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, .)
“Books, (which are mentioned as very well known as early as Job 19:23. Num. 21:14. Exod. 17:14,) were written most anciently on skins, on linen, on cotton cloth, and the reed papyrus; and subsequently on parchment. The leaves were written over in small columns, called delautote, (Heb.) Jer. 36:23. If the book were large, it was of course formed of a number of skins, of a number of pieces of linen and cotton cloth, or of papyrus, or parchment, connected together. The leaves were rarely written over on both sides, Ezek. 2:9. Zech. 5:1. Whether the lines were written as in the Sigean inscription, and in the Etruscan inscriptions, might yet be determined, if the stones mentioned Josh. 8:32. could be found.
Books being written upon very flexible materials, were rolled round a stick; and, if they were very long, round two, from the two extremities. The reader unrolled the book to the place which he wanted, and rolled it up again when he had read it, Luke 4: 17–20; whence the name megeelau (Heb.) a volume, or thing rolled up, Ps. 40:7. Is. 34:4. Ezek. 2:9. 2 K. 19:14. Ezra 6:2. The leaves thus rolled round the stick, which has been mentioned, and bound with a string, could be easily sealed, Is. 29:11. Dan. 12:4. Rev. 5:1, 6:7. Those books, which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.
An untitled editorial selection in this issue reprinted a portion of a statement on marriage published in the ’s 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The extract was reprinted in response to ’s ongoing claims that JS was secretly practicing “spiritual wifery” by marrying and proposing marriage to several women in . Although JS and a small group of other church leaders were privately practicing plural marriage by this time, most church members were not, and the church publicly countered rumors of the practice. Furthermore, Bennett’s frustration over his excommunication from the church led him to fabricate and exaggerate the salacious nature of some of the claims he made against JS and the church in his public campaign.
Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of ’s letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church.
“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”
TO THE ABROAD AND NEAR BY.
As many false reports are circulated to delay the building of the of God at , we take this public method of stating that the saints are constantly engaged in rearing this great for their salvation, by and donations—according to the commandments; and in order that the work may progress more speedily; we call upon the churches abroad and near by, to bring or send us their tithes or donations, that we may be enabled to go on prosperously and finish it in an acceptable time to the Lord. The work hands upon this need provisions and clothes, and the brethren, these plentiful times, have these things and other means, and can, if they will, help us. Brethren remember the commands of the Lord and help fulfil them.
, Aug. 25, 1842.
From the circumstances growing out of the pretended exposures of , a rumor has gone abroad that the has ceased to progress. This is therefore designed to inform the brethren of the throughout the and elsewhere, that the work is still progressing as in times past. It is true we have little or no means to carry on the work, nor have we at any time had a sufficiency of means to go on with that rapidity we would wish. But if no preventing providence we will progress with the work until its final completion, and hereby call upon the brethren to take stock in the if they have not, that the hands of the laborers may be strengthened thereby.
, P. N. H. A.
The tenth editorial selection in this issue is a proverb that the editors appear to have published as a humorous though biting criticism of the pride they believed existed among the clergy of other Christian denominations.
The Hebrew priests, when they appeared before the Lord, performed the service with naked feet, a symbol of veneration. See Exodus 3:5.—Josh 5:15. Now a days the world’s priests wear boots or shoes well blacked as an act of decorum and not see God. [p. 909]
Bennett commenced his public campaign against JS and the church in June 1842 with several letters to the Sangamo Journal. He eventually compiled those letters in an 1842 book titled The History of the Saints. (John C. Bennett, The History of the Saints; or, An Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism [Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842].)
Bennett, John C. The History of the Saints; or, an Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842.
Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.