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.
whole camp was under motion, consisting of 529 <515> souls, 269 249 males, <July 6> 266 females, 27 Tents; 59 waggons; 97 horses, 22 oxen, 69 cows, and 1 Bull,— was engineer. The camp traveled to chester 7. miles the first day, and pitched their tents in form of a hollow square, <Camp.—> within a hollow square formed by their waggons.—
This day I received a letter from and dated at , Ohio, expisive [expressive] of their good feelings, firmness in the faith, prosperity &c, also another Letter from my , as follows;
<’s Letter.> “Brother Joseph; “Nine miles from Indiana
I sit down to inform you of our situation at the present time. I started from , Ohio, the 7th. of May, in company with , , , , and Lewis Rob[b]ins and family families, also .
We started with 15 horses, 7 waggons, and two cows. We have left two horses by the way, sick, and a third horse (as it were our dependence) was taken lame last evening, and is not able to travel, and we have stopped to Doctor him. We were disappointed on every hand, before we started in getting money. We got no assistance whatever, only as we have taken in , and she has assisted us as far as her means extends. We had, when we started $75. in money. We sold the two cows for thirteen dollars and fifty cents per cow. We have sold of your Goods to the amount of $45.74 and now we have only $25. to carry 28 souls and 13 horses 500 miles. We have lived very close, and camped out a[t] nights, notwithstanding the rain and cold, and my babe only two weeks old when we started. is very feeble: and are not well, and very much fatigued; has a severe cold, and in fact, it is nothing but the prayer of faith and the power of God that will sustain them. and bring them through. Our Carriage is good and I think we shall be brought through. I leave it with you and to devise some way to assist us to some more expence money. We have had unaccountable bad roads, had our horses down in the mud, and broke one waggon tongue and thills, and broke down the carriage twice, and yet we are all alive and encamped on a dry place for almost the first time. Poverty is a heavy load but we are all obliged to welter under it. It is now dark and I close. May the Lord bless you all and bring us together is my prayer Amen.— All the arrangements that left for getting money failed; They did not gain us one cent. ” [HC 3:43]
<Camp. 7> Saturday 7th The camp, moved forward to Aurrora 13 miles and <Sunday 8> encamped for the Sabbath. Sunday 8th. there was some sickness in the camp. They had held a public meeting and the Leaders informed them that the destroyer was in their midst and some would fall victims unless they adhered strictly to the covenant they had made, laid aside all covetousness, and lived by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord. They were threatened, this night, with tar and feathers from the mob, of the place; and were obliged to keep a close watch to keep their horses from being stolen by the mob, who threw a club and hit Elder Tyler on the breast.