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.
<19. Minutes of the Twelve Black River Conference> “On the 19th Nine of the traveling high council met with the church in conference at Pillow-Point [Pillar Point] New. York, and resolved that the limits of the conference embrace all the northern part of the state, to be call the “BlackRiverConference.” The elders of this conference had been diligent in their callings. Their manner of teaching, in, some respects <Report of the Churches> needed correction, which they gladly received. The church at Pillow- Point numbered 21, but did not generally observe the worksword of Wisdom. Sackets Harbor numbered 19: Burville 7: Champion 6: Ellisburgh 33: Henderson, 4: Alexandria, 4: Lyme, 4: and Two in Orleans: 6 3 in ; and 6 in . After hearing the report of the churches, five of <Teaching of the Council.> the council successively addressed the conference upon the principles of Church government; The nature and exercise of Spiritual gifts; The word of wisdom, and the propriety of choosing wise men and sending them, with moneys, to purshase lands in , so that they might not gather in confusion, and the conference unanimously acquiesced in the teachings of the council.
<20 John Elmer’s false principles> Adjourned until the 20th. then met and John Elmer was presented as holding very incorrect principles, such for instance, some that the Spirit of God sometimes took him and threw him down, and that he could die the death of the righteous and of the wicked, in order to shew his power with God, He also stated that he had passed through a kind of death so as to become immortal, and should exist forever without any other death, <John Elmer cut off.> or [HC 2:225] change only grow brighter and brighter eternally. He persisted in these things and would not receive teaching from the council, therefore was cut off, on monday five were baptized and <our> public meeting closed.
<21.> The Sunday twenty first, being sunday, I preached in on the evangelical order. Thursday June 25 there was a <25> meeting in to subscribe for the building of the <Subscription for Building the in .> and $6,232,50. were added to the list. Joseph Smith subscribed $500; $750; $500; $500; and $500, of the above; all of which was they paid within one hour, and the people were astonished. [HC 2:234]
<29. Minutes of the Twelve Conference in Loborough.—> “June 29th. Six of the Travelling high council (viz) , , , , , and assembled in conference with the church in Lo[ugh]borough, Upper Canada. <The> church in Loboro’, composed of 25 members, were uninformed in many principles of the New Covenant, not having had the same privilege of instruction as the Churches in the . Brothers Henry & Jacob Wood, who had been suspended, had a re-hearing but were cut-off. Elder Frederick M. Van Leuven was appointed presiding elder, and a number were added to the church during our stay.” <Minutes of the Twelve>