"To Set in Order the House of God" : The Search for the Elusive "One Mighty and Strong"
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Section 85 was first included in the 1876 Doctrince and Covenants. This section was taken from a letter that Joseph Smith wrote to W.W. Phelps who subsequently published it in the "Evening and Morning Star." Verses 6-8 of this section state that the Lord "will send one mighty and strong" and that either this man or another will die while attempting to steady the ark. Shepard examines various theories surrounding these verses which are held by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and schismatic groups of both of these churches. In 1905, due to speculation about these verses, the First Presidency, with the help of other general authorities, drafted a document that was published in the Deseret Evening News. It was signed by the First Presidency and stated that the revelation referred to Bishop Edward Partridge and had been fulfilled. However, the document also stated that if it was a revelation to be fulfilled in the future it referred to a bishop that would once again live in Jackson County, Missouri. Some fundamentalists believe that the one mighty and strong will actually be a resurrected Joseph Smith while others claim this title for themselves. LDS historians also have various interpretations for these verses. This section was never canonized by members of the RLDS faith. However, early members claimed this letter referred to Joseph Smith III. He ended up denying the claim in 1900 and members came to believe that Jesus Christ was the one mighty and strong. A century later, former members of the RLDS faith, unhappy with the changes in the Community of Christ has broken away. One of these groups, The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, claims that one mighty and strong is setting the RLDS/Community of Christ in order.