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.
<December 30> the same day I left : only about 7½ hours going 101 miles, (38 of it by Coach) I stayed over the Sabbath there, preached twice to a very attentive congregation. In the afternoon the house was full to [HC 4:251] overflowing. Elder <Henry> Glover is preaching in this place, and in the regions round, with much success. I think he is a humble, good man, and will do much good. I attended the Gadfield Elm Conference. The minutes of the Garway <Conference> were read, which had been held on the 8th.; after this I visited the brethren ’till the Stanley Hill Conference which was held on the 21st.— The Church in Garway numbers 95 members 1 Elder, 7 Priests, 3 Teachers and 1 Deacon— At the Gadfield Elm Conference there were 17 branches represented, 327 members, 13 Elders, 31 Priests, 9 teachers. The Stanley Hill Conference contains 25 branches, which — — — represented 839 Members 17 Elders 57 Priests, 16 teachers and 1 deacon. Including Officers, there are in these 3 Conferences, 1261 members, 31 Elders, 95 Priests, 28 Teachers and 2 Deacons, making 254 added since the October Conference. I attended the Conference in the <Staffordshire> Potteries on the 25th.; we had a good meeting; but I have not the Minutes before me, so I cannot give a particular statement of the Church there, but I can say, they are prospering. In my travels and at the Conferences, there were some baptized & many ordained. We can say truly the Lord is doing a great work in the Land. The gospel is preached to the poor, and signs follow them that believe. I arrived in last evening, and expect to tarry here till the Book of Mormon is completed.
I am as ever, your brother in the kingdom of Patience. ”—
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About this time immense quantities of water fell, which produced a flood in the East and South of France, doing immense damage, carrying with it buildings, bridges, and every thing in its way— Earthquakes have been felt in divers places the past year, and fearful sights, and bloody signs have been witnessed in the heavens, fulfilling the words of the Ancient Prophets concerning the last days. I copy the following from a printed sheet—
“A most wonderful phenomenon was observed last week by the Inhabitants of Hull and the neighborhood. A perfectly blood red flag was seen flying in the Heavens. which illuminated the Horizen for many miles around. At intervals it changed its form, assuming that of a [HC 4:252] cross, sword, and many other shapes. At one oclock on Friday morning the town was nearly as light as noonday; the inhabitants were parading the Streets, fear and dismay pictured in their countenances. This wonder continued until near three oclock, when it gradually went to the Westward. illuminating the Humber, as it seemed to sink in her waters. Then for a few seconds all became total darkness, when from the north west by north, arose the most beautiful light, which shot away towards the Western Hemisphere, leaving in its train the most beautiful and variegated colors, and which the eye might readily form into armies, drawn up in the order of battle, charging and retreating alternately, and then again all was wrapped in the sable curtains of night. It appears that many signs were seen in the same night, in different parts of the Kingdom”—