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.
<May 22> He was sitting in a room, by himself, when some person discharged a pistol, loaded with buck shot, through an adjoining window— three of the shot took effect in his head, one of which penetrated the brain. His son, a boy, hearing the report of the pistol, ran into the room in which his Father was seated, and found him in a helpless situation, upon which he gave the alarm. Foot prints were found beneath the window, and the pistol which gave the fatal shot. The was alive on the 7th. but no hopes are entertained of his recovery. A man was suspected, and is probably arrested before this. There are several rumors in circulation in regard to the horrid affair.— One of which throws the crime upon the Mormons— from the fact, we suppose, that was Governor at the time, and in no small degree instrumental in driving them from the . Smith too, the Mormon Prophet, as we understand, prophesied a year or so ago, his death by [HC 5:14] violent means. Hence, there is plenty of foundation for rumor. The Citizens of had offered a reward of $500 for the murderer.”
I went to the and inserted the following in the Wasp
“, Ill. May 22. 1842 . Dear Sir:— In your paper (the Whig) of the 21st. instant you have done me manifest injustice in ascribing to me a prediction of the demise of Esqre. Ex. Governor of by violent hands. was a candidate for the State Senate, and I presume fell by the hand of a political opponent, with “his hands and face yet dripping with the blood of murder;” but he died not through my instrumentality. My hands are clean, and my heart pure, from the blood of all men. I am tired of the misrepresentation, calumny and detraction heaped upon me by wicked men; and desire and claim, only those principles guaranteed to all men by the Constitution and Laws of the , and of . Will you do me the justice to publish this communication and oblige, yours respectfully. Joseph Smith.”
“An Epistle of the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in , to the Saints scattered abroad, greeting— Dear Brethren:— inasmuch as the Lord hath spoken; and the commandment hath gone forth for the gathering together of his people from Babylon, that “they partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues;” it seemeth, “good unto us, and also to the Holy Ghost” to write somewhat for your instruction, in obeying that commandment. That you have no need that we exhort you to the observance of this commandment, is evident; for yourselves know that this is that which was spoken by the Lord in the parable of the Tares of the field, who promised that in the harvest he would say to the servant “gather the wheat into my barn;” the signs of the times proclaim this; the end of the world; and thus admonish us to the performance of this duty. “Yet nothwithstanding the spirit testifieth of these things, and you desire with great anxiety to gather with the Saints; yet are many of you hindered even to this day:” so that to will to obey the commandment is present; but how to perform you find not. Feeling therefore, the [HC 5:15] responsibility binding on you to observe the statutes and commandments of the Lord, and living in the midst of a generation that are ignorant what the [p. 1336]