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.
of these two quorums were very interesting. A number of letters of <February 7> commendation were presented and read, a vote called and all received into the church in . Bread was broken and blessed and while it was passing, commenced speaking from Acts 2d and continued about 15 minutes. His reasonings were cogent <good>. The wine was then blessed and passed, after which meeting dismissed. At evening met with the presidency in the loft of the , in company with the presidency of the seventy, to choose other seventy also. Blessed one of the Zion Brethren, dismissed, and retired.
<8> Monday 8th attended school at the usual hour. In the P.M. lectured in the upper room of the , with some of the brethren. At evening visited in compa[n]y with Presidents and . He converses freely is an interesting man. , my Scribe, received my journal again. His health is so much improved, that he thinks he will be able, with the blessing of God, to perform this duty
<10> Wednesday 10th. at 10 o clock met at the school room to read Hebrew. P.M. read in the upper room of the . At 4. o’clock called at the school room in the to make some arrangements concerning the classes. On my return I was informed that Bro had cut himself. I immediately repaired to his house and found him badly wounded in his left arm, he had fallen on his ax, which caused a wound about four or five inches in length. sewed it up and dressed it, and I feel to thank God that it is no worse. And I ask my heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ to heal my brother [HC 2:393] , and bless ’s family one and all with peace and plenty, and eternal life.
<11> Thursday 11. attended school and read Hebrew with the morning class. Spent the afternoon in reading, and exhibiting the Egyptian Records to those who called to see me, and heavens blessings have attended me.
<12.> Friday 12th. spent the day in reading Hebrew, and attending to the duties of my family, and the duties of the church. I met <Council on Ordinations> in company with the several quorums, in the School room in the , at evening, to take into consideration the subject of ordinations. I made some remarks upon the subject of our meeting, which were as follows; That many are desiring to be ordained to the ministry, who are not called consequently the Lord is displeased. Secondly many, already have been ordained, who ought not to hold official stations in the church, because they dishonor themselves and the church, and bring persecution swiftly upon us, in consequence of their zeal without knowledge. I requested the quorums to take some measures to regulate the same. I proposed some resolutions, and remarked [p. 703]