The first High Council was organized on February 17, 1834 . “This High Council was appointed by revelation, for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the Church, which could not be settled by the Church, or the Bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.” (Kirtland Council Minute Book, p. 26)

James J. Strang organized the High Council at a conference on April 6, 1846 . “Resolved unanimously that in the opinion of this conference the First Presidency ought to call a Council of Twelve High Priests for the trial of such members of the Quorum of Twelve as have been cited to appear here and have not answered or appeared.” (Chronicles of Voree, p. 66)

Other lower courts were established for hearing cases in the hope of an early resolution. Moses tried to hear all cases; but, was burdened by such. His father-in-law Jethro—a High Priest—assisted in organizing various judges as “rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” (Ex. 18). With the organization of the High Council, if a defendant was not satisfied with a decision, he had the right to appeal to the High Council. Many of the cases heard were appealed from lower courts. Some lower courts were organized under Joseph before the High Council. He noted, “I have never set before any council in all the order in which a council ought to be conducted, which, perhaps, has deprived the council of some, or many blessings. He said that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his heart was pure, and that we frequently are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right decisions… Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there, perhaps, condemn us; then they are of great consequence, and to me the consequence appears to be of force beyond anything which I am able to express& c. Ask yourselves, brethren, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother… doubtless some errors have been committed.” (Ibid., pp. 22, 25)

Most cases were resolved simply by bringing the disputing parties together; and understanding the disputation between them. In the Introduction to the Far West Record it is noted, “it should be pointed out that whatever the charge, a humble confession was, almost without exception, rewarded with forgiveness and the hand of fellowship without any period of waiting.”

One Elder under Joseph had rebelled and joined the Methodists. At the November 22, 1835 , High Council meeting, this Elder “came forward before the Church and confessed that he had been in temptation and fallen into error, so much so as to go and join the Methodists, yet says he was not in faith with their doctrine. He now says he desires to return to the fellowship of the Church and asks forgiveness of the brethren and a restoration of his license… President Rigdon then called for the vote of the Church & received it in favor of restoring him to fellowship and the office of Elder also, and that the clerk give him a license.” (Kirtland Council Minute Book, p. 150)

The organization of the kingdom of God is to provide equal rights for all before the law of God. The due process of the kingdom was outlined by James. Although specifically writing about cutting off members, the due process system applies equally to both membership and priesthood. James wrote that all priesthood is valid until regularly taken away. It is necessary, “1st. That he be accused of some act forbidden, or of neglecting some thing commanded by the law of God. 2d, that he brought or required to appear before some quorum or council having jurisdiction of both the person and the offence. 3d, that he have a trial. 4th, that his defense be heard. 5th, that on such trial he be condemned. 6th, that sentence of excommunication be passed upon him.

“If any of these facts be lacking the individual concerned is not cut off from the church nor his standing therein in any way affected. The vote of excommunication in such case would be utterly void, and the church have nothing to do but to disregard it. It is not even necessary to appeal from it, for the judgment being a mere nullity there is nothing to appeal from.” (Voree Herald, Vol. 1, No. 3, p. 11)

Through such a strict system of justice, there is no allowance for injustice. The first rule of order is for anyone that feels offended to make every effort to resolve the difficulty between the parties involved. Brotherly love and labor must be extensively used prior to any court action.

Apostle John E. Page wrote, “BEAR WITH ONE ANOTHER.–Paul says, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.’ I will add, bear ye each other’s weaknesses, and so show yourselves saints and men of fortitude, that are not discouraged at trifles. Remember, the church of God is a great moral hospital, in which mankind are to be healed of their constitutional and moral infirmities, weaknesses and disabilities. It is often a manifest weakness in one to take offence or be offended with the weakness of another. Soundness of moral fortitude is one of the noble principles of manhood. He that is destitute of it is not fit to be a king or priest in the kingdom of God .” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 3, No. 87, p. 104/416)

All standing (royal) authority in the government of the kingdom emanates from the Presidency (the President and Councilors, if called). No person is authorized to rule in any capacity; except under the direction of the Presidency. “10 High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member… 33 The 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.” (Ibid., 107)

In the interim between Lawgivers a second degree Apostle and Prophet may be called to hold divine authority over the executive, judicial, and evangelical activities of the kingdom. Only a second degree Apostle can stand at the head in the absence of a Lawgiver (Book of the Law, p. 219). He has no legislative authority; and cannot give revelations and commandments to the kingdom. Joshua succeeded Moses in this capacity. Only first and second degree Apostles are Prophets of God.

Second degree Apostles and Prophets were called by direct revelation and ordained by the first degree Apostle. With the President they represent the Presidency of the church. “2 Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder [first degree Apostle] of this church; 3 And to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder [second degree Apostle] of this church, and ordained under his hand.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 20) When there is no Prophet (either first, or second degree Apostle), there is no legal government of the kingdom; as only evangelical authority remains. Dozens of articles in official church journals notes this rule.

“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, at its militant head.” (Zion’s Reveille, Vol. 2, No. 8, p. 29/81; Vol. 2. No. 9, p. 32/84)

The Lord of heaven never did, nor does not now, nor never will know the Church of Latter Day Saints to exist, in a legal point of light, without such a President at its head as President Strang is in point of office and calling.”— Zion ’s Reveille, Vol. II, No. 6, p. 21.” (Gospel Herald, Vol. 4, p. 303/891)

Kings

There are four types of Kings in the kingdom of God . First, God is King over the universe. Second, Jesus holds the highest office of King; as King over the whole earth–over all other Kings. He will take dominion over the earth when He returns. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Rev. 19:16)

The third is the superior office of King; which is a Prophet of God, standing as the highest authority over the people. This can be either a first degree Apostle, such as Moses, or a second degree Apostle, such as Joshua. Moses placed a part of his authority upon Joshua. “22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: 23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.” (Num. 27) As Joshua stood below Moses, but was to stand at the head of the people in the Melchisedec Priesthood after the death of Moses, he had to hold the office of second degree Apostle.

James taught that the superior Kingly office is an appendage to that of Prophet. First and second degree Apostles both holds the office of King. “3. The Kingly office has oftenest been merely an appendage of the Prophetick. When not possessed of a dominion, it can exercise no civil prerogative, except by voluntary submission.” (Book of the Law, P. 178)

The fourth is referred to as the inferior office of King; as he is not a Prophet. They hold the office of High Priest. These are called of God through a Prophet of God. They can also be removed from the office by a Prophet of God; as in the case of Saul. The inferior Kings in Israel —Saul, David, Solomon—were called by the voice of God.

All Prophets of God also hold the spiritual office of King. Jesus and Joseph Smith only held the office of spiritual King. Their ruling authority came through the voluntary submission of the people to the law of God; and to their spiritual royal authority.

After the death of Joshua, the Lord called Prophet Judges to conduct all of the affairs of Israel . This order remained until Israel desired a civil King like the heathen around them. Saul was called and anointed of God as an inferior King [High Priest] through the Prophet Samuel. The office of High Priest stands below that of Apostle and Prophet. “Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel : now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.” (1 Sam. 15:1) Due to the evil that Saul became involved, he was removed from the Kingly office; and David was called of God to be their King. Saul, David, and Solomon each ruled forty years. A year after the death of Solomon the house of Israel was divided into Judah (the tribe of Judah, Benjamin, and half of Manasseh) and Israel (the other tribes of Israel )

“20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.” (Acts 13) Jesus was the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah , and the house of David.

Joseph Smith and James J. Strang were Apostles, Prophets, and Lawgivers. This office includes all other offices in the kingdom. They were both spiritual Kings in Zion .

Kingdom with a Dominion

Royal authority exists with a Prophet of God with either spiritual authority, or with both spiritual and civil authority in a dominion. This type of civil government is called a Theocracy, “government by a person or persons claiming to rule with divine authority.” Spiritual officers in the kingdom are also civil officers in the government. All persons living within the dominion are bound by the law of God.

William Marks wrote of Joseph secretly introducing a kingly form of government with Princes. Officers in the kingdom of God are not to act in secret. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29) As there is no evidence of a revelation from God concerning such an action, it could have been an error which contributed to the death of Joseph.

The first dominion in the last days was not to go to Joseph; but to James. The prophet Micah prophesied of the first dominion of the kingdom in the last days under James, its fall, the scattering of the saints, and the final gathering of the worthy. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock [James J. Strang], the strong hold of the daughter of Zion , unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem . 9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. 10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” (Micah 4) James noted in numerous sermons that this prophecy addressed him.

James J. Strang was evidently called as spiritual King at the same time of his ordination as Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver. In verse six he was called by revelation in 1850, to be a civil King with dominion. “6. He hath chosen his servant James to be King: he hath made him his Apostle to all nations: he hath established him a Prophet, above the Kings of the earth; and appointed him King in Zion : by his own voice did he call him, and he sent his Angels unto him to ordain him. [Revelation of James]

“7. 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. [Ordination of James]” (Book of the Law, p. 169)

James became the President and King of the spiritual kingdom on June 27, 1844 . The confirmation of James to the office of King with dominion was on July 8, 1850 . “We again proceed with our record: after having ordained to the several grades of Priesthood all that God was pleased to call & also tried some of the old members for their transgressions, and attended to the duties of that conference; on the 8th of July 1850, the Kingdom of God, was established upon the Earth, & James, the anointed, did then sit upon the throne, swaying the royal scepter. We then covenanted with God, to be his people, to keep his laws, & Statutes, & he chose us as his people: And then gave us a portion of his footstool for an everlasting inheritance, as you will find, in the Book of the Law of the Lord. There was a portion of this Book of the Law read. It was with uplifted hands that we covenanted with God.” Record of the Apostles of James, 1844-1856, p. 5)

At the death of James on July 9, 1856 , there was no second degree Apostles. The highest authority remaining was the office of third degree Apostle. Apostle Chidester wrote to Apostle Post on July 14, 1856 , that the final instruction of James to the Apostles before his death was, “for every man to take care of his family and do the best he could till he found out what to do.” (Record of the Apostles of James 1844 – 1856, p. 31) On August 3, 1856 , he wrote Apostle Page there is “no one authorized to take the lead.”

Five of the Apostles–L. D. Hickey, L. D. Tubbs, J. Pearce, J. Hutchins, and W. Post–were finally able to get together on Feb. 10, 1857 , to pray for an understanding of their condition. “We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves & Families.” (Ibid., p. 45) L. D. Hickey was the last of the Apostles. He died on April 27, 1897 . Not one of the Apostles ever made an attempt to stand at the head of the people.

The legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the kingdom were lost—only the evangelical branch remained. Without communication with God through the Presidency, no other Apostles could be called. The Apostles did hold authority to ordain evangelical High Priests and Elders. “It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers, as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 107:39) Elders had authority to call and ordain other Elders.

Wingfield Watson wrote to Milo M. Quaife on April 14, 1919 , “Where there was an Elder who remained faithful, he taught his children and grand children, and baptized them into the faith, and preached the gospel to his neighbors also and baptized any who were willing to receive the gospel. Besides the office of apostle there is also the office of High Priest and Elder, who holds the right [as evangelical ministers] to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances. It was not in the nature of things, to be expected that we could do a great work, for nearly all the men had families dependant upon them for support, and Mr. Strang’s last advice and counsel to use, was to let every man take care of himself and his family, and do the best he can until he is informed further what he shall do.”

The government of the kingdom was lost. The evangelical branch of the kingdom remains. James ordained L. D. Hickey an Apostle, who ordained Wingfield Watson a High Priest, who ordained Samuel Martin a High Priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a High Priest, who ordained Samuel E. West an Elder. There are also other Elders remaining true to the original organization of the kingdom. As long as one Elder of the Melchisedec Priesthood remains, the kingdom of God, and the opportunity for confirmation into the kingdom, remains. The good news of the gospel is still being preached by those holding divine authority, unbelievers are becoming members of the kingdom, the law of God is being taught, and the greatest approbation ever given to man is open to the repentant: the Sabbath of Creation and eternity in the Celestial Kingdom of God.

Final Kingdomd

God has promised to set up His kingdom in the last days—that it should never be thrown down. James wrote, “1. As clearly as the Scriptures show that God established the Kingdom of Israel, so clearly do they show that he will establish a universal Kingdom in the last days; for Daniel, after prophetically tracing the great national events down to the division of the Roman Empire into the modern European nations, says, ‘In the days of these Kings shall the God of heaven set up a Kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; but it shall break in pieces all these Kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.’ (Dan. ii, 44.) ‘And the Kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom, under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Saints of the Most High, whose Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’ (id. vii, 27.)

“2. Speaking of the King who shall rule in this Kingdom, David says, ‘They shall fear thee as long as sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.’ ‘He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.’ (Ps. lxxii, 5, 8.)

“3. To this many Prophets have borne witness; that, in the latter days, God would gather Israel again upon their own land, and establish them as an undivided Kingdom, and sanctify them unto himself, and be their God forever. (Ezek. xxxiv, 22-24. xxxvii, 21, 27. Jer. xxx, 9. xxiii, 5, 6. xxxiii,   15-26. Hos. iii, 5. Isa. lv, 3-5. Amos ix, 11. Zech. xii, 8.)” (Book of the Law, pp. 171, 172)

Chapter Eight: JAMES J. STRANG: THE MARTYRED PROPHET

MURDEROUS ASSAULT
APOSTLE CHIDESTER ANNOUNCES JAMES’ DEATH
APOSTLE POST ON JAMES’ DEATH
LAMENTATIONS OF APOSTLE WARREN POST
NO SUCCESSOR, NO HEAD
DAUGHTER OF ZION TODAY

MURDEROUS ASSAULT

James was aware from an early time that his mission would have a fateful ending.  Like Joseph, he would have to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the people; and become a true witness for the doctrines which he taught.  The enemies who shot him were protected by the U. S. Steamer Michigan, returned to their home town, given a mock trial, and released–never to be prosecuted again

The fate of James was sealed the day he was ordained by the hands of angels on June 27, 1844 . He realized all of his life that he would seal his testimony with his own blood; and thereby become a true witness for his faith and receive the glory of a martyred Prophet and King in eternity. In a revelation given to James on August 25, 1846 , God warned, “2… The sword is already bathed in blood, which spareth not their destroyers. And blood shall not cease till their most haughty oppressor is laid low to rise no more.

“3. And he hath chosen this nation to begin vengeance for them. And 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, but will hearken unto them to do the things which they shall speak unto them, and keep the words of the Lord, and his commandments to do them, then will he exalt the nation and establish it, for he hath raised it up by the hands of wise men, whom he set up for that very purpose, to be the instrument of his purpose in the last days.”

It has been said that James’ Bible was opened to Micah 4, when he left for the dock where he was shot. “Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee?” In the last regular issue of the Northern Islander an article entitled “Apology for the Mormons” appeared just three weeks before James was shot. It told of the persecutions of the people since the days when Joseph first opened the dispensation. At the end, it is written, “If we live, here will we live. If we die, here will we die, and here shall our bones be buried, expecting in the resurrection of the just to possess the land forever, and dwell with the righteous during the lifetime of the Eternal.” James was shot by assassins on June 16, 1856 ; and died on July 9th.

On June 20, 1856 , the Northern Islander published the following account of the assassination of James.

Murderous Assault

“MURDEROUS ASSAULT.

“On Monday last the U. S. steamer Michigan entered this harbor at about 1 o’clock , P. M., and was visited by the inhabit­ants promiscuously during the af­ternoon.

“At about 7 o’clock Capt. McBlair sent a messenger (San Bar­nard, the Pilot) to Mr. Strang, requesting him to visit him on board. Mr. Strang immedi­ately accompanied the messen­ger, and just as they were step­ping on the bridge leading to the pier in front of F. Johnson & Co.’s store, two assassins ap­proached in the rear, unobserved by either of them, and fired up­on Mr. Strang with pistols. The first shot took effect upon the left side of the head, entering a little back of the top of the ear, and rebounding, passed out near the top of the head.

“This shot, fired from a horse pistol, brought him down, and he fell on the left side, so that he saw the assassins as they fired the second and third shots from a revolver; both taking effect upon his person, one just below the temple, on the right side of the face, and lodged in the cheek bone; the other on the left side of the spine, near the tenth rib, followed the rib about two inches and a half and lodged.

“Mr. Strang recognized in the persons of the assassins Thomas Bedford and Alexander Wentworth. Wentworth had a re­volver, and Bedford a home pis­tol, with which he struck him over the head and face, while ly­ing on the ground. The assassins immediately fled on board the U. S. steamer, with pistols in hand, claiming her protection.

“The assault was committed in view of several of the officers and crew from the deck of the steamer, also Dr. H. D. McCulloch, Franklin Johnson, and oth­ers, and no effort made to stop it.

“Mr. Strang was taken up by a few friends, and some of the officers of the boat, and carried to the house of Messrs. Prindles, where the surgeon of the steamer made an examination of his wounds, and declared recovery hopeless.

“Process was taken out for the apprehension of the assassins, and the Sheriff of the county called on Capt McBlair for their deliv­ery. The Capt. refused to give them up, saying that he would take them to Mackinac, and de­liver them into the hands of the civil authorities of the State there.

“The steamer left the next day, carrying off all the persons supposed to be complicated in the af­fair, thus affording military protection to murderers, and overthrow­ing the sovereignty of civil law.

“Hopes are entertained of Mr. Strang’s recovery.” (Northern Islander, June 20, 1856)

James was returned to Voree; where he died on July 9, 1856 , exactly twelve years after receiving the letter of appointment from Joseph Smith. Apostle Edward Chidester was with the prophet when he died. He wrote the following to Apostle Post:

Apostle Chidester Announces James’ Death

“Burlington   July 14th, 56    “Bro. Post

“I received your letter today, and hasten to answer. If you have not received the news ahead of this, it will be sad news to you. I closed the prophets eyes in the sleep of death the 9th of July, fifteen minutes before ten oclock.

“You 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. You state that you left word with your folks to go to voree, they have not been here and we know not where they are, but expect they followed you. I should like to keep up a correspondence with you, and if you are of the same mind, please direct to Dunkirk Mo.

Truly sincerely in haste
Edward Chidester”
(Record of the Apostles of James 1844-1856, p. 31)

Great sorrow and confusion fell upon all the saints. Those living on Beaver Island were driven from their homes; and their livestock and property were stolen. Apostle Chidester wrote Apostle Post again on August 3, 1856 .

“Dunkirk   Aug. 3d 1856    “Bro. W. Post, Dear Sir:

“I received your communication of July 27th last evening, and sit down to answer it.

“In the first place we are without a head to our knowledge, in the flesh, our Prophet and King has been stricken down by the hands of wicked men. The question arises what for? Was it for his transgressions, or for the transgressions of his people? I have heard men of very high standing and reputation, sitting in judgment as it were upon the head of the Prophet, & arguing that he had sinned unto death.

“But I remember that Jesus Christ who was without sin, & no guile in his mouth, died for the sins of his people, not because he was a transgressor: As Jesus Christ died, has not James also? I cannot entertain the idea for a moment that he was in transgression. When I reflect back upon his righteous, undeviating course, and his exemplary life, I feel more like putting my hand upon my mouth, than like accusing him. When Jesus Christ left, he left the Quorum of the Twelve organized, with commission to act, and when he left finally, he left a head to the Church on earth. When Joseph Smith was taken he also left the Quorum of the Twelve & also appointed his successor; but in the present case I know of no revelation to guide us, as to a successor. On the seventh of July he said the active part of his life was at an end, that the bearing off of the Kingdom must devolve upon others; he felt that his ministry as Chief was done. He did not say who was to be the leader of the people, but on this day his eyes brightened, and his countenance was lit up and it was observed by all, that he was a great deal better. On the eighth he began to run down, & it seemed as though he just wilted away. I asked him if he was going to leave us: He said he was. I then asked him if we were to have a successor appointed through him? A tear started in his eye, and he said ‘I do not want to talk about it.’ Bro. Hickey & Adeline got up and I finished a letter I was writing. I helped turn and fix him comfortable about break of day, and lay down for a nap. I lay about one hour and a half at the foot of his bed. When I awoke there was no one in the room but him & myself. I immediately arose & discovered he was dying. I nursed him very attentively for about an hour & saw no hopes of recovery, when I sent for some of the neighbors. I then asked him if there was anything he wished to communicate. He replied ‘Yes’ which was the last word he spoke.

“All these circumstances go to confirm me in the opinion that there is a head somewhere, & that he will come in the Lord’s own due time to the faithful.

“You state that you think the time at hand for the building of Synagogues among the Gentiles. This may all be, but how is it to be done without a Prophet. I suppose you understand there are two Priesthoods as well as myself, and in the Priesthood of an endless life two Orders, and that the Quorum of the Twelve are the third Degree of the First Order, and can only act under the direction of their superiors. The Twelve are without a President to their Quorum, and you speak of a meeting to consult about matters that concern us all. That is what Bro. Miller, Hickey, & myself were in favor of; but we were apposed, & no one authorized to take the lead, so we have concluded that the trial of the getting up such a meeting would be vain. (I proceed now to answer some of your questions which you deem of minor importance, but the big ones I shall not attempt at this time. “How many of the saints were present at his death?” Bro. George Miller, L. D. Hickey, E. Chidester; sisters Betsey, Phoebe, Sarah Hickey, Betsyes children.

“How many attended his funeral? Bro. Miller & family, Hickey & family, Tubb’s family, C. Linnel& family, sis. Townsend, B. G. Wright, E. Chidester , of the saints, and a respectable congregation of Gentiles. Bro. Hickey opened the meeting by prayer, & such a prayer I never heard except from the Prophet himself, it seemed as though the earth trembled, the wagon where he stood did at any rate, he had the spirit to such a degree that he never had it before, at least he says so. Bro. B. C. Wright then attempted to preach, but it was only an attempt, Bro. Hickey had the spirit. He was buried in the burying ground at Voree, in as good style as that part of the country could afford. I paid $20.00 for his coffin& it was said to be worth $35.00, his shroud was of the finest silk flannel at a cost of $4.77. I considered him worthy of the best, and therefore I gave it him.) His parents feel very bad, at their loss, & the old lady I think believes beyond a doubt that he was a prophet of God. They manifest a very tender feeling towards the woman & children& say they will do all they can for them. As for what our enemies say, they say just as they always do, that Prophets cannot be killed to fast, but there seems not to be a terrible sight of that class, but a large share on the sympathetic order, and a few friends. The newly printed Book of the Law was brought to Racine , Bro. Geo. Miller furnished Anson the Money to pay the freight & B. G. Wright has stepped in & takes charge of the Books. I do not know where they are.

“The Twelve. W. Post at Rutland hollow ???. Co. N. Y. L. D. Hickey & P. Wright in Voree, D?? Pearce in Northern Wisconsin , I do not know his address although I have seen him twice. A. W. Prindle is west in Wisconsin, L. D. Tubbs is probably in Iowa by this time, E. Page two weeks ago tomorrow morning was in Milwaukee. I have not heard from him since J. Hutchins was on the mission that James sent him on, & I have not heard from him, I saw his family in Milwaukee two weeks ago, & they knew nothing of his whereabouts, but promised to inform me as soon as they learned, & E. Chidester last & least, is here today, tomorrow he may be somewhere else, a wanderer & pilgrim. As for the news of the Island, the details would fill a volume, suffice it to say that the saints have pretty much been driven from their homes, men, women, & children, at the muzzle of the enemies guns, forced aboard of Steam Boats without scarce anything to help themselves, not a hoof of stock was allowed to go away, the Tabernacle burned to the ground. It would be a great task to tell who went from the Island , but those that stayed are few. Dennis was at the Light House the last I heard of him, Reuben Field, Newel Scott, Tobias Mr. Nutt & very few others that were the name of Mormons are or were there two weeks ago, with the threats of vengeance if they did not leave Gentile locations. I know but little about, except Jim Cable, he has taken possession of the dock & head of the Island .

“Pseudoes McCulloch was trying to arrange to leave, Bedford had taken possession of Prindle’s house, & Wentworth the Kings Palace. O that the blackest fiends of hell might be let loose to torment them the longest day of their lives. The Prisoners G. C. Wright, came up on the same Boat with his family, they came here, & his wife is here now he has gone to look a location, Samuel E. Field has gone to Ohio to his wife, Robert Nichols went to Canada, H. Black is up in the Western States somewhere, Briggs & Ketchum’s say have made such fools of themselves that Briggs at all events must keep shop for 15 years. The Iron Steamer did not return to Beaver at all. As regards your family I have learned a little since I wrote to you, Father & Mother says they came up on the same Boat with them, and were a going to Chicago . Father Brown’s health was very poor, & that one legged Moore that was at Aldrich’s intended to get him in the hospital at Chicago.

“There were four hundred and ninety came on that Boat, and at Chicago they would not let some of them ashore, so the Captain took about fifty back to Milwaukee and landed them on the Dock I left. The Iowa took a load of three hundred before, & the Boat we came on about fifty, the Prairie State a load before, & the Louisville , took all she could stow to Detroit , Elvira with the rest. The widows are all at Voree. Bro. Hickey & all his family also Phineas Wrights wife & family were at Newell Scotts, two weeks ago, and I received a letter from Voree a few days since & no tidings of her.

“Bro Post, these are dark times, but I expect the clouds to break, and the light to burst, but know not which way to look. East, West, North or South. I desire an interest in the prayer of all faithful Saints that I may so live that when the light comes I may see and walk therein.

“Your Bro, as ever, Edward Chidester, to W. Post.” (Ibid., pp. 32-37)

APOSTLE POST ON JAMES’ DEATH

Apostle Post gave an account of the murder of James and told of the circumstances of the priesthood following his death. “I will now sketch a few things relative to Church history as I have noted them down from time to time as opportunity offered.

“In consequence of what has transpired in the Kingdom of God, it becomes necessary to relate more particularly, some of the characters, and principal events that have occurred. While the Prophet was steadily engaged in promoting the cause of truth, many of the unstedfast were watching for iniquity; and many more of the fearful Saints, would stand afar off, & dare not gather with the Saints, neither send up their means, for fear all was not right in Voree. They concluded to see if the Prophet could build a Temple, and also a Tower of Strength, without their means before they would venture to render any assistance; and in this way the work which the Lord required, was retarded: and the Lord was displeased with his saints, by reason of their slackness in serving him: nevertheless he was merciful unto them, and often forgave them their sins. But for want of the tithing of the Saints, and the free will offerings which the Lord required of them; the house of the Lord was not built in Voree, neither the Tower of Strength. The Lord had told the prophet; that unless that house was built, that the Saints might be endowed with wisdom from on high, they could not hold the dominion. The Prophet did all in his power to accomplish these things, when in the mean time he was assailed by many in the Church for doing things which they counted wrong. The Prophet endured his persecutions, & afflictions so patiently, the Lord declared him ‘More patient than Job, and Meeker than Moses’ he also conferred on him the Keys of the Kingdom, never to be taken from him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Notwithstanding God’s promises unto him; many were ready to find fault with him, for doing certain things, to accomplish what the Lord had promised in multiplying &c. Persecution has never ceased in the Church & Kingdom and all that live godly shall suffer persecution. The Law requires the Saints to dress in a manner that is seemly, and not according to the follies of the Gentile Nations–and in consequence of the King requiring obedience to that law–cruel enemies arose and conspired against his life–the people were divided in sentiment–some determining to have their own way–while others remembered the Covenants they had made to keep God’s law. Some were chastised for their wickedness: cut off from the Church: and straightway set to work to overthrow the Kingdom as it existed upon Beaver Island. Some of the leaders in the sedition (viz) Hezekiah D. McCulluch, Franklin Johnson, Dr. Aikinside, Alexander Wentworth, Thomas Bedford, and others, were determined to take the life of the King; and McCulloch went from the Island to enlist men in his crusade against the Church, and prevailed insomuch, that the U. N. S. Steamer Michigan came into the harbor, apparently for the very purpose of killing the Prophet of God. Said McCulloch made over his property unto one of the officers to prevent the Saints from collecting their dues of him. McCulluch brought home several pistols, which he gave to his clique, that they might become expert marksmen. It so happened that after several days practice in shooting at targets, the iron Steamer came again into the Bay. Then was the time for their hellish plot to be executed: the King must be slain, & some of the principal men arrested if they could be found. McCulluch had given in the names of the Chief men of the Island, for the purpose of having them arrested, that if possible there might be a complete overthrow of the Kingdom.

“The plot was conducted on this wise, after some of the officers went and conferred with McCulluch in his house, & two of the officers made a short excursion into the Island –Capt. McBlair sent the Pilot to the Prophets house, requesting him to go on board the man of war: he accordingly started, being somewhat cast down in mind in relation to what was transpiring around him: they went conversing by the way, & as they were about stepping upon the bridge leading to McCulluch Johnson’s Pier, about 4 rods East, and in front of McCullochs Store, Wentworth, & Bedford stepped out of the Store, & came up hastily behind the Prophet, & without being seen by him; Wentworth fired a revolver at the back part of his head, the ball passed through his hat, and grazed the skull bone, dividing an artery, making an incision 1 1/2 inches long, glanced out again through the hat: this felled the Prophet to the ground but he had the presence of mind to raise his head instantly, to see who it was that shot him, & he saw Wentworth about 3 feet from him, who instantly shot at him again, the second ball went into the right cheek bone about 1 inch from the eye, this seemed to stun him: then Bedford immediately fired a marine pistol into his back as he partly rolled over, which entered near the back bone, and struck on the left side on the tenth rib & passed two or 3 inches along the rib & it was not ascertained what became of any of the balls, they were none of them seen. The last mentioned ball injured the spine so that the Prophet had no sensation of any part of his body, below where the ball struck. Bedford then struck the Prophet over the right eye, & angling over the lower part of the nose and chin. The murderers then ran on board the Iron Steamer Michigan, which lay tied to said Pier; and immediately claimed the protection of said officers, which was readily granted. Wentworth exclaimed on entering said Boat “that damned rascal is out of the way” and some one of the crew asked who? “Strang the dammed son of a bitch” was the reply. The friends of the Prophet such as happened to be in hearing of the pistols ran to the scene of action, and found the Prophet weltering in his blood. They immediately took him into Bro. Prindle’s house & rendered him every assistance in their power.

“The officers and surgeon of the Boat, came ashore,& feigned to act sorrowful, and rendered some little assistance. Many of the Chief Brethren were immediately notified of what had occurred, and came running together to see what was to be done under such awful circumstances. The Prophet was not in a condition to give any counsel in the matter: but such of the brethren of the Twelve & Counselors, as could be obtained, conferred together upon the course to be pursued. This murder took place on Monday evening about 6, o’clock, of the 16th day of June A. D. 1856: the same night, General George Miller, drew-up an Epistle of Manitue county requesting the Captain and officers of said Boat to come ashore & meet in Council with the before mentioned company, in the Printing Office to determine the best course to be pursued in relation to Wentworth, & Bedford. The Sheriff received in reply that the prisoners were in safe custody& would be carefully kept until they could deliver them into the hands of the first civil authority in Mackinac; and if we had any particular business with him (the Capt, of the Boat) we must come on Board the Steamer. The following morning the Capt, & some of his Officers came again to visit the Prophet; and said they were sorry that the mormons had shot him while their Boat lay in the harbor. The King then made a demand of the Captain for those murderers; but the Capt. refused to give them up, replying, about as he had before unto the counselors.

“The Surgeon pronounced the wounds mortal & said Mr. Strang could not survive them. About 10, o’clock of the 17th after getting on board the murderers & conspirators, nearly all of them, with some of their effects they left the Harbor; leaving the saints to get along with their wounded Prophet the best way they could. The Saints rendered every assistance unto their King, which was in their power, & often called upon the Lord to speedily restore him in health unto them. By the blessing of the Almighty & the faith & works of the Saints, the Prophets life was lengthened out marvelously. The saints believed God would heal him, even is “his visage was marred more than that of any man, and his form more than the Sons of Men.” We hoped he would remain alive on the Earth until the coming of Jesus Christ, in the Clouds of heaven with power and great glory. In the mean time while the saints were bearing up under their afflictions, with becoming greatness, their enemies were still plotting their destruction. The murderers were taken to Mackinac; & Wentworth, & Bedford, were put into jail, & kept there about five minutes, & then released. About the 25th of the same month, the Steamer Michigan Capt. Steward Martin, called as usual at the Island & McCulloch was seen on Board, while on their way to Green Bay; in a day or two the Steamer returned, & called as usual at the Island; they at first landed at the head, at B. G. Wrights dock to wood, & commenced arresting some of the brethren. Ezra Ketchum and Samuel Wright. The Boat then set off for the harbor at St. James. As soon as they landed at McCulloch’s dock, they commenced arresting such of the brethren as were in sight, (viz) Samuel E. Field, Robert Nichols, Harvey Black, & Lewis Briggs. Samuel E. Field was fired upon by the mob which consisted of McCulloch, & Johnson, A. Wentworth, T. Bedford, Christopher Scott, Conrad Steinhelber (all apostates) and a number from Washington Island . Two or three that prophesied to be saints apostatized & went off on said Steamer: they also threatened to take the Prophet dead or alive: but the saints began to gather to see what the uproar was about; and the Steamer set off for Mackinac. It was then counseled for Br. Strang to take the first Boat up the Lake to Voree. It was also advised, for others of the Saints such as the mob pretended to have warrants for to keep out of their way until the excitement was over,& until the prophet recovered his health, so he could prosecute our enemies, and bring them to justice according to law, even the law of the land.

“On the 28th the Prophet left the Island on the Propeller Louisville, with a number of brethren to take care of him. On the 30th several families left on board the Iowa for Voree and the adjacent country. On the 3d. of July the mob from Mackinac, made their appearance on the Island , having the Sheriff with them to arrest some of the chief men among the saints if they could be found; but they were directed by the Spirit to take care of themselves: and they left the Island without the help of mobs. The mob then gave notice to all the faithful Saints that they must leave the Island forthwith.

“And the saints were immediately forced upon the Piers, to await an opportunity of getting away.

“The conduct of the mob which consisted of about 60 ruffians, gathered from the regions round about; and the suffering of the Saints in consequence of the cruelty of the mob, is beyond the power of description. On the 8th of July the balance of the faithful left the Island on board the Steamer Buckeye State, (which was chartered by H. D. McCulloch for that purpose,) for the several Ports up the Lake . On the 9th of July the Prophet James died. He was buried by his friends, who deeply mourned the death of their Prophet & King. Thus ended the life of James the beloved of the Lord. He was 43, years, 3 months, and 18 day old. He bore his sufferings with great patience, & as far as we know as innocent as a lamb, and had patience like Job, & meeker than Moses, and the wisdom of Solomon. Since the days of Jesus Christ upon the earth, there has been none to excel him. He was carefully trained while under his parents; and after being called of God to obey the gospel, being initiated into the Church and Kingdom by the prophet Joseph, and ordained by Hyrum the Patriarch, he was careful in observing God’s law, and keeping his commandments, as man could be. He has translated the Book of the Law of the Lord, & caused it to be printed; which Law is to be kept by the Saints, until everlasting righteousness is brought in. The prophet was faithful unto his friends, & too merciful unto his enemies for his own safety.” (Ibid., pp. 37-44)

Lamentations of Apostle Warren Post

Apostle Warren Post lamented over the failure of the people to live by the law of God; and the consequent death of James. “Where is Zion ? When will she put on her beautiful garments? When will she be redeemed?

“Zion, and the Daughter of Zion, are words that often occur in the Scriptures. I have often pondered over those words, and fancied while reading of Zion, that it was some hallowed spot almost Celestial: sometimes Sion [a] small mountain, on which stands part of the Ancient City of Jerusalem, passes for this holy Zion. Zion when referred to as a place of gathering, signifies a place of righteousness. Often it means the pure in heart. According to prophecy ancient, and modern, America is the land of Zion; and was given by the Almighty to the Children of Joseph for an everlasting possession. Missouri is the State in which is found the center of Zion, and in Jackson County is the place that God designated as the very place where the Temple should be built, and the city around the Temple is called the New Jerusalem. God has declared it by the mouth of the prophet Joseph. Kirtland ( Ohio ) was appointed one of the Stakes of Zion, and was to be a strong hold for the Saints, for the span of five years. The prediction was fully verified: and then wickedness sprang up, where it ought not, and the prophet of God was voted out of the Temple . The Saints went from that place to Missouri , and remained but a few years, before they fell into divers sins, and God suffered them to be scourged; and driven from the State. Soon after another stake was appointed in Illinois called Nauvoo. There was a beautiful Temple built according to the pattern shown unto the prophet–but before the Temple was finished, the people again practiced divers sins,& the prophet was taken from them, and soon nearly all that were called saints, were expelled from Nauvoo, and went into a salt land, and not inhabited. From 1830, until 1844 the prophet led the people, until they became numerous, numbering nearly two hundred thousand souls: the people became vain in their imagination, and were lifted up in pride; and practiced their abominations; therefore the Lord caused them to be removed out of their place. Nine days previous to the death of Joseph, he appointed J. J. Strang as his successor. He also appointed Voree in Wisconsin as a city of refuge & place of peace and safety for the Saints. Soon after the administration of James commenced, there was another Stake appointed on Beaver Island, called the comer Stake of Zion. There the Kingdom of God was more fully organized in 1850, in the presence of four hundred witnesses. There we expected deliverance from oppression, and from all our enemies: there we receive the promise of everlasting inheritances. We hoped the prophet would continue with us, until the coming of the Son of God. The people again sinned and came short of the promises. On the 16th day of June 1856 the prophet was shot; but lived an example of patient sufferings until the 9th of July 1856 : making a period of 12 years that he presided over the Church.

“Has Zion yet put on her beautiful garments? Does her light now shine? Is there any King in her: Has she any lovers: Where are they?

“O Lord God thou knowest. Who hath known the mind of the Lord, and who hath been his counselors? How mysterious are his judgments. And his ways past finding out! Zion ’s lovers have nearly all forgotten her! She has become a hiss and a by word unto her enemies: Her children have forsaken her, and dwell among strangers. Her King is murdered, her Princes banished. Murderers can inherit King’s palaces, and vile apostates, possess Princes’ dwellings! How long before the time to favor Zion will come? When will she be clothed in her beautiful garments? Behold all joy is turned into mourning: the apparent light into darkness: the voice of joy and melody is no more heard in the streets, they that praised the Lord in the dance, have departed far from her!

“her Sabbaths are not kept,    “her feasts & offers neglected;

“and no more do we hear the voice of our King in her sanctuary, nor Apostles and high priests instructing the people on her sabbaths: no elders, priests, teachers, & deacons to comfort the saints, & strengthen the weak visit the sick, & comfort the afflicted.

“No more do we hear the Elders warning the Saints to flee out of babylon; to come out from among the ungodly & be clean, even all that bear the vessels of the Lord! Has the Lord utterly cast away his covenant people: even all that remained faithful to the words of the Prophet? O Lord forbid. For who would stand before thee? who could dwell in they presence? O Lord help us to walk in a straight way wherein we shall not stumble. We realize O Lord that thou wilt have a pure people to serve thee: thou canst not look upon sin with any allowance, where thou hast so often sought after, and entreated thy Saints, to hear thy word and obey. O Lord we learn from thy word, that thou didst cast off thy people in the days of old, because they would not listen to thy reproof, because they were unsteadfast and perfidious in thy covenants: because they despised thy counsel, & set at naught thy judgments. Thou changest not, thou art no respecter of persons. May we take heed unto thy word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul & spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart. O Lord help us to bring up our children in thy fear; so that our Sons may be like olive plants that have grown up in their youth; and our Daughters like chief comer stones, that are polished after the similitude of a palace. Zion will prosper when her children shall put away every strange god from among them; and love, and serve the living and true God. Covetousness and pride, jealousy, ambition, and lust; have caused divisions, & contentions among us; which things the Lord hates: for he has often told us by the mouths of his prophets; that except ye are one, ye are none of mine. God delights in being honored; but his holy name is every day blasphemed: God requires of his people; that the strong, should bear with weak; that they should help to bear each others burdens. But the strong have trodden down the weak, & have sorely oppressed them. God requireth that men should live by every word which proceedeth out of his mouth: but men cleave to their abominations, and indulge freely in the things which are forbidden. 0 Lord we have sinned, we have done wickedly: unto us belongeth shame and confusion of faces: whilst unto thee belongeth righteousness and peace forever.

“O God our Father, turn away thine anger from us, and remember once more the covenant, made with thy people! O Lord remember again the day that thou didst give the Kingdom unto thy saints, which is everlasting! Remember again the promises made unto our fathers, and suffer not strangers to rob us of the dominion; let fear take hold of our enemies; for behold their eyes have looked upon Zion in unrighteousness, they despise dominion, are not afraid to speak evil of dignities, they have shed innocent blood, they have robbed the widow, and the fatherless! Let sudden destruction come upon them, suffer them not to escape the vengeance of thy wrath, for they have despised thy Law. Even many that have known thy law, & home witness to its truth; have turned therefrom, and joined hands with the ungodly to drive thy saints from their inheritance.

“O Lord ’tis not for any righteousness which we have done, but for thy great names sake, and the promises made unto our fathers, that we desire to be delivered out of the hands of strange children, even those that thou hast already condemned.

“O Lord they have despised thy word, they have refused to obey thy gospel, they have killed thy Prophets, and Saints; they have persecuted thine Elders and servants, when sent with messages unto them: therefore I beseech thee O God, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to let fall thine indignation upon them . Suffer not the heathen to make derision of thy people, and utterly disregard the authority which thou hast conferred upon those that hold thy Priesthoods. Let such as thy saints have cursed, in righteousness; be accursed; and such as they have blessed, let them be blessed: Thou knowest O Lord that our desires have been to serve thee; notwithstanding in consequence of the weakness of the flesh, we have often strayed from thee. Bring us again into thy fold into the land of our inheritances. May we again hear the voice of the true Shepherd that will call us into thy fold. Grant that thy law may be written in our hearts, that it may be our chief delight to serve thee. Separate our sins as far from us, as the East is from the West, and let the light of truth shine forth in us, and the day star arise in our hearts. Let thy Holy Spirit lead us in thy ways: then we will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners will be converted unto thee.

“Now therefore hear thy servant O Lord when he maketh confession unto thee, and supplicateth thy name and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we will ascribe all praise, honor, glory, and dominion forevermore. Amen.” (Ibid., pp. 49-54)

No Successor, No Head

At the death of James only third degree Apostles remained. God did not call an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver to succeed James. James explained the only office that can succeed a Lawgiver at the head of the people is a second degree Apostle. Although such would not have authority to give commandments to the people, he could act in a Judicial and Administrative capacity.

“1. As Viceroy, this Priesthood is capable of ruling in place of a Lawgiver in matters of administration and judgment. If there was an interregnum in the Priesthood of Lawgiver, the oldest Apostle of this Degree, associated in the administration, or if none was associated, then the oldest in fact would stand at the head till the place was filled.

“2. Joshua succeeded Moses under this rule, having been ordained to only a part of Moses’ authority. (Num. xxvii, 18-23. Josh. I, 1, 2.) By that example Sidney Rigdon had a just claim, as against Brigham Young, to stand at the head, after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his Counsellor Hyrum. The only reason his claim was not absolutely valid was, that a successor was duly appointed and ordained.” (Book of the Law, p. 219)

Only third degree Apostles remained after the death of James. Apostle Chidester wrote to Apostle Post on August 3, 1856 : “In the first place we are without a head to our knowledge, in the flesh, our Prophet and King has been stricken down by the hands of wicked men… I suppose you understand there are two Priesthoods as well as myself, and in the Priesthood of an endless life two Orders, and that the Quorum of the Twelve are the third Degree of the First Order, and can only act under the direction of their superiors. The Twelve are without a President to their Quorum, and you speak of a meeting to consult about matters that concern us all. That is what Bro. Miller, Hickey, & myself were in favor of; but we were apposed, & no one authorized to take the lead, so we have concluded that the trial of the getting up such a meeting would be vain.” (Record of the Apostles of James, p. 33)

Apostle Post in his account of the murder of James told of the circumstances of the priesthood following his death. “We are now left without any higher in the Priesthood than the Quorum of the Twelve, (unless God retains Joseph the land in his calling.) He did not tell who should succeed him as the Chief Shepherd of the flock; neither did he instruct the Apostles as to their duty, any farther than to take the best care of their families they could, until it was shown them what to do. Some of the Twelve attempted to get up a conference on the 6th of October (same year) and but few attended, & there was not much done for the relief of the Church.”

“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 Zion , proposed a fast: and the last day of the year 1856 was kept by some of them as a day for fasting and prayer. The day was not kept, only by a few, for the people are determined to do what seemeth right in their own eyes. There were five of the Apostles, that met together (viz) L. D. Hickey, L. D. Tubbs, J Pearce, J. Hutchins, & W. Post on the 10th of Feb. 1857, in the wilderness 6 miles from Racine, and there prayed and communed with each other all night. We became satisfied, that the Twelve could not lead the Church without a Prophet; and concluded to take care of ourselves & families; and when occasion offered; minister to the necessities of the Saints, according to our abilities, until we have the word of the Lord to guide us on to other duties. This is truly a time of mourning, & fasting; for God has chastened us sorely for our sins,& we know not the extent of our sins, for God has not shown them unto us.

“The faithful among us are determined to wait upon the Lord, and trust in his Mercies: for his mercy endureth forever.” (Ibid., 44-46)

  1. D. Hickey was the last of the Twelve. He died on April 25, 1897 . All of the Apostles understood that the church was not organized without a Prophet; and that none could stand at the head. It is contrary to the laws of God for any person—other than members of the First Presidency—to attempt to govern and regulate the church independently without the supervision of the Presidency. The Twelve under Joseph were rebuked for making such an attempt.

James taught, “I am aware also that the Twelve claim in their first Apostolic letter after the death of Joseph to preside over and dictate all the affairs of the Church in all the world.

“This claim 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 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.” (Voree Herald, No. 1)

Wingfield Watson lived on Beaver Island at the time the saints were driven from the Island . He was ordained a High Priest by L. D. Hickey on April 18, 1897 —about a week before Hickey’s death. L. D. Hickey was authorized to ordain evangelical High Priests in large branches of the church according to revelation. “It is the duty of the Twelve, in all large branches of the church, to ordain evangelical ministers [High Priests], as they shall be designated unto them by revelation.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 107:39) This order generally passes from father to eligible son.

On April 14, 1919 , Watson wrote Milo M. Quaife, who was compiling a history of the Strangites, of the sad condition of the people in his day. “To be short, we have been through fire and through water through reproach and persecution, through the spoiling of our goods, and poverty, and exile and in peril amongst false brethren and apostates; and because of these things we have been compelled to search, and investigate as we never had done before, and have been well rewarded… But as you inquire how the organization under Mr. Strang has been kept up since his death, I can only say that this organization has not been well kept up, from the circumstances in which we were placed; for when Mr. Strang was taken from us, most of us were as little children suddenly left without father or mother… Where there was an Elder who remained faithful, he taught his children and grand children, and baptized them into the faith, and preached the gospel to his neighbors also and baptized any who were willing to receive the gospel. Besides the office of apostle there is also the office of High Priest and Elder, who holds the right to preach the gospel and administer its ordinances. It was not in the nature of things, to be expected that we could do a great work, for nearly all the men had families dependant upon them for support, and Mr. Strang’s last advice and counsel to us, was to let every man take care of himself and his family, and do the best he can until he is informed further what he shall do.”

Daughter of Zion Today

The sad condition of the priesthood remains today. Many followers of our great Prophet still opt for the will of man over the will of God. When the roll is called, only half of those in the kingdom will be found worthy to escape the desolation of the last days. “1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish… 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out… 11 Afterward came also the other [foolish] virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matt. 25)

As long as one person is left holding a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood, there is divine authority on the earth to preach and administer the saving ordinances of the gospel. The greatest opportunity ever given to man remains available—the approbation of eternal life. Man must always decide whether he prefers the will of God, His law, and the testimony of His holy prophets more than the teachings of man and the pleasures of the world.

When man strays from the will of God, he often follows the common sentiment of the day. Even errors, within a couple generations, become tradition. Opinions then guide those who trust in the arm of flesh. “Opinions, where we have the word of the Lord, are worth nothing. Since the days of the Savior, they have strangely divided men into almost as many sects, as the number of the name of the beast that John saw. All men have a right to their opinions, but to adopt them for rules of worship, is wrong, and may finally leave the souls of them that receive them for spiritual guides, in the Telestial kingdom.” (Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, p. 69)

Hope in eternity is dependent on faith and obedience in mortality. We have been instructed to study; and to prove all things according to the law of God and the testimony of His holy prophets. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)

Our hearts and minds must be as a little child—open and desiring to learn. Our faith must be as firm as the hardest rock; and built upon the rock of revelation. Our hearts must always be towards our God and our Savior; and seeking to do their will. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:36)

The choice to follow the will of God or the will of man has been offered to the people of God throughout many generations. “1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God… 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. 28) “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

Chapter Nine: JAMES J. STRANG: THE DELIVERER

James J. Strang was identified by God as a deliverer of both gentiles and the house of Israel.  His missions were first identified by Joseph Smith.  Even here the dual mission of James was addressed–one in the present and other in the future.  James knew from the beginning that his mission to the gentiles would fail.  Yet, he worked with every drop of energy he could muster in the hope that somehow it would not fail.

Prophecy identifies him establishing a refuge for the Gentiles and then losing his life, during his mission to the Gentiles. His second mission will be in power to deliver those few saints who survive the final desolation, gather the House of Israel, and stand as Judge and Destroyer to the nations of the world. A similar dual mission was given to Joseph (See The Evening and Morning Star, Vol. 1, No. 6) This dual role is noted in the Letter of Appointment, the Revelations of James, and the Book of the Law of the Lord. The failure of the Gentiles to live by the law of God brought the death of James and scattering of the people. Only a very few are prophesied to survive and be alive when Jesus returns (Isa. 1:8).

The covenant between God and the Gentile converts, like the one made under Moses, carried with it both blessings and curses. James first mission to the Gentiles included promises that were always conditioned with an “If.” Reference the Revelations of James. “5 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.” “…unto the faithful is this promise.” The “If” limitation exists at least thirty-seven times in the revelations of James.

It has been said that “if” is the longest word in the dictionary. For the Gentiles it became the most terrible word; because they would not. James wrote, “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.’

“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)

Revelations made to the house of Israel were given as unconditional promises. James J. Strang will be a Deliverer, Judge, and Destroyer, shortly before the dreadful day of the Lord. He will be a Deliverer to the very small remnant of the Gentiles and to the House of Israel.

“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 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.

“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. Go thy way, and be strong.” (Book of the Law, p. 171)

He will be a Judge and Destroyer of those disobedient to the laws of God. “13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion : for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.”  (Ibid., p. 203)

Bro. Strang evidently understood, during most of his mission, that the Gentile dispensation would fail. He taught that Micah 4 addressed him. “8 And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion , unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem .” Truly the first dominion of the last days was given through James, the “Tower of the Flock.” He was saddened by the events of the coming days; as the daughter of Zion was to lose her king and counselors and be scattered among the Gentiles. “9 Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counseller perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail.” There was hope for only a very small remnant, “10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.” The worthy are to be delivered; when James begins his next mission.

During his ordination to the office of elder, Bro. Hyrum Smith spoke, “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) Does this not, most likely, speak of the time when he gathers the House of Israel in Zion?

These prophesies closely relate to other revelations of events that are to transpire near the second coming of Christ. “14. 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.” (Ordination, Book of the Law, p. 171)

The vision of James on June 18, 1844 , when the prophet Joseph Smith wrote the letter of appointment, describes a time when the city of Voree would again be established as an inheritance for the saints. Bro. Strang’s revelations concerning the House of Israel during the last dispensation are promises. It obviously addresses the next dispensation and contains no “ifs.”

“1…and the lands round about were covered with many houses and gardens, and there were streets, and shops, and people; even a city of many inhabitants. And the city was built of stone, and there were few houses of brick and less of wood, and the gardens were many; and a few houses were very great, and their inhabitants many.

“2. There was a change in the vision, and the people with lively pace and smiling countenances thronged the streets and passed by.

“3. There was another change, and they were all assembled in a vast hall, and James J. Strang, surrounded by wise men and counsellors 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)

There was never a time in Voree during the mortal life of James when these events were realized. The people failed to gather, failed to build the house of God, and failed to build the Tower of Strength . There was never a time that there was “a vast hall” in which, “wise men and counsellors and priests and eloquent orators, arose and taught the people.” This is a promise to the house of Israel and not to the disobedient Gentiles.

The Letter of Appointment prophesied of two time periods. The first addressed the house of Israel and are promises without the “ifs.”   It begins, “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 Zion , and my servant Aaron shall be his counselor, for he hath wisdom in the gospel, and understandeth the doctrines, and erreth not therein.

“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.”

The Temple was never built, God did not “show myself to my people by many mighty works,” and during James first mission the gathering was moved. The Gentile people of Voree failed. The peace they could have enjoyed was lost.

The second section addressed James mission to the Gentiles and was conditioned with “ifs.” The blessings they could receive were clearly dependant upon obedience. “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.”

James’ Ordination on June 27, 1844 , beginning with verse 4, addresses a future dispensation to the house of Israel . The first three verses address his mortal life. “4. 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.

“5. 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.

“6. 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 teach.

“7. 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 receive it.

“8. 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 salvation.

“9. 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.

“10. 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.

“11. 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)

Similar language is used elsewhere to describe the final gathering of Zion. When the words of the ordination are read in their proper context, it is apparent that the time addressed is near the second coming of Christ.

Compare this refuge, gathering, and deliverance to that spoken of in other places. “Here shall the house of Manasseh and the house of Ephraim and the Gentiles build a house unto me, and bow down to me therein. For the sons of Jacob shall lay the foundations thereof, and therein shall they worship their God. And to this house shall the thousands of the house of Israel come, when the ice melts at the north. And there shall they meet their brethren in peace, and God shall be in the midst of them.” (Revelation of James, August 25, 1846)

The Revelation of James, January 17, 1845 , was given to the Gentiles and was conditional. Verse 2, begins with an absolute command, “Let all the saints humble themselves before me, and obey my commandments.” Verse 3, continues, “I will reward the faithful.” Verse 4: “those whose hearts are set for gain…have they their reward.” Verse 5: “The reward of the righteous is with me.” Verse 6: “I require of all who have received the priesthood.” Verse 7: “Yea, verily, and the reward of the faithful is with me.” Verse 9: “I will remember you in mercy and in blessings if ye serve me.”

The Revelation of James, September 1, 1845 , repeats the warning of obedience. “…those to whom I have revealed myself, let them hearken unto me now lest they be cast off in the day of my indignation.” “He that rejecteth them, will I reject when I come in my kingdom.” These warnings should be enough to bring an icy chill to any who believes in the works of James.

The Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito has not been fulfilled. It will be realized, “when the flock disown the Shepherd and build not on the Rock.” This obviously refers to the Gentiles; when they “perceive not the light” and “turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men” “and in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 45:29, 30) The Gentiles had an opportunity to inherit this blessing; but they would not. “…if ye do all these things, dominion shall be given unto you, and Daniel the prophet shall proclaim the kingdom of your God, and shall call forth the saints to possess it.” (Revelation, July 1, 1846) The Gentiles failed. The fullness of the gospel will restored to God’s chosen people; and they will inherit the blessing.

“The escaped of my people there shall dwell.” In the Letter of Appointment Joseph Smith prophesied of the future city of Voree, “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.” James will have a role in the establishment of this future city.

The Revelation of James, July 1, 1846 , was given almost entirely to the Gentiles. Only Verse 2, spoke of a time to come, “if he fails not of his meekness, and obeys my commandments, and remembers to keep all my precepts, I will lift up his head to redeem the oppressed, and to give comfort to the poor among all people. Upon thrones shall he sit, and the scepter shall be in his hand, and he shall lift up an ensign to all the earth.”

It is full of the most strict commands and conditions to the Gentiles. In verse 7, “if my people will build a house unto me according to my commandments, and will not be slothful therein, but will make speed to build, then will I endow them, even so many as are faithful and obey me and hearken to my words and to the words of my servants whom I have appointed to be their leaders. But to the disobedient and rebellious will I not give power.”

Verse 8: “whosoever will not abide the preparation faithfully, shall not be blessed… shall receive of the wrath of God.”

This house of God was a work for trying the people. Verse 9: “Therefore is the blessing withheld till they humble themselves, and hearken to the voice of truth.

This house on the Hill of Promise, “is the beginning of the preparation whereby the poor may be exalted, and the oppressed lifted up, and all my servants made equal in their temporal things; for unless they be one in their temporal things, the fullness of my Spirit shall be withheld from them.”

Verse 11: offered a blessing for building the tower of strength. “if ye do all these things, dominion shall be given unto you, and Daniel the prophet shall proclaim the kingdom of your God, and shall call forth the saints to possess it.”

The last four verses warned of evil spirits that had gone forth among the people. It held an equally ominous warning, “unless ye do these things, ye cannot receive the blessings.”

The Revelation and Vision of James and on August 25, 1846 , primarily addressed a future time and the gathering of the sons of Joseph and Jacob.   It speaks of, “where the air was pure and serene, with unfading foliage,” and “fruits every month.” This could only be at a time when the earth becomes tropical again with the restoration of all things. Contemplate the magnificence, “2 here shall God establish his people, even the sons of Joseph, on an everlasting foundation; and from hence shall the gospel of the kingdom go unto the tribes, and they shall not any more be despised.”

“4 upon this land where thou standest shall the gospel of the kingdom be established among the Lamanites… “5 And here shall the Lamanites come to learn the law of the Lord their God… 6 the Lord might show thee what he will do hereafter… And to this house shall the thousands of the house of Israel come… 7 when the children of the household of faith have peace, then thou shalt go there and minister in the work of the Lord thy God… 8 And their possession shall become as a paradise, yielding fruits every month, and the strength of Zion shall be there to do the work of the Lord, to work deliverance to the captive and judgments upon the ungodly, in the day of the Lord… 6 Here shall the house of Manasseh and the house of Ephraim and the Gentiles build a house unto me, and bow down to me therein. For the sons of Jacob shall lay the foundation thereof, and therein shall they worship their God. And to this house shall the thousands of the house of Israel come, when the ice melts in the north. And there shall they meet their brethren in peace, and God shall be in the midst of them.”

Verse 3 stands alone to the Gentiles, “if this people will turn unto him, and repent of all their evil deeds, and no more slay the prophets…” James was told that during the Gentile dispensation, “shalt thou begin this work.” He was to complete the work when the harvest dispensation to the house of Israel is opened. “While the day of the wicked abideth, shalt thou prepare a refuge for the oppressed and for the poor and the 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.” (Ordination of James, Book of the Law, p. 171)

The Revelation of James on January 7, 1849 , was given to the Gentiles. It, again, is filled with the most dreadful warnings. “1 Behold, ye shall be one; and if ye are not one, ye are none of mine… Ye are cursed; ye are confounded, because ye have many tongues… 3 Ye have broken my commandments, and despised mine authority, and my precepts have been to you a vain thing… 5 If ye will therefore possess these things, remember my law, to keep it… It is a vain thing for you to witness my word, if ye will not regard it, to live by it… 6 I will yet bless them, and will give them the kingdom, if they abide in well doing… 7 Whosoever will not do it, shall not enter into the house of the Lord… 9 If they are faithful unto me, my strength shall shield them and prosper them… 10 if they do not walk in my ways more perfectly, I will yet cast them off… 11 Remember that all that ye possess is mine… 12 ye shall console and strengthen one another… 15 And I have a great work for him [James] to do, and with speed shall he do it, if ye uphold him in faith and confidence and prayer… 18 my servants the Apostles have not filled their mission in preaching my gospel to the nations of the earth, but have betaken themselves to their own work… 19 For your enemies shall be upon you, and ye shall flee before them, if ye turn not to me to be faithful.”

The Book of the Law offers more prophecy on the dominion of James during the next dispensation to the house of Israel . “Establishment of the Law” is a revelation given through James in Feb., 1851. This chapter clearly addresses a future time. “1. FEAR not, little flock, for your Father, in his good pleasure, hath given you the Kingdom; the dominion is yours forever; ye shall smite the nations with a continual stroke; for the Lord your God hath spoken it: ye shall break them in pieces, and destroy them; for the day of his vengeance has come.”

“2. He hath judged the nations that are near, and decreed destruction upon them, and their day continueth not: the nations far away are covered with their abominations as with a garment: their iniquities are not hid: he will not spare them.

“3. The Saints of the former days have sat in judgment upon them; they have judged the earth, and the nations thereof shall not be spared; fire goeth before: famine followeth after; and the pestilence shall waste them.”

“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: for Judah shall be bent, in his strength; as an arrow, Ephraim shall fill him: Manasseh shall be his barb; and Jacob shall be in the midst of the Gentiles, in the empire of nations, as a Lion among the beasts of the forest; as a young Lion in the flocks of sheep, who, when he goeth through, treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none shall deliver.”

The rest of the chapter refers to events yet future, “5 Let your fear be upon all men… 6 he shall gather them as sheaves of the floor… 7 Arise and thrash… 8 Babylon the Great shall perish… 10 Let not her days be prolonged… 11 For by this Law shall men be judged in the portion of Joseph… 13 speak of this Law to your neighbors, and to your wives, and to your children, and to your servants… 15 For by this Law hath the Lord your God sanctified you, and given you judgment, and justice, and dominion.”

“16 Keep, therefore, this Law, and obey these Commandments; for so doth God sanctify you, and so will he establish you, and prosper you, more abundantly than in former days. The land of Joseph shall ye possess forever, and Israel and Judah shall dwell again upon their own mountains.

“17 Your vineyards, your gardens, and your orchards, ye shall plant again, and they shall flourish, and ye shall eat the fruit thereof: ye shall build houses, and shall inhabit them; and children’s children shall be in them, for a crown of glory to you, if ye remember the Lord your God, whose name is great and glorious, and keep his statutes.”

The next dispensation, to the house of Israel, will be one of dominion, power, and judgment. “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen [“goi,” also translated gentile]: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (Obad. 1)

Throughout the revelations and prophecies of James there were no unconditional promises to the Gentiles. Promises to the Gentiles were always conditioned with an “if.” The Lord told James on January 17, 1845 , “9. Be ye faithful, O ye children of the kingdom, for this is the covenant between me and you. I will remember you in mercy and in blessings IF ye serve me. And this will I do. Behold I the Lord have spoken it. I will give unto my servant James the plates of the book that was sealed, that he may translate them for you. Yea, unto the faithful is this promise. Serve and obey me, and I will give unto him the plates of the ancient records which are sealed up, and he shall translate them unto you; and this shall be a witness between me and those that serve me; and unto my servants who serve me faithfully, yea, unto whom I will, shall he show the plates, and they shall be faithful witnesses unto me, and thus shall my words be established. (Voree Herald, August, 1846, p. 33)

The prophecies and revelations of James relating to the house of Israel were given as absolute promises. Voree and the islands of the Great Lakes will again be gathering places. “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)

The final dispensation will be unlike all former dispensations. It will be a harvest dispensation, a gathering of all righteous things in heaven and on earth. It will be administered in power, judgment, and destruction. Many of those who labor in this last dispensation will have been resurrected. Enoch and Elijah will return about three and a half years prior to Christ’s second coming. John the Revelator is to return. How many translated persons, besides the city of Enoch, that are to return are not known. When Jesus returns, He will bring many saints that have been resurrected; and raise others from their graves.

The Book of Mormon and the Book of the Law shall be in the hands of the seed of Joseph and Judah. “and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)

Judah, Israel, and Joseph will all be gathered. James will stand, again, as King in Zion. He will hold a rod of iron. “11 For by this law shall men be judged in the portion of Joseph: God will give it to you, that you may possess it for an everlasting dominion.” (Book of the Law, p. 205)

The prophecy concerning the seed of Joseph in 2 Nephi 3 and in The Evening and Morming Star, Vol. 1, No. 6, may also indicate that Joseph will return to rule with James; and take the gospel to the remnant of Joseph. “But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of they loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins; and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.” Bro. Joseph’s first mission only realized the first, “bring forth my word.” The “convincing them of my word” has not yet been realized. The dual mission was to: (1) bring forth my word, and (2) convincing them of my word. Another interesting note is that the second mission was not to be realized for some period of time after the first; as the prophecy notes, “which shall have already gone forth among them.” “And his name shall be called after me [Joseph]; and it shall be after the name of his father.” Joseph fulfilled both requirements and taught that this prophecy addressed him.

When you read prophecy of the last days, read with the understanding that many of the laborers will be fulfilling a mission began in mortal life. The house of God in the last days is not the house of the Gentiles. It is the house of Israel . “70 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few. 71 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come. 72 And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things. 73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof. 74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.” (Jacob 5)

It is a day of sadness and of fearful contemplation of our condition. There is none without sin. Those who die unrepentant have no hope of eternal life. A day should never end without making every effort to save ourselves and our friends. “For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 35:8) If we cannot understand our time and season, we have no claim as believers. “…what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem ? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?” (Lam. 2:13)

The revelations of James addressed Gentile promises only as opportunities; which were conditioned with an “if.” There is hope for those that love God, honor Jesus, obey the gospel, and remain faithful and obedient to the laws of God. Many of his revelations were prophesies of a time when the house of Israel will again rule. A very small remnant of the daughter of Zion is to be delivered. Consider the beauty in the revelation that was given to James on August 25, 1846 , concerning Beaver Island . The time when “the air was pure and serene,” there was “unfading foliage,” when the Indians “gathered in assemblies,” and “their possession shall become as a paradise, yielding fruits every month.” This promise was not realized during the mortal life of James. There is only one “if” in this revelation/vision. It is found in verse 3 addressing the Gentiles, “if this people will turn unto him, and repent of all their evil deeds, and no more slay the prophets.” Bro. Strang sealed this opportunity with his blood. By violating the law of God, the Gentiles are promised the curses.

Soon, James will return, the worthy will be gathered to a place of safety, and the destruction of the ungodly will begin. The five wise virgins will enter the door into the marriage supper (Matt. 25 addresses this generation).