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.
masses and hanging over our devoted , solemn, dark and terrible.
We do not contend that we have the least right, under the constitution and laws of the , to expel them by force. But we would indeed be blind, if we did not foresee that the first blow, that is struck at this moment of deep excitement, must and will speedily involve every individual in a war, bearing ruin, woe, and desolation in its course. It matters but little how, where, or by whom the war may begin, when the work of destruction commences, we must all be borne onward by the storm, or crushed beneath its fury. In a civil war when our home is the theatre, on which it is fought, there can be no neutrals; let our opinions be what they may, we must fight in self-defence.
To save this horrible bloodshed and show our respect for the constitution and laws of our beloved , we removed by compromise, and soon after had the joy and honor to occupy a new , which was made expressly for our people, and called . Here we began to spread and beautify the country more in two years than the whole State of had done in ten, notwithstanding the expense of our removal could not have been less than twenty five thousand dollars. But alas, as we began to enjoy our rights in common with other citizens, that same wild, ferocious, jealous disposition which had dictated, and consummated our expulsion from the counties of and , agreeably to the before quoted edicts of blind infatuation, now assumed the character of official dignity and “authority,” and after struggling some months, against such fearful odds, the whole of twelve to fifteen thousand souls, yielded to the third specimen of mobocracy, viz:—
Head Quarters of Militia, City of , Oct. 27th 1838.
Sir,—Since the order of the morning to you, directing you to come with four hundred mounted men, to be raised within your division, I have received, by , Esq. and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which changes entirely the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an avowed defiance of the Laws, and of having made war upon the people of this . Your orders are therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach , in Ray county, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated, or driven from the , if necessary for the public peace.
Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do do so, to any extent you may deem necessary. I have just issued orders to Major General Wollock [David Willock] of Marion county, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of and there to unite with of —who has been ordered with five hundred men, to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express. You can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore, of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of in their houses, you will proceed immediately to and there operate against the Mormons. , of , has been ordered to have four hundred of his Brigade in readiness to join you at . The whole force will be placed under your command.
Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
Let it be remembered that this self same , is now swearing out affidavits constantly for the purpose of transporting Joseph Smith to , to obtain justice!— Friends of humanity, if there are any, what think ye, can do unto others as she would that others should do unto her? Is she justified, as a member of our great Republican family, professing to be governed by constitutional privileges, and equal laws, while as one man, her citizens rise up and put at defiance the civil law, acknowledged as the only rule of right between man and man, for the damning and forever disgracing mob laws, by which she has disfranchised and expelled from her blood stained soil, the ? The blood of our fathers; the blood of our martyrs who have stained her soil; the voice of suffering humanity; the whispering of honest consciences: and the spirits waiting for redemption, aside from the heavenly hosts, exclaim, NO! Every honest patriot says no!— And sooner or later, in awful judgment, God, in his anger, will thunder—No! Then, and not till then will weak humanity and weak authirity learn and know how much better it is to follow after righteousness, than to sport with innocence! Then will wicked men, bearing rule, ascertain that vengeance belongs to the Lord and he will repay! and that calamity shall cover the mocker.
The fourth editorial selection in this issue, titled “Facts Are Stubborn Things,” preceded another excerpt from John Lloyd Stephens’s Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan. This passage described traditions held by some of the indigenous peoples of Central America, most prominently the Toltecs, and stated that they were descendants of the House of Israel. The Times and Seasons editors offered this excerpt as evidence of the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon.
“FACTS ARE STUBBORN THINGS.”
From an extract from “Stephens’ Incidents of Travel in Central America,” it will be seen that the proof of the Nephites and Lamanites [p. 921]
According to contemporary letters and the estimates of historians, the total number of Saints expelled from Missouri was likely between eight and ten thousand. (Elias Smith, Far West, MO, to Ira Smith, East Stockholm, NY, 11 Mar. 1839, Elias Smith, Papers, CHL; Heber C. Kimball, Far West, MO, to Joseph Fielding, Preston, England, 12 Mar. 1839, typescript, Heber C. Kimball Family Organization, Compilation of Heber C. Kimball Correspondence, 1983, CHL; LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, 35–36; Leonard, Nauvoo, 31, 671n33.)
Smith, Elias. Correspondence, 1834–1839. In Elias Smith, Papers, 1834–1846. CHL.
Heber C. Kimball Family Organization. Compilation of Heber C. Kimball Correspondence, 1983. Unpublished typescript. CHL.
LeSueur, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987.
Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.
Rees was an attorney who, with Alexander Doniphan, represented the Saints during their difficulties in Jackson County in 1833. (William T. Wood et al., Independence, MO, to William W. Phelps et al., 28 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; Amos Rees and Alexander Doniphan to Edward Partridge, Agreement, 28 [Nov.] 1838, Hiram Kimball, Collection, CHL.)
Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.
Exaggerated reports of Latter-day Saint militiamen burning homes and confiscating property of men suspected to be vigilantes antagonistic toward church members reached Boggs in late October 1838. (Wiley Williams and Amos Rees, Daviess Co., MO, to John B. Clark, 25 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City; “Part 3: 4 November 1838–16 April 1839.”)
Willock commanded the fourteenth division of the Missouri state militia. (B. M. Lisle, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, 26 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City; JS History, vol. B-1, 817.)
The editors of the Times and Seasons likely drew the text of Boggs’s order from the version published in an 1841 book on the conflicts in Missouri during the 1830s. (Document Containing the Correspondence, 61; see also Lilburn W. Boggs, Jefferson City, MO, to John B. Clark, Fayette, MO, 27 Oct. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City.)
Document Containing the Correspondence, Orders, &c., in Relation to the Disturbances with the Mormons; and the Evidence Given before the Hon. Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, at the Court-House in Richmond, in a Criminal Court of Inquiry, Begun November 12, 1838, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and Others, for High Treason and Other Crimes against the State. Fayette, MO: Boon’s Lick Democrat, 1841.