The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith's First Vision
By October 29 of that year, when Joseph left Nauvoo for Washington, D.C., to present the Missouri grievances of his people before the federal government, only fifty-nine pages of his history had been written; and six days after his departure, his scribe James Mulholland died. When Joseph returned to Nauvoo in March 1840, he lamented the passing of his "faithful scribe," and expressed disappointment that an adequate record of his Washington trip had not been kept: "I depended on Dr. Foster to keep my daily journal during this journey, but he has failed me." Robert B. Thompson, who was appointed General Church Clerk on October 3, 1840, continued writing the history where Mulholland left off; however, his untimely death on August 27, 1841, saw only sixteen pages added to the manuscript. By the time Willard Richards was appointed private secretary to the Prophet and General Church Clerk in December 1841, a mere 157 pages of a history that eventually numbered more than two thousand, had been written.