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, Willmer Benson, 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.
thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee. <January.> For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and wood brass, and for stones iron: I will also make thy officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness” Also 62nd Chapter 1st verses, “For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. J. Smith Jnr.. [HC 2:473]
<Minutes of a Conference of the 22d of Dec 1836> In the same number of the Messenger and Advocate was published the
“Minutes of a conference, held in the , on the 22nd. of December, 1836. The authorities of the church being present; viz: the first Presidency, the High council of , the quorum of the Twelve, the Presidents of the Seventies, the President of the elders and his Counsellors, and many other official members, such as priests Teachers, Deacons, &c.:— The house was called to order, and the following motions were made, seconded, and carried by the unanimous voice of the Assembly.
1st. That it has been the case that a very improper an[d] unchristian-like course of conduct has been pursued, by the elders of this church, and the churches abroad, in sending their poor from among them, and moving to this place, without the necessary means of subsistence; whereas the church in this place being poor from the beginning, having had to pay an extortionate price for their lands, provisions, &c.; and having a serious burthen imposed imposed upon them by comers and goers from most parts of the world, and in assisting the traveling Elders and their [HC 2:468] families, while they themselves have been laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, to preach the gospel; and also having suffered great loss in endeavoring to benefit Zion; it has become a serious matter, which ought to be considered by us.— Therefore, after deliberate discussion upon the subject, it was motioned, seconded and unanimously carried, that we have borne our part of this burthen, and that it becomes the duty. henceforth. of all the churches abroad, to provide for those who are objects of charity, that are not able to provide for themselves; and not send them from their midst, to burthen the church in this place, unless they come and prepare a place for them, and means for their support.
2nd. That there be a stop put to churches or families gathering or moving to this place, without their first coming or sending their wise men, to prepare a place for them, as our houses are all full, and our lands mostly occupied, except those houses that do not belong to the church, which cannot be obtained without great sacrifice, especially when brethren with their families, are crowding in upon us, and are compelled to purchase at any rate; and consequently are thrown into the hands of speculators, and extortioners, with which the Lord is not well pleased. Also that the churches abroad do according to the Revelation contained in the Book of Commandments, page 238, commencing at Section 10, which is as follows:— Now verily, I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their money’s; let these things be done in their time, be not in haste; and observe to have all these things prepared before you. And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands; and every church in the eastern countries when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel, they may buy lands and gather together upon them, and in this way they may establish Zion.