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.
<25. Letter of Joseph Smith & others.> July, 25th. 1836. To and others.
Dear Brethren. Yours of the first instant, accompanying the proceedings of a public meeting. held by the people of was duly received. We are sorry that this disturbance has broken out— we do not consider it our fault. You are better acquainted with circumstances, than we are, and of course have been directed by wisdom in your moves, relative to leaving the county. We forward you our letter to and others, that you may know all that we have said. We advise that you be not the first aggressors,— give no occasion, and if the people will let you dispose of your property, settle your affairs and go in peace, go. You have thus far had an assylum, and now seek another as God may direct. Relative to your going to Wisconsin, we cannot Say, we should think if you could stop short, in peace, you had better. You know our feelings relative to not giving the first offence, and also of protecting your wives and little ones, in case a mob should seek their lives. We shall publish the proceedings of the public meeting, with your answer, as well as our letter. We mean that the world shall know all things as they transpire. If we are persecuted and driven men shall know it. Be wise, let prudence dictate all your councils, preserve peace with all men, if possible, stand by the constitution of your country, observe its principles, and above all show yourselves men of God, worthy [HC 2:455] citizens, and we doubt not, community ere long, will do you justice, and rise in indignation against those who are the instigators of your suffering and affliction. In the bonds of brotherly love we subscribe ourselves, as ever
, Joseph Smith, Junr, , , .
<Joseph’s Letter to and others.> The Letter to and others, referred to above was as follows
, Geauga County, Ohio, July 25th 1836. To Esqr., Peter Rogers. Esqr. James T. V. Thompson Esqr. Col. , Doct. Woodson J. Moss, James M. Hughes, Esqr., , Esqr., and Esqr.:— Gentlemen. We have just perused, with feelings of deep interest, an article in the “Far West,” printed at , Clay County, Mo, containing the proceedings of a public meeting of the citizens of said , upon the subject of an excitement now prevailing among you, occasioned either from false reports, against the church of Latter Day Saints, or from the fact, that said church is dangerous to the welfare of your country, and will, if suffered among you, cause the ties of peace and friendship, so desireable among all men, to be burst asunder, and bring war and desolation upon your now pleasant homes. Under existing circumstances, While rumor is afloat with her accustomed cunning, and while public opinion is fast setting, like a flood-tide, against the members of said church, we cannot but admire the candor, with which your preamble and resolutions were clothed as presented to the citizens of , [p. 743]