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.
The saints having gathered in considerable numbers, and still gathering on , (Mo.) petitioned for an act of Incorporation, <for a new county> which was granted about the middle of December, under the name of , from which time a fresh impetus was given to the gathering, and the county grew like Jonah’s Gourd, <here insert minutes of Conference on page 754>
<31 Baptized> On the 31st of December, at the setting of the sun, Doct was baptized at under the hands of President . was born at Hopkinton, Mass, <Massachusetts> June 24th. 1804, and from the religious teachings of his parents, (Joseph and Rhoda Richards,) he was the subject of religious impressions from his earliest moments although careless and indifferent in his external deportment. At the age of 10 years, he removed with his fathers family to , in the same state, where he witnessed several sectarian “revivals,” and offered himself to the congregational church in that place, at the age of 17, having <previously> passed through the painful ordeal of conviction and conversion according to that order, even to the belief that he had committed the unpardonable Sin; but the total disregard of that church to his request for admission, led him to a more thorough investigation of the principles of religion, when he became convinced that the Sects were “all” wrong. and that God had no church on earth, and from that time kept himself aloof from Sectarian influence, boldly declaring his belief to all who wished to learn his views; until the summer of 1835, while in the practice of Medicine, near , the Book of Mormon accidentally or providentially fell in his way. which was the first he had seen or heard of the Latter Day Saints except the Lying reports of the public prints. He opened the book without regard to place, and totally ignorant of its design or Contents, and before reading half a page declared that “God or the Devil had had a hand in that Book, for man never wrote it:” read it twice through in about 10 days, and so firm was his conviction of the truth that he immediately commenced setling his accounts, selling his medicine, and freeing himself from every incumbrance, that he might go to , and give the work a thorough investigation, firmly beleiving that if the doctrine was true God had some greater work for him to do, than peddle pills; but no sooner did he commence a settlement, than he was smitten with the palsey, from which he suffered exceedingly, and was prevented executing his design until October 1836, when he arrived at , in company with his Brother, (Doct . who attended him as physician) where he was cordially and hospitably received by his cousin, President , and with whom he tarried and gave the work an unceasing and untiring investigation until the day of his Baptism. [HC 2:469]
<x January 2d. Meeting of the Safety Society.> Minutes of a meeting of the members of the “ Saf[e]ty Society” held on the 2n.d day of January 1837. At a special meeting of the Safety Society, two thirds of the members <being> present, was called to the Chair, and chosen Secretary. The house was called to order, and the object of the meeting explained by the chairman; which was: 1st. to annul the old [p. 751]