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 .
<May 1> length, one inch and three quarters wide at the top, and two inches and three quarters wide at the bottom, flaring out to points. There are four lines of characters or hieroglyphics on each; <X> on one side of the plates are paralell <parallel> lines running lengthways.
By whom these plates were deposited there must ever remain a secret, unless some one skilled in decyphering hieroglyphics, may be found to unravel the mystery. Some pretend to say, that Smith, the Mormon leader, has the ability to read them. If he has, he will confer a great favor on the public by removing the mystery which hangs over them. A person present when the plates were found, remarked, that it would go to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon— which it undoubtedly will.
In the place where these plates were deposited, were also found human bones in the last stage of decomposition. There were but few bones found, and it is believed, that it was but the burial place of a person, or family of distinction, in ages long gone by, and that these plates contain the history of the times, or of a people, that existed far, far beyond the memory of the present race. But we will not conjecture anything about this wonderful discovery, as it is one which the plates alone can reveal.
The plates above alluded to, were exhibited in this city last week, and are now, we understand, in , subject to the inspection of the Mormon Prophet. The public curiosity is greatly excited, and if Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent, than any man now living.” [HC 5:378]
Slavery <was> this day abolished in every part of the British Dominions in India, <under the administration of Lord Ellenborough>.
<2> Rode out in the forenoon. About 3 P.M. the “Maid of ” arrived from . I was on the bank of the awaiting the arrival of my <> , who returned with .
< , , , and returned from —> wrote me a letter, wanting to dispose of Property, and establish a Printing Press in , on which I directed the to send him to Liberia, or some other place in order to save him.
About 1 P.M. The Mate of the Ship “Yorkshire” opened [HC 5:379] the Testiment at the 27th chapter of Acts, and asked the passengers how they would feel to be shipwrecked like Paul; Elder replied instantly “it is very likely we shall be shipwrecked, but the hull of this <old> vessel has got to carry us safe into .” The Mate was then called away to hoist the fore top royal sail. Between 1 and 2 next morning, when off Cape St Antonio, Cuba. <there was much> vivid lightning when a white squall caught the foretop royal sail, which careened the vessel, when the foremast, mainmast and mizenmast snapped asunder with an awful crash; the whole of the masts above, with the jib <and spanker> and 16 sails and studding poles, were carried overboard, with a tremendous splash and surge, when the vessel righted; at day break, found the deck all in confusion.* <*and a complete wreck; during the day hoisted a sail from the stump of the mainmast, to the bow of the vessel— thus leaving nothing but the hull of the vessel to carry the Saints into >