History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842]

This document, volume C-1, is the third of six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over an eighteen-year span from 1838 to 1856 and covers the period from 23 December 1805 to 8 August 1844. The narrative in this volume commences on 2 November 1838 with JS and other church leaders being held prisoner by the “Governor’s forces” at Far West, Missouri, and concludes with the death of Bishop Vinson Knight at Nauvoo, Illinois, on 31 July 1842. For a more complete discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to this history.
Volume C-1 was created beginning on or just after 24 February 1845 and its narrative completed on 3 May although work continued on the volume through 3 July of that year (Richards, Journal, 24 and 28 Feb. 1845; Historian’s Office, Journal, 3 May 1845; 3 and 4 July 1845). It is in the handwriting of Thomas Bullock and contains 512 pages of primary text, plus 24 pages of addenda. Additional addenda for this volume were created at a later date in a separate volume, and will appear in this collection as a separate document. Compilers Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock drew heavily from JS’s letters, discourses, and diary entries; meeting minutes; church and other periodicals and journals; and reminiscences, recollections, and letters of church members and other contacts. At JS’s behest, they had maintained the first-person, chronological-narrative format established in previous volumes, as if JS were the author. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and others reviewed and modified the manuscript prior to its eventual publication in the Salt Lake City newspaper Deseret News.
The historical narrative recorded in volume C-1 continued the account of JS’s life as prophet and president of the church. Critical events occurring within the forty-five-month period of this volume include the Missouri Mormon War; subsequent legal trials of church leaders; expulsion of the Saints from Missouri; missionary efforts in England by the Twelve and others; attempts by JS to obtain federal redress for the Missouri depredations; publication of the LDS Millennial Star in England; the migration of English converts to America; missionary efforts in other nations; the death of church patriarch Joseph Smith Sr.; the establishment of the Nauvoo city charter; the commencement of construction of the Nauvoo temple; the Wisconsin “pinery” expedition that facilitated temple construction; the introduction of the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons; the dedicatory prayer by Orson Hyde on the Mount of Olives in Palestine; publication of the “Book of Abraham” in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons; publication of the JS history often referred to as the “Wentworth letter;” the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo; and the inception of Nauvoo-era temple endowment ceremonies.