Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Mar. 1842, vol. 3, no. 9, pp. 703–718; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The first issue of the -affiliated newspaper Times and Seasons was published near , Illinois, in 1839. Owned jointly by and , the paper was edited at various times by Smith, Robinson, and through summer 1841. Following the deaths of Smith and Thompson in August 1841, Robinson became sole proprietor and editor of the paper. On 28 January 1842 JS dictated a revelation that directed the to assume editorial responsibility for the paper. A week later Robinson sold the newspaper, along with the remainder of his printing establishment, to JS.
Though JS assumed editorship of the Times and Seasons sometime in mid-February, he stated in his first editorial passage that he did not begin reviewing the paper’s content until the 1 March 1842 issue. A 2 March 1842 entry in JS’s journal notes, “Read the Proof of the ‘Times and Seasons’ as Editor for the first time, No. 9[th] Vol 3d. in which is the commencement of the Book of Abraham.” Though JS actively edited the paper at times, apparently assisted him in writing content. Regardless of who penned specific passages of editorial material, JS openly assumed editorial responsibility for all installments naming him as editor except the 15 February 1842 issue.
Included in the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons are four editorial passages, which are featured below with introductions. Other JS documents published in this issue of the newspaper, including an excerpt from the Book of Abraham and a rare narrative history of the church, are featured as stand-alone documents in this or other volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers. In the first editorial passage, JS publicly announced his new role as editor of the Times and Seasons to the newspaper’s readership.
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.
Ebenezer Robinson, “To the Patrons of the Times and Seasons,” Times and Seasons, 16 Aug. 1841, 2:511; Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” Return, May 1890, 257; July 1890, 302; see also Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:91–92.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The Return. Davis City, IA, 1889–1891; Richmond, MO, 1892–1893; Davis City, 1895–1896; Denver, 1898; Independence, MO, 1899–1900.
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
they are assisted by the faculty to die, they do not die a natural death—for the corner thought it necessary to warn this “foolish sect” lest they should be guilty of dying a natural death and no doubt (according to the statement of the coroner) if Elizabeth Morgan had still remained a citizen of and not have joined that “strange sect” (who die naturally) but that she would either have lived forever or have had the privilege of dying an unnatural death through the assistance of medical aid.
But the are a “strange sect” a “foolish sect” but why so? “they dated their origin from the apostles, and treated their sick according to the following text taken from the last chapter of the epistle of St. James: ‘If there be any illness (is any sick) among you ye shall (let him) call for the of the church, and annoint yourselves with oil in the name of the Lord,’ -[and let them pray over him, annointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”]- The coroner seems to be ignorant of the doctrines of the Latter-Day Saints, or he never would have stated that they “dated their origin from the apostles.” We believe in apostolic religion, but we do not date our origin from them—we believe that the religious world have all become corrupt long ago, and that it needed a revelation from heaven to restore apostolic religion, and that we have had such a communication: but we do not profess to have descended lineally from them. The learned coroner seems also to be ignorant of his bible, or he would have quoted the above passage a little more correctly than he has done. Respecting its being contrary to our religious tenets to employ “medical aid” we would remark that it is unqualifiedly false, and that we have no tenets prohibiting any such thing, but we think that sister Morgan had as much right to refuse medical aid and die a natural death if she thought proper, as a Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Univeralist, or any other person: and that the coroner had no right to hinder her, nor to try other people for allowing her to do so.
But the people prayed for her “according to the text in St. James” ‘if any are sick &c.’ The thing has at last come out; the coroner did not think it right to follow the directions of “St. James,” for he thinks them a “strange sect” a “foolish sect,” and admonishes them to beware of such conduct, from which we must naturally infer that the coroner does not believe the epistle of James, nor do any of the sects in , -[for his profession must make him generally acquainted with the sects]- and and he thinks this is a ‘strange’ sect because they do, and that they are very ‘foolish’ for believing it. A man may be a Dunkard, a Shaker, a Methodist, a Southcatonian, a Presbyterian, or a Wilkinsonian; he may dance, or shake, or whirl around on his heel, or rend the heavens with his shouts, or sit still and say nothing: he may profess to be a mortal, or an immortal man; he may do any thing that is unscriptural, and it will be orthodox but to believe the bible, and to practice its precepts is ‘foolish and strange’ to this enlightened and Christian coroner, and to the inhabitants of . But that they die after this administration is singular. The apostles however and the ancient churches used to administer in this ordinance, and yet they died. It is well for them that they did not live in the city of , the seat of religion, and science, or the pious coroner and his coadjutors would have tried these ungodly men for practising contrary to their religion, and would have warned all the sect against their impositions and follies.
LETTER FROM ELDER .
, Nov. 10, 1841
Dear Sir,—I received your letter directed from , which I answered soon after its reception. I have also received another from you written at , which I read last Sunday week to a large congregation of Saints; they were extremely gratified with its contents, and much delighted in hearing from one who had labored so hard to plant the standard of in this dark and benighted . I forwarded it to , for publication in the ‘Star.’
The ‘stone of the mountain,’ which you set to rolling in , (I am thankful to the Most High in being able to say,) has not yet ceased moving, but is daily becoming more rapid and powerful in its revolutions. It has already gathered round its holy shrine, despite of opposing powers, about one hundred and forty sons and daughters of Zion. Every thing in relation to the generally goes on prosperously; the power of God is beginning to manifest itself in a wonderful manner among the Saints; remarkable diseases have been healed through the medium of the , and many of the Saints have had open visions, which are of that glorious nature as to cause their hearts to rejoice, and to give glory to the Lord God of Zion. [p. 712]
Lorenzo Snow, who was living with the Morgans at the time of Elizabeth’s death, indicated that she “continually expressed a wish that no doctor should administer her medicines; and particularly requested that no one should cast any reflections upon her dear husband and children because no doctor had been employed, for she wanted no physician but the Lord.” (Lorenzo Snow, London, England, to Parley P. Pratt, Manchester, England, 28 Oct. 1841, in Millennial Star, Nov. 1841, 2:109, italics in original.)
This refers to the Schwarzenau Brethren, which was a Christian denomination founded by religious refugees in Schwarzenau, in what is now Germany, in 1708. Members of the Brethren migrated to the United States in 1719 and organized a congregation near Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1723. In America they were often referred to as “German Baptists,” “Dunkers,” or “Dunkards,” in reference to their belief in threefold baptism. (Durnbaugh, Fruit of the Vine, 25–29, 74–77, 118, 173–174.)
Durnbaugh, Donald F. Fruit of the Vine: A History of the Brethren, 1708–1995. Elgin, IL: Brethren Press, 1997.
A reference to the followers of Joanna Southcott, who were often referred to as “Southcottians.” While working as a domestic servant in Exeter, England, in the early 1790s, Southcott began to have visions of the end of the world and Christ’s second coming. She recorded her prophecies, hundreds of which were later published, and by the mid-1810s had gained at least twelve thousand followers in England. (Southcott, Strange Effects of Faith, 5; Hopkins, Woman to Deliver Her People, xvii–xviii, 76–79, 83–84; Lockley, Visionary Religion and Radicalism in Early Industrial England, 3–4.)
Southcott, Joanna. The Strange Effects of Faith; With Remarkable Prophecies (Made in 1792, &c.) of Things Which Are to Come: Also Some Account of My Life. Exeter, England: By the author; T. Brice, no date.
Hopkins, James K. A Woman to Deliver Her People: Joanna Southcott and English Millenar- ianism in an Era of Revolution. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.
Lockley, Philip. Visionary Religion and Radicalism in Early Industrial England: From Southcott to Socialism. Oxford Theological Monographs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
A reference to the followers of Jemima Wilkinson, a preacher who established a religious society referred to as the Society of Universal Friends in the late 1700s. (See Moyer, Public Universal Friend, 2–3.)
Moyer, Paul B. The Public Universal Friend: Jemima Wilkinson and Religious Enthusiasm in Revolutionary America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2015.