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Church newspaper in Nauvoo once again

NAUVOO, Ill. — Not since 1846 has the publication of a newspaper owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come to readers from Nauvoo, Ill. In that year, the Times and Seasons and a companion paper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, ceased publication as Latter-day Saints were forced to abandon Nauvoo.

Church News--Church News staff at the Times and Seasons printing building in Nauvoo June 25th, 2002.
Elder Jay Price/photo (Submission date: 06/25/2002)
Church News--Church News staff at the Times and Seasons printing building in Nauvoo June 25th, 2002. Elder Jay Price/photo (Submission date: 06/25/2002) Photo: Photo by Elder Jay Price

Most people who come to the Printing Office at the corner of Main and Kimball streets in Old Nauvoo do so as visitors who want to learn about life here in the 1840s and, in particular, about how newspapers of that time were published. Missionary tour guides explain the intricacies of publishing a newspaper back then. They point to an old press, cases of type and racks for newspapers hung to dry. It is all fascinating. Undoubtedly, when John Taylor was editor of the Times and Seasons, this must have seemed state-of-the-art machinery and technique. In today's publishing world driven by computers and satellite transmissions, we see them as relics.

Several members of the Church News staff are among visitors to the Printing Office during the dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. Joining me in Nauvoo are Church News staff writers R. Scott Lloyd, Shaun Stahle and Jason Swensen. Although the Times and Seasons did not have photos, we brought along Jeffrey D. Allred, a Deseret News photographer. We have not come as tourists. We hope to pick up the thread of communication that once emanated from this old red brick building.

From our base in Salt Lake City, we received news of the progress of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple as it was being built. We sent members of our staff for on-site reports and photos. We were awed by the prospect of Nauvoo once again having a temple on the gentle rise of land facing the Mississippi River. Being journalists, we wanted to cover the events surrounding the temple's dedication. Being sentimentalists, we wanted to do our part in re-creating a bit of history, even if for only a few days.

We've hauled in our laptop computers, connecting wires and cell phones, digital cameras and set up shop, so to speak, in the Times and Seasons Building. Upstairs we walk on wide-planked floors that creak unmercifully, sometimes disturbing a tour group downstairs. We have for our use an old conference table and spindle-backed and cane-bottom chairs. Other chairs are too modern to be worth noting. We look out windows and see through hand-blown glass panes a wavy glimpse of extraordinarily pastoral settings. We are tempted to say we wish we could stay here forever.

The press in early days was located on the upper floor, so we were pleased to have this room available for our use. However, Nauvoo's sultry heat drove us to other floors. The basement, where it is thought that the stereotype foundry was located, is several degrees cooler. My favorite spot is in a corner on the main floor; as I work at my laptop computer, I can hear tour guides and visitors talking about this famed building. Out the window, I see Brigham Young's home.

To report the news of the Church and publish counsel and teachings of prophets and apostles and other Church leaders was the aim of the Times and Seasons. It is ours also. We are grateful for the opportunity to be in Nauvoo, reporting from the Times and Seasons Building events surrounding the dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, June 27-30.

Back at our office in Salt Lake City, John Hart, associate editor, and staff writers Julie Dockstader Heaps, Greg Hill and Sarah Jane Weaver have given us great support, writing articles based on research and telephone interviews to round out our coverage of this historic event.

We recognize that many people will look to the Church News for reports on the dedication of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. We hope that our reports will help capture the grand events of this historic occasion.

E-mail: [email protected]

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