Joseph Smith and Bobby Kennedy were both killed while running for president of the United States. Dr. Derek Sainsbury tells us more about these two men, and I was surprised to hear about their surprising similarity.
GT: I mean, I think the closest modern day equivalent is probably Bobby Kennedy.
Derek: Yeah. In fact, that’s the next book I’m already writing is a comparison between those two.
GT: Oh really? Oh, wow. That’ll be interesting.
Derek: Because he’s the only other candidate in the history of the United States–
GT: [George] Wallace got shot I guess.
Derek: Shot but not killed. Yeah.
GT: Oh, really? So those are the only two people that have been killed is Joseph Smith and Bobby Kennedy?
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Historian Dan Vogel said the Book of Mormon was very anti-masonic in one of my previous interviews with him. Cheryl Bruno disagreed with that notion, saying the Book of Mormon was anti-spurious masonry. I asked Clair Barrus to weigh in on this issue. What does he think?
Clair: There are two forms of masonry, according to George Oliver, who has some fascinating parallels with what Joseph Smith’s Mormonism, in that there’s a spurious masonry, and then there’s pure masonry. The story goes clear back to the time of Adam. Well, God is the original Mason, and he architects the universe, and then he creates Adam.
GT: So this is a Masonic tale that you’re telling me, right?
Clair: This is a Masonic tale, yes. Then he creates Adam and then he tells Adam the true Word, the ineffable word, which is kind of the secretive name of God. He tells Adam, the word. It’s called in masonry, the word or the ineffable word. Then Adam passes that down, almost kind of like priesthood. He passes it down through his genealogical lines. It goes clear down to the time of Solomon and they end up with it and then and then they lose it. Long story short, the keeper of the word gets murdered and they lose the word and it’s lost. We’ll talk about this word here in a bit. But Cain breaks off and creates a spurious, evil, bad, misappropriated masonry, and he starts this line of adulterated masonry, spurious masonry, if I understand it, right. I’m oversimplifying, and I hope Cheryl’s not shaking her head, going, “Oh man, Clair’s kind of got it right.” But, this is not my area of expertise.
GT: When we post this, she can weigh in on it.
Clair: She can weigh in on it, yes. But that’s generally speaking, correct. So now you go to the story of William Morgan, 1826. He is going to publish an exposé of masonry. The masons supposedly freak out. William Morgan goes to jail in Canandaigua just a few miles south of the Smiths. Joseph Smith, Sr. happens to be serving time there for some debt. I think it is debt related issues. Then, later, the Masons bail out William Morgan. When he steps out of jail, they arrest him. They take them up to one of the Great Lakes. They toss him in, so the story goes. We don’t know the details, but this is kind of story that percolates out.
GT: The thing that always bugs me is our founding fathers were masons. George Washington was a Mason. I believe Thomas Jefferson was a Mason, like everybody was a Mason. The Constitution used a lot of Masonic principles. So it’s interesting that in 1791, when George Washington is the president until, I don’t remember exactly the year that Andrew Jackson was elected, probably 1828, I believe.
Clair: Something like that.
GT: Somewhere around that timeframe. So we go from the founders of our of our nation are good masons to this William Morgan murder, and now they’re public enemy number one.
Clair: It was an overreaction. Sure. These masons were upset about William Morgan trying to expose their Masonic secrets. But the overreaction was bad and that happens in in the world all the time. Overreaction is often worse than what they’re originally reacting to. So in the Book of Mormon, you have this anti-Masonic stuff popping up. There’s two ways to interpret it. It’s either anti-masonry, or its anti-spurious masonry.
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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…
Don’t miss our previous conversations with Bill Shepard!