JS, Letter, , Clay Co., MO, to , [, Hancock Co., IL], 22 Mar. 1839. Featured version published in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, pp. 51–56.
Times and Seasons ( [later ], Hancock Co., IL), vol. 1, no. 1–vol. 2, no. 3 (July 1839–1 Dec. 1840), edited by and ; vol. 2, nos. 4–12 (15 Dec. 1840–15 Apr. 1841), edited by ; vol. 2, nos. 13–19 (1 May–2 Aug. 1841), edited by and ; vol. 2, no. 20 (16 Aug. 1841), edited by and ; vol. 2, no. 21–vol. 3, no. 7 (1 Sept. 1841–1 Feb. 1842), edited by ; vol. 3, nos. 8–24 (15 Feb.–15 Oct. 1842), edited by JS; vol. 4, no. 1–vol. 6, no. 23 (15 Nov. 1842–15 Feb. 1846), edited by .
The Times and Seasons was a newspaper published in (later ), Illinois, between July 1839 and 15 February 1846. The composition of the paper on which it was printed varied between wood pulp and linen fibers depending on what was available at the time of each issue’s publication. Each issue was printed on sixteen octavo pages measuring around 9½ × 6 inches (24 × 15 cm); the exact size varied depending on how an issue was cut. Each page contained two columns of text. In the issues prior to 1 July 1841, both columns were 2⅛ inches wide; in the later issues, the columns were 2¼ inches wide.
The first of the newspaper’s six volumes consisted of twelve issues and one reprint; the first issue was dated July 1839 and then the paper was published monthly from November 1839 through October 1840. The second through fifth volumes contained twenty-four issues each and were published semimonthly—generally dated on the first and fifteenth of each month—from 1 November 1840 to 15 October 1841, 1 November 1841 to 15 October 1842, 15 November 1842 to 1 November 1843, and 1 January 1844 to 1 January 1845, respectively. The sixth volume contained only twenty-three issues and ran on a semimonthly basis from 15 January 1845 to 15 February 1846. Volumes 1–3 were paginated 1–958; the numbers 577–582 were used on the pages at the end of volume 2 and were repeated on the pages at the beginning of volume 3. Volumes 4–6 were paginated 1–1135. Other minor errors in page numbers were made throughout both sets of pagination.
The volumes used in The Joseph Smith Papers were bound into several text blocks at a later date. Volumes 1 and 2 were bound together in three-quarter binding with textured red leather and shell marbled paper. The edges have been trimmed and speckled brown. The bound item measures 9 × 5⅝ × 1⅜ inches (23 × 14 × 3 cm). Another copy of volume 1 and of volume 2 were bound with volume 3 in a three-quarter case binding with black leather and textured cloth, measuring 9 × 6 × 2¼ inches (23 × 15 × 6 cm). Volumes 4 and 5 were bound individually but are identical in composition and materials, suggesting they were originally bound at around the same time. Both were likely compiled in , as they each contain a title page and index. It is not clear where they were originally bound. The edges of the two volumes have been trimmed and speckled blue. Both are bound with a three-quarter binding of textured black leather and shell marbled paper. Volume 4 measures 9¼ × 6 × 1 inches (23 × 15 × 3 cm), and volume 5 measures 8⅞ × 5⅞ × 1 inches (23 × 15 × 3 cm). Volume 6 is likewise bound individually, though with a three-quarter binding of brown calf leather and marbled paper; the paper has been significantly worn down. The pages have been trimmed, and the edges have uneven brown coloring. The volume measures 9¼ × 6 × ¾ inches (23 × 15 × 2 cm). The spine of each bound item has gold tooling, along with the name of the newspaper and the volumes contained in the binding. The spine of volume 6 also has decorative blind roll tooling.
All of the bound volumes except the final volume were rebound one or more times and underwent significant conservation work during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Nearly all of the volumes contain diamond-shaped press marks on the paper, and all of the volumes include archival stamping and labels from the Church Historian’s Office (now CHL) or other earlier owners. Volumes of the Times and Seasons have been in the possession of the Church Historian’s Office since at least 1846; however, it is unclear whether any of the earliest-acquired copies are the ones featured in The Joseph Smith Papers. There are no archival markings identifying the original owners of volumes 1–3. Volumes 4 and 5 apparently belonged to Robert Campbell until his death in 1872. By 11 December 1889, they were acquired by Andrew Jenson, an employee in the Church Historian’s Office, for his personal library. Volume 6 bears a partially removed label describing lending policies for an unidentified library, suggesting that that volume belonged to a lending library until Jenson acquired the volume by 1890. In 1930 the three volumes Jenson acquired were transferred, along with the rest of his library, to the Church Historian’s Office.
The newspaper was established after the and other church leaders in the area met in June 1839. They determined that and should publish the newspaper. The church would provide the printing press, with Robinson and Smith paying the publication expenses and receiving all profits from the business.
The press was first set up in the basement of a structure on the banks of the , and two hundred copies of the first issue were printed in July. Severe illness among the editors and their families prevented more copies from being printed. In November 1839, with the assistance of Lyman Gaylord and in a new structure on the northeast corner of Water and Bain streets, the first issue was printed again, redated November 1839. The yearly subscription fee for the newspaper was one dollar. The paper listed its publication location as until the May 1840 issue, when the location was changed to .
With the second volume, begun 1 November 1840, the paper began to be issued semimonthly and the subscription price increased to two dollars per year. The issues were dated the first and fifteenth of each month, but print runs were frequently a week or more late; in some cases, they were months behind schedule. On 14 December 1840, and dissolved their partnership, and Smith became the sole editor of the next nine issues, beginning with the 15 December issue. joined Smith as a coeditor for the issues of 1 May 1841 through 2 August 1841. After Smith’s death on 7 August 1841, Robinson once again joined the paper, coediting the 16 August issue with Thompson. Thompson died before the next issue was printed, leaving Robinson as the sole editor beginning with the 1 September 1841 issue. In November 1841, Robinson moved the Times and Seasons printing office across the street to the northwest corner of Water and Bain streets.
A 28 January 1842 revelation directed the to take responsibility for the paper. and were assigned to act as editors, and sold the printing establishment to JS on 4 February 1842. JS was identified as the editor of the paper for the issues of 15 February through 15 October 1842. In early December 1842, JS leased the printing office to Taylor and Woodruff, who had been heavily involved in editing and printing the paper throughout JS’s tenure as editor. Beginning with the first issue of volume 4, dated 15 November 1842, Woodruff was named as a publisher, with Taylor listed as a publisher and editor.
In January 1844, JS initiated the sale of the printing office to , but the transaction was not finalized prior to JS’s death in June 1844. Taylor remained the sole named editor for the remainder of the paper’s publication, which concluded with the 15 February 1846 issue.
At times due to opposition to the newspaper and at times due to a lack of supplies, issues were not published for 1 November 1842, 15 November 1843, 1 and 15 December 1843, 15 June 1844, and the months of September and October 1845.
On 22 March 1839, JS wrote from the in , Missouri, to land speculator in , Illinois. The month before, Galland met with members and regarding his offer to sell the church twenty thousand acres of land in , Iowa Territory, for Latter-day Saint refugees. Later in the month, on 26 February 1839, Galland wrote a letter to Rogers, expressing sympathy for the suffering church members and offering to assist them in any way possible. In late February or early March, likely after reading Galland’s letter, church leaders in , Illinois, assigned Rogers to deliver the letter and other important documents to JS. Rogers left soon thereafter, arriving in Liberty on 19 March 1839. The following day, JS wrote a general epistle to the church, encouraging church leaders in to exercise their discretion in whether to accept Galland’s offer. Before making a decision, however, church leaders were to consult with “the most faithfull and the most respictible of the authorities of the church” at general conferences.
Soon after completing the general epistle on 20 March 1839, JS wrote to , apparently responding to items in Galland’s February missive to . Galland had inquired about the status of Rogers’s “captive brethren in ” and whether JS had yet been released. Galland had also conceded that he had “little knowledge . . . as yet of the doctrines, order or practice of the church.” In JS’s response, he described the Saints’ sufferings and the prisoners’ misfortunes. He also gave an extended description of Latter-day Saint beliefs about the Bible, revelation, authority, and other “leading items of the gospel.” JS concluded the letter by stating his intention to purchase Galland’s land upon being released from prison. This statement indicates that JS’s thinking had changed since writing the 20 March general epistle to the church.
JS, who was the only signatory of the letter, likely dictated it to one of his fellow prisoners, perhaps , who performed most of the scribal duties for JS’s extended compositions in March 1839. The missive may have been included in the “package of letters for ” that the prisoners gave church member when he visited the on 22 March 1839. How the letter was carried to in is unknown. The land speculator’s immediate reaction to the letter is also unknown; extant records do not indicate whether he reserved the land for the Saints, but the land in question was available when JS arrived in Illinois on 22 April 1839, and soon afterward the church bought the land. Additionally, the letter probably influenced Galland’s decision to join the church in July 1839.
The original letter is apparently not extant. However, a transcript of the letter was printed in the February 1840 issue of the Times and Seasons; this printed copy is the version featured here.
unto them go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and he that believeth and is shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Hear you will see the doctrine of faith: and again, Acts 2nd chap. 28 verse, “Then Peter said unto them repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the .” Hear you see the doctrine of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, connected by the promise inseperably. Now I want you to consider the high standing of Peter; he was now being with power from on high and held the of the kingdom of heaven. Mathew 16th chap. 19th verse, [“]and I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This was the character, Sir, that made the glorious promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost, predicated upon the baptism for the remission of sins: and he did not say that it was confined to that generation, but see further: Act[s] 2nd chap. 39th verse, “for the promise is unto you, and your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Then, Sir, if the callings of God extend unto us, we come within the perview of Peter’s promise. Now where is the man who is authorized to put his finger on the spot and say, thus far shalt thou go and no farther: there is no man. Therefore let us receive the whole, or none. And again, concerning the doctrine of the . Act[s] 8th chap. 14th to 17th verse. Now when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John; who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; for as yet he was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.— Then laid they their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost.— Acts 19th chap. 5th–6th verses.— When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.— And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied. We discover by these, the doctrine of the laying on of the hands.— And for the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment: Hebrews 6th chap. 2nd verse, of the doctrine of baptism, and of laying on of the hands, and of reserrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. I consider these to be some of the leading items of the gospel, as taught by Christ and his apostles, and as received by those whom they taught. I wish you would look at these, carefully and closely, and you will readily perceive that the difference between me and other religious teachers, is in the bible; and the bible and them for it: and as far as they teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is verily written, and are inspired, and called as was Aaron, I feel myself bound to bow with all defference to their mandates and teachings; but see Gallations, 1st chap. 6th to 10th verse. I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another Gospel; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Further, the 11–12 verses. But, I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man; for I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Please Sir, to pardon me for having obtruded thus lengthy upon your feelings, as you are a stranger to me; and I know nothing of you, only what I have read in you[r] letter, and from that I have taken the liberty which I have. Be assured Sir, that I have the most liberal sentiments, and feelings of charity towards all sects, parties, and denominations; and the rights and liberties of concience, I hold most sa [p. 55]