Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 19, pp. 863–878; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the eleventh JS oversaw as editor. The issue opened with a reprint from the Bostonian that reported a religious debate between Dr. George Montgomery West (a New England preacher) and Latter-day Saint missionary . It also presented a new installment of the “History of Joseph Smith” and reprinted a note on starvation riots in Ireland. The remainder of the issue was dedicated primarily to denouncing , who had been publishing defamatory statements against JS and the Latter-day Saints. The editorial staff of the Times and Seasons utilized the pages of the 1 August issue to defend JS and condemn Bennett.
Nearly all of this issue’s editorial content about was also published in the Wasp, a general-interest newspaper in , Illinois, that had initially been edited by JS’s brother . However, William had distanced himself from the paper by August 1842, and had assumed the editorial responsibilities of the paper. Taylor, , and others in the appear to have worked on both the Wasp and the Times and Seasons and created content for both newspapers in August. An extra edition of the Wasp dated 27 July bore the title “Bennettiana” and contained affidavits, statements, and articles focused exclusively on exposing the former mayor’s misdeeds. Several of these same official records and editorial comments were printed a second time in this 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons; this selection therefore features editorial content from both newspapers. The Times and Seasons editorial staff made slight revisions to the editorial commentary in order to customize it to their newspaper. JS’s involvement in the creation of this editorial content is unclear, but as editor of the Times and Seasons, he oversaw the paper and assumed responsibility for all editorial statements.
The editorial content in the 1 August issue includes an article on , which was followed by reprinted affidavits from several City Council members, concluding with a short editorial comment. Certified statements attesting to JS’s character, republished from the Wasp, were then inserted. This was followed by a section contrasting Bennett’s slandering of JS and the with earlier statements Bennett had written, originally published in various newspapers between 1840 and 1842, wherein he spoke positively of JS and the Saints. Another featured selection, also previously published in the Wasp, introduced opinion pieces on Bennett reprinted from several newspapers across the . The editorial content in the issue concluded by reprinting the Wasp’s response to an inflammatory article, written by , that had been published a week earlier in the Quincy Whig.
Note that only the editorial content created specifically for this issue of the Times and Seasons 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 are annotated elsewhere; links are provided to these stand-alone documents.
Although William Smith was acknowledged as editor until October 1842, by August 1842 he appears to have been only a nominal editor. In a disgruntled letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal,George W. Robinson commented on the confusing status of the editorship of the Wasp, sarcastically stating that because of “the dozen would be editors, who are prowling and loafing about the printing office, it would be difficult to ascertain the editors!” (Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:192–193; “To the Public,” Wasp, 8 Oct. 1842, ; “Letter from Col. Robinson,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 26 Aug. 1842, , italics in original.)
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
which was Mayor of , General of the Nauvoo Legion, &c. &c. was soon found to be guilty of gross improprieties: such as living in open fornication, &c. for which he was frequently reasoned with by the brethren, but all to no effect. He was threatened but it done no good. Finding all in vain, and having their name and religion frequently sneered at on this account, the “Quorum of the Twelve” excommunicated him for his wickedness. They done perfectly right, and if all our churches would mete out the same reward to backsliders, there would not be half the scoffers and revilers of religion there now is.
The final editorial item was published in response to a letter written by , in which he alleged that he had been threatened and attacked for leaving the . The letter was originally printed in the Quincy Whig, a local newspaper in , Illinois, that was generally critical of the Saints in , especially after they consistently voted for Democrats. The Times and Seasons responded to Robinson’s letter by publishing the editorial featured here, along with sworn statements to refute his claims. These included statements by and , each of whom described Robinson’s alleged dishonest business dealings with them.
Having noticed in the Whig of last week an article written by of this place stating that he does not consider himself any longer a member of this , that the church will not allow him to withdraw; and that certain scandalous attacks have been made against him by the saints; for what he knows not, except it is to make a scape goat of him to carry away their sins—the sins of whom he has not said. We world [would] briefly reply to his remarks.
In the first place we would state that we have no such law or statute prohibiting persons withdrawing from the church; but believe that all men are free and can do as they please, so will learn that he is in no bondage in this respect. In regard to the scandalous atttacks that have been made against him and others we would state that if telling the truth is scandal we are verily guilty.
is not so ignorant of these things as he would represent, and if he would have been content to have let the exposure rest where his delinquencies were practised, we should not have let the matter gone farther, but as he has made a parade before the public and thrown out certain inuendoes pertaining to the people in this place, we publish the following;—
I, , Do hereby Certify, that in the Spring of 1840, I bought a quantity of land of , and paid him at sundry times Four hundred and Eleven Dollars leaving a residue of $39 unpaid. Having ascertained that said had sold the same tract of land to sundry persons, and received payment therefor, I tendered him the money remaining due to said , and demanded a Deed according to the stipulations of the Bond. He refused to take the $39 and comply with the Bond. He has also cut and pillaged a large quantity of timber on the land since he sold it. [I]n fine I believe him to be a dishonest man [I?] further state that I am not a Mormon, nor ever have been, but am friendly to them.
CERTIFICATE OF .
Having been called upon to state circumstances connected with a contract between and myself, I now submit such facts as occur to my mind. Somewhere about the month of November, 1839, came to my house, in the vicinity of Indianapolis, in the State of Indiana; I told him I designed moving to —was desirous to be near the —enjoy their privileges of meetings, as well as the comforts of country life. He informed me that he could suit me in a place. A bargain was struck and I paid him over $300 in hand, and was to have possession of the place on my arrival in , and upon my arrival ascertained that he had previously sold the same premises to , and partly received the pay. Consequently my money was gone, and I had no place, and this was not all, the title bond that he made and gave me was esteemed defective, I was therefore left to do the best I could under the circumstances, either to enter into a suit at law or take up with such terms as he might prescribe. And by my importunities and the influence of my friends, I effected a settlement as I thought greatly to the prejudice of my interest.
In regard to his being a scape goat to carry the sins of others, we think that he will do pretty well if he is able to carry his own sins without fainting. We neither want to sacrifice a lamb, nor do we want a goat to carry our sins into the wilderness, we are ready to atone for our own sins and to answer for our own transgressions. We further hope that all other goats that are in our midst will pack up their sins and walk, but if when they get away they should try to pursuade the public that they are somebody’s else sins and not their own that they are packing, we may give the public information relative to the matter.
The Editor of the Whig will confer a favor by copying the foregoing.
It must be obvious to every reflecting mind that in a comprising from ten to twelve thousand inhabitants, there must of necessity be some delinquents among them, if it were not so we should be an anomaly in the history of churches, of cities, and of the world. We make use of all prudential means, both ecclesiastical and civil, to prevent the commission of crime, and citizens from being imposed upon; in many instances we have succeeded—if in some few we should fail it cannot be thought surprising.—Ed. [p. 878]
Carlos Granger and Horace Eldredge claimed that Robinson had tried to sell the same land to each of them. Granger argued that Robinson had sold him a lot of land in Nauvoo and then “sold the same tract of land to sundry persons, and received payment therefor.” Eldredge certified that Robinson had made a deal with him and that Eldredge had “paid him over $300 in hand, and was to have possession of the place on [his] arrival in Nauvoo,” but upon his arrival in Nauvoo, “ascertained that he [Robinson] had previously sold the same premises to Mr. Granger, and partly received the pay.”