Pratt, then 23 years old, came across a copy of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon thrilled him. Pratt in profile. More than people in and around Kirtland, including Sidney and Phebe Rigdon, soon joined the Church.
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Pratt By Matthew J. I have been visited there by visions of Angels and Spirits, and been delivered by miracles. Pratt began two centuries ago this month. Jared was a weaver and farmer who occasionally taught school. In the generation following the American Revolution, new technology and expanding transportation networks revolutionized the economy, propelling many towards success but consigning others to poverty. Despite their toil, debt hounded Jared and Charity.
As a consequence, in they boarded Parley, then 15, and his younger brother Orson, 11, with local farmers as hired help. Parley compensated for a limited formal education through reading. Jared and Charity did not belong to a church, though they frequently attended various denominations and taught their sons a respect for the Bible and Christian faith.
Parley became a religious seeker, beginning a serious study of the scriptures at age As he grew older, he wondered at the discrepancies between biblical teachings and contemporary churches. Desiring to follow God, Parley joined a Baptist church at age 18, though he remained dissatisfied. The following year the Pratts lost their farm, prompting Parley to move to frontier Ohio, where he envisioned conducting missionary work among Native Americans.
Parley shared his religious views with her and asked her to marry him. But Parley followed a prompting to disembark prematurely at Newark, while Thankful traveled on to their final destination. As a result, Parley was introduced to the Book of Mormon, an experience that forever changed his life. In the Church of Jesus Christ, Parley recognized the authority, simplicity, and purity he had long sought. On September 1, , he was baptized by Oliver Cowdery.
Missionary Labors From the moment of his conversion, Parley became a tireless missionary. Over the next four months, Parley and his companions traveled some 1, miles, mostly on foot, to Missouri, preaching to various tribes. They also stopped in Mentor, Ohio, not far from Kirtland, where Parley taught his former religious mentor, Sidney Rigdon. Kirtland quickly pulsed with religious excitement; within weeks, Rigdon and more than others in the region had converted.
The center of Church membership quickly shifted from New York to Ohio. In , along with his brother Orson, he received a call as one of the original Twelve Apostles. Heber C. Kimball, a fellow Apostle, blessed Parley with specific promises: Thankful would be healed and would give birth to a son, their first after nine years of marriage, and Parley would fulfill a mission in Canada which would serve as a stepping-stone for the gospel to be taken to England.
In Canada, Parley helped convert several individuals who became some of the first missionaries to England, including John Taylor, later the third President of the Church, and his wife Leonora. When Parley returned to Kirtland from his Canadian mission, he found himself embroiled in various conflicts that threatened the Church, resulting from a combination of internal divisions, persecution, and a national financial panic.
The crisis jeopardized his faith, leaving him temporarily disillusioned with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Imprisonment When Missourians forced the Saints from the state in late , Parley was arrested with other Church leaders and imprisoned for eight months in Richmond and Columbia, Missouri. Temporarily detained with President Smith and others in a hotel in Independence on the way to Richmond, he slipped out unnoticed one snowy morning and quickly reached the woods outside the city.
His brother Orson helped him escape, fittingly, on Independence Day, July 4, , from the jail in Columbia, after which they joined the Saints at Nauvoo. Though he overestimated his stay, his optimism proved well-founded.
During the mission of Parley and the other Apostles, missionary work in England exploded, and shiploads of emigrants were soon headed for Nauvoo.
In his missionary labors throughout his life, Parley turned instinctively to writing and publishing. During his era the availability of cheap pamphlets and newspapers rapidly increased, and opponents of the Church used the printed word to condemn the Saints and misrepresent their beliefs.
Parley also understood the power of print and used publishing to advance the cause of the gospel, printing and distributing pamphlets by the thousands. He was blessed with a poetic mind, a romantic spirit, and an engaging style, and his voluminous writings ensured that the Latter-day Saint message received an eloquent defense.
Parley was comfortable with various literary genres and wrote poetry, fiction, hymns, short essays, and expansive books. Three of his hymns appeared in the first Latter-day Saint hymnal in In England he received an assignment to publish a new hymnal. Instrumental in the conversion of thousands, A Voice of Warning clearly laid out Latter-day Saint doctrines. In a more personal vein, his lively autobiography, written soon before his death but published thereafter, captures the spirit and excitement of the early decades of the Restoration.
O Horrible! Parley opposed attempts by his former teacher, Sidney Rigdon, to reorganize Church leadership in the absence of the Twelve Apostles. This helped ensure that Brigham Young, not Rigdon, would become the next leader of the Church. In February Parley and his family were part of the forced exodus from Illinois.
Like so many other Saints, he spent his last minutes in Nauvoo traveling down Parley Street before ferrying his family across the Mississippi River. Parley provided crucial leadership in the trek to the Salt Lake Valley and in the early exploration of Utah. During the winter of —50, he led a man expedition to investigate possible settlement sites and natural resources in southern Utah. Unfortunately, civil unrest, restrictive laws against non-Catholic religions, struggles with the language, the death of an infant son, and lack of adequate funds cut short this early effort.
Parley continued to study Spanish, however, and envisioned a day when the Church would sweep Latin America. Left: Parley P. Pratt, about Above: Elder Pratt and his wife Belinda B.
In September Parley P. Pratt first encountered the Book of Mormon. I knew and comprehended that the book was true. Go into the Wilderness, by Robert Barrett. Parley P. Left: In Parley P. Pratt and his brother Orson were ordained members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Joseph Smith Ordaining Parley P. Pratt as an Apostle, by Walter Rane. The guards ceased their blasphemous talk and begged his pardon. Silence, Ye Fiends, by Susan Comish. Inset: Elder Orson Pratt, From the moment of his conversion, Parley P. Pratt became a tireless missionary. Just a few weeks after his own baptism, he baptized his younger brother Orson. Eventually their two older brothers, Anson and William, were also baptized.
Robinson were taken prisoner by Missouri militiamen. Cold Missouri Night, by Joseph Brickey. They baptized thousands, and shiploads of emigrants were soon headed for Nauvoo. Embarkation of the Saints at Liverpool, by Ken Baxter.
He served as its editor until his return to the United States. Left: Parley and his family were among those who left Nauvoo in frigid weather in February He is buried at Fine Springs, Arkansas. Inset: Elder John Taylor, While serving a mission in Canada in , Elder Pratt helped convert several individuals who became some of the first missionaries to England, including John Taylor, who later became the third President of the Church.
Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt
Pratt, Parley P. Murder of Parley P. Pratt was one of the key figures in the early Church leadership. Born in Burlington, New York, in , he preached to the Creek and Cherokee nations as a young missionary, as well as to congregations in Canada, England, California, and the Pacific, and he was the first Latter-day Saint missionary to serve in Chile in South America. The murder shocked the Latter-day Saint community and became front-page news throughout the nation. In , following a domestic dispute, Hector McLean secretly sent their children from San Francisco to New Orleans, Louisiana, to live with their maternal grandparents, whereupon Eleanor determined to leave him.
The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt
Pratt was murdered on 13 May The events that precipitated the murder have often been speculated about and discussed among students of Mormon history. It was there that she met and married Hector McLean in But Hector started drinking heavily, causing a separation in