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

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

together with some two or more rolls of papyrus, covered with  <July 3.> Hierogliphic, figures and devices. As Mr Chandler had been told  <4.> that I could translate them, he brought me some of the char acters, and I gave him the interpretation, and like a gentleman  <6.  Certificate of  Michael H. Chandler> he gave me the following certificate,
Kirtland July 6th 1835
“This is to make known to all who may be desirous, concerning  the knowledge of Mr Joseph Smith. Junr. in deciphering the  Ancient Egyptian Heiroglyphic characters, in my possession,  which I have, in many emminent cities, shewed to the  most learned: And, from the information that I could  ever learn, or meet with, I find that of Mr Joseph Smith,  Junr, to correspondent correspondend in the most minute matters.” (signed)  “Michael H. Chandler, traveling with, and proprietor of Egyptian Mummies.”

5 July 1835 • Sunday

<Sunday. 5.  Hull Barton rejected> Sunday 5th. I preached in the afternoon.— Hull Burton,— or  Michael H. Barton tried to get into the church, but was not willing  to confess and forsake all his sins, and was rejected.

6 July 1835 • Monday

<6  Purchase of the  Egyptian Mummies.> Soon after this, some of the Saints at Kirtland, purchased the  Mummies and Papyrus (a description of which will appear hereafter)  and I, with W[illiam] W. Phelps and O[liver] Cowdery, as scribes, commenced  <Translation of some  of the Characters.> the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and  much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings  of Abraham; another the writings of Joseph of Egypt, &c, a  more full account <of which> will appear in their place, as I proceed to  examine or unfold them. Truly can we say the Lord is  beginning to reveal the abundance of peace and truth.

9–14 July 1835 • Thursday–Tuesday

<9.> on the 9th. I rode to Cleaveland in company with Elder  <14.  Council  of the presidency.  Trial of E. Bosley  Testimony of  Joseph Smith  O. Cowdery.> [Oliver] Cowdery and others. On the 14 a charge was preferred against  Elder Edmund Bosley, to a council of the presidency, for unchris tian like conduct, in breaking a certain sacred covenant, made  September 2 4th 1834. I instructed the council on points of duty  such as observing covenants, &c, and testified to the truth of  the above covenant. President O. Cowdery testified that he,  himself framed the above covenant, and that at the time,  Elder Bosley said that he had a witness that it was the  will of the Lord that he should conscerate the surplus of  <Bishop Whitney> what would be for his and his family’s support. Bishop  [Newel K.] Whitney stated that Elder Bosley agreed to let <the> Presidency  and others, have money on loan for the printing of the  Book of Revelations, if he could control his property,  <Decision> in one year, or, as soon as he obtained it.— Decided that  E. Bosley broke the covenant which he made September  4th. 1834. Therefore he is not a member of this church, unless  he make satisfaction to those whom he injured. Also  <Isaac G. Bishop  tried> Isaac G H. Bishop was complained of, as having spoken evil of  dignities, by saying that “the high Council had the wrong tree  to bark up.” which was testified to <by> J[ohn] M. Corrill, President [Sidney] Rigdon, &c  It was decided that Isaac G H. Bishop shall make public confession  to the satisfaction of the injured, and walk as a saint in all things [p. 596]
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.