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Intro to Gospel Tangents (Part 1 of 5)

John Larsen of the Sunstone podcast sat down in August 2019 to learn more about Rick Bennett of the Gospel Tangents podcast.

John:  Gospel Tangents started a couple years ago, so what is this podcast?

Rick:  So, I don’t know if I should admit this, but honestly I enjoyed your podcast Mormon Expression. I’ve enjoyed Mormon Stories. I just thought, you know what? I want to dip my toe in here and I kind of want to talk to people from all different perspectives, whether they’re believers, non-believers, former Mormons, and I get a wide range of people. I just like to expose people to a lot of different ideas. I don’t always agree with my guests. They don’t always agree with me, and that’s fine. But, in the month of June, [2019] just to give kind of a variety of people, I talked with Dan Vogel, who was very….

John:  [An] amazing mind.

Rick:  Amazing mind, he’s an ex-Mormon.

John:  He’s an expert on Joseph Smith.

Rick:  Then, in the middle of the month I talked to Jana Riess and Benjamin Knoll ,who are more on the progressive side.

John:  They’re progressive and, of course, Jana Riess writes for, well several outlets but she does a lot of current research into Mormonism and exposes that on national basis.

Rick:  And then I ended the month with Elder Snow of the Quorum of the Seventy. I guess he doesn’t get officially released till October [2019.] So I ended up with a General Authority and an ex-Mormon and a progressive Mormon, which is kind of a good in one month. I mean, I pretty much covered the gamut there.  I’ll talk to polygamists. I will talk to, Brian Hales, Ugo Perego, Simon Southerton. I’m trying to cover all the bases. I don’t care if you’re just LDS Mormon, I want to cover, I want to talk about Community of Christ. I’ve talked with John Hamer and he’s a Seventy in the Community of Christ now, and Lachlin MacKay who’s an apostle. I’ve just recently, although I haven’t released it yet, talked to another Apostle and Seventy from a polygamous group, Christ’s Church, the Righteous Branch, they call themselves. I really tried to cover all my bases. I’ve got an upcoming–a couple of interviews with a couple of never-Mormons. Larry Foster and Quincy Newell are both professors.  One’s at Georgia Tech and the other one’s at Hamilton College in New York. So, really trying to just cover Mormon history from every possible angle you can.

John:  Well, and again, I have to congratulate you because you’re pulling off what’s really difficult to do. The Mormon Studies world tends to get polarized very quickly and gets into camps. Those camps tend not to talk to each other. They oftentimes will behind the scenes a lot more than they will, but there’s public reticence on both sides, for, let’s say critics and ex-Mormons to engage in anything they think might be in the least bit faith promoting.  And on the other side, to avoid the taint of sounding like you’re talking to apostates or associating with those who are enemies to the kingdom or whatever.

Do you like the variety of guests on my podcasts?  Would you like to give me any feedback?  Here is a reminder. If you want to hear the entire interview uncut, become a patron for at least $5/month at https://Patreon.com/GospelTangents

 

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“The Other Mormons” – Intro to James Strang (Part 1 of 6)

Bill Shepard is an amazing Mormon historian, and a former president of the John Whitmer Historical Association.  He is also a Strangite.  In our first conversation with Bill, we will get acquainted with him, and learn more about these other Mormons, & James Strang, a prophet many of you may not have heard of.

GT  0:46  Welcome to Gospel Tangents. I’m excited to have an amazing historian and I’m going to start this a little bit differently. But, first of all, could you tell us who you are?

Bill  0:55  Bill Shepard, I’m a life-long Strangite. Maybe more importantly, I’m a historian.

GT  1:03  Yes. You were the president of the John Whitmer Historical Association.

Bill  1:07  In 2008, yes. We had John Whitmer [Conference] at Voree, Wisconsin or Burlington, Wisconsin. We had a nice turnout of people, including Mike Quinn and Roger Launius.

GT  1:19  So, you’ve been doing this for a long time. You’ve got a really awesome book. Do you want to show the camera? Your book was published in 1977![1]

Bill  1:30  This was basically intended to get out the positive things about James J. Strang and his teachings. It basically [tells] why the other Mormons sects are not correct. So if I would redo it, I would redo it a lot more professionally at this point in time. But it does have the positive things showing James J. Strang’s teachings. I think they’re quite significant.

GT  2:08  Well, let’s do a few things here. I don’t normally do this but tell me the name of your church because I think a lot of my listeners will be very surprised to hear the name of your church.

Bill  2:20  It’s actually the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). We had to put the appendage on. We couldn’t use the term Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for obvious reasons.

GT  2:37  In fact, I think the only difference between your church name and my church name is I have a lowercase d, and you’ve got a capital D with no hyphen.

Bill  2:46  Right.

GT  2:47  We have a hyphen, lowercase. So that’s pretty funny. So would you call yourself a Mormon?

Bill  2:53  Oh, very definitely. We are asked many times, just like the LDS Church or Utah Mormons are asked, “Are you Christians?” [We have the] same problem, same identification, same basic goals. Strangites accept Joseph Smith certainly. They break, of course, with the transition to the Twelve Apostles into Brigham Young. So there was a critical period there when Joseph Smith died in that the Brighamite church did not have a prophet. Now the Strangites claimed that an angel had appeared to [James J. Strang] at the time that Joseph Smith was martyred and ordained him to be a prophet. It’s interesting to think that in this early period, the Strangites had a song by John Hardy. It wasn’t theirs, but it was “A Church Without a Prophet is not a church for me.”

GT  4:10  Oh, wow.

Bill  4:12  Of course, at that point in time until the 27th of December, 1847 the Brighamite church reorganized with Brigham Young as a prophet as their head.

[1] The book is called “James J. Strang:  Teachings of a Mormon Prophet.”  It is out of print and can be hard to find at a reasonable price.

We will learn more about Strangite beliefs.  Check out our conversation…

Historian Bill Shepard is former president of John Whitmer Historical Association and a Strangite.

Dont Miss our other conversations about Strangites with John Hamer, Michael Quinn, and Steve Shields!

227: Conspiracy Theories:  William Smith, Samuel Smith, James Strang (Shields)

188: Translation by Joseph Smith & James Strang (Quinn)

118:  Mormon Followers of the Prophet James Strang (MacKay & Hamer)

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Bonus Episode on Sunstone Podcast

I would always rather ask the questions than answer them, but I had a fun conversation with John Larsen of the Sunstone Podcast. We talk about various topics in Church History! And for those of you who think my podcasts are too short, this one is about 70 minutes!  Check it out! https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/sunstone-podcast/episode-32-too-interesting-Hn2GTWuaYA_/