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 16 Joseph’s Letter in > the Lord— In order to do this, he and all his house must be virtuous, and must shun the very appearance of evil— Now if any person has represented any thing otherwise than what we now write, he or she is a liar and has— represented us falsely— and this is another manner of evil which is spoken against us falsely. We have learned also since we have been prisoners that many false and pernicious things which were calculated to lead the Saints far astray and to do great injury, have been taught by as coming from the Presidency and we have reason to fear, that many other designing and corrupt characters like unto himself have been teaching many things, which the Presidency never knew of, being taught in the Church by any body until after they were made prisoners, which if they had known of, they would have spurned them and their authors from them, as they would the gates of hell— Thus we find that there have been frauds and secret abominations and evil works of darkness going on, leading the minds of the weak and unwary, into confusion and distraction, and palming it all the time upon the Presidency, while mean time the Presidency were— ignorant as well as innocent of those things, which were practicing in the Church in their name, and were attending to their own Secular and Family concerns, weighed down with sorrow, in debt, in poverty, in hunger, assaying to be fed, yet finding themselves, receiving deeds of Charity, but inadequate to their subsistence, and because they received those deeds, they were envied and hated, by those who professed to be their friends.
But notwithstanding we thus speak, we honor the Church, when we speak of the Church, as a Church, for their liberality, kindness, patience and long suffering, and their continual kindness towards us. And now brethren we say unto you, What more can we enumerate? Is not all, manner of evil of every description spoken of us falsely, yea, we say unto you falsely; we have been misrepresented and misunderstood, and belied, and the purity and integrity, and uprightness of our hearts have not been known, and it is through ignorance, yea the [HC 3:231] very depth of ignorance is the cause of it, and not only ignorance, but on the part of some gross wickedness and hypocricy also, who by a long face, and sanctimonious prayers, and very pious sermons had power to lead the minds of the ignorant and unwary and thereby obtain such influence, that when we approached their iniquities, the Devil gained great advantage, would bring great trouble and sorrow on our heads, and in fine we have waded through an ocean of tribulation and mean abuse, practiced upon us by the ill bred, and the ignorant, such as , , , , , and various others, who are so very ignorant that they cannot appear respectable in any decent and civilized Society and whose eyes are full of adultery and cannot cease from sin— Such characters as , , , , and who are too mean to mention and we had like to have forgotten them. and another whose hearts are full of corruption, whose cloak of hypocrisy was not sufficient to shield them or to hold them up in the hour of trouble, who after having escaped [p. 872]