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.
<March 29.> Soon [HC 2:429] after this, the word of the Lord came to us through Prest. J. Smith Jnr., that those who had entered the holy place, must not leave the until morning but send for such things as were necessary: and also that during our stay, we must cleanse our feet and partake of the sacrament, that we might be made holy before Him, and thereby be qualified to officiate in our calling upon the morrow in washing the feet of the elders.
<washing the feet of the Presidency.> Accordingly we proceeded to cleanse our faces and our feet, and then proceeded to wash each others feet, Prest. first washed President Joseph Smith Junr. and then in turn was washed by him; after which washed Presidents , and : President Joseph Smith Jun. washed president , and then president washed president ’s feet, and Prest ’s: Then President washed prist. feet, and in turn washed prest. ’s feet: The Bishops and their counsellors were then washed, after which we partook of the bread and wine. The Holy Spirit rested down upon us, and we continued in the all night, prophecying and giving glory to God.
<30 Council for washing of feet.> Wednesday morning, 8, o’clock, according to appointment. the presidency, the twelve, the Seventies, the high Councils, the Bishops and their entire quorums, the elders and all the official members in this stake of Zion, amounting to about three hundred, met in the , to attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. I ascended to the pulpit and remarked to the congregation that we had passed through many trials and afflictions, since the organization of this church and that this is a year of Jubilee, to us, and a time of rejoicing, and that it was expedient for us to prepare bread and wine sufficient to make our hearts glad, as we should not probably leave [HC 2:430] this house until morning, to this end we should call on the brethren to make a contribution. The Stewards passed round and took up a liberal contribution, and messengers were dispatched for bread and wine. Tubs, water and towels were prepared, and I called the house to order: and the Presidency proceeded to wash the feet of the Twelve, pronouncing many prophecies and blessings upon them, in the name of the Lord Jesus <and then the twelve proceeded to was[h] the feet of the presidents of the several quorums> The brethren began to prophecy upon each others heads, and cursings upon the enemies of christ, who inhabit , Missouri, and continued prophecying, and blessing and sealing them with hosanna and amen, until nearly 7 o’clock P.M.— The bread and wine was then brought in, and I observed that we had fasted all the day, and lest we [p. 724]