Following James Strang’s prophetic call, he sought to gather people to his movement. Strang’s Mormon missions included trips to Kirtland, Ohio, home of the temple, and he tried to gather people to Wisconsin as the new promised land. Historian Bill Shepard will describe more about these missions by James Strang.
Bill: Strang is going to go to Kirtland, I think in September of 1846. They’re going to sweep Kirtland. The people are going to join him. They established a High Council of Presidency over there. Strang has keys to the temple, and so everything looks rosy.
GT: Oh, wow. So he was really making inroads in Kirtland.
Bill: Yes, in Kirtland and in the east, wherever he would go. [For] the Mormons, this fit the bill, because this was primitive Mormonism. Strang, in my view, unwisely dealt with some people that had been malcontents in Joseph’s church which was disastrous for his cause: John C. Bennett, William E. McLellin, George J. Adams, William Smith. So, in retrospect I would think he would look back and say, “Oh, why did I do this?”
GT: Martin Harris, didn’t he join with Strang for a while?
Bill: That triumphant mission of Strang out east, the three witnesses and most of the eight witnesses–now I realize that some of them would be dead–but they acknowledged Strang. They acknowledged him. So for a brief instant, and I would say it’s very short, Strang is going to make these grandiose [claims.] He is attracting a lot of people.
GT: People who didn’t like Brigham Young and polygamy.
Bill: Right. Exactly, and secret societies. Any of that. Many of them do not gather out to Voree, however. They choose to give their allegiance from a distance. Several things happened. One thing happened, I look at the picture, and the person did him the most damage was William E. McLellin. William E. McClellan had been cut off in 1837.
Were you aware of Strang’s early missionary successes? Check out our conversation…