JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, created 24 Feb. 1845–3 July 1845; handwriting of , , Jonathan Grimshaw, and ; 512 pages, plus 24 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the third volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This third volume covers the period from 2 Nov. 1838 to 31 July 1842; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, D-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
This document, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers the “Manuscript History” bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”). The completed six-volume collection covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “’s forces” at , Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop at , Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative was completed by 3 May 1845, although some additional work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date as a supplementary document and appear in this collection as “History, 1838-1856, volume C-1 Addenda.” Compilers and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, Richards maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. , , , and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period covered by this text include the Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in by the and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to ; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch ; the establishment of the city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo ; the expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.
<February 6 News Vol 4 No. 20.> Thursday 6. I had previously preached in , and one of my sermons I find reported in Synopsis, by a member of Congress, which I will insert intire [HC 4:77]
“ 6th. February 1840. My Dear Mary— I went last evening, to hear Joe Smith, the celebrated Mormon, expound his doctrine. I, with several others, had a desire to understand his tenets, as explained by himself. He is not an educated Man: but he is a plain, sensible, strong minded man. Everything he says, is said in a manner to leave an impression that he is sincere, There is no levity, no fanaticism, no want of dignity in his deportment. He is apparently from 40 to 45 years of age, rather above the middle stature, and what you ladies would call a very good looking man. In his garb there are no peculiarities, his dress being that of a plain, unpretending Citizen. He is, by profession, a farmer; but is evidently well read. He commenced, by saying, that he knew the prejudices, which were abroad in the world against him, but requested us to pay no respect to the rumors which were in circulation respecting him or his doctrines. He was accompanied by three or four of his followers. He said, “I will state to you, our belief, so far as time will permit.” I believe, said he, that there is a God, possessing all the attributes ascribed to him by all Christians of all denominations, that he reigns over all things in Heaven and on Earth; and that all are subject to his power. He then spoke, rationally, of the attributes of Divinity, such as foreknowledge, mercy, &c. &c. He then took up the Bible. I believe, said he, in this sacred volume, In it the Mormon faith is to be found. We teach nothing, but what the Bible teaches. We believe nothing but what is to be found in this Book. I believe in the fall of Man, as recorded in the Bible. I believe that God foreknew every thing; but did not fore ordain every thing; I deny that foreordain and fore-know is the same thing. He fore-ordained the fall of Man; but all merciful as he is, he fore-ordained at the same time, a plan of redemption for all mankind; I believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that he died for the sins of all men, who in Adam had fallen— He then entered into some details, the result of which tended to shew his total unbelief of what is termed original sin. He believes that it is washed away by the blood of Christ, and that it no longer exists— As a necessary consequence, he believes, that we are all born pure and undefiled. That all children dying at an early age (say eight years). not knowing good from evil, were incapable of sinning, and that all such assuredly go to Heaven. I believe, said he, that man is a moral, responsible, free agent; that although it was fore-ordained he should fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not fore-ordained that he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him. In the old and new [HC 4:78] Testaments the law by which he is to be governed may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done in the body. I believe that God is Eternal. That he had no beginning and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or End. I believe that the Soul is Eternal. It had no beginning; it can have no end. [p. 1014]