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Chapter 11
 

The One Mighty and Strong

His Identity, Timing, Duties and Location 

A more updated view of the "One Mighty and Strong" may be found by clicking here. 

Of the many fascinating Fundamentalist teachings, none is more popular than their notions concerning a great spiritual leader referred to as the one mighty and strong. Fundamentalists believe he will visit the earth sometime in the future. His work will ostensibly be to set the Church in order and vindicate the Fundamentalists, their doctrines and practices.

In order to better understand the origin of their teachings concerning one mighty and strong, we must consider what the scriptures tell us concerning his mission, identity and the timing and location of his work. First however, it is useful to examine the history of the single verse of scripture (D&C 85:7) which mentions one mighty and strong. The revelation was given to the Saints at a time when they were attempting to live the law of consecration, therefore a brief review of Church history may be useful.

On February 9, 1831, the Lord gave the to the Church the first of many revelations on the law of consecration (section 42). Some of the Saints in the Kirtland, Ohio area immediately attempted to live the law but were unsuccessful. Lyndon Cook has written about the early efforts:
 

During the first few months after the reception of the law of consecration and stewardship, an attempt was made by some of the Saints in Ohio to comply with its provisions. A group of Saints from Colesville, New York, established themselves at Thompson, Ohio, near Kirtland in May 1831...

One of the members who resided in Thompson was Leman Copley, a wealthy land owner and recent convert from the Shakers. He agreed to consecrate part of his property for the Colesville Saints and sell or lease additional needed property to agents of the Church. Soon these New Yorkers had settled on Copley's land and began to build new cabins and repair old ones and till the land. However, almost immediately thereafter, Copley denied the faith and demanded the Colesville Saints to vacate his land and pay rent for the time they occupied it... In the confusion, the Colesville Saints were ordered to resettle in Jackson County, Missouri, and any further attempt to establish the 1831 program of consecration among the Mormons in Ohio was permanently discontinued. (Lyndon Cook, Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration, Provo, Utah: Grandin Book, 1985, pp. 15-16.)
 

Cook also described the attempt in Jackson County:
 

The second attempt to establish the 1831 consecration law was in Jackson County, Missouri. In July 1831, Jackson County was identified as the New Jerusalem, and the Saints were commanded to gather there as soon as possible under the direction of the priesthood. An article in the church newspaper, The Evening and Morning Star, explained that members who settled in Jackson County and did not "receive their inheritance by consecration," would not even be recognized as Saints nor have their names recorded on any Church records (D&C 85:1-3). (Ibid.)
 

Despite the endeavors of the Saints in Jackson County to implement the full law of consecration, by the spring of 1833 their efforts had also faltered.(1) Through two attempts to live the law of consecration, Church members had been unable to abide the law of consecration and receive the promised blessings. A number of reasons have been cited to explain these failures including observations that most of the participants were poor and some may have been guilty of coveting.(2)

The presiding Church officer in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833 was Bishop Edward Partridge. It was his job to receive for the Church, properties in consecration and to then determine individual stewardships consistent with the guidelines in the revelations given through Joseph Smith. Apparently some confusion and disagreements between him and others in Jackson County had led to difficulties and hard feelings. Letters were sent to Ohio from Missouri to the Prophet Joseph Smith. On November 27, 1832 he wrote the following to William W. Phelps, publisher of the Church's newspaper there:(3)
 

KIRTLAND, Nov. 27th, 1832. BROTHER WILLIAM W. PHELPS:--I say brother, because I feel so from the heart, and although it is not long since I wrote a letter unto you, yet I feel as though you would excuse me for writing this, as I have many things which I wish to communicate. Some things which I will mention in this letter, which are lying with great weight on my mind. I am well, and my family also; God grant that you may enjoy the same, and yours, and all the brethren and sisters who remember to inquire after the commandments of the Lord, and the welfare of Zion and such a being as myself; and while I dictate this letter, I fancy to myself that you are saying or thinking something similar to these words: --"My God, great and mighty art Thou, therefore show unto Thy servant what shall become of those who are essaying to come up unto Zion, in order to keep the commandments of God, and yet receive not their inheritance by consecrations, by order of deed from the Bishop, the man that God has appointed in a legal way, agreeably to the law given to organize and regulate the Church, and all the affairs of the same."

Brother William, in the love of God, having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God, having obtained this confidence by a vision of heaven, therefore I will proceed to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart, and to answer the question.

Firstly, it is the duty of the Lord's clerk, whom He has appointed, to keep a history, and a General Church Record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties and receive inheritances legally from the Bishop; and also their manner of life, their faith, and works and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances. It is contrary to the will and commandment of God, that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeably to His law, which he has given, that He may tithe His people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning should have their names enrolled with the people of God; neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the Church; their names shall not be found neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of hosts. Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and oftentimes it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest, saying: and it shall come to pass, that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the sceptre of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints, whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children enrolled in the book of the law of God: while that man, who was called of God, and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning; and all they who are not found written in the book of remembrance shall find none inheritance in that day but they shall be cut asunder, and their portion shall be appointed them among unbelievers, where are wailing and gnashing of teeth. These things I say not of myself; therefore, as the Lord speaketh, He will also fulfil. And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the Church; as well as the lesser Priesthood, or the members, in that day, shall not find an inheritance among the Saints of the Most High; therefore it shall be done unto them as unto the children of the priest, as will be found recorded in the second chapter, and sixty-first and sixty-second verses of Ezra.

Now, Brother William, if what I have said is true, how careful men ought to be what they do in the last days, lest they are cut short of their expectations, and they that think they stand should fall, because they keep not the Lord's commandments; whilst you, who do the will of the Lord and keep His commandments, have need to rejoice with unspeakable joy, for such shall be exalted very high, and shall be lifted up in triumph above all the kingdoms of this world; but I must drop this subject at the beginning [of it].

Oh, Lord, when will the time come when Brother William, Thy servant, and myself, shall behold the day that we may stand together and gaze upon eternal wisdom engraven upon the heavens, while the majesty of our God holdeth up the dark curtain until we may read the round of eternity, to the fullness and satisfaction of our immortal souls? Oh, Lord, deliver us in due time from the little, narrow prison, almost as it were, total darkness of paper, pen and ink;--and a crooked, broken, scattered and imperfect language. (HC 1:297-299.)
 

The portion of the letter shown in bold was printed in the January, 1833 issue of The Evening and Morning Star and was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as section 85 in 1876.

Section 85 was divided into 12 verses. One of those verses has received more attention from Fundamentalists than virtually any other scripture(4) found in the Standard Works. That verse refers to one mighty and strong who was to "set in order the house of God":
 

And it shall come to pass, that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the sceptre of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints, whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children enrolled in the book of the law of God: (Verse 7.)
 

Briefly, the popularity of this verse is based on the Fundamentalist interpretation that "to set in order the house of God" is a reference to restoring polygamy and its current participants into the Church. Many Fundamentalists believe they will be made leaders in the Church through the efforts of one mighty and strong. Since modern polygamists are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they believe they will be vindicated by the one mighty and strong mentioned above.

A greater understanding of the one mighty and strong can be gained by reviewing what we know concerning (1) his mission, (2) his identity, (3) the timing of his mission and (4) the location of his mission.
 

HIS MISSION
 

The mission of the One Mighty and Strong given in D&C 85:7 includes two activities:
 

1. "to set in order the house of God"

2. "to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints..."
 

As we investigate the first of these two activities, we note immediately that at the time the letter (from which section 85 was taken) was written, both the Church in Jackson County, Missouri and the process of arranging by lot the inheritances of the Saints were essentially "out of order." As discussed above, great difficulties had arisen with the attempts by Church members in Missouri to implement the full law of consecration. Repeated disagreements between the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Bishop of Jackson County, Bishop Edward Partridge, demonstrate this to be so. In 1905, the First Presidency issued a statement where they observed:
 

On the occasion of the Prophet's first visit to Independence, Missouri -- Edward Partridge accompanied him -- in the meetings and conferences held upon the land of Zion, Bishop Partridge several times strenuously opposed the measures of the Prophet, and was sharply reproved by the latter for his unbelief and hardness of heart... The Bishop, moreover, was reproved for his "blindness of heart and unbelief," and warned of the danger of falling from his high station, in a revelation given in August, 1831, while both he and the Prophet were still in Missouri:

"Yea, for this cause I have sent you hither, and have selected my servant Edward partridge, and have appointed unto him his mission in this land; but it he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall." (D&C 58:14-15)

All of the foregoing occurred during the first visit of the Prophet to Missouri.

In the latter part of April, 1832, the Prophet again visited the center place of Zion -- Independence, Missouri. There were still ill-feelings existing among the brethren, especially between Elder [Sidney] Rigdon and Bishop Partridge, but those difficulties were adjusted, and Bishop Partridge, in the conference that was held on the 26th of April, gave to the Prophet the right hand of fellowship in behalf of the Church in Missouri, and acknowledge him to be the President of the High Priesthood of the Church. (James R. Clark compiler, Messages of the First Presidency, Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1970, 4:113-114.)
 

Even after this reconciliation of April of 1832, problems continued to fester. It was in that atmosphere that Joseph Smith wrote of one mighty and strong being sent "to set in order the house of God" and "to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints."

Notwithstanding the weaknesses Bishop Partridge demonstrated during the trials mentioned above, he appears to have repented soon thereafter for in 1835, the Lord spoke through Joseph Smith to observe:
 

Behold, I am well pleased with my servant Isaac Morley, and my servant Edward Partridge, because of the integrity of their hearts in laboring in my vineyard, for the salvation of the souls of men. Verily I say unto you, their sins are forgiven them... (HC 2:302-303.)
 

In light of his repentance, the First Presidency in 1905 observed that:
 

[T]he occasion for sending another to fill his station -- "one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints" -- may also be considered as having passed away and the whole incident of the prophecy closed. (Messages of the First Presidency 4:117.)
 

This suggests that the mission of one mighty and strong was conditional, based upon Bishop Edward Partridge continued disobedience. Since he repented and was forgiven of his sins, the need for one mighty and strong may have been satisfied. However, even the First Presidency acknowledged that it is possible that one mighty and strong may have a future mission (Ibid. 4:118-120).

As we discuss the mission of the one mighty and strong, it is necessary to examine more closely the potential meanings of the statements "set in order" and "house of God" since Fundamentalist writers have taken great liberties in their interpretations.

Today, most Fundamentalists will proclaim that the reference to a "setting in order" alludes to something far greater than anything related to the Church in Independence, Missouri in 1832. It appears that many modern polygamists have developed their own laundry lists of complaints against the Church and now await one mighty and strong to satisfy them. Their lists of things to be set in order include:
 

Practice of Polygamy

Church Finances(5)

The Redemption of Israel(6)

Being led to Independence, Missouri(7)

Polygamists being given leadership callings in the Church(8)

Change terminology used during priesthood ordinations(9)

Law of Consecration(10)

Vindication of Modern Polygamists with their Church Memberships restored
 

It is somewhat perplexing to believe that all of these things could have been on the mind of Joseph Smith when he wrote his letter to W. W. Phelphs in 1832. Polygamy and the Keys of Sealing authority had not yet been restored and the Saints were still occupying Jackson County, Missouri. Nevertheless, Fundamentalists assert that this is so and even continue to expand the anticipated role of this individual we know so very little about.

The Church believes that the "setting in order" was to occur within the circumstances which prompted the letter from Joseph Smith in the first place, namely the establishment and organization of the Church in Independence, Missouri. Since the Saints are not yet established there as they will be during the millennium, the First Presidency acknowledged that one mighty and strong might participate in the organizing proceedings "to set in order the house of God as pertaining to settling the Saints upon their inheritances" in Zion (Messages of the First Presidency, 4:119).

As one reviews the references to the one mighty and strong as found in the Journal of Discourses, it is significant that his role assisting the saints in receiving their inheritances (JD 12:323, 21:150-151) is the only duty discussed. Undoubtedly Orson Pratt, who spoke several times of the one mighty and strong, would be surprised at the interpretation of the role of the one mighty and strong by modern polygamists.

A second important aspect of the mission of the one mighty and strong concerns the definition of the "house of God" which he is to "set in order." Fundamentalists conclude that the "house of God" in this verse was referring to a variety of entities:
 

The "Priesthood"(11)

The Kingdom of God(12)

The Church

The Temple
 

The Priesthood is referring to an organization developed by Joseph Musser in 1933-34 which he described as existing separate from the Church while presiding over it (see The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy).(13) It is the main religious organization for the larger Fundamentalist groups today.(14) It is presided over by a Council of Friends (or Priesthood Council) which is composed of seven "High Priest Apostles." This alleged council and office were also creations of Joseph Musser with some input from J. Leslie Broadbent and Lorin C. Woolley.

It is curious that Fundamentalist prophet Lorin C. Woolley(15) may have taught that the so-called Priesthood organization would also require a "setting in order." Notwithstanding, the bulk of Fundamentalist writings on the subject limit their definition of "house of God" to mean The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. While this definition suits their purposes, it is unreasonable to believe that Joseph Smith was referring to such in 1832. Neither did he, nor Brigham Young,(16) John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff or Orson Pratt ever even suggest it. More likely, this is a 20th century interpretation superimposed on a revelation given at a specific time (1832) regarding a specific challenge (implementation of the law of consecration in Jackson County, Missouri).

In their attempts to support their theory regarding the meaning of the "house of God" in D&C 85:7, Fundamentalists will quote D&C 112:24-26:
 

Behold, vengeance cometh speedily upon the inhabitants of the earth, a day of wrath, a day of burning, a day of desolation, of weeping, of mourning, and of lamentation; and as a whirlwind it shall come upon all the face of the earth, saith the Lord

And upon my house shall it begin, and from my house shall it go forth, saith the Lord;

First among those among you, saith the Lord, who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house, saith the Lord.
 

These verses state the Lord's vengeance will begin "upon my house" among those "who have professed to know my name and have not known me, and have blasphemed against me in the midst of my house." These verses apply to any Church member who has broken his or her solemn covenants. However, they might also apply to modern polygamists who seek to know the Lord (in their own ways) but refuse to follow the leaders of His Church. Reportedly, they have attempted on many occasions to gain access to LDS temples after entering their unauthorized polygamous unions. The authors know of occasions where Fundamentalists, prior to their discovery and excommunication from the Church, have attempted to teach the theories of Lorin C. Woolley and Joseph W. Musser within sacred temple walls.
 

"HOUSE OF GOD" - HIS TEMPLE
 

One additional aspect yet undiscussed involves the temple which will be built in Jackson county. Every other reference to "house of God" in the Doctrine and Covenants is referring to the temple.(17) The description of the temple to be built in Jackson County reveals that it will be distinct from those built today. Undoubtedly some priesthood leader will be appointed to assist with the organization that will be found there within that magnificent structure. Orson Pratt, who was present when the cornerstones were laid, spoke of the temple to be constructed in Jackson County, Missouri:
 

We commenced to lay the foundation of a temple about three-quarters of a miles from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. It was then a wilderness, with large trees on the temple block. I visited that place 47 years afterwards, namely, a year ago last September, and not a tree was to be found on that temple block--not so much as a stump--everything seemed to be cleared off, and one would scarcely know, unless very well acquainted with the ground, where the temple site was located. There, however, we expect to build a temple different from all other temples in some respects. It will be built much larger, cover a larger area of ground, far larger than this Tabernacle covers, and this Tabernacle will accommodate from 12,000 to 15,000 people. We expect to build a temple much larger, very much larger, according to the revelation God gave to us forty years ago in regard to that temple. But you may ask in what form will it be built? Will it be built in one large room, like this Tabernacle? No; there will be 24 different compartments in the Temple that will be built in Jackson County. The names of these compartments were given to us some 45 or 46 years ago; the names we still have, and when we build these 24 rooms, in a circular form and arched over the centre, we shall give the names to all these different compartments just as the Lord specified through Joseph Smith... Perhaps you may ask for what purpose these 24 compartments are to be built. I answer not to assemble the outside world in, nor to assemble the Saints all in one place, but these buildings will be built with a special view to the different orders, or in other words the different quorums or councils of the two Priesthoods that God has ordained on the earth. That is the object of having 24 rooms so that each of these different quorums, whether they be High Priests or Seventies, or Elders, or Bishops, or lesser Priesthood, or Teachers, or Deacons, or Patriarchs, or Apostles, or High Councils, or whatever may be the duties that are assigned to them, they will have rooms in the Temple of the Most High God, adapted, set apart, constructed, and dedicated for this special purpose. Now, I have not only told you that we shall have these rooms, but I have told you the object of these rooms in short, not in full. But will there be any other buildings excepting those 24 rooms that are all joined together in a circular form and arched over the center--are there any other rooms that will be built--detached from the Temple? Yes. There will be tabernacles, there will be meeting houses for the assembling of the people on the Sabbath day. (JD 24:24-25.)
 

As one reviews the events surrounding D&C 85, the "house of God" referred may include the Church, the temple and even the city of Zion itself as they are to exist in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri during the millennium. Orson Pratt explained:
 

This house [the temple in Jackson County, Missouri] will be reared, then according to a certain plan, which God is to make known to his servant whom he will, in his own due time, raise up. And he will have to give more revelation on other things equally as important, for we shall need instructions how to build up Zion; how to establish the centre city; how to lay off the streets; the kind of ornamental trees to adorn the sidewalks, as well as everything else by way of beautifying it, and making it a city of perfection, as David prophetically calls it. (JD 21:153-154.)
 
 

HIS IDENTITY
 

It appears likely that the First Presidency's 1905 message quoted from above was given in response to several individuals who had come forth prior to that time claiming to be one mighty and strong. Over a dozen men have made the claim since the Church was restored. While they have possessed variable degrees of support for the practice of plural marriage, several of these men have been practitioners. Ogden Kraut in his Book The One Mighty and Strong has listed fifteen men as having made the assertion:(18)
 

James Strang

James Brighouse

Samuel Eastman(19)

Paul Feil

LeRoy Wilson

John T. Clark

Benjamin LeBaron

Joel LeBaron

John Bryant

Elden Hollis

Sherman Russell Lloyd

Frank Miller

Jasper No. 7

Art Bulla

Alonzo Langford
 

Several of these men had interaction with Fundamentalist leaders such as Joseph W. Musser and Nathaniel Baldwin even acquiring them as followers. Despite this list and others who have made similar declarations, most Fundamentalists today believe that Joseph Smith is the one mighty and strong mentioned.(20)

The identification of Joseph Smith as the one mighty and strong is interesting if the original source of the revelation, an 1832 letter written by Joseph Smith to discuss the implementation of the law of consecration in Independence, Missouri, is reviewed. Fundamentalist assert that Joseph Smith included a reference to himself as "holding the scepter of power in his had, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth..." It appears quite unlikely that W. W. Phelps, nor any other Church member in the 19th century, viewed those words as referring to Joseph Smith.

In support of this claim, Fundamentalist writers will often point to Joseph Smith's role as head of this dispensation, asserting that his duties will include those of the one mighty and strong. Kraut quotes Parley P. Pratt's autobiography (p. 333):
 

As I walked over the plains of Illinois (toward Nauvoo)... the Spirit said unto me, "Lift up your head and rejoice; for behold, it is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, and he shall stand in due time on the earth, in the flesh, and fulfill that to which he is appointed. (The One Mighty and Strong, p. 106. Underlining by Kraut.)
 

Joseph Smith, with other heads of dispensations, will return as resurrected beings to fulfill their special duties during the millennium. The notion that references, such as this, are in any way related to one mighty and strong is pure conjecture.

The issue of Joseph Smith's future responsibilities becomes even more complicated as we observe that many Fundamentalists believe that Joseph Smith is also the Holy Ghost.(21)

The First Presidency's Message of 1905 discusses the identity of the one mighty and strong as something "the Lord would clearly indicate to the Church" as well as to the individual involved (Messages of the First Presidency, 4:109).(22) This precludes any true messenger from arising from obscurity, in a self-appointed manner, to proclaim himself as one mighty and strong. The First Presidency observed:
 

Those, however, who have so far proclaimed themselves as being the "one mighty and strong," have manifested the utmost ignorance of the things of God and the order of the Church. Indeed their insufferable ignorance and egotism have been at the bottom of all their pretensions, and the cause of all the trouble into which they have fallen. They seem not to have been aware of the fact that the Church of Christ and of the Saints is completely organized, and that when the man who shall be called upon to divide the inspiration of the Lord to the proper authorities of the Church, appointed and sustained according to the order provided for the government of the Church. (Messages of the First Presidency, 4:109.)
 

Concerning any future role, the First Presidency taught:
 

[H]e will be a future bishop of the Church who will be with the Saints in Zion, Jackson county, Missouri, when the Lord shall establish them in that land; and he will be so blessed with the spirit and power of his calling that he will be able to set in order the house of God, pertaining to the department of the work under his jurisdiction; and in righteousness and justice will "arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints." He will hold the same high and exalted station that Edward Partridge held; for the latter was called to do just this kind of work -- that is, to set in order the house of God pertaining to settling the Saints upon their inheritances... (Ibid. 4:119.)
 
 

THE TIMING OF HIS MISSION
 

One very popular point discussed by Fundamentalists concerning the timing of the activities of the one mighty and strong is to note that a footnote, added by Orson Pratt in 1879 to D&C 85:7 states: "A future messenger promised." This is repeated over and over in Fundamentalist literature to contrast the 1905 First Presidency's Message which suggests that the arrival of the messenger may have been conditional upon Edward Partridge continued disobedience. Since Bishop Partridge repented, the First Presidency taught, there may be no need of one mighty and strong and the prophesy might be considered closed.

It is no mystery that Orson Pratt believed that one mighty and strong would be arranging the inheritances in Jackson County when the Saints eventually occupy that land.(23) However, even the First Presidency's Message allows for the verse to relate to the future. By ignoring the latter portion of the First Presidency's Message, Fundamentalist writers can promote a disagreement between the 1879 footnote in the Doctrine and Covenants and the 1905 Message of the First Presidency.

Some Fundamentalists may take comfort in this. However, as was pointed out, the second portion of the First Presidency's message provides an explanation completely consistent with the footnote written by Orson Pratt. Even the section heading for section 85 in the 1981 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants states that "one mighty and strong shall give the saints their inheritance in Zion" (italics added). The word shall suggests a future role as well.

Regarding the possibility of a "future" role for one mighty and strong, it is easily observed that the inheritances in Jackson county, Missouri have not yet been "arranged." Likewise, the Church as it will exist in that location and the temple have not yet been organized (i.e. set in order). The arrangement of lots will be performed in the future by a bishop of the Church, since that is his described duty (D&C 42:30-33). A priesthood leader or leaders will attend to setting the church and temple in order in that location as well. These are plain future events. Exactly how they may relate to one mighty and strong remains to be seen, but associating him in any way with unauthorized plural marriage today is entirely unwarranted.
 

THE LOCATION OF HIS MISSION
 

Perhaps one of the greatest inaccuracies in the Fundamentalist doctrine of the one mighty and strong concerns the geographic scope of his anticipated activities. Fundamentalists may suggest that he will come to Church leaders in Salt Lake City, Utah and there perform his vindicating work ("to set in order the house of God"). Then he will be transported to Jackson county, Missouri to effectuate the second part of his mission ("to arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints"). The alleged dual locations for his work is unsupported by the scriptures themselves. Likewise it is helpful to review the petition made by Joseph Smith in the first part of his letter to W. W. Phelps in 1832. The Lord's discussion of one mighty and strong comes in response to Joseph's request:
 

"My God, great and mighty art Thou, therefore show unto Thy servant what shall become of those who are essaying to come up unto Zion, in order to keep the commandments of God, and yet receive not their inheritance by consecrations, by order of deed from the Bishop, the man that God has appointed in a legal way, agreeably to the law given to organize and regulate the Church, and all the affairs of the same."

Brother William, in the love of God, having the most implicit confidence in you as a man of God, having obtained this confidence by a vision of heaven, therefore I will proceed to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart, and to answer the question. [Section 85 follows.] (HC 1:298.)
 

How likely is it that the Lord would answer this plea by referring to someone who was going to appear in Salt Lake City, Utah many decades later to vindicate excommunicated polygamists? The answer given by the Lord pertains completely to Jackson county, Missouri. The mission of one mighty and strong is for that land.
 

SUMMARY
 

While the 85th section of the Doctrine and Covenants mentions one mighty and strong, relatively little information is given concerning his specific identity, mission and its timing and location. However, as one investigates the circumstances surrounding the letter from which section 85 was taken, it becomes quite obvious that the activities of one mighty and strong are for Independence, Jackson County, Missouri and the establishment of the Church, the Temple and the law of consecration there.

The Lord has purposefully declined to provide His followers with more knowledge concerning one mighty and strong. Therefore, elaborating on his mission and duties seems unwise, if not perilous.

NEXT CHAPTER


 

1. Lyndon W. Cook, Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration, Provo, Utah: Grandin Book Co., 1985, p. 20.

2. D&C 68:31; see also 101:6-7, 104:4. The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 159. Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration pp. 20-22.

3. The Evening and Morning Star commenced publication at Independence, Missouri, June, 1832 and continued until July of 1833 when the press was destroy by a mob.

4. The verse is referred to more than any other scripture in Joseph W. Musser's personal journal. It is repeated numerous times in Fundamentalist publications. LeRoy S. Johnson mentions it over 140 times in his LeRoy Johnson Sermons.

5. Joseph Musser Journals June 14, 1922. This teaching is attributed to Lorin C. Woolley. In 1922, polygamists believed the Church was in "Financial Bondage" and the "one mighty and strong" was to come and rescue the Church financially.

6. Ibid. June 10, 1928.

7. Ogden Kraut, The one mighty and strong (pamphlet), Salt Lake City, Utah: Pioneer Press, 1991, p.15. D&C 103:16 identifies "a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel" for the "redemption of Zion" though Orson Pratt did not believe it was to be Joseph Smith in JD 15:362, 17:303, 21:153.

8. Joseph Musser Journals, March 8, 1933. Personal communication with several Fundamentalists.

9. Truth 14:12, 12:40-41.

10. Ogden Kraut, The United Order, SLC, Utah: Pioneer Press, 1983, p. 258.

11. Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated pp. 283-288. Truth 14:70.

12. Musser also described the "Kingdom of God" as a subordinate organization to his "Priesthood." The Kingdom of God is essentially the Council of Fifty which last met in 1884 and has never been related in any way to Musser's Priesthood organization created much later.

13. See The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy, An LDS Perspective, chapts. 6 & 10.

14. Priesthood organizations are found within the Allred Group (United Apostolic Brethren), the Colorado City polygamists (Fundamentalist LDS Church) and some smaller splinter groups.

15. See Reminiscences of John W. and Lorin C. Woolley, vol. 1, page 10 (interview with Olive Woolley Combs). See also Keys of the Priesthood Illustrated, pp. 283-288.

16. One quote attributed to Brigham Young states:
 

BRETHREN, THIS CHURCH WILL BE LED ONTO THE VERY BRINK OF HELL BY THE LEADERS OF THIS PEOPLE, then God will send the one mighty and strong spoken of in the 85th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, to save and redeem this Church. [Emphasis in original]
 

This is found in Truth 1:135. As with so many Fundamentalist citations, no reference is given. Musser asserts it was spoken "at a conference held in Provo shortly before his [Brigham Young's] death." A detailed search of Brigham Young's teachings fails to provide any support that he ever uttered anything even remotely resembling the quotation cited above. Such a teaching would have undoubtedly caused a great stir among the people and would have been recorded by many who might have heard it. The likelihood that such could have been spoken and then vanished into obscurity until printed by Joseph Musser in Truth in 1936 is irrational.

17. D&C 45:18, 88:119, 129, 130, 136, 109:8, 138:58.

18. See pages 91-99. Kraut's book The one mighty and strong appears to be an elaboration on a pamphlet of the same name he published in 1991.

19. Kraut believes that Eastman's claims prompted the First Presidency's 1905 message.

20. The one mighty and strong (book by Kraut), pp. 101-111. Joseph Musser Journals Sept. 16, 1936.

21. Joseph Musser Journals Dec. 21, 1936. Personal communication with several Fundamentalists.

22. See also Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, SLC, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1919, pp. 36, 381.

23. JD 12:323, 17:305, 21:150-151.