Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 2 May 1842, vol. 3, no. 13, pp. 767–782; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 2 May 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, a periodical published in , Illinois, was the thirteenth number in its third volume.JS purchased the and the newspaper from in February 1842 and was identified as its editor from 15 February to 15 October 1842. Although JS was named as the editor in the 15 February issue, he did not consider himself the editor of the newspaper until the 1 March 1842 issue. , , and others helped JS produce the Times and Seasons from March through October 1842, but JS was directly responsible for the content of the newspaper.
The fifth issue that JS oversaw as editor was dated 2 May 1842 and contained a letter to the Saints from the , urging them to fund the construction of the ; letters from missionaries and church members in the eastern and Europe; an extract of the “History of Joseph Smith,” which was printed serially in the newspaper; and reprinted articles from several other newspapers, including the church newspaper in , the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. In addition to this material, the issue also contained editorial content, meaning content created by JS as the editor or his editorial staff for the paper. This content in the 2 May issue included commentaries on articles about mummies, an editorial on the Nauvoo temple, news from proselytizing , commentary on an article about Judaism, and notices concerning temple donations and a position with the printing office staff. Selected editorial content from the 2 May issue is featured here, with individual introductions for each passage.
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.
got the characters which I had drawn off the plates and started with them to the city of . For what took place relative to him and the characters, I refer to his own account of the circumstances as he related them to me after his return which was as follows.
“I went to the city of and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof to , a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments;— stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldeac, Assyriac, and Arabac, and he said that they were the true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.
He then said to me, let me see that certificate, I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them, he replied ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to who sanctioned what had said respecting both the characters and the translation.”
The first editorial item consists of commentary written in response to three articles reprinted from the New York Herald, which were written by the paper’s editor, . In the first article, “The Mormons—A Leaf from Joe Smith,” Bennett referenced a portion of the Book of Abraham, first printed in the 1 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, and offered an alternate origin for the papyri from which the book had been presumably taken. He stated mockingly that rather than coming from the catacombs of Egypt as JS claimed, the papyri presumably had been found by an individual he identified as “Joseph Smith, the grandfather” and that it was “near one of the propylons of Medinet Abu, in the ‘City of the Sun,’ in upper Egypt,” where antiquarians such as Jean-François Champollion and Ippolito Rosselini had identified ruins. In the second article, Bennett commented on a second portion of the Book of Abraham and “A Fac-simile from the Book of Abraham, No. 2,” both of which had been printed in the 15 March 1842 Times and Seasons. Bennett described the facsimile as “a curious map of the Mormon Solar System.” The third article from the Herald focused on British Latter-day Saints traveling to via . Bennett depicted these and other converts as additions to JS’s “religious empire.”
The editorial response to these articles focused on ’s claims about the Book of Abraham. After a brief comment dismissing Bennett’s presumptions, the editorial staff summarized information about the Book of Abraham from a letter had written to William Frye in December 1835 and published in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, the church’s newspaper in , Ohio. Cowdery’s letter described the excavation and acquisition of the Egyptian mummies and papyri and reproduced a certificate of authenticity signed by seven doctors. had used the same certificate in promoting exhibitions of the mummies before he sold four of the mummies and the papyri to JS and two other individuals in Kirtland. The final portion of this Times and Seasons editorial commentary criticized several newspapers and their editors for misrepresenting and slandering JS and the church; the editorial countered a recent “tirade about Morminism” written by Origen Bacheler and published in the Baptist Advocate.
From the Weekly Herald.
THE MORMONS—A LEAF FROM JOE SMITH.
We give in this day’s paper, a very curious chapter from the “Book of Abraham,” which we find published in the last number of a weekly journal, called the “Times and Seasons,” conducted by Joseph Smith the great Mormon Prophet, in the city of , Hancock county, Illinois.
The prophet says that it was found in the catacombs of Egypt, but he is mistaken in this idea. The article was discovered, we presume by Joseph Smith, the grandfather, near one of the propylons of Medinet Abu, in the “City of the Sun,” in upper Egypt—the same city which Homer says had one hundred gates. Champollion, Young, Rosselini, and various other antiquarians give notices of the magnificient ruins, in red granite, that are strewn over the banks of the Nile. Be all this as it may, the Prophet of has given the chapter, and it is set down as a revelation among the Mormons.
This Joe Smith is undoubtedly one of the greatest characters of the age. He indicates as much talent, originality, and moral courage as Mahomet, Odin, or any of the great spirits that have hitherto produced the revelations of past ages. In the present infidel, irreligious, ideal, geological, animal-magnetic age of the world, some such singular prophet as Joe Smith is required to preserve the principle of faith, and to plant some new germs of civilization that may come to maturity in a thousand years. While modern philosophy, which believes in nothing but what you can touch, is overspreading the Atlantic States, Joe Smith is creating a spiritual system, combined also with morals and industry, that may change the destiny of the race. Joe believes himself divinely inspired and worker of miracles. He cures the sick of diseases—so it is said:—and although Joe is not aware of the fact, we have been informed by a medical man that his influence over nervous disorders, arises from a powerful magnetic influence—that Joe is a magnet in a large way, which he calls a power or spirit from heaven. In other respects Joe is a mighty man of God—possessing large stores of human nature—great shrewdness, and as he has taken the management of the Mormon newspaper organ, the “Times and Seasons” into his hand, we look for many revelations, and some curious ones too, pretty soon.
We certainly want some such prophet to start up, take a big hold of the public mind—and stop the torrent of materialism that is hurrying the world into infidelity, immorality, licentousness, and crime.— Professor Lyel, Richard Adams Locke, Dr. Brisbane, Master Emmerson, Prophet Brownson, Horace Greely, and all the materialists of the age, ought to take a leaf of common sense out of Joe’s book. [p. 773]
See “Mormonism,” Baptist Advocate (New York City), 18 Dec. 1841, 3:133. Bacheler had participated in public debates with Latter-day Saint missionaries and had written a book antagonistic to JS and the church.