Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Oct. 1842, vol. 3, no. 23, pp. 927–942; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
JS, assisted by and , served as editor for the 1 October 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, the twenty-third issue in the third volume. The extent to which JS was involved in writing the editorial content in this particular issue is unclear. As the newspaper’s editor, however, he was responsible for its content.
The non-editorial content in the issue, which is not featured here, included an installation of the serialized “History of Joseph Smith,” a letter from JS on the subject of for the dead, and the minutes of a church held in Alexander, New York. In addition, the issue featured a poem by Frederick William Faber titled “The Signs of the Times,” reprinted from the Warder (a newspaper published in Dublin, Ireland), and reprinted a response by the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star (the ’s newspaper published in ) to a letter featured in a British newspaper on the differences between Latter-day Saint and Baptist doctrine.
Editorial content included commentary on a passage from a book about archaeology in Central America; an update on the growth and development of , Illinois; and an editorial encouraging donations to the Nauvoo construction fund. In addition, the editors reprinted with commentary the church’s 1835 statement on marriage, criticized the way was handling the criminal case of three abolitionists, and countered the millenarian claims of and his followers. The issue also included a response to reports circulating in American newspapers that JS had fled Nauvoo to escape arrest. Two passages presumably written by the editors but not included in the selection of editorial content featured here are a single-sentence notice requesting that Martin Titus return to Nauvoo to answer undisclosed charges preferred against him and a recurring notice that new printings of the Book of Mormon and hymnbook were available for purchase.
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.
Vol. III. No. 23.]- CITY OF , ILL. OCT. 1, 1842. -[Whole No. 59
The first editorial item, titled “Zarahemla,” continued the previous issue’s speculation on the location of lands described in the Book of Mormon based on published reports of archaeological discoveries in Central America. The editors were particularly interested in the location of Zarahemla, one of the prominent cities of the Nephite civilization depicted in the Book of Mormon. In this selection, the editors presented discoveries discussed in John Lloyd Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan as evidence of the historical veracity and authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The editorial commentary was followed by several columns of text extracted from Stephens’s book.
Since our ‘Extract’ was published from Mr. [John Lloyd] Stephens’ ‘Incidents of Travel,’ &c., we have found another important fact relating to the truth of the Book of Mormon. Central America, or Guatimala, is situated north of the Isthmus of Darien and once embraced several hundred miles of territory from north to south.—The city of Zarahemla, burnt at the crucifixion of the Savior, and rebuilt afterwards, stood upon this land as will be seen from the following words in the book of Alma:—‘And now it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful, and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi, and the land of Zarahemla was nearly surrounded by water: there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.’ -[See Book of Mormon 3d edition, page 280–81.]-
It is certainly a good thing for the excellency and veracity, of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, that the ruins of Zarahemla have been found where the Nephites left them: and that a large stone with engravings upon it, as Mosiah said; and a ‘large round stone, with the sides sculptured in hieroplyphics,’ as Mr. Stephens has published, is also among the left remembrances of the, (to him,) lost and unknown. We are not agoing to declare positively that the ruins of Quirigua are those of Zarahemla, but when the land and the stones, and the books tell the story so plain, we are of opinion, that it would require more proof than the Jews could bring to prove the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb, to prove that the ruins of the city in question, are not one of those referred to in the Book of Mormon.
It may seem hard for unbelievers in the mighty works of God, to give credit to such a miraculous preservation of the remains, ruins, records and reminiscences of a branch of the house of Israel: but the elements are eternal, and intelligence is eternal, and God is eternal, so that the very hairs of our heads are all numbered. It may be said of man he was and is, and is not; and of his works the same, but the Lord was and is, and is to come and his works never end; and he will bring every thing into judgment whether it be good, or whether it be evil; yea, every secret thing, and they shall be revealed upon the house tops. It will not be a bad plan to compare Mr. Stephens’ ruined cities with those in the Book of Mormon: light cleaves to light, and facts are supported by facts. The truth injures no one, and so we make another
From Stephens’ “Incidents of Travel in Central America.”
“On a fine morning, after a heavy rain, they set off for the ruins. After a ride of about half an hour, over an execrable road, they again reached the Amates. The village was pleasantly situated on the bank of the river, and elevated about thirty feet. The river was here about two hundred feet wide, and fordable in every part except a few deep holes. Generally it did not exceed three feet in depth, and in many places was not so deep; but below it was said to be navigable to the sea for boats not drawing more than three feet water. They embarked in two canoes dug out of cedar-trees, and proceeded down the river for a couple of miles, where they took on board a negro man names Juan Lima, and his two wives. This black scroundrel, as Mr. C. marks him down in his notebook, was to be their guide. They then proceeded two or three miles farther, and stopped at a rancho on the left side of the river, and passing through two cornfields, entered a forest of large cedar and mahogany trees. The path was exceedingly soft and wet, and covered with decayed leaves, and the heat very great. Continuing through the forest toward the northeast, in three quarters of an hour they reached the foot of a pyramidal structure like those at Copan, with the steps in some places perfect. They ascended to the top, about twenty-five feet, and descending by steps on the other side, at a short distance beyond came to a colossal head two yards in diameter, almost buried by an enormous tree, and covered with moss. Near it was a large altar, so covered with moss that it was impossible to make anything out of it. The two are within an enclosure.
Retracing their steps across the pyramidal structure, and proceeding to the north about three or four hundred yards, they reached a collection of monuments of the same general character with those [p. ]
The quoted text is part of Stephens’s description of the pyramidal structures among the Mayan ruins discovered at Quiriguá in what is now southeastern Guatemala. (Stephens, Incidents of Travel, 2:122.)
Stephens, John L. Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. 2 vols. 11th ed. New York City: Harper and Brothers, 1841.