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.
<Adjournment.> A hymn was then sung “Hark listen to the trumpeters,” &c. President prayed, and meeting was dismissed for one hour.
“Assembled pursuant to adjournment, and commenced with prayer. President Joseph Smith Junr said that the first business of the meeting was for the three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon to pray, each [HC 2:186] one, and then proceed to choose twelve men from the church as Apostles to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. The three Witnesses, viz, , , and , united in prayer. These three witnesses were then blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency. They witnesses, then, according to a former commandment, proceeded to make choice of the Twelve. Their names are as follows:
<Names of the Twelve.—>
, and came forward, and the three witnesses laid their hands upon each one’s head and prayed, separately. [HC 2:187]
<Blessing of . 1.> The Blessing of was in the name of Jesus Christ, that he should bear the tidings of Salvation to nations tongues and people, until the utmost corners of the earth shall hear the tidings, and that he shall be a witness of the things of God to nations and tongues, and that holy angels shall administer to him occasionally, and that no power of the enemy shall prevent him from going forth and doing the work of the Lord; and that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished according to the holy prophets; and that he should be like unto Enoch; and his faith shall be like unto his his, and he shall be called great among all the living; and satan shall tremble before him, and he shall see the savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory.
<Blessing of . 2> The Blessing of was, That he should be strong in body, that he might go forth and gather the Elect preparatory to the great day of the coming of the Lord, and that he might be strong and mighty declaring the tidings to nations that know not God, that he may add ten talents, that he may come to Zion with many sheaves. He shall go forth from land to land and from Sea to Sea, and shall behold heavenly [p. 565]