Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Oct. 1842, vol. 3, no. 23, pp. 927–942; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
JS, assisted by and , served as editor for the 1 October 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, the twenty-third issue in the third volume. The extent to which JS was involved in writing the editorial content in this particular issue is unclear. As the newspaper’s editor, however, he was responsible for its content.
The non-editorial content in the issue, which is not featured here, included an installation of the serialized “History of Joseph Smith,” a letter from JS on the subject of for the dead, and the minutes of a church held in Alexander, New York. In addition, the issue featured a poem by Frederick William Faber titled “The Signs of the Times,” reprinted from the Warder (a newspaper published in Dublin, Ireland), and reprinted a response by the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star (the ’s newspaper published in ) to a letter featured in a British newspaper on the differences between Latter-day Saint and Baptist doctrine.
Editorial content included commentary on a passage from a book about archaeology in Central America; an update on the growth and development of , Illinois; and an editorial encouraging donations to the Nauvoo construction fund. In addition, the editors reprinted with commentary the church’s 1835 statement on marriage, criticized the way was handling the criminal case of three abolitionists, and countered the millenarian claims of and his followers. The issue also included a response to reports circulating in American newspapers that JS had fled Nauvoo to escape arrest. Two passages presumably written by the editors but not included in the selection of editorial content featured here are a single-sentence notice requesting that Martin Titus return to Nauvoo to answer undisclosed charges preferred against him and a recurring notice that new printings of the Book of Mormon and hymnbook were available for purchase.
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.
The first is about twenty feet high, five feet six inches on two sides, and two feet eight on the other two. The front represents the figure of a man, well preserved; the back that of a woman, much defaced. The sides are covered with hieroglyphics in good preservation, but in low relief, and of exactly the same style as those at Copan.
Another, represented in the engraving, is twenty-three feet out of the ground, with figures of men on the front and back, and hieroglyphics in low relief on the sides, and surrounded by a base projecting fifteen or sixteen feet from it.
At a short distance, standing in the same position as regards the points of the compass, is an obelisk or carved stone, twenty-six feet out of the ground, and probably six or eight feet under, which is represented in the engraving opposite. It is leaning twelve feet two inches out of the perpendicular, and seems ready to fall, which is probably prevented only by a tree that has grown up against it and the large stones around the base. The side toward the ground represents the figure of man, very perfect and finely sculptured. The upper side seemed the same, but was so hidden by vegetation as to make it somewhat uncertain. The other two contain hieropglyphics in low relief. In size and sculpture this is the finest of the whole.
A statue ten feet high is lying on the ground, covered with moss and herbage, and another about the same size lies with its face upward.
There are four others erect, about twelve feet high, but not in a very good state of preservation, and several altars so covered with herbage that it was difficult to ascertain their exact form. One of them is round, and situated on a small elevation within a circle formed by a wall of stones. In the centre of the circle, reached by descending very narrow steps, is a large round stone, with the sides sculptured in hieroglyphics, covered with vegetation, and supported on what seemed to be two colossal heads.
These are all at the foot of a pyramidal wall, near each other, and in the vicinity of a creek which empties into the Motagua. Besides these they counted thirteen fragments, and doubtless many others may yet be discovered.
At some distance from them is another monument, nine feet out of ground, and probably two or three under, with the figure of a woman on the front and back, and the two sides richly ornamented, but without hieroglyphics.
The next day the negro promised to show Mr. C. eleven square columns higher that any he had seen, standing in a row at the foot of a mountain; but after dragging him three hours through the mud, Mr. C. found by the compass that he was constantly changing his direction; and as the man was armed with pistols, notoriously a bad fellow, and indignant at the owners of the land for coming down to look after their squatters, Mr. C. became suspicious of him, and insisted upon returning. The Payes were engaged with their own affairs, and having no one to assist him, Mr. Catherwood was unable to make any thorough exploration or any complete drawings.
The general character of these ruins is the same as at Copan. The monuments are much larger, but they are sculptured in lower relief, less rich in design, and more faded and worn, probably being of a much older date.
Of one thing there is no doubt: a large city once stood there; its name is lost, its history unknown; and, except for a notice taken from Mr. C.’s notes, and inserted by the Senores Payes in a Guatimala paper after the visit, which found its way to this and Europe, no account of its existence has ever before been published. For centuries it has lain as completely buried as if covered with the lava of Vesuvius. Every traveller from Yzabal to Guatimala has passed within three hours of it; we ourselves had done the same; and yet there it lay, like the rock-built city of Edom, unvisited, unsought, and utterly unknown.”
In this manner did the Lord continue to give us instructions from time to time, concerning the duties which now devolved upon us, and among many other things of the kind, we obtained of him the following, by the spirit of prohecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to his will and commandment, we should pro [p. 928]