53992076

Selections from Elders’ Journal, August 1838

Far West Mo. August, 1838.
TO THE PUBLIC.
Whereas a certain letter has been publish ed in the Zions Watchman. (and perhaps in  other prints) derogatory of the character of  Presidents J. Smith Jr. and S[idney] Rigdon, pur porting to come from me, I take this oppor tunity to correct the public mind concerning  the matter.
Firstly, the letter as it stands in print, is  not a true copy of the one I wrote: but is  altered, so as to convey a different idea from  the original.
But this much I acknowledge freely; that  I did write a letter in great severity and harsh ness, censuring them both, in regard to cer tain business transactions but at the same time  expressing my entire confidence in the faith  of the church of Latter Day Saints the book  of Mormon Doctrine and Covenants; this  letter was written under feelings of excite ment, and during the most peculiar trials. I  did not however believe at the time and never  have believed at any time before, or since,  that these men were dishonest or had wrong  motives or intentions, in any of their under takings, either temporal or spiritual; I have  ever esteemed them from my first acquaint ance, as men of God, and as mighty instru ments in his hands to bring forth, establish,  and roll on the kingdom of God. But I con sidered them like other men, and as the pro phets and apostles of old liable to errors, and  nistakes, in things which were not inspired  from heaven; but managed by their own  judgement.
This letter was intended as a private admo nition, it was never intended to be made  public. But I have been long convinced, and  have freely acknowledged both to these men  and the public, that it was not calculated to  admonish them in the spirit of meekness, to  do them good, but rather to injure them and  wound their feelings, and that I much regret ed having written it, I have asked their for giveness, and I hereby do it again. I no lon ger censure them for any thing that is past,  but I censure myself for rashness, excitement  imprudence, and many faults which I would [p. 50]
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In the final issue of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, dated September 1837, a prospectus appeared announcing the forthcoming publication of the Elders’ Journal of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The following month, the first issue of the new paper appeared. The short-lived newspaper ran only four issues—two in Kirtland, Ohio, dated October and November 1837; and two in Far West, Missouri, dated July and August 1838. For the two Far West issues, the title of the paper was changed to Elders’ Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. JS is listed as editor for each of the four issues, with Thomas B. Marsh listed as proprietor or publisher. It is unknown how labor was divided on the newspaper or how much immediate responsibility JS had for the content. The paper presumably would have continued with additional issues in Missouri had it not been for the escalating violence between Mormons and non-Mormons in late 1838, which culminated in the Mormons being driven from the state. After settling at Commerce, Illinois, the Saints began publishing a new paper, the Times and Seasons—though explicitly not as a successor to the Elders’ Journal.
Because of JS’s involvement as editor of the Elders’ Journal, the Joseph Smith Papers will publish the significant editorial content from each issue as a collection of documents. Some of the individual items are signed “Ed[itor]” while others are not. Each of these collections is titled “Selections from Elders’ Journal” and dated with the month and year of publication for the issue.

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