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Writing History Without Getting in Trouble (Part 9)

Dr. Daniel Stone is the first person to write about William Bickerton, the first prophet of the Bickertonite Church.  Some LDS Scholars got in trouble for writing true, but unflattering history.  I’ll ask Dr. Daniel Stone how he navigated those tricky waters in his church.

Daniel:  I wrote a proposal to the church and to the church historian and to the Twelve asking that I can write an objective history and I specifically said that. I was approved to do that under the umbrella of the church because I don’t think most of the people in the church actually knew….

I was able to get access to all these documents, which I think as far as I know no one has ever done before. So, it was really fun. I wrote the first five chapters of the book. I gave it to the church historian and the Twelve. They never gave me a clear answer as to yes or no. I will say I can kind of understand because as apostles or as leaders of the church, you as leadership of the church, none of them are historians, right? I am. The object of all has apostles in any one person of the Mormon movement is to promote faith, right? And history can sometimes be like that, so there might be some things. The big issue is the Cadman-Bickerton feud. They flat out said, I actually heard from a couple of them saying that’s the big issue that they were afraid of is the Cadman-Bickerton feud.

But what ended up happening was, is I just asked the general historian, I said, “Can I go independent with this?” He said yes.

GT: Because originally you were going to have it published by the church.

Daniel: Potentially. Yes. That was, that was what I had understood the agreement to be. And what ended up happening was there was some kind of miscommunication. I had a talk with some of the apostles and we basically came to the idea of this is a miscommunication. We never had you sign anything. So it’s not like we can say don’t publish it. And the Bickertonites to their credit are very democratic in a lot of senses. Even though some of the leadership does not support, I’m assuming, what I’m doing, my membership was never in danger. They might not necessarily agree with some of what I’m saying. And they flat out said, some of them had said, “We don’t agree with some of your interpretations. We think you’re speculative.”

My argument nicely is, “You have never read the documentation. I have.” I’m not trying to be like, oh look at me, I know, but I’m just like, no, read the documents for yourself because nobody has ever really done this. And then we can have a discussion, but just to flat out say it’s speculative. I’m like, well all history has that. My argument is, I have all footnotes. People can look at it, people can check my sources. No book is perfect, but I tried really hard.

It really is a great book and I encourage you to buy it!  Check out the rest of our conversation, as well as our previous conversations with Daniel!

I asked Dr. Daniel Stone if he had any trouble with Church leaders in writing his Bickerton biography.
I asked Dr. Daniel Stone if he had any trouble with Church leaders in writing his Bickerton biography.

203: Reuniting the Bickerton Break (Stone)

202: Ousting a Prophet (Stone)

201: False Prophecies Are Possible! (Stone)

200: Civil War Prophecy Leads to Black Ordination (Stone)

199: Biblical Support to Ordain Women (Stone)

198: Bickerton Becomes Prophet (Stone)

197: Sidney’s Church Falls Apart (Stone)

196: Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory (Stone)

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Ousting a Prophet (Part 7)

William Bickerton eventually lost control of the church he started.  How did his apostles oust the prophet. Are there parallels with LDS Church succession? Dr. Daniel Stone tells us.

Daniel:  You basically had the Bickertonite group that is supporting Bickerton. The people that are detractors of Bickerton are excommunicating everybody from the Bickertonite group because they’re saying, well, if you support Bickerton, you’re an apostate. And then William Cadman actually held an ad hoc court within the community to prove that William Bickerton was an adulterer. He really believed the evidence. He acts as prosecutor for eight hours calling witnesses from the community and the jury is made up of all non-Bickertonites and he purposely did that to prove to the community once and for all. Because if he could get the community as a whole on his side, then he knows that the church can then continue forward and William Cadman will be the leader. He believes he will be the leader because he’s the president of the Twelve. And what ends up happening is William Cadman does not get the verdict that he wants.

I found it really interesting that the President of the Quorum of  Twelve took over leadership, just like Brigham Young did in the LDS Church.  Check out the conversation, and don’t forget to check out our other segments with Daniel….

William Bickerton was accused of adultery and a faction in the east ousted him as leader. Was it a false accusation?
William Bickerton was accused of adultery and a faction in the east ousted him as leader. Was it a false accusation?

201: False Prophecies Are Possible! (Stone)

200: Civil War Prophecy Leads to Black Ordination (Stone)

199: Biblical Support to Ordain Women (Stone)

198: Bickerton Becomes Prophet (Stone)

197: Sidney’s Church Falls Apart (Stone)

196: Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory (Stone)

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False Prophecies are Possible! (Part 6)

Can a prophet make mistakes, even in prophecy and revelation?  William Bickerton, a prophet in the Church of Jesus Christ said yes, prophets make mistakes.  Dr. Daniel Stone will give us more information in this great conversation.

Daniel: William Bickerton especially towards the end of his life, recognized that prophets were fallible, even I believe it was during the Civil War.

So very early on his people, including him, can even recognize that men can make mistakes even though they’re considered a prophet of God. It is possible that a prophet can false prophesy.

GT: Wow, that’s very interesting.

Daniel: And that could just be from their own wants and desires. And even people in my tradition, I brought this up during a men’s class one time that I was teaching, and I tried to bring it up, when we were talking about the gift of prophecy. I said, there are instances in the scriptures were prophets get it wrong, but they’re still called prophets. I believe Nathan is one of them. I’d have to look. There was examples and I bring up William Bickerton for one of them. I personally believe Joseph Smith. I am a believer, so I’m going to take my academic hat off for a second and say, I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Because I have to believe in the Book of Mormon, which I do, to say that. But I think Joseph Smith might have let his mind get to certain things. And that’s okay because we read prophets in the Old Testament do that sometimes, quite often.

Do you agree?  Is it possible for a prophet to make a mistake in revelation and still be a prophet?

William Bickerton, prophet of Church of Jesus Christ in Monongahela, PA said prophet make mistakes, even in revelation. Dr. Daniel Stone tells more!
William Bickerton, prophet of Church of Jesus Christ in Monongahela, PA said prophet make mistakes, even in revelation. Dr. Daniel Stone tells more!

Check out our conversation, as well as our other conversation with Dr. Daniel Stone!

200: Civil War Prophecy Leads to Black Ordination (Stone)

199: Biblical Support to Ordain Women (Stone)

198: Bickerton Becomes Prophet (Stone)

197: Sidney’s Church Falls Apart (Stone)

196: Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory (Stone)