Armstrong, Gregory Kent, Grow, Matthew J., Grow, Matthew J., Siler, Dennis James
Parley P. Pratt and the Making of Mormonism
Arthur H. Clark Company
Parley P. Pratt joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1830 and was murdered in 1857 by the estranged husband of his twelfth plural wife. An original member of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Pratt played a key leadership role for the Mormons. His writings, including poetry, apologetics, and an autobiography, helped define Mormon theology and identity, and his hymns remain popular today. Arguably Mormonism's most influential early leader after Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Pratt is also one of its least understood. This collection of essays uses Pratt's life and writings as a means for gaining insight on early Latter-day Saint history, including the Church's initial internationalization, vibrant print culture, development of a unique theology, family dynamics, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. This fascinating compilation sets Pratt and Mormonism in the context of American religion and culture. The contributors examine Pratt's political and religious struggles on behalf of Mormonism. His murder is also situated within competing narratives of religious martyrdom and sexual deviance, Victorian domestic ideals and domestic abuse. Because Pratt was killed in Arkansas, the massacre of Arkansas emigrants at Mountain Meadows in Utah has long been viewed as vengeance for his death. This well-crafted collection shows that view to be oversimplified. The narratives that emerge here will appeal to anyone seeking to understand the nuances of early Mormon history in the context of one of its most important and controversial figures.