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.
edge of copper was known to the people of the plains of Shinar, for Noah must have communicated it, as he lived an hundred and fifty years among them after the flood; also, copper was known to the antediluvians. Copper was also known to the authors of the western monuments. Iron was known to the antediluvians; it was also known to the ancients of the west; however, it is evident that very little iron was among them, as very few instances of its discovery in their works have occurred; and for this very reason we draw a conclusion that they came to this country very soon after the dispersion, and brought with them such few articles of iron as have been found in their works in an oxydized state.
Copper ore is very abundant in many places of the west; and therefore, as they had a knowledge of it, when they first came here they knew how to work it, and form it into tools and ornaments. This is the reason why so many articles of this metal are found in their works; and even if they had a knowledge of iron ore, and knew how to work it, all articles made of it must have become oxydized as appears from what few specimens have been found, while those of copper are more imperishable. Gold ornaments are said to have been found in several tumuli. Silver very well plated on copper, has been found in several mounds, besides those at Circleville and Marietta. An ornament of copper was found in a stone mound near Chilicothe; it was a bracelet for the ancle or wrist.
The ancients of Asia, immediately after the dispersion, were acquainted with ornaments made of the various metals; for the family of Terah, who was the father of Abraham and Nahor, we find these ornaments in use for the beautifying of females. See the servant of Abraham, at the well of Bethuel in the country of “Ur of the Chaldeans,” or Mesopotamia, which is not very far from the place where Babel stood—putting a jewell of gold upon the face or forehead of Rebecca, weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists, or arms. Bracelets for the same use have been found in the west; all of which circumstances go to establish the acquaintance of those who made those ornaments of silver and copper found in the mounds of the west, equal with those of Ur in Chaldea. The families of Peleg, Reu, Serug, and Nahor, who were the immediate progenitors of Abraham, lived at an era but little after the flood; and yet we find them in the possession of ornaments of this kind; from which we conclude a knowledge both of the metals, and how to make ornaments, as above described, was brought by Noah and his family from beyond the flood.
On the shores of the , some miles below Lake Pepin, on a fine plain, exists an artificial elevation of about four feet high, extending a full mile, in somewhat of a circular form. It is sufficiently capacious to have covered 5000 men. Every angle of the breast work is yet traceable, though much defaced by time. Here, it is likely, conflicting realms as great as those of the ancient Greeks and Persians, decided the fate of ambitious Monarchs, of the Chinese, Mongol descent.
Weapons of brass have been found in many parts of , as in the , Florida, &c., with curiously sculptured stones, all of which go to prove that this country was once peopled with civilized, industrious nations,—now traversed the greater part by savage hunters.— Priests American Antiquities.
The Book of Mormon speaks of ores, swords, cities, armies, &c., and we extract the following:—
And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass, and the horse, and the goat, and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded me, wherefore I did make plates [o]f ore, that I might engraven upon them the record of my people. * * *
And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land. And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites, should come upon us and destroy us: for I knew their hatred towards me and my children, and those who were called my people. And I did teach my people to build buildings; and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of [p. 859]