Thursday, November 8, 2018

Brigham’s Sledge Hammer

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Who earned the nickname, “Brigham’s Sledge Hammer?”
a.                  Jedediah Grant
b.                  Susa Young Gates
c.                   Porter Rockwell
d.                  Mary Decker Young
Yesterday’s answer:
A   From an old theatrical prop trunk
[James] Strang was more than eager to have William’s [Smith] support, especially since William promised to also deliver his mother, three sisters, and the Egyptian mummies to Voree. Those plans never materialized, but Strang obligingly appointed William as an apostle, as “CHIEF PATRIARCH” presiding over” the whole church,” and as holding “ a seat in the councils of the first presidency, as coadjutor,” thanks to the patriarchy. But the relationship unraveled quickly when William was accused of “gross immorality’ (likely polygamy) during his short stay at Voree in 1846. At the April 1847 Strangite conference at Voree, William’s reputation had deteriorated to such an extent that the Strangite congregation refused to sustain him as an apostle though allowing him to continue to his office as patriarch. After failing to negotiated a compromise that would retain William’s loyalty, and by extension that of the Smith family, Strang reluctantly broke ties with William and excommunicated him for “adultery” in October 1847. George Adams lingered long enough to crown Strang king on July 8, 1850, using robes and a crown from a truck of theatrical props, but his relationship with William had fizzled by this time.
Four months earlier by June 1847, William had severed his own ties with Strang, had married his first wife’s younger sister Roxey Ann in May in Knox County, Illinois, and immediately petitioned Apostles Orson Hyde, (then at Kanesville, Iowa) for reinstatement into the LDS Church. When William found Hyde’s skeptical response unsatisfactory, he renewed his ambition of building his own church and also revived the idea of lineal succession. In August 1847 he launched his own “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” and, without the permission of Emma Hale Smith or Joseph III, began to vociferously promote his nephew’s right to succeed his father as prophet and president. He established his headquarters in the heart of Lee County, Illinois, where a handful of disillusioned Mormons were farming at Palestine Grove (also known as Rocky Ford and later Shelburn). Exuberant over even this limited success, he modified the idea of lineal succession so that it focused on his own right to preside.

James A. Toronto, The “Wild West” of Missionary Work” Reopening the Italian Mission, 1965-71, Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2014, 81-83.

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