Saturday, November 22, 2014

More, unedited, from chapter in progress

            Jones printed a half million copies of the first issue, sending them to libraries, magazines and newspapers. The North Manchester, Indiana, Journal noted receipt of a copy in the December 1, 1881 issue: 

We have received the first number of Zion's Day Star, a new religious paper published at New York City, bv A, D. Jones; it is a 4-column quarto, devoted especially to religious interests,. The paper states that in this first number near a half million of copics were issued. With various passages of scriptures as reference and the signs of the times closely observed, the editor advances the probability of the near end of the Gospel disipensation, or the end of time.   

            Institutions as far-afield as the Virginia Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind received copies.[1] He continued to send papers to the Virginia Institute until 1886, which appears to be the last year of publication. In the first issue (or issues), Jones suggested a careful reading of each article: “We suggest that you read carefully, at least twice, most of the articles, and especially those on chronology and the prophetic time. Without this our readers can scarcely get the connexions, and unless these are seen the force of the argument cannot be appreciated” The Printing Times, a British journal, commented on Jones’ advice, saying: “This advice, though perhaps salutary and even needful, is not very complimentary to the lucidity of the writers or to the intelligence of the readers. It is not too much to assume that most persons would rather be excused from the task of even a single reading.”[2]

            Not every review was as negative. The Longmont, Utah, Leader said that “the subscription price is nominal being only 50 cents per year. What ever they claim as a creed, many of the articles in the first issue are interesting and contain much truth.”[3] It is through a quotation in the Leader that we know some of Jones’ approach to new readers. He wrote: 

Many no doubt will inquire who are these persons advancing these views; and, because we are not among the noted and well known, my feel disposed to carelessly cast aside this sheet, scarcely reading what is therein contained. But ere you do so, we ask your attention for a short time. First, it is not for you to ask who we are, nor should you decide either for or against the paper on account of those who are concerned with it; for in and of ourselves we are nothing; but a fair question for each reader to ask is, Are the views as here set forth true? Are they supported by God’s word? If, on examination, you find them so, then they, no us, demand your attention. … 

The truth of the scriptures is the only rule of faith by which we will be examined. It is our aim to teach the truth as free from the terms of the times; to teach it in its entirety. We are not in bondage to any creed, party, or sect, but we claim to be the Lord’s free men. We recognize one Head and Master – Jesus Christ; and all true followers of him as brethren. Therefore we wish our teachings compared with “the law and the testimony,” and if any view presented is not in accordance with the above “there is no light in them,” and wee shall consider you a friend. Acts17 11. It will be our aim to make plain some of the “dark sayings and parables” of the word, and we doubt not that the hearts of many will be made to rejoice as they come to see the beauty and harmony of our Father’s word.[4]

[1]               Annual Report of the Institution for the Education of the Deaf, Dumb an d Blind at Staunton, Virginia to the General Assembly of Virginia for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 1882, page 33.
[2]               American Jottings, The Printing Times and Lithographer¸ July 15, 1882.
[3]               Untitled article in the December 2, 1881, issue.
[4]               As quoted in an untitled article in the December 2, 1881, issue of the Logan, Utah, Leader.


jerome said...
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jerome said...

I can understand papers like Bible Examiner, Herald of the Morning and World's Hope disappearing when they only had a print run of a few hundreds - but half a million? I get the faint suspicion that even at this point A D J was prone to a bit of window-dressing and exaggeration.