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.
<August 31.> Friday 31st. Camp passed through Richmond, and over white Water River and through Centreville, Jackson Township, to Germantown and encamped in a stubble field, near the Town, bought corn standing in the field, for their horses at ten dollars per acre, Thisday travelled Eighteen Miles.
<> I spent a considerable time this day in conversation with brother , in consequence of some expressions made by him in presence of several brethren who had [HC 3:65] not been long in the place, ’s conduct for some time had been very unbecoming, especially in a Man in whom so much confidence had been placed. He said he would not yield his judgment to any thing proposed by the Church, or any individuals of the Church, or even the voice of the great I AM, given through the appointed organ, as revelation, but will always act upon his own judgment, Let him believe in whatever religion he may. He stated that he “would always say what he pleased for he is a Republican, and as such he will do, say, “act and believe what he pleases”— Mark such Republicanism as this: a man to oppose his own judgment to the judgment of God, and at the same time to profess to believe in the same God, when that God has said the Wisdom of God is foolishness with men, and the wisdom or judgment of Men is foolishness with God. also made some observation to which he afterwards acknowledged were correct, and that he understood things different after the interview from what he did before. [HC 3:66]
<September 1 City of Zion appointed> Saturday September 1. 1838— The First Presidency with (as Surveyor) started this morning for the (as it is called) kept by , some fourteen or fifteen miles from directly north, For the purpose of appointing a City of Zion, for the gathering of the Saints in that place, for safety and from the Storm, which will soon come upon this generation, and that the brethren may be together and that they may receive instruction to prepare them for that great day which will come upon this generation as a thief in the night.
There is great excitement at present among the Missourians seeking if possible an occasion against us, they are continually chafing us, and provoking us to anger if possible, one sign of threatning after another. but we do not fear them For the Lord God the Eternal Father is our God and Jesus the Mediator is our Savior, and in the great I AM is our strength and confidence, we have been driven time after time, and that without cause, and smitten again and again, and that without provocation, until we have proved the world with kindness, and the world proved us that we have no designs against any man or set of men— That we injure no man. That we are peacible with all men, minding our own business, and our business only, we have suffered our rights and our liberties to be taken from us, we have not avenged ourselves of those wrongs, we have appealed to Magistrates, to Sheriffs, to Judges, to [HC 3:67] Government and to the President of the , all in vain, yet we have yielded peacibly to all these things, we have not complained at the Great God, we murmured not, but peacibly left all, and retired into the back country in the broad and wild Prairie, in the barren and desolate plains, and there commenced anew, we made the desolate places to bud and blossom as the rose, and now the fiend like race are disposed to give us no rest, Their Father (the Devil) is hourly calling upon them to be up and doing, and they like willing and obedient Children need not the second admonition, But in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God we will endure it no longer, if the Great God will arm us with courage, with strength and with power, to resist them in their persecutions. We will not act on the offensive, but always on the defensive, our rights and our liberties shall not be taken from us, and we peacibly submit to it, as we have done heretofore, but we will avenge ourselves of our enemies, inasmuch as they will not let us alone, But to return again to our subject— We found the place for the City, and the brethren were instructed to gather immediately into it, and soon they should be organized according to the Laws of God— A more particular history of this City may be expected hereafter, perhaps at its organization and dedication, We found a new route home, saving I should think three or four miles, we arrived at about the close of day light. [p. 818]