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.
posed to an attack, the wall is thickest, and well mounted with cannon; it is from twelve to thirty feet in height. The is situated at the south-eastern extremity of an inclined plane, with the valley of Kedron on the east, and the vallies of Hinnom and Gihon on the south and west, all converging to a point in the valley of Jehosaphat, south-east of the city: from the eastern gate of the to the top of Mount Olivet, as you pass through the valley of Kedron, is just about one English mile. On the top of this mount you have a fair view of the Dead Sea and river Jordan, which are about fifteen miles in the distance. As I stood upon this almost sacred spot and gazed upon the surrounding scenery, and contemplated the history of the past in connection with the prophetic future, I was lost in wonder and admiration, and felt almost ready to ask myself—Is it a reality that I am here gazing upon this scene of wonders? or am I carried away in the fanciful reveries of a night vision? Is that city which I now look down upon really , whose sins and iniquity swelled the Saviour’s heart with grief, and drew so many tears from his pitying eye? Is that small enclosure in the valley of Kedron, where the boughs of those lonely olives are waving their green foliage so gracefully in the soft and gentle breeze, really the garden of Gethsemane, where powers infernal poured the flood of hell’s dark gloom around the princely head of the immortal Redeemer? Oh, yes! The fact that I entered the garden and plucked a branch from an olive, and now have that branch to look upon, demonstrates that all was real. There, there is the place where the Son of the Virgin bore our sins and carried our sorrows—there the angels gazed and shuddered at the sight, waiting for the order to fly to his rescue; but no such order was given. The decree had passed in heaven, and could not be revoked, that he must suffer, that he must bleed, and that he must die. What bosom so cold, what feelings so languid, or what heart so unmoved that can withold the humble tribute of a tear over this forlorn condition of the Man of sorrows?
From this place I went to the tombs of the prophets in the valley of Jehosaphat, and on my way around the , I entered the pool of Siloam and freely washed in its soft and healing fountain. I found plenty of water there for baptizing, besides a surplus quantity sent off in a limpid stream as a grateful tribute to the thirsty plants of the gardens in the valley. The pool of Bethsada, which had five porches, yet remains in the , but in a dilapidated state, there being plenty of water to meet the demands of the of a better quality, and more convenient—this vast reservoir is consequently neglected. This pool was unquestionably as free and accessible to all the people of as the Thames is to the Cockneys, or the to the people of ; and from its vast dimensions, it would certainly contain water enough to immerse all in, in a day: so the argument against immersion, on the ground that there was not water enough in to immerse three thousand persons in, in one day, is founded in an over anxiety to establish the traditions of men to the subversion of a gospel ordinance; and it will be borne in mind also, that the day of Pentecost was in the month of May, just at the close of the rainy season, when all the pools and fountains in and about the were flush with water.
What were anciently called Mount Zion and Mount Calvary, are both within the present walls of the . We should not call them mountains in , or hardly hills; but gentle elevations or rises of land. The area of what was called Mount Zion, I should not think contained more than one acre of ground; at least as I stood upon it and contemplaed what the prophets had said of in the last days, and what should be done in her, I could no more bring my mind to believe that the magnet of truth in them which guided their words, pointed to this place, any more than I could believe that a camel can go through the eye of a needle, or a rich man enter into the kingdom of God. But on the land of Joseph, far in the west, where the spread eagle of floats in the breeze and shadows the land; where those broad rivers and streams roll the waters of the western world to the fathomless abyss of the ocean; where those wide-spreading prairies (fields of the wood) and extensive forests adorn the land with such an agreeable variety, shall Zion rear her stately temples and stretch forth the curtains of her habitation. The record of Mormon chimes in so beautifully with the scriptures to estab[lish] [p. 851]