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.
<x 28> The following letter was received, at “, Clay county, Mo,” on the 28th. of July.
“City of , July 18th. 1836”
<’s Letter, to .> “Messrs and others, Gentlemen. The treatment your people have, received and are now receiving, is of an extraordinary character, such as is seldom experienced in any country by any people As an individual I sympathize with you; and as the Executive of the , deeply deplore such a state of things. Your appeal to the executive is a natural one:— but a proper understanding of our institutions will shew you, that yours is a case not for the special cognizance of the Executive. It is a case, or, I may say. they are cases of an individual wrong. These, as I have before told you, are subjects for judicial interference: and, there are cases, sometimes, of individual outrage, which may be so popular as to render the action of courts of Justice nugatory, in endeavoring to afford a [HC 2:461] remedy. I would refer you to the charge of Judge Lawless, made to the Grand Jury of , Public sentiment may become paramount law; and, when one man, or society of men, become so obnoxious to that sentiment, as to determine the people to be rid of him, or them, it is useless to run counter to it. The time was when the people (except those in ,) were divided, and the major part in your favor;— that does not now seem to be the case. Why is this so? Does your conduct merit such censures as exist against <you>? It is not necessary for me to give my opinion. Your neighbors accuse your people, of holding illicit communications with the Indians, and of being opposed to slavery. You deny. Whether the charge, or the denial, is true, I cannot tell. The fact exists, and your neighbors seem to believe it true; and, whether true or false, the consequences will be the same (if your opponents are not merely gasconading) unless you can by your conduct and arguments, convince them of your innocence. If you cannot do this, all I can say to you, is, that in this Republic, the voxpopuli is the voxDei.”
<25. Joseph &c visit to the Eastern States.> On Monday afternoon, July 25, in company with , Bro and , I left , and at 7 oclock the same evening, we took passage on board the Steamer Charles Townsend, S. Fox. Master, at , and the next evening, about 10 o clock we arrived at , N.Y. and took lodgings at the “Farmer’s Hotel.” Here we met with Elders and , the former on his way to , and the latter from that Province. To avoid the crowding, fisting, fighting, racing and rioting of the packets, we took passage on a line boat for Utica. where we arrived about 8 o clock A.M. of the 29th., just in time to take the Rail road car for Schenectady, the first passenger’s car on the new road. We were more than six hours travelling 80 miles. The Locomotive had hardly stopped before the cry was “Albany baggage;— the [p. 748]