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History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]

History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]

they find favor in the sight of God and man, is the prayer of  your unworthy Brother. Warren A Cowdery”. “To Oliver Cowdery
<August 4  Council's views> From this short letter we discover that the elders failed in the outset, to fill  their great and important mission, as they know that God has  commanded us to build a house, in which we receive an endow ment, previous to the redemption of Zion, and that Zion could  not be redeemed until this takes place; knowing that the committee  were to journey for the express purpose of soliciting donations, they  have failed to hold them up, and set forth this first important  thing. And in consequence God has not blessed them as he other wise would. We remind you of these things in the name of the  Lord, and refer you to the Book of Covenants, 2d Section. 2 part,  and 12th Paragraph, and ask did we not instruct you to  remember first the house, Secondly the cause of Zion, and then  the publishing the word to the nations?
<Wm. E. McLellin’s  Letter, to his wife.> The other Referred to, is an extract from Elder Wm E. McLellin’s letter to  his wife, as follows; “You say that it will not be in your power to  go to school this summer,— I am glad that it is not, since Elder  [Orson] Hyde has returned and given me a description of the manner  in which it is conducted, though we do not wish to cast any  <Council’s dcision> reflections.” This the council consider to be a libel on the face  of it: Elder M’.Lellin says “We do not wish to cast any reflections,”  when the highest insult and reflections are cast, by it, upon  the church, the presidency, and those who are held in much  higher estimation in the sight of God and this church,  than themselves. The vote of the council was, we hereby inform  Elders. McLellin and Hyde, that we withdraw our fellowship  from them until they return and make satisfaction face to  <To the Twelve.> face. We further inform the twelve, that, as far as we can  learn from the churches through which we have travelled, you  have set yourselves up as an independent council, subject to  no authority of the church, a kind of outlaws. This impression  is wrong, and will, if persisted in, bring down the wrath and  <The other ten to  finish the Conference.> indignation of heaven upon your heads. The other ten are  directed to proceed on and finish the conferences, and the  two may act their own judgment whether to proceed or  <Letter from Wm. Smith.> return. President Joseph Smith Junr. read to the council a  letter from elder William Smith, which was approved and  filled our hearts with joy. A Letter was presented from Elder  <Letter from T. B. Marsh. > Thomas B. Marsh. The council refer him to the commandment,  which requires none to learn or bring their families without revelation,  or decision of the high council. We discover an error in Elder  Marsh’s letter. The He says “To the able preaching of Wm. E. Mc Lellin and  and Parley P. Pratt.” We conclude that if it had been the preaching  of the Lord, as it should have been, he would have had the honor  and not these men. To close we add that unless this epistle is  heeded in all its parts, in its full force, those who rebel against it, shall be  dealt with by the Lord accordingly, for we ask, being agreed as touching this thing. [p. 598]
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This document, volume B-1, is the second of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. The narrative in volume B-1 begins with the entry for 1 September 1834, just after the conclusion of the Camp of Israel (later called Zion’s Camp), and continues to 2 November 1838, when JS was interned as a prisoner of war at Far West, Missouri. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
Willard Richards, serving as JS’s “private secretary and historian,” completed the account of JS’s history contained in volume A-1 in August 1843. It covered the period from JS’s birth in 1805 through the aftermath of the Camp of Israel in August 1834. When work resumed on the history on 1 October 1843, Richards started a new volume, eventually designated B-1.
At the time of JS’s death in June 1844, the account had been advanced to 5 August 1838, on page 812 of volume B-1. Richards’s poor health led to the curtailment of work on B-1 for several months, until 11 December 1844. On that date, Richards and William W. Phelps, assisted by Thomas Bullock, resumed gathering the records and reports needed to draft the history. Richards then composed and drafted roughed-out notes while Thomas Bullock compiled the text of the history and inscribed it in B-1. They completed their work on the volume on or about 24 February 1845. Richards, Willmer Benson, and Jonathan Grimshaw later added ten pages of “Addenda,” which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated.
Though JS did not dictate or revise any of the text recorded in B-1, Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock chose to maintain the first-person, chronological narrative format established in A-1 as if JS were the author. They drew 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. As was the case with A-1, 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.” It 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.
The narrative recorded in B-1 continued the story of JS’s life as the prophet and president of the church he labored to establish. The account encompasses significant developments in the church’s two centers at that time—Kirtland, Ohio, and northwest Missouri—during a four-year-span. Critical events included the organization of the Quorums of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy, the dedication of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio, the establishment of the Kirtland Safety Society, dissension and apostasy in Kirtland and Missouri, the first mission to England, JS’s flight from Kirtland to Missouri in the winter of 1838, the Saints’ exodus from Kirtland later that year, the disciplining of the Missouri presidency, and the outbreak of the Missouri War and arrest of JS. Thus, B-1 provides substantial detail regarding a significant period of church expansion and transition as well as travail.

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