Posted on Leave a comment

Strangite Teachings about Jesus (Part 5 of 6)

Most Christians believe that God, not Joseph, is the biological father of Jesus.  I was surprised to learn that Strangites break with most Christians on this important point.  Historian Bill Shepard will tell us more about Strangite beliefs about Jesus.

GT:  I remember reading in your book that Strangites believe that God has a body of flesh and bone.

Bill:  That’s right.

GT:  So that would be very similar with the Utah church, in that regard.

Bill:  Yeah, it’d be similar, particularly with The Lectures on Faith, the first and sixth Lectures on Faith.

GT:  It’s interesting that you say that because I remember when I read Lectures on Faith, it seemed very Trinitarian to me.

Bill  60:14  I think it was, but it was saying that God cannot change. Where the difference would be, the Brighamites, with the eternal progression–I’m not shooting at Brighamites. I’m just saying that that the idea comes in that God can change.  There can be evolution in God, where the Strangites, of course, would be so strongly different is that God cannot change.

GT:  Okay.  So let’s move on to Jesus, because what you said, I think it is a very different belief with regards to Jesus.  Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, like the literal son, not [the son of] Mary and God.

Bill:  Yeah. That’s right.

GT:  I think that’s really surprising to people.

Bill:  The idea of the immaculate conception, Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin shall conceive and bear a child and it shall be [called Immanuel].”  So this idea is rejected. That prophecy is fulfilled. It was given to Ahaz and it was fulfilled at that time, and it was plucked out by the evolving Christian Church to make Christ more palatable to people who believed in virgin birth. So Strang is going to teach that Jesus…I think there’s a lot we don’t understand or maybe I don’t understand, but that Jesus is born in the natural way. Whether it was through administered by angels or something, but he is going to realize that, as he is evolving, that he is special. The Book of the Law is going to say that, during this period, that Jesus was wholly harmless, and without sin.  He never stepped aside once from the path of rectitude to do a single evil deed.  Jesus would never do anything to imperil his brethren and so forth like this. We believe that Jesus is caught up by the angel, taken into the wilderness, the 40 days, the 40 nights. We believe that he is ordained by an angel.  We don’t know when, but that when he comes out of the wilderness, he is armed. He is a first-degree law-giver prophet, or the prophet. He is not God. He is armed with the priesthood and through the power of the priesthood, and his immaculate good works. Again, the phrase the Strangites like to use is wholly harmless, and without sin. He is never stepping aside from the path of rectitude to do a single evil deed.  Christ maintained this sinless mortal life. Because he was able to maintain this with total allegiance to God, the relationship that he never seemingly took [upon himself], he gave the credit to God. So anyway, at the Mount of Transfiguration, the Strangites believe and it talks when Peter, James and John go to a high mountain apart, they believe that God appeared, himself, and ordained him.

GT: Ordained Jesus?

Bill:  [The angels] ordained Jesus to be the Son of God. He is elevated by the power of the priesthood. We say Jesus did not have his full power at that time. Strangites would say that it is only after he is resurrected, the only person Christ would resurrect. With the resurrection, Jesus is going to say to various people that he is now perfected, because he has the keys of death and hell. So he came by this on his total faith that he would be resurrected. They believe that the person that appeared to Peter and the other people and the ladies and so forth, that this was, indeed the Son of God.

Check out our conversation…

Strangites don’t believe in the Immaculate Conception. James Strang taught Jesus had human parents like everyone else.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Bill!

400: Martyrdom of James Strang (Shepard)

399: Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator (Shepard)

398: Strang’s Mormon Missions (Shepard)

397: “The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang

Posted on Leave a comment

Martyrdom of James Strang (Part 4 of 6)

Both Joseph Smith and James Strang died in a hail of bullets.  In our next conversation with historian Bill Shepard, we will learn more about the martyrdom of James Strang.

GT: So he’s on Beaver Island. He creates a lot of political enemies and I guess religious as well.

Bill: Not only that, there’s Alexander Wood Wentworth and Thomas Bedford, two obviously ex- Mormons. One of them, with the strict laws that the Strangites tried to enforce, there was a case of adultery.  The grieved man testified.  So, this seducer is whipped. Of course, he hated Strang for that. There was a merchant, an ex-Mormon by name of McCullough on Beaver Island, and we think that McCullough was in league with the United States government with the steamship Michigan.  It is going to steam into the port.  Strang is going to be a his home and they’re going to say, “They want you on the dock,” and he’s going to walk down to the dock and Wentworth and Bedford are going to jump out behind him and shoot him down. Particularly, one ball goes clear up near his skull and he is mortally wounded at this time. Bedford and Wentworth are going to run down to the ship, and the ship’s going to take them out of there. They’re going to take them to Mackinaw and put them in jail, I think for just a couple minutes.  They’re going to come out and celebrate. These two fellows are never, never brought to justice for what they did.  They were greeted as heroes among the non-Mormons. It looks like there is some kind of an evil cabal or something with some elements of the government because of the role of the steamship coming in the United States.

Bill:  It was a navy ship, right?  U.S. Navy?

Bill:  Yeah. So, whatever the course, a man I know a lot about and have written about is through Wingfield Watson, a settler that lives six miles inside the island with his wife, with his homestead.  He had a son and a daughter about one, and then an infant. So these people that ransack the island, basically, as the books seem to indicate, drunken Irishmen, these people that are on the fringes of law.  They come to this Wingfield Watson’s house and they say, “You have an hour to get your stuff and get out.  Take what you can carry.” So this is repeated all over the island. But these people six miles inside, it’s really a hard trip. Once a lot of people take their goods down to the pier or the dock just so they could take them with them, and, of course, they’re confiscated.  So the Mormons are stuck on these ships, penniless. It’s really heartfelt. Here’s the Watson family. They have a young boy, but they have a year old and they have an infant, walking six miles and carrying the kids. It is really a tragedy to the Strangites, and many Strangites are going to say, “Enough.”

Followers of James Strang were persecuted unmercifully.  Check out our conversation…

James Strang was shot and his murderers escaped on a U.S. Navy ship.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Bill Shepard!

399: Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator

398: Strang’s Mormon Missions

397: “The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang

Posted on 1 Comment

Strang’s Prophetic Role as Translator (Part 3 of 6)

Joseph Smith translated golden plates that became the Book of Mormon at the start of his call as prophet.  It turns out that James Strang also was a translator.  He translated plates at the beginning of his call as prophet.  These are known as the Voree Plates.  Historian Bill Shepard will tell us more about these plates, as well as other Strangite scriptures.

Bill:  So right off the bat, James J Strang is going to claim that an angel appeared to him and said that there are sealed plates on this prominent hill in Voree or in Burlington, the outskirts. So he is going to get his witnesses.  I’m not sure how many were even Mormons.

GT:  Some of them were non-Mormons.

Bill:  Right.  So they go and they dig under an oak tree and they said that the branches were sealed around these brass plates and so forth. They testify to this. A man named [Samuel W. Soule] and [Christopher Latham], who invented the typewriter, was in Kenosha, Wisconsin and he came out as a newspaper…

GT:  The QWERTY typewriter that we still use today, right?

Bill:  Yeah, the old one. He came out and even he testified.  He says, “This appears to not be a humbug.”   So, again, primitive Mormonism, because James Strang is going to claim angelic ordination and having the urim and thummim.  He is going to translate plates that people saw widely.

GT:  So was it the Voree plates, were those the first things he translated?

Bill:  Yes. These were important in that it’s very believable about a race of people that are on their last legs and they’re going to be destroyed and they’re going to hide their records–seal up the records until they are translated in the future. So this was an important thing: Again, primitive Mormonism.

GT:  So what about the Book of The Law of Lord? I know that was another book of Scripture that you guys use. When was that translated and how did that come about?

Bill:  James is going to say that an angel appeared to him and told him of the plates, the sealed record.

GT:  The Plates of Laban in the Book of Mormon.

Bill:  Yes, and that they are delivered the hand that he translates them which is certainly doctrine used by the Strangites today as looked on as one of the lost books of the Bible, if you will. Again, primitive Mormonism.

What do you think of Strang’s translation abilities?  Does it help you see people’s skepticism of Joseph Smith?  Check out our conversation…

James Strang translated the Voree Plates and the Book of the Law of the Lord.

Don’t miss out other conversations with Bill!

398: Strang’s Mormon Missions

397: “The Other Mormons”-Intro to James Strang