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, .)
end,”—and we may add, to scattering falsehood there is no bounds. There is, however, a light in which we shall review the above notice, not so much on the score of book making as upon the sectarian practice of resisting the truth.— Twelve years experience has already given us an assurance that the Lord is with us, and when we read such thrusts as the one before us, from the Evangelist, or the more subtle stab of its co[n]temporary, Daniel P. Kidder, or less noted cut of Prof. [Jonathan] Turner; or the canine-like but powerless bite of Mormonism unveiled, by ; or that unchristian but harmless assault of Leroy [La Roy] D. Sunderland—and several other kindred spirits to Simon Magus, Demetrius, and Alexander the coppersmith, it shows us that we are blessed when all men speak evil of us falsely for Christ’s sake.
From 1830, when the Rochester Observer introduced the book of Mormon to the world as “blasphemy,” to the “light too glaringly absurd to leave it (Mormonism) much further power,” the public has been sickened with fulsome, jejune, , and abusive accounts of the —while the work, according to its own predictions in the book of Mormon, has commenced among all nations. The Jews, too, are gathering to in accordance with the prophecies of that book: and that hour seems approaching when every man’s hand will be raised against his neighbor, because the love of man waxes cold. We look in vain for fairness or truth, from the popular circles of this generation: We have never been met in argument, or representation, with bible truth, sober sense and candid reason: for upon such a solid basis our cause, as it has done, like some mighty vessel upon the billowy ocean, outrides the storm and spreads her white canvass to the breeze, that “comes from him who holds the winds in his fists,” and will waft her safely into that port, where hope, faith, and charity welcome the pure in heart.
It is a fact worthy of notoriety, though everlastingly deplorable, that the popular dominant portions of men, in every age of tge [the] world have rejected the truth of God; and then, justly met his vengeance! So it was with the “men of renown,” who opposed Noah before the flood, which swept them away. So it was with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who opposed Abraham and Lot, and were consumed by fire and brimstone; so it was with the Egyptians who opposed Moses and the children of Israel, the Red Sea swallowed them up: So it was with the inhabitants of Canaan who opposed Joshua, the sword and the hailstones from heaven, destroyed them. So it was with the Assyrians who opposed Israel in the days of Hezekiah, the angel of the Lord smote 185,000. So it was with the Jews who opposed Jesus Christ, destruction came upon them and they were destroyed, scattered and driven among all nations as outcasts: And we now bear this testimony, that the popular Gentile nations who in this age reject the revelations of God, and fulness of the gospel, as made known in the Book of Mormon,—in like manner will work out their own destruction.
We say to all men, read what you please, but if you wish the truth and the fulness of the gospel, read the book of Mormon, and take the advice of Gamaliel to the Jews: And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Another editorial selection, titled “Health of Nauvoo,” celebrated the relatively good health that residents of were experiencing in summer 1842. After members started to establish Nauvoo in 1839, epidemics broke out each summer, leading to the deaths of numerous city residents. Summer in Nauvoo was commonly referred to as “the sickly season.” According to this passage, the presence of such sickness had decreased by summer 1842, even as the population increased.
HEALTH OF , &c.
We are truly thankful for the measure of health granted to the citizens of , the present season. We may say with propriety, that we know of no city, with an equal number of inhabitants, which exhibits so small a bill of mortality, weekly as ours. Peace and activity are here also, save a temporary sensation, produced by the arrest of General Smith last month; upon that subject, among honest men, but one sentiment can prevail, and that is—figuratively,—it was a poisoned arrow, shot from , by men in high places, and aimed at the heart of the innocent saints, for persecution and murder. The life, animation, and good order prevalent among us, whispers the approval of the Lord,—and that is better than silver, yea, more desirable than gold.
The seventh editorial passage in this issue is a letter to the editor describing a conversation between a Latter-day Saint and a clergyman of a different faith. It is unclear if this is a record of an actual conversation or was something the editors or someone else wrote as an editorial device to argue that members’ belief in JS’s account of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon was congruent with belief in biblical accounts of angelic ministrations. Neither the church member nor the clergyman is identified. The letter is merely signed “P,” suggesting that the author was , who signed some of the material he published in an earlier church newspaper, the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, in the same way.
To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
Sir: Not long since, I had the honor to be in the company of a clergyman, as he styled himself, and as our religion was the engrossing topic of conversation, I have thought it would be no harm to community at large, if some of the items of our conversation were made public.
Clergyman.—Your society, I perceive, believe in the Book of Mormon as a revelation from God.
Saint. Yes! certainly: all truth came from the Lord by revelation.
C. Why dont you show the and convince the world at once? [p. 906]
Howe was the author of Mormonism Unvailed, an 1834 book that was highly critical of JS and the church. (Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed; or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time . . . [Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834].)
Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.
Sunderland was an editor of Zion’s Watchman, a weekly publication of the New York Wesleyan Society, which occasionally printed material critical of JS and the church. He also published a pamphlet that criticized the church in 1838. (See “Mormonism,” Zion’s Watchman, 24 Mar. 1838, 46; Historical Introduction to Letter from Parley P. Pratt, 23 May 1837; and La Roy Sunderland, Mormonism Exposed and Refuted [New York City: Piercy and Reed, 1838].)
Zion's Watchman. New York City. 1836–1838.
Sunderland, La Roy. Mormonism Exposed and Refuted. New York City: Piercy and Reed, 1838.