JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, created 24 Feb. 1845–3 July 1845; handwriting of , , Jonathan Grimshaw, and ; 512 pages, plus 24 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the third volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This third volume covers the period from 2 Nov. 1838 to 31 July 1842; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, D-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers the “Manuscript History” bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”). The completed six-volume collection covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “’s forces” at , Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop at , Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative was completed by 3 May 1845, although some additional work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date as a supplementary document and appear in this collection as “History, 1838-1856, volume C-1 Addenda.” Compilers and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, Richards maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. , , , and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period covered by this text include the Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in by the and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to ; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch ; the establishment of the city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo ; the expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.
<October 19> may be perfected, and prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ when he shall appear in great glory: can I rely on your prayers to our Heavenly Father on my behalf and on all the prayers of all my brethren and sisters in England (whom having not seen yet I love) that I may be enabled to escape every stratagem of Satan, surmount every difficulty and bring this people to the enjoyment of those blessings which are reserved for the righteous? I ask this at your hands in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the Saints remember, that great things depend on their individual exertion, and that they are called to be coworkers with us and the Holy Spirit, in accomplishing the great work of the last days, and in consideration of the extent, the blessings and glories of the same, let [HC 4:230] every selfish feeling, be not only buried, but annihilated; and let love to God and man, predominate and reign triumphant in every mind, that their hearts may become like unto Enoch’s of old, and comprehend all things, present, past, and future, and come behind in no gift waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The work in which we are unitedly engaged is one of no ordinary kind the enemies we have to contend against are subtle and well skilled in manoeuvreing, it behooves us to be on the alert to concentrate our energies, and that the best feelings should exist in our midst, and then by the help of the Almighty, we shall go on from victory to victory, and from conquest to conquest, our evil passions will be subdued, our prejudices depart, we shall find no room in our bosoms for hatred, vice will hide its deformed head, and we shall stand approved in the sight of heaven and be acknowledged “the Sons of God”. Let us realize that we are not to live to ourselves, but to God, by so doing the greatest blessings wil rest upon us both in time and in Eternity. I presume the doctrine of “baptism for the dead,” has ere this reached your ears, and may have raised some inquiries in your minds, respecting the same. I cannot in this letter give you all the information you may desire on the subject, but aside from knowledge independent of the Bible, I would say that it was certainly practised by the Ancient Churches, and St. Paul endeavors to prove the doctrine of the resurrection from the same, and says “else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?” I first mentioned the doctrine in public, when preaching the funeral sermon of brother , and have since then given general instructions to the Church on the subject. The Saints have the privilege of being baptized for those of their relatives who are dead, who they believe would have embraced the gospel, if they had been privileged with hearing it, and who have received the gospel in the Spirit, through the instrumentality of those who have been commissioned to preach to them while in prison. Without enlarging on the subject, you will undoubtedly see its consistency and reasonableness and it presents the Gospel of Christ in probably a more enlarged scale than some have imagined it. But as the performance of this rite is more particularly confined to this place, it will not be necessary to enter into particulars, at the same time I always feel glad to give all the information in my power, but my space will not allow me to do it. We had [p. 1118]