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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

Immediately upon our coming up out of the water after we had been  baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our  Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery than  the Holy Ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophecied  many things which should <shortly> come to pass. And again so soon as  I had been baptized by him, I also had the Spirit of prophecy  when standing up I prophecied concerning the rise of this Church  and many other things connected with the Church of Christ and  with this generation of the children of men. We were filled with  the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our Salvation.  Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures  laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention  of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us, in a manner which  we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of.  In the mean time however we were forced to keep <secret> these things  entirely secret in our own bosoms, viz: the circumstances of our  having been baptized and having received this aaronic priesthood.  And this on account of <owing to> a spirit of persecution who which had been <already>  manifested itself in the neighborhood, for some time previous.  We had been threatened with being mobbed, from time to time  and this too by professors of religion, and their intentions of  mobbing us, were only counteracted by the influence of my  wife’s father’s family, <(under Divine Providence)> who had became very friendly to me and  were opposed to mobs, and were willing that I should be allowed  to continue the work of translating <translation> without interruption:  And therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful  proceedings, as far as in them lay. After a few days however  feeling it to be our duty we commenced to reason, out of the  scriptures, with our acquaintances and friends, as we happened to  meet with them. About this time my brother Samuel, H. Smith  came to visit us. We soon informed him of what the Lord was [p. [1]]
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JS, History, [ca. June–Oct. 1839], draft; handwriting of James Mulholland; twenty-five pages; CHL. Includes file notes.
This draft history was inscribed in a makeshift gathering of nine loose leaves measuring 12⅜ × 15¾ inches (31 × 40 cm), folded in half to form eighteen unlined leaves measuring 12⅜ × 7⅞ inches (31 × 20 cm). The loose leaves are held together by a piece of string threaded through two holes in the upper half of the center fold of the leaves. Other holes in the folds indicate that additional sewing was in place at some earlier time. The eighteen-leaf gathering was used circa July 1833 as part of an effort to index JS’s revision of the Bible.1

See Jensen, “Ignored and Unknown Clues of Early Mormon Record Keeping,” 147–154.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Jensen, Robin Scott. “Ignored and Unknown Clues of Early Mormon Record Keeping.” In Preserving the History of the Latter-day Saints, edited by Richard E. Turley and Steven C. Harper, 135–164. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2010.

Frederick G. Williams inscribed the first page of the gathering with the title “Scriptures on Covenants”, followed by five lines of references from JS’s revision of Genesis. This entire page was lined in graphite by Frederick G. Williams. A remnant of a wafer is also found on the upper left corner of this original first page, indicating that it may have been attached to a book or that another document was attached to the page. At some point, apparently in preparation to be used for the history draft, the fold of the gathering was inverted so that the original first and last pages became the center of the gathering (pages 18 and 19) and the original center spread became the first page and last page. James Mulholland inscribed the history draft on twenty-five pages of the gathering, leaving eleven pages blank.
After its inscription in 1839, the whereabouts of this text for the remainder of the nineteenth century are unknown, though it presumably remained in church custody. The document was not listed on any of the known early Church Historian’s Office inventories, which did not detail all holdings. The first known listing of the history draft is in the inventory from circa 1905.2

“Contents of Box No. Two,” Joseph Fielding Smith, Papers, 1893–1973, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Joseph Fielding Smith, Papers, 1893–1973. CHL.

The document is also listed on a 1970 inventory of papers of Joseph Fielding Smith, who had served as church historian and recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1921, perhaps indicating that the document had been in his possession for some time.3

“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970, First Presidency, General Administration Files, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970. First Presidency, General Administration Files, 1921–1972. CHL.

The draft history became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became president of the church in 1970, and it remained there until it was transferred in 2010 to the Church History Library.

Facts