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History, circa 1841, fair copy

any of this church contrary to the church coven ants for all things must be done in order and  by common consent in the church by the prayer  of faith
5 And thou shalt assist to settle these things  according to the covenants of the church before  thou shalt take thy journey to among the Lamen ites And it shall be given thee from the  time <that> thou shalt go until the time that thou sh alt return what thou shalt do. And thou  open thy mouth at all times declaring my gos pel with the sound of rejoicing Amen
We received at the same time the follow ing Revelation in the presence of six elders
1 Listen the to the voice of Jesus Christ  the great I Am whose arm of mercy hath  atoned for your sins who will gather this people  even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her  wings even as many as will harken unto my voi ce and humble themselves before me and call  upon me in mighty prayer. Behold verily  verily I say unto you that at this time your  sins are forgiven you therefore you ye receive  these things: but remember to sin no more lest  perils shall come upon you
2 Verily verily I say unto you that you  are chosen out of the world to declare my gospel  with the sound of rejoicing as with the voice of  a trump: lift up your hearts and be glad,  for I am in your midst and am your advocate  with the Father and it is his good will to  give you the Kingdom and as it is written  Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith being united  in prayer according to my command ye shall  receive and ye are called to bring to pass the  gathering of mine elect for mine elect hear my  voice and harden not their hearts wherefore  the decree hath gone forth from the Father that [p. 92]
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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.

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