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.
wise Disposer of events could have rendered supportable. Thus has it come to our turn, like the Jamaicians, to humble ourselves before Almighty God, and in the most devout and solemn manner to return thanks for his great mercy vouchsafed us in preserving us from the ruin and devastation with which it has been His divine will recently to visit the Haytiens. It is with a deep sense of gratitude to the giver of all good gifts, that we say we are happy to report that no life has been lost on this most alarming occasion. The prinicipal injury that has been occasioned by this terrific occurrence is to be seen at the Jail and House of correction, the walls of which have been severely rent. To this may be added the fall of a pair of stairs, and the partial overthrow of the ruins of the calamitous fire of April, last year. How grateful ought we to be for that portion of Divine mercy by which our lives have been spared!
The final editorial selection in the issue was a brief note responding to an account of a clergyman who visited JS in . This account was printed in the , Massachusetts, Courier and reprinted in this issue of the Times and Seasons. Although neither the Lowell Courier account nor the response in the Times and Seasons identified the clergyman, Unitarian minister George Moore recorded the encounter in his journal. According to Moore, who was living in , Illinois, he visited with JS for about ten minutes on 3 June 1842. Their conversation apparently revolved around the origins of the Book of Mormon and the nature of the Godhead. In his account, Moore claimed that JS “always makes it a point not to agree with any one in regard to his religious opinions, and adapts himself to the person with whom he happens to be talking, for the time being.”
A Visit To Joe Smith.—We present the following extract from a letter received some days ago, from a clergyman now in :—Exchange Paper.
“I spent the night in the of the ‘Latter-Day Saints.’ In the morning I visited the lions of the place.
contains a population variously estimated at from five to ten thousand. Probably there are six or seven thousand people there. It is a beautiful location. The is laid out in acre lots, each lot having a house, generally of one story; it extends from 3 to 4 miles along the river, and runs back about the same distance, and this space is all built on. I called to see the prophet, and had a short but pleasant interview with him. I asked him about the which he professes to have dug up and translated into the Book of Mormon. He said: ‘Those plates are not now in this country; they were exhibited to a few at first, for the sake of obtaining their testimony—no others have ever seen them, and they will never be exhibited again.’ He next asked me—
‘What is the fundamental doctrine of your faith?’ ‘The unity of God—one God in one person.’ ‘We don’t agree with you. We believe in three Gods. There are three personages in Heaven—all equal in power and glory, but they are not one God.’ I suppose, from what I heard, that Smith makes it a point not to agree with any one in regard to his religious opinions, and adapts himself to the person with whom he happens to be talking for the time being.”
☞Tolerable fair:—Though the idea that Joseph Smith adapts his conversation to the company, is an error. Joseph Smith opposes vice and error, and supports his positions from revelation: no odds whether there be two, three, or “Gods many.” The Father, and the Son are persons of Tabernacle; and the Holy Ghost a spirit, besides the sons of God: for the scriptures say: “Ye are Gods.”
Dear Brother:—Having commenced our mission to the east, yesterday we held our first at Br. ’s; we had a good time—the brethren here are in good spirits. We ordained 19 and 12. We expect next Saturday and Sunday to hold a two days meeting in , being the 17, 18th inst., on the 24, 25th at Payson, the 1, 2d of Oct. at . the 8, 9th of Oct. at Pittsfield, the 15, 16th Oct. at Apple Creek in Green co. From thence we shall proceed to , and .
If you please notice the above in your paper for the benefit of those friends scattered abroad.
Yours in the
, Sept. 12, 1842.
To those who covenant to keep the commandments of the Lord, we recommend a perusal of the 35th chapter of Jeremiah.
BOOKS OF MORMON. &C.
JUST published and for sale, Books of Mormon, and Hymn Books, together with some other publications in defence of the faith of the saints.
. Aug. 20, 1842
The Times and Seasons,
Is edited, printed and published about the first and fifteenth of every month, on the corner of Water and Bain Streets, , Hancock County, Illinois, by
TERMS.—Two Dollars per annum, payable in all cases in advance. Any person procuring five new subscribers, and forwarding us Ten Dollars current money, shall receive one volume gratis. All letters must be addressed to Joseph Smith, publisher, post paid, or they will not receive attention. [p. 926]