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.
In the haste of my remarks last week I briefly referred to the proceedings of the first three evenings of the dissussion, but necessarily omitted several interesting features which I wish now to notice. The last paragraph of my communication which was inserted as the paper was going to press stated that the dissussion closed on Friday night; but for want of time and room in your columns my sketches of the last two evenings were reserved till this week. Dr. West spent much of the second and third evenings in reading from a Mormon pamphlet containing a history of the rise of their , of Smith’s finding the plates and translating the Book of Mormon, and the testimony of eleven witnesses who say they saw and handled the , three of whom vouch for the correctness of the translation. All this the Dr. pronounced a humbug, and all pretension to revelations or miracles in this age, blasphemy! This was sufficient, he said, to fix upon Mormonism his charges, of Lying, Fraud and Blasphemy. This he relied on as one of his strong holds and often referred to it, though he brought no scripture to prove his assertion. On the third night answered it as follows. He thanked the Dr. for introducing the narative and the testimony of the witnesses, &c. as it saved him the trouble. The whole he said was correct and true, but why it was introduced at this stage of the discussion in proof of the charges, he could not imagine. If the ground the Doctor assumed be conceded it of course fixed upon Mormonism the charges of Lying and Fraud, but that was the contested point which remained to be proved; and his assumptions were not arguments. Here the Rev. E. T. Taylor, chairman, and many of the audience made themselves ridiculous by calling aloud for his proof in its favor. replied, it was already proved if they would admit the power of testimony. No court of justice could require more than eleven positive witnesses to convict a man or establish any fact. Their testimony must be impeached and proved false, before the Doctor’s charge can be fixed upon them. The Doctor contended that they were interested witnesses and therefore not to be believed. contended that if worldly interest were in view instead of honor, they had received calumny and detraction—instead of wealth, and affluence, stripes and imprisonment; but if eternal interests were before them, he said no consistent man could be a disinterested witness of the things of God, none could say the eight writers of the New testament—on whose authority we believe that book—were not interested in the things they affirm. referred to four or five prophesies in the Bible as parallel testimony in favor of the Book of Mormon, and his reasoning on them was very plausable. Father Taylor called him to order once because he thought he had made a wrong application of one of the prophesies. The merits of his argument not being a point of order, very significantly replied he would discuss the subject with the chairman when he had done with his present antagonist. But the chairman became so interested that he forgot that Dr. West had spoken three times and twice and was very anxious to adjourn, but after several s from different parts of the house, he put on his thinking cap and concluded that was entitled to another speech, but as it was late said he should detain them but a few moments, and give the rest of his time, which he did, and the meeting adjourned. Previous to the adjournment, however, Father Taylor resigned the chair because the audience were disposed to be noisy; and some thought him partial, but he was forthwith re-elected, and Thursday evening he again took the chair.
We still continued the work of translation, when in the ensuing month, (May, eighteen hundred and twenty nine,) we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying, and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and [p. 865]