53992719

History, circa 1841, fair copy

oral commandment gave I unto him for my com mandments are spiritual they are not natural  nor temporal neither carnal nor sensual
10 And it came to pass that Adam being  tempted of the Devil for behold the Devil was  before Adam for he rebelled against me saying  give me “Give me thine honor” which is my  power and also a third part of the hosts of heaven  turned he away from me because of their  agency and they were thrust down and thus ca me the Devil and his angels. And beh old there is a place prepared for them from  the beginning which place is Hell and it must  must needs be that the Devil should tempt the  children of men or they could not be agents ag ents unto themselves for if they neve[r] should have  bitter they could not know the sweet
11 Wherefore it cam[e] to pass that the Devil  tempted Adam and he partook the forbidden  fruit and transgressed the commandments where in he became subject to the will of the Devil  because he yielded unto tempation Wherefore  I the Lord God caused that he should be cast  out of from the garden of Eden from my  presence because of his transgression wherein  he became spiritually dead which is the  last death which is spiritual which shall be  pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say  depart ye cursed
12 But behold I say unto you that I the Lord  God gave unto Adam and unto his seed that  they should not die as to the temporal death  until I the Lord God should send forth angels  to declare unto them repentance and redemption  through faith on the name of mine only begotten  son And thus did I the Lord God appoint  unto man the days of his probation that by his [p. 96]
PreviousNext
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.

Facts