Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Sept. 1842, vol. 3, no. 21, pp. 895–910; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
JS served as editor for the 1 September 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, a newspaper published in , Illinois. It was the twenty-first issue in the third volume of the newspaper. JS purchased the newspaper and the from in February 1842 and began his work as editor on the 1 March 1842 issue. and assisted JS with his editorial responsibilities; in moments when JS was occupied with other pressing business, Taylor and Woodruff commonly performed most—if not all—of the editing required for the publication of each issue, including the writing of editorial content. While it is unclear how involved JS was in preparing this particular issue, he nevertheless assumed editorial responsibility for this and all issues produced during his time as editor.
Like all issues of the Times and Seasons, the 1 September 1842 issue contained both non-editorial and editorial content. The non-editorial content included a letter from members of the who were then serving missions in Great Britain, a selection from the “History of Joseph Smith,” and a reprinted letter to the editor of the Bostonian that described a debate in between church member and Dr. George Montgomery West. The issue also featured a notice from member , a brief letter from members of the temple committee, and two poems.
The issue’s editorial content, for which JS was ultimately responsible, is featured here with introductions. It included commentary on news of social unrest throughout the world, a counter to claims in a newspaper that church members were superstitious and deluded, an explanation of the persecution JS experienced in the context of the persecution aimed at biblical prophets, an editorial on the proper mode of baptism, and a defense against claims made in recent publications that were antagonistic toward the church. The editorial passages also included a positive description of the current health of Nauvoo’s residents, a supposed conversation between a Latter-day Saint and a Protestant clergyman likely written as an editorial device to argue for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, commentary on a selection from a book about biblical archaeology, a reprinting of the church’s official statement on marriage from 1835, a humorous proverb, and a notice encouraging readers to renew their subscriptions to the newspaper.
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.
“An Epistle of the Twelve,” “History of Joseph Smith,” and “Mormons, or ‘Latter Day Saints,’” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1842, 3:895–900. Although the Times and Seasons identifies West only as “Dr. West,” he is fully named in the Boston Investigator’s coverage of West’s preaching. (“Rev. Dr. George Montgomery West,” Boston Investigator, 8 June 1842, ; “Dr. West and the Mormons,” Boston Investigator, 22 June 1842, .)
ing clause like this,—that it was necessary that Christ should die and rise the third day—that remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.
We will now examine the witnesses. As it will be recollected, they were to wait at Jerusalem till they were endowed with power from on high and then go and teach all nations whatsoever the Lord had commanded them. As Peter held the of the kingdom, we will examine him first.
Now on the day of Pentecost, when there was a marvellous display of the gifts, according to the promise in Mark, many were pricked in the heart, and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the Apostles, men and brethren what shall we do? Peter said unto them: Repent, and be every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remissioe [remission] of sins, and ye shall receive the , &c.— Here one of the witnesses says in so many words, repent and be baptised. And we are of the opinion that Peter having been taught by the Lord, and commissioned by the Lord, and endowed by the Lord, would be about as correct a counsellor, or ambassador as we or they could enquire of to know the right way to enter into the kingdom.
Again, Luke in his record of the acts of the Apostles, says:—And it came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptised? And they said, unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptised with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, That they should believe on him which should come after him, that is on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.— And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophecied.
From the above witnesses we are informed that baptism was the essential point on which they could receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It seems from the reasoning above that some sectarian Jew had been baptising like John, but had forgotten to inform them that there was one to follow by the name of Jesus Christ, to baptise with fire and the Holy Ghost:—which showed these converts that their first baptism was illegal, and when they heard this they were gladly baptised, and after hands were laid on them, they received the gifts, according to promise, and spake with tongues and prophecied. We do not calculate in this short dissertation, to bring in the immense reasoning and quotations that might be adduced to show that the ancients who were actually the fathers of the church in the different ages, when the church flourished on the earth, according to the pattern of having apostles and prophets, &c for the work of the ministry and the perfecting of the saints—were initiated into the kingdom by baptism, for it is self evident in the scripture—God changes not. The Apostle says the gospel is the power of God unto salvation unto them that believe; and also informs us that life and immortality were brought to light through the gospel; that the scripture, as Paul said to the Galatians, forseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham: saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
Now taking it for granted that the scriptures say what they mean, and mean what they say, we have sufficient grounds to go on and prove from the bible that the gossel [gospel] has always been the same; the to fulfil its requirements, the same; and the officers to officiate, the same; and the signs and fruits resulting from the promises, the same: therefore, as Noah was a preacher of righteousness he must have been baptised and to the by the , &c. For no man taketh this honor upon himself except he be called of God as was Aaron, and Aaron was baptised in the cloud and in the sea, together with all Israel, as is related by the Apostle in Corinthians. This position or fact, is witnessed in this manner: the covenant of circumcission made with Abraham, and practiced steadily up to the departing of Israel out of Egypt, was abandoned in the wilderness, forty years—and renewed by Joshua after he passed over Jordan, and encamped at Gilgal, where he made sharp knives and circumcised the whole male portion of the church.
Circumcision was merely a sign of the priesthood, given to Abraham: according to the words of Jesus to Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can man be born when he is old? can he enter the second [p. 904]