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My Cousin Vinny – Alice Cooper’s Mormon Roots (Part 10)

Alice Cooper was raised in the Bickertonite Church, and his grandfather was the president!  Alice Cooper’s song, “No More Mr. Nice Guy might have a reference to his Bickertonite upbringing!  What else can Daniel tell us about Alice Cooper?  Did Mr. Smithie really punch him in the nose?

Daniel:  We go to a friend, a family friend, between the both of us and we have dinner together and we’re talking and my wife just out of the blue says, “Okay, let me ask you this, are you that Mr. Smithy in the Alice Cooper song that punches him in the nose?”

And then Ike Smith’s wife just burst out laughing and says either her or Bonnie, she says “That’s where it comes from!” See, they didn’t, as far as we know, they didn’t know. Apparently people had been telling them that reference and they didn’t really fully realize where it was coming from. So my wife is, I guess maybe it was the first bold one to flat out say, Hey, are you the guy that punched him in the nose? So go Laura! That was awesome of her. And he said, he goes, “Oh.” He goes, “Oh my goodness. Oh Vinny.” And he basically, or something like that, just very friendly and laughing. And he says, “Just for the record, I did not punch Vinny in the nose.”

So yeah. And I guess we have a friend that’s a part of the Latter-day Saint movement. I had met him one time at a John Whitmer Historical conference. I forget his name. Really Nice Guy. Anyways, he knows Ike Smith as well. And his wife Bonnie. Anyways, he went to an Alice Cooper–I don’t know if it was a meet and greet or a concert or something like that and they took a picture with Alice Cooper and he told him saying, “Hey, I know Ike Smith.”

And Alice said to him, “Tell Ike, Vinny said hi.” So, there’s a history between them and it’s very possible. It’s very possible that sarcastically, you’d have to ask Vincent Furnier himself.

Here’s the video of the song if you’re interested!

We’ll also talk about Bickertonite leadership.  Did they follow Brigham Young’s pattern where the senior apostle becomes leader?  Is an apostle greater than a prophet?

Daniel:  Bickerton is a prophet who are ordains apostles. So it shows, at least through history, and if you would to tie that in scripturally, Bickerton kind of acts in a way. I don’t want to say he was Jesus, but he started a movement and restored the movement. Obviously if you’re a Bickertonite, you have to believe that he had the power to do that and to ordain apostles. So, it’s little interesting mental gymnastics that we play.

GT: I just wonder if that’s because the Cadman narrative is what won out, right?

Daniel: Yeah, exactly.

GT: So he would probably try to push prophets below apostles because he was an apostle and he wanted to be at the top of the church.

Daniel: Oh for sure.

GT: And so it sounded like…

Daniel: And he could even been considered a prophet necessarily, but he still was an apostle and the president first. Yeah.

GT: So, the president of the quorum of the Twelve–so you guys will follow the Brigham Young Movement in that the president of the Quorum of Twelve becomes the president of the church.

Daniel: Exactly, Yep.

Check out our conversation!  Here are our other conversations with Daniel!


Alice Cooper's grandfather was President of the Bickertonite Church!
Alice Cooper’s grandfather was President of the Bickertonite Church!

204: Writing History Without Getting in Trouble (Stone)

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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Alice Cooper’s Roots in Lively Mormon Schisms

Have you ever heard the myth that Alice Cooper was a Mormon?  It turns out that’s partially true.  Historian John Hamer and Apostle Lachlan MacKay of the Community of Christ will talk about some lively Mormon meetings, and we’ll talk a little bit about Alice Cooper as well.

GT:  No, this is great.  We’ve talked about Sidney Rigdon and some of the others.

John:  Oh, by the way, even though his church atomized, there is an extant Rigdonite-tradition church, and it’s called the Church of Jesus Christ.  It’s headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.  A lot of times people, outsiders, call them the Bickertonites.  They don’t particularly like that.  It’s names after William Bickerton who was an early leader of that church after Sidney Rigdon.  So that is in the Rigdon tradition and it is sometimes seen as the third largest of the extant branches from 1844 with Brighamites being the largest, Josephites, or Community of Christ/RLDS Tradition being the second largest; third-largest being Rigdonite or Bickertonite branch, so they are a very interesting group.

They are headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.  They have kind of a Kirtland-era church where they do feet-washing.  They have their little pentocostal—they do everything by the spirit.  They don’t write down the talks.  You have to do it by the spirit, just like praying by the spirit….

GT:  Oh, wow.

John:  …and other interesting things like that. They were the first restoration-tradition church to have a black apostle back in the 1920s.

GT:  Oh, wow.

John:  So there is all kinds of—who is the—Alice Cooper.[1]

Lachlan:  Oh, his dad.

GT:  I’m glad you mentioned that.

John:  Alice Cooper, I’m trying to remember his name.  Alice Cooper’s is named, I don’t remember, Nephi or something like that.

GT:  [Ether Moroni Furnier].

John:  Yeah, so he was one of the presidents or one of the apostles.  His grandfather was like one of the apostles.  [Alice] is not like an active member.  He was raised in the church.  I don’t think he was actually even baptized.[2]

GT:  You said they were Pentecostal.  Did they speak in tongues?

John:  That’s what I meant by Pentecostal. I don’t mean modern Pentecostal.

GT:  Oh, not modern Pentecostal.

John:  No, not modern Pentecostal.  Yes they speak in tongues, but not like a modern Pentecostal church.  I didn’t mean it that way, but in that same way:  Pentecost in terms of speaking in tongues.

GT:  A person moved upon by the spirit, would they get up and start speaking just strange [language]?

John:  I haven’t actually been to a service where they’ve don’t it.  Have you been to one where they’ve done it?

Lachlan:  I drove by but wasn’t able to stop.

John:  I went to a regional conference and it was really amazing.  I don’t remember, but nobody actually spoke in tongues during it, but it was the liveliest Latter Day Saint tradition service I have ever been to.  Some traditions, churches are kind of notoriously boring within the tradition.  I won’t point fingers, but this was the opposite of that.

Because at any given moment, the person who is presiding would say, “Brother Lach, do you feel like you can come up and speak to us on tithing?”

{Lachlan shrugs}

John:  And so you would come up and give a speech.  Do you feel to do a musical number?  I mean literally there was no program and you don’t know when it’s even going to end.  At a certain point I’m thinking, “What are they going to call on me to do?”  I’ve got to think what I’m going to say.  {chuckles}  It’s very active and lively.  It was really great.

We’ll also talk about differences between the LDS Church and RLDS Church.  What’s the difference between a pastor and a bishop?   Check out our conversation…..  (Don’t forget to listen to our discussion about people vying for leadership following Joseph Smith’s death.)


[1] Alice Cooper was a famous man from the “shock-rock” performer from the 1970s.  His performances included special effects that made it appear his head was chopped off, and other gruesome acts during the concert.  He continues to perform.  He was born February 4, 1948 and his birth name was Vincent Damon Furnier.

[2] More information can be found at