Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism by Terryl L. Givens, Matthew J. Grow

By Terryl L. Givens, Matthew J. Grow

After Joseph Smith and Brigham younger, Parley P. Pratt was once the main influential determine in early Mormon historical past and tradition. Missionary, pamphleteer, theologian, historian, and martyr, Pratt was once perennially stalked through controversy--regarded, he acknowledged, "almost as an Angel via millions and counted an Imposter by means of tens of thousands."

Tracing the lifetime of this colourful determine from his hardscrabble origins in upstate manhattan to his homicide in 1857, Terryl Givens and Matthew develop discover the the most important position Pratt performed within the formation and growth of early Mormonism. one in every of numerous ministers encouraged via the antebellum revival stream often called the second one nice Awakening, Pratt joined the Mormons in 1830 on the age of twenty 3 and 5 years later turned a member of the newly shaped Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which vaulted him to the leading edge of church management for the remainder of his existence. Pratt's missionary work--reaching from Canada to England, from Chile to California--won 1000's of fans, yet much more very important have been his voluminous writings. via books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, poetry, fiction, and autobiography, Pratt unfold the Latter-day Saint message, battled the numerous who reviled it, and delineated its theology in ways in which nonetheless form Mormon suggestion.

Drawing on letters, journals, and different wealthy archival resources, Givens and develop study not just Pratt's writings but additionally his advanced own lifestyles. A polygamist who married a dozen occasions and fathered thirty youngsters, Pratt took huge pleasure in his kinfolk circle at the same time his devotion to Mormonism resulted in lengthy absences that placed heavy lines on these he enjoyed. It used to be in the course of one such absence, a undertaking journey to the East, that the estranged husband of his 12th spouse shot and killed him--a surprising end to a existence that by no means lacked in drama.

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Extra info for Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

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The essential rhythm of the young Pratt’s life was unrelenting physical labor mitigated by the single diversion of books. This was a common motif in the early Republic. 21 In Pratt’s case, his life-long obsession with writing bore out his early fascination. “I always loved a book,” he reminisced. “If I worked hard, a book was in my hand in the morning while others were sitting down to breakfast; the same at noon; if I had a few moments, a book! a BOOK! ”22 But there were never enough of those leisure moments.

Writing about a subject who is a capable autobiographer both helps and complicates the biographer’s task. Autobiographies are a window into an individual’s motivations, actions, and thoughts. And yet they conceal as much as they reveal. Like all autobiographers, Pratt selectively fashioned his history. The problem is not factual accuracy. Indeed, Pratt’s memory of names, places, and events is remarkably (though not completely) correct; most can be confirmed in other contemporary sources. The challenge, rather, is that Pratt constructed his autobiography to reveal how he became the apostle he was in midlife.

Jayne Fife graciously shared her own manuscript on Mary Ann Frost Pratt and responded to ours as well. LaJean Purcell Carruth’s meticulous transcriptions of Pratt sermons from nineteenth-century shorthand added greatly to our source material, as did typescripts provided by Dorsey Ford. Robert and Linda Grow read the manuscript with careful attention to detail and readability. Our wives, Fiona Givens and Alyssa Grow, gave their usual criticisms—painfully perceptive and typically invaluable. We are especially grateful to Cynthia Read at Oxford, friend and editor extraordinaire.

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