Elders’ Journal, , Caldwell Co., MO, Aug. 1838. For more complete suorce information, see the source note for Elders’ Journal, Oct. 1837.
The Elders’ Journal, which published two issues in , Ohio, in 1837 before the church’s was destroyed, was reestablished in , Missouri, in 1838, after JS and most other church leaders migrated from Kirtland to Far West. was the proprietor of the newspaper, and JS was the editor, though the amount and nature of JS’s involvement and editorial oversight is unclear. By May 1838, JS and began working on material for the first Far West issue, dated July 1838. Ultimately, two issues were published in , dated July 1838 and August 1838. The July issue included letters to and from church serving proselytizing missions, as well as articles, minutes of meetings, and other items. The August issue contained similar material, including an editorial by JS and a letter that the commissioned to write to who had not yet gathered to Missouri. The August issue also included an obituary for Ethan Barrows Jr., who died in mid-August 1838, indicating that the issue was published sometime in the second half of the month or later.
Note that only the editorial content created specifically for this issue of the Elders’ Journal is annotated here. Articles reprinted from other papers, letters, conference minutes, and notices, are reproduced here but not annotated. Items that are stand-alone JS documents, such as the Minutes from a 28 June 1838 conference, are annotated elsewhere.
The obituary in the Elders’ Journal states that Barrows died on 15 August, but his father’s later autobiography gives the date of 18 August. (Obituary for Ethan Barrows Jr., Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 64; “The Journal of Ethan Barrows,” Journal of History, Jan. 1922, 46; see also “The Journal of Ethan Barrows,” Journal of History, Oct. 1922, 451–452.)
Journal of History. Lamoni, IA, 1908–1920; Independence, MO, 1921–1925.
should be gathered into the cities, in as compact order as possible. Let parents then see to it, that they deprive not their children of their just rights, by not complying with this order.— And let the youth of our number see also, that they avail themselves of all the means put into their hands, to cultivate the mind as well as make provisions for the body; for they can do both, by proper attention, by occupying those leisure hours which are too often spent in vanity, and in vain and foolish conversation.
It will be found that farming, as well as all other business, can be carried on to better purpose, through a well arranged order of things by living in cities, than it possibly can, by living in any other situation of life; and the opportunities of education be complete, so that not only the rising generation, but that which has risen also, be able to obtain all the education that heart can wish, and that which will be well pleasing to God.
The principles of selfishness, which have obtained to so great an extent in the world, is the cause of the great reign of ignorance which now prevails all over the earth. Let that principle once be done away; and let the apostolic lesson, “To esteem each other better than themselves” be once fairly established among any people, and the benefits to society will be incalculable, both as relates to enriching the mind and the body. We exhort all men, therefore, who call themselves after the name of Christ, or have taken upon them his name according to law, to begin to prepare themselves to act according to his will, as set forth by all the holy prophets since the world began. And we recommend to them, a careful and prayerful reading of the prophets, in order that they may see what they have got to do, or else they cannot be of the church of the last days.
Finally brethren, remember that you are saints, and as such, you cannot fashion yourselves after this world, for the fashion of this world passeth away. But be ye fashioned after Christ in all things, by keeping his law, and by meditating upon it both day and night.
And may the God of all grace, preserve you, till his kingdom and coming; is the desire of our brother in tribulation, and in the patience of Christ.
JOSEPH SMITH jr. Editor.
, MO. AUGUST, 1838.
The first editorial JS prepared for the August 1838 issue of the Elders’ Journal encouraged to acquire personal copies of the sermon that member delivered on 4 July 1838 at an Independence Day celebration, which JS presided over. Decades later, apparently stated that JS reviewed the sermon in advance. In the address, Rigdon recounted the principles of freedom on which the government was founded, and he affirmed church members’ allegiance to the nation but also declared the ’ intention to vigorously defend their rights. A copy of the sermon appeared by early August in the Far West, a newspaper published in , Missouri. Additionally, Robinson published the sermon in pamphlet form, entitled Oration Delivered by Mr. S. Rigdon, on the 4th of July, 1838. To encourage Latter-day Saints to secure copies of the pamphlet, JS prepared the featured editorial for publication in the August issue of the Elders’ Journal. No manuscript of the editorial is known to exist; the printed version is reproduced here.
In this paper, we give the procedings which were had on the fourth of July, at this , in laying the corner stones of the , about to be built in this city.
The oration delivered on the occasion, is now published in pamphlet form: those of our friends wishing to have one, can get it, by calling on , by whom they were printed. We would reccommend to all the saints to get one, to be had in their families, as it contains an outline of the suffering and persecutions of the from its rise. As also the fixed determinations of the saints, in relation to the persecutors, who are, and have been, continually, not only threatening us with mobs, but actually have been putting their threats into execution; with which we are absolutely determined no longer to bear, come life or come death, for to be mob[b]ed any more without taking vengeance, we will not.
TO THE SUBSCRIBERS OF THE JOURNAL.
We wish to say to our patrons, that many of them having left their old places of residence, while many are on the road to , and have not given us notice of the same, we know not where, nor to whom we should send the Journal.
Whenever a subscriber is about to remove, he ought to give us notice that we may know where to send his paper. We know not who are here, who are on the road, nor who remain at their old places of abode.
We therefore request, that all send in their names anew, who have not done so, since the renewal of the Journal in this place. And we shall expect, that those who have not paid in advance for the Journal, will also send or bring their money, with their names now, as all saints must consider, that it will be impossible to sustain the paper, under our present limited circumstances without means.
We also say to the Elders abroad, you are the main props of the Elders Journal, on you all depends. It is [p. 54]
Rigdon concluded the sermon with a warning: “That mob that comes on us to disturb us; it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them, till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other shall be destroyed.” Although the Latter-day Saints would “never be the agressors” or “infringe upon the rights” of others, they would no longer permit aggressors to infringe on the rights of the Saints. (See Discourse, ca. 4 July 1838; and Revelation, 6 Aug. 1833 [D&C 98:31].)