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Radio Free Mormon: 17: Apostolic Coup-D- Etat pt 2

Today we delve into Part 2 regarding the process by which Apostles became the ruling body in the LDS Church.  The different leadership bodies, who had a higher authority and stewardship, what happened at Joseph Smith’s death, who he had appointed as his successor, and how the Quorum of the twelve removed every other possible contender to take leadership upon Joseph’s death.  And finally the suspicious death of Samuel Smith which some believe was just one more step taken by the 12 to usurp any possible claim outside of themselves that aspired to leading the Church.



21 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 17: Apostolic Coup-D- Etat pt 2”

  1. Dear RFM,

    You are giving William Shakespeare a challenge as far as a story with great intrigue goes. This is right up there with some of the best fiction writers, yet this is taken from journals and documents of the period. WOW!

    Thank you for being willing to plow through so many historic documents in order to find this great tale of woe.
    Or is it a great tale of wo!

    You continue to not disappoint in delivering insight into the juicy parts of LDS history. Could there be any line of authority left in the LDS church, other than the natural authority which righteous individuals possess?

    Awesome work and greatly appreciated!


    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Gale!

      I did a lot of research for this podcast, so many things were new to me.

      I kept finding myself saying over and over again, “You have GOT to be kidding me!”

      It’s like the podcast is a long series of WTF? moments.

      As to lines of authority, I believe such lines are necessary in order to have an organization that can withstand the tests of time.

      But I believe that in the first few years of the LDS Church, authority was seen as coming by the voice of God.

      The feeling seems to have been that if God commanded you to do something, implicit in the command was the authority to accomplish what was commanded.

      In other words, if a king told you to do something, you had the authority to do it because . . . well . . . the king told you to.

      You didn’t need something extra in addition to the command to be authorized.

      In this way, the “voice of God” that came to Joseph and others in the chamber of Father Whitmer (as recorded in D&C 121:28) was believed to give the recipients the Melchizedek Priesthood without the necessity of a laying on of hands, but simply through the voice of God.

  2. RFM – You podcasts are some of the most engaging podcasts I listen to.

    You do give some references, but there are other times you don’t (and in a podcast I think it would drag out too much if you did).

    For those of us that would like to like study this some more, do you publish “footnotes” anywhere on your research?

    Your research seems so solid, I think you should be thinking of compiling them into a book and self-publishing. I know I would buy it (especially if it was footnoted).

    Thanks for sharing your great bit of research.

    1. You are absolutely right about my trying to balance giving citations with not interfering with the flow of the podcast.

      There were actually some times where I ended up editing out the citation, because it just sort of gets in the way of what I am trying to say.

      On the other hand, I know that some of the more controversial claims may leave listeners wanting to know where the heck that came from!

      As a start, I would suggest D. Michael Quinn’s Mormon Hierarchy–Origins of Power, on which I leaned heavily for source material for these particular episodes.

      Hope that is of some help.

      Thanks so much for your support and listenership.

      If you have any cite you specifically want, just type it as a comment and I will do my best to look it up for you!


  3. My goodness, no wonder you say you are reporting from enemy lines. You weren’t kidding, try not to get yourself killed out there.

    Perhaps it’s wise to protect your identity. Nevertheless, I feel the spirit of somberness in your words. It just makes sense, where things didn’t before.

    I’m just glad that there are sources to find out truth where as in the past it was basically impossible to do so. I will own this piece of history as part of my spiritual heritage, I may not be proud of it, most will not even believe it.

    May God bless you for your sincere and honest efforts in setting the record straight, and that your work may benefit others. I’m still puzzled about how we can make the Mormon church, great again.

    What should be done? What can be done? Or is just dropping into inactivity the only answer? And yet, the other day, when I walked through the temple and did sealings for the dead, I felt a sweet honest and loving spirit. Mormonism has the best things I know and like, why would I want to tear any of that down… I just hope we can make things better.

    1. Yes, it is a great response, David. I would just hope we never confuse doing our best to tell the truth about our faith with tearing it down.

      In my heart, I believe the only way to make things better is to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      Thanks for listening!


  4. RFM,

    Loved the podcast. You mentioned the story of Lorenzo Snow was likely apocryphal. I’m curious why you think this and if you have any additional resources that explores the story and the provenance further.

  5. John Hatch wrote an in-depth article on the subject of Lorenzo Snow’s purported vision in the Journal of Mormon History, Volume 42, No. 3, that came out in July of 2016.

    Here is one of his concluding paragraphs:

    “We are left with the conclusion that every account we have for Lorenzo Snow’s experience in the Salt Lake Temple comes from one person, LeRoi C. Snow, over three decades later, perhaps relying on a now-lost narrative by his niece, Allie Young Pond.” (172)

    It is too far removed both in being third hand, and in time, to be used as credible

  6. Thanks, Bill. I was able to locate a hard copy of the article and really enjoyed it. It’s interesting to read the provenance and see that the First Presidency was even unsure of how it came about. Also, as an aside, the response to the inquiry by Heber J. Grant in 1926 was fascinating: 1. That people in that era could write in to the Church President and get a response; and 2. He actually gave an honest answer. Heber J. Grant did not know of any man who had seen Jesus since Joseph Smith. That would shock most members today. Elder Holland came to my mission in 1999 and someone asked if he’d seen God. Elder Holland really went after him and told him that was totally inappropriate. I felt bad for the guy.

    1. Special witnesses of Jesus Christ don’t like to be asked about their special witness of Jesus Christ.

      They want people to think they have seen Jesus and when asked a direct question, they get upset because they know they haven’t.


  7. Hi RFM,

    What an interesting podcast and one that is sparking a deeper dive into some of the subject matter. I’m wondering if you can point me in the right direction for where I can find more information on the details of the president of the church assuming the sealing keys that would have been with the church patriarch. Are you saying that the keys of sealing a husband and wife together was not originally with the church president? Where can I get more info?


  8. It is false to move forward on the belief that the Lord’s Anointed Prophet (the living oracle) is the same mantle of authority as the Church President. Unfortunately, because early on in your podcast you established this falsehood as a tenet, you reached many inaccurate conclusions.

    You are, in my opinion, leading people to turn heel against the Lord’s Anointed successor to Joseph Smith Jr. That’s a most unfortunate thing for you and for those who are going to find out that you have deceived them.

  9. Blew my mind! Thanks for the insights on our past – I didn’t realize it was such a blatant power grab, especially what he did to the stake counsel.

    Question: If things carried out as Joseph wanted them to, how was the first presidency to be reconstituted? Who would call the new presidency? If it was Samuel Smith, would he just call his own counselors and the church just accept them? Would they need to be called as apostles too? With Samuel’s death, who was supposed to call the new first presidency?

    I love the checks and balance ideas incorporated by JS, but realistically, I wonder how that really would have worked without a ‘prophet head’ like a Joseph Smith? Could anyone really have filled his shoes in a new first presidency? Seems like BY would have been fighting for power against any new presidency and probably would have over taken them eventually?

    Love what you are doing!

  10. You didnt mention anything about the presiding bishopric. Seems they figure strongly in the temporal welfare of the church.

  11. This was an incredible piece. Very nicely done. It was comprehensive and in my mind left little out. My question goes toward what the “brethren” did after all of this. What is your current opinion on why these men continued on with this line of thinking? They all have the same information or have access to it. Are they willingly, because of power, ignoring it? Or are they just ignorant and don’t look into it. I find it hard to believe these businessmen, lawyers, and doctors, are innocent. Or are they good men just trying to do the best with what they know. But if insignificant people like me can see the clear changes made why can’t they? I just don’t get it. I would love to hear your opinion.

  12. Have you thought about writing a book specifically about the History and this takeover by the 12 in the Church? These episodes were fascinating. I would be interested in reading a whole history on this subject. Thanks for all your work on these!

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