Monday, October 02, 2006

Forthcoming: James Strang and the Midwest Mormon

"God Has Made Us a Kingdom"
James Strang and the Midwest Mormon
hardback. 376 pages. / 1-56085-192-9 / $34.95

Brigham Young's chief rival in 1844 was James J. Strang, whose
followers included former LDS apostles, witnesses to the Book of
Mormon, a stake president, the former Presiding Bishop, and the entire
Joseph Smith family. Whereas Young identified himself as the church's
"caretaker" until a rightful heir stepped forward, Strang embodied the
prophetic model, claiming personal visions, accounts of angelic
visitations, revelations, and translations from the so-called sealed
portion of the Book of Mormon. Publicly opposed to polygamy, Strang
secretly wed an eighteen-year-old teacher disguised as his male
secretary. Strang was increasingly despotic and was assassinated by
his own followers. In "God Has Made Us a Kingdom," the details of the
prophet's life and work are skillfully unraveled, showing the
significance of his religious career and influence with those who
sought the "garden of peace" in a "stronghold of safety."

Vickie Cleverley Speek is a former newspaper and radio reporter,
feature writer, and columnist in Illinois and Michigan, recipient of
four first-place awards from the Illinois Press Association, the 2002
Illinois State Red Ribbon Media Award, and recognition as a columnist
from the Associated Press. In 2001 she received the Award of
Excellence from the Illinois Historical Society for her historical
research and writing on a Civil War theme. She has been a speaker at
professional and community gatherings, including two presentations
about James Strang during Museum Week on Beaver Island, Michigan. She
is a past director of the LDS Family History Center in Morris,
Illinois. She and her family live in Minooka, Illinois.

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