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.
“An Epistle of the Twelve <Apostles>, To the brethren scattered abroad on the Continent of : Greeting: Beloved Brethren, It seemeth good to us to write unto you at this time concerning the great things of the kingdom of our God, and more especially as we have been called upon by the late General Conference, so to do; that the work may not be hindered but that all may understand their privilege and duty in this day of glorious events, so that by exercising themselves therein, they may attain unto those blessings which God has in store for his people in the last days. We have abundant occasion, and we rejoice exceedingly at the privilege we have had of beholding so many thousands of our brethren and sisters as were assembled at the late Conference; and for the most perfect harmony and good feeling which prevailed throughout all their deliberations; for the great amount of valuable instructions by President Joseph Smith and others; and for the disposition which we have seen manifested, by all who were present to carry into effect all those noble plans and principles which were derived from heaven, and have been handed down to earth to carry forward the great and glorious work which is already commenced, and which must be consummated to secure the salvation of Israel. While the minutes of the General Conference are before you, which will be read with interest by every lover of , we shall recapitulate some items, and detail more particularly to the understanding of those who had not the privilege of being present on that interesting occasion, [HC 4:433] the past, present and future situation and prospects of the Church, and the stakes, and those things which immediately concern their best interests. A short time since and the Saints were fleeing from their enemies. Whips, imprisonments, tortures and death stared them in the face, and they were compelled to seek an asylum in a land of strangers. They sought, they found it within the peaceful bosom of ; a State whose Citizens are inspired with a love of liberty; whose souls are endued with those noble principles of charity and benevolence which ever bid the stranger welcome and minister to his wants: in this , whose soil is vieing with its citizens in all that is good and lovely, the Saints have found a resting place, where, freed from tyranny and mobs, they are beginning to realize the fulfilment of the ancient prophets, “they shall build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat the fruit thereof, having none to molest or make afraid.” In this the Church has succeeded in securing several extensive plats of land, which have been laid out in City lots, a part of which have been sold, a part has been distributed to the widow and orphan, and a part remains for sale. These lots are for the inheritance of the Saints, a resting place for the Church, a habitation for the God of Jacob; for here he has commanded a to be built unto his name, where he may manifest himself unto his people as in former times, when he caused the ark, the tabernacle, and the temple to be reared, and the cloud and the fire to rest down thereon; and not that the be built only, but that it be completedquickly, and that no more general conference be held, till it shall be held therein; and that the [p. 1235]