JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, created 24 Feb. 1845–3 July 1845; handwriting of , , Jonathan Grimshaw, and ; 512 pages, plus 24 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the third volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This third volume covers the period from 2 Nov. 1838 to 31 July 1842; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, D-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers the “Manuscript History” bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”). The completed six-volume collection covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “’s forces” at , Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop at , Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative was completed by 3 May 1845, although some additional work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date as a supplementary document and appear in this collection as “History, 1838-1856, volume C-1 Addenda.” Compilers and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, Richards maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. , , , and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period covered by this text include the Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in by the and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to ; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch ; the establishment of the city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo ; the expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.
“ May 1. 1840— President Smith. Sir. The mission upon which we are sent swells greater and greater— As there is a great work to be done in Germany, as manifested to us by the Spirit; the following plan had been suggested to us; viz, to write a set of lectures upon the faith and doctrine of our Church, giving a brief [HC 4:123] history of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and an account of its contents, in as clear and plain style as possible; together with the out lines and organization and government of the Church of Latter Day Saints, drawn from the “doctrine and Covenants” with all the wisdom and care possible; and get the same translated into German, and publish it when we arrive in Germany, and scatter it through the German Empire, Isthiscorrect? should we consider it necessary to translate the entire Book of Mormon into German, and Doctrine and Covenants too; are we, or are we not at liberty to do so? Should we deem it necessary to publish an edition of Hymn Books in any Country; are we at liberty to do it? The fact is, we need such works, and we cannot get them from the Church here; and if we could we could not well carry them with us, at least any quantity. We feel that we are acting under the direction of the Presidency of the Church; and the reason that we make these enquiries, is, that we do not wish to step beyond our limits, or bring ourselves into a snare and dishonor by taking liberties that are not ours. We feel that all our exertions and interests shall become subservient to build up the Kingdom of God. We wish to be co-workers with you and with the Spirit of the Lord. We did not converse so much upon these literary works as we should have done before we left. The fact was, we did not begin to see the greatness of our mission before we left home; our minds were in a nut shell. It seems to us that we should spread this work among all people, languages and tongues so far as possible; and gather up all Jewels among the Jews besides— who is sufficient for these things? as agents for the Church abroad; and as co-workers with yourself in spreading this Kingdom to the remotest corners of the Earth; are we at liberty to translate and publish any works, that we may think necessary, or that the circumstances in which we are placed seem to require, whether original, or works published by the Church? If we are not at liberty to take this wide range, please tell us how far we may go. We are setting this great work before the people as an inducement to them to help us. If we are setting our standard too high, a word from you will bring it down. We have held a two days meeting in this place. But in consequence of continual rains which swelled the creeks so high — — — the people could not get to us. The meeting was four miles from , one only baptized. We have now an opportunity to ride as far East as Indiana beyond the Metropolis, and have the privilege to stop and preach by the way. Will you write to us at , and much oblige— your Brethren in the Kingdom of God— — — [HC 4:124] P.S. will you please send word to , that I want her to write to me at , Ohio,— please bear it in mind and oblige thy friend —” [p. 1055]