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.
Thursday 28 Attended school at the usual hours. In the evening met the quorum of High priests in the west room of the upper loft of the , & in company with my council of the presidency, consecrated and anointed the councillors of the president of the high priesthood, and having instructed them and <Quorums of high Priests anointed> set the quorums in order, I left them to perform the holy anointing, and went to the quorums of Elders at the other end of the room. I assisted in annointing the counsellors of the , and gave them the instruction necessary for the occasion and left the presedent and his council to anoint the elders while I should go to the adjoining room and attend <Quorum of Seventy> to organizing and instructing of the quorum of the Seventy I found the twelve Apostles assembled with this quorum, and I proceeded with with the quorum of the Presidency to instruct them and also the seven presidents of the Seventy elders to call upon God with uplifted hands to seal the blessings which had been promised to them by the holy anointing. As I organized this quorum with the presidency in this room, President saw a pillar of fire rest down and abide upon the heads of the quorum as we stood in the midst of the twelve. When the Twelve and the seven were through with their sealing prayer, I called upon President to seal them with uplifted hands and when he had done this, and cried Hosannah that all the congregation should join him, and shout hosanna to God and the Lamb, and glory to God in the highest. It was done so and elder saw a mighty Angel riding upon a horse of fire with a flaming sword in his hand, followed by five others, encircle the and protect the Saints, even the Lord’s anointed from the power of satan, and a [HC 2:386] host of evil Spirits, which were striving to disturb the Saints. President one of the Twelve saw the heavens opened, and the Lord’s host protecting the Lord’s anointed. President , one of the Seven, saw the Savior extended before him as up on the cross, and a little after, crowned with glory upon his head; above the brightness of the sun. After these things were over, and a glorious vision, which I saw, had passed, I instructed the seven presidents to proceed and anoint the seventy, and returned to the room of the high priests and elders, and attended to the sealing of what they had done, with uplifted hands. The Lord had assisted my Brother , the president of the high priests, to go forward with the anointing of the high priests so that he had performed it to the acceptance of the Lord, notwithstanding he was very young and inexperienced in such duties, and I felt to praise God with a loud hosanna, for his goodness to me and my father’s family, and to all the children of men. [p. 699]