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, Willmer Benson, 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.
anointed the heads of his colleagues each in his turn, beginning at the <January 21.> eldest. The visions of heaven were opened to them also. Some of them saw the face of the Savior, and others were ministered unto by holy Angels, and the spirit of prophecy and revelation was poured out in mighty power, and loud hosannas and glory to God in the highest saluted the heavens, for we all communed with the heavenly hosts. And I saw in my vision all of the presidency in the Celestial Kingdom of God, and many others who were present. Our meeting was opened by singing and prayer offered up by the head of each Church quorum and closed by singing and invoking the blessing benediction of heaven with uplifted hands, and retired between one and two o’clock in the morning
<22.> Friday Morning 22d. Attended at the school room at the usual hour but, instead of pursueing our studies we spent the time in rehearsing to each other the glorious scenes that transpired on the preceeding evening while attending to the ordinance of holy anointing. At evening we met at the same place with the council of the Twelve, and the presidency of the Seventy, who were to receive this ordinance. The High councils of and Zion were present, also. After calling to order and organizing, the presidency proceeded to consecrate the oil. We then laid our hands <Anointing of the Twelve & 70.> upon Elder , who is president of the Twelve, and ordained him to the authority of anointing his brethren. I then poured the [HC 2:382] consecrated oil upon his head in the name of Jesus Christ, and sealed such blessings upon him as the Lord put into my heart. The rest of the Presidency then laid their hands upon him and blessed him each in their turn beginning at the oldest. He then anointed and blessed his brethren from the oldest to the youngest. I also laid my hands upon them, and pronounced many great and glorious things upon their heads; the heavens were opened and angels ministered unto us. The Twelve then proceeded to anoint and bless the presidency of the Seventy, and seal upon their heads power and authority to anoint their brethren, The heavens were opened upon elder , and he leaping up exclaimed, “the horsemen of Israel and the chariots thereof.” Brother was also anointed and blessed to preside over the high priesthood. arose to conclude the services of the evening, by invoking the benediction of heaven upon the Lord’s anointed, which he did in an eloquent manner; the congregation shouted a long Hosannah: the gift of tongues fell upon us in mighty power, angels mingled their voices with ours, while their presence was in our midst, and unceasing praises swelled our bosoms for the space of half an hour. I then observed to the brethren, that it was time to retire: we accordingly closed our interview and returned home at about 2 o clock in the morning. and the Spirit and visions of God attended me through the night