This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice ( Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.

Skeptics like to bring up cult leader James Strang to attack Joseph Smith, as if there were some kind of comparison. But they are nothing alike. James Strang compares to Joseph Smith like Nickelback compares to Mozart. That’s why nobody has neard of James Strang, nobody cares about him. It’s easy to fabricate ancient records, but really, James Strang is proof that it takes a lot more than trickery to be anything close to a real prophet like Joseph Smith. He was an obvious fake.

CES Letter makes five comparisons:

  1. “Claimed that he was visited by an angel who reserved plates for him to translate into the word of God. ‘The record which was sealed from my servant Joseph. Unto thee it is reserved’ Strang’s fraud came at a difficult time when Brigham Young was trying to fill Joseph Smith’s shoes as the new prophet. Splinter sects were making all kinds of claims to be his true successor. Anybody could write something down and claim it was “translated” from a record. We can know right away that the supposed angel visitation was a fraud, because Strang did not hold proper priesthood authority in the church to be any kind of leader. Joseph Smith made it exceedingly clear through revelation that the church is properly led through priesthood authority, and continues through priesthood succession. Who was James Strang? Some random guy. See: Differences between Strang and Joseph Smith
  2. “Received the ‘Urim and Thummim.'”
    Wait, wasn’t CES Letter telling us that Joseph Smith supposedly translated with a rock in a hat? Now suddenly it’s the Urim and Thummim? I wish CES Letter would be honest and transparent to their readers. Yes, Strang made claims to sound similar to Joseph Smith, to attract Mormons to his sect. But there were no witnesses to Strang possessing a Urim and Thummim. There was for Joseph Smith.
  3. “Produced 11 witnesses who testified that they too had seen and inspected ancient metal plates.”
    Those witnesses saw exactly what they said they saw. In both the cases of Strang and Joseph Smith, the witnesses saw and felt metal plates. The reason Strang could claim to have witnesses for his metal plates was that he actually had metal plates. Strang’s law partner, Caleb Barnes, later admitted that Strang made the plates out of a tea kettle. CES Letter goes on and on for multiple pages about Strang but somehow they forget to mention this. Strang’s witnesses saw exactly what they said they saw. Joseph Smith’s witnesses said they saw metal plates made out of gold. Where did Joseph Smith get the gold to make them? Where did the gold go? The Three Witnesses said a glorious angel appeared and handed them the plates. How did Joseph Smith fake an angel? The 11 Book of Mormon witnesses things that would have been extremely difficult or impossible to fake. That is the difference. Strang’s witnesses said nothing of supernatural events or objects that were near impossible for him to create. Strang’s Witnesses Admitted FraudCES Letter claims: “There is no direct evidence that any of the above 1 1 Strang witnesses ever denied their testimony.” This is a complete bold-faced lie. Several witnesses recanted their testimonies, including Caleb Barnes, who admitted Strang created the plates out of a tea kettle. Samuel Graham admitted he helped make the plates. Samuel P. Bacon denounced the sect after he found remnants of the tea kettle in Strang’s attic: “Bro. Samuel Bacon says that in repairing Strang’s house he found hid behind the ceiling the fragments of those plates which Strang made the Book of the Law from.” It is very disappointing that CES Letter would attack Mormons like they do, and yet cover up for Strang and pretend like his witnesses didn’t reveal him for a fraud. I wish CES Letter would be honest and transparent to their readers. “Introduced new scripture. After unearthing the plates (the same plates as Laban from whom Nephi took the brass plates in Jerusalem), Strang translated it into scripture called the ‘Book of the Law of the Lord ‘” This is basically a repeat of CES Letter‘s first claim, that Strang translated sealed plates from Joseph Smith. They are repeating themselves. But now we recognize weird discrepencies. The same plates as Laban? What does that mean? Well, according to Wikipedia, they were “the Plates of Laban mentioned in the Book of Mormon,” which I suppose must refer to the brass plates. But weren’t the brass plates pretty much the same scripture as from the Old Testament? New scripture? So anyone who has read the Book of Mormon would know Strang was just making stuff up. The brass plates were not new scripture and they were not a book titled ‘The Law of the Lord.’
  4. “Established a new Church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). Its headquarters is still in Voree, Wisconsin.” So? If they were really Mormons, they would believe in the priesthood as described in Mormon scripture, which was passed down to the prophets in today’s LDS church.
Categories: Apologetics