JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. D-1, created 4 July 1845–4 Feb. 1846 and 1 July 1854–2 May 1855; handwriting of , Robert L. Campbell, and ; 275 pages, plus 6 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the fourth volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This fourth volume covers the period from 1 Aug. 1842 to 1 July 1843; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, C-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
History, 1838–1856, volume D-1, constitutes the fourth of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 August 1842 to 1 July 1843, and it was compiled after JS’s death.
The material recorded in volume D-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , with the assistance of . After Richards’s death in 1854, continued work on the volume as the new church historian with Bullock’s continued help. The process adopted by Richards and Bullock involved Richards creating a set of rough draft notes and Bullock transcribing the notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents (such as letters and meeting minutes). George A. Smith followed a similar pattern, though he dictated the draft notes to Bullock and other scribes.
According to the Church Historian’s Office journal, finished the third volume of the series, volume C-1, on Thursday, 3 July 1845, in , Illinois. He began work on the fourth volume, D-1, the next day, beginning on page 1362 with the entry for 1 August 1842. (The pages in volumes A-1–E-1 were numbered consecutively.) Bullock continued work on the record, drawing upon ’s draft notes, until 3 February 1846—the day before D-1 and the other volumes were packed up in preparation for the Latter-day Saints’ exodus from Nauvoo. At that point he had reached page 1485 with the entry for 28 February 1843. Subsequently, apparently after the collection had arrived in Utah, Bullock added a brief comment beneath that entry: “end of W. Richard’s compiling[.] the books packed Feby. 4— 1846 in Nauvoo[.] Miles Romney— present. The records carried by T Bullock from Winter Quarters to G S L [Great Salt Lake] City in 1848.”
A notation at the top of page 1486 reports that “the books were unpacked in G. S. L. City by and . June 7. 1853. J[onathan] Grimshaw & Miles Romney present.” Vertically, in the margin, is a poignant epitaph: “Decr. 1 1853 Dr. Willard Richards wrote one line of History—being sick at the time—and was never able to do any more.” With Richards’s death on 11 March 1854, JS’s cousin was called to the office of church historian. The notation on the top of page 1486 acknowledges this change in officers, noting, “commencement of George A. Smith’s compiling as Historian. April 13. 1854[.] [C]ommenced copying July 1. 1854.” From mid-April to the end of June 1854, George A. Smith, in collaboration with Thomas Bullock, worked on the draft notes for the history before a new scribe, , resumed writing in D-1 on 1 July 1854, beginning with the entry for 1 March 1843.
continued transcribing intermittently into the late fall of 1854, when he was assigned other duties in the Historian’s Office. He had reached page 1546 with the entry for 5 May 1843. Work resumed in February 1855 in the hand of Robert L. Campbell, recently returned from a mission. He concluded volume D-1 on the morning of 2 May 1855 and began writing in E-1 that afternoon.
The 274 pages of volume D-1 contain a record of much that is significant in the life of JS and the development of the church he founded. Among these events are
• JS’s 6 August 1842 prophecy that the Saints would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.
•JS’s 8 August 1842 arrest on a warrant for being “an accessory before the fact” to an attack on former governor .
• ’s 17 August 1842 letter to governor , pleading for the humane treatment of her husband and family.
•JS’s 1 and 6 September 1842 instructions regarding the proper procedures for performing baptisms for the dead.
• JS’s 15 November 1842 “Valedictory” as he stepped down as editor of the Times and Seasons.
• The 26 December 1842 arrest of JS on a “proclamation” by former governor , and subsequent hearing in , Illinois.
• The 7 February 1843 recovery of a volume of patriarchal blessings given by , which had been stolen in , Missouri.
• JS’s 21 February 1843 remarks regarding the and .
• JS’s 2 April 1843 instruction at , Illinois, on the nature of God and other subjects.
• JS’s 16 May 1843 remarks at , Illinois, on the everlasting covenant and eternal marriage.
• The account of JS’s 23 June 1843 arrest and his hearing the following week at .
<April 8> <The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it <by his angel> unto his servant <John> who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Also Revelations ch 4 v 1: ‘After this I looked and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard, was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.’ The four beasts and twenty-four elders were out of every nation; for “they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (see Rev. ch. 5. v. 9.) It would be great stuffing to create all nations into four beasts and twenty-four elders. ¶ Now I make this declaration, that those things which John saw in heaven, had no allusion to anything that had been on the earth previous to that time; because they were the representation of ‘things which must shortly come to pass,’ and not of what had already transpired. John saw beasts that had to do with things on the earth, but not in past ages: the beasts which John saw had to devour the inhabitants of the earth in days to come. ‘And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts, saying, Come and see. And I saw and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him, a great sword’ Rev. ch 6. v 1-4. The book of Revelations is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written. ¶ The revelations do not give us to understand anything of the past in relation to the kingdom of God. What John saw and speaks of were things which he saw in heaven, those which Daniel saw were on, and pertaining to the earth. ¶ I am now going to take exceptions to the present translation of the bible in relation to these matters; our latitude and longitude can be [HC 5:342] determined in the original Hebrew with far greater accuracy than in the English version. There is a grand distinction between the actual meaning of the Prophets and the present translation: the prophets do not declare that they saw a beast or beasts, but that they saw the image or figure of a beast. Daniel did not see an actual bear or a lion, but the images or figures of those beasts. The translation should have been rendered ‘image’ instead of ‘beast’ in every instance where beasts are mentioned by the prophets. But John saw the actual beast in heaven, showing to John that beasts did actually exist there and not to represent figures of things on the earth. When the prophets speak of seeing beasts in their visions, they mean that they saw the images; they being types to represent certain things. At the same time, they received the interpretation as to what those images or types were designed to represent. I make this broad declaration that whenever God gives a vision of an image, or beast, or figure of any kind, he always holds himself responsible to give a revelation or interpretation of the meaning thereof, otherwise we are not responsible or accountable for our belief in it. Don’t be afraid of being damned for not knowing the meaning of a vision or figure if God has not given a revelation or interpretation on the subject. John saw curious looking beasts in heaven— he saw every creature that was in heaven,— all the beasts, fowls, and fish in heaven,— actually there giving glory to God. How do you prove it? See Rev. ch 5. v 13. ‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever? I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this;— strange beasts of which we have no conception— all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven: John learned that God glorified himself by saving all that his hands had made, whether beasts, fowl, fishes, or men, and he will gratify himself with them. Says one, ‘I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.’ Any man who would tell you that this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect; they were like angels in their sphere; we are not told where they came [HC 5:343] from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John, praising and glorifying God. ¶ The popular religionists of the day tell us forsooth, that the beasts spoken of in the revelations represent kingdoms. Very well; on the same principle can we say, that the twenty-four elders spoken of represent beasts; for they are all spoken of at the same time, and represented as all uniting in the same acts of praise and devotion. This learned interpretation is all as flat as a pancake! ‘What do you use such vulgar expressions for, being a prophet? Because the old women understand it— they make pancakes. Deacon Homespun said the earth was flat as a pancake, and ridiculed science which proved to the contrary. The whole argument is flat, and I don’t know of anything better to represent it. The world is full of technicalities and misrepresentation, which I calculate to overthrow, and speak of things as they actually are.*>
<*Again there is no revelation to prove that things do not exist< in heaven> as I have set forth, nor yet to show that the beasts meant anything but beasts, and we never can comprehend the things of God and of heaven but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions to all eternity; but that is no authority. ¶ O! ye elders of Israel, hearken to my voice; and when you are sent into the world to preach, tell those things you are sent to tell: preach and cry aloud, ‘repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand— repent and believe the gospel.’ Declare the first principles, and let mysteries alone, lest you be overthrown. Never meddle with the visions of beasts, and subjects you do not understand. when you go to , say nothing about the four beasts, but preach those things the Lord has told you to preach about— repentance and baptism for the remission of sins. ¶ He then read Rev. ch 13. v. 1-8. In v. 3. John says: ‘And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.’ Some spiritualizers say the beast that received the wound was Nebuchadnezzar some Constantine, some Mohammed, and other the Roman <Catholic> Church; but we will look at what John saw in relation to this beast. Now for the wasp’s nest. The translators have used the term ‘dragon’ for ‘devil’, Now it was a beast that John saw in heaven, and he was then speaking of ‘things which must shortly come to pass’ and consequently the beast that John saw could not be Nebuchadnezzar. The beast John saw was an actual beast and an actual intelligent being gives him his power and his seat and great authority,’ It was not to represent a beast in heaven it was an angel in heaven who has power in the last days to do a work. [HC 5:344] ‘All the world wondered after the beast.’ Nebuchadnezzar and Constantine the Great not excepted: and if the beast was all the world, how could the world wonder after the beast? It must have been a wonderful Beast to cause all human Beings to wonder after it; and I will venture to say that when God allows the old Devil to give power to the beast to destroy the inhabitants of the earth, all will wonder. V. 4 reads, ‘And they worshipped the Dragon which gave power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? Some say it means the kingdoms of the world: one thing is sure, it does not mean the kingdom of the Saints. Suppose we admit that it means the kingdoms of the world, what propriety would there be in saying, who is able to make war with my great big self? If these spiritualized interpretations are true, the book contradicts itself in almost every verse; but they are not true. There is a mistranslation of the word dragon in the second verse— the original Hebrew word signifies the Devil, and not Dragon as translated. In ch. 12. v. 9. it reads “that old serpent called the devil,’ and it ought to be translated devil in this case, and not dragon. It is sometimes translated Appollyon. Everything that we have not a keyword to, we will take it as it leads. The beasts which John saw and speaks of as being in heaven were actually living in heaven, and were actually to have power given to them over the inhabitants of the earth, precisely according to the plain reading of the revelations. I give this as a key to the elders of Israel. ¶ The Independent Beast is a beast that dwells in heaven abstract from the human family; the beast that rose up out of the sea should be translated the image of a beast, as I have referred to in Daniel’s vision. ¶ I have said more than I ever did before except once at ; and then up starts the little fellow (Charles Thompson) and stuffed me like a Cock Turkey with the prophecies of Daniel, and crammed it down my throat with his finger.[”]>
At half past 11 o’clock President Smiths lungs failed him, the wind blowing briskly at the time Choir sung a hymn.
rose and made a few remarks; among which were the following, “I have never said much about the Beasts, &c, in my preaching, when I have done it, it has been to attract attention and keep the people from running after a greater fool than myself
Singing and prayer Adjourned ‘till 2. P.M.
A strong west wind, ice floating down the , seen from the . [HC 5:345]
Conference again opened, but the wind being too strong, the congregation made a temporary stand at the east end of the Temple walls; when resumed his remarks on the kingdom of God being set up in the last days, <which> will be like the little stone cut out of the mountain.
Elder said it was three years since he met with the saints, and was set apart for his mission to ; he had travelled in the four quarters of the globe, and been among 14 or 15 different languages and people, and they all agree that some great event is close at hand.
<9> opened by singing “The spirit of God like a fire is burning”
Prayer and singing.
In consequence of President Joseph Smith being afflicted in his lungs and breast, he was not able to preach and called on Joshua Grant to speak; who stated that he had just returned from a mission of three years, he had travelled through several States, and had in company with his brother raised up a church of 200 members for synopsis of discourse, see Times and Seasons page 236, 237.
Elder also preached an eloquent discourse on the Book of Mormon, Resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. See Times and Seasons 218-19-20 [HC 5:346] [p. 1523]