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.
of other seventy is required and they are to be set apart and ordained <May 2. Presidency of 70 not to choose and ordain 70s. at Zion and Stakes.> to that office; those who are residing at , and the regions round about, who can come to , doso, and be set apart and ordained tothatoffice, by the <direction of the> presidency of the church in : ButthePresidencyoftheseventyaretochooseofthemostexperiencedeldersabroad,andordainandsetaparttothatoffice,butarenottodoitatZionoranyofthestakesthereof. , clerk.”
<4 Minutes of a conference of the twelve, at > “The twelve left this morning, and embarked on board the steamer Sandusky at , and landed at Dunkirk New York, 5 o clock P.M. and after preaching in those regions a few days, met in conference <9> at May 9th. according to previous appointment; the church being present, and , the oldest of the quorum Presiding
The following items were suggested for the consideration of the council. <Limits of Conference> 1st. Resolved that the limits if this conference extend south and west to the line of , North as far as Lake Erie, and East as far as ; emb[r]acing the branches of , , and to be called the Conference. [HC 2:222] 2d. Enquire[d] into <Enquiries.> the standing of all the elders within the bounds of this conference; 3rd Enquire[d] into the manner of their teaching, doctrines &c; 4th Enquire into the teaching, conduct, and faithfulness of all travelling elders who have recently labored within the bounds of conference. 5th. Hea[r]d a representation of the several branches of the church.
On investigation, the standing and teaching of the elders present met the approbation of the council, except the teaching of Elder , <Elder ’s false teaching> which was that “the Jewish church was the sun, and the Gentile church was the moon &c. When the Jewish church was scattered the sun was darkened; and when the Gentile church is cut off the Moon will be turned to blood:” also some things relative to the Apocalyptic Beast, with seven heads and ten horns &c. He was shewn his error and willingly made a humble confession. The faithfulness of all the travelling elders was found to be good. <A difficulty> The members of the branch were represented in good standing, with a difficulty on the minds of some relative to the baptism of Brother , inasmuch as he was baptized by a travelling elder without the church being called together to know if they would receive him to fellowship. The council decided that if there was a fault, it was in the administrator, and not in the candidate. This branch numbered 75. The Branch, 20 in good standing, but low in spirit in consequence, <Conference adjournment> of a neglect to keep the word of Wisdom. After further instruction on general principles, the conference adjourned until 8 o clock A. M. Monday May 11th.
<10> Sunday 10th. Elders and preached to an attentive congregation of about five hundred. After sacrament, five persons desired baptism, which was atten[d]ed by .
<Conference met. 11.> May 11. Conference met pursuant to adjournment. Resolved unanimously, that this conference go to immidiately and appoint their “WiseMen” and gather up their riches, and send [p. 591]