History, circa 1841, fair copy

out of the water.
23 It is expedient that the church meet togeth er often to partake of bread and wine in re membrance of the Lord Jesus and the elder or  priest shall administer it: and after this manner shall  he administer it: he shall kneel with the church  and call upon the Father in solemn prayer say ing O God the eternal Father we ask thee in the  name of thy son Jesus Christ to bless and sanctify  this bread to the souls of all those who partake  of it that they may eat in remembrance of the body  of thy Son Jesus and witness unto thee O. God the eter nal Father that they are willing to take upon them  the name of thy Son and always remember him and  keep his commandments which he has given them  that they may always have his spirit to be with them  Amen
24 The manner of administering the wine. He  shall take the cup also and say O God the eternal  Father we ask thee in the name of thy son Jesus Christ to  bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink  it that they may do it in remembrance of thy son the blood  of thy son which was shed for them that they may witness  unto thee O God the eternal Father that they do always  remember him that they may have his spirit to be with  them Amen.
25 Any member of the Church of Christ transgressing or  being overtaken in a fault shall be dealt with as the  scriptures direct.
26 It shall be the duty of the several churches com posing the Church of Christ to send one or more of their  teachers to attend the several conferences held by the  elders of the Church with a list of the names of the sev eral members uniting themselves with the Church since  the last conference, or send by the hand of some [p. 59]
Howard Coray was a recent convert to Mormonism when he visited Nauvoo in 1840. There he was immediately engaged by JS as a clerk at his office. Coray later reminisced in his autobiography that after he completed his initial assignment, JS requested that he “undertake, in connection with E[dwin] D. Woolley, the compilation of the Church History.”
At the time Coray received his charge, JS’s and the church’s “history” had been an ongoing project for a decade. Several early attempts had apparently fallen short and been abandoned. However, JS and Sidney Rigdon’s 1838 effort initiated with George W. Robinson, and JS’s ensuing collaboration with James Mulholland, had begun to bear fruit. Unfortunately, Mulholland had died 3 November 1839 after inscribing fifty-nine pages of text in a large record book subsequently designated as volume “A-1” of the manuscript history of the church. Robert B. Thompson was appointed “general church clerk” in October 1840 and succeeded Mulholland as scribe for A-1.
Meanwhile, JS assigned Woolley and Coray to draft additional historical material, using sources JS provided. Woolley eventually withdrew from the project and was replaced by a “Dr. Miller,” who remains unidentified. Their work evidently resulted in two different kinds of drafts. According to Coray’s later reminiscences, the first grew out of instructions “not only to combine, and arrange in cronological order, but to spread out or amplify not a little, in as good historical style as may be.” No manuscript matching this description has survived, but their work may have provided the basis for material subsequently copied into the history by other scribes.
Coray did, however, produce an edited version of the narrative inscribed in the large history volume (A-1). According to Coray’s later account, JS was directly involved in this reworking of the history, reading aloud and dictating revisions from the large volume. Two drafts of this work have survived. However, the main history endeavor continued in the large history volume, and there is no indication that either draft was used in subsequent compiling or in publication of the history. Though a short-lived effort, Coray’s manuscript represents the intention to revise the history, suggesting that JS had not yet settled on a final historical product even after he had directed scribes to begin inscribing the history in the large, more permanent volume in 1839.
Coray’s history draft includes departures from the material recorded in A-1 which, though minor, show an intention to refine the story. Coray deleted passages that seemed to be defensive, to plead the cause of the Saints, or to play on the reader’s sympathies—a list of grievances, for example, or complaints against individuals. The draft often softened wording about the persecution of JS and employed more moderate language in describing opposition, avoiding the word “mob” and glossing over accounts of violence.
Coray’s work on JS’s history was not located until 2005, when two manuscripts in Coray’s hand were identified among documents in the possession of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These two manuscripts consisted of a lightly edited draft of the material Mulholland and Thompson had written in the large history volume, and a fair or clean copy of that material that incorporated the revisions Coray made in his earlier draft. The first draft was published in volume 1 of the Histories series of the The Joseph Smith Papers. (See History Drafts, 1838—ca. 1841.) The second or “fair copy” of the two drafts is the document herein featured. An inscription in Coray’s handwriting at the bottom of the first page of this document identifies it as the second copy. In 1869 Coray signed a statement that was later attached to the paper wrapper that enclosed the two drafts: “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.”
For more information about the relationship between the history drafts, see Introduction to Early Drafts of History, 1838–1856.