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.
<June 16.> doctrines publicly, and always teach stronger doctrines in public than in private. John was one of the men, and the Apostles declare they were made Kings and Priests unto God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; it reads just so in the Revelations; hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine; it is all over the face of the Bible— it stands beyond the power of controversy— ‘a wayfaring man though a fool needs not err therein’. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many— I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner— but to us there is but one God— that is, pertaining to us— and He is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, ‘away with him— crucify him— crucify him’.
“Mankind verily say that the scriptures are with them— search the scriptures; for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one; and we are to be in subjection to that one; and no man can limit the bounds, or the eternal existence of eternal time. Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? he makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his [HC 6:474] career or progress in knowledge— he cannot obtain all knowledge, for he has sealed up the gate to it. Some say I do not interpret the scriptures the same as they do— they say it means the heathens gods. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many, and that makes a plurality of Gods in spite of the whims of all men. Without a revelation I am not going to give them the Knowledge of the God of Heaven. You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods; I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will shew from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct; and the first word shews a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew: Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeem vehau auraits— rendered by King James’s translators,— ‘In the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.’ I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh the head; Sheit a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi— God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim it renders it Gods. It read first, ‘In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods’, or as others have rendered the translation, <translated it> — the head of the Gods called the Gods together.’ I want to shew a little learning as well as other fools.
“‘Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring,
Shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;
But drinking deep will sober us again.’
“All this confusion among professed translators is for want of drinking another draught. The head God organized the heavens and the earth; I defy all the learning in the world to refute me. ‘In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth.’ Now the learned priest and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further it reads:— ‘Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeem vehau auraits’— ‘The head one of the Gods said, let us make man in our image’. I once asked a learned Jew ‘if the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?’ He replied, ‘that is the rule with few exceptions, but in this case it would ruin the bible.’ He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believed; hear and judge for yourselves, and if you [p. 102]