JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. B-1, created 1 Oct. 1843–24 Feb. 1845; handwriting of and ; 297 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the second volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This second volume covers the period from 1 Sept. 1834 to 2 Nov. 1838; the subsequent four volumes, labeled C-1 through F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, volume B-1, is the second of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. The narrative in volume B-1 begins with the entry for 1 September 1834, just after the conclusion of the Camp of Israel (later called Zion’s Camp), and continues to 2 November 1838, when JS was interned as a prisoner of war at , Missouri. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
, serving as JS’s “private secretary and historian,” completed the account of JS’s history contained in volume A-1 in August 1843. It covered the period from JS’s birth in 1805 through the aftermath of the Camp of Israel in August 1834. When work resumed on the history on 1 October 1843, Richards started a new volume, eventually designated B-1.
At the time of JS’s death in June 1844, the account had been advanced to 5 August 1838, on page 812 of volume B-1. ’s poor health led to the curtailment of work on B-1 for several months, until 11 December 1844. On that date, Richards and , assisted by , resumed gathering the records and reports needed to draft the history. Richards then composed and drafted roughed-out notes while Thomas Bullock compiled the text of the history and inscribed it in B-1. They completed their work on the volume on or about 24 February 1845. Richards, , and Jonathan Grimshaw later added ten pages of “Addenda,” which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated.
Though JS did not dictate or revise any of the text recorded in B-1, and chose to maintain the first-person, chronological narrative format established in A-1 as if JS were the author. They drew from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. As was the case with A-1, after JS’s death, , , , and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” It was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
The narrative recorded in B-1 continued the story of JS’s life as the prophet and president of the church he labored to establish. The account encompasses significant developments in the church’s two centers at that time—, Ohio, and northwest —during a four-year-span. Critical events included the organization of the Quorums of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy, the dedication of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio, the establishment of the Kirtland Safety Society, dissension and apostasy in Kirtland and Missouri, the first mission to England, JS’s flight from Kirtland to Missouri in the winter of 1838, the Saints’ exodus from Kirtland later that year, the disciplining of the Missouri presidency, and the outbreak of the Missouri War and arrest of JS. Thus, B-1 provides substantial detail regarding a significant period of church expansion and transition as well as travail.
invited to seat themselves at the table by pairs, male & female, <Dcember 13.> commencing with the eldest. The interview was conducted with propriety and decorum, and cheerfulness prevailed. After spending the evening agreeably until 9 o clock we pronounced A blessing upon the company, and returned home. This day the took fire again.
<14.> Monday 14th. a number of brethren from called to visit me and see the Egyptian Records, also returned from N.Y. and Bro of the same pleac called: and Sister called to visit us. After dinner attended the funeral of ’s youngest child; and in the evening met according to previous notice to make arrangements to guard against [HC 2:331] fire, and organize a company for this purpose; also counselled on other affairs of a temporal nature. came to my house, much afflicted with a swollen arm, as he had not sufficient faith to be healed. applied a poultice of herbs and he tarried over night. Spent the day at home reading Hebrew, and visiting friends who called to see me. [HC 2:332]
<15> Tuesday 15th. at home and, as usual, was blessed with much company. is very sick, his arm much inflamed. This afternoon Elder handed me a letter. the purport of which was, that he is dissatisfied with the committee in their dealings with him in temporal affairs, that is that they do not deal as liberally with him as they do with Elder , also requested me to reconcile the Revelation given to the Twelve since their return from the east. That unless these things and others named in the letter, could be reconciled to his mind, his honor would not stand united with them. This I beleive is the amount of the contents of the letter although much was written. My feelings on this occasion were much lacerated, knowing that I had dealt in righteousness with him, in all things, & endeavored to promote his happiness and well being as much as lay in my power, and I feel that [HC 2:333] these reflections are ungrateful and founded in jealousy, and that the adversary is striving with all his subtle devices and influence to destroy him, by causing a division among the twelve that God has chosen to open the gospel Kingdom in all nations; but I pray my heavenly Father in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, that he may be delivered from the power of the destroyer, that his faith fail not in this hour of temptation, and prepare him and all the elders to receive an endowment in thy house, even according to thine own order, from time to time, as thou see’st them worthy to be called into thy solemn Assembly.
<16> Wednesday Morning 16th. weather extremely cold, I went to the council room to lay before the presidency the letter that I received yesterday from Elder ; But when I arrived, I found that I had lost said letter, but I laid the substance of it, as far as [p. 663]