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.
them to Zion to purchase lands, according to previous commandment <May 11.> that all things be prepared before them, in order to their gathering Much was said to the conference upon these important things, and <Conference convenanted to abide teachings of the twelve.> they covenanted before the Lord that they would be strict to attend to our teaching. After preaching by , at 3 o clock P. M. and the farewell Exhortation of the twelve, seven individuals were baptized by who were confirmed in the evening, [HC 2:223] and after layingson hands on many sick, who obtained relief <Adjourned to 22—> Adjourned to the 22d instant to meet in New York. C<lerk>
< & arrive in , Ed. M. & A.> About the middle of May and presidents of the church in , arrived at ; and was appointed to take the place of President , in conducting the “Messenger and Advocate:” was appointed to edit the “Northern Times,” a weekly < Ed N. Times> News paper which we had commenced in February last, in favor of Democracy: And (with his son Watermar [Waterman Phelps]) made his < assisted in Doctrine & Covts.> home with my family, and assisted the committee in arrang compiling the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
<22 Conference Minutes of the Twelve.> “May 22d. The twelve met in conference with the church in New York, when after an agreeable salutation and rejoicing in each others prosperity, Elder being chairman, conference was opened by singing, and prayer, by the president. -[Here let it be remarked that it was the universal custom of the Twelve, and the presidency of the chu[r]ch, to open and close all conferences & councils by prayer.— and generally singing, so that this need not be named in this history hereafter]- Resolved that the limits of this conference extend from in the west, so far East as to include , South to , and north to Lake Ontario, called the “ <, Conference> Conference,” including the branches of , , Portage, Grove, Burns, Geneseeo, , Java, Holland, Aurora, Greenwood, and Niagara. The report concerning the labors and teachings of the elders in the conference, and those who had recently travelled through was good. The Branch in numbered 65: 28: Burns, 30; Holland, 15, represented by as having suffered much <Branches Represented> from false teachings by hypocrites and knaves: Aurora, 4: Niagara 4: the numbers of the remaining branches not ascertained but generally reported in good standing. The council gave instruction concerning the Word of Wisdom, the Gift of tongues, prophecying, &c and adjourned till <Adjourned— 23> tomorrow morning. 23d. Conference met, to take into consideration the redemption of Zion. After addresses from five of the council, the Church expressed their determination to put in practice the teaching <Council 25> we had given, when conference adjourned. May 25th the twelve met in council, to pray for one another, until we meet again, and Resolved, < & , sent to — &. Springville to set in order the churches.> that we recommend and council Elders , and to go to the churches at Chenango-Point, New York, and Springville Pennsylvania, (among whom we understand there is some difficulty) and set in order the things that are wanting in those branches.” , C.
Resolved that Elder go immediately from this place. [p. 592]