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.
for the relief which the Lord had lately sent us by opening the <November 29.> hearts of the brethren from the east, to loan us four hundred and thirty dollars. After commencing and rejoicing before the Lord in this occasion, we agreed to enter into the following covenant with the Lord: viz.—
<Covenant of Joseph & .> That if the Lord will prosper us in our business, and open the way before us, that we may obtain means to pay our debts, that we be not troubled nor brought into disrepute before the world, nor his people, after that of all that he shall give us, we will give a tenth, to be bestowed upon the poor in his church, or, as he shall command; and that we will be faithful over that which he has committed entrusted to our care that we may obtain much; And that our children after us shall remember to observe this sacred and holy covenant; and that our children and our children’s children may know of the same, we have subscribed our names with, our own hands. (Signed) Joseph Smith Junr. <A Prayer.> .— And now O, Father, as thou didst prosper our Father Jacob, and bless him with protection and prosperity whereever he went, from the time he made a like Covenant before and with thee; as as thou didst, even the same night, open the heavens unto him and manifest great mercy and power, and give him promises, So wilt thou do by us his sons; and as his blessings prevailed above his progenitors unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills, even so may our blessings prevail like his; and may thy servants be preserved from the power and influence of wicked and unrighteous men; may every weapon formed against us fall upon the head of him who shall form it; may we be blessed with a name and a place among thy Saints here, and thy sanctified when they shall rest. Amen.
<30.> While reflecting upon the goodness and mercy of God, this evening, (November 30,) a prophecy was put into our hearts, that in a short time, the Lord would arrange his providences in a merciful manner, and send us assistance to deliver us from debt and bondage.
<December 1. Elders school, and Lectures> December 1. Our school for the elders was now well [HC 2:175] attended, and, with the lectures on theology, which were regularly delivered, absorbed, for the time being, every thing <else> of a temporal nature, The classes, being mostly elders, gave the most studious attention to the all important object, of qualifying themselves, as messengers of Jesus Christ, to be ready to do his will, on in carrying glad tidings to all that would open their eyes, ears and hearts. According to the direction of the holy Spirit, (on the evening <5.> of the 5th.as while assembled with , , and , conversing upon the welfare of the church,) I laid my hands on brother , and ordained him an [p. 562]