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 17> and responsible office; and I would now offer as an excuse for intruding upon your time and attention, the justice of my cause. Was my cause, the interest of an individual or of a number of individuals; then perhaps I might be justified in remaining silent. But it is not! Nor is it the pecuniary interest of a whole community alone, that prompts me again to appeal to your . But dear Sir, it is for the peace and safety of hundreds, I may safely say of this community, who are not guilty of any offence against the laws of the Country; and also the life of my husband; who has not committed any crime whatever; neither has he transgressed any of the laws, or any part of the constitution of the ; neither has he at any time infringed upon the rights of any man, or of any class of men or com[HC 5:115]munity of any description. Need I say he is not guilty of the crime alleged against him by . Indeed it does seem entirely superfluous for me, or any one of his friends in this place, to testify his innocence of that crime; when so many of the Citizens of your place, and of many other places in this as well as in the , do know positively that the statement of is without the least shadow of truth; and we do know, and so do many others, that the prosecution against him, has been conducted in an illegal manner; and every act demonstrates the fact, that all the design of the prosecution, is to throw him into the power of his enemies; without the least ray of hope, that he would ever be allowed to obtain a fair trial, and that he would be inhumanly and ferociously murdered; no person having a knowledge of the existing circumstances has one remaining doubt: and your will recollect that you said to me that you would not advise Mr. Smith ever to trust himself in . And dear sir, you cannot for one moment indulge one unfriendly feeling towards him, if he abides by your council. Then Sir, why is it that he should be thus cruelly pursued? why not give him the privilege of the laws of this . When I reflect upon the many cruel and illegal operations of , and the consequent suffering of myself and family; and the incalculable losses and sufferings of many hundreds who survived, and the many precious lives that were lost; all, the effect of unjust prejudice and misguided ambition, produced by misrepresentation and calumny, my bosom heaves with unutterable anguish. And who, that is as well acquainted with the facts as the people of the City of , would censure me, if I should say that my heart burned with just indignation, towards our calumniators, as well as the perpetrators of those horrid crimes. But how happy would I now be to pour out my heart in gratitude to if he had rose up with the dignity and authority of the Chief executive of the , and put down every illegal transaction, and protected the peaceable citizens, and enterprizing emigrants, from the violence of plundering out-laws, who have ever been a disgrace to the , and always will, so long as they go unpunished. Yes I say, how happy would I be to render him not only the gratitude of my own heart, but the cheering effusions of the joyous souls of fathers and mothers, of brothers and sisters, widows and orphans who he might have saved by such a course, from now drooping under the withering hand of adversity, brought upon them by the persecutions of wicked and corrupt men. And now may I entreat your to lighten the hand of oppression and persecution, [p. 1377]