JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. C-1, addenda, created 18 Oct.–ca. 20 Nov. 1854; 75 pages in volume bearing three labels reading “Historical Notation,” “From 1841 to 1851,” and “Addenda to C1;” handwriting of , Jonathan Grimshaw, Robert Campbell, and John L. Smith; CHL.
On 11 June 1839, while residing at , Illinois, JS began dictating what his journal simply referred to as his “history.” (An earlier draft was begun by JS and in April 1838, but that draft is no longer extant; see JS, Journal, 27 Apr. 1838.) However, substantial progress on the history was not made until assumed responsibility for the project and was appointed as JS’s “private se[c]retary & historian” in December 1842 (JS, Journal, 11 June 1839; 21 Dec. 1842). Work on this endeavor came to span eighteen years and included frequent stops and starts. The longest lull, of over seven years, was occasioned by the Saints’ exodus from followed by the challenges of settling the Salt Lake Valley. After the death of Willard Richards in 1854, the project was brought to a conclusion in Utah by and in 1856. By that time the history had swelled to six volumes and over 2,400 pages. It subsequently came to be known as the “Manuscript History of the Church” (in The Joseph Smith Papers it bears the editorial title “History, 1838–1856”).
As part of that enterprise, “History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]” was begun on or just after 24 February 1845 and its basic narrative was completed by 3 May of that year, although work continued on the volume through that July (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). was the scribe for the volume, which contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda, and covers the period 2 November 1838 through 31 July 1842.
On 10 April 1854, less than five weeks after the death of , assumed the role of church historian and with it responsibility for the completion of JS’s history. He subsequently observed in a letter to :
I commenced to perform the duties of Historian by taking up the History of Joseph Smith where Dr. had left it when driven from on the 4th day of February 1846. I had to revise and compare two years of back history which he had compiled, filling up numerous spaces which had been marked as omissions on memoranda by Dr. Richards.
I commenced compiling the history of Joseph Smith from April 1st 1840 to his death on June 27th 1844. I have filled up all the reports of sermons by President Joseph Smith and others from minutes or sketches taken at the time in long hand by Dr. , , , , Miss &c. which was an immense labor, requiring the deepest thought and the closest application, as there were mostly only two or three words (about half written) to a sentence.” (George A. Smith, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Wilford Woodruff, 21 Apr. 1856, in Historian’s Office, Historical Record Book, 218.)
In October 1854 and his clerks began compiling a separate, extensive list of addenda to volume C-1. The Church Historian’s office journal entry for 13 October 1854 noted, “ engaged on history papers all da[y] found many that will have to be inserted in 40 & 41” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 13 Oct. 1854). Apparently these addenda represented some of the revising and comparing of “two years of back history” with the “filling up numerous spaces” Smith had mentioned in his 1856 letter to . In support of that effort, the 19 October 1854 issue of the Deseret News carried the following item that also explained why the serialization of the History of Joseph Smith was being temporarily interrupted:
The History of Joseph Smith is necessarily omitted in this number; and from one to two columns a number will probably be all that can be furnished for some time, as the Historian has come to a period which requires hunting up many facts, and preparing them for embodying, which the hurry of the times obliged to pass over by simply writing on the margin, “note to be supplied” (”History and Sermons,” Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 19 Oct. 1854, ).
At that time, Joseph Smith’s history had been reported through October 1840 in the Deseret News.
The addenda to volume C-1 presented here are labeled “Addenda to Book C1. By . Octr. 18th. 1854.” They are in the handwriting of Jonathan Grimshaw, , Robert L. Campbell, and John L. Smith, all of whom worked under the direction of . These addenda provide supplemental material for the period from 19 October 1840 to 15 July 1842 and consist of seventy-five pages copied into a separate ledger that also contains a chronological inventory of material employed in compiling the manuscript history. Many entries from George A. Smith’s “Addenda” were incorporated under their respective dates into the text of the version of Joseph Smith’s history published in the Deseret News, a fair copy identified as C-2, and the later account edited by B. H. Roberts as History of the Church.
Among the significant items included in the addenda to volume C-1 are sermons, editorials, and records of events. Of particular note are entries regarding the October 1840 creation of stakes at , , and , Illinois; the January 1841 acknowledgement of the mission of the Twelve to ; the 7 August 1841 death of JS’s brother ; JS’s 12 August 1841 meeting with Sac and Fox Indians from ; a November 1841 description of the construction of a temporary wooden font for the performance of baptisms for the dead within the rising Nauvoo ; the February 1842 appointment of as superintendent of the church printing office, and of as head of the Times and Seasons editorial department; and four accounts of JS’s instructions to the Female Relief Society.
The Lord cannot always be known by the thunder of his voice; by the display of his glory, or by the manifestation of his power; and those that are the most anxious to see these things, are the least prepared to meet them, and were the Lord to manifest his power as he did to the children of Israel, such characters would be the first to say “let not the Lord speak any more, lest we his people die.”
We would say to the brethren, seek to know God in your closets, call upon him in the fields; follow the directions of the Book of Mormon, and pray over, and for, your families, your cattle, your flocks, your herds, your corn, and all things that you possess; ask the blessing of God upon all your labors, and every thing that you engage in; be virtuous, and pure, be men of integrity and truth, keep the commandments of God, and then you will be able more perfectly to understand the difference between right and wrong, between the things of God, and the things of men; and your path will be like that of the just, “which shineth brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day.” Be not so curious about tongues, do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter present; the ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners, and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place, but when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare and a curse instead of a blessing. We may at some future time, enter more fully into this subject; but shall let this suffice for the present.”
Dear Sir,— Yours notifying me of your application for the benefit of the bankrupt act is at hand— I regret very much the step you have taken as I am fearful it will have a most disastrous influence upon your society, both commercially and religiously— You have however probably weighed the subject with sufficient care to arrive at a correct decision— You will oblige me by stating immediately on the receipt of this letter, your precise meaning in saying that “all your creditors would fare alike”— It is, as you will see, important for me to know the course taken with my notes, and also the position in which we stand to each other— You have my [p. 70]