Dr. Michael Quinn is one of the foremost experts on the LDS Succession Crisis. He says there were seven legitimate succession claims following the death of Joseph Smith. In a previous interview, John Hamer said Sidney Rigdon was the best option according to canon law. I’ll ask Quinn that question, and we’ll talk about some of the other candidates.
Michael: I would disagree with John Hamer that Sidney Rigdon was the most likely. He was the first publicly proposed alternative to the Quorum of the Twelve and he was voted down by the congregation that met in August of 1844. When their choice was only Sidney Rigdon or the Quorum of the Twelve, they chose the Quorum of the Twelve to continue in the Twelve’s position in its place of having all this prior role administratively within Nauvoo, the headquarters of the church. And they rejected Sidney Rigdon. But the fact that he was the first publicly proposed doesn’t mean that either one of them was the most likely. That was the choice that the Quorum of the Twelve and Sidney Rigdon had advertised. And this had been advertised before the Twelve was even back in Nauvoo. Most of the apostles, members of the Quorum of the Twelve were in the eastern states, and there were only one or two members in Nauvoo and two of them were wounded in and the attack on Carthage Jail.
We’ll talk about several of the possibilities during the succession crisis. We’re continuing our discussion of the Succession Crisis. Strang was known to translate the Voree Plates. How does that compare to Book of Mormon translation process Joseph Smith did? Michael Quinn tells his beliefs about the translation process of the Book of Mormon.
GT: Do you have an opinion on the Book of Mormon?
Michael: Yes, I believe it is written based on ur-text? I believe it’s tribal history. The way the Old Testament was tribal history originally told around campfires and that the Book of Mormon is based on an actual ur-text, written ur-text, Gold plates. I believe those. But I don’t think that everything in the published 1830 Book of Mormon derives from that ur-text, derives from that ur-text. That’s a German phrase: Ur-text meaning the original text. I don’t believe that. I mean, there are things in there you can see as Joseph Smith’s understanding of the Bible. You can see things in there that reflect attitudes of the people at the time.
James Strang was a big rival to the Brigham Young movement. He claims to have a letter from Joseph Smith putting him in charge of the LDS Church. Dr. Michael Quinn tells why he believes the letter was a forgery.
GT: So what do you think about Strang’s claim?
Michael: Absolute fraud.
Michael: Oh yes.
GT: Oh Wow. Why do you say that?
Michael: The document itself was hand-printed.
Michael: The signature was hand-printed.
Michael: Joseph never did that. No, it’s an absolute fraud.
GT: Absolute fraud.
GT: I know that some…
Michael: But he was a charismatic fraud, which is why people followed him because Brigham Young did not come across as charismatic even though he spoke in tongues and sang in tongues.
Check out our conversation… as well as our other conversations with Dr. Quinn!
What are your thoughts concerning the Succession Crisis?