JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. D-1, created 4 July 1845–4 Feb. 1846 and 1 July 1854–2 May 1855; handwriting of , Robert L. Campbell, and ; 275 pages, plus 6 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the fourth volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This fourth volume covers the period from 1 Aug. 1842 to 1 July 1843; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, C-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
History, 1838–1856, volume D-1, constitutes the fourth of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 August 1842 to 1 July 1843, and it was compiled after JS’s death.
The material recorded in volume D-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , with the assistance of . After Richards’s death in 1854, continued work on the volume as the new church historian with Bullock’s continued help. The process adopted by Richards and Bullock involved Richards creating a set of rough draft notes and Bullock transcribing the notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents (such as letters and meeting minutes). George A. Smith followed a similar pattern, though he dictated the draft notes to Bullock and other scribes.
According to the Church Historian’s Office journal, finished the third volume of the series, volume C-1, on Thursday, 3 July 1845, in , Illinois. He began work on the fourth volume, D-1, the next day, beginning on page 1362 with the entry for 1 August 1842. (The pages in volumes A-1–E-1 were numbered consecutively.) Bullock continued work on the record, drawing upon ’s draft notes, until 3 February 1846—the day before D-1 and the other volumes were packed up in preparation for the Latter-day Saints’ exodus from Nauvoo. At that point he had reached page 1485 with the entry for 28 February 1843. Subsequently, apparently after the collection had arrived in Utah, Bullock added a brief comment beneath that entry: “end of W. Richard’s compiling[.] the books packed Feby. 4— 1846 in Nauvoo[.] Miles Romney— present. The records carried by T Bullock from Winter Quarters to G S L [Great Salt Lake] City in 1848.”
A notation at the top of page 1486 reports that “the books were unpacked in G. S. L. City by and . June 7. 1853. J[onathan] Grimshaw & Miles Romney present.” Vertically, in the margin, is a poignant epitaph: “Decr. 1 1853 Dr. Willard Richards wrote one line of History—being sick at the time—and was never able to do any more.” With Richards’s death on 11 March 1854, JS’s cousin was called to the office of church historian. The notation on the top of page 1486 acknowledges this change in officers, noting, “commencement of George A. Smith’s compiling as Historian. April 13. 1854[.] [C]ommenced copying July 1. 1854.” From mid-April to the end of June 1854, George A. Smith, in collaboration with Thomas Bullock, worked on the draft notes for the history before a new scribe, , resumed writing in D-1 on 1 July 1854, beginning with the entry for 1 March 1843.
continued transcribing intermittently into the late fall of 1854, when he was assigned other duties in the Historian’s Office. He had reached page 1546 with the entry for 5 May 1843. Work resumed in February 1855 in the hand of Robert L. Campbell, recently returned from a mission. He concluded volume D-1 on the morning of 2 May 1855 and began writing in E-1 that afternoon.
The 274 pages of volume D-1 contain a record of much that is significant in the life of JS and the development of the church he founded. Among these events are
• JS’s 6 August 1842 prophecy that the Saints would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.
•JS’s 8 August 1842 arrest on a warrant for being “an accessory before the fact” to an attack on former governor .
• ’s 17 August 1842 letter to governor , pleading for the humane treatment of her husband and family.
•JS’s 1 and 6 September 1842 instructions regarding the proper procedures for performing baptisms for the dead.
• JS’s 15 November 1842 “Valedictory” as he stepped down as editor of the Times and Seasons.
• The 26 December 1842 arrest of JS on a “proclamation” by former governor , and subsequent hearing in , Illinois.
• The 7 February 1843 recovery of a volume of patriarchal blessings given by , which had been stolen in , Missouri.
• JS’s 21 February 1843 remarks regarding the and .
• JS’s 2 April 1843 instruction at , Illinois, on the nature of God and other subjects.
• JS’s 16 May 1843 remarks at , Illinois, on the everlasting covenant and eternal marriage.
• The account of JS’s 23 June 1843 arrest and his hearing the following week at .
<August 16> kept the faith and overcame the world. Tell the children it is well with their Father, as yet; and that he remains in fervent prayer to Almighty God for the safety of—— himself, and for you, and for them. Tell that it shall be well with her Son, whether in life or in death; for thus saith the Lord God; Tell her that I remember her all the while, as well as , and all the rest; they all must be of good cheer. Tell to be sure and not fail to carry out my instructions, but at the same time if the Militia does not come, and we should get any favorable information all may be well yet. Yours in haste, Your affectionate husband until death, through all eternity, for evermore. Joseph Smith.
P. S. I want you to write to , and get him to make affidavit to all he knows about and forward it. I also want you to ascertain from whether he will conform to what I have requested . and you must write me an answer per bearer, giving me all the news you have, and what is the appearance of things this morning— J.S.”
I also wrote as follows
“Head Quarters, Legion, August 16 1842— — Beloved brother and friend— those few lines which I received from you, written on the 15th., were to me like apples of Gold in pictures of silver. I rejoice with exceeding great joy to be associated in the high and responsible stations which we hold, whose mind and feelings and heart are so congenial with my own. I love that soul that [HC 5:105] is so nobly entabernacled in that clay of yours, may God Almighty grant that it may be satiated with seeing a fulfilment of every virtuous and manly desire that you possess, may we be able to triumph gloriously over those who seek our destruction and overthrow, which I believe we shall, the news you wrote me was more favorable than that which was communicated by the Brethren, they seemed a little agitated for my safety, and advised me for the , but I succeeded admirably in calming all their fears, but nevertheless as I said in my former letter, I was willing to exile myself for months and years, if it would be for the welfare and safety of the people, and I do not know but it would be as well for me to take a trip to the , and remain until arrangements can be made for my most perfect safety when I returned, these are therefore to confer with you on this subject, as I want to have a concert of action in every thing that I do, if I knew that they would oppress me alone, and let the rest of you dwell peaceably and quietly, I think it would be the wisest plan to absent myself for a little season, if by that means we could prevent the effusion of blood. Please write and give me your mind on that subject and all other information that has come to hand to day, and what are the signs of the times— I have no news, for I am where I cannot get much, all is quiet and peaceable around I therefore wait with earnest expectation for your advices— I am anxious to know your opinion on any course that I may see proper to take, for in the multitude of Counsel there is safety. I add no more, but subscribe myself your faithful and most obedient servant, friend and brother— Joseph Smith— Lieutenant General of the Legion of Militia.”
The foregoing letters were delivered to who proceeded immediately [p. 1371]