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.
sentiment, and that our faith may be strong so that satan cannot <November 12. Address, continued> overthrow us, nor have any power over us. The endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now, nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts: be faithful in all things, that when we meet in the solemn assembly, that is, succh as God shall name, out of all the official members, will meet, and we must be clean every whit. Let us be faithful and silent, brethren, and if God gives you a manifestation, keep it to yourselves; be watchful and prayerful and you shall have a prelude of the those joys that God will pour out on that day. Do not watch for iniquity in each other, if you do, you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such; but if we are faithful and live by every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God. I will venture to prophecy that we shall get a blessing that will be worth remembering, if we should live as long as John the Revelator; our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor in this generation. The order of the house of God, has, and ever will be the same, even after christ comes: and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same, and we shall finally roll into the celestial kingdom of God and enjoy it forever. You need an endowment, brethren, in order that you may be prepared and able to overcome all things, and those that reject your testimony will be damned. The sick will be healed; the lame made to walk; the deaf to hear, and the blind to see through your instrumentality. But let me tell you that you will not have power, after the endowment to heal those who have not faith nor to benefit them; for you might as well expect to benefit a devil in hell, as such an one, who is possessed of his Spirit, and are willing to keep it, for they are habitations for devils, and only fit for his society; but when you are endowed and prepared to preach the gospel to all nations, kindred and tongues, in their own languages, you must faithfully warn all, and bind up the testimony, and seal up the law, and the destroying angel will follow close at your heels and exercise his tremendous mission upon the children of disobedience, and destroy the workers of Iniquity; while the Saints will be gathered out from among them, and stand in holy places ready to meet the bridegroom when he comes. [HC 2:309] I feel disposed to speak a few words more, to you, my brethren, concerning the Endowment. All who are prepared, and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior, will see him in the Solemn Assembly. The brethren expressed their gratification for the instruction I had given them; we then closed by prayer, when I returned home and retired to rest. [HC 2:310]