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.
wishes to speak, he shall arise, and stand upon his feet. Elder <April 28.> read the commandment given concerning the choosing of the Twelve, when it was voted that we each forgive one another, every wrong that has existed among us, and that from henceforth <Twelve Equal> each one of the twelve love his brother as himself, in temporal as well as in spiritual things, always enquiring into each other’s welfare. Decided that the twelve be ready and start on their mission from ’s Tavern, on Monday at 2’ oclock <See 5 R. T.> A. M. May 4th. Elder then closed by prayer. , <clks>
<May 2. Grand Council. Minutes.> “May 2d. A Grand Council was held in , composed of the following officers of the church, (viz.) Presidents Joseph Smith, Junr. , , , , and , with their the council of Twelvehighpriests, The Twelve Apostles, and council, and council; and some of the seventy with their presidents, <(viz)> , , , , , and , and many elders from different parts. President Joseph Smith Junr. Presiding. After the conference was opened the twelve had taken their seats President Joseph Smith Jun. said that it would be the duty of the Twelve, when in council, to take their <order of presiding in Council.> seats together according to age, the oldest to be seated at the head, and preside in the first council, the next oldest in the second, and so on until the youngest had presided, and then begin at the oldest again &c. [HC 2:219] The Twelve then took their <The Twelve according to age.> seats according to age as follows, , , , , , , , , , , , and .
<Duty of the Twelve to go abroad.> President Smith then stated that the twelve will have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes, and there undertake to regulate the affairs thereof, where there is a standing high Council; But it is their duty to go abroad and regulate all matters relative to the different branches of the church.
<A quorum of the twelve can act independently> When the twelve are together or a quorum of them in any church, they will have authority to act independently, and make decisions, and those decisions will be valid. But where there is not a quorum, they will have to do business by the <Standing high council, not to go abroad.> voice of the church, No standing high council has authority to go into the churches abroad, and regulate the matters thereof, for this belongs to the twelve. No standing high council will ever be established only in Zion or one of its stakes.
<The twelve decide in the name of the church.> When the twelve pass a decision it is in the name of the church therefore it is valid. No official member of the church has authority to go into any branch thereof and ordain any minister <Not to appoint meetings &c. without consent of Presiding Ed.> for that <the> church unless it is by the [HC 2:220] voice of that branch. No elder has authority to go into any branch of the church. and appoint meetings, or attempt to regulate the affairs of [p. 589]