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.
things of God during the coming winter. A building for a <October> was nearly finished, and the lower story of this building was set apart for that pur[HC 2:169]pose <(the school)> when it was completed. So the Lord opened the way according to our faith and works, and blessed be his name.
<November.> No month ever found me more busily engaged than November; but as, my life consisted of activity and unyielding exertion, I made this my rule, when the Lord commands, do it. Among other matters the following lettre was sent to , Brownhelm, Ohio, by order of the High Council.
“Dear Brother, There having been serious complaints presented to us against you, we sincerely request you to come to , immediately, as it will be necessary that a proper notice be taken of the same. We do not write the above with a view to accuse, ourselves; but you know the great responsibility resting upon us, and the propriety of noticing charges, especially when they are preferred against men in important and interesting stations in the church of the saints. We have truly written the above with feelings of deep interest for your own welfare and standing in the church; and we do hope you will not fail to come down immediately, as the representations made to us will require immediate notice. It is necessary for us to inform you, that until you appear and make the satisfaction requisite, you are suspended from acting in the authority of the office to which you have <been> previously ordained.
With feelings of respect, we subscribe ourselves your brethr[e]n in the New covenant. Joseph Smith, Junr, , clerk of the High Council.”
I continued my labors daily, preparing for the school, &c and received the following
<25 Revelation Concerning .> Revelation, Given November 25th 1834.
1. It is my will that my servant, should be appointed and ordained a presiding high priest over my church in the land of and the regions round about, [HC 2:170] and should preach my everlasting gospel and lift up his voice and warn the people, not only in his own place, but in the adjoining countries, and devote his whole time in this high and holy calling which I now give unto him, seeking diligently the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all things necessary shall be added thereunto; for the laborer is worthy of his hire.
2. And again, verily I say unto you, the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, and it overtaketh the world as a theif in the night; therefore, gird up your loins that you may be the children of the light, and that day shall not overtake you as a theif. [p. 558]