Notable Emails #14 “who was the legal heir and successor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.?”

I sometimes get emails from people in foreign countries who are curious about the true history of Mormonism.

This is a recent email from a fellow named Yaroslav

“That was actually a nice event to visit your blog this day and to read your unique and interesting materials. Greetings you!

Thank you much for your sincere and deep work.

Let me, please, ask you a question.

Some years ago I have read in one LDS publication very brief but an interesting mention.

It was about that after the martyrdom of Prophet Joseph Smith President Sidney Rigdon re-established the Church and the Kingdom and was crowned as some other his fellow brethren.

Can you tell me some more on that subject?

Thank you much.



My response:

Hi Yaroslav 

After the succession crisis following the martyrdom, the church split into seven main factions as noted in Wiki 


 The great prophet Moses had prophesied that God’s people Israel would eventually sin and not keep the commandments and would be smitten and scattered seven ways before their enemies;

‘The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt … flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth’. 

Of course the LDS Mormon/Brigham Young faction was one of the largest of the seven major factions and has grown to be much larger than all of the rest put together. 

I think you are correct that Sidney Rigdon probably did also have himself crowned king, but I am not sure. Brigham Young and some of his successors had themselves ordained king of Israel.  

My feeling is that the eyes of the prophets and seers of the restoration were covered because of the sins of latter day Israel. 

thank you for visiting my blog!” 

His reply: 


Thank you for a letter.

If it is not a personal secret how do you think who was the legal and identity heir and successor of Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr.? “

My response:

“Hello again Yaroslav 

Very few people realize that after Hyrum Smith was called by revelation through Joseph Smith to be the co-prophet seer and revelator of the church, (D&C 124) Joseph later released himself from that calling, leaving Hyrum as the sole President and Prophet of the Church.  

A few years after receiving the revelation making Hyrum the co-President and Prophet of the church, working in concert with Joseph, Joseph declared that he would no longer prophesy for the church and that the church must recognize Hyrum as the prophet of the church. 

This was the fulfillment of the succession prophecy contained in section 43 of the D&C  which had promised that Joseph Smith would not have a successor until the Lord took him UNLESS he failed to ‘abide in the Lord’.

It promised that if Joseph did eventually fail to abide in the Lord, another successor would replace Joseph and that if that happened, the revelation in which Joseph’s successor would be chosen would come through Joseph. 

Hence, during the months leading up to and including the time of the martyrdom, Hyrum was the sole prophet and president of the church. 

Few people realize that Sidney Rigdon, who was also a member of the 1st Presidency, had also been ordained a prophet seer and revelator with ALL of the keys and powers that Joseph had previously held. 

Hence, the Lord had actually called, by revelation, through Joseph Smith, both Joseph’s successor and Hyrum’s successor! 

However, when the saints were voting between Sidney Rigdon who was the rightful Prophet Seer and Revelator to succeed Hyrum, and Brigham Young, they voted for Brigham Young.

Since Brigham was not a prophet seer and revelator, and since he would eventually have himself ordained as the king of Israel and would basically rule the saints with an iron fist like some of the ancient kings did, the saints were basically choosing to be led by a king instead of by a prophet, just as ancient Israel had done. 

The details about the succession crisis in Nauvoo are contained in this series of articles that I wrote years ago

Here is an article showing how William Law attempted to have a reformation of the church




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