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.
<December 12.> that it was downright wickedness, ignorance, Bigotry and superstition, Which caused her to make the remark, and that I would put it on record, and I have done so, because it is a fair sample of the prevailing spirit of the times, showing that the victims of priestcraft and Superstition would not <Debate.> believe though one should rise from the dead. At evening attended a debate, at Bro. ’s on the following question; Was it necessary for God to reveal himself to man in order for their happiness? I was on the affirmative and the last to speak on that side of the question, but while listening with interest to the ingenuity displayed, on both sides, I was called away, to visit Sister , who was supposed to be dangerously sick. and myself went and prayed for and laid hands on her, in the name of Jesus Christ, and leaving her apparently better returned home.
<Sunday 13.> Sunday 13th. at the usual hour (10. forenoon) attended meeting at the . Elder preached a very feeling discourse; in the afternoon Elder related his experience, after which Prest, related his also. They both spoke of many things connected with the rise and progress of this church, which were interesting; after this the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered under the superintendance of Prest. , after which I made some remarks respecting prayer Meetings; and our meeting was closed by invoking the blessing of heaven. I returned home and ordered my horse, and myself and [HC 2:330] rode to Mrs E. Jennings < Married> where I joined and in matrimony, according to previous engagements, had so far recovered from her illness as to be able to sit in an her easy chair while I pro[no]unced the marriage ceremony. We then rode to ’s, a distance of about three miles from town, where I had been solicited to attend another marriage. We found a large and respectable number of the friends present. I had been requested to make some preliminary remarks on the subject of matrimony, touching the design of the Almighty in this institution, also the duties of husbands and wives towards each other, and after opening our interview with singing and prayer I delivered a lecture of about forty minutes, in which all seemed interested, except one or two individuals who manifested a spirit of grovelling contempt which I was constrained to reprove and rebuke sharply. after <, married> I had closed my remarks I sealed the matrimonial engagements between Mr and Miss in the name of God, and pronouncing the blessings of heaven upon their heads, closed by returning thanks. A sumptuous feast was then spread, and the company [p. 662]