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.
<April 1> those of the magicians until they came to be tested together; and if Moses had not appeared in their midst they would unquestionably have thought that the miracles of the magicians were performed through the mighty power of God; for they were great miracles that were performed by them; a supernatural agency was developed; and great power manifested. The witch of Endor is no less singular a personage; clothed with a powerful agency she raised the Prophet Samuel from his grave, and he appeared before the astonished king and revealed unto him his future destiny. Who is to tell whether this woman is of God, and a righteous woman? or whether the power she possessed was of the devil, and her a witch as represented by the bible? it is easy for us to say now; but if we had lived in her day, which of us could have unravelled the mystery? It would have been equally as difficult for us to tell by what spirit the apostles prophesied, or by what power the apostles spoke, and worked miracles. Who could have told whether the power of Simon, the Sorcerer was of God, or of the devil? There always did in every age seem to be a lack of intelligence pertaining to this subject. Spirits of all kinds have been manifested, in every age and almost amongst all people: if we go among the Pagans they have their Spirits, the Mahommedans, the Jews, the Christians, the Indians; all have their Spirits, all have a supernatural agency; and all contend that their Spirits are of God. Who shall solve the mystery? “Try the Spirits” says John, but who is to do it? The learned, the elo[HC 4:571]quent, the philosopher, the sage, the divine, all are ignorant. The heathens will boast of their Gods, and of the great things that have been unfolded by their oracles. The Mussulman will boast of his Koran and of the divine communications that his progenitors have received, and are receiving, The Jews have had numerous instances both ancient and modern among them of men who have professed to be inspired and sent to bring about great events, and the Christian world has not been slow in making up the number. “Try the Spirits;” but what by? are we to try them by the creeds of men? What preposterous folly, what sheer ignorances, what madness. Try the motions and actions of an eternal being, (for I contend that all Spirits are such,) by a thing that was conceived in ignorance, and brought forth in folly.— a cobweb of yesterday. Angels would hide their faces, and devils would be ashamed and insulted and would say, “Paul we know, and Jesus we know, but who are ye?” Let each man or society make a creed and try evil spirits by it and the devil would shake his sides, it is all that he would ask, all that he would desire. Yet many of them do this and hence “many spirits are abroad in the world,” One great evil is that men are ignorant of the nature of Spirits; their power, laws, government, intelligence &c, and imagine that when there is any thing like power, revelation, or vision manifested that it must be of God:— hence the Methodists, Presbyterians, and others frequently possess a spirit that will cause them to lay down, and during its operation, animation is frequently entirely suspended; they consider it to be the power of God, and a glorious manifestation from God— a manifestation of what?— is there any intelligence communicated? are the curtains of heaven withdrawn, or the purposes of God developed? have they [p. 1304]