Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Testimonies of the Smith Family and Church Leaders to the Calling of James J. Strang

Mrs. Lucy Smith's Testimony. 

In a letter of Lucy Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph, to Ruben Miller.

Nauvoo, May 11, 1846.

My Dear Son-

For so I must call you; as the church has passed through much affection, and it pains my heart that it should suffer more. The Twelve (Brighamites) have abused my son William, and trampled upon my children, and have also treated me with contempt. Now mark it, these men are not right. God has not sent them to lead this kingdom. I am satisfied that Joseph appointed James J. Strang. It is verily so. Now, Brother Reuben, I exhort you for the love you have for the truth, to hear my voice, and warn the saints concerning these things, and your reward shall be doubled in the heavenly world. 

This from your mother, Lucy Smith,
"Mother in Israel."

This is to certify that we, the undersigned. members of the Smith family, fully accord with the sentiments expressed above.

W.J. Salisbury,
Catherine Salisbury,
Arthur Milliken,
Lucy Milliken.

William Smith was the brother of Joseph Smith and one of the twelve Apostles at the time of Joseph's death.

I have, since I returned to Nauvoo last, been apprised for the first time of an appointment made by brother Joseph to James J. Strang.

On hearing this I took pains to gather all the evidence that could be adduced, to see if there was any foundation at all for the claims of Mr. Strang. I called in to see Sister Emma to inquire concerning the appointment. Sister Emma says that Joseph received a letter from Mr. Strang. Hyrum was present, and he called in John P. Green; at first Joseph thought all was not right, but Hyrum thought otherwise. They talked over matters awhile and came to the conclusion that Joseph would write a letter; so Joseph and Brother Green went out for that purpose.

Emma also states that her son Joseph saw a woman come into a room in Far West, Mo. and told him this church would go to Voree; the boy was only eight years old. Joseph, his father, was in jail at the time. The boy remembers the vision, etc. Joseph, before he was martyred, when on his way from the temple hill home, saw a vision, and his mother recollects that when he came home he put his hands upon his eyes and prayed that the vision might pass, and that he stated that he heard as it were music in the heavens, but the notes were low and sad as though they sounded the requiem of martyred prophets.

I remember myself that Joseph said: 'My work is almost done; I feel that I shall rule a mighty host, but not in this world; the wolves are on the scent,; etc. Joseph bid his wife and mother farewell, saying: I am going as a lamb to the slaughter'; this was his impression. And I further state that Joseph did not appoint the Twelve as his successor, and I was in the last council with him and had an opportunity of hearing and knowing his sentiments in regard to these things.

I also heard Joseph say that should the time ever come that Brigham Young and Hover C. Kimbal would lead this church, that they would lead it to hell. This was said in the hearing of sister Emma Smith. The whole Smith family of Joseph stock join in sustaining J. J. Strang.

It is to remembered that, soon after Joseph and Hyrum's death, brother Green died, and he was heard by numerous individuals to say that Joseph had appointed Strang. 

William Smith.

This is to certify that the Smith family do believe in the appointment of J. J. Strang.
William Smith, Patriarch.
Lucy Smith, Mother in Israel.
Arthur Milliken.
Nancy Milliken.
W. J. Salisbury.
Catherine Salisbury.
Sophronia McLerie.
Nauvoo, March 1st. 1846.

The following is a further testimony of William Smith:


The apostates in Nauvoo kept up the story all winter that William Smith, and all the Smith family, would go west with them in the spring; but during all the same period they kept up a continual fire of their small artillery against his moral character.

Apostasy is always alike.  The pseudoes (Pseudo [pronounced su-do,] is of Greek derivation, and signifies false, counterfeit, spurious.)  have the same way of doing business.  They are intending to have William, and all the Smiths, though they have kept up a continual crash of scandal on his devoted head for months past.

When President Strang was in Philadelphia, the Brighamites got an article inserted in the Public Ledger, saying that William did not acknowledge Strang as President or Prophet of the Mormon church.  He immediately called on the editor, and had inserted in that paper a letter from William, in which he not only recognizes President Strang, but states distinctly that God has shown to him, by revelation, that James J. Strang is called of  Him to stand at the head of this dispensation.

Now, the pseudoes, after scandalizing him till his friends hardly dare defend him, have suddenly put out the boast that William was with them.  If he was half as bad as they call him he ought to be.  But for their satisfaction we publish the following:---

"City of Voree, Wisconsin, July 28th, 1846."
"To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

"Beloved Brethren:--

Inheriting as I do the office of Patriarch by lineal descent from my progenitors, and having been ordained there unto by the First Presidency, and being therefore fully invested with the Patriarchal authority, I deem it necessary at this time to address you a few lines for the confirmation of your faith in the great work of the last days.

As to the claims of brother James J. Strang as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Prophet, Seer and Revelator, I entertain no doubt whatever, as his appointment by my brother Joseph, and his confirmation by angelic administration is in strict accordance with the Law of God by revelation; for so Jehovah hath revealed it to me, and I, therefore, as your spiritual Father, bear witness to you all of the truth of these declarations; and as God has revealed to me his appointment of Brother Strang to said station, and the investing him with all Keys and powers of the Priesthood, I rejoice that I am able to confirm your faith for God is now working gloriously for Zion.

City of Voree, Wis., July 28, 1846.

A Letter of William Smith

Nauvoo, May 11th 1846
Dear Brother Hedlock,

I sit down a few moments to send a line to you, by the hand of Brother fielding.  I have been always on good terms with you, and I hope we ever shall be, but the time has come when all the faithful elders should speak out.  I saw your wife the other day poor and broken hearted; she has now gone to Galena to get a living.  The Twelve and the brethren here have done all they could to ruin her; and gone off and left her to look out for herself, such is the charity of these men.  The Twelve are not the appointed of God, to lead the church. James J. Strang has the appointment, and we have evidence of it.  The whole Smith family excepting Hyrum’s widow uphold Strang, and say this wilderness move is not of God.  Do set the saints in order in England.  My love to all the faithful. The family join in these sentiments.
WM Smith.

John E. Page's Testimony 

John E. Page was one of the twelve apostles at the time of Joseph Smith's death.

My former letter to Brother Strang, acknowledging the theory of his claims, having been published in the [Voree] Herald, I wish to add this testimony to all the faithful; that having visited and traveled with him, and minutely investigated all the evidences produced in his favor, as well as against him, I have been compelled to acknowledge him as a prophet of God placed at the head of this dispensation.

First-Because he alone claims the authority according to the law of God.
Second-Because his conduct is fitting of that high calling.
Third-Because his teachings carry with them the witness of the spirit.
Fourth-Because he produces the proper works of a seer.
Fifth-Because the evidence that he receives revelation from God is stronger than can be produced to the like fact in favor of any other man from the beginning of the world to this present moment.

The Report of High Priest Samuel Shaw

High Priest Samuel Shaw, accompanied by Elder Aaron Hook and others, returned from Nauvoo, and Shaw reported in part of the Mission to that place. This is his report:

They visited brethren wherever they found them on the way, and they nearly all received their testimony. At Nauvoo, the nature of their mission transpired the first Sunday after arrival and created a tremendous excitement. They applied for permission of those in possession to address the people in the Temple. To this they received no definite answer.

The people followed them and compelled them to preach in the streets. In so doing, they read to them the epistle of James J. Strang, the letter of Joseph Smith, and the testimony of the four witnesses [to the Voree Plates].

Some of the Nauvoo police came out and attempted to get up a riot, but they departed from among the crowd and escaped.

They continued to teach publickly and privately from day to day, and many received the truth from them.

The Sunday following, Moses Smith was suffered to speak to the people in the Temple. A great effort was made to defeat the effect of his words by clamor, ridicule, and out-cry, in the midst of which they voted by acclamation to cut him off from the Church.

Votes were also carried by acclamation to cut off Samuel Shaw, James J. Strang, and Aaron Smith. Shaw was present but not allowed to speak.

This effort was an entire failure. An under-current of better feeling could be seen throughout the congregation. The excitement in the city increased from day and inquiries were frequent.

They also preached in various places round about, and their testimony was received by most of the brethren. Several Elders joined them in preaching. He left the rest of the mission engaged in the work, and very much prospered in turning the brethren to righteousness.


I, Jonathan Sumner, do hereby testify, that I was present at the Conference held in Nauvoo, soon after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, which was called by those who sought to place Sidney Rigdon at the head of the Church, while in conversation with a squad of Elders talking on the question of Rigdon’s right to lead.--John P. Green, Marshall of the City, said they need not trouble themselves about it, for Joseph had appointed one to stand in his stead.  I asked him why he was not here to take his place.  He said he was not ready, but would be there after a time.  I asked him where he lived; and he said up North a considerable distance.  I asked his name and he said Strang, James J. Strang.  I asked what sort of a man, and he said a young man.  I then asked whether he had ever been in Nauvoo, and he said he had been and that Joseph baptized him.

              JONATHAN SUMNER.
Voree, June 30th, 1846.
     Signed in the presence of,
          Benjamin C. Ellsworth,
          George Eberson,
          Phineas Wright.

Note--John P. Green, died very mysteriously a few days after the statement above made by him.

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