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Welcome to

Site Version January 2011

History and Succession


The church was organized in New York on April 6, 1830.  Since 1838 we have continuously been called the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in the same style most often used before 1844, without the British hyphenation later adopted by the other Mormons.


Joseph Smith Jr. presided over the church from 1830 to 1844, and James J. Strang presided from 1844 to 1856.


Joseph Smith Jr. appointed James J. Strang to be his successor with a document that survives at Yale University.  Scholars have determined that it has an authentic postmark “Nauvoo, June 19, 1844” on an envelope addressed in the same hand as the whole document.  The envelope is block-printed in a style strikingly similar to that occasionally used by Hyrum Smith’s scribe, but is probably in the rare printing of Joseph Smith Jr. himself.  The text of the document matches the language, style, and passion of Joseph Smith Jr.  The document is published with the Revelations of James J. Strang.


The letter convinced John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Hiram Page, John E. Page, William McLellin, William Smith, Emma Smith, the sisters of Joseph Smith, William Marks, George Miller, and an array of other scribes and family members who would have known Joseph Smith Jr.’s style.


Joseph Smith Jr. had written revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that said he alone had the keys to receive revelations for the church, and indicated that he would eventually appoint another in his stead—but he could not ordain his own successor to a sole office, and no other person could ordain someone to an office that they themselves lacked.


James J. Strang announced that he had been ordained by angels in the same hour that Joseph Smith Jr. was killed, but he and Smith were two hundred miles apart.  The ordination is published in the Revelations of James J. Strang.


James J. Strang translated metallic plates and eleven witnesses signed testimonies that they saw the plates—none ever denied their testimony.  The testimony of the Voree Plates is published in the Revelations of James J. Strang; and the testimony to the Book of the Law of the Lord is published in front of that law.


Brigham Young was summoned to a trial and excommunicated by a high council on April 6, 1846.  Young in turn claimed that he excommunicated James J. Strang, but there was never a notice for Strang to appear, nor was there ever a trial for Strang.


About 12,000 people acknowledged the appointment of James J. Strang.


James J. Strang was killed in 1856, just twelve years after his appointment, and the church barely survived being driven from northern Michigan by a mob at the same time.


Most of our members later joined the Reorganized church which was formed four years after the death of James J. Strang.


Continuing Faith

For baptism for the remission
of sins, it is necessary only to have
faith toward God, and to repent of all sin.

To receive baptism by immersion, contact:


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Mormon Road and Hwy. 11
Burlington, Wisconsin

(800) 862-5667



One example of our
concise priesthood lineage

Prophet Joseph Smith, 1829

Ebenezer Page, 1830
(Early Mormon in N.Y., Missouri, brother of John E. Page,
Later an Apostle at Voree, Wis., and Beaver Island)

Elder Wingfield Watson, 1858
(Lived on Beaver Island)

Elder Joseph H. Hickey, 1907
(Son of L.D. Hickey who lived at Palmyra, N.Y., Nauvoo, Ill.,
Voree, Wis., and was an apostle on Beaver Island)

Elder Steve Barany, 1953
(Son-in-law of Joseph H. Hickey, died in 2010 at 95)



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© 1996-2011 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  All Rights Reserved.
The First Presidents of this Church were Joseph Smith Jr. 1830-1844, and James J. Strang 1844-1856.
The First Presidency was at Voree, Wisconsin 1844-1850, and St. James (Beaver Island), Michigan 1850-1856.

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