Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » James J. Strang to John Taylor and Orson Hyde, with Reply, 1846

James J. Strang to John Taylor and Orson Hyde, with Reply, 1846

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 06, 2011

Philadelphia, August 30, 1846.

Messrs. J. Taylor and Orson Hyde –

Knowing from your public proceedings, as well as otherwise, that you, and others associated with you, claim the right, and are attempting to use the power of dictating all the affairs of the Church of Jesus Christ in all the world, not under the directions of the first presidency thereof, but independently; I suggest to you the propriety of publicly showing by what means you are authorized to act as leaders to said Church, and offer to publicly discuss that question with you in this city, or any other proper place that will suit your convenience.

Your answer to this, left at the house of Jacob Gibson, on the N.E. corner of Third and Dock streets, near the postoffice, will receive immediate attention.

Yours respectfully,


Answer to the Above

Sir –

After Lucifer was cut off and thrust down to hell, we have no knowledge that God ever condescended to investigate the subject or right of authority with him.

Your case has been disposed of by the authorities of the Church, and being satisfied with our own power and calling, we have no disposition to ask whence yours came.

Yours respectfully,




  1. Is it just me, or does this read almost exactly like a Bloggernacle flame war?

    Comment by E. Wallace — October 6, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  2. The thing I love about this interchange is that both the Millennial Star (LDS) and the Voree Herald (Strangite) published both letters. Meaning both groups found rhetorical use in this heated interchange.

    Comment by Robin Jensen — October 6, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  3. Wow, a comparison to Lucifer in the very first line! No pussy footing around here.

    Comment by David Y. — October 6, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  4. Smackdown!

    Here, by the way, is a map showing Dock Street winding its way from the south-east to its terminus at 3rd Street.

    Compare that to a modern map of Philadelphia, and you’ll see that Dock Street no longer runs all the way to 3rd (now South 3rd Street)–it has become a pedestrian walkway. But here’s the corner where that house of Jacob Gibson sat in 1846: View Larger Map

    Comment by Mark B. — October 6, 2011 @ 11:10 am

  5. Well, that attempt at a link didn’t turn out as badly as I’d feared–give it time and the photograph will come into focus. It appears that the building there is a Living History Center (in contrast to the dead history that the rest of us spend our time with). Maybe the ghost of Jacob Gibson hangs out there, and with luck even James J. Strang’s shade will make an appearance from time to time.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 6, 2011 @ 11:24 am

  6. Thanks, Mark B. I was wondering where Dock Street was. That’s just a short walk to Independence Hall and to the Unitarian Meetinghouse where Joseph Smith preached to thousands of people in 1840 (now Congregation Kesher Israel) and about a 40 minute walk or 10 minute drive to the site of the future Philadelphia Temple.

    Branches of the church met in the 1840s and 1850s in Philadelphia in rented halls at Seventh and Callowhill and at Third and Willow Streets. The church has a long history in Philadephia, as was mentioned several weeks ago by Elder Robert Smith at the groundbreaking ceremony for the temple.

    Comment by Researcher — October 6, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

  7. Great stuff. James Strang made no bones about his authority. The Strangite website to this day has the same sort of really assured tone… while the LDS site is perhaps not as strident as Orson and JT were…

    Comment by Steve Evans — October 6, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  8. I’m guessing from the leter that Hyde and Taylor were, at the time, in Philadelphia. There is so much I don’t know about Church history.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — October 6, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  9. Gibson was only with Strang a short time and then was back with the Twelve and moved to Utah.

    Comment by Steve Fleming — October 6, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  10. Cool stuff! I find the splinter groups interesting.

    Comment by Steve C. — October 6, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  11. “Yours respectfully,”

    Tee hee!

    Comment by J. Stapley — October 6, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

  12. 1846 would have been an interesting year to be a Mormon. Obviously, neither Taylor nor Hyde bothered to have their reply vetted by the Church legal and public affairs departments. 😉

    Comment by The Other Clark — October 7, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

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