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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

we had for some time made this a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the Chamber of 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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’s house in order more particularly to seek of the Lord information, and if possible obtain what we now so earnestly desired. After some time spent in solemn and fervent prayer, the Word of the Lord came unto us, in the Chamber, commanding us, that I should ordain 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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to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, and that he also should ordain me to the same office, and that after having been thus ordained, we should proceed to ordain others to the same office, according as it should be made known to us, from time to time, also commanding us, that as soon as practicable we should call together all those who had already been baptized by us, to bless bread, and break it with them, also to take wine, bless it, and drink it with them doing all these things in the name of the Lord, but to defer our own ordination untill we had called together our brethren and had their sanction, and been accepted by them as their teachers, after which we were commanded to proceed to ordain each other and call out such men as the spirit should dictate unto us, and ordain them, and then attend to the laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost,
The following commandment will further illustrate the nature of our calling to this Priesthood as well as others who were yet to be sought after.
Revelation Page 172
 
We continued to receive instruction concerning our duties from time to time, and among many things the folowing directions, fixing the time of our anticipated meeting together for the purpose of being organized were given by the Spirit of prophecy & revelation
Section 2nd [p. [8]]
we had for some time made this a subject of humble prayer, and at  length we got together in the Chamber of 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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’s house in order  more particularly to seek of the Lord information, and if possible  obtain what we now so earnestly desired. We had not been long  After some time spent in solemn and fervent prayer, the Word  of the Lord came unto us, in the Chamber, commanding us, that  I should ordain 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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to be an Elder in the Church of  Jesus Christ, and that he also should ordain me to the same  office, and that after having been thus ordained, we should  proceed to ordain others to the same office, according as it should  be made known to us, from time to time, We also commanding  us, that as soon as practicable we should call together all those  who had already been baptized by us, to bless bread, and break  it with them, also to take wine, bless it, and drink it with them  doing all these things in the name of the Lord, but to defer our own  ordination untill we had called the Chur together our brethren  and had their sanction, and been accepted by them as their  teachers, after which we were commanded to proceed to ordain  each other and then call out such men as the spirit should  dictate unto us, and ordain them, and then attend to the laying  on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost,
The following commandment will further illustrate the  nature of our calling to this Priesthood as well as others who  were yet to be sought after.
Revelation Page 172
 
We continued to receive instruction concerning our duties  from time to time, and among the many things the folowing  directions, fixing the time of our anticipated meeting together <for the purpose of being organized>  were given by the Spirit of prophecy & revelation
Section 2nd [p. [8]]
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The history drafted in 1839 was inscribed by 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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, who began writing for JS on 3 September 1838. In addition to his work on the history, Mulholland served as a scribe for patriarchal blessing records, JS’s second letterbook, and JS’s journals. After an interruption of his clerical work brought on by JS’s 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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imprisonment, Mulholland “commenced again to write for the Church” on 22 April 1839.1

Mulholland, Journal, 22 Apr. 1839.  


JS’s journal noted that JS “began to study & prepare to dictate history” on 10 June and that he dictated history while Mulholland wrote on 11–14 June.2

JS, Journal, 10, 11, and 12–14 June 1839; see also Mulholland, Journal, 10–15 June 1839.  


During JS’s 15–26 June absence from Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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while visiting his brothers William

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

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and Don Carlos

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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, Mulholland remained in Commerce, “writing history” on three days and “studying for history” for part of another day.3

Mulholland, Journal, 17–20 June 1839.  


Work done by Mulholland in JS’s absence may have included organizing sources from which to compile history, drafting the history itself from other sources, or making a clean draft of the history, as explained in the next section. After JS returned, he dictated history to Mulholland on three additional days.4

JS, Journal, 3 and 4–5 July 1839; Mulholland, Journal, 3–6 July 1839.  


Mulholland mentioned in his journal spending several more days writing for the church, without specifying which project he was working on.5

See Mulholland’s journal entries from July to October 1839.  


Because the history produced by JS and 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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in 1838 is not extant, it is impossible to know the exact relationship between that work and the extant versions of JS’s history presented here. It is probable, however, that Draft 1 represents the resumption of the historical narrative at the point where the now-lost 1838 manuscript ended. The extant draft picks up the narrative at the baptism of JS and 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 covers the publication of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church of Christ, and events later in 1830. The narrative covering mid-April through August 1830, much of which involved 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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as either a participant or an eyewitness, is relatively detailed. It was likely during work on this portion of the history that, according to JS’s journal, JS was “assisted by Br Newel Knight.”6

JS, Journal, 4–5 July 1839.  


When 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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created the twenty-five-page Draft 1, it appears he began with an outline, identifying revelations, events, and other pieces of information and leaving blank space between these notations to be filled in later with connective narrative supplied by JS, 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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, or other sources. Beginning on the second page, Mulholland named particular revelation texts from the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants that were to be inserted into the history, but he did not copy the full texts from the Doctrine and Covenants into this draft. The revelations served as the initial threads around which JS wove his dictated narrative. Beginning with page 9 of Draft 1, following the notation to insert the title page of the Book of Mormon, the inscription pattern becomes much more complex. It appears that at this point, Mulholland began to write in dates of conferences, names of individuals baptized, and other key details, leaving large blank spaces between. This procedure for creating the history was not without drawbacks. When Mulholland came back and composed text or transcribed JS’s dictation to fill in the details, the narrative sometimes exceeded the reserved space, forcing Mulholland to squeeze extra lines of text onto the page. At other times the inserted narrative fell short of filling in all the blank space set aside for it. False starts are evident throughout much of the middle portion of the draft history.
JS’s work on the history was interrupted in early July 1839 when a malaria epidemic in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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and vicinity required JS and 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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to attend to the sick for an extended period.7

See JS, Journal, 8 July–28 Sept. 1839.  


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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continued to work on JS’s history until at least 26 July. Many of the entries in his personal journal that mention “writing for the Church” may refer to additional work on the history. Mulholland’s tenure as a scribe was cut short when he died on 3 November 1839, possibly the victim of a stroke.8

Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to JS, Washington DC, 6 Dec. 1839, Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.  


For more information about the relationship between this draft and Drafts 2 and 3, see Introduction to Early Drafts of History, 1838–1856. Note that the transcript includes only annotation that relates to textual aspects of this draft; Draft 2 carries the historical annotation.

Facts