Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 15 Aug. 1842, vol. 3, no. 20, pp. 879–894; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
The 15 August 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons was the twelfth JS oversaw as editor. The issue reprinted a letter from the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star detailing the Saints’ “first Foreign Mission” to Great Britain, which lasted from 1837 to 1838. The issue also continued the serialized “History of Joseph Smith” and reprinted the conclusion of an account from the Bostonian of a “Great Discussion on Mormonism” that had recently taken place in between Latter-day Saint missionary and Methodist minister George Montgomery West.
In addition, the issue included editorial content created by the staff of the paper. These items included an account of the history of persecution endured by the ; a short treatise on the spiritual power of knowledge; a note about unwelcome “loafers” in , Illinois; and an obituary for , a in the church. The issue concluded with a notice asking those indebted to JS’s deceased brother to pay their debts to his widow, . The extent of JS’s involvement in the creation and oversight of the issue’s content is difficult to ascertain, especially since he spent early August preoccupied with attempts to extradite him to and had gone into hiding by 10 August to avoid arrest and possible extradition. Regardless, as editor of the paper, JS assumed responsibility for all published 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.
Dr. West’s chief effort the first part of the evening was to impeach the character of Smith and the Mormon witnesses, for this purpose he read from an old pamphlet what appeared to be a certificate from some twenty or thirty citizens of the state of , representing Harris and the Smith family as being money diggers, superstituous and visonary, and that they had no confidence in their pretended discoveries. He also read a long letter which he said was from a Mr. [J. N. T.] Tucker the printer of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The letter stated that neither he nor the hands in the office, believed a word of the book, that they tried Smith by pretending to lose one of the sheets and got Smith to translate it over again, and that afterwards they compared the two together, and they did not agree. The letter also gave an account of several failures by the Mormon , in their attempts to work miracles, &c. the principal of which was as follows: One of their accomplices went before, and called upon a farmer—was sick, and pretended to die. Soon after two Mormon Elders came along, and proposed trying their skill in raising him. The farmer called in the neighbors to witness it, but he asked them if they could raise a man that was beheaded; they answered, yes; then said the farmer, seizing his axe, I will cut off his head, that the miracle may be more apparent, and the proof more convincing. But the dead man declining the operation sprang upon his feet without their aid. This was the amount of the testimony by which the Mormon witnesses were impeached. In reply said, the certificate from the citizens of was not half as bad as the Priests and Pharisees entertained of Christ and his apostles; that Christ told them that they should be hated of all nations, and Paul says: “we are counted as the filth and offscouring of all things.” Harris, Smith, and others were not accused of murder, treason, robbery, theft, and other crimes, but of being ‘visionary and money diggers.’ The servants of God were always visionary; Stephen was stoned for seeing a vision; forty men bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink till they had killed Paul, because he said he had a vision and heard a voice. If Mr. Smith dug for money he considered it was a more honorable way of getting it than taking it from the widow and orphan; but few lazy, hireling priests of this age, would dig either for money or potatoes. This of course made Father Taylor take his toes again. Tucker’s letter he pronounced wholly a farce; it bore marks of forgery or falsehood in every sentence; first was the printer of the 1st edition of the book, as the title page showed for itself, and if Tucker or any one else had pretended to lose and yet retained a porton of it, let it be produced; why is it kept secret, this twelve years and no one know any thing about it until now? As to the story of the dead man it proved too much. He was either dead, or the farmer and his neighbors were all fools. Who was the farmer? Who were the neighbors? What was the dead man’s name, and that of the preachers? Where and when was it done? On all these subjects we are left to our own conjectures. further said, if such men as Tucker or the farmer existed, tell us where and who they are; I will, furnish the money to bring them here, and we will have this matter settled; and I will pay Dr. West’s expenses till it can be done.
-[Note.—For want of room, we are unable to insert the whole of the discussion; we would only say that it resulted in the complete triumph of truth over error and darkness.]-
TIMES AND SEASONS.
CITY OF ,
MONDAY, AUG. 15, 1842.
The first editorial, on persecution, detailed the suffering experienced by the Latter-day Saints, especially in . The article came in response to recent affidavits sworn by former Missouri governor . The affidavits led Missouri governor to sign requisitions wherein he named as the man who attempted to murder Boggs and JS as an accessory before the fact. The requisitions led governor to order the extradition, which would have resulted in Rockwell and JS being arrested and transported back to Missouri. Because of these recent legal developments, the article focused on the injustice of the extradition attempt and the abuses members had previously suffered at the hands of Missouri citizens and government officials. This history of persecution contextualized and sought to justify JS’s decision to obtain a writ of and go into hiding to avoid extradition. The article employed an editorial “we,” referred to JS in the third person, and was not signed by the editor (or editorial staff), all of which suggest it was written by someone other than JS.
“If ye will live godly in Christ Jesus, ye shall suffer persecution,” was the solemn proclamation made by one of the ancient servants of God;—a prophecy that has received its fulfilment in all ages, that has been known and understood by all saints, and that has been engraven upon the memories of all the faithful: for while blood, and fire, and sword, and torture, have been brought into requisition against the saints; whilst chains, and fetters, and death have been employed, and their sighings and mournings have been wafted on the wings of the wind; their solitary hours and midnight cries; their distress and calamity have been disregarded. This eternal truth has re-echoed in their ears; it has touched their inmost soul; it has been written on the tablet of their hearts—“if ye will live godly in Christ Jesus ye shall suffer persecution.”
Ever since the formation of the , calumny, reproach and persecution has flown plentifully [p. 886]
Lilburn W. Boggs, Affidavit, 20 July 1842. Although rumors of JS’s involvement in the attempt on Boggs’s life had been circulating since May 1842, Boggs’s affidavit appeared before John C. Bennett’s 22 July letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal, wherein he accused JS of collusion in the attempted murder of Boggs. (John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 15 July 1842, ; “Gen. Bennett’s 4th Letter” and “Disclosures—the Attempted Murder of Boggs!,” Sangamo Journal, 22 July 1842, .)
An 1833 revelation concerning the Saints’ expulsion from Jackson County, Missouri, instructed church leaders to seek redress from the state and federal governments. After the Saints were expelled from Missouri in early 1839, church leaders collected reports of the losses the Saints had endured and submitted a memorial to the federal government enumerating these injustices. Despite church leaders’ efforts to explain the violation of the Saints’ constitutional rights, however, the memorial was dismissed because the Senate Judiciary Committee did not have the jurisdiction to hear the Saints’ case against Missouri. Although the Saints continued to petition for redress, this dismissal ended the church’s hopes of obtaining federal redress at that time. (Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:86–89]; Report of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 4 Mar. 1840; Journal of the Senate of the United States, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., 23 Mar. 1840, 259–260.)
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Being the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, Begun and Held at the City of Washington, December 2, 1839, and in the Sixty-Fourth Year of the Independence of the Said United States. Washington DC: Blair and Rives, 1839.