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.
Praise the Lord all ye his Saints, praise his holy name. After <January 28> these quorums were dismissed, I retired to my home filled with the Spirit, and my soul cried hosanna to God and the Lamb through the silent watches of the night, and while my eyes were closed in sleep, the visions of the Lord were sweet unto me and his glory was round about me, praise the Lord.
<29> Friday 29. Attended school and read Hebrew. Received a line from the presidency of the elders quorum, they wishing to know whom they should receive, which I answered verbally; and <Feast of Joseph.> attendedtovariousduties. P.M. I called in all family and made a feast, and related my feelings towards them. pronounced patriarchal blessings on the heads of , , , , , and [HC 2:387] . This was a good time to me and all the family rejoiced together. We continued the meeting till about 8 o clock in the evening and related the goodness of God to us in opening our eyes to see the visions of heaven, and in sending his holy angels to minister unto us, the word of life. We sang the praise of God in animated strains, and the power of love and union was felt and enjoyed.
<30.> Saturday 30th. Attended school as usual, and waited upon several visitors and shewed them the record of Abraham. , our Hebrew Teacher, examined them with deep interest, and pronounced them to be original beyond all doubt. He is a man of excellent understanding, and has a knowledge of many languages, which were spoken by the ancients, & he is an honorable man so far as I can judge yet.
At a conference of the presidency of the church, it was resolved that no one be ordained to an office in the Church in , without the voice of the several quorums, when assembled for church business. Resolved that , President of the elders, be directed to give to the presidents of the church a list of the names of the several elders, comprising his quorum; and all other elders in , not belonging to any quorum now established. Resolved that be restored to the church in full fellowship, on his being re-baptized and after be ordained to the High priesthood. , clerk C.
In the evening went to the upper rooms in of the and set the different quorums in order. Instructed the presidents of the seventy concerning the order of their anointing, and requested them to proceed and anoint the Seventy, having set all the quorums in order. I returned to my house being weary with continual [p. 700]