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> Here he entered into some explanations, which were so brief that I could not perfectly comprehend him. But the idea seemed to be, that the Soul of Man, the Spirit, had existed from Eternity in the bosom of Divinity, and so far as he was intelligible to me, must ultimately return from whence it came— He said very little of rewards and punishments. but one conclusion, from what he did say was irresistible. He contended throughout that every thing which had a beginning must have an ending; and consequently if the punishment of man commenced in the next world, it must, according to his logic and belief have anend. During the whole of his address, and it occupied more than two hours, there was no opinion or belief that he expressed, that was calculated in the slightest degree, to impair the morals of Society, or in any manner to degrade and brutalize the human species. There was much in his precepts, if they were followed, that would soften the asperities of man towards man, and that would tend to make him a more rational being than he is generally found to be. There was no violence, no fury, no denunciation. His religion appears to be the religion of meekness, lowliness and mild persuasion. Towards the close of his address, he remarked, that he had been represented, as pretending to be a Savior, a worker of miracles, &c, all this was false. He made no such pretensions. He was but a man, he said, a plain untutored man; seeking what he should do to be saved. He performed no miracles, He did not pretend to possess any such power— He closed by referring to the Mormon Bible, which, he said, contained nothing inconsistent or conflicting with the Christian Bible, and he again repeated that all who would follow the precepts of the Bible, whether Mormon or not, would assuredly be saved. Throughout his whole address he displayed strongly, a Spirit of Charity and Forbearance— The Mormon Bible, he said, was communicated to him directfromHeaven. If there was such a thing on Earth, as the author of it, then he (Smith) was the author; but the idea that he wished to impress was, that he had penned it, as dictated by God. I have taken some pains to explain this man’s belief, as he himself explained it, I have done so, because, it might satisfy your curiosity, and might be interesting to you, and some of your friends. I have changed my opinion of the Mormons. They are an injured and much abused people. of matters of Faith, you know I express no opinion. I have [HC 4:79] only room to add— let William, if you cannot do it, acknowledge the receipt of this, with the enclosure. Remember me to Sarah and the Boys— Kiss the dear Baby for me— Affectionately your Husband — I omitted to say, he does not believe in Infant baptism, Sprinkling, but in immersion, aftereight years of age—” “To , 107 Henry Street —”
During my stay I had <an> interview with , the President [p. 1015]