53992719

History, circa 1841, fair copy

be in Zion with all your soul from hence forth yea you shall ever open your mouth  in my cause not fearing what man can do for I am  with you Amen.
At the same time and place we rece ived the following for Thos. [B.] Marsh
1 Thomas My Son blessed [are] you because of  your faith in my work. Behold you have  had many afflictions on account of your family  nevertheless I will bless you and your family yea  your little ones and the day cometh that they will  believe and know the truth and be one with you  in my church
2 Lift up your heart and rejoice for the hour  of your mission is come and your tongue shall  be loosed and you shall declare glad tidings  of great joy unto this generation You shall  declare the things which have been revealed  to my servant Joseph Smith Jr. You shall  begin to preach from this time forth yea to  reap in the field, which is white already to be  burned, Therefore thrust in your sickle with  all your soul and your sins are forgiven you  and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your  back for the laborer is worthy of his hire
Wherefore your family shall live
3 Behold verily I say unto you go from there <them> only  a little while time and declare my word and  I will prepare a place for them yea I will open  the hearts of the people and they will receive you
And I will establish a church by your  hands and you shall strengthen them and pre pare them against the time when they shall be  gathered. Be patient in afflictions revile not  against those that revile. Govern your house in  meekness and be steadfast
4 Behold I say unto you that you shall be [p. 99]
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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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