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 13> Isaac Russel[l] who had become connected with a small camp of the Saints of about Thirty families going west, turned from his course at Louisiana, led them north ten miles on the Spanish claims, where they built huts, or lived <Russel turned Apostate> in tents through the winter in great suffering Russel turned prophet -[apostate]- said Joseph had fallen and he was appointed to lead the people, who was moving West, was met by a mob at and compelled to turn back, and fell in with Russel’s Camp. Russel said he was “the chosen of the Lord,” and when they left that place, they would have to go on foot, and take nothing with them, and they must sell their teams &c Some would not sell and he cursed them.
<16 Joseph’s Letter in > Sunday 16. I wrote the following letter.
“, Missouri, Decr. 16. 1838
To the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in , and all the Saints who are scattered abroad, who are persecuted and made desolate, and who are afflicted in divers manners for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s by the hands of a cruel mob and the tyrannical disposition of the authorities of this , and whose perils are greatly augmented by the wickedness and corruption of false brethren, may grace, mercy, and the peace of God be, and abide with you, and notwithstanding all your sufferings, we assure you, that you have our prayers and fervent desires for your welfare day and night. We believe that that God who seeth us in this Solitary place will hear our prayers, and reward you openly. Know assuredly, Dear Brethren, that it is for the testimony of Jesus that we are in bonds and in prison. But we say unto you that we consider that our condition is better, (notwithstanding our sufferings) than those who have persecuted us and smitten us, and borne false witness against us, and we most assuredly believe that those who do bear false witness against us, do seem to have a great triumph over us [HC 3:226] for the present. But we want you to remember Haman and Mordecai, you know that Haman could not be satisfied so long as he saw Mordecai at the King’s gate— and he sought the life of Mordecai and the people of the Jews, But the Lord so ordered it, that Haman was hanged upon his own gallows. So shall it come to pass with poor Haman in the last days, those who have sought by unbelief and wickedness, and by the principle of Mobocracy to destroy us, and the people of God, by killing and scattering them abroad, and willfully and maliciously delivering us into the hands of murderers, desiring us to be put to death, thereby having us dragged about in Chains and cast into prison, and for what cause? it is because we were honest men, and were determined to defend the lives of the Saints at the expense of our own. I say unto you, that those who have thus vilely treated us like Haman, shall be hanged upon their own gallows, or in other words shall fall into their own gin, and snare and ditch and trap which they have prepared for us, and shall go backwards and stumble and fall, and their name shall be blotted out, and God shall reward them according to all their abominations. Dear Brethren do not think that our hearts faint, as though some strange thing had happened unto us for we have seen and been assured of all these things beforehand, and have an assurance [p. 868]