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.
<April 28 tried for offering marriage to > “Saturday April 28th. 1838. This morning President, J. Smith Jun. and , attended the High council by invitation. The business before the council was the an appeal case from the branch of the church near .——Jackman Jackson was plaintiff, and Defendant. and Presiding. It appeared in calling the council to order that some of the seats were vacant, which the Council proceeded to fill, but as there were not a sufficient number present, forthe who were eligible to the station, Presidents [HC 3:25] Smith and were strongly solicited to act as counsellors, or to preside and let the presiding officers act as counsellors; &c. They accepted the former proposal, and Prest Smith was chosen to act on the part of the defence, and to speak upon the case, together with . was chosen to speak on the part of the prosecution, together with , after the council was organized, &c. After some arbitrarious speeches to know whether witnesses should be admitted to testify against , or whether he should have the privilege of confessing his own sins; It was decided that witnesses should be admitted and also the written testimony of the of said Jackson. As to this man, , it is a well know fact, and without contradiction, that he has been in transgression ever since he first came into , which is some four or five years, as appeared this day by different witnesses, which are unimpeachable The witnesses against , were first, , wife of Plaintiff Jackson, one Bro. Burt, , Bro , Bro also, Bro Benjamin and the , Which testimony says that some time last season the plaintiff sent his wife from Illinois, to this country, as he, himself, could not come at that time. Accordingly his wife, , came, and settled in the branch first above mentioned. Now this man had settled in this branch also, and was their presiding High Priest, and had gained to himself great influence in and over that Branch, and it also appears that this man had great possessions; and (if we may judge from testimony given this day,) calculates to keep them, let the saints necessity necessities be what they may. and it also appears that this man was in want of a wife, (if actions bespeak the desire of any man.) Consequently set his wits to work to get one. He commenced, (as he said) by getting a revelation from God that he must marry ; or that she was the woman to make his wife; and it appeared that these revelations were frequently received by him. and shortly introduced to . It was also manifested that the old man had sagacity enough to know that unless he used his priestly office to assist him in accomplishing his designs, he would fail in the attempt; he therefor told that he had a revelation from God that her husband was dead &c. and that she must consent to marry him, or she would be forever miserable; for he had seen her future state of existence, and that she must remember that whomsoever he blessed would be blessed, and whomsoever he cursed would be cursed. [p. 792]