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, Willmer Benson, 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.
15 to 20 hewed log cabins, and the brick body of a two story Court <June 2 Letter continued.> house 32 feet square. This town is located on the west side of Horse and Smith’s fork of the Little Platt, contiguous to the timber on these streams, 25 miles north of . The timber mill and water privileges may answer a very small population, but for a large it would be nothing. There are now <see printed Copy in Messenger and Advocate> three stores and soon will be four. Clinton County is mostly prairie with here and there a few fringes or spots of timber on the creeks that run into the Little platt and . [HC 2:444] From this town we made the best course we could to the waters of We had a “sort of a road for a little bit” towards Brushy fork, then we had to be content with naked prairie, patches of scrubby timber, deep bank creeks and branches, together with a rainy Morning and no compass; but, with the blessing of the Lord we soon came to “some house” in the afternoon, passed into .
On , where there is water, there are some tolerable mill seats, but, theprairies,— those “old clearings,”— peering one over another, as far as the eye can glance, flatten all common calculation, as to timber for boards, rails, or future wants, for a thick population, according to the natural reasonings of men. The Book of Mormon terms these prairies the land of Desolation; & When I get into prairie so large that I am out of sight of timber, just as the seaman is “out of sight of land in the ocean,” I have to exclaim what is man and his works, compared to the Almighty and his creations? Who hath viewed his everlasting fields? who hath counted his Buffaloes; – who hath seen all his deer on on a thousand prairies? .. The pinks variegate these wide spread lawns, without the hand of man to aid them; and the bees of a thousand groves, banquet on the flowers unobserved, and sip the honey-dews of heaven. Nearly every skirt of timber to the state line on the north, I am informed has some one in it. The back setlers are generally very honorable, and more hospitable than any people I ever saw, you are, in most instances. welcome to the best they have.
<June 16 council.> The High Council assembled in the in on the 16th. of June. Presidents and presiding, to investigate the charge of “awantofbenevolenceto the poor andcharity to the church,” which I had < & El. on trial.> previously preferred against Brother and Elder . After a full and lengthy investigation the council decided that the charges were fully sustained against , and that the hand of fellowship be withdrawn from him, until he shall see that the course he is pursuing is contrary to the gospel of Jesus. In the pleas of the counsellors, in case of [HC 2:445], they decided that the charges had been fully sustained, after [p. 734]