History, circa June 1839–circa 1841 [Draft 2]

multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir  and division among the people, Some Crying, “Lo here” and some Lo there. Some were  contending for the Methodist faith, Some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist;  for notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the  time of their conversion, and the great Zeal manifested by the respective Clergy who were  active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling in order to  have every body converted as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased[.]6

TEXT: The right edge of the page is damaged, obscuring end punctuation.  

 Yet when the Converts began to file off some to one party and some to another, it was seen  that the seemingly good feelings of both the Priests and the Converts were mere pretence  more pretended than real, for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued;  Priest contending against priest, and convert against convert so that all their good  feelings one for another (if they ever had any) were entirely lost in a strife of words  and a contest about opinions.
I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My Fathers family was proselyted  to the Presbyterian faith and four of them joined that Church, Namely, My Mother  Lucy, My Brothers Hyrum, Samuel Harrison, and my Sister Sophonia.7

Lucy Mack Smith and three of her children, Hyrum, Sophronia, and Samuel, attended the Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra. Lucy wrote that their affiliation began following the death of son Alvin in November 1823, or near the end of JS’s eighteenth year. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 4, [7]–[8]; see also “Records of the Session of the Presbyterian Church in Palmyra,” 10 Mar. 1830.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. Also available in Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001).

“Records of the Session of the Presbyterian Church in Palmyra, New York.” 1830. CHL.

During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection  and great uneasiness, but though my feelings were deep and often pungent, still I  kept myself aloof from all these parties though I attended their several meetings as  occasion would permit. But in process of time my mind became somewhat partial  to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them, but so great was the  confusion and strife amongst the different denominations that it was impossible for a person  young as I was and so unacquainted with men and things to come to any certain con clusion who was right and who was wrong.
My mind at different times was greatly  excited for the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most  decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all their powers of either reason  or sophistry to prove their errors, or at least to make the people think they were in error.  On the other hand the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally Zealous in  endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
In the midst of this war of words, and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself, what  is to be done? Who of all these parties are right? Or are they all wrong together? and  if any one of them be right which is it? And how shall I know it?8

In his circa summer 1832 history, JS recounted that by the time of his vision he had already concluded that the world lay in apostasy and that “there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 2.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



JS History, ca. Summer 1832 / Smith, Joseph. “A History of the Life of Joseph Smith Jr,” ca. Summer 1832. In Joseph Smith, “Letter Book A,” 1832–1835, 1–[6] (earliest numbering). Joseph Smith Collection. CHL.

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties  of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, First Chapter and fifth verse  which reads, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men  liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.[”] Never did any passage  of scripture come with more power to the heart of man that this did at this time to  mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected  on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did,  for how to act I did not know and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had  [I] would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same [p. 2]
JS, History, [ca. June 1839–ca. 1841]; handwriting of James Mulholland and Robert B. Thompson; sixty-one pages; in JS History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, CHL. Includes redactions, use marks, and archival marking.
Large blank book composed of ruled paper printed with forty horizontal lines in (now faint) blue ink. The text block includes thirty gatherings of various sizes, each about a dozen leaves per gathering, and originally had 384 interior leaves cut to measure 13⅝ × 9 inches (35 × 23 cm). The text block, which was conserved in the late twentieth century, was probably originally sewn on recessed cords and was apparently also glued on leather tapes. The binding features false bands. The endpapers were single-sided marbled leaves featuring a traditional Spanish pattern with slate blue body and veins of black and red. The block was bound to pasteboard covers, probably with a hollow-back ledger binding, making a book measuring 14¼ × 9½ × 2½ inches (36 × 24 × 6 cm). The boards were bound in brown suede calfskin. At some point, blind-tooled decorations were made around the outside border and along the board edges and the turned-in edges of the inside covers.
The volume was originally used for JS’s 1834–1836 history, comprising 154 pages.1

See Source Note for 1834–1836 history.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JS History, 1834–1836 / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1834–1836. In Joseph Smith et al., History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, back of book (earliest numbering), 9–20, 46–187. CHL.

It was subsequently turned upside down so the back cover became the front cover, and on the new first page, James Mulholland began copying the history that had been begun by the church presidency in 1838. He left the first seventeen lines blank, presumably to create a large title when the work was complete, although a title was never added. Because the volume had been turned upside down, the unlined top margin became the bottom margin and there was no longer any top margin. Mulholland inscribed pages 2–19 beginning at the head of the page; then, beginning with page 20, he left the line at the top of the page blank, effectively creating a top margin. He also inscribed one line of text below the lowest printed line at the foot of the page, in the original top margin. Starting on page 13, he penciled in a horizontal line at the bottom of each page to ensure straight text on this last line. Mulholland inscribed 59 pages in all. Robert B. Thompson, who replaced Mulholland as scribe, commenced on page 60 and wrote for sixteen pages, the first two pages of which are included in the transcript herein. Thompson maintained the blank upper margin, but instead of filling in the lower margin as Mulholland had done, he left the space blank. In addition, he created a left margin on each page by penciling in a vertical line. Both Mulholland and Thompson numbered the pages as they inscribed them. At a later time, Willard Richards inserted headings giving the year, or the month and year, narrated on each page.2

Of the excerpt transcribed here, manuscript pages 1–9, 18, 19, and 36 do not have a heading.  

The volume includes 553 pages of the history inscribed beginning in 1839, followed by sixteen pages of addenda that were recorded by Charles Wandell and Thomas Bullock. Four blank pages separate the addenda from the end of the 1834–1836 history. Multiple layers of emendations and other later marks accumulated as the history was created, revised, and published. The transcript here presents the initial text, along with only those revisions made to it by the first two scribes, Mulholland and Thompson.
With the later history’s side of the book upward, the spine of the book was at some point in time labeled as volume “A | 1” of the multivolume history. Archival stickers were also added at some point to the spine and inside front cover. Two interior leaves are now missing from the initial gathering of the volume and one leaf is missing from the final gathering. The original flyleaves and pastedowns were also removed.3

See JS History, vol. A-1, microfilm, Dec. 1971, CHL. Only one leaf of the original pastedowns and flyleaves is extant. The pastedowns were replaced with undecorated paper in 1994, according to a conservation note on the verso of the extant marbled leaf archived with the volume.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JS History, vol. A-1. Microfilm, Dec. 1971. CHL.

The volume shows moderate wear, browning, water staining, and brittleness. It has been resewn, rebound, and otherwise conserved.
In the first half of the 1840s, the volume was in the possession of church scribes and printers while JS’s history was updated and prepared for publication, which was begun in the church newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the 15 March 1842 issue. JS maintained custody of the volume through his later life, as indicated by a note he inscribed memorializing his deceased brother Alvin Smith, which was attached to the verso of the front flyleaf. The volume is listed in the first extant Historian’s Office inventory, made in Nauvoo in February 1846 by clerk Thomas Bullock, and it is listed in inventories of church records made in Salt Lake City in the second half of the nineteenth century.4

“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1]; “Historian’s Office Catalogue 1858,” 2, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited



Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL.

These and later archival records, as well as archival marking on the volume, indicate continuous institutional custody.