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.
beastly appetites, the murderous disposition and the vitiated taste of man; to restore his body to health, and vigour, promote peace between him and the brute creation, and as one of the little wheels in God’s designs, to help to regulate the great machinery, which shall eventually revolutionize the earth, and bring about the restoration of all things, and when they are restored he will plant ‘the tree of life, whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.’
The Lord has told us what is good for us to eat, and to drink, and what is pernicious; but some of our wise philosophers, and some of our elders too, pay no regard to it; they think it too little, too foolish, for wise men to regard—fools! where is their wisdom, philosophy and intelligence? from whence did they obtain their superior light? Their capacity and their power of reasoning was given them by the great Jehovah: if they have any wisdom they obtained it from him: and have they grown so much wiser than God that they are going to instruct him in the path of duty, and to tell him what is wise, and what is foolish. They think it too small for him to condesend to tell men what will be nutritious or what will be unhealthy. Who made the corn, the wheat, the rye, and all the vegetable substances? and who was it that organized man, and constituted him as he is found? who made his stomach, and his digestive organs, and prepared proper nutriment for his system, that the juices of his body might be supplied; and his form be invigorated by that kind of food which the laws of nature, and the laws of God has said would be good for man? And has God made his food, and provided it for the use of man; and shall he be ashamed to speak of the work of his hands: has be become so fantastical, so foolish, so weak and effeminate, that it has become impolitic for him to tell what is the best distribution to make of the work of his hands? Oh shame! let it not be heard among the saints; let that man who inculcates such principles hide his face. We are told by some that circumstances alter the revelations of God—tell me what circumstances would alter the ten commandments? they were given by revelation—given as a law to the children of Israel;—who has a right to alter that law? Some think that they are too small for us to notice, they are not too small for God to notice, and have we got so high, so bloated out, that we cannot condescend to notice things that God has ordained for our benefit? or have we got so weak that we are not fit to be called saints? for the word of wisdom is adapted to the capacity of all that ‘are or can be called saints.’ Listen not to the teaching of any man, or any elder who says the word of wisdom is of no moment; for such a man will eventually be overthrown. These are principles that I have always acted upon; that I have always practiced; and they are what my family practices; they are what has always contended for, and what I now contend for; and I know that nothing but an unwavering, undeviating course can save a man in the kingdom of God.
The Lord has told us that ‘Strong drinks are not good,’ who is it that will say they are? when the Lord says they are not. That man who says ‘I can drink wine or strong drink, and it not hurt me,’ is not wise. But some will say, ‘I know that it did me good, for I was fatigued, and feeble, on a certain occasion, and and it revived me, and I was invigorated thereby, and that is sufficient proof for me:’ It may be for you, but it would not be for a wise man, for every spirit of this kind will only produce a greater langor when its effects cease to operate upon the human body. But you know that you are benefited, yes, so does the man who has mortgaged his property, know that he is relieved from his present embarassments; but his temporary relief only binds the chords of bondage more severely around him. The Lord has not ordained strong drink for the belly; ‘but for the washing of your bodies.’ And again ‘tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly; and it is not good for man; but as an herb for bruises, and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.’ Tobacco is a nauseous, stinking, abominable thing, and I am surprised that any human being should think of using it—for an elder especially to eat, or smoke it, is a disgrace to him;—he is not fit for the office, he ought first to learn to keep the word of wisdom, and then to teach others. God will not prosper the man who uses it. And again ‘hot drinks are not for the body, or belly;’ there are many who wonder what this can mean; whether it refers to tea, or coffee, or not. I say it does refer to tea, and coffee. Why is it that we are frequently so dull and languid? it is because we break the word of wisdom, disease preys upon our system, our understandings are darkened, and we do not comprehend the things of God; the devil takes advantage of us, and we fall into temptation. Not only are they injurious in their tendency and baneful in their effects, but the importation of foreign products might be the means of thousands of our people being poisened at a future time, through the advantage that an enemy might take of us, if we made [p. 800]