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.
was agitated again, and settled after much controvery, and he <November 15> retained in the church, by making a humble confession acknowledgement before the church, and consenting to have his confession published in the “messenger and advocate,” after which the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was administered, and the meeting closed very late; Returned home and spent the evening.
<16. Joseph’s Letter to the Elders.> Monday the 16th. at home. Dictated the followin[g] letter for publication in the “Messenger and Advocate.” [HC 2:312]
To the Elders of the Church of the Latter Day Saints. I have shewn unto you, in my last, that there are two Jerusalems spoken of in Holy Writ, in a manner, I think, satisfactorily to your minds: At any rate I have given my views <up>on the subject. I shall now proceed to make some remarks from the sayings of the Savior, recorded in the 13th chapter of his Gospel according to St Matthew, which in my mind affords us as clear an understanding, upon the important subject of the gathering, as any thing recorded in the Bible. At the time the Savior spoke these beautiful sayings and parables, contained in the chapter above quoted, we find him seated in a ship, on the account of the multitude that pressed upon him to hear his words, <Mat. 13th.> and he commenced teaching them saying, [HC 2:264] “Behold a sower went forth to sow. and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up; some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth, and forthwith they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun was up, they were scorched, and because they had not root they withered away; and some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them; but other fell in good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty fold, some thirty fold: who hath ears to hear let him hear. And the disciples came and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? (I would here remark, that the “them,” made use of in this interrogation, is a personal pronoun, and refers to the multitude,) he answered and said unto them, (that is the disciples,) it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them (that is unbelievers) it is not given, for whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.”
We understand from this saying, that those who had previously looking for a messiah to come, according to the testimony of the prophets, and were then, at that time, looking for a messiah, but had not sufficient light on account of their unbelief, to discern him to be their Savior; and he being the true Messiah, consequently they must be disappointed and lose even all the knowledge, or have taken away from them, all the light, understanding and faith, which they had upon this subject: therefore he that will not receive the greater— [p. 643]