History, circa 1841, fair copy

[6] And now verily verily I say unto you 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 fill your soul with joy. And then shall  you ye know all things whatsoever you desire of me which is  pertaining unto things of righteousness in faith believ ing in me that you shall recieve
8 Behold I command you that you need not suppose  that you are called to preach until you are called  Wait a little longer until you shall have my word  my rock my church and my gospel that you may  have of a surety my doctrine. And then behold accor  according to your desires yea even according to your  faith shall it be done unto you
9 Keep my commandments hold your peace appeal  unto my spirit yea cleave unto me with all your  heart that you may assist in bringing fort forth  to light those things of which have been spoken:  yea to translate yea the translation of my work  Be patient until you shall accomplish it
10 Behold this is your work to keep my commandments  yea with all your might mind and strength  seek not to declare my word but <first> seek first to obtain  my word and then shall your tongue be loosened; then  if you desire you shall have my spirit and my word;  Yea the power of God unto the convincing of men  But now hold your peace study my word, which shall  come forth among the children of men or that which is  now translating. Yea until you shall obtain all I  shall grant unto the children of men in this generation  and then shall all things be added thereunto
11 Behold thou art Hyrum my son seek the  Kingdom of God and all things shall be added [p. 38]
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.