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.
arose and laid hands on him, and prayed that he Lord would have mercy <July 30> on his servant and rebuke the devil; while thus engaged was struck with great force by some invisible power and fell senseless < knocked down> on the floor; and the first thing recollected was, being supported by Elders and Russell beseeching a throne of grace in his behalf; they then laid him on the bed, but his agony was so great he could not endure, and arose, fell on his knees, and prayed; then he arose and sat upon the bed, while the brethren distinctly saw the evil spirits. who foamed and gnashed upon them with their teeth, by legions, for the space <First Baptism in England.> of aboutanhourandahalf,<some minutes— was present the latter part of the time.> About 10 o’clock A.M. the brethren repaired to the River Ribble according to previous appointment, and in the midst of a large collection of people baptized Nine individuals, one of [HC 2:503] which was , the first man baptized in England, in this dispensation
<Monday 31> On Monday the 31st July, the Elders held a council, and appointed [John] Goodson and a mission to Bedford; and Russel and to Alton <Mission to Bedford &c.> cumberland county: continueing in prayer until morning, August 1st <Tuesday Aug 1.> when they took their departure for their several stations.
The same <x> day a general meeting, of the presidency, High Council, and council, <General Council at > and the saints assembled at . The High Council elected high counsellor in place of : and in place of deceased: and was elected Bishops counsellor in place of . Voted unanimously by the whole assembly, that in the absence of the presidency, counsellors, and council, at , the elders had no authority, consequently their votes, during that space of time, were are considered null and void: and that every president of High priests and elders be ordained by some higher authority; and the president of any quorum having counsellors, may ordain them himself.
<Wednesday 2> Elders [John] Goodson and arrived in Bedford on the 2d and were joyfully received by the Rev Timothy R. Matthews, to whom they had letters of introduction from his brother-in-law, , and were invited to preach in his chapel in the evening, to his church.
<Friday 4. first confirmation> Friday 4th. Baptized , <at > daughter of Rev John Richards, of Wolker-fold, Chaidgley, 15 miles from , and confirmed her at the water side. This was the first confirmation in <Saturday 5> England.— returned home the day following, Saturday 5th. and [HC 2:504] persuaded her father to write to to come and preach in his chapel.
<Council at . to build the .> The same day, Aug 5th. The Presidency, High Council, and all the authorities of the church <in > assembled in council at , and unanimously resolved to go on moderately and build a unto the name of the Lord in , as they had means; and appointed Treasurer to receive all the donations and subscriptions for the erection of the . to be his Secretary. Also voted that the committee, viz, , , and , stand, until President goes to, and returns from ; also that the building committee of the have no store connected with building the House, but that every firm or individual that embarks in that business, have, own. and claim such property as their own private private individual property and Stewardship. [p. 768]