JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. D-1, created 4 July 1845–4 Feb. 1846 and 1 July 1854–2 May 1855; handwriting of , Robert L. Campbell, and ; 275 pages, plus 6 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the fourth volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This fourth volume covers the period from 1 Aug. 1842 to 1 July 1843; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, C-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
History, 1838–1856, volume D-1, constitutes the fourth of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 August 1842 to 1 July 1843, and it was compiled after JS’s death.
The material recorded in volume D-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , with the assistance of . After Richards’s death in 1854, continued work on the volume as the new church historian with Bullock’s continued help. The process adopted by Richards and Bullock involved Richards creating a set of rough draft notes and Bullock transcribing the notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents (such as letters and meeting minutes). George A. Smith followed a similar pattern, though he dictated the draft notes to Bullock and other scribes.
According to the Church Historian’s Office journal, finished the third volume of the series, volume C-1, on Thursday, 3 July 1845, in , Illinois. He began work on the fourth volume, D-1, the next day, beginning on page 1362 with the entry for 1 August 1842. (The pages in volumes A-1–E-1 were numbered consecutively.) Bullock continued work on the record, drawing upon ’s draft notes, until 3 February 1846—the day before D-1 and the other volumes were packed up in preparation for the Latter-day Saints’ exodus from Nauvoo. At that point he had reached page 1485 with the entry for 28 February 1843. Subsequently, apparently after the collection had arrived in Utah, Bullock added a brief comment beneath that entry: “end of W. Richard’s compiling[.] the books packed Feby. 4— 1846 in Nauvoo[.] Miles Romney— present. The records carried by T Bullock from Winter Quarters to G S L [Great Salt Lake] City in 1848.”
A notation at the top of page 1486 reports that “the books were unpacked in G. S. L. City by and . June 7. 1853. J[onathan] Grimshaw & Miles Romney present.” Vertically, in the margin, is a poignant epitaph: “Decr. 1 1853 Dr. Willard Richards wrote one line of History—being sick at the time—and was never able to do any more.” With Richards’s death on 11 March 1854, JS’s cousin was called to the office of church historian. The notation on the top of page 1486 acknowledges this change in officers, noting, “commencement of George A. Smith’s compiling as Historian. April 13. 1854[.] [C]ommenced copying July 1. 1854.” From mid-April to the end of June 1854, George A. Smith, in collaboration with Thomas Bullock, worked on the draft notes for the history before a new scribe, , resumed writing in D-1 on 1 July 1854, beginning with the entry for 1 March 1843.
continued transcribing intermittently into the late fall of 1854, when he was assigned other duties in the Historian’s Office. He had reached page 1546 with the entry for 5 May 1843. Work resumed in February 1855 in the hand of Robert L. Campbell, recently returned from a mission. He concluded volume D-1 on the morning of 2 May 1855 and began writing in E-1 that afternoon.
The 274 pages of volume D-1 contain a record of much that is significant in the life of JS and the development of the church he founded. Among these events are
• JS’s 6 August 1842 prophecy that the Saints would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.
•JS’s 8 August 1842 arrest on a warrant for being “an accessory before the fact” to an attack on former governor .
• ’s 17 August 1842 letter to governor , pleading for the humane treatment of her husband and family.
•JS’s 1 and 6 September 1842 instructions regarding the proper procedures for performing baptisms for the dead.
• JS’s 15 November 1842 “Valedictory” as he stepped down as editor of the Times and Seasons.
• The 26 December 1842 arrest of JS on a “proclamation” by former governor , and subsequent hearing in , Illinois.
• The 7 February 1843 recovery of a volume of patriarchal blessings given by , which had been stolen in , Missouri.
• JS’s 21 February 1843 remarks regarding the and .
• JS’s 2 April 1843 instruction at , Illinois, on the nature of God and other subjects.
• JS’s 16 May 1843 remarks at , Illinois, on the everlasting covenant and eternal marriage.
• The account of JS’s 23 June 1843 arrest and his hearing the following week at .
<May 24> that all was clean in Heaven, and that Jesus was going to make the place of his feet glorious, and if the Mormons did not keep their feet out of the ashes they could not stand with him on Mount Zion.
I had no thought before but that dirty people could get to Heaven, as well as clean ones; and that if the priests offered sacrifice with polluted hands, the fire would cleanse both the offering and the hands that offered it. I cannot say how much there may be in Scripture to contradict my views, neither can I vouch for it that the churches of the day believe any such doctrine, for I never belonged to any of them, but have rather been called an infidel. As to that I have not altered much. I like consistency find it where I may.
With all these curious notions, I fell into the Mormon Settlement, and saw the Prophet, but having never heard a Mormon preach, you can imagine me not quite ready to receive all the impressions incident to an interview with such a distinguished personage, but I will give it as I find it, hit or miss, the faith or feelings of any one
I have had an interview since my last, and found any thing but the truth of current reports. “The prophet Joseph” (as he is called among his people) said in a conversation with a gentleman present, that he no more professed to be a Prophet, than every man must, who professes to be a preacher of righteousness, or a minister of the New Testament. To be a minister of Jesus, a man must testify of Jesus, and to testify of Jesus a man must have the spirit of prophecy; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.— If a man professes to be a minister of Jesus, and has not the spirit of prophecy, he must be a false witness, for he is not in possession of that gift which qualifies him for his office; and the difference between himself and the clergy of this generation is, he claims to be in possession of [HC 5:407] that Spirit of prophecy which qualifies him to testify of Jesus and the Gospel of salvation; while the clergy deny that Spirit, even the Spirit of prophecy, which alone could constitute them true witnesses or testators of the Lord Jesus, and yet claim to be the true ministers of salvation.
In this, said he, I am honest, and they are dishonest, and that is the difference between us. Were they true and honest witnesses of Jesus Christ, they would acknowledge they have the testimony of him, and that is the spirit of prophecy, and every man who possesses that Spirit is a prophet I, said he, claim no more than what every Servant of Christ must possess, to qualify him for his office; while the clergy of the 19th century deny that, which alone could constitute them what they profess to be. He said he did not profess to be a very good man, but acknowledged himself a sinner like other men, or as all men are imperfect; and it is necessary for all men to grow into the stature of manhood in the Gospel.
I could not help noticing that he dressed, talked, and acted like other men, and in every respect the perfect counterpart of what I had conjured up in my imagination for a Prophet.
The Mormons have not yet completed their great , and have no commodious place of worship, but the apostles and elders preach in private houses on the [p. 1560]