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 11 Charges against .> “On the 11th. of April Elder preferred the following charges against . To the High Council at .
“To the and council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I prefer the following charges against , 1st For persecuting the brethren, by urging on vexatious lawsuits against the<m> brethren, and thus distressing the innocent. 2d for seeking to destroy the character of President Joseph Smith Jun by falsely insinuating that he was guilty of Adultery, &c, 3d. For treating the church with contempt by not attending meeting. 4th For virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority, nor revelation whatever in his temporal affairs. 5th for selling his lands in contrary to the revelations. 6th For writing and sending an insulting letter to President , while on the High Council attending to the duties of his office as president of the council, and by insulting the High Council with the contents of said letter. 7th For leaving his calling in which God had appointed him, by Revelation, for the sake of filthy lucre, and turning to the practice of Law. 8th For disgracing the church by being connected in the Bogus business, as common report says. 9th For dishonestly retaining notes after they had been paid; and finally for leaving or forsaking the cause of God, and returning to the beggarly elements of the world, and neglecting his high and holy calling according to his profession.”
<Thursday. 12 on trial, cut off.> “The and High council assembled at the Bishop’s [HC 3:16] office. April 12, 1838. After the organization of the council, the above charges, of the 11, inst. were read. Also a letter from . as will be found recorded in the church Record of the city of . Book A. The 1st; 2d. 3d. 7th, 8th, and 9th charges were sustained. The 4th and 5th charges were rejected. and the 6th was withdrawn. Consequently, He, () was considered no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Also, voted by the High Council that [HC 3:17] be no longer a committee to select locations for the gathering of the Saints.
<Friday 13. cut off.> “April 13. The following charges were preferred against before the High Council of at , in council assembled. 1st for not observing the words of Wisdom. 2d for unchristian-like conduct in neglecting to attend meet[HC 3:18]ings, in uniting with and possessing the same Spirit of the dissenters. 3d. In writing letters to the dissenters in , unfavorable to the cause, and to the character of Joseph Smith Jun 4th In neglecting the duties of his calling, and separating himself from the church, while he has a name among us. 5th for signging [signing] himself president of the church of Christ, after he had been cut off from the Presidency, in an insulting letter to the High Council.”
“After reading the above charges, together with a letter sent to the president of said council, (a copy of which may be found recorded in Record Book A.) The council considered the above charges sustained and consequently considered him () no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. [HC 3:19] The same day three charges were preferred against , which were read together with a letter from him, in answer to the one recorded in Record Book A. The charges were sustained, and he was cut off from the Church. [p. 789]