Review: 'Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism'

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  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 3, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska, See Fair LDS Article, Mormonism and polygamy/Parley P. Pratt's marriage and murder..
    Pratts last wife, Eleanor, was sealed to him WITHOUT divorcing her legal husband, who fatally shot Parley near Van Buren, Arkansas (p. 333). There is, however, much that we are not told. Eleanors husband was a heavy drinker, which in 1844 resulted in separation. The couple was reconciled, and the family moved to San Francisco. While in California, Eleanor discovered the church. Her husband forbade her to join and purchased a sword cane and threatened to kill her and the minister who baptized her if she became a Mormon.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Nov. 2, 2011 10:23 a.m.

    grindael, I'm not sure why you feel that the circumstances of PPP's murder fascilitated events of the MMM, when all this occured a decade earlier?

    But while comparing frontier prophets to ancient Israeli ones seems a favorite pastime of some, I can't recall a single Biblical prophet who defied the law for 20+ years by harboring murderers of a heinous massacre. Then turning over one of the 50 murderers to face the firing squad. Can you?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Nov. 1, 2011 9:09 p.m.

    Sharrona as you will find is that Eleanor lived out her days in Utah not California. She married her husband after the divorce. They did reconcile for a time and they rejoined Pratt. Some of the stories are being told by those outside of the Church and the family. I know family members that tell a completely different story than what you say. I know some family members who will state as factually everything I have said. I will trust family members over those who tell a completely different story. Everything ever written by members of the Church will state that Eleanor was divorced from her husband. There is no proof to the so called spying deal. That is a false statement from everything I have read of the man. So again you cite things that are totally false much as skeptic and others have produced.

  • grindael BUFFALO, NY
    Nov. 1, 2011 2:06 p.m.

    @CA Granny Thanks for the correction. Eleanor and Parley actually took the kids with them, and Hector then charged them with stealing the clothes to get them into court. The judge didn't grant them custody, but didn't find them guilty of any crime either, and I mis-recalled the events.

    It is an interesting topic, and Pratt was an interesting character, but wasn't a very good prophet. I think National sentiment about polygamy worked against them in this case, and I think too many people looked the other way and allowed the murder to happen because of it. It's interesting that Eleanor's own parents didn't side with her on this. But the Mormon's practice of polygamy was offensive to many, and Pratt's apprehension and unease is not all that surprising. After all, Pratt had sent a man to their home to spy on Hector in San Fran., and he was well aware of Hector's penchant for violence.

    What is tragic is the sentiments generated from Pratt's murder most likely contributed to the massacre of the Baker-Fancher party at Mountain Meadows.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 1, 2011 10:39 a.m. can we judge him then? if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: (Romans 7:3) The real Apostle Paul on adultery.

    @ Bill in Nebraska, Pratts last wife, Eleanor, was sealed to him without divorcing her legal husband, who fatally shot Parley near Van Buren, Arkansas (p. 333). There is, however, much that we are not told. Eleanors husband was a heavy drinker, which in 1844 resulted in separation. The couple was reconciled, and the family moved to San Francisco. Per, Fair LDS

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Nov. 1, 2011 6:17 a.m.

    It is a mistake to compare, such as to say PP was modern day Paul the Apostle, or BY was modern day Moses...each should be taken as an individual, unique and appreciated for the good.

    Those who cannot forgive mistakes or imperfections of others would also have difficulty forgiving themselves, or at best, become unable to accept the good among mankind, knowing that "all are sinners, and fall short of the glory of God."

    So as far as the book on PP goes, I won't buy it, because I'm too busy trying to improve upon myself, & throw behind me past mistakes.

    SWK said the miracle of man is that he can change if he determines to do so, but acknowledges it is not easily done...PP lived in a different time, with different challenges than we can we judge him then?

  • CA Granny PETALUMA, CA
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    grindael: I've read Eleanor's account of her relationship with the church and with Parley and I don't think the Dialogue account is completely accurate either. But you are right, her history with her husband and the church is more complicated than this forum allows room to fully explain. When she and Parley were arrested near Fort Smith Arkansas, the charge was that they had stollen (from McLean) the clothes the children were wearing. None of the accounts I've read says anything about them being granted custody of the kids. She was released and the judge ruled that Parley wasn't guilty but warned him about the boasts of McLean and his cronies that his life was in danger. He apparently had a similar premonition but accepted only a horse to ride out of town which is where McLean caught up with him. With Parley's death, Eleanor realized that her only hope was to make her way to a group leaving for Utah where she lived out the rest of her life. In her account, she wrote that Parley's wives always treated her with respect; she died without ever seeing her children again.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:49 p.m.

    %Bill in Nebraska: Sometimes it is difficult to accept things for what they are rather than what one wishes they were. But life is better lived in truth and reality than fantasy; even if at times it would be funny if it didn't hurt so much. Remember the famous words of President R.: trust but verify.

  • grindael BUFFALO, NY
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    @CA Granny,

    The Pratt/Mclean story is much more complicated than that. Eleanor actually reconciled with Hector (reluctantly - for the children), but then she had their children baptized without her husband's approval which infuriated him. Things degenerated after that. He then sent the children to New Orleans to live with his parents for fear she would take them to Utah. She followed and tried to take them. She left in frustration. Then she went to Utah and "married" Pratt. Then after that, she and Pratt went to court and won custody, which infuriated Hector again. His response was deplorable, but Pratt had married a woman who was not divorced from her husband, in violation of the laws of the land, (his 12th wife). The story is complicated, and there was blame on both sides. Pratt had a penchant for explosive commentary, false prophecy, and womanizing. I honestly can't see the comparison with him and Paul. (See, Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo, in Dialogue, Fall, 1985, and Eleanor McLean & The Murder of PPP, by Steven Pratt, (which is informative, but rather skewed).

  • grindael BUFFALO, NY
    Oct. 31, 2011 4:17 p.m.

    Eleanor McLean wasn't divorced from Hector. She said, "The sectarian priests have no power from God to marry: and a so-called marriage ceremony performed by them is no marriage at all" (Dialogue, Vol.18, No.3,p.74) Brother Orson, wrote:

    "With all the light and knowledge that he has received concerning the law of the priesthood and with all the counsels that he had received from our quorum, if he feels at liberty to go into the city of New York or elsewhere and seduce girls or females and sleep and have connexion with them contrary to the law of God, and the sacred counsels of his brethren, it is something that does not concern me as an individual. And if my quorum and the church can fellowship him, I shall find no fault with him, but leave it between him, the church, and God." (Letter To B.Young, 12 January 1846, Dialogue, Vol.19, No.2,p.86)

    Of course, PPP claimed later he was "sealed" to her. They had problems with the secrecy policy. Hard sell, likening Pratt to Paul.

  • CA Granny PETALUMA, CA
    Oct. 31, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    The divorce mentioned above was Eleanor, his last wife, from her former husband who was known to be abusive and a heavy drinker and was angry when she left him and wanted to take her children with her. Her father notified her husband where she was and she was forced to come home, where she was virtually held under house arrest. Eventually, she was able to made her way to Utah Territory where the only people she knew were Parley and one of his wives. The extended family took her in and she became for a while the teacher of the Pratt children, and I think it was at this time that she wrote out a document that she no longer considered herself bound to an abusive husband. I've always suspected that Parley married her to give her a home and an attachment to a family to make up for what she had lost. When he was called to go to the East on a church mission, they thought it possible to make another attempt to get her children, but the failed attempt led to Parley's murder.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 31, 2011 1:34 p.m.

    Nebraska Bill- Where's your documentation that PPP was divorced before he was sealed to another man's wife? That practice occured in the early church, and JS also had married women sealed to him. (Todd Compton, Sacred Lonliness).

    I'd like to accept your statement, but if it won't fly in a court of law, give us a little verification , puhleeze.
    Outside of Nebraska we require documents and proof of divorce.

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    Oct. 31, 2011 12:44 p.m.

    I'm getting this book ASAP. Thanks for the head's up.

    Are the Romneys direct descendants of the Pratts? That is a significant connection, in my opinion. But hey, I'm not a journalist.

    Who are all the players in the eternal shell game of the Mitt camp? Is the LDS church going to obfuscate full disclosure of past teachings and historical events also? Do you know how difficult it is to get any church-sanctioned publications on the facts surrounding Parley's murder...Try researching it sometime. The desperate attempt to deflect deep scrutiny of the full plate of doctrines, practices and associations of Mitt's past and present beliefs is very frustrating.

    Going to the church websites offers no indication of the continued beliefs in polytheism, celestial polygamy or plural marriage. When the shell game continues, it only deepens suspicion that there's more to find. I suggest that the Romneys and the bicycle boys who knock on my door all get on the same page and start owning all their past and present. Just a suggestion.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 31, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    Yes skeptic it is true that Elder Pratt did marry the ex-wife of the man who killed him. Again I repeat ex-wife. Mr. McClean was upset about this and tracked Parley down. Since McClean took his case to court and LOST it is evident as it was with the Prophet Joseph Smith that the accussations were false. Elder Pratt was on a mission in Arkansas at the time of his murder. McClean ambushed him so just as with many martyrs he was murdered more for his beliefs especially since he did practice polygamy. So know it is better to know the full facts versus just the ones some one else leaves out.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    I wonder how many of the stories about PP would fall into the same category as those of PH Dunn?

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    Oct. 31, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    While Professor Givens has had a smooth ride so far as his relationship with Oxford University press is concerned, I believe he is in "dangerous" territory linking Parley Pratt with the Apostle Paul. Leonard Arrington linked Brigham Young to Moses, calling BY the American Moses in a very good but less well known biography.

    Givens will be hard pressed to cite realisitic parallels between Pratt and Paul in my humble opinion- the Apostle to the Gentiles was Spirit filled and led throughout his life after his conversion. He was the most important figure in Christianity from about 35 AD until his death, as a martyr in the mid-60's AD. Can this be said of Pratt? Pratt spent much of his last years pursuing another man's wife and died for it in a brutal manner in Arkansas, but hardly as a martyr, unless one considers defending polygamy grounds for martyrdom.

    not sermon, just a thought!

    btw the price of the book is outrageous at almost 35 dollars.

  • IndependentLiberal Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    I am a distant relative of Parley and all other pictures of him I have seen in family records portray him as a lot less of an attractive man that what is being portrayed in this article.

    I thought only girls got prettier at closing time.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 7:39 p.m.

    The Apostle Paul of Mormonism was a polygamist(spiritual wifery). St Paul said, I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am;(1 Cor 7:8)

    Another example(Pratt) relates to the doctrine of theosis. Paul teaches opposite in the kenosis doctrine as does the BoM; God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood and go forth on the face of the earth (Mosiah 7:27). God becomes man not man become God.

    Peter confirms Paul as an Apostle: Bear in mind that our Lords patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.(2Peter 3:15)
    The Christian world does not believe in Mormon Apostles.
    Paul saw the Risen Christ. Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Acts 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

  • grindael BUFFALO, NY
    Oct. 30, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    Hi, in reading Pratt's published materials, one prophecy comes to mind, directed at LaRoy Sunderland in 1838, which should concern Church Members:

    "I will state as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false... God will smite him [Sunderland, unless he "repents", & he did not] dumb, that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord; and a trembling shall seize his nerves, that he shall not be able to write...and he will wander a vagabond on the earth, until sudden destruction shall overtake him; and if ... Sunderland enquires, when shall these things be? I reply, it is nigh thee--even at thy doors; and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

    Pratt then added,

    "I hope Mr. Sunderland, will no more complain of the jargon of the Mormon Prophets being unintelligible or indefinite." (Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, p.16, not the Howe Book - & Sunderland lived a long life)

  • watcher@75 SMITHFIELD, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 4:22 p.m.

    Writing of the great works of Parley P. Pratt serves as a worthy endeavor. He was a most courageous patriot,leader, pioneer, statesman, missionary, Apostle, settler, explorer, and intellect of the old west. His name and deeds ought to be written about. American literature needs more well documentaries of noble and honorable Americans who helped shape our nation.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 30, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    The Mormon relligious doctrine of polygmy and Pratts taking of another mans wife led to his murder. Not a too uncommon story of a not too smart man messing with another man's wife, it certaily doesn't have criteria to make Pratt a martyr.

  • full disclosure Providence, UT
    Oct. 30, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    I am really looking forward to this book. Can some one give me a definition of a Martyr?