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 29> him. 2d For attempting to inflict personal violence on Pret. J. Smith Junr
<30.> Wednesday 30th. spent the say in reading Hebrew at the council Room, in company with , which gave me much satisfaction on account of his returning health, for I delight in his company.
At home until about 10. o’clock I then attended a blessing meeting at ’s, in company with , and , & who had come to live with me, also [HC 2:346] went with us. A large company assembled, then made some appropriate preliminary remarks; a hymn was sung, and he opened the Meeting by prayer. About fifteen persons then received a patriarchal blessing under his hands, the services were then dismissed as they commenced. A table was then crowned with the bounties of nature, and after invoking the benediction of heaven upon the rich repast, we fared sumptuously, and suffice it to say that we had a glorious meeting throughout, and I was much pleased with the harmony and decorum that existed among the brethren, and Sisters. We returned home, and at early candl[e]light I preached at the to a crowded congregation, who listened with attention about three hours. I had great liberty in speaking. Some Presbyterians were present, as I afterwards learned, and I expect that some of my sayings set like a garment that was well fitted, as I exposed their abominations in the language of <the> Scriptures. And I pray God that it may be like a nail in a sure place, driven by the master of assemblies.
<31.> Thursday morning 31st. at home, After attending to the duties of my family, retired to the council Room to pursue my studies. The council of the Twelve convened in the upper Room in the Printing office, directly over the room where we were assembled, in our studies. They sent for me, and the presidency, (or a part of them,) to receive council from us on the subject of the council which is to be held on Saturday next. In the afternoon I attended at the to give directions concerning the upper rooms, and more especially the west room, which I intend occupying for a translation room, which will be prepared this week. [HC 2:347]
The Public mind has been excited of late by reports which <Mummies> have been circulated of late concerning certain Egyptian Mummies, and Ancient Records which were purchased by certain Gentlemen [p. 674]