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.
willing to lay down their lives for us, we went before our rulers <June 28 ’s Letter continued> We found about one hundred persons assembled, armed with guns, pistols, dirks, clubs, sticks, &c. At a late hour we prevailed on the sheriff to have the court called, which consisted of three magistrates, one of whom was rejected from the judgment seat, because some of his family were members of our church. [HC 2:447] The sheriff, with leave of court, devisted us of our arms, consisting of walking sticks, and pocket knife. A man by the name of Perkins, (who report says had run his country for hog stealing, and also had been guilty of concealing a stolen horse, for which he had lost a part of his nose,) was appointed by the court to act as States Attorney, or in other words mob solicitor general, to abuse the innocent and screen the guilty. After the conspirators had witnessed against us, the court refused to hear any testimony on our part. being controled by the Banditti. Perkins made a plea against us but we were not permitted to reply. The verdict of the court was: That they concluded that the charges preferred against us had been, sustained, and that we were bound over to court for trial. Our accusers did not attempt to prove that those who were promised the Holy Ghost, had not received it; and the candid can judge whether he who prophecies that christ will come the second time in this generation, is a false prophet. Also our complainant testified that these crimes were committed in 1834; and it is a well known fact that , whose name is in the warrant, (tho’ not arrested) was not in this state until 1835. So much for the oath of a Methodist Priest. While the court was preparing our bonds, another warrant was served on ; the mob without, and the mob within, whose intoxicating zeal had arisen to its Zenith, were threatening our lives, and seemed only to wait the dark shades of night, which were fast gathering round, to cover them while they should wreak their hands in our blood; the influence of our friends, as instruments in the hands of our God, kept this gathering storm from bursting upon our heads. About this time the sheriff proposed to us, that if we would leave the county in ten days, and pay the cost, they would set us at liberty; at the same time informing us it was the only way to escape the hands of the mob, who were hardly restrained from acts of violence. one of the brethren present offered to pay the cost, and all advised us to accept the offer, which, in itself proved that we were innocent of any crime, although in its nature most insulting.”
<July 1.st. Meeting of Elders in .> July 1.st 1836. At a respectable meeting of the elders of the church of Latter Day Saints, assembled atthe in , Mo. was called to the chair, and appointed Secretary. The preamble and resolutions from a meeting of citizens <of the 29 ult.> was read and a committee of twelve, viz. , , , , , , , , , , , and R. Evans, were appointed, who retired, and after a short time reported. [p. 740]