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 you shall search out the twelve who shall have the desires of which I have spoken; and by their desires and their works, you shall know them: and when you have found them you shall show these things unto them. And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name: and you must preach unto the world, saying, you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ: for all men must repent and be baptized; and not only men, but women and children, who have arriven to the years of accountability.
And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my commandments in all things: and by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance; and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father: wherefore the blessings which I give unto you, are above all things. And after you have received this, if you keep not my commandments, you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father. Behold I Jesus Cerist, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit, have spoken it. Amen.
ASCENT OF MOUNT SINAI.
“In the afternoon of March 23d, they commenced the slow and toilsome ascent along the narrow defile, between blackened, shattered, cliffs of granite, some eight hundred feet high, and not more than two hundred and fifty yards apart, which seemed ready at any moment to fall upon their heads. The whole pass was filled with large stones and rocks, the debris of those cliffs. As they advanced the sand was occasionally moist, and on digging into it with the hand, the whole was soon filled with fine sweet water.
At half past three o’clock they reached the top of the defile, from which the Convent was two hours distant. The interior and loftier peaks of the great circle of Sinai soon began to open upon them,—black, rugged, and desolate summits; and as they advanced, the dark and frowning front of Sinai itself (The Horeb of the Monks) began to appear. They were still gradually ascending, and the valley was gradually opening; but as yet all was a naked desert. Afterwards, a few shrubs were sprinkled round, and a small encampment of black tents was seen on their right, with camels and goats browsing. The scenery was uncommonly wild and desolate, strikingly resembling the mountains around the Merde Glace, in Switzerland.
As they advanced, the valley still opened wider and wider, with a gentle ascent, and became full of shrubs and tufts of herbs, shut in on each side by lofty granite ridges, with rugged shattered peaks a thousand feet high, while the face of Horeb rose directly before them, when they involuntarily exclaimed, ‘Here is room enough for a large encampment.’ Reaching the top of the ascent, a fine broad plain lay before them, sloping down gently towards the south-southeast, enclosed by rugged and venerable mountains of dark granite, stern, naked, splintered peaks and ridges of indescribable grandeur; and terminated at the distance of more than a mile, by the bold and awful front of Horeb, rising perpendicularly in frowning majesty, from twelve to fifteen hundred feet in height. It was a scene of solemn grandeur, wholly unexpected, and of overwhelming interest. On the left of Horeb, a deep and narrow valley runs up South-Southeast, between lofty walls of rocks, as if in continuation of the southeast corner of the plain. In this valley, at the distance of near a mile from the plain, stands the convent. The deep verdure of its fruit trees and cypresses is seen as the traveller approaches, an oasis of beauty amid scenes of the sternest desolation. The whole plain is called Wady er-Rahah; and the valley of the convent is known to the Arabs as Wady Shu’ eib, that is, the ‘Vale of Jethro.’
Still advancing, the front of Horeb rose like a wall before the travellers. One can approach quite to the foot and touch the mount. As they crossed the plain, their feelings were deeply affected, finding here, so unexpectedly, a spot perfectly adapted to the Scriptural account of the giving of the Law. No one has hitherto described this plain, nor even mentioned it, except in a slight and general manner; probably because most travellers have reached the convent by a different route, without passing over it. Another reason may be the fact, that neither the highest point of Sinai, (now called Jebet Musa,) nor the loftiest summit of St. Catharine, is visible from any part of it. The breadth of the plain, at a particular point, was [p. 917]