Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Apr. 1842, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 735–750; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 April 1842 issue of the ’s , Illinois, newspaper, Times and Seasons, was the fourth issue to name JS as editor. The issue included a report of the organization of the , a lengthy doctrinal article titled “Try the Spirits,” and two short editorials, all of which are featured below. Also included in the issue, but not featured here, were a letter dated 20 March 1842 from the to the Latter-day Saints in Europe, extracts from a letter by , an excerpt of a letter to from his mother, another installment of the serialized “History of Joseph Smith,” and a letter about Nauvoo from “an Observer” to the Columbus Advocate. In addition, the issue included a petition from residents of to church leaders in Nauvoo, with an editorial comment. The comment is one of the editorials featured here; the petition is not reproduced below, but it is featured as a stand-alone document in this volume.
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.
While JS likely authored many of the paper’s editorial passages, John Taylor reportedly assisted him in writing content. No matter who wrote individual editorial pieces, JS assumed editorial responsibility for all installments naming him as editor except the 15 February issue. (Woodruff, Journal, 19 Feb. 1842; Historical Introduction to Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
ly accused the brethren, thus placing themselves in the seat of satan who is emphatically called ‘the accuser of the brethren.’
3rd. Mr. Baxter received the spirit on asking for it without attending to the , and began to prophesy, whereas the scriptural way of attaining the is by , and by .
4th. As we have stated in regard to others the spirit of the prophets, are subject to the prophets; but those prophets were subject to the spirits; the spirit controlling their bodies at pleasure.
But it may be asked how Mr. Baxter could get a sign from a second person! To this we would answer that Mr. Baxter’s brother was under the influence of the same spirit as himself; and being subject to that spirit, he could be easily made to speak to Mr. Baxter whatever the spirit should dictate; but there was not power in the spirit to heal the child.
Again it may be asked how it was that they could speak in tongues if they were of the devil? We would answer that they could be made to speak in another tongue as well as in their own as they were under the control of that spirit, and the devil can tempt the Hottentot, the Turk, the Jew, or any other nation; and if these men were under the influence of his spirit they of course could speak Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Italian, Dutch, or any other Language that the devil knew.
Some will say ‘try the spirits’ by the word. ‘Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.’ John iv, 2, 3. One of the Irvingites once quoted this passage whilst under the influence of a spirit, and then said, ‘I confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.’ And yet these prophesies failed, their Messiah did not come; and the great things spoken of by them have fallen to the ground. What is the matter here? did not the apostle speak the truth? certainly he did—but he spoke to a people who were under the penalty of death, the moment they embraced christianity; and no one without a knowledge of the fact would confess it and expose themselves to death: and this was consequently given as a criterian to the church or churches to which John wrote. But the devil on a certain occasion cried out, ‘I know thee who thou art the ‘Holy one of God’[’] Here was a frank acknowledgement under other circumstances,—that ‘Jesus had come in the flesh.’ On another occasion the devil said ‘Paul we know, and Jesus we know;’ of course come in the flesh. No man nor set of men without the regular constituted authorities, the and discerning of spirits can tell true, from false spirits. This power they possessed in the apostles’ day, but it has departed from the world for ages.
The have also had their false spirits; and as it is made up of all those different sects professing every variety of opinion, and having been under the influence of so many kinds of spirits, it is not to be wondered at if there should be found amongst us false spirits.
Soon after the gospel was established in , and during the absence of the authorities of the church, many false spirits were introduced, many strange visions were seen, and wild enthusiastic notions were entertained; men run out of doors under the influence of this spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagances were entered into by them: one man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air, until he came to a precipice when he jumped into the top of a tree which saved his life, and many ridiculous things were entered into, calculated to bring disgrace upon the church of God; to cause the spirit of God to be withdrawn; and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which had been developed for the salvation of the human family. But when the authorities returned the spirit was made manifest, those members that were exercised with it were tried for their fellowship; and those that would not repent and forsake it were cut off. At a subsequent period a Shaker spirit was on the point of being introduced, and at another time the Methodist and Presbyterian falling-down power; but the spirit was rebuked, and put down, and those who would not submit to rule and good order, were disfellowshipped. We have also had bretheren and sisters who have had the gift of tongues falsely: they would speak in a muttering, unnatural voice, and their bodies be distorted like the Irvingites before alluded to; whereas there is nothing unnatural in the spirit of God. A circumstance of this kind took place in , but was rebuked by the —another, a woman near the same place professed to have the discerning of spirits, and begun to accuse another sister of things that she was not guilty of, which she said she knew was so by the spirit,—but was afterwards proven to be false—she placed herself in the capacity of the ‘accuser of the brethren’—and no person through the discerning of spirits can bring a charge against another, they must be proven guilty by positive evidence, or they stand clear.
There have also been ministering angels in the church which were of satan appearing as an angel of light:—A sister in the State of had a vision who said it was told her that if she would go to a certain place in the woods an angel would appear to her,—she went at the appointed time and saw a glorious personage descending arrayed in white, with sandy coloured hair; he commenced and told her to fear God and said that her husband was called to do great things, but that he must not go more than one hundred miles from home or he would not return; whereas God had called him to go to the ends of the earth; and he has since been more than one thousand miles from home, and is yet alive. Many true things were spoken by this personage and many things that were false.—How it may be asked was this known to be a bad angel? by the color of his hair; that is one of the signs that he can be known by, and by his contradicting a former revelation.
We have also had brethren and sisters that have had written revelations, and have started forward to lead this church. Such was a young boy in —Isaac Russell of and , and of . The boy is now living with his parents, who have submitted to the laws of the church. Mr. Russell stayed in , from whence he was to go to the Rocky mountains, led by three Nephites, but the Nephites never came [p. 747]