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

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

and none else; for a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai,  and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth: yea, even the dead which  died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am,  to be with me, that we may be one.
4 But behold, I say unto you, that before this great day shall come, the sun shall  be darkened, and the moon shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall fall  from heaven; and there shall be greater signs in heaven above, and in the earth  beneath; and there shall be weeping and wailing among the hosts of men: and there  shall be a great hailstorm sent forth to destroy the crops of the earth: and it shall  come to pass, because of the wickedness of the world, that I will take vengeance upon  the wicked, for they will not repent: for the cup of mine indignation is full; for behold  my blood will <shall> not cleanse them, if they hear me not.
5 Wherefore I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall  take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause mag gots to come in upon them, and their tongues shall be stayed, that they shall not utter  against me, and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their  sockets: and it shall come to pass, that the beasts of the forests, and the fowls of the  air, shall devour them up: and that great and abominable church, which is  the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it  is spoken by the mouth of Ezekeil the prophet, which spoke of these things, which  have not come to pass, but surely must, as I live, for abomination shall not reign.
6 And again, verily, verily I say unto you, that when the thousand years are  ended, and men again begin to deny their God, then will I spare the earth but  for a little season; and the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall  be consumed, and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth,  for all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the  heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts: the fowls  of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost  for it is the workmanship of mine hand.
7 But behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael  mine Archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their  graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth; yea, even all; and the righteous shall  be gathered on my right hand unto eternal life; and the wicked on my left hand  will I be ashamed to own before the Father: wherefore I will say unto them,  depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and  his angels.
8 And now behold I say unto you, never at any time, have I declared from  mine own mouth, that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for  they have no power; but remember, that all my judgements are not given unto  men: and as the words are <have> gone forth out of my mouth, even so shall they be [p. 56]
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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 to Kirtland, 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. George W. Robinson 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, Illinois, JS once again began dictating his “history.” James Mulholland 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’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 recorded the first fifty-nine pages in the volume. Subsequently, his successor, Robert B. Thompson, contributed about sixteen more pages before his death in August 1841. William W. Phelps then added a little over seventy-five pages. However, it was not until Willard Richards 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, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, 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, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Missouri. 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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