Strang-er Things Show Notes
For our first episode, we wanted to focus on some history from our home state of Michigan. Having both worked for Mackinac State Historic Parks, we had, of course, heard of James Jesse Strang and the rivalry between Beaver Island and Mackinac Island. Since we were already familiar with Strang from a gentile perspective, we consulted a lot of sources produced by Strang and his followers to more fully understand how they viewed themselves and their situation. In researching Michigan's most well known monarch we made use of the following sources:
Strang, James Jesse. The Book of the Law of the Lord: Consisting of an Inspired Translation of Some of the Most Important Parts of the Law Given to Moses, and a Very Few Additional Commandments, with Brief Notes and References. St. James, MI: A.R.I., 1851.
The Book of the Law of the Lord was said to be Strang's translation of the copper plates that were revealed to him by an angel. This story is very similar to the origin story of the Book of Mormon, and helped to boost the legitimacy of Strang as a successor to Joseph Smith. This holy book unique to the Strangite sect was very helpful for understanding how their beliefs differ from other branches of Mormonism.
Strang, James Jesse. The Diary of James J. Strang: Deciphered, Transcribed, Introduced, and Annotated. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1961.
The diary of James J. Strang, published by one of his descendants, proved to be a very valuable resource regarding the early years of his life, particularly before his conversion to Mormonism.
Strang, James Jesse. The Diamond: Being the Law of Prophetic Succession and a Defense of the Calling of James J. Strang as Successor to Joseph Smith.
We quoted from this publication in the podcast. It was distributed by Strang to his followers and included copies of what was purported to be the letter Joseph Smith wrote to name Strang as his rightful successor.
Strang, James Jesse. Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac, Including an Account of the Controversy between Mackinac and the Mormons. Mackinac Island, MI: W. Stewart Woodfill, 1959.
Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac was written by Strang. In it, he provided his version of many events discussed on the podcast.
Remnants of the Strangite church still exist, and they maintain a very helpful website with a lot of resources for understanding their history. As you can tell from their banner, they continue to uphold that theirs is the true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints:
You can find them online here: http://www.churchofjesuschristoflatterdaysaints.org
We also used some of the following secondary sources:
Faber, Don. James Jesse Strang: The Rise and Fall of Michigan's Mormon King. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016.
Fitzpatrick, Doyle C. The King Strang Story: A Vindication of James J. Strang, the Beaver Island Mormon King. Lansing: National Heritage, 1970.
Launius, Roger D., and Linda Thatcher, eds. Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
This photo of King James Jesse Strang was taken in 1856 by Dr. J. Atkyn who later helped conspire in the assassination of Strang later that same year.
This facsimile was made of the "Voree Plates" which Strang claimed to have found and translated into The Book of the Law of the Lord.