Times and Seasons

Author: Durham, Reed C., Jr.

The journalistic voice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, the Times and Seasons, was published in 135 issues of sixteen pages each between November 1839 and February 1846. It was a monthly from November 1839 to October 1840, then a biweekly, issued, about the first and the fifteenth of each month, until February 15, 1846. It was the fourth major semiofficial newspaper published by the Church. During the seven months in 1842 that the Prophet Joseph Smith was the editor, he published several important documents of Mormon history in its pages: the translation and facsimiles of the book of Abraham, the Wentworth Letter, and the early segments of the History of the Church.

The Times and Seasons was first established and edited by Don Carlos Smith, Joseph Smith's youngest brother, and Ebenezer Robinson for the Saints who had been scattered by the Missouri conflict and were anxious "to learn of the condition and Welfare of the Church." They proposed to publish "all general information respecting the Church" (T&S 1 [Nov. 1839]:16). This included Church news and history, world news and history, political and literary materials, Nauvoo city news, obituaries, announcements, doctrinal expositions, conference reports, mission reports, letters from missionaries, and notices and trial minutes of excommunications. The Times and Seasons also responded to polemic and apologetic treatment of Mormonism by other newspapers in an attempt to establish goodwill and understanding.

In Nauvoo the press offices were first located in a warehouse basement at Water and Bain (Fifth) streets. The operations of the newspaper later moved to the new, brick Times and Seasons Printing Office building at Kimball and Main (Seventh) streets, which is now restored in Nauvoo.

John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, both apostles and later Presidents of the Church, edited the paper from late 1842 until April 1844, and then John Taylor edited it alone until its last issue on February 15, 1846, just before the Saints left Nauvoo on their exodus west.

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