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.
said he <had> “taken the liberty to break the word of wisdom. <August 19.> from the example of president Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, but acknowledged that it was wrong: that he had taught the Book of Mormon and Commandments as he had thought to be wisdom and for the good of the cause; that he had not intended to dictate elder J. B. Smith, but only to advise with him.” The council reproved , and advised instructed him to observe the word of wisdom and commandments in all things: also that it is not advisable for any elder to take his wife with him on a mission to preach.”
<21 Conference of the Twelve at .> Seven of the Twelve met in conference at Maine August 21st.. The church in that place numbered 57; The Dover Branch of New Hampshire, 8; The council gave instructions on the Redemption of Zion, the building of the in ; and the printing of the word of God to the nations, &c, &c, and some were added to the church during their stay. The Church in contributed 70 or 80 dollars to assist the [HC 2:252] twelve to return home, which the twelve recorded as a memento in their behalf, according to covenant.
<24. Conference of the Presidency of the High council & J. W. Tippits to go to to purchase land.> on the 24th. the High council of ordained an Elder, and instructed him, and his sons, and Lyman, and his son in Law, , elders, to situate their families and go forth and preach the Gospel. Also that , and J. W. Tippits go to this fall to purchase land for the church in Essex New York, according to previous appointment by the voice of said church.
<28. Council of Twelve. Conference.> “August 28th The travelling High Council, assembled in conference at Farmington, Maine, and Resolved that this be called the Conference. The church in Farmington numbered 32: in Letter B. 22: in Akwry [Newry] 25: in Errol, N. H. 20: all in good standing.”
<September 1> September 1st. 1835 I wrote the following communication, to , Esquire, Editor, of which was published in the “Messenger and Advocate” p. 179, &c,
<Letter to the Elders, from Joseph Smith.> To the elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints. After so long a time, and after so many things have been said, I feel it my duty to drop a few hints, that, perhaps, the Elders, travelling through the world to warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come, and save themselves from this untoward generation, [HC 2:253] may be aided in a measure, in doctrine, and in the way of their duty. I have been laboring in this cause for eight years, during which time I have travelled much, and have had much experience. I removed from , New York, to , Ohio, in February, 1831.
Having received, by an heavenly vision, a commandment, in June following, to take my journey to the western boundaries of the State of , and there designate the very spot, which was to be the central spot, for the commencement of the gathering [p. 606]