History, circa 1841, fair copy

1 Harken unto the voice of the Lord your God  while I speak unto you Emma Smith my da ughter for verily I say unto you all those who receive  my gospel are sons and daughters in my Kingdom
A Revelation I give unto you concerning  my will and if thou art faithful and walk in  the paths of virtue before me I will preserve thy  life and thou shalt receive an inheritance in  Zion. Behold thy sins are forgiven thee and  thou art an elect Lady whom I have called.
Murmur not because of the things which thou  hast not seen for they are withheld from thee  and from the world which is wisdom in me  in a time to come
2 And the office of thy calling shall be for  a comfort unto my servant Joseph Smith Jr. thy  husband in his afflictions with consoling words  in the Spirit of meekness. And thou shalt go  with him at the time of his going and be  unto him <for> a scribe while there is none to be a  scribe for him that I may send my servant  Oliver Cowdry whithersoever I will. And thou  shalt be ordained under his hand to expound  scriptures and to exhort the church according  as it shall be given thee by my Spirit for he  shall lay his hands upon thee and thou shalt  receive the Holy Ghost and thy time shall be  given to writing and learning much. And  thou needst not fear for thy husband shall  support thee in the church: for unto them is  his calling that all things might be revealed  unto them whatsoever I will according to their  faith
3 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt  lay aside the things of this world and seek for  the things of a better. And it shall be given thee  also to make a selection of sacred hyms as it shall  be given the[e] which is pleasing unto me to [be] had in [p. 84]
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.