Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 15 July 1842, vol. 3, no. 18, pp. 847–862; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 15 July 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the tenth published under JS’s editorship. This issue featured correspondence from missionaries and various articles about the and the wider world. The contents covered a wide range of topics and included a letter from in Europe to his fellow members of the , an installment of the serialized “History of Joseph Smith,” an article about a destructive fire in , minutes from a held by missionaries in Utica, New York, and an article reprinted from the Boston Investigator reporting on a debate between Dr. George Montgomery West and in .
In addition to this, content created by the editorial staff for the issue included two articles, as well as a notice from the and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The first editorial article advocated theocracy as the ideal form of government, while the second—written after a lengthy excerpt from Josiah Priest’s book American Antiquities—used excerpts from the Book of Mormon to expand on Priest’s argument about an ancient people who had lived on the American continent. Although these editorials were each signed “Ed.,” for “Editor,” JS does not appear to have authored them, and his involvement in writing them is unclear. As the acknowledged editor of the paper, however, he would have taken responsibility for the editorial statements and presumably approved the content; such content is therefore featured here.
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.
late the affairs of this world, and promote peace and happiness among the human family.
The Lord has at various times commenced this kind of government, and tendered his services to the human family. He selected Enoch, whom he directed, and gave his law unto, and to the people who were with him; and when the world in general would not obey the commands of God, after walking with God, he translated Enoch and his church, and the or government of heaven, was taken away.
Abraham was guided in all his family affairs by the Lord; was told where to go, and when to stop; was conversed with by angels, and by the Lord; and prospered exceedingly in all that he put his hand unto; it was because he and his family obeyed the counsel of the Lord.— When Egypt was under the superintendence of Joseph, it prospered, because he was taught of God; when they oppressed the Israelites destruction came upon them. When the children of Israel were chosen with Moses at their head, they were to be a peculiar people, among whom God should place his name: their motto was “The Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our king, and he shall reign over us.” While in this state they might truly say, “happy is that people whose God is the Lord.” Their government was a theocracy; they had God to make their laws, and men chosen by him to administer them; he was their God, and they were his people. Moses received the word of the Lord from God himself; h[e] was the mouth of God to Aaron, and Aaron taught the people in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs; they were both one; there was no distinction; so will it be when the purposes of God shall be accomplished; when “the Lord shall be king over the whole earth” and “Jerusalem his throne.” “The law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”
This is the only thing that can bring about the “restitution of all things, spoken of by a[l]l the holy prophets since the world was”—“the dispensation of the fulness of times, when GOD shall gather together all things in one.” Other attemp[t]s to promote universal peace and happiness in the human family have proven abortive; every effort has failed; every plan and d[e]sign has fallen to the ground; it needs the wisdom of God, the intelligence of God, and the power of God to accomplish this. The world has had a fair trial for six thousand years; the Lord will try the seven[t]h thousand himself; “he whose right it is will possess the kingdom, and reign until he has put all things under his feet;” iniquity will hide its hoary head, Satan will be bound, and the works of darkness destroyed; righteousness will be put to the line, and judgment to the plummet, and “he that fears the Lord will alone be exalted in that day.” To bring about this state of things there must of necessity be great confusion among the nations of the earth; “distress of nations with perplexity.”— Am I asked what is the cause of the present distress? I would answer: “Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it.” The earth is groaning under corruption, oppression, tyranny, and bloodshed; and God is coming out of his hiding place, as he said that he would do, to vex the nations of the earth. Daniel, in his vision, saw convulsion upon convulsion; he “saw till thrones were cast down, and the ancient of days did sit; and one was brought before him like unto the Son of man; and all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, did serve and obey him.” It is for us to be righteous that we may be wise and understand, for “none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” As a , and a people it behoves us to be wise, and to seek to know the will of God, and then be willing to do it; for “blessed is he that heareth the word of the Lord and keepeth it,” says the scriptures. “Watch and pray always,” says our Savior, “that ye may be accounted worthy to escape the things that are coming on the earth, and to stand before the Son of man.” If Enoch, Abraham, Moses, the children of Israel, and all God’s people were saved by keeping the commandments of God, we, if saved at all, shall be saved upon the same principle. As God governed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as families, and the children of Israel as a nation, so we, as a church, must be under his guidance if we are prospered, preserved, and sustained. Our only confidence can be in God; our only wisdom obtained from him; and he alone must be our protector and safeguard, spiritually and temporally, or we fall.
We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying his commands, although we never violated any human law, or transgressed any human precept: yet we have treated lightly his commands, and departed from his ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt his arm, and kissed the rod: let us we [be] wise in time to come, and ever remember that “to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken than the fat of rams.” The Lord has told us to build the , and the , and that command is as binding upon us as any other; and that man who engages not in these things is as much a transgressor as though he broke any other command—he is not [p. 857]