History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]

History, 1838–1856, volume B-1 [1 September 1834–2 November 1838]

This curse shall be upon them, the hand of the Lord shall be upon  <July 14.> them, until they repent in sackcloth and ashes, and shall touch <affect> <them>  their temporal <and spiritual interest> unless they repent.

17–19 July 1835 • Friday–Sunday

<17.  Minutes of the Twelve.> “July 17the. the twelve met in conference, agreeably to previous  appointment, on at St Johnsbury Vermont. Resolved <that> this state be the  Limits of this conference, and include the branches in Littleton, Dalton  <Vermont Conference> and Landaff, of in New Hampshire to be called the Vermont Conference
The St Johnsbury branch contained 4 numbered 41, members; Danville, 23;  <Names of Churches> Charlton, 21; Jay, 11; Dalton, 15; Landaff, 4; Littleton, 10; Andover, Vt. 15;  Bendon Benson, 7; and Lewis N. York, 17: Six of the council addressed the  conference on principles of faith and action. — Adjourned to the  <18> 18th. when the remaining six, enforced the necessity of sending  up wise men, and purchasing lands according to the comm andments, which they readily agreed to do. Sunday 19th. our  <Sunday. 19> public meeting was attended by more than a thousand people, and  during our conference nine were baptized.

July 1835

<Translating the  Book of  Abraham &c.> The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating  an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arrangeing a grammar  of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients.

2 August 1835 • Sunday

<August 2.> August 2d being the Sabbath I preached a part of the day.

4 August 1835 • Tuesday

<Minutes of Council 4.> “Kirtland, August, 4th 1835. A high council of the church of Christ  of Latter Day Saints assembled in conference, consisting of Presidents  Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith,  David Whitmer, John Whitmer and William W. Phelps, and others,  to take into consideration certain items contained in letters from  abroad; one from Warren A. Cowdery, presiding elder of the  Freedom Conference; and one from Elder William E. McLellin.
The first reads as follows,
<Letter from W. A Cowdery> “Freedom July 29th. 1835. Dear Brother,  Elder Jared Carter called on this church last thursday, on his way  east soliciting donations and subscriptions for finishing the house  in your place. Although the subject of such a mission, in conexion  with his name, had been mentioned in the Messenger and Ad vocate, still, as no other method had been taken to impress  the subject on our minds, it had measurably passed out,  or ceased to make any impression. Therefore. we were in some  degree taken on surprise. The Twelve, the Bishop, nor any others  clothed with authority, have ever mentioned this subject to  us, except incidentally, to the recollection of any of the church.  It surely was never made a subject of public instruction; as bro ther Carter had just reason to expect it had been, he felt an  embarrassment peculiar to such a situation. He undertook to preach  to us yesterday, but from the aforesaid embarrassment, or the  deadness, or the covetousness of the church, he could get none  of the spirit of the Lord to assist him. I am free to say that  I attributed more to the latter cause than the former. Yet, not withstanding, we made out in donations, and Subscriptions  that I trust will be realized $341.87½. May the Lord bless  and prosper him, and all his faithful servants, and may [p. 597]
This document, volume B-1, is the second of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. The narrative in volume B-1 begins with the entry for 1 September 1834, just after the conclusion of the Camp of Israel (later called Zion’s Camp), and continues to 2 November 1838, when JS was interned as a prisoner of war at Far West, Missouri. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
Willard Richards, serving as JS’s “private secretary and historian,” completed the account of JS’s history contained in volume A-1 in August 1843. It covered the period from JS’s birth in 1805 through the aftermath of the Camp of Israel in August 1834. When work resumed on the history on 1 October 1843, Richards started a new volume, eventually designated B-1.
At the time of JS’s death in June 1844, the account had been advanced to 5 August 1838, on page 812 of volume B-1. Richards’s poor health led to the curtailment of work on B-1 for several months, until 11 December 1844. On that date, Richards and William W. Phelps, assisted by Thomas Bullock, resumed gathering the records and reports needed to draft the history. Richards then composed and drafted roughed-out notes while Thomas Bullock compiled the text of the history and inscribed it in B-1. They completed their work on the volume on or about 24 February 1845. Richards, Willmer Benson, and Jonathan Grimshaw later added ten pages of “Addenda,” which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated.
Though JS did not dictate or revise any of the text recorded in B-1, Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock chose to maintain the first-person, chronological narrative format established in A-1 as if JS were the author. They drew from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. As was the case with A-1, after JS’s death, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” It was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
The narrative recorded in B-1 continued the story of JS’s life as the prophet and president of the church he labored to establish. The account encompasses significant developments in the church’s two centers at that time—Kirtland, Ohio, and northwest Missouri—during a four-year-span. Critical events included the organization of the Quorums of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy, the dedication of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio, the establishment of the Kirtland Safety Society, dissension and apostasy in Kirtland and Missouri, the first mission to England, JS’s flight from Kirtland to Missouri in the winter of 1838, the Saints’ exodus from Kirtland later that year, the disciplining of the Missouri presidency, and the outbreak of the Missouri War and arrest of JS. Thus, B-1 provides substantial detail regarding a significant period of church expansion and transition as well as travail.