53992717

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

Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer,93

The first pages of the manuscript were delivered to printer E. B. Grandin in August or early September 1829. Copies of the book were offered for sale 26 March 1830. (John H. Gilbert, Palmyra, NY, to James T. Cobb, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, 10 Feb. 1879, in Theodore Schroeder, Papers; John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL; “The Book of Mormon,” Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 26 Mar. 1830, [3].)  


we still continued to bear testimony, and give information, as far as we had opportunity; and also made known to our brethren, that we had received commandment to organize the Church And accordingly we met together for that purpose, at the house of the above mentioned Mr Whitmer Peter Whitmer Sr.

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

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(being six in number)94

Variant lists of the six organizers, relying on information from David Whitmer, Brigham Young, and Joseph Knight Jr., provide a total of eleven names, including JS, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, Samuel Smith, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Sr., Peter Whitmer Jr., Christian Whitmer, and Orrin Porter Rockwell. More than six individuals attended the organizational meeting; David Whitmer recalled that “about 50 members & the 6 Elders were present.” (Anderson, “Who Were the Six?,” 44–45; Stevenson, Journal, 2 Jan. 1887.)  


on Tuesday the sixth day of April, AD One thousand, eight hundred and thirty.
Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father we proceeded, (according to previous commandment)95

The commandment to which this refers may be “the word of the Lord” that came “in the Chamber” in the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. (JS History, vol. A-1, 27.)  


to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church according to said commandment which we had received. To these they consented by an unanimous vote. I then laid my hands upon Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and ordained him an Elder of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” after which he ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then took bread, blessed it, and brake it with them, also wine, blessed it, and drank it with them. We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church present that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be confirmed members of the Church of Christ. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree. Some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord and rejoiced exceedingly.
Whilst yet together I received the following commandment.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr, Given at Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, Seneca Co N Y. April 6th 1830.96

Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 46, 1835 ed. [D&C 21].  


1 Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it, thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the Church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ; being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established, in the year of your Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.
2 Wherefore, meaning the Church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you: yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.—
For thus saith the Lord God, him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good; and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard: yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins [p. 37]
Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer,93

The first pages of the manuscript were delivered to printer E. B. Grandin in August or early September 1829. Copies of the book were offered for sale 26 March 1830. (John H. Gilbert, Palmyra, NY, to James T. Cobb, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, 10 Feb. 1879, in Theodore Schroeder, Papers; John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL; “The Book of Mormon,” Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 26 Mar. 1830, [3].)  


we still continued to  bear testimony, and give information, as far as we had opportunity; and also made  known to our brethren, that we had received commandment to organize the Church  And accordingly we met together for that purpose, at the house of the above mentioned  Mr Whitmer [Peter Whitmer Sr.]

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

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(being six in number)94

Variant lists of the six organizers, relying on information from David Whitmer, Brigham Young, and Joseph Knight Jr., provide a total of eleven names, including JS, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, Samuel Smith, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer Sr., Peter Whitmer Jr., Christian Whitmer, and Orrin Porter Rockwell. More than six individuals attended the organizational meeting; David Whitmer recalled that “about 50 members & the 6 Elders were present.” (Anderson, “Who Were the Six?,” 44–45; Stevenson, Journal, 2 Jan. 1887.)  


on Tuesday the sixth day of April, AD One  thousand, eight hundred and thirty.
Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father  we proceeded, (according to previous commandment)95

The commandment to which this refers may be “the word of the Lord” that came “in the Chamber” in the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. (JS History, vol. A-1, 27.)  


to call on our brethren to know  whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and  whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church  according to said commandment which we had received. To these they consent ed by an unanimous vote. I then laid my hands upon Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and  ordained him an Elder of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” after  which he ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then took  bread, blessed it, and brake it with them, also wine, blessed it, and drank it with  them. We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church present  that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and be confirmed members of the  Church of Christ. The Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great  degree. Some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord and rejoiced exceed ingly.
Whilst yet together I received the following commandment.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr, Given at Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, Seneca Co N Y. April 6th 1830.96

Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 46, 1835 ed. [D&C 21].  


1 Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it, thou shalt be  called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the  Church through the will of the Father God the Father, and the grace of your Lord  Jesus Christ; being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build  it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established, in the  year of <y>our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth  day of the month, which is called April.
2 Wherefore, meaning the Church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and  commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all  holiness before me: for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all  patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail aga inst thee you: yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from  before you; and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.—
For thus saith the Lord God, him have I inspired to move the cause of  Zion in mighty power for your good; and his diligence I know, and his prayers I  have heard: yea, his weeping for Zion <I> have I seen, and I will cause that he  shall mourn <for her> no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins [p. 37]
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In addition to working on an initial draft of JS’s history in summer 1839, James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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devoted some of his time to inscribing the history compiled to that point into a large manuscript book. He began this new draft of the history in the back of the volume in which the 1834–1836 history had been inscribed, turning it over so the back cover became the front cover. Serving as principal sources for this version of the history were the manuscript that JS, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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had created in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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in 1838, and Draft 1. Textual evidence that the nonextant 1838 material was used when composing Draft 2 is found in the second paragraph of the latter, which situates the composition in “the eighth year since the [1830] organization of said Church,” and a later passage that gives the date of composition as “the Second day of May, One thousand Eight hundred and thirty eight.”1

JS History, vol. A-1, 1, 8.  


Starting at 15 May 1829, the remainder of the text in Mulholland’s handwriting is a copy of Draft 1. Although the first seven pages of Draft 1 match Draft 2 quite closely, the two versions are markedly less similar after that point. This contrast may indicate that an intermediate draft of the history was made beginning at about page 7 of Draft 1 and that Mulholland copied the text from this intermediate draft, not directly from Draft 1.
Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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inscribed pages 1–59 in the large history volume. After his death in November 1839, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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served as scribe for the history. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding Thompson’s inscription, totaling only sixteen pages, in the large history volume. The transcript of Draft 2 presented herein ends on page 61 of the manuscript volume, after the first two pages of Thompson’s inscription, to correspond with the end of Draft 3; the other fourteen pages in his hand give a biographical sketch of Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, including a brief narrative of his conversion to Mormonism. Because the majority of the pages in Thompson’s hand deal with Rigdon’s life before joining the church, Rigdon was likely consulted for this portion of the narrative.
The opening statement of the draft in the large manuscript volume refers to defamation and persecution to which the Latter-day Saints and JS in particular had been subjected, and it characterizes such maltreatment as one motivation for telling the story of the church and its founder: “Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil disposed and designing men,” JS proclaimed, the history was designed to “disabuse the publick mind, and put all enquirers after truth into possession of the facts” and set the record straight “in relation both to myself and the Church.” This introduction was written not long after JS had fled Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, for Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Missouri, under threat of several lawsuits; thus, when he began the history in summer 1838 he was especially motivated to justify himself and the church in light of what he considered a long history of persecution. Such an introduction may also have been written as a more general response to the accumulated negative reports transmitted orally and in the press beginning in JS’s youth and continuing throughout the 1830s.2

Although the history was begun in 1838, it is possible that the preamble in the first paragraph was added in 1839 when James Mulholland wrote Draft 2. If so, the concern with negative publicity may also have been a reaction to the widespread news of the Mormon conflict in Missouri in fall 1838 andJS’s imprisonment, or to the growing number of publications critical of JS and the church since 1838. See, for example, Origen Bacheler, Mormonism Exposed, Internally and Externally (New York, 1838), and La Roy Sunderland’s eight-part series published in the Methodist Zion’s Watchman from 13 January to 3 March 1838 and republished in pamphlet form as Mormonism Exposed and Refuted (New York: Piercy & Reid, 1838).  


After briefly narrating JS’s birth and early years, Draft 2 proceeds immediately to the circumstances that culminated in his first vision of Deity in the spring of 1820, followed closely by the visitations of an angel in 1823 and JS’s commission to retrieve a sacred record buried nearby. JS’s religious mission is the primary focus; his personal affairs, like his marriage to Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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, whom he met while employed in digging for a rumored silver mine, are discussed only briefly and in the context of that mission.
Following JS’s recitation of his retrieval of the ancient record, the beginnings of his translation thereof, and the loss of the translation manuscript, James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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began including the full texts of JS’s revelations, which became a major element of the account. The revelations were integrated into the history starting with July 1828, and they generally appear in chronological order. Mulholland copied the revelations into the history from the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, rather than from earlier versions. Many of JS’s early revelations underwent significant updating and expansion in order to suit rapidly changing circumstances after the organization of the Church of Christ in 1830, so the inclusion of the 1835 version of revelations into a narrative covering events before 1835 introduced numerous anachronisms. Significant instances of anachronism are identified in the annotation of the text herein.
Additionally, the narrative itself, composed beginning in 1838, necessarily reflects the perspective of JS and his collaborators at the time of its production, thus inadvertently introducing terminology and concepts that were not operative a decade earlier in the period the narrative describes. Examples include using later priesthood nomenclature such as “Aaronic” and “Melchizedek” and calling the church JS established “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” a name not designated until 1838. Such usage makes it difficult to trace the details of the unfolding of church governance and doctrine in the faith’s dynamic early years. Readers wishing to more fully understand these issues may consult the revelation texts and other documents found in the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers.
While much of the narrative is anchored by documents, particularly published revelations, JS and his associates were dependent upon unrecorded memories for the balance of the historical account found in Draft 2. JS used collective memory and oral recollections of fellow participants, such as Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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, to reconstruct the events of early church history. Such reminiscences formed the basis for not only factual details in the history but likely for quotations as well, such as long portions of the report of the 1830 trial proceedings in South Bainbridge and Colesville

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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, New York. JS evidently had to rely on his own memory and that of others to provide some extensive quotations, such as the words of the angel Moroni during his first appearance to JS and the remarks scholars in New York City

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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made to Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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when he showed them characters copied from the gold plates. Lists of persons baptized may have come from records no longer extant or possibly from eyewitnesses consulted for the production of the history.
The manuscript itself was a dynamic text, emended at several times by various scribes. Revisions made in the hand of James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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at the time of inscription or shortly after are included in the transcript herein. Later changes in the hand of Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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, made beginning in December 1842, are not incorporated into the transcript, although substantial changes are described in annotation. Thus, the transcript of Draft 2 presents the history in an early stage, before changes were made by Richards and others, and it approximates the state of the history when Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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used it for a new history draft in about 1841.
For more information about the relationship between this draft and Drafts 1 and 3, see Introduction to Early Drafts of History, 1838–1856.

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