When Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844, members of the LDS Church found themselves without a leader. Brigham Young emerged as the most famous candidate to replace him, but James Jesse Strang was the most prolific. Like Smith, Strang claimed to see visions and translate lost religious texts from buried metal plates. But unlike Smith, his followers declared him King of Lake Michigan’s Beaver Island, enrobed him in red flannel and bestowed upon him a tin crown. Independent historian John Hamer joins us Thursday to talk about James Strang, what drew him to the Mormons, and what the Mormons drew from him.
John Hamer is an independent historian, and the former executive director of the John Whitmer Historical Association. He also co-edited the book Scattering of the Saints: Schism Within Mormonism. [Amazon]