Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 July 1842, vol. 3, no. 17, pp. 831–846; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 1 July 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the ninth issue published under JS’s editorship. Much of the issue was devoted to the publication of correspondence regarding ’s immoral conduct in , Illinois. This correspondence included a letter that JS wrote telling members about Bennett and describing how church leaders had handled his situation. To corroborate JS’s statements in that letter, the issue included excerpts of correspondence from unidentified individuals and from , who had evidently been sent to verify information about Bennett in . These statements, as well as JS’s letter, had been previously published in the 25 June 1842 issue of the Wasp.
In addition to information about , the 1 July issue contained an article by , excerpts from the “History of Joseph Smith,” an article on the Jews, and a reprint of a letter published in the Dollar Weekly Bostonian recounting a meeting at which “, the Mormon lecturer of the city of ” spoke. Also included were accounts of earthquakes that had occurred in Haiti and in Greece, a letter from to JS, communications from preaching outside of , minutes of in outlying , and a poem by about the . The issue also featured editorial commentary and notices written by the editorial staff. How involved JS was in composing the editorial material is unclear. While assisted him in editing the paper, JS, as editor, assumed primary responsibility for the paper’s content.
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.
Vol. III. No. 17.]- CITY OF , ILL. JULY 1, 1842. -[Whole No. 53
For the Times and Season.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
What have the Mormons done in ? is a question which I have frequently asked of those who are busy with the tongue of slander in calumniating the Latter Day Saints; but as yet I have found none who are willing to answer me honestly, or correctly. Perhaps many judge from rumor, not having investigated the matter for themselves. I have therefore thought it might be well to lay before the public some facts in relation to the case, believing that there is a respectable portion of community, who after having received correct information will frown with indignation upon the conduct of those who are endeavoring to raise a persecution against our people.
In the first place we would say that where a crime is committed, there is a law broken, for if no law has been violated, there cannot have been a crime commited: if then, our people have broken the laws, is there not power in those laws to vindicate themselves, or to redress the wrongs of those who are injured? we say there is; neither would we cast any aspertion upon the characters of the administrators of the laws, as though they were not vigilent in the discharge of their duty, we believe they have been, (with very few exceptions.)
With these facts before us, there is then no difficulty in obtaining correct information as to the amount of crime committed by the Mormons, throughout the . You have only to refer to the various dockets kept by the administrators of law, from the highest court to the lowest, throughout the length and breadth of the land, and there you will find recorded the crimes of the Mormons, if it so be that they have committed any. We say their faults are few compared to the population; where is there a record of murder committed by any of our people, none in the ; where is there a record against any of our people for a penetentiary crime? not in the ; where is there a record of fine or county imprisonment (for any breach of law) against any of the Latter Day Saints, I know of none in the . If then they have broken no law, they consequently have taken away no man’s rights, they have infringed upon no man’s liberties. We have been three years in this , and have not asked for any county, or state officer; laws have been administered by those not of our persuasion; administered rigorously, even against the appearance of crime, and yet there has been no conviction of which I have heard.
Where is there another community of thirty thousand in any state, against none of whom there is a record of conviction for crime in any court during the space of three years. And yet there are those who cry out, treason! murder!! bigamy!!! burglary!!! arson!!! and every thing that is evil, without being able to refer to a single case that has ever been proved against the Mormons.
This then must be the “head and front of our offending.” That by industry in both spiritual, and temporal things, we are becoming a great and numerous people; we convert our thousands, and tens of thousands yearly to the light of truth; to the glorious liberty of the gospel of Christ; we bring thousands from foreign lands, from under the yolk of oppression, and the iron hand of poverty, and we place them in a situation where they can sustain themselves, which is the highest act of charity towards the poor. We dry the widow’s tear, we fill the orphan’s hand with bread, and clothe the naked; we teach them principles of morality and righteousness, and they rejoice in the God of Abraham and in the Holy One of Israel, and are happy,—Thus it is with the honest in heart; but when the wicked creep in amongst us for evil, to trample upon the most holy and virtuous precepts, and find our moral and religious laws too strict for them, they cry out delusion, false prophets, speculation, oppression, illegal ordinances, usurpation of power, treason against the governments, &c. You must have your charters taken away—you have dared to pass an ordinance against fornicators, and adulterers—you have forbid the vending of spirituous liquors within your city—you have passed an ordinance against vagrants and disorderly persons; with many other high [p. ]