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.
the Saints. He shall go from land to land, and from sea <February 15 >to sea. He shall be like one of the three Nephites
<’s Blessing. 5> ’s blessing. O God, give this thy servant, a knowledge of thy will; that he be like one of old who bore testimony of Jesus. May he be a new man from this day forth. He shall be equal with his brethren, the twelve, and have all the qualifications of the prophets before him. May his body be strong and never be weary; may he walk and not faint. May he have power over all diseases, and faith according to his desires. May the heavens be opened upon him speedily, that he may bear testimony from knowledge, that he may go to nations and isles afar off. May he have a knowledge of the things of the kingdom from the beginning, and be able to tear down priestcraft like a lion. May he have power to smite his enemies before him, with utter destruction. May he continue till the Lord comes. O Father we seal these blessings upon him, even so; amen.
<’s Blessing. 6> ’s blessing. Our Father in heaven, look down in Mercy upon us, and upon this thy servant, whom we ordain to the ministry of the Twelve. He shall be prepared and preserved, and be like those we have blessed before him. The nations shall tremble before him. He shall hear the voice of God; he shall comfort the hearts of the saints always. The angels shall bear him up till he shall finish his ministry. He shall be delivered and come forth with Israel. He shall bear testimony andcomeforth to the kings of the earth, and hold communion with the Father, with the Son, and with the general Assembly and Church of the first born. If cast into prison he shall be able to comfort the hearts of his brethren comrades. His tong[u]e shall be loosed and he shall have power to lead many to Zion, and sit down with them, and the Ancient of Days shall pronounce this blessing that he has been faithful. He shall have strength wisdom and power; he shall go among the covenant people, and speak all their tongues where he shall go. All these blessings we confirm upon him in the name of Jesus, Amen.
<s Blessing 7> ’s Blessing. In the name of the Lord wisdom and intelligence shall be poured out upon him, to enable him to perform the great work, that is encumbent upon him: That he may be spared until the saints are gathered, that he may stand before kings and rulers to bear testimony, and be upheld by holy angels, and the nations of the earth shall acknowledge that God has sent him. He shall have power to overcome his enemies, and his life shall be spared in the midst of pestilence and destruction, and in the midst of his enemies. He shall be a [HC 2:190] prince and a savior to God’s people. The tempter shall not overcome him, nor his enemies prevail against him. The heavens shall [p. 567]