History, 1834–1836

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 105
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Editorial Note
The blank lines following ’s abandoned transcript of JS’s letter to church elders suggest a new direction in the 1834–1836 history. The final section of the history, a daily narrative beginning with the 22 September 1835 entry and ending abruptly with the 18 January 1836 entry, was begun by and continued by Warren Parrish. It is a polished version of JS’s second journal, a document written mostly by scribes but apparently dictated by JS. Although Cowdery and Parrish adhered closely to their journal source, they occasionally went beyond the making of a mere clerical copy. They changed the journal’s first-person narrative to third-person and altered the tone or emphasis of several passages. In particular, Parrish took the opportunity to fill in the details of events he had witnessed, especially when those details enhanced the image of JS in his prophetic role. Where differences between journal and history are significant, they are noted herein. Selected annotation from The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 also appears here; for more complete annotation, see pages 52–223 of that volume.
It is clear that this section of the history was intended to be a more refined and permanent document than the journal. The messy wipe erasures, roughly executed knife erasures, and other forms of revision in the journal contrast with the careful erasures and insertions found in this section of the history, and the introductory paragraph to the revised entries expresses the importance of providing a polished historical account of JS’s life for future generations. Although probably composed this introductory explanation, he attributed ultimate authorship of the history to JS, referring to him not only as “the subject of this narrative” but also as “our author.”
began transcribing JS’s 1835–1836 journal into the history after he received the journal from in early April 1836. The journal entries from which Cowdery and Parrish drew covered the period when JS and the Latter-day Saints anticipated the completion of the in , the solemn assembly to be held therein, and the promised “endowment of power from on high.” These late March events were recorded in JS’s journal; however, the history carries the narrative only up through mid-January. Cowdery’s pagination of the book indicates the intent to adapt more of JS’s journal than was accomplished; he numbered the pages of the blank book up to 241, which was ultimately 107 pages further than he wrote and 54 pages further than Parrish wrote.

JS Journal Entries

Here the reader will observe, that the narrative assumes a  different form. The subject of it becoming daily more and more  noted, the writer deemed it proper to give a plain, simple, yet  faithful narration of every important item in his every-day- occurrences. Therefore, he trusts, that to the man of God, no apol ogy will be necessary for such a course: especially when he takes  into consideration, that he writes, not so much for the benefit  of his co[n]temporaries as for that of posterity. The candid, reflec ting mind will also realize, how highly we all estimate every  species of intelligence or correct information we can obtain  relative to the ancient Prophets & Apostles, through whom the  Most-High condescended to reveal himself to the children of men.  Such revelations, therefore, as may at any time be given through  him will be inserted, and the characters of other men, from  their necessary connexion with him, will in some instances  be plainly pourtrayed; but the digression from the main thread  of the narrative, when short, will, the writer trusts, constitute  that pleasing variety, those lights and shades, that picture of  human life on which the eye rests with most pleasure.  The ear, and the mind of both reader and hearer, will be relieved  from that formal sameness, or tiresome monotony, that char acterize a dull tale of no merit, and enable future gen erations, to duly appreciate the claims the subject of this  narrative may <have> had, on his co[n]temporaries for their implicit  reliance on what he taught them.

22 September 1835 • Tuesday

Sept. 22d. 1835 This day he labored, with his friend and brother in the Lord, , in obtaining and writing blessings. They were thronged a  part of the time with company, so that their labor was rather  retarded; but they obtained many precious things and their souls  were blessed, to that degree, that they were constrained to cry out  in ecstacy, O. Lord, may thy Holy Spirit, be with thy servants  forever. Amen.
Sept. 23 [22], This day he was at home, wri ting blessings for his beloved brethren. He was hindered by multitudes  of visitors, but remarked, that the Lord had blessed their souls, this day,  and may God grant to continue his mercies unto my house this night  for Christ’s sake. This day his soul brethren had desired the salvation of  brother . His soul was also drawn out in love for brother [p. 105]

Editorial Note
The blank lines following ’s abandoned transcript of JS’s letter to church elders suggest a new direction in the 1834–1836 history. The final section of the history, a daily narrative beginning with the 22 September 1835 entry and ending abruptly with the 18 January 1836 entry, was begun by and continued by Warren Parrish. It is a polished version of JS’s second journal, a document written mostly by scribes but apparently dictated by JS. Although Cowdery and Parrish adhered closely to their journal source, they occasionally went beyond the making of a mere clerical copy. They changed the journal’s first-person narrative to third-person and altered the tone or emphasis of several passages. In particular, Parrish took the opportunity to fill in the details of events he had witnessed, especially when those details enhanced the image of JS in his prophetic role. Where differences between journal and history are significant, they are noted herein. Selected annotation from The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 also appears here; for more complete annotation, see pages 52–223 of that volume.
It is clear that this section of the history was intended to be a more refined and permanent document than the journal. The messy wipe erasures, roughly executed knife erasures, and other forms of revision in the journal contrast with the careful erasures and insertions found in this section of the history, and the introductory paragraph to the revised entries expresses the importance of providing a polished historical account of JS’s life for future generations. Although probably composed this introductory explanation, he attributed ultimate authorship of the history to JS, referring to him not only as “the subject of this narrative” but also as “our author.”
began transcribing JS’s 1835–1836 journal into the history after he received the journal from in early April 1836. The journal entries from which Cowdery and Parrish drew covered the period when JS and the Latter-day Saints anticipated the completion of the in , the solemn assembly to be held therein, and the promised “endowment of power from on high.” These late March events were recorded in JS’s journal; however, the history carries the narrative only up through mid-January. Cowdery’s pagination of the book indicates the intent to adapt more of JS’s journal than was accomplished; he numbered the pages of the blank book up to 241, which was ultimately 107 pages further than he wrote and 54 pages further than Parrish wrote.

JS Journal Entries

Here the reader will observe, that the narrative assumes a different form. The subject of it becoming daily more and more noted, the writer deemed it proper to give a plain, simple, yet faithful narration of every important item in his every-day-occurrences. Therefore, he trusts, that to the man of God, no apology will be necessary for such a course: especially when he takes into consideration, that he writes, not so much for the benefit of his contemporaries as for that of posterity. The candid, reflecting mind will also realize, how highly we all estimate every species of intelligence or correct information we can obtain relative to the ancient Prophets & Apostles, through whom the Most-High condescended to reveal himself to the children of men. Such revelations, therefore, as may at any time be given through him will be inserted, and the characters of other men, from their necessary connexion with him, will in some instances be plainly pourtrayed; but the digression from the main thread of the narrative, when short, will, the writer trusts, constitute that pleasing variety, those lights and shades, that picture of human life on which the eye rests with most pleasure. The ear, and the mind of both reader and hearer, will be relieved from that formal sameness, or tiresome monotony, that characterize a dull tale of no merit, and enable future generations, to duly appreciate the claims the subject of this narrative may have had, on his contemporaries for their implicit reliance on what he taught them.

22 September 1835 • Tuesday

Sept. 22d. 1835 This day he labored, with his friend and brother in the Lord, , in obtaining and writing blessings. They were thronged a part of the time with company, so that their labor was rather retarded; but they obtained many precious things and their souls were blessed, to that degree, that they were constrained to cry out in ecstacy, O. Lord, may thy Holy Spirit, be with thy servants forever. Amen.
Sept. 23 22, This day he was at home, writing blessings for his beloved brethren. He was hindered by multitudes of visitors, but remarked, that the Lord had blessed their souls, this day, and may God grant to continue his mercies unto my house this night for Christ’s sake. This day his soul had desired the salvation of brother . His soul was also drawn out in love for brother [p. 105]
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