[JS], Editorial, [, Hancock Co., IL], for Times and Seasons, [ca. 1 Mar. 1842]; draft; handwriting of ; two pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes notation and dockets.
Single leaf measuring 11⅜ × 7½ inches (29 × 19 cm). The leaf was folded twice for filing.
A graphite notation on the recto of the leaf was inscribed by , who served as JS’s scribe from December 1841 until JS’s death in June 1844 and served as church historian from December 1842 until his own death in March 1854. The document was docketed by , who served as JS’s scribe from 1843 to 1844 and as clerk to the church historian and recorder from 1845 to 1865. The docket reads “Joseph Smith to the Times & Seasons”. Another docket—“about, 1842”—was inscribed by , who served as a clerk in the Church Historian’s Office (later Church Historical Department) from 1853 to 1859. The document was likely listed in an inventory that was produced by the Church Historian’s Office circa 1904. By 1973 the document had been included in the JS Collection at the Church Historical Department (now CHL). The document’s early dockets and notation as well as its likely inclusion in the circa 1904 inventory and its inclusion in the JS Collection by 1973 suggest continuous institutional custody.
See the full bibliographic entry for JS Collection, 1827–1844, in the CHL catalog.
In late February or early March 1842, JS produced a rough draft of an editorial regarding the forthcoming publication of the Book of Abraham. Though the editorial is undated, its statements concerning the Book of Abraham and JS’s role in editing material for the paper suggest that JS expected to publish the editorial in the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
JS had recently become the newspaper’s editor. On 28 January he dictated a revelation instructing the to assume editorial control over the Times and Seasons. A week later , acting as JS’s , purchased the printing establishment, including the newspaper, from proprietor . The 15 February issue listed JS as editor, although he did not begin functioning in that role until the 1 March 1842 issue.
In the editorial, JS acknowledged his role as editor and then conveyed his intention to provide readers with original content, including excerpts from an inspired revision of the Bible and portions of the Book of Abraham. JS’s work on the Book of Abraham, which began during the latter half of 1835, involved an effort to translate Egyptian papyri that he and others purchased from traveling exhibitor . JS likely halted his translation by late November 1835. Though he may have intermittently worked on the Book of Abraham manuscript in the years between 1835 and 1842, his work was hindered by various events, including two relocations, a lack of space and privacy to translate, violence and imprisonment in , the establishment of , and constant administrative business. After the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles returned from their mission to in July 1841, JS instructed the quorum to relieve him from administrative tasks, in part so that he could “attend to the businesss of translating.”
By February 1842 JS had apparently made progress on the Book of Abraham. In a 19 February journal entry, apostle , who was engaged in church printing endeavors, wrote, “The Lord is Blessing Joseph with Power to reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of God; to translate through the Ancient records & Hyeroglyphics as old as Abraham or Adam.” Commenting further on the Book of Abraham, Woodruff indicated that JS was “about to publish it to the world or part of it by publishing it in the Times & Seasons.” Entries in Woodruff’s and JS’s journals indicate that during the week of 21 February, the began preparing the lead plates used to print the Book of Abraham facsimile featured in the 1 March issue of the newspaper.
JS apparently dictated the editorial to his scribe sometime in late February or early March 1842. Though a later docket on the verso of the leaf confirms that the text was written for the Times and Seasons, the editorial was never published. The document bears no contemporaneous dating, but a second docket, inscribed circa 1850, indicates the editorial was drafted “about, 1842.” The manuscript contains, in addition to the dockets, a faint graphite notation, in the handwriting of Richards, near the top of the recto. The inscription, which is written upside down, reads “Raukeeyagn— signifing— expanse or firmament,— I E what the heathen has called heaven.” The phrase “Raukeeyang, signifying expanse, or the firmament” appeared in an explanation of Facsimile 1, which was later printed in the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons.
JS produced the first portion of the Book of Abraham between circa early July and circa November 1835. JS’s contemporary journal notes seven occasions in October and November when he worked on translating the Egyptian papyri; the final entry was recorded on 26 November. (William W. Phelps to Sally Waterman Phelps, 19 and 20 July 1835, in Phelps, “Letters of Faith from Kirtland,” 529; JS, Journal, 1 and 7 Oct. 1835; 19–20 and 24–26 Nov. 1835.)
Phelps, Leah Y. “Letters of Faith from Kirtland.” Improvement Era 45, no. 8 (Aug. 1942): 529.
Minute Book 1, 5 Nov. 1837; Swartzell, Mormonism Exposed, 25; Elizabeth Haven, Quincy, IL, to Elizabeth Howe Bullard, Holliston, MA, 21, 28, and 30 Sept. 1839; 6–9 Oct. 1839, Barlow Family Collection, 1816–1969, CHL; Memorial to Nauvoo High Council, 18 June 1840; “A Glance at the Mormons,” Alexandria (VA) Gazette, 11 July 1840, ; “At a Special Conference of the Church,” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1841, 2:521–522.
Swartzell, William. Mormonism Exposed, Being a Journal of a Residence in Missouri from the 28th of May to the 20th of August, 1838, Together with an Appendix, Containing the Revelation concerning the Golden Bible, with Numerous Extracts from the ‘Book of Covenants,’ &c., &c. Pekin, OH: By the author, 1840.
Barlow Family Collection, 1816–1969. CHL.
Alexandria Gazette. Alexandria, VA. 1834–1877.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
Grey, Matthew J. “Joseph Smith’s Use of Hebrew in the Book of Abraham.” Unpublished paper. Copy in editors’ possession.
Times & Seasons
A. considerable quantity of the matter in the last paper. was in type, before the establishment come into our <My> hands,— Some of which went to press. without our <my> recivecd. or knowledge The and a multiplicity of business— while enteri[n]g on the additional care of the editorial departmet of the Times & Seasons. mu[s]t be my apology for what is past.
In future. I design to furnish much original matter, which will be found of enestimable adventage to the saints,— & to all who— desire a knowledge of the kingdom of God.— and as it is not practicable to bring forthe the new translation. of the Scriptures. & varioes records of ancint date. & great worth to this gen[e]ration in book <the usual> form. by books. I shall prenit [print] specimens of the same in the Times & Seasons as fast. as time & space will admit. so that the honest in heart may be cheerd & comforted and go on their way rejoi[ci]ng.— as their souls become exp[an]ded.— & their undestandig [understanding] enlightend, by a knowledg of what Gods work through the fathers. in former days, as well as what He is about to do in Latter Days— To fulfil the words of the fathers.—
In the penst [present] no. will be found the Commencmet of the Records discoverd in Egypt. some time since. as penend by the hand. of Father Abraham. which I shall contin[u]e to translate & publish as fast as possible till the whole is completed.— and as the saints have long been anxious to obtain a copy of these re[c]ords, those [p. ]
In the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, JS wrote, “This paper commences my editorial career, I alone stand responsible for it, and shall do for all papers having my signature henceforward. I am not responsible for the publication, or arrangement of the former paper; the matter did not come under my supervision.” (JS, “To Subscribers,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:710.)
From 1830 to 1833 JS revised, clarified, and augmented portions of the King James Version of the Bible through what he regarded as divine inspiration. A few excerpts from this project were printed in issues of The Evening and the Morning Star in 1832 and 1833. Though an 1840 editorial suggested that the church would print the new translation in book form, publication was still pending in early 1842. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 3–5; Letter to Church Brethren, 15 June 1835; “Extract from the Prophecy of Enoch,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1832, – [Moses 7:1–69]; “The Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, ; “The Gospel,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1833, –; “Books!!!,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:140.)
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.