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.
conduct of the editors of the Telegraph,) that nine-tenths of his time was taken up in a tirade against Mormonism, as nine-tenths of their remarks on that subject are—it would seem that so conclusive were his arguments in refuting the charges preferred by the editor of the States Register, that it was not necessary for the editor to mention them; while Mormonism, that awful delusion: that growing evil; that monstrous iniquity, must be put down;—leaving then the above named papers to settle their difficulty: we shall notice his remarks on the Mormons.
What does mean when speaking of -[the Mormons, that they are different from other people, and that they have some special law given them to be governed by; or has he made use of those expressions to decoy the unwary and gull the ignorant for political effect? There is no excuse for what he has done, he has done it knowingly, wantonly, wilfully, and wickedly.
knows that the law knows no difference between Mormon citizens and other citizens, and that there is no law in the , or in this to prevent people from [“]worshiping the Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience;” that under the broad flag of American liberty the Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, Universalists, Friends, or Latter Day Saints, are all one; their religion is unknown they are all citizens of this great republic, and are governed by the same law; and that they all possess equal privileges without distinction: then why should he try to make that appear to exist which never was in being?
As citizens of we would ask, what greater privileges do we possess than the inhabitants of other cities? we have a city charter, so have other cities; such as , , , , and ; we have a charter for a ; this may differ some little in form from some of the proceedings of other cities, but certainly is not unconstitutional, it is in strict conformity with the laws of this , and of the . The Nauvoo Legion is decidedly the best organised, and most efficient military force in the State of , or in the western country; it is well disciplined and officered with the best talent the country affords.— If this is a sin we plead guilty, but we could heartily wish that our neighbors would imitate our example, then should we have a more efficient force to defend our country. Are these privileges that are denied other citizens? this “privileged sect”—(don’t name it call them citizens sir,) have no other privileges than the citizens of other cities.
Will , or the “editor of the “Telegraph and Review, show us what privileges we enjoy over other citizens, or other denominations? will he be so kind as to point out some of those “anti-republican extraordinary” and “arbitrary powers.” that the Mormons possess.
Will the please to tell us where that ordinance can be found referred to by him: when it passed, &c.? The palpable falsehoods that he has uttered; and the gross misrepresentations that he has made use of, remind us of the words of one of the ancients, “their heart is full of cursing and bitterness, the poison of asps is under their tongues, and the way of peace they have not known.” We have no such exclusive ordinance as the one referred to by ; his statements are palpably false; we have no less than three gentlemen in our city council who are not members of our at all. But we have laws for the suppression of vice: for taking up vagrants or disorderly persons; for defamation of character, &c.; and if in our city a Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Latter Day Saint, or was found transgressing these laws, they would be judged by the laws, and not by their religion.
This blending of religious with civil affairs, is merely to deceive mankind; as citizens of this republic we have the priviledge of using such priviledges as other men, and of voting for whom we please. If it is our religion that he wishes to contend with, let him bring his bible, and we will meet him on that ground; but we think that our city charter, political intrigue, and city ordinances, make a curious compound when mixed up with religion.
We suppose that the following is the ordinance referred to by the , let him read it and blush, (vol. 2, page 336, Times and Seasons.
An Ordinance in relation to religious societies.
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of . That the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-Day-Saints, Quakers, Episcopalians, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohamedans, and all other religious sects, and denominations, whatever, shall have toleration, and equal priviledges in this , and should any person be guilty of ridiculing, abusing, or otherwise depreciating another, in consequence of his religion, or of disturbing, or interrupting, any religious meeting, within the limits [p. 807]
The 16 May 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons reported that in a recent review of the Nauvoo Legion, “both officers and men, showed a knowledge of military tactics, far in advance of what could have been expected from the little experiance they have had and the short time the Legion has been formed. They have very much improved both in good discipline and uniform, since last year.” (Times and Seasons, 16 May 1842, 3:790.)
George T. M. Davies had become the newspaper’s editor in April 1841, after the resignation of former editor John Bailhache. A county history later described Davies as “a writer of unusual brilliancy.” (History of Madison County, Illinois, 205.)
History of Madison County, Illinois. Illustrated. With Biographical Sketches of many Prominent Men and Pioneers. Edwardsville, IL: W. R. Brink & Co., 1882.
John T. Barnett, Daniel H. Wells, and Hugh McFall, who were not church members, had all served on the Nauvoo City Council. Wells and Barnett were appointed to the council on 3 February 1841, and McFall was appointed on 23 October 1841. However, McFall had recently moved from the area, and George A. Smith, one of the Twelve Apostles, replaced him on the council on 19 May 1842. The 1 January 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons contained an editorial stating that although church members constituted the overwhelming majority of residents in Nauvoo, “we are not disposed to exercise that power to the exclusion of men of sterling worth and integrity” from city government “simply because they do not believe in our religion.” (Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 23 Oct. 1841, 25; Minutes, 19 May 1842; “Officers,” Times and Seasons, 1 Jan. 1842, 3:646.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The city council passed an ordinance on 1 March 1841 prohibiting the defamation of individuals based on their religious beliefs. On 13 November 1841, the council approved an ordinance pertaining to “vagrants and Disorderly Persons.” On 14 May 1842, the council passed an ordinance “concerning Brothels and disorderly Characters,” which prohibited “all Brothels or Houses of ill Fame” in the city and also set penalties “for every Act of Adultery, or Fornication, which can be proved.” (Minutes, 1 Mar. 1841; Minutes, 13 Nov. 1841; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 14 May 1842, 77.)