Mike and I have just returned home from Voree, where we spent another entire week pouring through the records housed in archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite). We’re working on an institutional history of the church since the martyrdom of James Strang in 1856, the first ever composed. It’s been a fantastic experience because the Strangites have been excellent record keepers and because the church has given us unrestricted access to the archives.
We brought back another two file cabinet drawers worth of xeroxes, including copies of many of the church’s past periodicals. I was paging through one of these and found an article readers here might get a kick out of. The church has a very active youth group and publishes a fairly lengthy periodical entitled Crossroads, filled with articles written by young members. The May 1978 issue includes a submission by a thirteen-year-old boy, entitled “False Prophets.”* The article begins by summarizing the Strangite Mormon understanding of true prophets:
A Prophet or Lawgiver is also called an Apostle, Seer, Revelator, and Translator. The way a man gets this degree of Priesthood is by the direct word of God. The man we usually call a Prophet — the Lawgiver — is ordained under the hands of angels.
After explaining the prophet’s function and citing the authority of scriptures, the author lists examples of true prophets and touches on the distinctive Strangite view of Jesus:
The names of some of the Prophets are Enoch, Moses, Noah, Elijah, Peter, James, John, Joseph Smith, and James J. Strang. Jesus Christ was also a Lawgiver, but after his resurrection he was given more power from God than has ever been given to any other man. That power is called the Keys of Death and the Resurrection. That means he can raise people from the dead and live forever.
By contrast, the young writer points out that “false prophets are men or women who get an idea they think is from God and then they trick people into following them.” We learn:
Sometimes they are even tricked themselves by Satan. This can happen because they don’t take time to read in the books and see if their ideas match what the true Prophets have taught in every detail. False prophets start by getting some beliefs they think is right, but which is really counteracting the true church…. We know they are false because most of them don’t claim an angelic ordination, and they don’t function after the true pattern.
And if you thought the Strangites had become conciliatory in the past ten or twelve decades, the examples of false prophets will set you straight:
Some names of false prophets are Brigham Young, Mohammed, Buddha, and today  one of the most famous is Sun Myung Moon of the “Moonies.” But I will talk only of Brigham Young. He was one of Joseph Smith’s Twelve Apostles. The first thing he did wrong was claim that the Twelve would lead the church after Joseph’s death. The second thing was when he got the people of the church to vote that they didn’t want any more prophets. And, of course, he refused to accept James J. Strang as Joseph’s successor — so therefore he was guilty of rebellion.
More lengthy scriptural examples follow, but our young author assures us, “Brigham Young was just one of many false prophets that have come upon the earth. There are many today. All of them put forth their own ideas of what they think is God’s will. Because of them, many people are led away from the church.” He concludes:
Brigham Young was not punished in the flesh and he became a rich and powerful man…. Brigham Young’s punishment will be in the hereafter. He will be cast into hell. So that is why we must go only by the written word and be careful not to follow false prophets who think they have dreamed the will of God, or teach things which are not allowed in the law of God, or who stand in rebellion to the scriptures.
The young author has thoroughly internalized what we’ve identified as a key difference between Strangite and Brighamite (LDS) interpretations of Mormonism. Whereas LDS members frequently anchor their testimonies with feelings of spiritual confirmation, Strangite Mormons are quite wary of these manifestations, instead putting their trust solely in the scriptures. Any inspiration not totally consistent with the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Book of the Law of the Lord, is rejected.
Anyway, I thought you might find this article by a budding faithful Mormon apologist as fascinating as I did.
* Michael Falk, “False Prophets,” Youth is the Crossroads of Life, Combined Issue No. 1 (May 1978), [Artesia, NM: Latter Day Youth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite)], 10-12.