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.
<April 7. Conference Minutes continued.> nominated to fill the seat of : that of : and that of , which nominations were severally and unanimously sanctioned. [HC 3:14] was ordained High Priest. On motion conference <Sunday. 8> adjourned to the 8th, 9 o clock AM. Sunday April 8th. 9 A.M. conference convened and opened as usual, prayer by . President J. Smith Jun Made a few remarks respecting the Bank, <’s history> who was followed by , who gave a short history of his travels to and .
President represented his quorum of High Priests, and read their names. The principal part were in good standing.
Presidents and represented the Seventies. The quorum of Elders was represented by their president, Ha[r]vey Green, numbering 124 in good standing. President Joseph Smith made a few remarks on the word of Wisdom giving the reason of its coming forth, saying it should be observed.
Adjou[r]ned for one hour. Conference convened agreeable to adjournment, and opened as us[u]al, after which , represen[ted] his counsel and the lesser Priesthood; and made report of receipts and expenditures of church funds which had passed through his hands. It was then motioned, seconded and carried that the first presidency be appointed to sign the licences of the official members of the church. conference adjourned until the first Friday in July next.
From the 1st to the 8th. Presidents and visited the churches, a Short distance from and on the 8 attended meeting in the Cock-Pit. After, Preaching by , they bore their farewell Testimony to the truth of the work.— after they had closed, and, Elder Russel [Isaac Russell] was speaking the enemy severed the gas pipes, which li[g]hted the house, and overwhelmed the assembly in dar[k]ness in an instant.— The damage was soon repaired,— and the design of breaking up the assembly frustrated.
<9 Joseph’s Letter to > The following Letter was sent to in consequence of his withholding the records of the church in the city of , when called for by the Clerk, &c.
April 9th 1838.
Mr. . Sir. We were desirous of honoring you by giving publicity to your notes on the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints, after such making such corrections as we thought would be necessary; Knowing your incompetency as a historian, and that writings coming from your pen, could not be put to the press, without our correcting them; or else the church must suffer reproach. Indeed, Sir, we never supposed you capable of writing a history; but were willing to let it come out under your name, notwithstanding it would really not be yours but ours. We are still willing to honor you, if you can be made to know your own intirest, and give up your notes, so that they [HC 3:15] can be corrected, and made fit for the press: but if not, we have all the materials for another, which we shall commence this week to write. Your Humble Servt. Joseph Smith Jun. , President of the whole church of Latter Day Saints.