31772

History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

March 1829, continued

nant with me that you should not shew them except to those persons to whom I command

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you. And you have a gift to translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened into...

View Glossary
the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded you that you pretend to no other gift untill my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift untill it is finished.
Verily I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words: for hereafter you shall be ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men, Behold if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you. O this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation mine anger is kindled against them.
Behold, verily I say unto you I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; but this generation shall have my word through you; and in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I shall show these things: and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you, yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true: for from heaven will I declare it unto them: I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony, among this generation, in this, the beginning of the rising up, and the coming forth of my church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word; and behold whosoever believeth on my words them will I visit with the manifestation of my spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the spirit.
And you must wait yet a little while; for ye are not yet ordained—and their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against them: for a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out, from time to time, if they repent not, untill the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away, and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. Behold, I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more; and that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you, and if you do this, behold I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.
And now again I speak unto you my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness: Behold I say unto him he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me: but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, behold I have seen the things which the Lord has shewn to Joseph Smith jr. and I [p. 12]

March 1829, continued

nant with me that you should not shew them except to those persons to whom I command

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
 you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you. And you have a gift to  translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened into...

View Glossary
the plates; and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded  you that you pretend to no other gift untill my purposes is fulfilled in you this; for I will  grant unto you no other gift untill it is finished.
Verily I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not  hearken unto my words: for hereafter you shall be ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
and go forth and deliver my  words unto the children of men, Behold if they will not believe my words, they would not  believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these  things which I have committed unto you. O this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation  mine anger is kindled against is kindled a them.
Behold, verily I say unto you I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto  you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto  future generations; but this generation shall have my word through you; and in addit ion to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants whom I shall call and or dain, unto whom I shall show these things: and they shall go forth with my words  that are given through you, yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true:  for from heaven will I declare it unto them: I will give them power that they may behold and  view these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this  same testimony, among this generation, in this, the beginning of the rising up, and the  coming forth of my church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the  sun, and terrible as an army with banners. And the testimony of three witnesses will  I send forth of my word; and behold whosoever believeth on my words them will I visit with  the manifestation of my spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the spirit.
And you must wait yet a little while; for ye are not yet ordained—and their testimony  shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation if they harden their hearts against  them: for a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall  continue to <be> poured out, from time to time, if they repent not, untill the earth is empty, and  the inhabitants thereof are consumed away, and utterly consumed <destroyed> by the brightness of  my coming. Behold, I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction  of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more upright ly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more; and that you be firm in  keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you, and if you do this, behold  I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.
And now again I speak unto you my servant Joseph, concerning the man that  desires the witness: Behold I say unto him he exalts himself and does not humble himself  sufficiently before me: but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty  prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view  of the things which he desires to see. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation,  behold I have seen the things which the Lord has shewn to Joseph Smith jr. and I [p. 12]
PreviousNext
This document, volume A-1, is the first of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. Volume A-1 encompasses the period from JS’s birth in 1805 to 30 August 1834, just after the return of the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion’s Camp) from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
to Kirtland

Located in Newel K. Whitney store in northwest Kirtland on northeast corner of Chardon and Chillicothe roads. Whitney appointed postmaster, 29 Dec. 1826. JS and others listed “Kirtland Mills, Geauga County, Ohio” as return address for letters mailed, 1833...

More Info
, Ohio. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
In April 1838 JS renewed his effort to draft a “history” with the aid of his counselor Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
. George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

View Full Bio
served as scribe. JS’s journal for late April and early May 1838 notes six days on which JS, Rigdon, and Robinson were engaged in “writing history.” Though not completed and no longer extant, that draft laid the foundation for what became a six-volume manuscript eventually published as the “History of Joseph Smith,” and at least a portion of its contents are assumed to have been included in the manuscript presented here.
On 11 June 1839 in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

More Info
, Illinois, JS once again began dictating his “history.” James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

View Full Bio
now served as scribe. Apparently the narrative commenced where the earlier 1838 draft left off. When work was interrupted in July 1839, Mulholland inscribed the draft material, including at least some of Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

View Full Bio
’s earlier material, into a large record book already containing the text of an incomplete history previously produced over a span of two years, 1834–1836. For the new history, Mulholland simply turned the ledger over and began at the back of the book. The volume was later labeled A-1 on its spine, identifying it as the first of multiple volumes of the manuscript history.
Prior to his untimely death on 3 November 1839, Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

View Full Bio
recorded the first fifty-nine pages in the volume. Subsequently, his successor, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

View Full Bio
, contributed about sixteen more pages before his death in August 1841. William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

View Full Bio
then added a little over seventy-five pages. However, it was not until Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

View Full Bio
was appointed JS’s “private secretary and historian” that substantial progress was made on the compilation of the history. Richards would contribute the remainder of the text inscribed in the 553-page first volume. The narrative recorded in A-1 was completed in August 1843. Thomas Bullock and Charles Wandell subsequently added sixteen pages of “Addenda” material, which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated. For instance, several of the addenda expanded on the account of the Camp of Israel as initially recorded.
JS dictated or supplied information for much of A-1, and he personally corrected the first forty-two pages before his death. As planned, his historian-scribes maintained the first-person, chronological narrative format initially established in the volume. When various third-person accounts were drawn upon, they were generally converted to the first person, as if JS was directly relating the account. After JS’s death, Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

View Full Bio
, Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

View Full Bio
, George A. Smith

26 June 1817–1 Sept. 1875. Born at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., New York. Son of John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. Baptized into LDS church by Joseph H. Wakefield, 10 Sept. 1832, at Potsdam. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Labored on Kirtland temple...

View Full Bio
, and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” At the time of JS’s death only the history through December 1831 had been published. When the final issue of the Times and Seasons, dated 15 February 1846 appeared, the account had been carried forward through August 1834—the end of the material recorded in A-1. The “History of Joseph Smith” was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
Aside from the material dictated or supplied by JS prior to his murder, the texts for A-1 and for the history’s subsequent volumes were drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. The narrative in A-1 provides JS’s personal account of the foundational events of his life as a prophet and the early progress of the church. It also encompasses contentions and disputations that erupted between the Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

More Info
, Pennsylvania

Area first settled by Swedish immigrants, 1628. William Penn received grant for territory from King Charles II, 1681, and established British settlement, 1682. Philadelphia was center of government for original thirteen U.S. colonies from time of Revolutionary...

More Info
, Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

More Info
, and Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
. While it remains difficult to distinguish JS’s own contributions from composition of his historian-scribes, the narrative trenchantly captures the poignancy and intensity of his life while offering an enlightening account of the birth of the church he labored to establish.

Facts