Orson Pratt, Jr. : Gifted Son of An Apostle and an Apostate
Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought
Orson Pratt, Jr. was the oldest son of Orson Pratt, by his first wife, Sara M. Bates. Because of polygamy, Sarah eventually apostatized from the Church and took all of her children, except one, with her. For nearly 20 years the family apostasy was carefully hidden, but in 1864 Orson Jr. became the first to openly announce his disbelief. Before that he seemed to be a believing Mormon, and was active in the Church, even on a high council, but he did not believe. He wanted, however, to do what was right as a Mormon, and perhaps he thought a testimony would grow from activity. He refused a mission call in 1863, however, and the following year resigned from the high council and made his apostasy known. At this time he was living near St. George, along with his mother, and their position there soon became untenable. Orson announced his disbelief while speaking in Church, and that same night he was excommunicated. He later became a music teacher in Salt Lake City.