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.
<September 25 letters> “Whatever may have been the disposition of the People called Mormons, before our arrival here, since we have made our appearance they have shewn no disposition to resist the laws, or of hostile intentions. There has been so much prejudice and exaggeration concerned in this matter, that I found things entirely different from what I was prepared to expect— When we arrived here, we found a large body of men from the Counties adjoining, armed and in the field, for the purpose, as I learned, of assisting the people of this against the Mormons, without being called out by the proper authorities— P.S. Since writing the above, I received information that if the Committee do not agree, the determination of the men is to drive the Mormons with Powder and lead”.
The same day wrote as follows.
“I am happy to be able to state to you, that the deep excitement existing between the parties has in a great degree ceased and so far I have had no occasion to resort to force, in assisting the Constables. On tomorrow, a committee from meets a Committee of the Mormons at , <x> to propose to them to buy or sell, and I expect to be there <(p 7 Addenda note U)> [HC 3:84] On Saturday the 29th. inst, there are fifteen or twenty of the Mormons cited to trial at , where, has pledged himself to me, they will attend”
I was at home until eight o’clock, when I rode on horseback returned about 11 A M and continued through the P.M. and evening
<Camp> The Camp passed through in Randolph County which has been appointed as one of the Stakes of Zion, and is the ancient cite of the City of Manti and pitched tents at Dark Creek, Salt Licks, seventeen miles It was reported to the Camp that one hundred and ten men had volunteered from and gone to to settle difficulties
<26.> The Council informed the Camp that under <This morning Elder , one of the Councillors, proposed to the Council to break up the Camp, on account of> existing circumstances, so much excitement— so many moving West and in large bodies too, it was wisdom for them to go to work, and provide for their families, until the difficulties should be settled or they heard from . Four of the seven Councillors were present, and three absent, Elder Young had stopped by the way.
“Silence prevailed ............ Shortly it was manifest that it was the desire of the Camp collectively to go forward, notwithstanding their due deference always to the Will of the Lord through the Council. said in a low tone that it was his impression that we might go up in righteousness, keeping the commandments, and not be molested. some others manifested the same in concurrence with his feeling. Silence again ............. Here our faith was tried, and here the Lord looked down and beheld us, and lo, a gentleman who was directly from and was returning inhiscarriage to the East, where he belonged, left his carriage and came among us, although we were a good distance from the Road and he told us that there was no trouble in , and , but that we might go right along without danger of running into any body’s difficulties, and further said he, the one hundred and ten volunteers are to be discharged this day at twelve o’clock at Heattsville The Council replied “We believe you Sir, and we thank you for your kindness” A vote of the Camp was called for, whether we should proceed, & instantly all hands were raised toward heaven.!!! NowoncemorebepraiseandgloryandhonorandpowerandmightanddominionuntotheLord,forhehasover-ruledthisthing,andhewilloverruleallthingsforhisgloryandthegoodofthosewholovehimandthismanwashismessenger.Weof theCouncildidnotknowtheWilloftheLordaswellbefore,asafterthisman’sinformationisperhapsbetterknowntothemthantome,butIsupposeitwasbecausetherewassomethingwrongamongthem,thattheywerenotagreed,foritwastheirprivilegetoknowthewillandmindoftheLord. We pursued our journey and in crossing a seven mile prairie we stopt in a hollow to bait the teams and herd and here the volunteers passed us on their homeward bound passage according [p. 829]