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

fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things, whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit; for by the power of my spirit created I them: yea, all things both spiritual and temporal: firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work: and again, firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work: Speaking unto you, that you may naturally understand, but unto myself my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you, that ye may understand, because ye have asked it of me, and are agreed.
9 Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal, neither any man, nor the children of men: neither Adam your father, whom I created: behold I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural, nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.
10 And it came to pass, that Adam being tempted of the devil, for behold the devil was before Adam, for he rebelled against me saying, Give me thine honor, which is my power: and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency: and they were thrust down, and thus came the devil and his angels; and behold there is a place prepared for them, from the beginning, which place is hell: and it must needs be that the devil should tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves, for if they never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.
11 Wherefore, it came to pass, that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook the forbidden fruit, and transgressed 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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, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore I the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression: wherein he became spiritually dead: which is the first death, even that same death, which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say, Depart ye cursed.
12 But behold I say unto you, that I the Lord God gave unto Adam, and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, untill I the Lord God should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine only begotten son: and thus I the the Lord God appoint unto man, the days of his probation; that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe, and they that believe not, unto eternal damnation, for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not, for they love darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their wages of whom they list to obey. 13. But behold I say unto you, that [p. 57]
fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first in all things,  whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit;  for by the power of my spirit created I them: yea, all things both spiritual and  temporal: firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work:  and again, firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my  work: Speaking unto you, that you may naturally understand, but unto my self my works have no end, neither beginning; but it is given unto you, that ye  may understand, because ye have asked it of me, and are agreed.
9 Wherefore, verily I say unto you, that all things unto me are spiritual,  and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal, neither any  man, nor the children of men: neither Adam your father, whom I created: behold  I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him com mandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my command ments are spiritual; they are not natural, nor temporal, neither carnal nor sensual.
10 And it came to pass, that Adam being tempted of the devil, for behold the devil  was before Adam, for he rebelled against me saying, give me thy power Give me  thine honor, which is my power: and also a third part of the hosts of heaven turned he  away from me because of their agency: and they were thrust down, and thus came  the devil and his angels; and behold there is a place prepared for them, from  the beginning, which place is hell: and it must needs be that the devil should  tempt the children of men, or they could not be agents unto themselves, for if they  never should have bitter, they could not know the sweet.
11 Wherefore, it came to pass, that the devil tempted Adam, and he partook the  forbidden fruit, and transgressed 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
, wherein he became  subject to the will of the devil, because he yielded unto temptation. Wherefore  I the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out of <from> the garden of Eden, from  my presence, because of his transgression: wherein he became spiritually dead:  which is the first death, even that same death, which is the last death, which  is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say, Depart  ye cursed.
12 But behold I say unto you, that I the Lord God gave unto Adam, and  unto his seed, that they should not die unto as to the temporal death, untill I the  Lord God should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption,  through faith on the name of mine only begotten son: and thus I the the Lord  God appoint unto man, the days of his probation; that by his natural death he  might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would be lieve, and they that believe not, unto eternal damnation, for they cannot be  redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not, for they love  darkness rather than light, and their deeds are evil, and they receive their  wages of him whom they list to obey. 13. But behold I say unto you, that [p. 57]
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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

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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