JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. F-1, created 9 Apr.–7 June 1856 and 20 Aug. 1856–6 Nov. 1856; handwriting of and Jonathan Grimshaw; 304 pages, plus 10 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the final volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This sixth volume covers the period from 1 May to 8 Aug. 1844; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1 through E-1, go through 30 Apr. 1844.
History, 1838-1856, volume F-1, constitutes the last 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 May 1844 to the events following his 27 June 1844 death, and it was compiled in Utah Territory in 1856.
The material recorded in volume F-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , who was JS’s cousin, and also assistant church historian . Smith collaborated with in collecting material for the volume and creating a set of draft notes, which Smith dictated to Bullock and other clerks. Woodruff gathered additional material concerning the death of Joseph Smith as a supplement to George A. Smith’s work recording that event. Jonathan Grimshaw and , members of the Historian’s Office staff, transcribed the draft notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents.
According to the Historian’s Office journal, Jonathan Grimshaw initiated work on the text of volume F-1 on 9 April 1856, soon after Robert L. Campbell had completed work on volume E-1. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 5 and 9 Apr. 1856.) Grimshaw’s scribal work begins with an entry for 1 May 1844. Unlike previous volumes in which the numbering had run consecutively to page 2028, Grimshaw began anew with page 1. He transcribed 150 pages by June 1856, and his last entry was for 23 June 1844. Though more of his writing does not appear in the volume, he continued to work in the office until 2 August, before leaving for the East that same month. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 2 and 10 Aug. 1856.)
assumed the role of scribe on 20 August 1856. (Historian’s Office, Journal, 20 Aug. 1856.) He incorporated ’s draft notes for the period 24–29 June 1844 on pages 151–189, providing an account of JS’s death and its immediate aftermath. He next transcribed a related extract from ’s 1854 History of Illinois on pages 190–204. Pages 205–227 were left blank.
provided the notes for the final portion of the text. This account begins with an entry for 22 June 1844 and continues the record through 8 August 1844, ending on page 304. (The volume also included ten pages of addenda.) The last specific entry in the Historian’s Office journal that captures at work on the history is for 6 November 1856. A 2 February 1857 Wilford Woodruff letter to indicates that on 30 January 1857, the “presidency sat and heard the history read up to the organization of the church in , 8th. day of August 1844.” (Historian’s Office, Journal, 6 Nov. 1856; Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 2 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, p. 410; see also Wilford Woodruff, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, 28 Feb. 1857, Historian’s Office, Letterpress Copybooks, vol. 1, pp. 430–431.)
The pages of volume F-1 contain a record of the final weeks of JS’s life and the events of the ensuing days. The narrative commences with and arriving at , Illinois, on 1 May 1844 from their lumber-harvesting mission in the “” of Wisconsin Territory. As the late spring and summer of 1844 unfold, events intensify, especially those surrounding the suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor in mid-June. Legal action over the Expositor leads to a charge of riot, and subsequently JS is charged with treason and is incarcerated at the jail in , Illinois. The narrative of volume F-1 concludes with an account of the special church conference convened on 8 August 1844 to consider who should assume the leadership of the church.
Dear Sir:— I have been informed that a writ was issued against the Steam Ferry ‘New Purchase’ for wharfage on Tuesday last, but no such writ has been served or shown to me, and I am anxious to learn the facts of the case; if it is required I will pay wharfage with the greatest of pleasure, but I would dislike to have cost to pay in addition. I expect to visit this place with my boat at least once a week during the season; you will confer a favor on me by informing me in relation to the Ordinances regulating wharfage &c. It has been rumored that the ‘New Purchase’ was employed to convey to an armed force to attack the citizens in connexion with other companies on account of the late difficulties at your place, but it is not true. I assure you that the Boat will not be employed in any unlawful enterprise, and I further assure you that there is no unkind feeling existing in our place against the people of your place.
<16> Sunday 16 I preached at the at 10 A. M.; before I closed my remarks it rained severely. The following synopsis was reported by Elder , whom I had transferred from the duties of clerk of the “Maid of Iowa” to my :—
“Meeting in the , east of the , June 16th, 1844.
“Prayer by Bishop .
“Choir sung ‘Mortals awake.’
“President Joseph Smith read the 3rd Chap of Revelations, and took for his text 1st. Chap. 6th verse: ‘And hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.’
“It is altogether correct in the translation; now you know that of late some malicious and corrupt men have sprung up and apostatized from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and they declare that the Prophet believes in a plurality of Gods, and lo and behold we have discovered a very great secret, they cry, The Prophet says there are many Gods, and this proves that he has fallen. [HC 6:473] It has been my intention for a long time to take up this subject, and lay it clearly before the people, and show what my faith is in relation to this interesting matter. I have contemplated the saying of Jesus (Luke 17 ch. 26 v.) ‘And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man’. And if it rains I’ll preach this doctrine, for the truth shall be preached. I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always, and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders fifteen years. I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage, and a Spirit, and these three constitute three distinct personages, and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the new testament lo and behold, we have three Gods any how, and they are plural; and who can contradict it. Our text says, ‘And hath made us Kings and Priests unto God and his Father.’ The Apostles have discovered that there were Gods above; for Paul says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the Scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am bold to declare I have taught all the strong [p. 101]