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

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

assistant president saying these words; In the name of Jesus  <December 5.  Oliver Cowdery  ordained At. Prest.> Christ who was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my  hands upon thee, and ordain thee an assistant president to the  high and holy priesthood in the church of the Latter Day Saints.

11 December 1834 • Thursday

<11.  Phelp’s Letter  to Thompson.> On the 11th. Elder [William W.] Phelps wrote from Liberty, clay county, To J. T. V.  Thompson— Jefferson City, (in reply to his letter of the 25th. November,)  expressive of thankfulness to his Excellency for introducing the suffer in[g] of the Saints in his Message; also asking counsel, “whether it would  avail any thing for the Society to petition his honorable body,  (the Legislature) for an act to re-instate them in their rights” &c. and  requesting him to confer with his friends and his excellency and on  the subject, and give an early answer.
About the middle of the month the message of Governor Dunklin  of Missouri, <to the legislature,> -[see p. 559.]- arrived at Kirtland, was read with great inter est, and revived the hopes of the church for the scattered brethren  of Jackson County.

18 December 1834 • Thursday

<18.  Phelps Letter  to Thompson> Elder [William W.] Phelps wrote again to esquire Thompson, on the 18th. as follows,
“Dear Sir, By this mail I have forwarded to Captain Aitchison [David R. Atchison]  of the lower house, a petition and documents, on the subject  of our rights in Jackson County. He will hand them to  you for the Senate, when through in the House, I shall  be greatly obliged if you lay them before your honorable  body; and any information you may require, or even personal  attendance, write, and you shall not have it if in my  power. As a people, all we ask is our rights, with esteem &c. W. W. Ps.—

20 December 1834 • Saturday

<20 Thompson & Atchison’s  Letter to Phelps.> On the 20th. Messrs Thompson and [David R.] Atchison, wrote Elder [William W.] Phelps  from the “Senate “Chamber,” acknowledging the receipt of his letter,  stating that the committee on the governor’s Message had not  reported, and recommending the saints to get up a petition  to the Legislature with as m[an]y signers as possible, promising  their assistance and influence to obtain redress of grievance.
A petition was accordingly forwarded, but the year closed  without bringing any thing to pass for the relief of the saints  in Missouri.

January 1835

<January  Lectures on Theology.> During the month of January I was engaged in the school  of the elders, and in preparing the Lectures on Theology for  publication in the Book of Doctrine and covenants, which  the committee appointed last September, were now com pililing. Certain brethren from Bolton, New York, came  for council, relative to their proceeding to the west, and  <Council 18.> the High council assembled on the 18th.. After a long in vestigation, I decided that Elder [John] Tanner assist with his  might to build up the cause by tarrying in Kirtland, which  decision received the unanimous vote of the council.

February 1835

<February.> The school still continued, and arrangements were also made,  according to the Revelation of June 1829, for choosing “the twelve” [p. 563]
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.