Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 19, pp. 863–878; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the eleventh JS oversaw as editor. The issue opened with a reprint from the Bostonian that reported a religious debate between Dr. George Montgomery West (a New England preacher) and Latter-day Saint missionary . It also presented a new installment of the “History of Joseph Smith” and reprinted a note on starvation riots in Ireland. The remainder of the issue was dedicated primarily to denouncing , who had been publishing defamatory statements against JS and the Latter-day Saints. The editorial staff of the Times and Seasons utilized the pages of the 1 August issue to defend JS and condemn Bennett.
Nearly all of this issue’s editorial content about was also published in the Wasp, a general-interest newspaper in , Illinois, that had initially been edited by JS’s brother . However, William had distanced himself from the paper by August 1842, and had assumed the editorial responsibilities of the paper. Taylor, , and others in the appear to have worked on both the Wasp and the Times and Seasons and created content for both newspapers in August. An extra edition of the Wasp dated 27 July bore the title “Bennettiana” and contained affidavits, statements, and articles focused exclusively on exposing the former mayor’s misdeeds. Several of these same official records and editorial comments were printed a second time in this 1 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons; this selection therefore features editorial content from both newspapers. The Times and Seasons editorial staff made slight revisions to the editorial commentary in order to customize it to their newspaper. JS’s involvement in the creation of this editorial content is unclear, but as editor of the Times and Seasons, he oversaw the paper and assumed responsibility for all editorial statements.
The editorial content in the 1 August issue includes an article on , which was followed by reprinted affidavits from several City Council members, concluding with a short editorial comment. Certified statements attesting to JS’s character, republished from the Wasp, were then inserted. This was followed by a section contrasting Bennett’s slandering of JS and the with earlier statements Bennett had written, originally published in various newspapers between 1840 and 1842, wherein he spoke positively of JS and the Saints. Another featured selection, also previously published in the Wasp, introduced opinion pieces on Bennett reprinted from several newspapers across the . The editorial content in the issue concluded by reprinting the Wasp’s response to an inflammatory article, written by , that had been published a week earlier in the Quincy Whig.
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.
Although William Smith was acknowledged as editor until October 1842, by August 1842 he appears to have been only a nominal editor. In a disgruntled letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal,George W. Robinson commented on the confusing status of the editorship of the Wasp, sarcastically stating that because of “the dozen would be editors, who are prowling and loafing about the printing office, it would be difficult to ascertain the editors!” (Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:192–193; “To the Public,” Wasp, 8 Oct. 1842, ; “Letter from Col. Robinson,” Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 26 Aug. 1842, , italics in original.)
Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.
The first editorial item featured here is an article that accused of violating the moral teachings of the Bible, lamented the inevitability of evil among the Saints, and recounted several examples of dissenting members who had turned against the church. Even those who had professed to be friends of the church, it declared, “have frequently been our greatest enemies and our most determined foes . . . if they were detected in their iniquity; they were always the first to raise the hand of persecution.” The article emphasized that Bennett’s time among the Saints had been extended only because he had frequently begged for forgiveness and promised to reform.
There has always been, in every age of the church those who have been opposed to the principles of virtue, who have loved the gain of this present world, followed the principles of unrighteousness, and have been the enemies of truth; hence Paul speaks of certain brethren who “coveted the wages of this present world;” John of others whom he says “went out from us because they were not of us.” Paul in writing to the Corinthian Church tells them that there is fornications among them, even, “such fornications as is not so much as named among the Gentiles; that one should have his father’s wife”—that they defrauded, and that “brother went to law with brother”—that they got drunk when they met to partake of the sacrament; and that many evils existed among them. Peter in prophesying concerning the church says, “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall also be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and shall bring upon themselves swift destruction; and many shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spokea of; and through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment of long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Paul in speaking of the difficulties that he had to encounter, says, “I am in perils at home, in perils among false brethren.” Such is a brief history of that people; and if we examine the history of this we shall find it much the same: those who have associated with us and made the greatest professions of friendship, have frequently been our greatest enemies and our most determined foes, if they became unpopular, if their interest or dignity was touched, or if they were detected in their iniquity; they were always the first to raise the hand of persecution, to calumniate and villify their brethren, and to seek the downfall and destruction of their friends. In Mo. during the first difficulties there were many like those that John speaks of, “they went out from us because they were not of us;” in , when persecution raged, , , , and others whose course of conduct had been the most inconsistent were the first to cry out imposture, and delusion; and while some of them had been engaged in extensive frauds in the Bank, and were the principle cause of its not being able to meet its liabilities; they were the first to cry out speculation and fraud, and to try to palm their iniquities upon the unoffending and innocent; they seized hold of the popular prejudice, aided and abetted in obtaining funds for paper, fraudulently obtained by them, instituted vexatious law-suits and made themselves fat at the expense of the innocent; glutted upon the misery, ruin and distress of their brethren—but with what measure they meted it has been measured to them again.
In the State of we had our , our , , , and others who were the first to flee in time of danger—the first to tell of things that they never knew, and swear to things that they never before had heard of. They were more violent in their persecutions, more relentless and sanguinary in their proceedings, and sought with greater fury the destruction and overthrow of the Saints of God who had never injured them, but whose virtue made them blush for their crimes. All that were there remember that they were the stoutest and the loudest in proclaiming against oppression; they protested vehemently against mob and misrule, but were the first in robbing, spoiling, and plundering their brethren. Such things we have always expected; we know that the “net will gather together of every kind, good and bad,” that “the wheat and tares must grow together until the harvest,” and that even at the last there will be five foolish as well as five wise virgins. Daniel, in referring to the last days says, in speaking concerning the “Holy Covenant,” that many shall have indignation against it, and shall obtain information from those that forsake the Holy Covenant—and the robbers of thy people shall seek to exalt themselves, but they shall fall. This we have fully proven—we have seen them try to exalt themselves. and we have seen their fall. He goes on further to state, that “many shall cleave unto them by flatteries.” Such was , and —with the latter we have to do at the present time, and in many of the foregoing statements and prophecies we shall see his character and conduct exemplified.— He professed the greatest fidelity, and eternal friendship, yet was he an adder in the path, and a viper in the bosom. He professed to be virtuous and chaste, yet did he pierce the heart of the innocent, introduce misery and infamy [p. 868]
In September 1837, JS stated in a letter that Oliver Cowdery had transgressed and that he needed to humble himself and magnify his calling or the Saints would “soon be under the necessaty of raising their hands against him.” At Cowdery’s ecclesiastical trial in April 1838 he was charged with, among other things, “stiring up the enemy to persecute the brethren,” “insinuating that he [JS] was guilty of adultry,” and engaging in counterfeiting and dishonest business practices. (Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837; Minutes, 12 Apr. 1838.)
Warren Parrish, along with Frederick G. Williams, was elected an officer of the Kirtland Safety Society after JS and Sidney Rigdon had resigned and JS sold his shares in June 1837. By the time JS distanced himself from the banking venture in late July 1837, it was collapsing due to a national financial panic, lack of financial investment, diminishing trust, and external opposition. The bank’s new officers, Parrish and Williams, decided to issue additional loans in late July 1837, which increased the number of notes in circulation, further diminishing the bank’s credibility and solvency. In August 1837, JS published a notice warning against the use of the bank’s notes and urging readers to beware of “speculators, renegadoes and gamblers, who are duping the unsuspecting and the unwary, by palming upon them, those bills, which are of no worth, here.” After his excommunication, Parrish denounced JS for his involvement in financial matters and in the temporal affairs of church members. (Notice, ca. Late Aug. 1837; Warren Parrish, Kirtland, OH, 5 Feb. 1838, Letter to the Editor, Painesville [OH] Republican, 15 Feb. 1838, .)
In November 1838, Hinkle negotiated the surrender of Far West, Missouri, with Samuel D. Lucas, major general in the state militia, as part of the conflict in Missouri known as the “Mormon War.” During this negotiation, Hinkle agreed to let the Missourians imprison JS and several other church leaders. JS would later characterize this as a betrayal and accuse Hinkle and others of deception and malice. After JS’s imprisonment, Hinkle—the former owner of JS’s home in Far West—stole property from the home and expelled Emma and the Smith children from the premises. (See Samuel D. Lucas, “near Far West,” MO, to Lilburn W. Boggs, 2 Nov. 1838, copy, Mormon War Papers, MSA; Letter to Emma Smith, 4 Nov. 1838; Petition to George Tompkins, between 9 and 15 Mar. 1839; and Emma Smith, Deposition, Nauvoo, IL, 22 Apr. 1842, JS v. George M. Hinkle [Lee Co. Dist. Ct. 1842], CHL.)
Mormon War Papers, 1838–1841. MSA.
JS v. George M. Hinkle / Lee County, Iowa Territory, District Court. Joseph Smith v. George M. Hinkle, 1841–1842. CHL.
Sampson Avard was an influential Danite general during the conflict in Missouri in summer 1838. To silence internal dissent among the Latter-day Saints and to defend the church from vigilante attacks, he reportedly advocated resistance to the law, lying, and theft as the circumstances required. After the August 1838 expedition to Daviess County, JS removed Avard from leadership. Perhaps embittered by this, Avard served as a key informant for the Missouri state officials when they prosecuted JS and other church leaders in the November 1838 hearings. In exchange for immunity, Avard helped the state identify forty-six Latter-day Saints who had participated in the Missouri conflicts during the “Mormon War.”
Porter, Larry C. “The Odyssey of William Earl McLellin: Man of Diversity, 1806–83.” In The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836, edited by Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, 291–378. Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
See Genesis 49:17. “Viper in the bosom” is a reference to one of Aesop’s fables. The tale of the farmer who nurses a viper to health only to have it bite him in return emphasizes the importance of discernment when offering friendship. (L’Estrange, Fables of Aesop, 10–11.)
L’Estrange, Roger. Fables of Aesop and Other Eminent Mythologists: With Morals and Reflections. 8th ed. London: A. Bettesworth, 1738.