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.
<November 6. Nothing but a man.> returned and spent the evening at home. I was this morning introduced to a man from the East. After hearing my name he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal his will must be something more than a man. He seems to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of St James, that Elias was a man of like passions like unto us, yet he had such power with God that he, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens that they gave no rain for the space of three years and six months; and again, in answer to his prayer, the heavens gave forth rain and the earth brought forth fruit; and indeed, such is the darkness and ignorance of this generation, that they look upon it as incredible that a man should have any intercourse with his Maker.
<7. Revelation for & .> Saturday 7th. Spent the day at home attending to my domestic concerns; The word of the Lord came to me saying, behold I am well pleased with my servant , and my Servant because of the integrity of their hearts, in laboring in my vineyard for the Salvation of the souls of men. Verily I say unto you their sins are forgiven them, therefore say unto them [HC 2:302] in my name, that it is my will that they should tarry for a little season and attend the school, and also the solemn assembly, for a wise purpose in me even so. Amen
<Sunday, 8.> Sunday 8th went to meeting in the morning at the usual hour. Preached a very interesting discourse, in the <’s confession,> afternoon Preached; after preaching, came forward to make some remarks, by way of confession, he had previously been excommunicated from the church for lying, and for an attempt to seduce a female; his <not Satisfactory. spoke.> confession was not Satisfactory to my mind, and arose and made some remarks respecting the doings of the high Council in the case of said , that is that he should make a public confession of his crime and have it published in the Messenger and Advocate; he proposed that should now make his confession before the congregation, and then immediately observed that he had forgiven , which was in contradiction to the sentiment he first advanced. This I attributed to an error in judgment, not <, spoke> in design. then arose, and very abruptly militated against the sentiment of , which had a direct tendency to destroy his influence, and bring him into disrepute in the eyes of the church which was not right; He also misrepresented s’ case, and spread darkness rather than light upon the subject. A vote of the church was then called on his case and he was, [p. 636]