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.
<March 22> Extract of a letter from Elder , , Massachusetts
“I am on a visit to assist Elder in his successful and [HC 4:566] extended field of labor in this branch. Sixty five have been obedient to the faith of the gospel, and hundreds of others “almost persuaded.” In near 40 have obeyed through the faithful labors of Elder . I have been absent from Peterboro’ two weeks, have preached three or four times in , , Marblehead, Chelsea, &c and purpose returning to Peterboro next Sunday, where I have been laboring with good success; thirty six have obeyed since last fall, at New Salem, Massachusetts, thirty five to forty obeyed since August last, Leverett, eighteen or twenty, Gilsum, New Hampshire twenty to thirty. I have preached from one to three times almost every day, and cannot fill one to twenty of the calls for preaching; there is the greatest excitement in this Country that I ever beheld during my travels, since I left ; a period of near three years in which I have travelled through Eighteen States and British Provinces.”
<24> Thursday 24. I attended by request the “Female Relief Society,” whose object is, the relief of the poor, the destitute, the widow, and the Orphan, and for the exercise of all benevolent purposes, Its organization was completed this day—
“Mrs. takes the Presidential Chair, Mrs. and Mrs. are her Counsellors; Miss Elvira Cole is Treasuress, and our well known and talented Poetess, Miss — Secretary— There was a very numerous attendance at the organization of the Society and also at their subsequent meetings of some of our most intelligent, humane, philanthropic and respectable ladies; and we are well assured from a knowledge of those pure principles of benevolence that flow spontaneously from their humane and philanthropic bosoms, that with the resources they will have at command they will fly to the relief of the Stranger, they will pour in oil and wine to the wounded heart of the distressed; they will dry up the tear of the Orphan, and make the widow’s heart to rejoice. Our Ladies have always been signalized for their acts of benevolence and kindness; but the cruel usage that they [HC 4:567] have received from the Barbarians of , has hitherto prevented their extending the hand of Charity in a conspicuous manner; yet in the midst of their persecutions, when the bread has been torn from their helpless offspring by their cruel oppressors, they have always been ready to open their doors to the weary traveller, to divide their scanty pittance with the hungry; and from their robbed and impoverished wardrobes, to divide with the more needy and destitute; and now that they are living in a more genial soil, and among a less barbarous people, and possess facilities that they have not heretofore enjoyed, we feel convinced that with their concentrated efforts the condition of the suffering poor, of the stranger and the fatherless will be ameliorated. We had the privilege of being present at their organization, and were much pleased with their modusoperandi, and the good order that prevailed; They are strictly parliamentary in their proceedings” [p. 1302]