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.
we had engaged to teach us in the Hebrew language, <January 4. Hebrew School organized.> when we had our room prepared, We informed him that we were ready, and our room prepared, and he agreed to wait on us, this day, and deliver his introductory lecture. Yesterday he sent us word that he could not come <un>till wednesday next. A vote was then called to know whether we would submit to such treatment, or not and carried in the negative; and Elder appointed clerk to write him on the subject, and inform him that his services were not wanted; and Elders , and despatched to to hire a teacher. They were appointed by the voice of the school to act in their behalf. However we concluded to go on with our school and do the best we could until we obtain a teacher, and by the voice of the school I con[HC 2:355]sented to render them all the assistance I am <was> able to, for the time being. We are occupying the translating room for the use of the school until another room can be prepared. This is the first day that we have occupied it, which is the west room in the upper part of the , which was consecrated this morning by prayer offered up by . This is a rainy time and the roads are extremely muddy. Met this evening at the to make arrangements for a <Singing School.> Singing school, after some altercation, a judicious arrangement was made, a committee of 6 was chosen to take charge of the singing department
<6> Wednesday 6th. attended school and spent most of the fore noon in settling the unpleasant feelings that existed in the breast of elder , and after much controversy he confessed his fault and asked the forgiveness of the whole school, and was cheerfully forgiven by all. returned from and reported to the school that he had hired a , to teach us the term of 7 weeks for three hundred and twenty dollars, that is forty schollars for that amount, to commence in about fifteen days. He is highly celebrated as a Hebrew schollar, and proposes to give us sufficient knowledge during the above term of time, to read and translate the language.
<High Council> A High Council assembled at , for the purpose of filling the vacancies of the High Council of Zion. Presidents , and and fifteen high [HC 2:356] priests and elders, present. announced the death of on the 27th of November 1835. Four councillors namely, [p. 679]