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.
light, must have taken away from him all the light which <November 16 Joseph’s Letter to the elders, continued.> he hath. And if the light which is in you become darkness, behold how great is that darkness? Therefore says the Savior, speak I unto them in parables, because they, seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand: and in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith: by hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and not perceive.
Now we discover, that the very reason assigned by this prophet, why they would not receive the Messiah, was, because they did or would not understand; and seeing they did not perceive; for this people’s heart is waxed gross; and their ears are dull of hearing; their eyes they have closed, lest at any time, they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and should be converted and I should heal them.
But what saith he to his disciples: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear; for verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [HC 2:265] them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
We again make a remark here, for we find that the very principles upon which the disciples were accounted blessed, was because they were permitted to see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and the condemnation which rested upon the multitude, which received not his saying, was because they were not willing to see with their eyes, and hear with their ears; not because they could not and were not priviledged to see, and hear, but because their hearts were full of iniquity and abomination: as your fathers did so do ye. The Prophet foreseeing that they would thus harden their hearts plainly declared it; and herein is the condemnation of the world, that light hath come into the world, and men choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil; This is so plainly taught by the Savior, that a way-faring man need not mistake it.
And again, hear ye the parable of the sower: Men are in the habit, when the truth is exhibited by the servants of God, of saying, all is mystery, they are spoken in parables, and, therefore are not to be understood, it is true they have eyes to see, and see not; but none are so blind as those who will not see: And although the savior spoke this parable to such characters, yet unto his disciples he expounded it plainly; and we have reason to be truly humble before the God of our fathers, that he hath left these things on record for us, so plain, that, notwithstanding the exertions and combined influence of the Priests of [p. 644]