Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 1 Sept. 1842, vol. 3, no. 21, pp. 895–910; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
JS served as editor for the 1 September 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, a newspaper published in , Illinois. It was the twenty-first issue in the third volume of the newspaper. JS purchased the newspaper and the from in February 1842 and began his work as editor on the 1 March 1842 issue. and assisted JS with his editorial responsibilities; in moments when JS was occupied with other pressing business, Taylor and Woodruff commonly performed most—if not all—of the editing required for the publication of each issue, including the writing of editorial content. While it is unclear how involved JS was in preparing this particular issue, he nevertheless assumed editorial responsibility for this and all issues produced during his time as editor.
Like all issues of the Times and Seasons, the 1 September 1842 issue contained both non-editorial and editorial content. The non-editorial content included a letter from members of the who were then serving missions in Great Britain, a selection from the “History of Joseph Smith,” and a reprinted letter to the editor of the Bostonian that described a debate in between church member and Dr. George Montgomery West. The issue also featured a notice from member , a brief letter from members of the temple committee, and two poems.
The issue’s editorial content, for which JS was ultimately responsible, is featured here with introductions. It included commentary on news of social unrest throughout the world, a counter to claims in a newspaper that church members were superstitious and deluded, an explanation of the persecution JS experienced in the context of the persecution aimed at biblical prophets, an editorial on the proper mode of baptism, and a defense against claims made in recent publications that were antagonistic toward the church. The editorial passages also included a positive description of the current health of Nauvoo’s residents, a supposed conversation between a Latter-day Saint and a Protestant clergyman likely written as an editorial device to argue for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, commentary on a selection from a book about biblical archaeology, a reprinting of the church’s official statement on marriage from 1835, a humorous proverb, and a notice encouraging readers to renew their subscriptions to the newspaper.
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.
“An Epistle of the Twelve,” “History of Joseph Smith,” and “Mormons, or ‘Latter Day Saints,’” Times and Seasons, 1 Sept. 1842, 3:895–900. Although the Times and Seasons identifies West only as “Dr. West,” he is fully named in the Boston Investigator’s coverage of West’s preaching. (“Rev. Dr. George Montgomery West,” Boston Investigator, 8 June 1842, ; “Dr. West and the Mormons,” Boston Investigator, 22 June 1842, .)
many American antiquities together with the discoveries lately made by Mr. Stevens that all go to prove that the American Indians were once an enlightened people and understood the arts and sciences, as the ruined cities and monuments lately discovered fully prove. He then declared that this record had not come forth in the place of the Bible, but in fulfilment of the Bible; that its coming forth clearly demonstrated that Jesus had been as good as his word, viz: he told his disciples he had other sheep that were not of that fold (in Jerusalem) and they also should hear his voice, for he was sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,—and some of the lost sheep of the house of Israel, viz:—of the tribe of Joseph being in , it was necessary Jesus should visit them, as also the ten tribes in the “north country.” He declared that Jesus did visit both the above named branches of the house of Israel during the forty days before his final ascension from the Mount of Olives, and that the Book of Mormon was not only a history of the dealings of God with the descendants of Joseph on this continent previous to the crucifixion of our Lord, but also an account of the gospel as established among them by the personal appearance of Christ on this continent, and that the account of the gospel in the Book of Mormon agreed with the account in the Bible; thereby proving that the gospel of Christ is the same in every nation, composed of the same eternal truths, the same gifts, the same offices, the same ordinances, and every thing the same as when Christ has an organized church on the earth; and that the Book of Mormon had come forth as an “ensign to the nations,” containing an account of the gospel in much plainness, being translated by the gift and power of God by the use of the Urim and Thummim, that had come forth with the plates that contain the record. He also stated that the plates containing the record had been hid up unto the Lord by Moroni the son of Mormon, the last prophet among the descendants of Joseph on this continent, that about the time this event took place, they had fallen into sin, and great wickedness; many of their cities had been overthrown by earthquakes, and they left to fall in ignorance and unbelief, until the “dispensation of the fulness of times,” and that now their record had come forth, throwing a flood of light on the early history of this continent and would yet be hailed by every lover of truth, as one of the most glorious works of the nineteenth century.
The first editorial selection described, through a millenarian lens, an assortment of news stories from newspapers throughout the and . The article’s title, “Distress of Nations,” alluded to biblical prophecies of events that would preface the second coming of Jesus Christ. Some of the stories were summarized while others were reprinted as they appeared in other newspapers. The editors paid special attention to labor unrest in Staffordshire, England, an area in which spent considerable time as a missionary in 1840. In fact, Woodruff had used the phrase “destress of nations” to describe labor unrest he witnessed there, and the editors of the Times and Seasons had recently used the phrase in previous editorials.
DISTRESS OF NATIONS.
Our exchange papers, among the many strange things that make up the motley mixture of plentiful crops and hard times, acts of wickedness, ’s millennium in 1843, together with a great many accounts of bible societies; missionary doings; Sunday school advancements; temperance movements; marvellous conversions from the influence of tracts, &c., have a full proportion of mobs, riots, and calamity. A large mob in made war upon the blacks in the fore part of last month, shed blood, burnt to the ground a costly and spacious Hall, and a meeting house; and destroyed other property. The military were called to restore peace.
In , about the same time, some boys insulted a military German company, while training and after dismissed, which finally terminated in a riot of the citizens, in which considerable blood was shed, though we believe no lives were lost.
From we have selected the following:—
Threatened Disturbances—Birmingham, July 14.—The accounts received this day from Burslem, (the metropolis of the potteries,) and the mining and manufacturing districts of the neighborhood, are of the most alarming description. It would appear, that influenced by the badness of trade, or by some other motive, there has been within the last two or three weeks an attempt made to reduce the wages of the men employed in the collieries of North Staffordshire, and the turnout of the miners has necessarily, by the want of coal, seriously affected the men occupied in the potteries and iron works.
The proximate cause of the facts appears to be the reduction of 7d per week from the wages hitherto paid by Mr. Sparrow, near Burslem. Such is the magnitude of his establishment that the reduction of 4d in each man’s wages will make a difference of not less than £300 per week. Be the cause, however, what it may, the potteries according to the last accounts, are in a fearful state. Yesterday, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Tunstal [p. 900]
During the 1830s and 1840s, Baptist preacher William Miller became the subject of national controversy for predicting, based on his interpretation of prophecies in the book of Daniel, that the second coming of Jesus Christ would occur sometime in either 1842 or 1843. (See Rowe, God’s Strange Work, chaps. 5–6.)
Rowe, David L. God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World. Library of Religious Biography. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2008.
This racially charged riot in Philadelphia occurred on 1 August 1842, when members of the city’s free-black community, who were parading in the city’s streets to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, clashed with an Irish Catholic mob. The conflict lasted for three days. Among the property destroyed was Smith’s Beneficial Hall, an abolitionist meetinghouse. (“A Riot in Philadelphia,” Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 3 Aug. 1842, ; “Infamous and Horrible Riot in Philadelphia,” Daily Atlas [Boston], 4 Aug. 1842, ; Geffen, “Violence in Philadelphia in the 1840’s and 1850’s,” 387.)
Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.
Boston Daily Atlas. Boston. 1844–1857.
Geffen, Elizabeth M. “Violence in Philadelphia in the 1840’s and 1850’s.” Pennsylvania History 36, no. 4 (Oct. 1969): 380–410.
One person died from injuries sustained in this 8 August 1842 riot. (“The Cincinnati Riot,” Boston Courier, 18 Aug. 1842, ; News Item, Daily National Intelligencer [Washington DC], 19 Aug. 1842, .)
Boston Courier. Boston. 1824–before 1855.
Daily National Intelligencer. Washington DC. 1800–1869.
Burslem is in Staffordshire, England, which is home to several towns that together served as the hub for much of the country’s pottery industry. In his journal, Wilford Woodruff wrote that as of 1838, the population of the region was 65,000. (Marryat, History of Pottery and Porcelain, 147–165; Woodruff, Journal, 22 Jan. 1840.)
Marryat, Joseph. A History of Pottery and Porcelain, Mediaeval and Modern. 2nd ed. London: John Murray, 1857.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
The d in “7d” is an abbreviation for denarii, which stood for pence in the United Kingdom. (Martin and Graves, Pounds, Shillings and Pence, x.)
Martin, T., and John Thomas Graves. Pounds, Shillings, and Pence; or, A Series of Money Calculations on a Novel System; Illustrated by Examples Shewing the Method of Performing Them in the Mind, with Less Than One Fourth of the Usual Labour. London: Simpkin, Marshall, 1842.