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.
<5> Wednesday 5th. I gave the following affidavit that the truth might appear before the Public in the matter in controversy
<Affidavit of Joseph Smith> “State of Missouri — } Ss— Before me , one of the Justices of the County Court, within and for the County of aforesaid, personally came, Joseph Smith Junr. who, being duly sworn according to law, deposeth and saith, that on the seventh day of August 1838, being informed that an affray had taken place in , at the Election, in the Town of , in which two persons were killed, and one person was badly wounded, and fled to the woods to save his life; all of which were said to be persons belonging to the Society of the Church of Latter Day Saints. And further, said informant stated that those persons who committed the outrage would not suffer the bodies of those who had been killed to be taken off the ground and buried. These reports, with others, one of which was that the Saints had not the privilege of voting at the polls as other Citizens— another was that those opposed to the Saints were determined to drive them from <> County. And also that they were arming and strengthning their forces and preparing for battle; and that the Saints were preparing and making ready to stand in self defence. These reports having excited the feelings of the Citizens of and vicinity. I was invited by and some others, to go out to to the scene of these outrages; they having previously determined to go out and learn the facts concerning said Reports. Accordingly some of the Citizens, myself among the number, went out, two, three, and four in Companies as they got ready. The re[HC 3:70]ports and excitement continued until several of those small Companies through the day were induced to follow the first; who were all eager to learn the facts concerning this matter. We arrived in the evening at the house of , about three miles from , the scene of the reported outrages— here we learned the truth concerning the said affray, which had been considerably exagerated; yet, there had been a serious outrage committed. We there learned that the Mob was collected at Millport to a considerable number, and that was at their head, and were to attack the Saints the next day, at the place we then were, called ; this report we were inclined to believe might be true, as this , who was said to be their leader, had been, but a few months before, engaged in endeavoring to drive those of the Society who had settled in that vicinity, from the . This had become notorious from the fact that said had personally ordered several of the said Society to leave the . The next morning we despatched a Committee to said ’s to ascertain the truth of these reports, and to know what his intentions were; and as we understood he was a peace officer, we wished to know what we might expect from him. They report that , instead of giving them any assurance of peace, insulted them and gave them no satisfaction. Being desirous to know the feelings of for myself, and being in want of good water, and understanding that there was none nearer than ’s spring, myself, with several others mounted our horses and rode up to ’s fence. with one or two others who had rode a-head, went into ’s house, myself and some others went to the Spring for Water— I was shortly after sent for by and invited into the house, being introduced to . by , wished me to be seated. We then commenced a conversation on the subject of the late difficulties, and present excitement. I found quite hostile in his feelings towards the Saints; but he assured us he did not belong to the Mob, neither would he take any part with them; but said he was bound by his Oath to support the Constitution of the and the laws of the State of . Deponent then asked him, if he would make said Statements in writing, so as to refute the arguments of those who had affirmed that he () was one of the leaders of the Mob. answered in the affirmative; accordingly he did so, which writing is in [p. 820]