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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LDS Church History no. 2 - The Printing Office

Printing Office next door to then-Elder John Taylor's home
The course of this serial of essays seems logical to progress from the Temple to the Printing Office, because just as the Temple is the preparatory step in preparing the Elders to preach the Gospel, even the Printing Office is the preparatory step in promulgating the printed Word.  The Printing Office was where The Wasp (edited by Elder William Smith), The Nauvoo Neighbor (edited by President John Taylor), and The Times and Seasons (the LDS Church's official paper, also edited by President Taylor) were printed.  The Wasp was printed until 1843, when The Nauvoo Neighbor replaced it until 1845.

The Nauvoo Neighbor was, according to The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, printed from 3 May 1843 through 29 October 1845 (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 999).  Its chief editor was President John Taylor of the Twelve.  Archives of The Nauvoo Neighbor can be seen here.

Along with The Nauvoo Neighbor was published The Times and Seasons, the official LDS Church newspaper of the day. 
The Times and Seasons had a much longer life than did The Nauvoo NeighborThe Times and Seasons was published from 1839 to 15 February 1846.  It was at first edited by Don Carlos Smith and Ebenezer Robinson, but after the death of D.C. Smith in 1841, President Joseph Smith himself became chief editor, assisted by John Taylor, the latter of the two editing until the Mormon exodus in 1846.  In 1842, however, Taylor became the principle editor, assisted by Elder Willard Richards of the Twelve.  The Book of Abraham appeared serially in this paper, as well as Joseph Smith's personal history, which is now Joseph Smith-History in the Pearl of Great Price.  Also, the Wentworth Letter was published on this sheet as well. 

Times and Seaseons, Volume 5, Number 12, 1 July 1844 read, "The guard [at Carthage Jail] was surprised by an armed Mob, of between 150 to 250, painted red, black and yellow, which surrounded the jail, forced in - poured a shower of bullets into the room where those unfortunate men were held. . . . They [Joseph and Hyrum Smith] fell as Martyrs amid this tornado of lead, each receiving four bullets!"

This is a replica of the type of press that would have been used to print the Times and Seasons and the Nauvoo Neighbor.  The press originally was upstairs, but now rests on the main floor of the Printing Office.

After a paper was printed, it was hung up on the ceiling, as shown above, so the ink would dry properly. 

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