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.
to try a person for any offence, by an illegal tribunal, or by men prejudiced against <March 10. Letter continued> him, or by authority that has given an opinion, or decision before hand, or in his absence. Very Respectfully we have the honor to be, , , , Presidents of the church of Christ in . ‘To , one of the travelling counsellors. Attest, , Clerk of the High Council of the church of Christ in . I certify the foregoing to be a true copy from the original. Clerk of the High Council.”
All the effect the above letter had upon the council, was, to convince them some still and more of the wickedness of those men, by endeavoring to palm themselves upon the church as her Presidents, after the church had, by a united voice. removed them from their Presidential office, for their ungodly conduct, and the letter was considered no more, nor less than a direct insult; or contempt, cast upon the authorities of God, and the church of Jesus Christ, therefore the council proceeded to business.
A number of charges were sustained against these men, the principal of which, was, for claiming $2,000 church funds, which they had subscribed for building an in this place when they held in their possession the city plot, and were sitting in the Presidential chair, which subscription they were intending to pay from the avails of the town Lots: but when the town plot was transferred into the hands of the , for the benefit of the Church, it was agreed that the church should take this subscription from off the hands of and , but in the transaction of the business, they bound the in a heavy Mortgage, to pay them the above $2,000, in two years from the date thereof, a part of which they have already received. and claim the remainder.
The six counsillors made a few appropriate remarks, none of whom felt to [HC 3:7] plead for mercy, as it had not been asked on the part of the accused; but all with one consent, declared that Justice ought to have his demands
After some remarks by Presidents and , Setting forth the iniquity of those men, in claiming the $2000 spoken of, which did not belong to them any more than any other person in the church: It was decided that , and be no longer membe[r]s of the Church of Christ, of Latter Day Saints, and be given over to the buffetings of satan until they learn to blaspheme no more against the authorities of God, nor fleece the flock of Christ.
The Council were then asked, if they concurred with the decision; if so to Manifest it, by rising, when they all arose. The vote was then put to the Congregation which was carried unanimously. The negative was called, but no one voted.
Bro Marcellus Cowdery arose and said he wished to have it understood that he did not vote either way because he did not consider it a legal tribunal; he also offered insult to the High Council, and to the church by reading a letter belonging to before giving it to him, and in speaking against the authorities of the church.
A motion was then made by , that fellowship be withdrawn from Marcellus <F> Cowdery, until he make satisfaction, which was seconded and carried unanimously.
<Joseph’s travels> When I had arrived within 120 miles of , the brethren met me with teams and money to help me forward, and when 8 miles from the city we were met by an escort viz. , and others who received us [p. 783]