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.
<February 5 General Assembly .— The Presidency on trial> Minutes of the proceedings of the Committee of the whole Church in Zion, in General assembly, at the following places. To wit; At Feb 5th. 1838. , Moderator: clerk. After Prayer the stated the object of the meeting. Giving a relation of the recent organization of the church here, and in He also read a certain Revelation given in Sept. 3, 1837, which made known that and were in transgression, and if they repented not, they should be removed out of their places; Also read a certain clause contained in the Appeal, published in the old Star. under the 183d Page, as follows:
“And to sell our lands would amount to a denial of our faith, as that is the place where the Zion of God shall stand, according to our faith and belief, in the Revelations of God.”
Elder then took the stand and showed to the congregation why the High council proceeded thus, was, that the church [HC 3:3] might have a voice in the matter; and that he considered it perfectly legal, according to the instructions of Prest Joseph Smith Junr..
Elder then set forth the way in which the Presidency of had been labored with, that a committee of three, of whom he was one, had labored with them. He then read a written document containing a number of accusations against the three presidents. He spake many things against them, setting forth in a plain and energetic manner, the iniquity of and , in using the moneys which were loaned to the church. Also ’s wrong in persisting in the use of tea coffee and tobacco.
then arose, and endeavored to rectify some mistakes of minor importance made by . Also the spake against the proceedings of the meeting as being hasty and illegal, for he thought they ought to be had before the common council: and said that he could not lift his hand against the Presidency at present; he then read a letter from President Joseph Smith Junr..
A Letter was then read by from , who made some comments on the same, and also on the letter read by .
Elder who was one of the committee sent to labor with the Presidency, spoke, setting forth in a very energetic manner, the proceedings of the presidency, as being iniquitous.
, also, being one of the committee, spake against the conduct of the presidency and , on their visit to labor with them.
Elder then spoke with much Zeal against this presidency, and in favor of Joseph Smith Jun. and that the wolf alluded to in his letter, were the dissenters in .
Elder stated that he considered all other accusations of minor importance compared to their selling their lands in , that they ( and ) had set an example which all the saints were liable to follow; he said that it was a hellish principle, and that they had flatly denied the faith in so doing.
Elder sanctioned what had been done by the council, speaking against the presidency.
stated that sufficient had been said to substantiate the accusations against them.
Elder plead in favor of the presidency, stating that he could not raise his hand against them.
Elder then spake against the proceedings of the High council, and labored hard to shew that the proceedingsofthe meeting, were was illegal and that [HC 3:4] the presidency ought to be had before a proper tribunal, which he considered to be a Bishop and Twelve High Priests; he labored in favor of the presidency [p. 781]