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.
<Sunday May 6 Joseph, Preached> Sunday May 6th I preached to the saints, setting forth the evils that existed and would exist by reason of hasty Judgment, or decisions upon any subject given by any people,— or in judging before they had heard both sides of the question. I also cautioned the saints against men who should come amongst them whining and growling about their money, because they had kept the saints, and bore some of the burden with others, and thus thinking that others (who are still poorer and have borne greater burdens than themselves) ought to make up their loss, &c;— I cautioned the saints to beware of such, for they were throwing out foul insinuations, here and there, to level as it were a dart at the best interest of the church, and if possible to destroy the character of its Presidency. I also gave some instructions in the mysteries of the kingdom of God; such as the his history of the planets; &c & of Abrahams writings upon the planetary system &c. In the afternoon I spoke again on different subjects: the principle of Wisdom: the Word of wisdom, &c. The Teachers quorum at , numbered 24 members
<Monday 7. . and arrived at > Monday 7th. I spent in company with , one of our neighboring county Judges, and Democratic candidate for the State— Senate. I also visited with Elder . and who had this day arrived in : the former from , the latter from , where he had been preaching for some time. And our hearts were made glad with the pleasing inteligence of the gathering of the Saints, from all parts of the earth to this place, to avoid [HC 3:27] the destructions which are coming upon this generation as spoken by all the holy prophets since the world began.
<, died> , son of , aged 14 years 11 months and 7 days Died this day in the full triumph of the Everlasting Gospel.
<Tuesday 8th.> Tuesday the 8th. I spent with in visiting and the place he had selected for his residence, and in attending to some of our private personal affairs. Also in the afternoon I answered the questions which were frequently asked me while on my last Journey but one from to , as printed in the Elders Journal <Questions & Answers.> Vol 1st, No 2d., Pages 28th and 29th, As follows,—
1st. “Do you beleive the Bible?” If we do, we are the only people under heaven that does; For [there] are none of the religious Sects of the day that do.
2d. “Wherein do you differ from other Sects?” Because we beleive the Bible, and all other sects profess to beleive their interpretations of the bible, and their creeds.
3d, “Will every body be damned but mormons?” Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent and work righteousness.
4th, “How and where did you obtain the book of Mormon?” Moroni, the person who deposited the plates, (from whence the Book of Mormon was translated,) in a hill in , Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared unto me, and told me where they were; and gave me directions how to obtain them. I obtained them, and the Urim and Thummim with them; by the means of which, I translated the plates: and thus came the Book of Mormon.
5th. “Do you beleive Joseph Smith Jun to be a prophet?” Yes, and every other man who has the testimony of Jesus. “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.”— Rev. 19th; 10. [p. 794]