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.
Say to that I remember her, also bro Daniel Carter, Bro Strong <March 29. Joseph’s Letter Continued.>and family, and family: Finally I cannot enumerate them all for want of room. I will just name the Bishop &c. My best respects to [HC 3:11] them all, and I commend them and the church of God in , to our Heavenly Father, and the word of his grace, which is able to make you wise unto salvation. I would just say to that I saw in a vision while on the road, that whereas he was closely pursued by an innumerable concourse of enemies, and as they pressed upon him hard. as if they were about to devour him, and had seemingly obtained some degree of advantage over him; but about this time a chariot of fire came, and near the place, and the angel of the Lord put forth his hand unto , and said unto him, “Thou art my son come here,” and immediately he was caught up in the chariot and rode away triumphantly out of their midst. And again the Lord said I will raise thee up for a blessing unto many people. Now the particulars of this whole matter cannot be written at this time, but the vision was evidently given to me that I might know that the hand of the Lord would be on his behalf. J. Smith Jun.
I transmit to you the Motto of the Church &c (as recorded on page 784). We left 30 miles this side of , Illinois, in consequence of the sickness of Bro ’s wife. On yesterday arrived here, who informed us that his father-in-Law, () was at , detained on account of the ill health of his wife. They will probably be here soon. Choice seeds of all kinds of fruit; also choice Breed of Cattle would be in much demand, also and best blood of horses, garden seeds of every description, and hay seeds of all sorts, are much needed in this place. Very respectfully, I subscribe myself your servant in Christ, our Lord and Savior. Joseph Smith Jun
President of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints” [HC 3:12]
<April 1. General Conference, Engd.> The work continued to prosper in England, and Elders and Russel [Isaac Russell] having previously been called to to prepare for , a General Conference was held in the Temperance Hall (cock-pit) , on Sunday April 1st. for the purpose of setting in order the churches, &c. Brother was chosen President over the whole church in England, and , and were chosen his counsellors, and who were ordained to the presidency and High Priesthood. This was the first notice had given him, that he should continue in England. At this conference eight elders were ordained, (among whom was Thomas Webster,) and several Priests Teachers an[d] Deacons. About forty were confirmed who had previously been baptized; about sixty children were blessed; and twenty baptized that day. Conference continued without intermission from 9 A.M. to 5. P.M.— andintheeveningEldersand,preachedtheirfarewelltoanoverwhelmingcongregation,floodedwithtears about 50 official members <met in council in the evening. [HC 3:20]>