JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. B-1, created 1 Oct. 1843–24 Feb. 1845; handwriting of and ; 297 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the second volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This second volume covers the period from 1 Sept. 1834 to 2 Nov. 1838; the subsequent four volumes, labeled C-1 through F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, volume B-1, is the second of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. The narrative in volume B-1 begins with the entry for 1 September 1834, just after the conclusion of the Camp of Israel (later called Zion’s Camp), and continues to 2 November 1838, when JS was interned as a prisoner of war at , Missouri. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
, serving as JS’s “private secretary and historian,” completed the account of JS’s history contained in volume A-1 in August 1843. It covered the period from JS’s birth in 1805 through the aftermath of the Camp of Israel in August 1834. When work resumed on the history on 1 October 1843, Richards started a new volume, eventually designated B-1.
At the time of JS’s death in June 1844, the account had been advanced to 5 August 1838, on page 812 of volume B-1. ’s poor health led to the curtailment of work on B-1 for several months, until 11 December 1844. On that date, Richards and , assisted by , resumed gathering the records and reports needed to draft the history. Richards then composed and drafted roughed-out notes while Thomas Bullock compiled the text of the history and inscribed it in B-1. They completed their work on the volume on or about 24 February 1845. Richards, , and Jonathan Grimshaw later added ten pages of “Addenda,” which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated.
Though JS did not dictate or revise any of the text recorded in B-1, and chose to maintain the first-person, chronological narrative format established in A-1 as if JS were the author. They drew from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. As was the case with A-1, after JS’s death, , , , and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” It was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
The narrative recorded in B-1 continued the story of JS’s life as the prophet and president of the church he labored to establish. The account encompasses significant developments in the church’s two centers at that time—, Ohio, and northwest —during a four-year-span. Critical events included the organization of the Quorums of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy, the dedication of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio, the establishment of the Kirtland Safety Society, dissension and apostasy in Kirtland and Missouri, the first mission to England, JS’s flight from Kirtland to Missouri in the winter of 1838, the Saints’ exodus from Kirtland later that year, the disciplining of the Missouri presidency, and the outbreak of the Missouri War and arrest of JS. Thus, B-1 provides substantial detail regarding a significant period of church expansion and transition as well as travail.
They have also been very industrious, and supplied me with my <December 10> winter’s wood, for which I am sincerely grateful to each and every one of them, and shall remember, with warm emotions, this <Winters wood by the Brethren> expression of their goodness to me; and in the name of Jesus Christ I invoke the rich benediction of heaven to rest upon them, and their families, and I ask my heavenly Father, to preserve their healths, and those of their wives and children that they may have strength of body to prepare perform their labors, in their several occupations in life, and the use and activity of their limbs, also powers of intellect and understanding hearts, that they may treasure up wisdom, understanding, and inteligence above measure; and be preserved from plagues pestilence and famine, and from the power of the adversary, and the hands [HC 2:328] of evil designing men, and have power over all their enemies, and the way be prepared for them, that they may journey to the land of Zion, and be established, on their inheritances, to enjoy undisturbed peace and happiness forever and abid alternately be crowned with everlasting life in the celestial Kingdom of God, which blessings I ask in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Amen.
I would remember Elder , who was the first one that proposed to the brethren, to assist me in obtaining wood for the use of my family, for which I pray my heavenly Father to bless him with all the blessings named above, and I shall ever remember him with much gratitude for this testimony of benevolence and respect, and thank the great I Am, for putting into his heart to do me this kindness; and I say in my heart I will trust in thy goodness, & mercy forever; for thy wisdom and benevolence, O Lord, is unbounded, and beyond the comprehension of men, and all of thy ways cannot be found out.
The petitions of the people, from all parts of the , to the of to restore the saints to their possessions, were arranged and mailed in this day, for . The Petitions were numerous; and the package large the postage thereon being five dollars. It was directed to the .
<11.> Friday Morning 11. a fire broke out in a shoemaker’s shop owned by . but the flames were soon extinguished by the active exertions of the brethren. A pleasant morning. Spent the day in reading and instructing those who called for advice.
<12.> Saturday Morning 12th. Spent the forenoon in reading. About 12 oclock a number of young persons called to see the Egyptian Records. My exhibited them. One of the Young Ladies, who had been examining them was asked if they had the appearance of Antiquity. She observed with an air [HC 2:329] of contempt that they did not. On hearing this, I was surprised at the ignorance she displayed, and I observed to her that she was an anomaly in creation, for all the wise and learned that had examined them without hessitation pronounced them ancient. I further remarked, [p. 661]