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.
to the brethren that the subject was now before them, and open <February 12> for discussion. The subject was discussed By Presidents and ; and elder , and others, and resolutions were drafted by who served as clerk on the occasion; read and rejected; It was then proposed that I should indite resolutions which I did as follows.
<Rules of ordination> 1st. Resolved that no one be ordained to any office in the church, in this Stake of Zion, at without the unanimous voice of the several bodies that constitute this quorum, who are appointed to do church business in the name of said church:— viz. the presidency of the church and Council. The Twelve apostles of the Lamb, The twelve High [HC 2:394] Councillors of , the Twelve High counsellors of Zion, the of and his counsellors, The of Zion and his counsellors, the seven presidents of the seventies, until otherwise ordered by the said quorums.
2d. And further, Resolved that no one be ordained in the branches of said church abroad unless they are recommended by the voice of the respective b[r]anches of the church to which they belong, to a general conference appointed by the heads of the church, and from that conference receive their ordination.
The foregoing resolutions were concurred in by the presidents of the Seventies.
<13> Saturday 13th. Spent the day in reading Hebrew. At noon I prepared a horse and Sleigh for to go to <Council of the Twelve on ordination> and see his family. “At 1 o clock P.M. The council of the Twelve Apostles met in the , and after prayer and consultation, upon the nature and expediency of the preceding resolutions, offered in council on the 12th instant. It was unanimously agreed to offer the following amendment to the 2d. Resolution (perfectly acquiescing in the first.) viz, that none be ordained to any office in the branches to which they belong, but by to <to be recommended to> a general conference appointed by those, or under the direction of those who are designated in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, as having authority to ordain and set in order all the officers of the church abroad, and from that conference receive their ordination.
<Sunday 14.> Sunday 14th. Attended to the ordinance of Baptism before meeting. At the usual hour attended meeting. The presidents of the Seventy expressed their feelings on the occasion, and their faith in the Book of Mormon and the Revelations Also their entire confidence in all the Quorums that are organized in the church of Latter Day Saints. A good time, the Spirit of God [HC 2:395] rested upon the Congregation. Administered the Sacrament, and confirmed a number who had been baptized, and dismissed. [p. 704]