History, circa 1841, draft [Draft 3]

A great and marvellous work, is about to come  forth among the children of men; behold I am God  and give heed to my word, which is quick and pow erful. sharper than a two edged sword, to the divid ing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore give  heed to my word
2 Behold the field is white allready to harvest;  therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in  his sickle. with all his might and reap while the day  lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting  salvation in the kingdom of God: yea whoso will  whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is  called of God: therefore if you will ask of me you shall  recieve; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.
3. Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep  my comandments, and seek to bring forth, and establish,  the cause of Zion. Seek not for riches, but for wis dom. and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded  unto you, and then shall you be made rich; behold he that  hath eternal life is rich
4 Verily verily I say unto you. even as I desire you desire of  me, shall it be done unto you: and if you desire, you shall  be the means of doing much good in this generation. Keep my  commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, accor ding to my, work, according to my commandments, and you  shall be blessed
5 Behold thou hast a gift. or thou shalt a have a gift,  if thou wilt desire of me with faith in faith with an honest  heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ; or in my  power who speaketh unto thee: for behold it is I that  speaketh; behold I am the light which Shineth in <the> dark ness. and by my power. I give these words unto thee.
6 6 And now, verily, verily. I say unto thee put your trust  in that spirit which leadeth to do good; yea, to do justly,  to walk humbly, to Judge righteously; and this is my spirit
7 Verily verily I say unto you, I will impart unto you  of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which Shall [p. 37]
JS, History, [ca. 1841], draft; handwriting of Howard Coray; 102 pages and one attached slip; CHL.
Howard Coray inscribed two copies of a new draft of JS’s history in about 1841. The earlier draft copy is the document transcribed herein. At the bottom of page 1 of the later fair copy is an inscription in the handwriting of Howard Coray identifying it as the second copy, and similar inscriptions are found on the last page of each bifolium of the fair copy. In addition to the draft copy and the fair copy, there is a four-page partial copy, also in the handwriting of Howard Coray, that corresponds to text on pages 13–16 of both the draft and fair copies.1

The four-page fragment contains a copy of Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3], and is housed in Revelations Collection, CHL. As explained later, the text in the draft copy and fair copy match page for page, so each page begins at the same point. The fragment is not a page-for-page copy, though the first and third pages begin at the same point as do pages 13 and 15 of the other two copies.
Comprehensive Works Cited



The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith. 2nd ed. Nauvoo, IL: John Taylor, 1844. Selections also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., Riley M. Lorimer, eds., Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Vol. 2 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2011).

The draft copy contains twenty-five bifolia (making one hundred pages) and a final loose leaf. Pages 1–92 measure from 12½ to 12⅝ inches high and 7⅝ inches across (32 × 19 cm); pages 93–102 measure 12 × 7⅝ inches (30 × 19 cm). The larger pages are lined with between thirty-four and thirty-eight blue horizontal lines, and the shorter pages contain thirty-eight blue horizontal lines; most of the ruling throughout the manuscript is now faint or completely faded. Page numbering appears at the top center of each page. Embossed in the upper left corner of the first recto side of many bifolia is a decorative star and “D & J. Ames Springfield”, the insignia of a Springfield, Massachusetts, paper mill firm established by brothers David and John Ames in 1828.2

Whiting, “Paper Making in New England,” 309; Gravell et al., American Watermarks, 235.
Comprehensive Works Cited



Whiting, William. “Paper-Making in New England.” In The New England States: Their Constitutional, Judicial, Educational, Commercial, Professional and Industrial History, edited by William T. Davis, vol. 1, pp. 303–333. Boston: D. H. Hurd, 1897.

Gravell, Thomas L., George Miller, and Elizabeth Walsh. American Watermarks: 1690–1835. 2nd ed. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2002.

The draft was inscribed in ink that is now brown. It includes several graphite insertions in Coray’s handwriting. Quill and steel pens were used interchangeably for inscription. The paper is cream colored and yellowed at the edges, with some foxing. The first page and last page of the draft exhibit moderate wear. Ink was spilled on the gutter edge of the stacked manuscript, slightly staining many bifolia. At one time the manuscript was sewn together, as evidenced by a single needle hole in the upper left corner of each bifolium. A slip of paper containing a handwritten insertion was pinned to page 36. The lower left corner of the final leaf (page 101) was torn off, and it was subsequently reattached to the page with a straight pin.
Offsetting, a characteristic of iron gall ink corrosion, is present throughout the manuscript. The offsetting pattern indicates that at some point after the composition process, the bifolia were opened and laid flat on each other, then folded together to form temporary gatherings. The manuscript was put into three such groups, comprising pages 1–60, 61–92, and 93–100. The bifolia were subsequently reordered to create a normal pagination sequence. The purpose of these temporary gatherings is unknown. Coray’s fair copy of the history has an offsetting pattern comparable to the draft, though pages 9–20 and 81–88 bear sequential offsetting, meaning these pages were not overlaid as elsewhere. The fair copy ends after one hundred pages and does not include the material on pages 101–102 of the draft copy.
Howard Coray’s handwriting style varies throughout both the draft copy and the fair copy. The handwriting varies to such an extent that the manuscripts could be mistaken for the work of two scribes. However, evidence such as letter combinations, letter formation within words and lines of text, and consistent misspelling of specific words indicates that both manuscripts were inscribed entirely by Coray.
The draft copy was created from both dictation and copying. Evidence of dictation, including absence or excess of punctuation as originally inscribed (the latter possibly signaling pauses by the speaker) and misspellings indicative of misheard phonemes, is found on manuscript pages 1–8, 17–22, 27–28, 57–58, and 77–78. At other points in the manuscript, Coray faithfully reproduced paragraph breaks and end-of-sentence blank spaces occurring in the large history volume (his source for the draft), suggesting that these portions of the draft were copied rather than dictated. Where the blank spaces signal breaks in the narrative, they have been transcribed herein as paragraph breaks.
At an unknown time, the draft and the fair copy were gathered with other papers, wrapped in brown paper, and tied with string. The other papers in the bundle included the “Book of Commandments and Revelations” (Revelation Book 1), notes on JS’s boyhood leg operation in the handwriting of Willard Richards, and historical material by Edward Partridge, which was situated between the draft and the fair copy of Coray’s work.3

Revelation Book 1 is reproduced in JSP, MRB:3–405. Portions of the Partridge materials were published in the 1839–1840 Times and Seasons series “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” reproduced in JSP, H2:206–229.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JSP, MRB / Jensen, Robin Scott, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds. Manuscript Revelation Books. Facsimile edition. First volume of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2009.

JSP, H2 / Davidson, Karen Lynn, Richard L. Jensen, and David J. Whittaker, eds. Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Historical Writings, 1831–1847. Vol. 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, Church Historian’s Press, 2012.

It is unclear how or why these different records became associated with each other. At some point, a cream-colored slip of paper measuring 3⅞ × 8 inches (5 × 20 cm) was attached to the bundle. The slip contains a note written in black and red ink by Historian’s Office clerk Robert L. Campbell and signed in red ink by Howard Coray: “Two copies of the first hundred pages of Dft. Mss. History of Joseph Smith[.] These hundred pages of History were written by me, under Joseph the Prophet’s dictation. Dr Miller helped me a little in writing the same. (Historians office, 1869.) H. Coray”. This note was taped over a penciled notation in the handwriting of Joseph Fielding Smith: “Book of Commandments MS Early history (H. Coray) MS”. Smith began working at the Church Historian’s Office in 1901. Other filing notations were made in the mid-1980s to identify and distinguish the various documents in the bundle.
The custodial history of Coray’s two copies of the 1838–circa 1841 history is uncertain between their creation and the 1846 Latter-day Saint exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, though they likely remained in the possession of JS, his office staff, and subsequent church leadership. The Church Historian’s Office inventory from 1846 lists “Rough Book.— Revelation History &c.,” possibly referring to the grouping of Revelation Book 1, Coray’s draft and fair copy, and miscellaneous historical material.4

“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited



Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL.

A “Ms. History of Jos. Smith (2 copies of the first 100 pages)” is listed with the manuscript “Book of Commandments and Revelations” in a Church Historian’s Office inventory from 1858.5

“Contents of the Historian and Recorder’s Office. G. S. L. City July 1858,” [5], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited



Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL.

Both history copies were presumably among manuscript material in the possession of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970, since they became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became president in 1970.6

A 1970 inventory confirms that material authored by Howard Coray was grouped with Revelation Book 1 and was in the possession of Joseph Fielding Smith later in his life. (“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970, First Presidency, General Administration Files, CHL.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970. First Presidency, General Administration Files, 1921–1972. CHL.

Both copies of the history were then transferred, along with Revelation Book 1 and the other historical materials in the bundle, from the First Presidency’s office to the Church History Library in 2005.