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, .)
of science and mechanical invention? Did he not proclaim openly to the world his mission? Sustain persecution and brave death for the sake of God? Did he not have visions and revelations? And who but a man divinely inspired, could, at a time when the whole world was deluged with vain and contradictory teachings, have conceived this one sublime faith and worship?’ If it be urged that the thing was tested, to what does it amount? ‘They were enemies and persecutors.”’
TIMES AND SEASONS.
CITY OF ,
THURSDAY, SEPT. 1, 1842.
The third editorial passage, titled “Persecution of the Prophets,” contextualized the opposition JS and other members had experienced as a continuation of the persecution of biblical prophets. It presented such opposition as evidence that the Latter-day Saints were chosen by God to build up his church in the last days. This editorial was prompted by officials’ ongoing attempts to extradite JS to stand trial for being an accessory before the fact to the attempted assassination of former governor . While many of the references to persecution of biblical prophets appear to come from the Old Testament, nearly all of the references to the deaths of New Testament apostles seemingly originate from a non-biblical source. The source for these accounts appears to be an article that appeared in several other American newspapers around this time titled “Fate of the Apostles,” which the Times and Seasons either quoted or closely paraphrased throughout this editorial.
PERSECUTION OF THE PROPHETS.
Since an attempt has been made by to arrest, or rather kidnap Joseph Smith, the prophet, we have heard many curious surmises; and lest some, who ought to know better, should cheat themselves into perdition, we have thought it would be no more than righteous to lay the matter before our readers in its true light. There is a strange notion afloat among the saints and sinners relative to the purity of the prophets. Some suppose, and some believe that the prophets were perfect and holy—and every body knew them to be so, and venerated them as the Lord’s annointed; but let us examine the scriptures and learn how the prophets sent at various times by the Lord, were treated by the saints and the wicked world. As to those who professed to have the knowledge of God, and be governed by revelation, we can not give a better sample than one that fell from the mouth of Jesus to the Jews—as follows:— Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the Temple and the altar.
Abel was slain for his righteousness, and how many more up to the flood is not of much consequence to us now. But if we believe in present revelation, as published in the Times and Seasons last spring, Abraham, the prophet of the Lord, was laid upon the iron bedstead for slaughter; and the book of Jasher, which has not been disproved as a bad author, says he was cast into the fire of the Chaldees. Moses, the man of God, who killed an Egyptian persecutor of the children of Israel, was driven from his country and kindred. Elijah had to flee his country, for they sought his life,—and he was fed by ravens. Daniel was cast into a den of lions: Micah was fed on the bread of affliction; and Jeremiah was cast into the filthy hole under the Temple; and did these afflictions come upon these prophets of the Lord on account of transgression? No! It was the iron hand of persecution—like the chains of ! And mark—when these old prophets suffered, the vengeance of God, in due time, followed and left the wicked opposers of the Lord’s annointed like Sodom and Gomorrah; like the Egyptians; like Jezebel, who was eaten by dogs; and like all Israel, which were led away captive, till the Lord had spent his fury upon them—even to this day.
Let us come into new Testament times—so many are ever praising the Lord and his apostles. We will commence with John the Baptist. When Herod’s edict went forth to destroy the young children, John was about six months older than Jesus, and came under this hellish edict, and Zachariah caused his mother to take him into the mountains, where he was raised on locusts and wild honey. When his father refused to discover his hiding place, and being the officiating high priest at the Temple that year, was slain by Herod’s order, between the porch and the altar, as Jesus said. John’s head was taken to Herod, the son of this infant murderer, in a charger—notwithstanding there was never a greater prophet born of a woman than him!
Jesus, the son of God was crucified with his hands and feet nailed to the wood!
Stephen was stoned to death. Mark, one of the twelve, was dragged to death in the streets of Alexandria, in Egypt. Luke, also one of the twelve, was hanged on an olive tree in Greece. Peter, who held the keys of the kingdom, was crucified with his head downwards, at Rome. James the greater was beheaded at Jerusalem; James the less, was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple, and beat to death with a fuller’s club. Philip, one of the twelve, was hanged against a pillar in Phrygia. Bartholomew, one of the twelve, was skinned alive.— Andrew, one of the twelve, was bound to the cross, and preached until he died. Thomas, one of the twelve, was run through with a lance, on the coast of Coromandel, in the East Indies. Jude, one of the twelve, was shot to [p. 902]
A November 1840 issue of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette attributed the article to the Frederick Visitor, a temperance newspaper in Frederick, Maryland. All the details in this editorial match the earlier article with the exception of the description of Matthew and John, who the editors of the Times and Seasons claim were not martyred. (“Fate of the Apostles,” Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 11 Nov. 1840, .)
The book of Jasher is only mentioned in the Bible. In 1840 Mordecai Noah, a famous lay Jewish leader in New York, published a book he claimed to be the book of Jasher. According to Noah, the content of his publication was translated from a text originally printed in Venice in 1613 that claimed to be a publication of a manuscript discovered in Jerusalem in AD 70. Noah speculated that the medieval Italian publication had printed a text preserved over the centuries by Jews in Spain. (See 2 Samuel 1:18; Sefer ha-yashar, or, The Book of Jasher, v; and Brandt, “History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher,” 7–8, 14–15, 122–131.)
Sefer ha-yashar, or, The Book of Jasher; Referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel. New York: M. M. Noah and A. S. Gould, 1840.
Brandt, Edward J. “The History, Content, and Latter-day Saint Use of the Book of Jasher.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1976.
From this description of Mark’s death through the statement that John and perhaps Matthew escaped martyrdom, the content was either copied or closely paraphrased from the article “Fate of the Apostles.” The description of Matthew and John, however, is different, as the editors of the Times and Seasons suggest they were not martyred. (“Fate of the Apostles,” Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 11 Nov. 1840, .)