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 the church; and that in all this, has not designed to <September 19 Council.> do wickedly, but he erred in judgment and deserves reproof, and the decision is, that he shall acknowledge his errors, on the morrow, before the congregation, and say, Brethren, I am fully convinced that I have erred in Spirit, in my remarks before you, when I spoke here a few sabbaths since, and now I ask your forgiveness; and if he do this in full faith, and is truly humble before God, then God will bless him abundantly as he hath not been wont to do, arose, and justified the decision of the court, and promised to comply.”
<22 obtaining Blessings.> I labored in obtaining blessings, which were written by . We were thronged with company, so that our labor in this thing was hindered, but we obtained many precious things, and our souls were blessed; O Lord may thy Holy Spirit be with thy servants forever, Amen.
<23 obtaining Blessings.> September 23 I was at home, writing blessings for my most beloved brethren, but was hindered by a multitude of visitors. The Lord has blessed our souls this day, and may God grant to continue his mercies unto my house this night for Christ’s Sake. This day my soul has desired the Salvation of brother ;— Also Brother <, loaned T. C. $1000.> came to my house, and loaned the Committee one thousand dollars, for building the ; Oh may God bless him an hundred fold! even of the things of earth, for this righteous act. My heart is full of desire to day, to be blessed of the God of Abraham with prosperity, until I will be able to pay all my debts, for it is the delight of my soul to be honest, oh O Lord, that thou knowest right well. Help me and I will give to the poor.
< and started for Zion.> Brothers , and started for the place designated for Zion, or the Saints gathering place. They came to bid us farewell. The Brethren came in to pray with them, and brother acted as Spokesman. He prayed in the Spirit, and a glorious time succeeded his prayer, joy filled our hearts and we blessed them and bid them God’s speed, and promised them a safe journey, and took them by the hand and bid them farewell for a season! May God grant them long life and good days, These blessings I ask upon them for Christ’s sake Amen
<24. High Council Redemption of Zion.> The High council met at my house on the 24th. to take into consideration the redemption of Zion, and it was the voice of the Spirit of the Lord untome that we petition the [HC 2:281] , that is, those who have been driven out should petition to be set back on their own lands, next spring, and that we go next spring season to live or die on our lands which we have purchased in <missouri>. We truly had a good time, and covenanted to struggle for this thing, until death shall dissolve this union; and if one falls, that the remainder be not discouraged, but pursue this object until it is accomplished, which may God grant unto us in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord: Also this day drew up a subscription for enroling the names of those who are willing to go up to next spring and settle. And I [p. 619]