Coun. arose and wished to make a special request of the historian. Inasmuch as he has seen in the letter sent by to near three years ago his name included with s in said letter, and inasmuch as he never wrote to nor had any thing to do with the matter he wished to have his name left out and not to go in the record in connection with nor .
Coun. did not know how the letter could go in the history without inserting s name.
Coun. explained concerning the letter and showed that had no blame attributable to him in the matter.
As the church’s historian, Richards was working on the multivolume history of the church that JS and others began in 1838. The history up through the end of 1840 was completed three days later. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 22 Mar. 1845; see also Historical Introduction to “History Drafts, 1838–ca. 1841.”)
Pratt referred to a 10 January 1843 letter addressed to Rigdon and Pratt in which Bennett attempted to recruit the two men to join him in the public campaign against JS that Bennett had waged following his excommunication in May 1842. In this letter Bennett announced that new indictments were being filed against JS and others “on the old charges” of “murder, burglary, treason—, &c. &c.” dating back to the Missouri conflict of 1838–1839. He assured his correspondents, “The war goes bravely on, and altho’ Smith thinks he is now safe— the enemy is near, even at the door.” Although Pratt was estranged from JS over the issue of plural marriage at the time he received Bennett’s letter, he forwarded the letter to JS and disassociated himself from its contents, leading to a reconciliation between the two men. Pratt did not want to be associated in the history with such sentiments. (John C. Bennett, Springfield, IL, to Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt, Nauvoo, IL, 10 Jan. , Sidney Rigdon, Collection, CHL, underlining in original; JS, Journal, 18 and 20 Jan. 1843; Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 20 Jan. 1843; see also “Nauvoo Journals, December 1841–April 1843.”.)
Rigdon, Sidney. Collection, 1831–1858. CHL. MS 713.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Minutes, 1840–1844. CHL.
Notwithstanding Pratt’s request, Bennett’s letter was copied into the manuscript history of the church with the addressees of the letter identified as both Rigdon and Pratt. JS’s journal entry for 18 January 1843, written by Richards, also identifies the addressees as Pratt and Rigdon, but Pratt’s name was crossed out at some point. It is not known whether Richards crossed out Pratt’s name near the time that he recorded the journal entry or at some later date. In 1847 Pratt similarly expressed concern about another incident in the history and stated that the history contained some items that “blacken the cha[racte]r. of the 12 & o[the]rs.— I always tho[ugh]t. if I [h]ad any influence with God I sho[ul]d. petition God ag[ain]st. its being published.” (JS History, vol. D-1, 1454–1455; JS, Journal, 18 Jan. 1843; Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 5 Dec. 1847.)
Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL