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.
lands will take such a price for the same, as the above apprizers <November 10> shall think worth, and that the same bet be then disposed of as is voted above. A call was then made for those whose circumstances were such as to permit, to go out to preach, to present themselves. There were twenty three who arose. Sylvester H. Earl, , , and John W. Clark, were ordained Elders, and William J. Levans was ordained a Priest. then closed the meeting by Prayer.
<20> “ November 20th The High council met in the . Sen Presiding. preferred the following charge against Z<enos> H. Brewster, Jane Brewster, , D. H. Dustin and wife, Moses R. Norris and wife, Eliza Norris, Samuel Barnet, Jemima Butler, —— Butler and Roxana Repsher; for giving heed to Revelations said to be translated from the Book of Moroni by , and for entering into a written covenant different from the articles and covenants of the church of latter Day saints, and following a vain and delusive spirit. Two were appointed to speak on each side. The writings and revelations kept and received by the accused were presented, and read by the clerk of the council. The accused plead not guilty. Brother Felshaw was called forward by the Plaintiff, who stated that [HC 2:525] he had visited the accused and labored with them according to the law of the church; that the accused Justified themselves, seeing the church had not lived according to the former revelations, and that they considered the High Council and others were in transgression; and that most of the accused appeared to be determined to pursue their own way whether right or wrong. Bro Allen said the accused appeared to manifest a hard spirit against the presidents of the Church and the High Council. Bro Dunn concurred. Bro Sawyer stated that he heard brother Norris say, that those in authority were against him, and if he could not establish an order of things here to his mind, he would go out among the gentiles and do it. Bro. Knights confirmed the foregoing testimony. The accused called bror Freeman who stated that he had attended a number of the meetings of the accused, and saw nothing out of the way. Bro confirmed bro Freeman’s statement, but did not know, when he attended the meetings that they received Revelations for themselves. Bro L. Foster agreed with the last two witnesses. Bro Preston was called by the accuser, who testified that the accused refuse to admit him into their meeting, and that others were rejected. Several witnesses testified they had attended their meetings and saw nothing wrong. Others testified they had heard them speak against the heads of the church, and that Bro Joseph had many things to repent of. and one of them said he thought some put too much stress on the priesthood, and that he was informed that brother Norris laid his hands on and ordained him a prophet and that one of the accused said he was determined to pursue his own course whether it suited the High counsel or not. “After the pleas of the counsellors, the accused spoke in justification. of their course generally, when the council decided that the charge had been fully sustained, and withdrew fellowship from those who persisted in their course of conduct as before mentioned.” Clk. [p. 778]