While the June 2012 issue of the Ensign has arrived in nearly every subscriber’s mailbox and is available to read online, I’ve been reading through photo reproductions of historic Church periodicals as part of research for a project of my own.
For your enjoyment and perusal, here is a list of contents with selected highlights from the June 1832 inaugural issue of the Evening and the Morning Star, the first periodical of the Church, published in Independence, Missouri under the editorship of W. W. Phelps.
Most of the text represents my own paraphrased summaries, with direct quotes either “italicized in quotation marks”, or set aside,
in a blockquote.
If you’re interested in reading the complete texts, Centerplace.org has a great convenient transcription. I’ll be featuring additional issues (and other periodical-related information) in future posts.
Keep in mind the significance that generally when Revelations are presented, this is the very first time these texts have been publicly been made available – the little seen Book of Commandments wouldn’t be printed for another year, and the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants was still about 3 years away.
For all intents and purposes, you can say the “First Presidency Message” was a series of new Revelation texts!
What articles are of interest to you, and why? What stands out? Are there any particular features or articles you would like more information about? Which articles could you easily see in modern Church publication?
The Evening and the Morning Star. Volume 1, Number 1. June 1832
A Prophecy Given to the Church of Christ, March 7, 1831 D&C 45:1–67, 71
Editorial Messages and Instruction
To The Saints of Christ Jesus, Scattered Abroad ,by Edward Partridge
Due to some misunderstandings concerning the ‘order of gathering to Zion’, some extracts from the revelations on the subject are given. [ D&C 58:55–56, 72:24-26, 133:14-15]
On the Removal of Plain and Precious things by the Mother of Harlots, by W.W. Phelps
To give greater context to the above printed revelations, a selection from the Book of Mormon on the removal of ‘Plain and precious things’ from the scriptures by the Great and Abominable Church. Within this article, the reason is given for the divine commandment to have the Bible ‘Translated Anew’:
“Notwithstanding King James’ translators did very well, all knowing that they had only the common faculties of men and literature, without the spirit of Revelation”
A historical overview of the persecution of the ancient Christians by Rome, speaking of the Martyrdom of Peter, etc.
The Great Wall of China [from Barrow’s Travels in China]
An awe-filled description of the massive nature of the Great Wall of China.
“Evil communications corrupt good manners – saith the scripture.”
On The Government of the Thoughts by Thacher
“If then we desire to effect anything valuable in this short life; if we seek to use our talents according to the purposes of the Giver; if we would improve our own minds for the service of God, and the scenes of eternity; and contribute what we can, to the happiness and improvement of our fellow men, we must learn to control our thoughts, restrain our vain and wandering imaginations, and seek to make the proper business of life in our various callings, and the duties of devotion at their appointed seasons, fill and occupy our minds”.
“But the necessity of regulating our thoughts will appear more serious, when we consider their influence on our moral character. All action has its origin in the mind. The thought is the rudiment of the deed. Meditation produces desire, and desire leads to practice.”
Cultivate the Mind
From an article from the “Old Countryman”. It is introduced by W.W. Phelps:
“Man was created to dress the earth, and to cultivate his mind, and glorify God. It, therefore, cannot be amis[s] for us at this early period, to urge the disciples of our Lord, to study to shew themselves approved in all things. For, when a disciple, educated even as Paul at the feet of Gamaliel, is guided by the Holy Spirit, he not only edifies his fellow beings correctly, but he improves faculties agreeable to the will of God.”
The greatest nations and the most successful kings are those who promote education.
“The Doctor concluded in the following words: — ‘Most of you are as tall as me; most of you are as strong as me; all of you have as many bones and muscles as me; why is it that you are deficient in capacity? – because of your neglect in cultivating your minds and neglecting the means of raising yourselves by education.”
The Times In Which We Live
Selections from several periodicals expressing doom and gloom around the world, in the form of violence, dishonesty, political intrigue.
“We have fallen upon other times than the church of God ever saw before; times in which the same amount of religious and moral influence which once availed to advance the cause of Christ will not now enable it to hold its own.” [Spirit of the Pilgrims]
- Reduction of duties on teas and coffee, enacted into congress in 1830, went into operation in January. [Journal of Commerce]
- Mr. Geo. B. Raymond, on his way back from recovering diamonds for the Princess of Orange, “was severely wounded by a horseman who cut his head open with a sabre – supposing him to be a spy.” [N.Y. Courier and Enquirer]
- The London Evangelical Magazine calls to the pastors of independent congregations to have a day of united prayer due to several factors, including the increasingly poor commerce and trade, as well as that:
“the fatal pestilence, like a destroying angel, has set its foot upon our shores, and pauses only till the almighty Sovereign shall seal its commission; crimes, unexampled, have been brought to light; the church languishes; fanaticism and speculation, like a wrathful bolt from the skies, have scathed some of the elders of Lebanon.” [ Christian Watchman]
- And here, below, is perhaps my favorite knee-slapper of the paper:
“The following is found in an ancient History of Connecticut. Soon after the settlement of New-Haven; several persons went over to what is now the town of Milford, where, finding the soil very good, they were desirous to effect a settlement; but the premises were in the peaceable possession of the Indians, and some conscientious scruples arose as to the propriety of deposing and expelling them. To test the case a Church meeting was called, and the matter determined by the solemn vote of that sacred body. After several speeches had been made in relation to the subject, they proceeded to pass votes – the first was the following; — Voted, that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. This passed in the affirmative, and, “Voted, that the earth is given to the saints.” – This was also determined like the former—mem. Con. – 3d. “Voted, that we are the saints,” which passed without a dissenting voice, the title was considered indisputable, and the Indians were soon compelled to evacuate the possession to the rightful owners.”
- An illustration of the public expenditures of England being substantially over its income.
- Mr M’Farlane is found dead, with $3,000 in his pocket book. “The more money they find about his person, the more they wonder that he should die.” [Alb. Daily]
- Smallpox making its way among the Indians to Michigan.
- Commerce of the west through the Ohio river leads to massive employment in boats, men, and boys.
- A note on the manufacture and tariffing of Salt in Ohio.
“It has lately been discovered that the best paper for wrappers, writing, and printing, may be produced from wood shavings, boiled in mineral or vegetable alkali. One hundred pounds of wood and twelve pounds of alkali will produce a ream of paper. – [London Paper]
Awful, and Alarming Statistics
Rev. Dr. C pastor of the Presb. Church in York, Pa kept an account of all the murders under his observation from reading different periodicals. Starting in 1831, and covering one year, he took note of 109, men women, and children. Compare that with the statistics for England for the past 7 years, which had a total of 103 – averaging 15 a year. Pondering on the significance of that. “A very large proportion was occasioned by the immoderate use of ardent spirits.” – Everyone who is a friend to religion and morality should discourage use of ardent spirits. “It ought to be stated that the murders occasioned by the insurrection of the negroes in the southern states, are not included in the above…” [ Robert Cathcart]
[ Proverbs ]
- More truth shines, more discordant parties will unite to oppose truth. Ex: Herod and Pilate.
- Immoral societies flatter the world- this is why the world persecutes religion
- Sloth consumes faster than labor wears. Used key is always bright. Life is made of time – don’t squander it.
- “At the working man’s house hunger looks in but never enters.”
From The Editor:
To Man. by W.W. Phelps
Presents the purposes of the Star, “As the friend of man, to persuade him to return to God and live, before the great and terrible day of the Lord sweeps the earth of its wickedness.” Also to bring Revelations and Commandments of God, old and new. God is the same. Why would God neglect to give commandments now before he comes and glory and gathers his elect, before John the Revelator prophecies again? This paper comes as harbinger of peace and good will – part in First Resurrection, become kings and priests to God the Father in Celestial Kingdom (transcending terrestrial, telestial, etc) ––General Assembly of the First Born, Church of Enoch, Zion.
Sabbath of creation coming, Savior reign for 1000 years, Satan bound. Jesus was baptized in meridian of time – we must be baptized now on eve of Sabbath of creation.
“As this paper is devoted to the great concerns of eternal things and the gathering of the saints, it will leave politics, the gainsaying of the world, an many other matters, for their proper channels, endeavoring by all means, to set an example before the world, which, when followed, will lead our fellow men to the gates of glory, where the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary will find rest”
To The Church of Christ Abroad In The Earth
Duty of Church of Christ is to be ensign to all nations, be an example in all things (prudence, plainness, industry, economy, faith, works, humility, patience). Show that you are the children of the living God. Observe Sabbath, teaching children the gospel, learning to pray, avoiding extremes, shunning appearance of evil, study to be approved, golden rule.
“Example…[will] teach all Christendom a lesson, that studied preaching and pulpit eloquence have failed to accomplish.”
Importance of the Disciples doing what they can to educate their children.
The Book of Mormon
To Agents and the Public
Procure ten subscribers for the Star. Prophecy of Enoch to be published soon, it was spoken of by Jude. Location of Star office given. Purpose of ‘Selections’ and ‘Worldly Matters’ features of the paper explained – cannot guarantee accuracy, but “praying to God continually for his spirit to guide us to all truth.”
- A stabbing.
- A six-story store in New York fell, crushing its inhabitants.
- War declared between Colombia and Grenada
- Steamboats sunk and damaged and burned.
- Ohio / Wyandot land treaty
- Indian War with inhabitants of Illinois “The Indians are undoubtedly the aggressors”
- Dense Black Cloud in Buenos Aires – thick as mud.
- Crimes in England
- Approaching struggle for crown of Portugal
- Note of the poor who died in streets of Dublin, Ireland.
- Organized band of crime in Paris, France who poison wine, milk, and water.
The Cholera Morbus
“To give the reader, a sketch of the above calamity, as well as other common news, is, under the peculiar situation in which we stand before the world, all that we shall aim at: and it might not be amiss for all candid readers, to make some allowances for the agitation of the times, when they read what we publish. – The present age is big with events that concern the world, and we only add: WATCH.”
- What Fair One is This
- Glorious Things of These are Spoken
- The Time is Night, That Happy Time
- Redeemer of Israel
- On Mountain Tops The Mount of God
- [The Prayer of a Wise Heathen]
- The Body Is But Chaff
- He Died! The Great Redeemer Died
[Selection From The Book of Mormon]
“Hearken O ye Gentiles..repent…be baptized…numbered with…the house of Israel”
· Be Always So Precisely True
Set apart Saturday to put everything in place.