Witness to the Plates : Aaron Smith, Strangism, and the Search for His Religion
John Whitmer Historical Association Journal
Aaron Smith (no relation to Joseph Smith) joined the LDS Church in Ohio in 1831. Aaron Smith moved to Wisconsin where he may have helped introduce James Strang to the Mormon faith. Strang traveled to Nauvoo with Aaron Smith and was baptized there by Joseph Smith. After returning to Wisconsin, Strang purportedly received a letter from Joseph Smith stating that Strang was to be the next prophet. This Letter of Appointment spoke also of Aaron Smith, declaring that he (Aaron Smith) "hath wisdom in the gospel and understandeth the doctrines and erreth not therein." In September 1845 Aaron Smith was a witness to Strang's discovery of the Voree plates. These metal plates were found by Strang, Aaron, and three other men at the base of a tree. Aaron Smith later broke with Strang and formed his own church. He then joined a church formed by William E. McLellin, left McLellin's church and was baptized into an early branch of the RLDS Church. His final baptism was into a church organized by Henry H. Deam. It was another restoration church and an offshoot of the RLDS Zarahemla Branch. Jensen feels that it was "Mormonism in general, and not the recovery of the plates, that fueled his [Aaron Smith's] search for his own religious reconciliation and led him to the various restoration churches."