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.
should not be afflicted any more. President Joseph Smith <September 8.> then gave made remarks upon the subject of false spirits. <Conference Minutes at O.> “Elder presented a case which had previously occasioned some difficulty in the church: which was that brother Carpenter had been tried for a fault before the church, and the church gave him a certain time to reflect whether he would acknowledge or not. Brother Gordon, at the time spoke in tongues and declared that brother Carpenter should not have any lenity. wished instruction on this point, whether they had proceeded right or not, as brother Carpenter was dissatisfied. &c.
<Joseph explained Gift of tongues.> “President Joseph Smith then gave an explanation of the gift of tongues: that it was particularly instituted for the preaching of the gospel to other nations and languages, but it was not given for the government of the church. He further said, if brother Gordon introduced the gift of tongues, as a testimony against brother Carpenter, it was contrary to the rules and regulations of the church, because, in all our decisions, we must judge from actual testimony. Elder Gordon said the testimony was had, and the decision given before the gift of tongues was manifested. President Smith advised that we speak in our own language, in all such matters, and then the adversary cannot lead our minds astray.
<’s complaint vs. .> “ stated that when he was presiding in a conference, several of the brethren spake out of order, and Elder refused to submit to order according to his request: and he wished instruction on this point, whether he, or some one else should preside over this branch of the church; and also whether such conduct could be approbated in Conferences. Elder Brother Gordon mad[e] some remarks on the same subject. President Smith said, relative to the first question, that brother gordon’s tongues in the end, did operate as testimony, as, by his remarks in tongues, the former decision was set aside, and his taken; That it was his decision that brother Gor[HC 2:162]don’s manifestation was incorrect, and from a suspicious heart. He approved the first decision but discarded the second. Brother Joseph Keeler acknowledged that in the former decision he had acted hastily himself in urging brother Carpenter to make acknowledgement, without having time to reflect, and asked forgiveness wherein he had erred. Brother Gordon said he discovered that he was in an error and was satisfied with this council, and was willing to ask forgiveness of the brethren and of the Lord.
<Decision, on Question. > Decision was then given on the second question that Elder was out of his place in opposing , when he presided in the council. The two decisions were confirmed [p. 554]