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
, 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
, 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.