Talk:James Strang

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Good article James Strang has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
October 22, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
October 30, 2007 Good article reassessment Kept
November 1, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
November 12, 2007 WikiProject peer review Reviewed
December 7, 2007 Featured article candidate Not promoted
Current status: Good article

Successful good article nomination[edit]

I am glad to report that this article nomination for good article status has been promoted. This is how the article, as of October 21, 2007, compares against the six good article criteria:

1. Well written?: Very well written article, easy to follow and comprehend.
2. Factually accurate?: Copious use of in-line citations, moreso than most GA candidates actually. References section is well formatted with good sources, external links looks like it provides reader with some interesting further reading on the topic.
3. Broad in coverage?: Article is indeed thorough, covering a large time period and giving details in each section.
4. Neutral point of view?: Article seems to be presented in a NPOV manner, both in its use of language and use of citations, as noted above.
5. Article stability? From a perusal of the article history and the respective edit summaries going back a few months, the article appears to be stable.
6. Images?: Only one image, which is public domain (needs to be updated on the Wikimedia Commons, but that's okay. Could use perhaps two more public domain or fair use rationale images, but no biggie here.

If you feel that this review is in error, feel free to take it to Good article reassessment. Thank you to all of the editors who worked hard to bring it to this status, and congratulations. — Curt Wilhelm VonSavage 04:51, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

All in all a comprehensive article, one can tell lots of work went into this, especially with referencing and citations. Good job! Next step I would suggest a Wikipedia:Peer review. Curt Wilhelm VonSavage 04:51, 23 October 2007 (UTC).

Good article reassessment[edit]

I don't think this article meets GA standards. For example, the lead is brief - Wikipedia:Lead section- and the article footnotes use 'ibid' - Wikipedia:Footnotes#Citing a footnote more than once - extensively. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast 12:09, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I was the initial GA reviewer. I actually though the lead was nice, but I agree it could use some expansion. The ibid format in the footnotes did not make for a difficult read at all. I must say just a note: this was most certainly not a "quick pass" - I went through and read the entire article. Curt Wilhelm VonSavage 19:23, 23 October 2007 (UTC).

Comment. User:Ecjmartin has been revising the article quite a bit and has both expanded the lead and removed the 'ibid's. My objections have been removed. Good job. Cheers!Wassupwestcoast 13:31, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

GAR now closed (keep!), but please check the archived discussion in case there are still useful suggestions for minor improvements. Geometry guy 21:10, 30 October 2007 (UTC)


I'm going through and working on the references. I came across the following:

from Council Bluffs: Mormons Who Made it So Far, Then Left for Wisconsin and Michigan]". Slide 15. The website reads "Preliminary Draft Version Not to Be Circulated, Cited or Quoted Without Written Permission of the Author"

I have hidden it for the time being. Perhaps another ref can be found to replace this one. LaraLove 05:23, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

I have found one reference in the Times and Seasons regarding Strang's excommunication, together with Strang's own comments on having never been summoned for a trial, in the Gospel Herald (one of Strang's newspapers). I will rewrite the sentence, using these citations. If anyone finds any other references in the Times and Seasons or elsewhere, please feel free to insert them, with appropriate citation. Thanks! - Ecjmartin 04:36, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

Reference question[edit]

Lara, thanks very much for helping with the references on this article. Question: I notice that all references to the Book of the Law of the Lord were corrected to read "Strang: 1856," but there is no first reference naming this book. I've been out of school for awhile, and I know that things on Wikipedia are different from what I was taught in English class there and in college (no "ibids," etc. on Wikipedia, for instance), but shouldn't we make the first reference to the Book of the Law a full reference, with Book title, etc.? Thanks again for your work! - Ecjmartin 13:20, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. I meant to put the information in the references section, thought I had, actually, but I guess I overlooked it. It's there now. As for how it's cited, in school, that's probably right, how you had it. But WP has it's own style for things, like closing quote placement, for example. For more information on this see Wp:cite#Short footnotes with alphabetized full citations. Let me know if you see any other errors and I'll fix them. LaraLove 17:33, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
Now I see it! This is much different from how I learned it in school, but that's part of the overall wikipedia learning experience. I really appreciate all your hard work on this. I inserted a new footnote (moved the George Miller info from a citation to a footnote "b"), and created a "citations" header for that section. Thanks again for all your work! - Ecjmartin 20:16, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Deletion of Thomas Bedford and Voree Plates photos[edit]

These two photos (Bedford and the Voree Plates) were deleted from the article due to copyright issues. I thought I had gotten permission from the proper person to use them, but it turns out that gentleman was not the original copyright owner. Hence, in accordance with his instructions and Wikipedia policy, I have removed both photos. - Ecjmartin 22:47, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Withdrawn FAC[edit]

Good article reassessment[edit]

Does this article yet meet Wikipedia's Good Article criteria since being altered subsequent to passing review in late 2007? I think not.

It relies heavily on one particular source - a book by Doyle C. Fitzpatrick titled The King Strang Story: A Vindication Of James J. Strang - which among similar biographies of Jessie James "King" Strang was alone labeled as "partisan" by a Brigham Young University reviewer ( In more than one instance, either subjective judgments concerning the behavior of the Strang or the Strangites is based on this source. Innuendos are incorporated in the language here, such as Strang's supposed "serving" as "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" - a position to which he apparently annointed himself to and which involved receiving to himself great personal wealth and multiple wives. Iamknowledgeable (talk) 18:10, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

I wrote a good portion of this article, and while Fitzpatrick's book has its issues, the things I quoted from it are sound. The "vindication" Fitzpatrick spoke of in the title was not a vindication of Strang's prophetic claims--which Fitzpatrick openly rejected, as anyone who's ever read his book will know. Rather, it comprises a vindication of Strang against spurious claims by Milo Quaife and Omar Riegal--authors of two earlier "biographies" of Strang--namely misquotation by the latter two authors of a critical portion of Strang's diary, which led them to some questionable conclusions about Strang's motives. He equally sought to rescue Strang's reputation from the sensationalist articles and other drivel that so often passed for "histories" of the man throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Fitzpatrick was not the least bit interested in vindicating Strang's claims (not that this, of itself, would have made his book questionable as a source, by the way); rather, he wished to rescue Strang's reputation from the misrepresentations made by these two earlier biographers and others.
But perhaps you haven't actually read Mr. Fitzpatrick's book, as I have, or you'd probably know that already. And since BYU is the flagship university of a church that is directly and historically opposed to Strang's prophetic claims, I think a good case could be made against the objectivity of that reviewer's characterization of Fitzpatrick's book as being "partisan" in the first place--especially since this reviewer didn't bother to explain precisely why he was making such a characterization. Add to that this gentleman's use of "questionable" to describe certain of Strang's doctrines, and one definitely has reason to challenge how neutral and objective his review is--and equally to challenge your use of it as one basis for your objection.
As I said, Fitzpatrick's book has its issues, the greatest of which (in my opinion) is that it seeks more to be precisely what its title says--a "vindication" of Strang against misrepresentations made by earlier historians and biographers--than a detailed, comprehensive, critical study of his life. That said, I haven't seen one reason in your objection to reject it as a viable source, as used in this article.
Now let's take a look at your other objections:
(1) "Jesse James (King) Strang"?? His name was James Jesse Strang, not Jesse James Strang. One would imagine that anyone seeking to challenge the veracity of this article or its worthiness for GA could at least get Mr. Strang's name right??
(2) Please provide specific examples of your alleged "subjective judgments concerning behavior of the (???) Strang ["the Strang?" I assume this was an error??] or the Strangites." You seem to think that Strang's claim to have "served" as "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" constitutes such a "subjective judgment"--but then again, so do similar claims mounted by hundreds of would-be "prophets" throughout history! Is Fitzpatrick's bio now suddenly suspect, simply because it reports that Strang made such claims? After all, I think ALL of the sources listed in the BYU review would indicate Strang said the same thing, does that make them unreliable, too?
(3) Where's the "great personal wealth" you say Strang amassed (since Strang himself certainly never seems to have ever had any of it!!), and what does that have to do with GA worthiness? Fitzpatrick never said one word about any such wealth, so what source(s) do you care to offer to tell the rest of us where you came up with that??
(4) How does Strang's having allegedly "anointed himself" have anything to do with the veracity of Fitzpatrick's book as a source, or this article's GA worthiness?? Please explain.
(5) What does Strang's having had "multiple wives" (a fact no one can dispute) have to do with the GA worthiness of this article, or the veracity of Fitzpatrick's book as a viable source?
Just a preliminary retort, for starters. - Ecjmartin (talk) 18:37, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Fitzpatrick, vindicated[edit]

This is not the first time someone has questioned my use of Fitzpatrick's book, if I recall correctly. Hence, as a continuation of the retort I gave to the objections listed above, I provide the following note-by-note defense of each use of Fitzpatrick's work in this arcticle (21, out of 89 total footnote/references):

  • (1) Note 6: This fact is confirmed in so many different sources that it doesn't even merit elaboration, here.
  • (2) Note 7: Indisputable fact; what's the issue, here??
  • (3) Note 10: Is there a "subjective" issue here, with the fact that Strang read Volney, or that Volney apparently exercized some influence on him?
  • (4) Note 13: Nothing "subjective" here, that I can see.
  • (5) Note 14: Indisputable fact. Nothing "subjective" here!
  • (6) Note 23: Indisputable fact. Nothing "subjective" here!
  • (7) Note 24: Again, indisputable. What's "subjective" about this?
  • (8) Note 30: Fact. Confirmed in other sources. Where's the "subjectivity," here?
  • (9) Note 31: Fact. Confirmed in other sources. Where's the "subjectivity" here?
  • (10) Note 32: Fact. Confirmed in other sources. Where's the "subjectivity" here?
  • (11) Note 35: This is Sholes' opinion, not Fitzpatricks or mine; Fitzpatrick is merely quoting it. Where's the "subjectivity?"
  • (12) Note 65: Are we saying this didn't happen? Still not seeing any "subjectivity," though!
  • (13) Note 66: Are we saying this didn't happen? Still not seeing any "subjectivity," though!
  • (14) Note 68: Indisputable fact. Are we saying that Strang didn't face this challenge to his credentials, or that he didn't win the resulting vote? Where's the "subjectivity?"
  • (15) Note 69: Indisputable fact. Are we saying that Strang didn't author ten bills, five of which passed? Where's the "subjectivity?"
  • (16) Note 72: Fact. Confirmed by other sources. How is this supposed to be "subjective?"
  • (17) Note 73: Okay, here's the first possibly "subjective" statement I've found. Now it's indisputable that Bedford was whipped, on Strang's orders. Bedford himself testified to this, and to his own resulting determination to seek revenge on Strang, by killing him. See The Man Who Shot Strang for the quote. So, no "subjectivity" here, either.
  • (18) Note 74: Another ptentially "subjective" statement, and given the fact that the only sources for this seem to be Strangite ones, I've changed the article to reflect this, and added the Strangite source to cooborate Fitzpatricks. Okay--I'll grant this one, but only based upon the source issues involved, not on any "subjectivity".
  • (18) Note 77: Another potentially "subjective" statement, but it's confirmed in other sources (one of which is contained in Note 75, which is not from the Fitzpatrick book!). No dice.
  • (19) Note 81: Fact. The fact that some accused the captain of complicity is contained in an orginal source from that period, which is contained in Note 81.
  • (20) Note 87: Again, an indisputable fact, confirmed in other sources, and certainly not requiring any elaboration, here.

I know this may seem petulant or childish to some, but I did it to make a point, namely that I just can't see anything that justifies an accusation of "subjective judgments" such as was made by User Iamknowledgable. I mean no offense whatsoever to this person, but I just can't see it. Other editors are invited to examine these references, and if anyone (Iamknowledgable included) can find any subjectivity, you are welcome to elaborate on it, and if it's justified, we'll change the article accordingly. Otherwise, I don't see any legitimate reason to challenge my use of Fitzpatrick in this article, based on what I have presented, here. Nor have I seen one valid reason to demote it from "GA" status. - Ecjmartin (talk) 01:25, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Good article reassessment[edit]

I maintain anyone who compares the current version of this article to that which passed GA review in late 2007 cannot but see that it has been augmented and altered in ways which would tend to call into question its ability to pass the GA standard for being written in a neutral point of view manner in its use of language and use of citations.

Why, if so many of these citations can be be corroborated through other sources than the Fitzpatrick book and the Strangite sect is this not done? I would urge you to improve the article in that regard or revert it to its previous incarnation.

For instance, Christopher Sholes - who many years after Strang's death went on to work out the design for the first mass-produced typewriter - is quoted as vouching for the good behavior and character of Strang's followers through Fitzpatrick book. Sholes, after all, was a newspaper man himself: can you not find a direct citation of his statement - which is in any case obviously a subjective judgement? Also, are there not contemporaneous assessments of the Strangite behavior as being somewhat unsavory you might include to add balance? The review for the Strang biography - the link to which appears above - which you brand as likely biased because it appears on a LDS website, says the author "persuasively argues that charges of Strangite “consecration”—the church’s enemies called it thievery - were far from baseless, although she maintains that “Strangites did not steal anything more than the Gentiles stole from them” (330)"

As to the proper sequence of "King" Strang's name, that is also a mootable point as can be discerned at

Your rejection of my comment regarding the term "serve" being employed to describe his position as "Prophet, Seer and Revelator" completely misses my point by painting it as a rejection that Strang held that position. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I simply object to the inclusion of the term "serve" in that statement because that in itself is not neutral and unbiased. The sentence can be rewritten without the superfluous wording - and semantic baggage - simply "As Prophet, Seer and Revelator of his church..." (And there's a similar occurrence in a reference to LDS founder Joseph Smith which can also be thus trimmed.)

I do appreciate your not intending any insult towards me, and I feel likewise towards you, but nonetheless I am somewhat concerned that alterations of this formerly excellent article subsequent to being approved under the Wikipedia GA standards do not measure up to that standard. Iamknowledgeable (talk) 19:58, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

None of what follows is "personal," so please don't take it as such:
(1) The current version of this article has not really been substantially changed from the 2007 GA version. I know--I wrote about 70% of this article, prior to submitting it for initial GA review. If you will compare the changes between the end of 2007 and today, the only even remotely substantial changes were to the opening section--and even this wasn't really anything all that "substantial." So how is it that this article was so "excellent" before (as you affirm), but is so terrible today?? Please provide specific examples, if you would.
(2) "Why, if so many of these citations can be cooroborated through other sources than the Fitzpatrick this not done?" It wasn't done because I am not required to do that, given that the Fitzpatrick book itself IS a valid source, as I used it (see "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated," above. I freely admit that Fitzpatrick's book, like all biographies ever written since the beginning of time, is subjective--maybe even more subjective and opinionated, in places, than usual (see No. "8" below). However, for the specific uses I detailed in "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated" above, Fitzpatrick was not being one bit subjective in any of those instances, save the one I noted. You have not provided one iota of evidence to prove otherwise. If you want me to find other sources you need first to prove (not just allege, but prove) that Fitzpatrick's book--specifically, for the references I used it for (see "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated" above)--is an invalid source. With all due respect, you have not done this--and until you do so, I am not under any obligation whatsoever to provide other sources in any of those instances.
(3) I don't care what might choose to call Mr. Strang; I do care that the 1850 U.S. census lists him as "James J. Strang," not "Jessie James Strang." I would figure that the man clearly knew his own name, and ought to have been able to give it to the census taker correctly--not to mention that his associates of the time repeatedly refer to him as "James," never (to my knowledge) as "Jesse."
(4) Sholes' statement is subjective--just as the "unsavory" statements you want me to quote to provide so-called "balance" would be equally-subjective. Sholes (a non-Strangite and non-Mormon, BTW) had just as much right to offer his assessment of Strang as any other person on earth, and Fitzpatrick merely reports Sholes' opinion in the same way (for example) that one might report Tom Hanks' opinion of something I had done or written, if Mr. Hanks (just for sake of an illustration) had ever offered one. Hanks and Sholes are/were both famous men, and Fitzpatrick merely offers the quote from that angle: "here's a reasonably-notable person who actually met Strang, and here's what he thought of him." There is not one thing that is "subjective" in Fitzpatrick's choosing to quote Sholes' statement, just as there is nothing "subjective" in itself when other biographers quote anti-Strang statements made by others, as well. They are simply reporting opinions offered by others, much like a news reporter might. There is not one shred of merit in your objection. If you would like to add statements by some reasonably-notable (or even not notable) persons negative toward Strang, you are welcome to do so, if you cite the sources as I have done.
(5) I am not required to find another independent source for Sholes' comment, for the same reason I used in item "2" above. You prove to me and the rest of us that Fitzpatrick's book is an invalid source for the material I used it for (see "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated," above), and I'll find another source. Otherwise, I'm under no obligation whatsoever to do so. I'm getting the impression (rightly or wrongly, and if wrongly, I apologize!) that you have something "personal" against Fitzpatrick and/or his book, and I am wondering if you've even read that book for yourself. Not saying you haven't; I'd just like to know. If you have, please tell me, specifically, what you find objectionable about the specific things I used it as a source for--per "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated", above--and we can talk. If you haven't, you ought to read it before attacking its veracity as a source.
(6) Your objection to my use of "serve" is almost incomprehensible to me. I don't get it. You're upset because I said "Strang served as Prophet...," etc.--much as I might equally write that "George Bush served as president of the US from 2000-2008," or "I once served as assistant manager of a Checker's restaurant?" Where's the issue, here??? I don't see it. Are you biased against Mr. Strang? If so, that's fine; I'm an agnostic, myself, and don't give a damn about any of his prophetic claims--which I personally think were laughable--but I DO want to see the man's story as accurately told as I (or anyone else) can tell it. If I've told a falsehood, expose it; and I'll change it and apologize for having (unwittingly, to be sure) told it. But I haven't seen one thing yet that you have said that holds any water, here. You say "served" is somehow subjective--I don't see how. Same with your complaints about its usage in the Joseph Smith article. The term "served," as used here (and there), is utterly neutral, and merely indicats that the man occupied that position (whether he was a real prophet, or--as we apparently both believe--a wannabe). Nothing more. Doesn't indicate approval or rejection of his prophetic claims, nor any statement on the quality of his performance in that role; merely that he occupied an office or position with that label on it. Nothing "subjective," here. Objection refuted.
(7) I said that the review appearing on the BYU website was "likely biased" not just because of the website, but because the author used a subjective adjective to describe Fitzpatrick's book, without ever offering any explanation of why he had done so. He didn't use any adjectives to describe the other titles, so why that one? He also uses the adjective "questionable" to describe Strang's "doctrines;" who died and made him God?? Unless he's the Almighty, this gentleman's use of "questionable" in that context can only be described as subjective! It wasn't just the site; more than that, it was these facts I have mentioned here that led me to offer that opinion.
(8) You said that "she maintains that the Gentiles did not steal..." etc.; I assume that was a typo? Now here, I would agree that Fitzpatrick is being utterly subjective, as he is ofttimes throughout his bio--this is one weakness of it, and you will recall that I affirmed that I had issues of my own with his book. However, other biographers have been equally subjective; in truth, every biographer is subjective to a degree--Fitzpatrick, as a former business executive rather than an academic, is simply more blunt about it, in places. But the subjectivity is there in all bios of the man, as in all histories ever written. Are we upset because Fitzpatrick seeks to extol Strang as a man (even though he utterly rejects his claims), rather than to tear him down as it seems you might desire? Are the critics "objective" because they criticize Strang, while Fitzpatrick is "subjective", for defending him? I didn't use Fitzpatrick for those kinds of references; I used his book for the things I indicated in "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated," above, and you haven't proven that any of those particular usages are wrong. Nor can you demonstrate that Fitzpatrick is unreliable in the places I used him for, simply because he stated his own opinions elsewhere in his bio--not without equally calling into question all of those other sources, who weave their own impressions and opinions of Strang into what they wrote, too. There's no such thing as truly "objective" history, my friend!!
(9) You've answered none of my original five questions to you in your first entry on this subject, above; nor have you answered any of the "Fitzpatrick, Vindicated" questions I asked. Do you have answers for any of these questions?
I will be out of town for a week starting Sunday, but you are welcome to respond to any of this as you like, and we can continue the discussion upon my return. Please again understand that none of this is meant "personally" toward you; I'm sure your objections are totally good-faith, just as my retorts are. I wish you all the best, and look forward to your reply upon my return, if you wish to make one. Cheers! - Ecjmartin (talk) 22:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

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