Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 15 Sept. 1842, vol. 3, no. 22, pp. 911–926; 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 15 September 1842 issue, the twenty-second issue in the third volume, of the Times and Seasons, a newspaper published in , Illinois. He was assisted in his editorial responsibilities by and . Together, these three men produced the semimonthly newspaper, including composing its editorial material. While the extent to which JS was involved in the creation and publication of this issue is unclear, as the newspaper’s editor he was responsible for its content.
The 15 September 1842 issue contained both non-editorial and editorial material. Non-editorial content in the issue included an installment of the “History of Joseph Smith,” a description of Mount Sinai from an English clergyman, an extract of a letter from on the desire of many converts in to immigrate to , and a letter from the “to all the Saints in Nauvoo.” In addition, the issue contained a notice that a concordance of scripture and writings about the church’s ecclesiastical history published by in was available; a reprinting of a letter from church member William Rowley reporting on his missionary efforts in , England; a reprinting of an article in the Antigua Herald on an earthquake on the Caribbean island of Antigua; a brief letter to the editor from and ; and a notice that copies of hymnbooks and of the Book of Mormon were available for purchase.
The issue’s editorial content, featured here with introductions to each passage of text for which JS was ultimately responsible, included commentary on the Book of Mormon in light of recent archaeological discoveries, reflections on the risks of philosophizing about religious matters, a condemnation of the way government officials condoned the expulsion of church members from in 1838, and a report of a recent discourse delivered by to church members in . The issue also included editorials encouraging church members living outside the city to send donations to facilitate the construction of the Nauvoo temple, urging traveling elders to arrange for the free delivery of the Times and Seasons and the Wasp through the postal service, and insisting that JS was consistent in condemning vice and promoting virtue.
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.
that they may be put in the archives of my Holy , to be held in remembrance from generation to generation, saith the Lord of Hosts.
I will say to all the saints, that I desired with exceeding great desire, to have addressed them from the , on the subject of for the dead, on the following sabbath. But inasmuch as it is out my power to do so, I will write the word of the Lord from time to time, on that subject, and send it you by mail, as well as many others things.
I now close my letter for the present, for the want of more time: for the enemy is on the alert, and as the Savior said, the prince of this world cometh, but he hath nothing in me.
Behold my prayer to God is, that you all may be saved. And I subscribe myself your servant in the Lord, prophet and seer of the .
Another editorial selection in this issue, titled “Mob Law,” criticized officials for condoning mob violence against members in Missouri during the 1830s and for ultimately ordering the removal of the Saints from the state. Intermingled with the commentary about the state-sanctioned violence are transcripts of three documents. The first is an 1833 statement adopted by citizens of , Missouri, justifying their plan to force church members out of the county. The second is a selection from an 1836 explanation offered by residents of , Missouri, for their demand that church members leave that county as well. The third document is an 1838 letter from Missouri governor to state militia general declaring the Latter-day Saints enemies of the state and ordering him to “operate against the Mormons,” who were to “be exterminated, or driven from the State, if necessary for the public peace.”
In order to give the community a fair understanding of the treatment which the , has received from the government where it has been located, we shall revert to scenes gone by, and documents already published:—And in the first place, in union with the Declaration of Independence, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;” and that the constitution of the and of the several states, save Louisiana, have ample provisions made for the enjoyment of religious liberty.
It can not have been forgotten so soon, that oppression, and a want of the liberty of conscience, were among the first agrievances that caused our government to usher into existence; nor should it be less a matter of surprise, that the sons of the fathers of our freedom, should have become so soon tainted with that tyranny, cruelty, oppression, and inhumanity which has overwhelmed and ruined kingdom after kingdom, and nation after nation—but so it is—and in 1838, without cause, the inhabitants of , Missouri, signed the first specimen of mob law, from which we make the following extracts:—
We, the undersigned. citizens of , believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people, that have settled and are still settling in our , styling themselves Mormons: and intending as we do to rid our society, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must: and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing by the said religious sect; deem it expedient and of the highest importance, to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose; a purpose which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature as by the law of self-preservation.
They openly blas[p]heme the most High God and cast contempt upon His Holy Religion, by pretending to receive Revelations direct from Heaven—by pretending to speak in unknown tongues by direct inspiration.
We therefore agree, that after timely warning, and upon receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace as they found us, we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them. And to that end, we severally pledge to each other, our lives, our bodily powers, fortunes, and sacred honors!
According to the above combination the church was driven from , and , then acting as Lieutenant Governor, and living in this said , sanctioned this first regular mob edict, that ever disgraced the asylum of liberty: kept himself in with both parties, and performed a solemn nothing. After the trial of , for driving us off and taking away our arms, he gave an order for our arms to be returned, but never enforced it, and we never got them. Our losses, for lands, wheat fields, about two hundred houses burnt to the ground, cattle, farming utensils, and plunder of all descriptions, could not be less than one hundred thousand dollars! which have never been remunerated! Our armistice from the persecution and tribulation, was performed in the surrounding counties, but mainly in , where, to a certain extent, we shared and reciprocated hospitality enough to live, till another ex[c]itement caused another move. The arguments used against us this time, were as follows:—
It is apparent to every reflecting mind, that a crisis has arrived in this , that requires the deep, cool, dispassionate consideration, and immediate action of every lover of peace, harmony and good order. We cannot conceal from ourselves the fact, that at this moment the clouds of civil war are rolling up their fearful [p. 920]
The state constitution of Louisiana, adopted in 1812, did not explicitly address the issue of religious pluralism. Religion is mentioned only three times in that document. The first instance prohibits clergymen from serving as members of the state legislature. The second prohibits clergymen from serving as governor. The third provides an exemption from militia service for men who belong to religious societies whose tenets forbid them to carry arms. (Louisiana Constitution of 1812, art. 2, sec. 22; art. 3, secs. 6, 22.)
In response to church members’ petition to Dunklin to regain their land and protect their rights in Jackson County, the governor advised church leaders to bring their case to the courts of Missouri. Church leaders believed that Dunklin had expressed a willingness to call out the state militia in June 1834 in order to escort the Saints back to Jackson County and were dismayed when he did not do so. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 19 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833.)
Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.