Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 June 1842, vol. 3, no. 15, pp. 799–814; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 June 1842 issue of the periodical Times and Seasons was the seventh edited by JS. He had assumed the editorship of the newspaper beginning with its 1 March 1842 issue, and in that role he took responsibility for all of the published content, including this 1 June issue. The issue contained an article on the “Word of Wisdom,” which was a revelation JS dictated in February 1833 outlining a code of health for the Latter-day Saints; an installment from the serialized “History of Joseph Smith”; and reprints of articles from newspapers, including Latter-day Saint publications, on topics such as ’s missionary work in , JS’s work on the Book of Abraham, the necessity of baptism, the beliefs of church members, and ancient writings discovered in the . The issue also included a letter from the presidency and high council of the , Illinois, stake “to the saints scattered abroad.”
In addition to these items, the issue published editorial content that was presumably written by JS as editor or by his editorial staff. This editorial content, which is featured here, includes four items: commentary on the assassination attempt on former governor ; a lengthy statement disputing a speech , a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, made criticizing the Saints; a preface to an article about the Jews; and a notice to church members in the eastern about ’s planned fund-raising mission for the construction of the .
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.
in quest of a milder climate, it would be natural to look for tokens of the presence of Jews of some sort, along countries adjacent to the Atlantic. In order to this, we shall here make an extract from an able work: written exclusively on the subject of the Ten Tribes having come from Asia by the way of Bherings Strait, by the Rev. Ethan Smith, Pultney, Vt., who relates as follows: Joseph Merrick, Esq., a highly respectable character in the church at Pittsfield, gave the following account: That in 1815, he was leveling some ground under and near an old wood shed, standing on a place of his, situated on Indian Hill.
He ploughed and conveyed away old chips and earth to some depth. After the work was done, walking over the place, he discovered, near where the earth had been dug the deepest, a black strap as it appeared, about six inches in length, and one and a half in breadth, and about the thickness of a leather trace to a harness.
He perceived it had at each end a loop of some hard substance, probably for the purpose of carrying it. He conveyed it to his house, and threw it into an old toolbox. He afterwards found it thrown out of doors, and he again conveyed it to the box. After some time he thought he would examine it; but in attempting to cut it found it as hard as bone; he succeeded, however in getting it open, and found it was formed of two pieces of thick raw-hide, sewed and made water tight with the sinews of some animal; and in the fold was contained four folded pieces of parchment. They were of a dark yellow hue, and contained some kind of writing. The neighbors coming in to see the strange discovery, tore one of the pieces to atoms, in the true Hun and Vandal style. The other three pieces Mr. Merrick saved, and sent them to Cambridge.—where they where examined, and discovered to have been written with a pen in Hebrew, plain and legible.
The writing on the three remaining pieces of parchment, was quotations from the Old Testament. See Deut. vi. chap. from the 4th to the 9th verse, inclusive—also, xi. chap. 13–21, and Exodus, chap. 13—13—11,—16 inclusive, to which the reader can refer, if he has the curiosity to read this most interesting discovery. These passages as quoted above, were found in the strap of raw hide; which unquestionably had been written on the very pieces of parchment now in the possession of the Antiquarian Society, before Israel left the land of Syria, more than 2,500 years ago.
Dr. West of Stockbridge, relates that an old Indian informed him, that his fathers in this country, had not long since, been in the possession of a book, which they had for a long time, carried with them, but having lost the knowledge of reading it, they buried it with an Indian chief—View of the Hebrews, p. 223.
It had been handed down from family to family, or from chief to chief as a most precious relic, if not as an amulet, charm, or talisman, for it is not to be supposed, that a distinct knowledge of what was con[t]ained in the strap could have long continued among them, in their wandering condition, amid woods and forests.
“It is said by Calmet, that the above texts are the very passages of Scripture, which the Jews used to write on the leaves of their phylacteries. These phylacteries were little rolls of parchment whereon were written certain words of the law. These they wore upon their forehead, and upon the wrist of the left arm.”—Smith’s view vf the Hebrews. p. 220.
The last editorial item in this issue is a notice to members in the eastern about a fund-raising mission would be conducting. In the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, a notice asked the Saints to “tithe themselves” and send the money to JS, the trustee-in-trust for the church, “so that his hands may be loosed and the go on.” A letter from the in the 2 May 1842 issue reemphasized the need for the Saints to financially support the temple’s construction, stating that it could be built only with “the and contributions of those who are scatterd abroad in the different states.” To help raise funds for the temple, Richards, one of the apostles, was planning to travel to the eastern United States, where he would collect donations from the Saints. JS published this notice to prepare church members there for Richards’s visit. Richards added a message to the notice requesting information about any business needs of of the church in New England.
TO THE EASTERN .
, Recorder for the and my private Secetary, (accompanied, perhaps, by some others of the ) will soon leave , for and the Eastern States, for the purpose of receiving funds, for the building of the , which are now much needed; and for the transaction of business in general for the . I hope the brethren will be diligent in preparing their , for remittance by , and speed him on his journey that he may quickly return to his labors in this place.
Any of the churches in New England that are desirous of being visited by, or transacting business with myself, or brethren, can manifest the same by letter. Post Paid. Directed to Richmond, Birkshire co. Mass. as we may not be conversant with the location of all the in that region.
The Times and Seasons,
IS EDITED BY
Printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, , Hancock County, Illinois by
TERMS.—Two Dollars per annum, payable in all cases in advance. Any person procuring five new subscribers, and forwarding us Ten Dollars current money, shall receive one volume gratis. All letters must be addressed to Joseph Smith, publisher, post paid, or they will not receive attention. [p. 814]
Progress on the temple’s construction was continuing at this time. An editorial in the 2 May 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons stated that the “noble edifice is progressing with great rapidity; strenuous exertions are being made on every hand to facilitate its erection.” William W. Phelps reported in a 16 June 1842 letter to Parley P. Pratt that “the Temple Columns are now being raised, or at least the Plinths or bases of them have been hoisted upon the wall.” (“The Temple,” Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842, 3:775; William W. Phelps, Nauvoo, IL, to Parley P. Pratt, Liverpool, England, 16 June 1842, Parley P. Pratt, Correspondence, CHL.)
Pratt, Parley P. Correspondence, 1842–1855. CHL. MS 897.
Willard Richards’s wife, Jennetta, was living with Willard’s family in Richmond, Massachusetts, at this time. (“History of Willard Richards,” 28–29, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861, CHL; Rhoda Richards, Richmond, MA, to Levi Richards, Manchester, England, 16 and 19 Jan. 1842, typescript; Phinehas Richards and Jennetta Richards Richards, [Richmond, MA], to Willard Richards, Nauvoo, IL, 3 Jan. 1842, typescript, Richards Family Papers, CHL.)
Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.
“Richards Family Letters 1840–1849.” Typescript. Richards Family Papers, 1965. CHL.