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.
made some observations upon the business transacted last <September 10.> sabbath reproving some for the conjectures they had respecting Prest Smith and himself conniving together to remove certain individuals from office &c, or at least. to use their influence so to do. This, he informed them was a mistake for not one word had passed between them on the subject, neither had he a premeditated thought upon the subject.— President Smith then corrected some mistakes of certain individuals, and which had been circulated by them, concerning what he had said on the last sabbath. The Lord’s Supper was administered by Elders and & : , Ck.
When a lying Spirit is abroad, it is difficult for truth to be understood. [HC 2:512]
<Sunday 17> At a conference of the authorities of the church, and of the saints in the , at September 17th. Bishop said the time had arrived when it became necessary for him to travel. and necessarily must <x appointed Bishops Agent, & church Recorder> have an agent to act in his absence agreeably to the provisions made in the revelations &c, and nominated , who was elected agent to the Bishop by unanimous vote. was unanimously elected General church Recorder in place of who had removed to . After taking into consideration the situation of Zion and the church in General, the conference decided that it was of great importance to the cause of truth in general, and the prosperity of the work that the and his counsellors send abroad their memorial to all the saints throughout the land, as well as to all well wishers to the cause of Zion, and that their appeal go forth in the name and by the authority of the church, to all saints scattered abroad.
The same evening, the Elders assembled in conference, in the when I addressed them on the subject of the gathering of the Saints in the last days, and the duties of the different quorums in relation thereto. [HC 2:513] It appeared manifest to the conference that the places appointed for the gathering of the saints, were at this time crowded to overflowing and that it was necessary that there be more stakes of Zion appointed in order that the poor might have a place to gather to, “wherefore it was moved, seconded, and voted unanimously that Presidents Joseph Smith Jun and , be requested by this conference to go and appoint other stakes, or places of gathering, and that they receive a certificate of their appointment, Signed by the Clerk of the Church. Elder , who had previously been appointed agent to the , being called upon. arose and said that he would comply, with the request of the church, and the Lord being his helper he would discharge the duties thereof to the best of his ability: after which the elders present who were in a situation to travel were called upon to number themselves. <109 Elders sent forth.> and there were numbered one hundred and nine, and they were divided into eight companies in the following order; Number one to thirteen— called the first company, were appointed to travel east; No 13 to 26 were to travel South east; No 26 to 39, South; No 39 to 52 South west: No 52 to 65, West; No 65 to 78, North West: No 78 to 91, North; No 91 to 104 North east; five being left after this division; No 105 was appointed to travel with the company going south east; No. 106 with the Co South 107, South; 108 East; 109 with the North company. It was further appointed [p. 773]