The Pratt Family Reunion
A Highly Enjoyable and Interesting Occasion

(an extract from the 1887 reunion information)

The following address written by Elder Laron Pratt, was then read by Elder Milando Pratt:

Brethren, Sisters and Friends:

I have been called upon the make the opening address on this interesting occasion. I am very much pleased to see before me so large a gathering of relatives and friends, and in the name of the family I bid you a hearty welcome, and hope peace, joy, thankfulness, and kindly feeling will characterize this gathering.

It is very good, very pleasant and profitable to have such family reunions, wherein we can interchange thoughts, greetings and remembrances, and renew old associations, and I hope to see many such gatherings, that a feeling of love and affection may disseminate among us, and bring us into still closer relations of kinship.

We meet today to celebrate an occasion which should be to us a pleasant memory, and to converse of one whom we all loved and esteemed, who filled the measure of his creation and has gone hence to render an account of his doings here in the flesh, and to continue the good work in a higher sphere.

Our father, relative and friend, Orson Pratt, whose seventy-sixth birthday anniversary we are celebrating, lived to the allotted age of man, being a few days over 70 years of age when he died. He was a man of humble mien, possessed of great intelligence and many sterling qualities of heart, the most conspicuous among which was his staunch integrity and valiant, unflinching defense of the principles of the Gospel which he advocated. Fifty years of his life were given to the promulgations of the principles of truth. Earthly honors and ambitions were as nothing to him. The glittering bauble of worldly wealth had no attraction compared to the beauty and glory of human salvation. These things never made him swerve from the path he had chosen. He was a friend to all humanity in the fullest sense, when the spiritual condition of mankind was concerned. His constant thought was how to elevate his fellow beings, and fit them for a more exalted plan of usefulness. His heart was set upon doing the greatest amount of good to the greatest number, and performing a grand and glorious work for the salvation of the sons and daughters of God. From the time he was a youth of nineteen until he was taken from our midst, he labored incessantly and humbly for the welfare of mankind. His mind was wholly devoted to accomplishing the purposes of God, as he understood them, and he went forth without purse or scrip and traveled very extensively on sea and land, spreading the Gospel of life to many nations of the earth, prophesying of the things that were coming to pass and of the destruction that would overtake the wicked and corrupt.

Few men have labored so incessantly and earnestly for the accomplishment of such a grand and glorious purpose as the saving of poor fallen humanity. And as his prophetic voice was raised long and loud in proclaiming the glorious principles of salvation to the nations of the earth while he was here in the flesh, so also will his works and teachings, left on record, speak as with the voice of thunder to those whom he has left behind. Such a work as he has performed will leave an indelible impression upon those who have heard him in life. It needs no special exertion on our part to keep him in remembrance, for although he has filled his earthly mission and laid down an earthly form, his work among the people of God will never die, and may it always be kept green among his family by pleasant gathering like the present.

Again, his great mind was constantly exercised not only in relation to the salvation of the living but also the salvation of the dead; those who had died without a knowledge of the Gospel. So earnestly did he wish to secure to them all eternal life in the presence of their heavenly Father, that he spent considerable time in helping to compile a book of records of the Pratt family and its branches containing over 3,000 names. From this record we can now trace our lineage, with its numerous branches some 300 years. During the latter part of his lifetime he selected most of these names and then called upon his family and relations in his Territory to perform certain ordinances in the house of the Lord for these deceased ancestors and friends; thus opening to them their prison doors in the spirit world.

But he was far from doing all he intended. He has left this unfinished work for his sons and his daughters, his relations and connections to continue until it is accomplished. Should we not be proud to labor in this noble work which is already planned out for us? We should wake up to the necessity of bestirring ourselves in the matter, and unite as one in such a glorious purpose. We must remember that life is short and we were not born to waste away our time in idle pleasures. Our heavenly Father gave us mortal existence for a little season to see what use we will make of it, and if we do good we will be worthy of a better life; but if we throw away our opportunities, then our chance of eternal life will be commensurate therewith.

My brothers and sisters, let us be faithful, earnest and valiant in the good work; let us be united with love and affection for one another; treat one another with consideration and kindness, being charitable in all things, and follow the illustrious example set before us by our father and friend, that our minds may be filled with the light and intelligence of the spirit of God, and when our earthly career is ended we can look back over our lives with satisfaction and glorify God therefore.

May the Spirit of God rest upon you that your joys and pleasures may be unbounded this day, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sept. 19, 1887, 4]
[Deseret News, Sept. 20, 1887]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]


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