Question: Who was James Strang?

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Question: Who was James Strang?

Photo of James J. Strang, 1856, taken just before his death by one of those who plotted his murder.

James Strang claimed that Joseph wrote a letter appointing him as president of the Church after Joseph's death

James Jesse Strang was a Latter-day Saint leader in Nauvoo who established a breakaway Mormon sect after the murder of Joseph Smith, Jr.

After Joseph Smith was murdered, there were several claimants to his role as leader and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see Succession in the Presidency of the Church). One of these was James Strang, a recent convert to the church. Several prominent families, including many members of Joseph's family accepted Strang's claims, which were based on a letter which Strang said Joseph had written appointing him as President of the church should Joseph Smith be killed.

Strang's group is formally called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (no hyphen, different capitalization) but Strang's church and his followers are commonly called "Strangites."

Strang and his associates settled for several years on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, where he was pronounced king. Strang, who was an almost pathological overachiever, was also a lawyer, land developer, news correspondent for the New York Tribune, and a scientist for the Smithsonian Institution.

Strang was killed in 1856 by some of his disaffected followers at Beaver Island. Following his death his movement started to disband. Today there are less than 500 Strangite members, living mostly in Michigan and Wisconsin.

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