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.
are to travel and preach among the Gentiles, until the Lord <February 27> shall command them to go to the Jews. They are to hold the keys of this ministry, to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all nations, and to preach the gospel to every creature. This is the power, authority and virtue of their Apostleship.
< described by .—> Ohio, February, 27th. 1835. Having been requested by the Trustees of the, “Kirtland School” to give a small sketch of the number of students who have attended this institution, and of their progress in the different sciences, I cheerfully comply with the request, having been an instructor therein from its commencement, in Dcember last. The school has been conducted under the immediate care and inspection of Joseph Smith Junr, , , and , Trustees. When the school first commenced, we received into it both large and small, but in about three weeks the classes became so large, and the house so crowded, that it was thought adviseable to dismiss all the small students, and continue those those only who wished to study the sciences of penmanship, Arithmetic, English grammar and Geography. Before we dismissed the small schollars, there were in all about one hundred and thirty who attended. Since that time there have been, upon an average, about 100, the most of whom have received lectures upon English grammar; and for the last four weeks, about seventy have been studying geography one half the day, and grammar and writing the other part. T. Burdick’s Arithmetic, S. Kirkham grammar, and J. Olney’s geography have been used, with Noah Webster’s dictionary, as standard. Since the year 1827. I have taught school in five different states,— and visited many schools, in which I was not engaged as teacher; but I in none, I can say with certainty, have I seen students make more rapid progress, than in this. (Messr. & Advocate. p 80.) . [HC 2:200]
<28. Council began to ordain the Seventies> On the 28th. the Church in council assembled, commenced selecting certain individuals from the number of those who went up to , with me, in the camp; & the following are some the names of those who were ordained [HC 2:201] and blessed at that time to begin the organization of the first Quorum of the Seventies according to the visions and revelations which I had received;— The seventies to constitute travelling Quorums, to go into all the earth, whither-soever the twelve Apostles should call them. [HC 2:202]