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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

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Laban Killed During Passover (Part 5 of 12)

This week in Sunday School, we’re talking about the story of Nephi killing Laban in the Book of Mormon.  Historian Don Bradley has some extra information about this story!  Have you ever wondered why Laban was drunk?  Historian Don Bradley thinks Laban was celebrating the Passover feast.  What else does Don know about this story that is part of the missing pages of the Book of Mormon?  Don tells about an account from a non-Mormon named Fayette Lapham.  Lapham gives details from the Lost Pages telling additional information not found in our current Book of Mormon.

Don:  Again, he doesn’t remember names, so he doesn’t name Nephi and Laban but he’s describing them.  [Lapham says] This prophet’s son goes back to get this record and he finds the guy who he tried to get it from. That guy is lying drunk in the street–it’s obviously [Laban] who he’s talking about. But he says that the reason that the guy was drunk is because there was a great feast going on in the city at the time. So think like Jewish festival, right? So [there is a] Jewish festival being celebrated in Jerusalem. Now think about that. Our Book of Mormon text doesn’t say that. The small plates don’t say that. Think about what the small plates do say. They say, among other things, that Laban was out by night among the elders of the Jews, and he comes home drunk. If he’s just out carousing, he’s got really high-profile drinking buddies, right? He’s out with the elders. Notice something else that’s crucial to the story. He’s wearing armor and he’s carrying a sword.  He got with his drinking buddies? I mean, the first and final days of Passover, in Judaism are known as holy convocations, per the Hebrew Bible. They are group celebrations where the Israelites get together, they have these feasts. This would be an occasion to dress up, if you will. So this account that Laban was drunk, from Joseph, Sr., that Laban was drunk because of the feast being celebrated, would help to explain why Laban is out in armor and sword, drinking by night with the elders of the Jews, and why when Nephi pretending to be Laban goes to Zoram and he’s like, “Hey, yeah, let’s go get the brass plates/scriptures and take them out to the elders, my brothers.  Zoram’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense.”  He doesn’t seem to bat an eye about that.  Well, if it’s Passover and there’s a religious celebration that makes sense.  If Laban’s out carousing with his drinking buddies, it kind of makes less sense.

Don also discusses a bit about his spiritual journey in this episode.  Check out our conversation….

Don Bradley has found records adding additional information about the story of Laban. Was he killed during Passover?
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*Reflecting on Hawn’s Mill (Part 7 of 7)

In our final conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we’ll talk about the lessons to be learned from Hawn’s Mill.  Who deserves blame in this escalation?  What might have helped calm things down?  Did Porter Rockwell try to assassinate Governor Boggs?

GT:  There was an assassination attempt on his life and a lot of people want to pin that on Porter Rockwell.

Alex:  It probably was.

GT:  It probably was?

Alex:  Yeah, I think it was. He was visiting his in-laws, the Beebes. The Beebes lived in Jackson County. Monte McClaus wrote an article about it years ago. I taught his kids in seminary, actually. But if you line everything up, I think Rockwell, he was definitely there. Did he intend to kill Boggs? I kind of think not. He just wanted to make him–and why do I say that? Well he used a German buckshot pistol. So they were just small pellets, and it didn’t kill him. I mean, it could have, but I don’t think he intended it to. I think he was just upset with what this man did to us. I mean, his indecisiveness, his lack of humanity towards the Mormons. I don’t know what you want to say, I think he probably did it.

GT:  Oh, really?

Alex:  Yeah, I do. Would he deny it? Well, of course.  I guess the folklore around, “If I would have done it, I would have killed him.” Well, that’s just a good round about there. But Joseph had nothing to do with it. There’s no question there. Even though John C. Bennett and others wanted to pin that on him, there’s no evidence for that. Joseph was not an accessory to the crime. Rockwell acted on his own.

Check out our conversation….

Dr. Alex Baugh discusses lessons learned from Hawn’s Mill Massacre and Gov. Boggs credit/blame.

 

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh!

333: Halloween Massacre at Hawn’s Mill

332: Finding Jacob Hawn

331: Was Extermination Order a License to Kill?

330: Mormon Dissent Leads to Salt Sermon

329: Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County

328: Trouble in Missouri 1833