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Defending the Faith: The story behind James Strang and his sect

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  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 9, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    It seems troubling to the veracity of the Book of Mormon story that so many of the people involved with Joseph Smith and witness to his deeds were so curious and bedeviled in their lives and actions. Are these people who could be trusted as sane reliable witnesses.

  • Otis Spurlock Ogden, UT
    June 9, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Frankly, I'm surprised at the severity of Mr. Peterson's criticisms against Mr. Strang. We, as LDS, should never attack a man with a sincere belief and his faithful followers. Even if we feel he is not on the right path.

    These are similar attacks that many critics say about the LDS church. Also, you would figure the fundamentalists and the mainline LDS would get along much better. We are all Christians afterall and brothers and sisters.

    Contention and attacking should never be an option when it comes to addressing another faith different than ours.

  • Enola BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 9, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    LOL. Peterson is obviously an anti-Strangite. Why can't he just leave them alone?

    There is no way he wrote this article completely unaware of the humorous irony of his piece. No way.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    June 9, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    Must "believers in Mormonism...accept Strang's claims or reject both Joseph and Strang?"

    Of course not...it's not a competition between witnesses. The issue is more about making the error of disproportionately weighing their claims in favor of religious authenticity, especially in light of the troubling aspects associated with both sets of witnesses.

    Anyone can round up family and friends with an interest at stake and have them sign a document. The question is how much weight should be associated with their declaration? In the case of the surviving eleven BoM witnesses, not a single one was part of the LDS Church by 1847. Interestingly, all of the witnesses were at one time called liars, counterfeiters, thieves, etc. by Joseph Smith himself.

    Does this mean that Joseph Smith should be summarily be rejected? No, but it certainly adds to the long list of suspicions that already exist regarding his other claims...the biggest suspicion being that the plates are conveniently absent for examination by any "objective" researcher, witness or observer.

    It's simply a mistake for the church and its apologists to disproportionally prop up problematic witnesses as a trump for truth...that's the real issue.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    June 9, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    As I am reading the Book of Mormon, I am keeping my positive, objective hat on. Of course Dan Petersen is going to write this article with a very positive spin toward the Church and Joseph Smith. He should. That is the job description of an LDS apologist.

    I personally appreciate the fact that he wrote this article. The article and ensuing comments both pro and con will serve as an educational source for LDS that 50 years of correlated material will not provide. That is a positive thing!

    I would be very interested to read an article by Dan Petersen addressing the history and use of Joseph Smith's seer stone both in searching for lost items and in the translation of the Book of Mormon. I think it is one of those things that many LDS have no knowledge of and yet it is an important fact of LDS history and regular used to criticize the Church.

  • bwoods Tucson, AZ
    June 9, 2011 10:39 a.m.

    Thanks for an interesting article. Strang was exposed as someone who was not a sincere man with sincere beliefs but a man who connived for power and influence and unfortunately duped some sincere people and colluded with other conniving people.

    As for witnesses, the Lord has his and whether those witnesses through their own human frailties stumble or not, I have my own sure witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the church.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    June 9, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    "James J.Strang"

    Possibly, not many of you know of this Man?

    Please "Google" the Name, and you will find a Site, supported by a Gentleman Known as Mr.John Hajicek (A Melchizedek Priest, of Lineage), and Called "The "Original" Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"!

    Mr. Hajicek has in his Possession, many Ancient Documents, some of which are For Sale (Or Transcribed on the Internet), for ALL to read.

    When I read the "Letter of Authority", from Joseph Smith Jnr., and the Story related about it, I was in No Uncertain Doubt as to it's Authenticity.

    So, please investigate further yourselves, before totally believing the Above Article.

    With Kindest Regards,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.
    "PENTACONE".

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    June 9, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    Thank You Ever-so-Much, Mormon Times, for Posting my 1st Comment,

    And, to Progress the Information Further;

    Please, those who are interested, "Google", "Hajicek", and numerous Web-Sites will be seen, showing John's Great Works, for and on behalf of, ALL Latter-Day Saints!

    Kindest Regards,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.
    "PENTACONE"

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 9, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Once again the anit-Strangite critics amass their arguments, distortions of history, misrepresentations, all lying to decieve, when they know that mountains of evidence exist to prove that Plates of Laban are true.

    Even with all of the mountains of evidence, the fact is, you will never be able to prove that the Plates of Laban are not true using science, or any other kind of intellectual inquiry. Sure, rely on the witness of apostates, sons of perdition who are numbered among the liar from the beginning. Anybody who reads the Book of Mormon, particularly 1 Nephi, will undoubtedly recognize the parallels between that book and the Book of Laban. Laban is mentioned in both books! Furthermore, the plates of Laban are second witness to The Book of Mormon, as they both testify to the writing of ancient language on metal plates. "From the plates of two or more books, shall every word be established".

    Daniel Peterson get's his anti-Strangite tripe by simply by believing unreliable testimonies. Even if I were to prove to him that the Book of Laban is true, he wouldn't believe it though, so God has blessed me with faith instead. I Know!

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 9, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    @ Mormoncowboy: Interesting satire. My satirical posts are not usually permitted, so I have to keep it straight.

    I appreciate Daniel Peterson's article; there has been talk of Strang lately on these posts, and many critics of the Church like to use him as some sort of foil to Joseph Smith in an effort to suggest that they were alike. I do not feel obligated to know everything about everyone who ever apostatized from the Church, but when questions arise (as with "Big Love" or the FLDS) it's helpful to know.

    Why don't I need to worry about Joseph Strang (or any other apostate from "Mormonism")? I take the time to study, seek, and recieve a spiritual confirmation of the current prophet of the Church. Since Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet, then Joseph Strang is not, and I can examine him as a curiosity and I have no worry about his claims to legitimacy--satire to the contrary.

    Daniel Petersen is doing what I would expect a good apologist to do: he is providing information that, though not spiritually necessary, may be useful in fallen, contentious world.

  • John Hajicek Independence, MO
    June 9, 2011 5:52 p.m.

    Fawn Brodie and Milo Quaife corresponded with each other as equal colleagues, and while a landmark author in 1945, Brodie is left behind today. Daniel Peterson acknowledges that he spent a mere 45 minutes writing an article he says he thinks about only a few times per decade, mostly based on a 1930 book by Milo Quaife, also outdated. The Roger Van Noord biography in 1988, also referenced, is midway in scholarship between Robert Flanders Kingdom on the Mississippi from 1965 and Andrew Smiths Saintly Scoundrel from 1997, all three from the University of Illinois Press by non-Mormons.

  • John Hajicek Independence, MO
    June 9, 2011 5:54 p.m.

    The tone of Peterson is plain to everyone, but there are mistakes of numerical facts that betray how inaccurately he wrote it all: He says the editions of the Book of the Law of the Lord were 84 pages and 350 pages, for example, but in fact they were 80 pages (1851) and 320 pages (1856). He does not provide any balance, either: He quotes Stephen Post as a Rigdonite saying that it was possible Strang made the plates, but he does not use the powerful favorable testimony of Post in the Stephen Post Papers at the Church History Library, nor the unshaken testimony of his brother Warren Post at BYU. And he relies on a third secondary book (which he does not name), which says it used an 1888 magazine, which printed a letter it says was written by an anti-Mormon, which says that Samuel Graham says (where or to whom the anti-Mormon did not say) he conspired with Strang to make brass plates; and that Samuel Bacon says (where or to whom the anti-Mormon did not say) that he found brass fragments in Strangs house.

  • John Hajicek Independence, MO
    June 9, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    That is hearsay. Regardless, by hearsay or otherwise, none of the witnesses are reported to have denied anything that they saw, touched, or heard. Moreover, the 1888 anti-Mormon says that events he himself prophesied on Beaver Island came true, and that Strangs 1844 letter of appointment from Joseph Smith was true, yet Daniel Peterson and his secondary sources make no reference to this for balance. Comparatively, Samuel Bacons 1880s reminiscence about leaving James Strang has no greater nor less weight than David Whitmers 1880s reminiscence about leaving Joseph Smith.

  • John Hajicek Independence, MO
    June 9, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    Most importantly, Daniel Peterson fails in his claim that Strangs witnesses later denied their testimonies in that he provided no words from any of them recanting anything that they had said. Samuel Bacon had an unorthodox conclusion of how he thought James Strang obtained his plates, and David Whitmer had an unorthodox conclusion of how he thought Joseph Smith translated his. Neither of them witnessed those collateral events, however, and neither man changed his printed testimony.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 9, 2011 5:57 p.m.

    So let me get this straight... The fake plates (Strang's) were proven to be false using scientific methods. The real plates (Joseph's) were taken up to heaven with the angel so they could not be examined for their authenticity? Does anybody find that a bit odd? The real plates don't exist anymore in reality on earth. The next question is this: We are often told that we cannot take anything worldly into heaven with us, so what would be the use of some golden plates in heaven? No other inspired manuscript, to my knowledge, have been taken up to heaven once they have been translated. The dead sea scrolls, the bible manuscripts, etc. were never taken up to heaven by an angel. It is extremely suspicious.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 9, 2011 7:49 p.m.

    Brahmabull
    Seeing that we do not have a single ORIGINAL manuscript from the Bible (OT or NT) how do you know that they were not taken "up to heaven by an angel"? Is there anything in the scriptures that tells us what happened to the ORIGINAL manuscripts? Or are you making an assumption that they were not?

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 9, 2011 10:34 p.m.

    Since there is no witness accounts of any angel taking the bible manuscripts up to heaven, one must come to the conclusion that it did not happen. If there is an account of it I will change my mind. Clearly, if god allowed Joseph Smith to witness an angel, it only makes sense that if that happened with the bible manuscripts there would be a witness to all of this. You do realize, KC mormon, that the bible is made up of thousands of different manuscripts that were found at different times. Are you suggesting that after each one was found and translated an angel came and took them up to heaven? Ok.... well back to reality. What purpose would there be for heaven to hold these sacred documents? Further more - it seems that when people try to justify an event in their minds they really stretch to make things connect. The most simple and most likely explanation is usually the most correct. So that being said it is more likely that after the original manuscripts were copied onto new material that they were simply destroyed or fell apart due to age. Seems too simple of an explanation, I know.

  • john in az tempe, az
    June 9, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    Joseph Smith had the plates for 2 years. Translation began in 1828, was interruppted and began again in 1829. So there isn't much credence to saying that Strang took a decade and JS took 2 months, as the 2 month claim is not entirely correct. Little over 2 months total, but not consecutive.

  • ENDavis American Fork, UT
    June 10, 2011 4:13 a.m.

    I find it oddly curious that Mormons can pass Strang off as a "con man" who duped his followers with his forgeries and deceptions, but of course Joseph Smith was still a true prophet. How is it one man can be easily dismissed, without question, while the other is readily accepted, without question?

    If you can use a little objective skepticism with regards to James Strang, then you should also take a step outside the mormon "bubble" and use that same objectivity in regards to the story of Joseph Smith. You will find that Joseph has just as much history in the art of the con as any of his contemporaries.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 10, 2011 7:17 a.m.

    Brahmabull
    First I never said that the manuscripts WERE taken only that we have NO ORIGINALS and NO ACCOUNTS of what happened to the originals. They could have been destroyed or for later use they could have been safeguarded in heaven we have no idea what happened to them. What we do know is that what manuscripts we have today are simply copies of copies of copies etc. Not one single original has ever been found.that goes for both OT and NT. Do we have an account of everything that happened in biblical times? NO. After all the Bible itself tells us that many things Jesus did all of which are not recorded. So if not even all of Jesus actions are not recorded do you believe that all actions of the Prophets and Apostles were recorded? What happened in the days, weeks and years between the events they recorded?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 10, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    KC Mormon said,Seeing that we do not have a single ORIGINAL manuscript from the Bible (OT or NT).
    It is not true that we do not possess the original text of the Bible. What we do not possess are the original manuscripts. We have accurate well- preserved copies of the original text. There are some 5,700 early N.T. MS, and they contain all or nearly all of the original text . The original text can be reconstructed 99% accuracy. There is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we have 99% of the original text, 100 % of the truth comes through. Lower criticism refutes JS.
    Over 26,000 N.T. quotes from the disciples of the apostles and early church fathers can reconstruct the N.T. less 8 verses. Example, If the original triangle was burned in a museum we have enough copies to reconstruct it.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 10, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    Peterson has simply dismissed Strang quite simply and without much thought. Sure, he pieced together a few quotes and excerpts - but he took them all at face value. Even so, he and his apologist counterparts suggest that the critics who treat their Book of Mormon research in the same manner are "naive" or ignorant to a standard of proof. The ultimate safe area's for Book of Mormon defense do not exist in observations of the natural world, but in allegations of how a supernatural world operates in conjunction with ours. For example, the claim that the angel Moroni has taken the plates "to heaven" in his custody, as a convenient excuse for why they cannot be tested or observed. Ultimately, one has to go to that same place for arguing for or against Strang. Yes, Peterson can cite every argument against Strang's character, but he does so without allowing Strang near the benefit of the doubt he allows Joseph Smith. And this is why objective science ought to be the standard in any claim. We can all make allegations of the supernatural, that which can be tested and validated should be preferred above that which requires "faith".

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 10, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    KC Mormon, Bom vs Modern tranlations,earlier MS than KJV.
    1. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (3Nephi 13:12)
    1. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Mt 6:13& 6:14 JST).JS follows KJV.
    "The KJV renders its 'deliver us from evil,'(force)S/B,the evil one (MT 6:13 NIV)
    2. "In Bethabara" (Nephi 10:9)Bethabara,(John 1:34 JST=1:28 KJV),
    2. "In Bethany "(John 1:28 NIV) P. 66, p.75, 2nd century MS, supports Jesus baptism in BETHANY.

    3.. Moroni 7:47 . "But love[charity] is the pure love of Christ . Makes no sense in the original Greek. Charity, mid-2c., caritas from the Latin Vulgate, mis-used as translation of Greek,agape "love". The Love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13. Love (charity)never fails( 1Cor 13:8) or Faith hope and love(charity) (1 Corinthians 13:13). The Greek word agape S/B translated "love" in the N.T. Agape does not mean charity, the KJV translators carried over from the Latin. JS copied the KJV.
    "Contend for the faith whichwas once Delivered to the Saints"(Jude 3)

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 10, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    sharrona
    Your last post undermines the post before it. In it one you say that everything is had from the original manuscripts (impossible to prove without the originals) then in the next you say that Bethabara should be Bethany. Never mind that Bethany is not beyond the river Jordan or Even on it so either Origin was correct and manuscripts after him or some manuscripts before him were correct. The Book of Mormon corrects this. As for 3 Nephi quoting Jesus are saying that Jesus would not have the same message for more than one group of people? As for Moroni you must first remember that Moroni was writing what he was told to for our day. Seeing that the meaning of Charity would be misunderstood by our day the verse corrects the mistake. So it is telling us today that charity means pure love. Furthermore what makes sense in Greek means nothing in the Book of Mormon as it was not in Greek. By the way If the KJV translators misunderstood Agape why then did they translate it as love so many times? The original English meaning of Charity was pure Christian love not giving to the poor.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    June 10, 2011 12:12 p.m.

    I love how some wants everything to depend on science. Everyday something new is coming forth. Science is a basis of theories. Once a theory is proven over and over again, then and only then does it become fact. THe problem is that what was true of science twenty years ago is false today. So lets put everything in science and rely solely on that. If so, then in twenty years all of our beliefs and fractions will be wrong and we would have to restudy it to gain the newest statements.

    As for the Book of Mormon and the plates. To some it seems inconceivable that our Father in Heaven would take the plates back. It would seem prudent for him to allow man the opportunity to retranslate the language on the plates to determine if Joseph Smith was a fraud or true prophet. That makes common sense. Really, then you are saying you know more about what God wants because man is better than the Lord. In reality the Book of Mormon brings People to God, not God to the People. This is why the plates were taken, to test our faith in him who gave us life.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 10, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    It seems as if critics criticize believers for being fools, then--as in the case of Joseph Strang--criticize us for NOT being fools.

    I accept Joseph Smith as a prophet, and I accept the witness of the Holy Ghost as evidence for spiritual truth. This does not mean that I am required to accept every prophetic claim and every spiritual manifestation. The critics and I agree that such claims ought to be tested. We disagree on the rules for the tests (I don't think, for example, that peer-reviewed journals are the conclusion of all controversy) and the results of our tests, but we agree that claims ought to be tested.

    I have no problem whatsoever--no cognitive dissonance, no sense of crippling irony, no testimonial crumbling--in saying that I have had a spiritual witness that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that I view Joseph Strang as a fake. The former was a difficult conclusion for me to arrive at (it took years of study, analysis, and prayer); the latter is relatively easy to make. Foundational truths make be difficult to establish, but once in place, they make other truths easy to see.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 10, 2011 12:45 p.m.

    KC Mormon,"If the KJV translators misunderstood Agape why then did they translate it as love so many times?" This is why Christians Churches have several different Bible modern translations do to discoveries of earlier and better MS than the(TR/KJV)and better schlorship like; Jehovah is a mistranslation of YHWH. Years ago my LDS Bishop discouraged me from bringing the Greek to Bible studies and even highlighed the KJV for me to read only. One of the reasons I left.

    The Greek word (agape,25) is often translated "love" in the New Testament. "agape love" is different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word love, agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Nor does agape mean charity, a term which the King James translators carried over from the Latin. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character. Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. JS misunderstood the KJV.

  • ENDavis American Fork, UT
    June 10, 2011 1:46 p.m.

    @Bill in Nebraska (who really lives in Missouri) - You make a lot of blanket statements that do not reflect reality. For one, the word "theory" when applied to science does not mean simply a guess or opinion, as you have implied. Theory in science is like theory in music--it is the method for explaining how things work.

    You also stated "once a theory is proven over and over again it becomes fact" - also inaccurate. Scientific theory is never "proven", it can be tested repeatedly to weed out inaccurate hypotheses. But even empirical results can be refined to result in even better answers in the future. Not even gravity is a proven fact. Years from now someone may develop better theory for explaining why things fall.

    Not every scientific fact has changed in 20 years. There is much empirical truth that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny, for centuries. Many of Newton's laws of physics, and Galileo's model of the solar system, for example, have yet to be refuted. It's interesting that you quickly dismiss scientific inquiry, which is rigorously tested and scrutinized over and over, yet assume without question, that everything Joseph said was truth.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    June 11, 2011 2:00 a.m.

    Now then, Everyone.

    Are we wandering "Off Topic" a little?

    "The Story Behind James J.Strang".

    1:- There is a Wealth of Information, on the WWW for All of us to Read.

    2:- It is being looked after by a Priest, of Lineage from Joseph Smith Jnr..

    3:- All we have to do is R.E.A.D., with a Prayer to the HOLY SPIRIT of Inspiration (ELIAS all Spirit And all Intelligence, the Lord Eternal - Bringing the Fathers to the Children, and the Children to the Fathers).

    4:- The HOLY SPIRIT can help you see that Joseph & James (Our Fathers), had a Very Similar way of Writing, and therefore "Walking", in The Spirit of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints", as they were Lead!

    5:- Please just determine your own Personal Proof, whether you wish to Believe or Reject Either way will Not Deter the History Available.

    With Kindest Regards,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.
    "PENTACONE"

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    June 11, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    "By 1856, when he himself was murdered, [Strang] had several thousand followers, including members of Joseph Smith's family, former apostles and Book of Mormon witnesses."

    so someone who was obviously a fraud (or do you concede that there is a possibility that Strang's claims were real--not obviously a fraud?) could still fool thousands of people into believing him? that argument doesnt make the case for mormonism any stronger. it's very odd that the "holy ghost" wouldn't "tell" these people (apostles and joseph's family) that Strang was a phony.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 11, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Bill:

    You seem to be caught up in the labels, such as the word "science". That's just industry jargon for a process of touching things, watching them, studying them, and learning about them. Inherently it requires that things that can be touched, watched, studied, and learned. Religion, Mormonism in particular, asserts a reality that cannot be touched, watched, studied, or learned (by observation). That's all we're saying here. All you have to your defense is number of quotes, sayings, doctrines, and allegations, from a hierarchy that is conveniently benefited by their quotations. Secondly, as for the disciplines of science - yes things change, but even in noting that observation you fail to appreciate the same thing in religion - even Mormonism. You of course will deny that changes have occured, but again - you only have your insistence on that point. However, the position of "science" is not that of an almighty immutable God, who bestows revelation. Instead, it is a system of shared learning that makes no pretense to its static imperfections, though from time to time we do witness egocentrism.

    Jeff:

    You are criticized for not allowing strang the same benefit of the doubt you give JS.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 11, 2011 3:34 p.m.

    @ Mormoncowboy: The question of giving the "benefit of the doubt" to Joseph Smith over Joseph Strang is a simple train of logic. Strang's claims to prophetic authority stem from Smith's. If Smith is not true, then Strang is not true, hence, Smith gets precedence. Strang's claims are in conflict with Brigham Young, not necessarily Joseph Smith. Since I accept Brigham Young as the correct successor of Joseph Smith, then Joseph Strang is, to me, an apostate and not worthy of consideration.

    What I meant in my earlier post was that the fact that I accept the reality of revelation and inspired interpretation of languages does not mean that I must give credence to all claims of such. More than once I have come in contact with someone who thinks that I ought to be credulous enough to believe all such claims simply because I believe Joseph Smith's.

    I know it would be better for critics of the Church if I were carried about by every wind of doctrine, but the Church rather protects me from that.

    Mormonism, incidentally, makes claims that can be objectively observed; even the Spirit has observable effects.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    June 11, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    More to Mormoncowboy: I know you are working under a word limit here, and I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt, but your sweeping comparison of science and religion simply doesn't work.

    You say that "all [you're] trying to say here" is that science "inherently ... requires that things that can be touched, watched, studied, and learned," while "religion, Mormonism in particular, asserts a reality that cannot."

    Here is an example of how the comparison breaks down: Science asserts strongly, to the point of certainty, that atoms and subatomic particles exist. There are some doubtful pictures of extremely large molecules, but for the most part these things cannot be "touched" or "watched." Their effects, power, and influence only can be. There is tremendous circumstantial evidence of their existence, but it is only through surmise that anything may be studied or learned from them. Yet if we follow surmised laws of atomic and subatomic particle behavior, we are able to exercise great power (another proof of their existence).

    This is exactly parallel to the most "invisible" claims of Mormonism. We exclude "sight" from the sensory articles of faith, but nothing else.

  • Pentacone Batley, W.Yorkshire
    June 12, 2011 2:08 a.m.

    Come-on Lads & Lasses,

    Surely, if you want Proof of our History, all you have to do is Obtain the Documents and Artefacts (That are Currently Available), Study them, and Reason amongst yourselves of their Authenticity?

    The Bottom Line here is, "Will you be Saved?"

    And the Answer is:- When you Stand at the Judgement Seat of Our Lord Jesus, and He says, "Do you believe in the Words that were Given to Joseph, and that it was I who Gave them?"

    And:- "What about the Words that were sent Beyond the Life of Joseph Sent for your Continued Progression?"

    Now, ALL the Lord is asking you here is; "Can You Make A Decision?"

    To be Saved is literally:- "To Practise Acting upon your Own Free-Agency".

    It is NOT a matter of:- "How Many Other People, Reason as you do, and thus, Believe in Joseph , Brigham or James?"

    With Kindest Regards,
    Joseph Peter Sheehan.
    "PENTACONE"

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 12, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    Petacone said,To be Saved is literally:- "To Practie Acting upon your Own Free-Agency".
    The Bible teaches: Saved(sozo)The eternal spiritual salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Savior(soto)a deliverer, preserver. Our God and Savior Jesus Christ(2Peter 1:1 NIV)

    For we are unto God a sweet savior of Christ in them that are saved, a and in them that perish.(2 Cor 2:15)is used metaphorically of those who in the testimony of the GOSPEL are to God a sweet savor of Christ.

    The Bottom Line here is, "Will you be Saved? Saved from what? Answer,The wrath of God, Jesus saves those that trust in him, not JS.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    June 12, 2011 1:23 p.m.

    Frankly Jeff:

    We're headed straight on towards the inevitable terminus of this argument. You argue that in science we accept the existence of small particles that cannot be seen, and that such belief is similar to your belief in religion. That could not be more false. Atoms, molecules, and other such particles can be observed and tested, albeit through the aid of instrumentation and methodology. And this is where we will come to head. Any instrument or method used in research is under as much rigorous treatment as the thing being studied. Instruments much have proven track records of reliability that show when used appropriately, and that such appropriate use can be observed by multiple people, will perform consistently. We accept atoms on the basis of unanimity, and just as importantly, where the variation is very small!

    You will naturally respond by suggesting that you do have a method, and that your experience suggests it is consistent. I would counter by noting the variation people report in their experiences in trying to receive a witness of the Holy Ghost. We would then be at the end of the road - I'm confident that your methods are wholly unreliable.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 12, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Jeff: Apply all your efforts to study, prayer and believing that James J Strang is a true prophet and his LDS church is the only true church and you will know that it is true by the testimony of the holy ghost. If you don't receive confirmation, keep trying until you do, and start believing with more confiction and change your ways so as to be receptive to the spirit.

  • aaazzz Murray, UT
    June 13, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    These articles would be so much better if they had references and an additional reading section. As it stands, it seems like Mr. Peterson wants us all to believe what he has written because it is in print. I don't mean to say that is his fault. I the that the DN should have editors that make sure that their stories they print have strong journalistic integrity.

  • Cryophil MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
    Nov. 29, 2011 3:49 p.m.

    Daniel C. Peterson wrote:
    "But does the fact that Strang had witnesses like Joseph's mean that, for consistency's sake, modern believers in Mormonism must either accept Strang's claims or reject both Joseph and Strang?
    No. Because the two sets of witnesses and their experiences were very different.
    The two sets of inscribed plates that Strang claimed to have found in Wisconsin and Michigan beginning in 1845 almost certainly existed.
    ...
    And they were almost certainly forgeries."

    How does DCP know this?

    Because, "most of the four witnesses to the Rajah Manchou plates ultimately repudiated their testimonies." (like all three witness of the BoM changing their allegiance and their version of events?)

    And because, " Strang's witnesses report seeing the plates, but mention nothing miraculous. Nor did Strang supply any additional supporting testimony comparable to that of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. "

    In other words, had they embellished the story of the plates (which were most certainly real, unlike the fanciful golden plates) with stories of angels, then DCP believes they'd have MORE credibility.

    Wow. Really--magical stories add to credibility. Hm.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    Nov. 29, 2011 3:53 p.m.

    I never heard the story of Strange. Now I'm wondering. Which version is true? I also did not know the eleven surviving witnesses were not in the church by 1847. This is bizarre . . . two virtually identical stories and one is true, the other false? I'm going to research the story behind the golden plates and the translation.

  • Cryophil MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA
    Nov. 29, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    While Mr. Peterson is quick to point out the witnesses recanting on Strang, a fact we know because his group isn't around to hide history and strongarm its university professors into correcting history, DCP is short on describing some of the interesting points of Strang's translation.

    For example, one of the selling points that Peterson has made about the BoM is that it contains Chiasmus writing--something that Joe Smith couldn't have known about but that matches his supposed claims that the BoM came from a middle eastern origin.

    However, Strang's brass plates also contained such writing. If DCP is assured that these are forgeries, and Strang was contemporary (preceding knowledge) of Chiasmus, then how can DCP hold to Smith's miraculous inclusion of the writing style as prophetic evidence?

    google "chiasmus strang brass plates" to see examples.