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.
As I stated to you in my letter before I left my place, that I would write to you from time to time, and give you information in relation to many subjects, I now resume the subject of the for the dead; as that subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest, since I have been pursued by my enemies.
I wrote a few words of Revelation to you concerning a Recorder. I have had a few additional views in relation to this matter, which I now certify. That is, it was declared in my former letter that there should be a Recorder, who should be eye-witness, and also to hear with his ears, that he might make a record of a truth before the Lord. Now, in relation to this matter, it would be very difficult for one recorder to be present at all times, and to do all the business. To obviate this difficulty, there can be a recorder appointed in each ward of the , who is well qualified for taking accurate minutes; and let him be very particular and precise in making his record, in taking the whole proceedings; certifying in his record that he saw with his eyes, and heard with his ears; giving the date, and names, &c., and the history of the whole transaction; naming also, some three individuals that are present, if there be any present, who can at any time when called upon, certify to the same, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Then let there be a general Recorder, to whom these other records can be handed, being attended with certificates over their own signatures; certifying that the record which they have made is true. Then the general church recorder can enter the record on the general church book, with the certificates and all the attending witnesses, with his own statement that he verily believes the above statement and records to be true, from his knowledge of the general character and appointment of those men by the church. And when this is done on the general church book, the record shall be just as holy, and shall answer the just the same as if he had seen with his eyes, and heard with his ears, and made a record of the same on the general church book.
You may think this order of things to be very particular, but let me tell you that they are only to answer the will of God, by conforming to the ordinance and preparation that the Lord ordained and prepared before the foundation of the world, for the salvation of the dead, who should die without a knowledge of the gospel.
And further, I want you to remember that John the Revelator was contemplating this very subject in relation to the dead, when he declared as you will find recorded in Revelations, xx: 12. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” You will discover in this quotation that the books were opened; and another book was opened, which was the book of life. But the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works; consequently the books spoken of must be the books which contained the record of their works; and refers to the records which are kept on the earth. And the book which was the book of life, is the record which is kept in heaven; the principle agreeing precisely with the doctrine which is commanded you in the revelation contained in the letter which I wrote you previous to my leaving my place, “that in all your recordings it may be recorded in heaven.” Now the nature of this ordinance consists in the power of the , by the revelation of Jesus Christ; wherein it is granted, that whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsover you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Or in other words, taking a different view of the tranlation, whatsoever you record on earth shall be recorded in heaven; and whatsoever you do not record on earth shall not be recorded in heaven; for out of the books shall your dead be judged, according to their works, whether they themselves have attended to the ordinances in their own propria persona, or by the means of their own agents, according to the ordinance which God has prepared for their salvation from before the foundation of the world; according to the records which they have kept concerning their dead.
It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of: a power which records, or binds on earth, and binds in heaven: nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation , or any set of men, this power has always been given. Hence whatsoever those men did in authority, in the name of the Lord, and did it truly [p. 934]