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, .)
death with arrows. Simeon was crucified in Persia. Matthias was stoned and beheaded.— Barnabas was stoned by the Jews. Paul was beheaded by Nero at Rome. John the beloved disciple, was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped to fulfil the Savior’s prediction. Of the whole twelve, John, and perhaps Matthew, escaped without being murdered, for a testimony, &c. And now, let us appeal to the sober sense of the Latter Day Saints, and enquire what right they have to expect from this generation any better treatment, and veneration for the religion of Jesus Christ, than our brethren of old? Read what the apostle John says in his revelations on the Isle of Patmos:—And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
It is a sh[a]me to the saints to talk of chastisements, and transgressions, when all the Saints before them, prophets and apostles, have had to come up through great tribulation; whether a Herod, a Nero, or a , causes the affliction, or the blood to be shed, is all the same,—these murderers will have their reward! and the saints theirs. How many have had to wander in sheep skins and goat skins, and live in caves and dens of the mountains, because the world was unworthy of their society! And was transgression, or chastisement connected with the[i]r seclusion from the enjoyment of society? No! But remember, brethren, he that offends one of the least of the saints, would be better off with a mill stone tied to his neck and he and the stone plunged into the depth of the sea! Remember that he that gives a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, to one of the saints in prison, or secluded from friends by reason of vexatious law suits, intended for persecution, shall in no wise lose his reward.
Never, while the spirit of liberty, or the virtue of a saint, hold communion in the flesh, let us hear of those who profess to be governed by the law of God, and make their garments clean in the blood of the Lamb, shrinking from the assistance of those who bear the ark of the Lord—in the hour of danger!
While and his crew hold this mobocratic doctrine in defiance of law; “believing as we do, that the arm of the law does not afford us a guarantee,—(we) deem it expedient and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company &c. to rid our society, peaceably if we can and forcibly if we must,” of the Momnons,—and to this end have severally pledged to each other their lives, bodily powers, fortunes and “sacred honors!”—let no saint suppose that righteousness will reign, or peace be on earth, and good will to men, and glory to God in the highest, to make the wilderness blossom as the rose, till the wicked cease to bear rule, and till they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The fourth editorial, titled “Baptism,” argues the necessity of and describes the proper procedure for performing the in order for a person to receive eternal salvation. Both the necessity and proper mode of baptism had been debated among Christians starting during the Reformation, and the issue remained controversial among different Christian denominations in the during the nineteenth century. The “” of the church, adopted in 1830, set forth the church’s accepted method of baptism. While JS’s role in preparing editorial content for the Times and Seasons remains unclear, the attribution of this passage to “ED.” suggests that he might have played a leading role in its drafting.
Upon looking over the sacred pages of the bible, searching into the prophets and sayings of the apostles, we find no subject so nearly connected with salvation, as that of baptism. In the first place, however, let us understand that the word baptise is derived from the Greek verb baptiso, and means to immerse or overwhelm, and that sprinkle is from the Greek verb rantiso, and means to scatter on by particles; then we can treat the subject as one inseperably connected with our eternal welfare; and always bear in mind that it is one of the only methods by which we can obtain a remission of sins in this world, and be prepared to enter into the joys of our Lord in the world to come.
As it is well known that various opinions govern a large portion of the sectarian world as to this important of the gospel, it may not be amiss to introduce the commissions and commands of Jesus himself on the subject.— He said to the twelve, or rather eleven at the time: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: Thus it is recorded by Matthew. In Mark we have these important words: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. And to show how the believers are to be known from the unbelievers, he continues and says: And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues: they shall take up serpents: and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. And in Luke we find the finish [p. 903]
In his famous book on Christian martyrs, John Foxe claimed that Matthew was killed in Ethiopia. JS taught that Jesus empowered his disciple John to live until the Second Coming. (Fox’s Book of Martyrs, 1:17; John 21:20–23; Account of John, Apr. 1829–C [D&C 7:1–3].)
Fox’s Book of Martyrs; or, The Acts and Monuments of the Christian Church; Being a Complete History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Deaths of the Christian Martyrs. . . . Revised by John Malham. Reedited by T. Pratt. 2 vols. Philadelphia: J. J. Woodward, 1830.
Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833. The quoted text, using language alluding to the Declaration of Independence, comes from a declaration adopted by citizens in Jackson County, Missouri, explaining their reasons for expelling church members from the county nine years earlier. The phrase “peaceably if we can and forcibly if we must” is a famous quote from a speech Henry Clay delivered in the United States House of Representatives. (Henry Clay, Speech to House of Representatives, 8 Jan. 1813, Annals of the Congress, 12th Cong., 2nd Sess., vol. 25, p. 665 .)
Annals of the Congress of the United States. Twelfth Congress.—Second Session: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States . . . Comprising the Period from November 2, 1812, to March 3, 1813, Inclusive. Vol. 25. Washington DC: Gales and Seaton, 1853.
Ahlstrom, Religious History of the American People, 449, 779; Clarke, New Testament, 1:324–329.
Ahlstrom, Sydney E. A Religious History of the American People. 2nd ed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.
Clarke, Adam. The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Text Carefully Printed from the Most Correct Copies of the Present Authorised Version, Including the Marginal Readings and Parallel Texts. . . . Vol. 1. New York: J. Emory and B. Waugh, 1831.