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.
<February 21.> You have our best wishes; you have our most fervent prayers that you may be able to bear this testimony that you have seen the face of God. Therefore call upon him in faith and mighty prayer, till you prevail, for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves. We now exhort you to be faithful to fulfil your calling, there must be no lack here. You must fulfil in all things, and permit us to repeat, all nations have a claim on you. You are bound together as the three Witnesses were; you notwithstanding can part and meet, and meet and part again, till your heads are silvered oer with age.
<Covenant of the Twelve> He then took them seperately by the hand, and said, Do you with full purpose of heart take part in this ministry, to proclaim the gospel with all diligince, with these your brethren, according to the tenor and intent of the charge you have received? Each of whom answered in the affirmative.
<27. First council of the Twelve.> “ February 27th.; This evening, nine of the twelve, viz. , , , , , , , and assembled at the house of President Josep Smith Jn., who was present, with , , and three elders. had gone to , and, and had not yet arrived to receive their ordination. -[There is an error in the date of the ordinations in p. 570 and 571.]- After prayer by <Joseph Smith’s Address, to the Twelve> president Joseph Smith Junr. he said if he were heard patiently he could lay before the council an item which would be of importance. He had for himself learned a fact, by experinc [experience] which on reflection, always gave him deep sorrow. It is a fact if I now had in my possession every decision which has been given had, upon importance impor[HC 2:198]tant items of doctrine and duty duties, since the commencement of this work, I would not part with them for any sum of money; but we have neglected to take minutes of such things, thinking, perhaps, that they would never benefit us afterwards, which, had we now, would decide almost any point of doctrine, which might be agitated. But this has not been agitated neglected, and now we cannot bear record to the church and to the world of the great and glorious manifestations, which have been made to us, with that degree of power and authority we otherwise could, were if we now had these things to publish abroad.
Since the twelve are now chosen, I wish to tell them a secret course which they may pursue, and be benefitted hereafter, in a point of light of which they are not now aware. If they will on every time they assemble, appoint a person to preside over them during the meeting, and one or more to keep a record of their proceedings, and on the [p. 575]