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Conspiracy Theories: Sam Smith, William Smith, James Strang (Part 4)

Steve Shields and I discuss the conspiracy theories against William & Sam Smith following the death of Joseph & Hyrum.

Following the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, brother Samuel died within a month.  Was Samuel poisoned?

Steve:  You know, conspiracy theorists. Okay, fine. Was he poisoned deliberately? Who knows? There’s no way to know. The typical story had been that he, was [ill with] was it pneumonia or cholera or, I can’t remember what. In those days, in the Midwest, in the summer months, you had malaria, you had typhus, you had cholera. I mean, that stuff was rampant. Their food sanitation was different from what we would have today. It could’ve been any number of things, I think. There’s no way to ever know for sure now, even if we were to exhume his remains, there’s not enough left to do any of that kind of study, probably. Was he poisoned deliberately by somebody? Well, it could be, but why? Maybe I have a different view of Brigham young and his colleagues than some, I’m not willing to just write Brigham Young off and call him an evil, you know, usurper.

Were people out to kill the other prophet’s brother William?

GT:  Back to William Smith. So he came to Nauvoo [in] September of 1844.

Steve:   By the end of August, early September, he was back in Nauvoo, I’m pretty sure.

GT:  And Brigham ordained him as patriarch.

Steve: He was called as patriarch and I presume they ordained him. I don’t know, because I’m not sure that all that ritual stuff had really been solidified at that early time. I don’t know. Today, of course we would always do that. Did they need to? He was already an apostle. Maybe he just needed to be designated that. I don’t know.

What about James Strang?

Steve:  Within weeks of affiliating, William Smith was disaffiliated, and that was before Strang ever got involved, ever publicly announced polygamy. I’m not sure when he [William] got involved in it. Somebody knows those dates, I just can’t remember them.

William Smith was there long enough to write this hymn that was published in Strang’s paper at Voree, which is near Burlington, Wisconsin. Actually, it’s now part of the city limits, but it [the hymn] was an ode to Voree, and it has something like 15 verses.

Check out our conversation…

Here’s the first 3 parts with Steve Shields!

226: Sidney’s Unsung Role in Restoration (Shields)

225: Steve’s Shields Own Divergent Path

224: Who Owns the Temple Lot? (Shields)

2 thoughts on “Conspiracy Theories: Sam Smith, William Smith, James Strang (Part 4)

  1. Joseph III was in the running, but too young to take over the church and be a threat to Brigham Young at that time, and Brigham had high hopes that he could at some point persuade Joseph III to join him, which would solidify his power among the eastern saints. That PROTECTED Joseph III and his mother. So the idea that the fact that they weren’t killed means that Samuel wasn’t doesn’t float. The Brighamites tried very hard to get Joseph III to join them and it would have been a massive boost for them because he was expected to one day lead by most of the saints, and Brigham initially rose to leadership promoting himself as a placeholder, not a prophet.

  2. Samuel West’s branch of the Strangite church is the largest, with a mission in Africa of several thousand saints. They are publishing The Book of the Law of the Lord in native languages.

    William Smith joined with Strang initially in his role as Apostle, but on June 11, 1846, he was ordained to the office of Patriarch, as was his right by lineage. On October 8, 1847, having failed to appear to his trial, he was found guilty of Adultery in absentia and excommunicated. There were several excommunicated at that time for practicing the Spiritual Wife system or polygamy. This was before Strang received the revelation allowing polygamy according to the Book of the Law.

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