31772

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

as follows;
To N. E. Sexton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

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, Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

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,
Dear Sir, I was somewhat disappointed on receiving my paper with only a part of my letter inserted in it. The letter which I wrote you for publication I wrote by the commandment

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...

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of God, and I am quite anxious to have it all laid before the public for it is of importance to them: but I have no claim upon you, neither do I wish to urge you, beyond that which is reasonable, to do it. I have only to appeal to your extended generosity to all religious societies that claim that Christ has come in the flesh; and also tell you what will be the consequence of a neglect to publish it.
Some parts of the letter were very severe upon the wickedness of Sectarianism, I acknowledge; and the truth, remember, is hard and severe against all iniquity and wickedness, but this is no reason why it should not be published, but the very reason why it should. I lay the ax at the root of the tree, and I long to see many of the sturdy oaks, which have long cumbered the ground, fall prostrate. I now say unto you, that if you wish to clear your garments, from the blood of your readers, I exhort you to publish that letter entire; but if not the Sin be upon your head. Accept, Sir, the good wishes and tender regard of your unworthy servant.
Joseph Smith. Junr.

13 February 1833 • Wednesday

February 13th. A council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

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of High priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

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assembled to investigate the proceedings of Bro Burr Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

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, who was accused of not magnifying his calling as a high priest, but had been guilty of neglect of duty, of abusing the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
, and of treating their admonitions with contempt. After the council had considered the case, Brother Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

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agreed to make satisfaction, but did not shew much humility.

15 February 1833 • Friday

February 15th.; in a council, I ordained Harpin Riggs and Isaac Mc. Wethy McWithy

1778–4 May 1851. Farmer. Born in New York. Married Hannah Taylor of Vermont. Moved to Covington, Genesee Co., New York, by 1820. Lived at Bennington, Genesee Co., with family of five, 1830. Ordained an elder, 15 Feb. 1833. Lived at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio...

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, elders. [p. 274]
as follows;
To N. E. Sexton

25 Jan. 1798–23 June 1834. Evangelist, Christian newspaper editor. Born in Wilbraham, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Noah Saxton and Patty Bliss. Graduated from Union College in Schenectady, Schenectady Co., New York, 1818. Received preacher license, ...

View Full Bio
, Rochester

Located at falls of Genesee River, seven miles south of Lake Ontario, on Erie Canal. Founded 1812. Incorporated as village, 1817. Originally called Rochesterville; name changed to Rochester, 1822. Incorporated as city, 1834. County seat. Population in 1820...

More Info
,
Dear Sir, I was somewhat disappointed  on receiving my paper with only a part of my  letter inserted in it. The letter which I wrote you  for publication I wrote by the commandment

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
 of God, and I am quite anxious to have it all  laid before the public for it is of importance to  them: but I have no claim upon you, neither  do I wish to urge you, beyond that which is  reasonable, to do it. I have only to appeal to  your I extended generosity to all religious societies  that claim that Christ has come in the flesh;  and also tell you what will be the consequence  of a neglect to publish it.
Some parts of the letter were very severe  upon the wickedness of Sectarianism, I acknowl edge; and the truth, remember, is hard and severe  against all iniquity and wickedness, but this  is no reason why it should not be published,  but the very reason why it should. I lay the  ax at the root of the tree, and I long to see many  of the sturdy oaks, which have long cumbered the  ground, fall prostrate. I now say unto you,  that if you wish to clear your garments, from  the blood of your readers, I exhort you to pub lish that letter entire; but if not the Sin be  upon your head. Accept, Sir, the good wishes  and tender regard of your unworthy servant.
Joseph Smith. Junr.

13 February 1833 • Wednesday

February 13th. A council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
of High priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
assem bled to investigate the proceedings of Bro Burr Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

View Full Bio
,  who was accused of not magnifying his calling as  a high priest, but had been guilty of neglect of duty, of  abusing the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
, and of treating their admonitions  with contempt. After the council had considered  the case, Brother Riggs

17 Apr. 1811–1860. Botanist, physician. Born in Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Riggs and Susan Picher. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder, before 3 June 1831. Ordained a high priest, 25 Oct. 1831, in Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio...

View Full Bio
agreed to make satisfaction,  but did not shew much humility.

15 February 1833 • Friday

February 15th.; in a council, I ordained Harpin  Riggs and Isaac Mc. Wethy [McWithy]

1778–4 May 1851. Farmer. Born in New York. Married Hannah Taylor of Vermont. Moved to Covington, Genesee Co., New York, by 1820. Lived at Bennington, Genesee Co., with family of five, 1830. Ordained an elder, 15 Feb. 1833. Lived at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio...

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, elders. [p. 274]
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...

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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...

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, 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...

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. 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...

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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...

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, 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 ...

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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...

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’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 ...

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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...

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, 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,...

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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...

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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...

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, 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...

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, 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...

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, 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,...

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, 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...

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, 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...

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, 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...

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. 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.

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