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Bickerton’s Prophetic Vision (Part 3)

Following the collapse of Sidney Rigdon’s church, people looked to William Bickerton to lead the flock.  Dr. Daniel Stone tells us more details about William Bickerton’s prophetic vision and call to become prophet of a new church with a Book of Mormon foundation.

Daniel: [Bickerton] says that he was carried away in the spirit and placed on the highest mountain on the earth, he said. In one of the accounts it says that there was just room enough for him to stand on this mountain, and he’s basically told and shown, “Here you are in this mountain. You’re doing everything right.”

You kind of get the sense that he feels like God’s telling him “You’re on the right track.  Stay where you are. Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing, but if you leave this path that I’ve put you on, you’re going to fall and tumble.” And William Bickerton sees this chasm below. And he says that the Lord told him if he didn’t keep doing what he was doing, that he would fall into the chasm. And he said that the sight was awful at one part. In another account, he says that he would fall and be torn into bits. So, he saw and he felt that he didn’t have any other choice other than to stay on this path because he didn’t want to fall down that way. So, he starts preaching by himself.

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

William Bickerton had a vision of a chasm where God told him to lead a new church on the foundation of the Book of Mormon.
William Bickerton had a vision of a chasm where God told him to lead a new church on the foundation of the Book of Mormon.

197: Sidney’s Church Falls Apart

196: Rigdon/Spalding Manuscript Theory

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LDS Succession Crisis (Part 6)

Dr. Michael Quinn is one of the foremost experts on the LDS Succession Crisis.  He says there were seven legitimate succession claims following the death of Joseph Smith.  In a previous interview, John Hamer said Sidney Rigdon was the best option according to canon law.  I’ll ask Quinn that question, and we’ll talk about some of the other candidates.

Michael:  I would disagree with John Hamer that Sidney Rigdon was the most likely. He was the first publicly proposed alternative to the Quorum of the Twelve and he was voted down by the congregation that met in August of 1844. When their choice was only Sidney Rigdon or the Quorum of the Twelve, they chose the Quorum of the Twelve to continue in the Twelve’s position in its place of having all this prior role administratively within Nauvoo, the headquarters of the church. And they rejected Sidney Rigdon. But the fact that he was the first publicly proposed doesn’t mean that either one of them was the most likely. That was the choice that the Quorum of the Twelve and Sidney Rigdon had advertised. And this had been advertised before the Twelve was even back in Nauvoo. Most of the apostles, members of the Quorum of the Twelve were in the eastern states, and there were only one or two members in Nauvoo and two of them were wounded in and the attack on Carthage Jail.

We’ll talk about several of the possibilities during the succession crisis.  Check out our conversation, and don’t forget our previous episodes with Michael!

186: Quinn on Hofmann (Quinn)

185: “The Church Makes No Distinction Between God & Mammon” (Quinn)

184: Would LDS Church Income Ever Support a Paid Ministry?(Quinn)

183: Are LDS Church Revenues really $50 Billion/Year? (Quinn)

182: Michael Quinn Discusses Deseret Hemp Company (Quinn)

John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.
John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.
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How Lester Bush Debunked the Missouri Thesis

We’re continuing our conversation with Dr. Newell Bringhurst.  We will continue where we left off and explain in more detail the Missouri Thesis.

Newell:  The Missouri Thesis is the argument that the origins of black priesthood denial go back to the Mormon problems in Missouri.  Missouri is a slave state and the Latter-day Saints go into Jackson County in the early 1830s, 1831-1832.  Most of them are from the north, they are northerners.  They are basically Yankees, people from the northern states so immediately there is a system of tension of tension between the Mormons/Latter-day Saints with the people that are there, have come there from the south and settled Missouri.  A lot of people have brought their slaves and so on.  There aren’t a huge number of slaves in Missouri.  During the Civil War it was a border state, but there was enough slavery that it was a legal institution in Missouri.

The argument of the Missouri Thesis is the Mormons coming in tended to be anti-slavery because they were coming from the northern part of the country.  Those that were there that had migrated from the south were pro-slavery.  So the Mormons could see that this was a difficult situation.  To try to strengthen their position in Missouri, they saw Independence, [Missouri] as a center place for Zion.  That was where they were going to gather in the last days in the early revelations [in the Doctrine & Covenants.]  They saw Zion and Independence where that was going to be the final gathering place before the coming of the Millennium and the end times.  It was very important for the Mormons from that point of view.

So the argument is that Joseph Smith felt it necessary to accommodate the pro-slavery position and the anti-black position.  In order to accommodate that they were willing to—especially as it became more difficult during the course of the 1830s, they decided that they would deny blacks the priesthood.

Lester Bush’s groundbreaking article discounted the Missouri Thesis and connected the priesthood and temple ban to Brigham Young rather than Joseph Smith.

Then Lester Bush comes along.  He’s doing a lot more intense research than Taggart did.  Taggart’s research is not thorough. In the meantime Lester Bush has been working assiduously on his study of blacks in the church, and he has been asked to write a review of Taggart’s.  It turns out that it is a review essay published in Dialogue in 1970.  His review essay is longer and more thorough than Taggart’s original book.  That’s the upstart.  I’m sure you’re familiar with it.  You’ve probably read both side by side.  There’s no comparison with regards to the thoroughness and the rigor of the sources utilized and the way that it was written.

Then of course Bush comes along three years, four years later with his definitive Dialogue article, Mormonism’s Negro Policy[1] that is the classic—the first real legitimately scholarly examination of the issue, the path-breaking article that we all, those of us that came after him, owe him a lot for:  myself, Armand Mauss, and all those who came after me.

Bush’s article was cited by President Kimball as being highly influential as Kimball studied the roots of the ban.  We also discuss some prominent slaveholding LDS Church leaders.  Check out our conversation…..

[1] The article is titled Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine:  An Historical Overview, and found at https://www.dialoguejournal.com/2012/mormonisms-negro-doctrine-an-historical-overview/

Bush's Dialogue article refuting Missouri Thesis