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, .)
the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
From the Bostonian.
MORMONS, OR “LATTER DAY SAINTS.”
Mr. Editor:—You will doubtless recollect that some two or three weeks since I gave you a short sketch of the lectures delivered by , at the Boylston Hall, and also promised if he produced anything worthy of notice in his forth-coming lectures, that you should hear from me again. The reason of my so long delaying to notice this subject, is not that there was nothing worthy of notice in the lectures, but about the time I should have written, , and his society were charged with Murder, Blasphemy, Lying, Fraud, Treason, and Murder, and I thought if they were guilty of these heavy charges, they were unworthy of any thing but the halter and hangman; however, since that time has nobly met the man that made the heavy charges above named, and entirely freed himself and the society to which he belongs of every vestige of said charges; and the opposers of the Mormons, are left in shame, confusion, and disgrace, and “the wonders of the ,” as calls it, is the great existing subject in at the present time; and truly it can be said, they that turn the world upside down have come hither also, and the general cry among Sectarians is, “how shall we put them down; if we let them alone our societies will be shaken to their narrow foundations, and already they begin to tremble. Some of our best and most devoted members are leaving us and joining them.”
Before I enter upon a short description of the lectures, I wish to notice one important item in the discussion lately held in the Marlboro’ Chapel; it is relative to the Bible being the rule or standard of evidence in their decisions on points of doctrine and principle. On the last evening but one of the discussion, to save time and come directly to the point it was moved by Mr. Seaver, (who is a Free Enquirer) that the disputants, Dr. West, and take the Bible as the standard of evidence. To this proposition , the Mormons, and the Free Enquirers agreed, but Dr. West and his sectarian friends would not agree to it, and being most in number they voted down the proposition, yes, those very men that are continually crying “the Bible! the Bible! give us the Bible!” actually voted against the Bible, yes, voted it down for no other reason that the writer knows, only that it condemns them and their creeds. From the moment that vote was taken, I have been a determined opposer of sectarianism and priestcraft in all its monstrous and soul-killing forms, but a friend to the Bible, and Bible religion. The three lectures that I alluded to in my previous communication were on the subject of the Book of Mormon, the building of Zion, and the pouring out of the vials of the wrath of God, in the last days. On the subject of the Book of Mormon his arguments were clear and conclusive, plainly proving by many prophesies in the Bible that such a record must come forth before God could gather the Jews from their long dispersion. He particularly dwelt on the 29th chap. of Isaiah and the latter part of the 37th chap. of Ezekiel, commencing with the 15th verse. He then clearly proved the Book of Mormon to be the stick record or history of the descendants of Joseph that dwelt in this land, (America) separate from their brethren, in fulfilment of the predictions of Jacob and Moses, see Gen. 48th chapter, also part of chapter 49, from verse 22 to 26; also Deut. chap. 33d, verses 13–14–15–16–17. He argued from the above and many other passages of scripture, that the descendants of Joseph were to become, “a multitude of nations,” and inhabit the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills,”—“the earth and the fulness thereof.” He introduced an account of [p. 899]