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 .
<September 7> and ask why the prosecution is continued against him— Here I must again appeal to your own good judgement and you will be compelled to answer that it is—— impossible I could know him to be innocent— and as before stated it is not my province to investigate as to his guilt or innocence, but could I know him—— innocent, and were he my own son, I would nevertheless— (and the more readily) surrender him to the legally constituted authority to pronounce him innocent. With sentiments of high regard and esteem— Your obedient servt. . To Mrrs. .”
Brothers and called again this afternoon and I related to them many interpositions of divine providence in my favor. &c [HC 5:155]
“ September 8. 1842 I have just received your very consoling letter dated August 16. 1842 which is I think the first letter you ever addressed to me, in which you speak of the arrival of and of his person very respectfully. In this I rejoice; for I am as warm a friend to as possibly as he can be to me. And in relation to his almost making a Mormon of yourself, it puts me in mind of the saying of Paul in his reply to Agrippa Acts xxvi. 29, “I would to God that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day; were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds”. And I will here remark, my dear Sir; that Mormonism is the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed. You speak also of , President of the Church in , in high terms: and of in . These men I am acquainted with by information; and it warms my heart, to know that you speak well of them; and as you say, could be willing to associate with them for ever, if you never joined their Church, or acknowledged their faith. This is a good principle, for when we see virtuous qualities in men, we should always acknowledge them, let their understanding be what it may in relation to creeds and doctrine; for all men are, or ought to be free; possessing unalienable rights, and the high and noble qualifications of the laws of nature and of self preservation; to think, and act, and say as they please; while they maintain a due respect to the rights and privileges of all other creatures; infringing upon none. This doctrine I do most heartily subscribe to, and practise; the testimony of mean men, to the contrary notwithstanding. But Sir, I will assure you, that my soul soars far above all the mean and grovelling dispositions of men that are disposed to abuse me and my character: I therefore shall not dwell upon that subject. In relation to those men you speak of, referred to above; I will only say that there are thousands of such men in this Church; who, if a man is found worthy to associate with, will call down the envy of a mean world, because of their high and noble demeanor; and it is with unspeakable delight that I contemplate them as my friends and brethren. I love them with a perfect love; and I hope they love me, and have no reason to doubt but they do. The next in consideration is I was his friend I am yet his friend; as I feel myself bound to be a friend to all the Sons [HC 5:156] of Adam; whether they are just or unjust, they have a degree of compassion and sympathy, If he is my enemy it is his own fault; and the responsibility rests upon his own head; and instead of arraigning his character before you, suffice it to say, that his own conduct wherever he goes, will be sufficient to recommend him to an enlightened public, whether for a bad man, or a good one. Therefore whosoever will associate themselves [p. 1398]