“Church History,” 1 March 1842

At the request of Mr. John Wentworth,  Editor, and Proprietor of the “Chicago  Democrat,” I have written the following  sketch of the rise, progress, persecution,  and faith of the Latter-Day Saints, of  which I have the honor, under God, of be ing the founder. Mr. Wentworth says,  that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow [George Barstow], a  friend of his, who is writing the history  of New Hampshire, with this document.  As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper  steps to obtain correct information all  that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he  publish the account entire, ungarnished,  and without misrepresentation.
I was born in the town of Sharon  Windsor co., Vermont, on the 23d of De cember, A. D. 1805. When ten years  old my parents removed to Palmyra  New York,1

Joseph Smith Sr. left Vermont in late summer or early fall 1816, when JS was ten years old. The rest of the Smith family joined him in Palmyra in early 1817, shortly after JS turned eleven. (Palmyra, NY, Record of Highway Taxes, 1817, Copies of Old Village Records, 1793–1867, microfilm 812,869, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 3, [3]–[6]; JS History, vol. A-1, 131nA.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. Also available in Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001).

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

where we resided about four  years, and from thence we removed to  the town of Manchester.
My father was a farmer and taught  me the art of husbandry.2

Some of the following language used to describe JS’s early visions quotes Orson Pratt’s Interesting Account.  

When about  fourteen years of age I began to reflect  upon the importance of being prepared  for a future state, and upon enquiring  the plan of salvation I found that there  was a great clash in religious sentiment;  if I went to one society they referred me  to one plan, and another to another; each  one pointing to his own particular creed  as the summum bonum of perfection:  considering that all could not be right,  and that God could not be the author of  so much confusion I determined to inves tigate the subject more fully, believing  that if God had a church it would not be  split up into factions, and that if he  taught one society to worship one way,  and administer in one set of ordinances,  he would not teach another principles  which were diametrically opposed. Be lieving the word of God I had confidence  in the declaration of James; “If any man  lack wisdom let him ask of God who giv eth to all men liberally and upbraideth  not and it shall be given him,”3

James 1:5.  

I retired  to a secret place in a grove and began to  call upon the Lord, while fervently en gaged in supplication my mind was taken  away from the objects with which I was  surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a [p. 706]
JS, “Church History,” in Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, IL), 1 Mar. 1842, vol. 3, no. 9 (whole no. 45), pp. 706–710; edited by JS; includes typeset signature. The copy used for transcription is currently part of a bound volume held at CHL; includes later underlining.
The five-page article is the second item in this number of the Times and Seasons. The issue comprises eight leaves, making sixteen pages that measure 9 x 5¾ inches (23 x 15 cm). The text on each page is set in two columns. The copy used for transcription has apparently been in continuous church custody since its purchase in the early twentieth century.1

A previous owner’s bookplate and stamp are found on the inside front cover, as is the selling price of the volume, marked in graphite now erased. A blank flyleaf has the same previous owner’s stamp.