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.
together with some two or more rolls of papyrus, covered with <July 3.> Hierogliphic, figures and devices. As had been told <4.> that I could translate them, he brought me some of the characters, and I gave him the interpretation, and like a gentleman <6. Certificate of > he gave me the following certificate,
“ July 6th 1835
“This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning the knowledge of Mr Joseph Smith. Junr. in deciphering the Ancient Egyptian Heiroglyphic characters, in my possession, which I have, in many emminent cities, shewed to the most learned: And, from the information that I could ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr Joseph Smith, Junr, to correspondent correspondend in the most minute matters.” (signed) “, traveling with, and proprietor of Egyptian Mummies.”
<Sunday. 5. Hull Barton rejected> Sunday 5th. I preached in the afternoon.— Hull Burton,— or Michael H. Barton tried to get into the church, but was not willing to confess and forsake all his sins, and was rejected. [HC 2:235]
<6 Purchase of the Egyptian Mummies.> Soon after this, some of the Saints at , purchased the Mummies and Papyrus (a description of which will appear hereafter) and I, with and , as scribes, commenced <Translation of some of the Characters.> the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham; another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, &c, a more full account <of which> will appear in their place, as I proceed to examine or unfold them. Truly can we say the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth.
<9.> on the 9th. I rode to in company with Elder <14. Council of the presidency. Trial of Testimony of Joseph Smith .> and others. On the 14 a charge was preferred against Elder , to a council of the presidency, for unchristian like conduct, in breaking a certain sacred covenant, made September 2 4th 1834. I instructed the council on points of duty such as observing covenants, &c, and testified to the truth of the above covenant. President testified that he, himself framed the above covenant, and that at the time, said that he had a witness that it was the will of the Lord that he should conscerate the surplus of <> what would be for his and his family’s support. stated that agreed to let <the> Presidency and others, have money on loan for the printing of the Bookof Revelations, if he could control his property, <Decision> in one year, or, as soon as he obtained it.— Decided that broke the covenant which he made September 4th. 1834. Therefore he is not a member of this church, unless he make satisfaction to those whom he injured. Also < tried> was complained of, as having spoken evil of dignities, by saying that “the high Council had the wrong tree to bark up.” which [HC 2:236] was testified to <by> , , &c It was decided that shall make public confession to the satisfaction of the injured, and walk as a saint in all things [p. 596]