Sermons and Instructions of Joseph Smith During the Year 1842

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The year 1842 is marked by several developments which are reflected in the public teachings of Joseph Smith.

  1. The Book of Abraham is finally published in March 1842.
  2. The Nauvoo Female Relief Society is organized in part as a precursor to the temple functions of LDS women.
  3. The temple endowment is introduced by Joseph Smith to a few trusted associates.
  4. The coming and going of John C. Bennett.

The Book of Abraham had considerable effect on Joseph Smith's teachings during the period of 1839 to 1844. Material from chapter 3 continues to surface during all these years. The temple practices and rituals are certainly related to it (see explanations for facsimile 2).

The establishment of the Relief Society served a number of purposes. These include the formalization of a charitable organization, a prototype for the women's organization in the future temple, and perhaps for other more subtle reasons.

The temple endowment and other temple ordinances were introduced during this and the following year and occupied a considerable, if sometimes veiled portion of Joseph's preaching.

John C. Bennett's departure generated new problems with Missouri and exacerbated their desire to get Joseph to stand trial as an accessory in the attempted murder of Lilburn Boggs. After advising Bennett to repent and reform and when Bennett refused to do so, Joseph excommunicated him from the Church. Bennett asked not to be publically exposed to which Joseph agreed. However, Bennett left Nauvoo and began a public campaign against Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith and O. P. Rockwell were arrested by two lawmen on August 8 on a warrant from the Governor of Illinois. The Nauvoo court issued a writ of habeas corpus and so released the prisoners. The two officers objected to this and went in search of legal advice. On the advice of counsel, Smith and Rockwell evaded arrest by hiding out in and around Nauvoo. Newly elected Governor of Illinois Thomas Ford agreed to have the Illinois supreme court decide the matter of the legality of Joseph's arrest. On January 5, 1843 Smith and Rockwell were discharged by the court which declared Bogg's affidavit of questionable validity. While Joseph Smith was in hiding, he appeared at some meetings to give instruction. However during the latter part of the year the number of his public appearances was curtailed by this circumstance.

Sources of Joseph Smith's teachings for 1842 include the Manuscript History of the Church, the Wilford Woodruff journal, the Nauvoo Relief Society minutes (kept by Willard Richards and Eliza R. Snow) and the Times and Seasons. Most sources are found in WJS.

Joseph Smith became editor of the Times and Seasons beginning March 1842. No doubt some subsequent editorial statements can be assigned to him. However it would be unwise to give blanket acceptance of these remarks as Smith's without definite proof. Day to day running of the paper during Smith's editorship was handled by John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff with Taylor likely assuming responsibility for writing much of the copy as time went on. An example of this is the September 1, 1842 editorial (3:902-905). While the text of the editorial clearly borrows from Smith's doctrinal themes of the period, it was not written by him: as noted above, Joseph was living away from Nauvoo at the time.

*Sermon checked for fidelity to source document(s).
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