1500: James Strang – The King of Beaver Island with John Larsen

James Jesse Strang (March 21, 1813 – July 9, 1856) was an American religious leader, politician and self-proclaimed monarch. In 1844 he claimed to have been appointed to be the successor of Joseph Smith as leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite),[a] a faction of the Latter Day Saint movement. Strang testified that he had possession of a letter from Smith naming him as his successor, and furthermore reported that he had been ordained to the prophetic office by an angel. His organization is claimed by his followers to be the sole legitimate continuation of the Church of Christ founded by Joseph Smith fourteen years before. (Source: Wikipedia)

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  1. I rarely laugh this much with online content! The content of the brass plats outstripped even the silliness of the gold plates IMHO. And the first liar doesn’t have a chance, James Strang quickly understood the con and outdid JS with an even better story and gave them “real” plates (on a budget, brass not gold). I read, because of your podcast prompting me to look into the Strangites that many Strangites after James Strang was killed then joined the RLDS group. My ancestors are from Wisconsin and joined the RLDS church in that time frame, which made me curious if they were Strangites.

    This is the first time I’d listened to John Larsen. I really appreciate his unflinching position (or at least how I interpret it) that the “doctrine” of Mormonism is a complete and total hoax. An amazing con job with far-reach effects. Some of the effects are certainly positive but I in no way think it justifies the con. Maybe it isn’t significant that lots of folks were/are duped?? But it does seem significant that possibly there is a gross misrepresentation of the nature divine source.

  2. Numbers are an argument I have heard as well. However, when you look at other newer religions the numbers aren’t that astounding. Jehovah Witnesses claim about 8.7 million members (however they only count those that are actively preaching and sending in their hours). So JW have more active members than Mormons and they were established in 1870. Seventh Day Adventists claim over 21 million members. Their numbers come from those who have been baptized, much like the Mormon church. They do however require several months and even up to a year of investigators to attend church and bible study before they can be baptized. Seventh day Adventists were established in 1869. Mormonism inflates the numbers and still really can’t come up with an impressive membership after close to 200 years of being an organization. I guess you have to argue that money is what God uses to show His true church. . . but then you have to take into account Scientology, who is only worth about $2 billion – no where near the Mormon church, but they were established in 1954 and have amassed that wealth with 1/10 the membership. Surely this would prove God’s love. Which would also christen Apple as the only true company since its worth $2 trillion and was established in 1974. But then again Amazon may have an argument being much younger and almost the same value. I don’t know – maybe its just what feels best. . . Buddhism?

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