Helaman Pratt

[Transcribed by David Grow from Journal History, April 2006]

1847: June 21, p.7—list of emigrants

1867: Oct. 7, p.1—list of missionaries to southern part of Territory

1870: June 3, p.4—sustaining of local authorities at Gen. Conf.

Nov 6, p.3—sustaining of local authorities at Gen. Conf. including Helaman as Bishop of Overton

1875: Aug 21, p.1—

Saturday, Aug. 21. The weather continued fine and warm in Salt Lake City. Elder Orson Pratt set apart Elder Helaman Pratt of Sevier County, Utah, for a mission to Mexico.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Aug. 21, 1875, 1]

1876 Sep. 11, p.1, p.2

Monday, Sept 11. Elders Helaman Pratt and James S. Brown called on Orson Pratt and conversed about their mission to Arizona. (H.O.J.)

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sep. 11, 1876, 1]

Missionaries for Mexico

Elders Helaman Pratt, J.Z. Stewart, and Milton Gonzales Trejo, expect to leave on a mission to Mexico some time next week. The two Elders first named were in the country a few months since and are now about to return. Elder Trejo is a native of Spain, and a short time since translated the Book of Mormon and some other church works into the Spanish, a portion of that book having been published in that language.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sept. 11, 1876, 2]

[Deseret Evening News, Sept. 11, 1876, 25:521]

1876 Oct. 7, p.1—Gen. Conf. list of missionaries called to Southern Mission

1876 Nov. 4, p.2

For Mexico—We understand that Elders Helaman Pratt, J.Z. Stewart, Meliton Gonzales Trejo and accompanying missionaries were expecting to leave Richfield, Sevier County, on their way to Mexico a week ago today, October 29th.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nov. 4, 1876, 2]

[Deseret Evening News, Nov. 4, 1876, 25:649]

1876 Nov. 27, p.2

The Missionaries for Mexico

We have permitted to peruse a letter from Elder Helaman Pratt, on his way, with other missionaries, to Mexico, to his relatives in this City. It is dated at Moancoppy, November 18th. We learn from it that the party encountered very severe weather until they passed the Buckskin Mountains, when it was like changing from December to May. From House Rock Valley to the place of writing flowers were in bloom and the country was covered with a profusion of green grass. At the Moancoppy are four families, all feeling well. They have raised wheat sufficient for bread, but have no mills, the Indians grinding for them with the metat, or Mexican hand mill.

Brother Pratt says:

“They have also raised about 150 bushels or corn and their garden and vegetables were a complete success. Their fruit trees have done very well. Tuby and wife (Mosquis “Mormons”) are here and feeling well. We were in their house this morning and had a feast on watermelons.

“According to last accounts from the Navajoes they are feeling very well, the delegation that visited Salt Lake last summer being more than pleased and satisfied with their trip.

“The brethren all feel well and happy, and I can truly say that this has been one of the most happy trips of my life, perfect peace and harmony and good feeling prevailing in our camp. Bro. Trejo has been our teacher and we have had a lesson in Spanish nearly every evening. The brethren are making rapid progress in the language. Some that knew nothing of the language before starting begin to read and translate very well. Our animals and outfit are in good condition. Brothers Burnham and Titzen, of the Navahoe mission, are with us, also Bro. S.G. Ladd, who is returning to Little Colorado River. Reports from that part of the country are very encouraging.”

We also glean the following from another letter, dated at Sunset Crossing, on the Little Colorado, Nov. 27th:

“We arrived here yesterday, all in good health and spirits, held meeting in Brother Ballinger’s Camp in the afternoon, and here in the evening. The spirit of God was with us and we had a time of rejoicing. The people here are in the enjoyment of good health and feel very well. There are about eight families in Ballinger’s Camp, about twenty here and about sixteen in each of the other camps above here. The people feel greatly encouraged as they have raised some little grain, at least enough to prove that the soil will produce. There is an abundance of water in the river. Their cows and other stock are looking well and the people are healthy and fat, and really seem to enjoy themselves. The roads also to this place have greatly improved, as the loose dust, and in many places the sand, have packed and become quite hard.

“They have got their steam saw mill in full blast, and are turning out an excellent quality of lumber, which has already added much to the comfort and appearance of the camps. There is every reason to be encouraged, and I am satisfied that, through the blessing of God, the people will be able to make good, comfortable and even desirable homes on this river. There are some of the Navajoes who talk of coming to locate with the brethren at this place.”

The letter goes on to state that Governor Safford recently paid a visit to the settlements and gave the people a hearty welcome to Arizona. The party expected to visit the other Little Colorado Camps the day after date of writing and then leave for Tampe, Maricopa County, Arizona, where they will probably spend most of the winter preaching the gospel to the Lamanites in that region.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nov. 27, 1876, 2]

[Deseret Evening News, Dec. 11, 1876, 25:742]

1877 Jan. 4, p.3

Southern Arizona

We are informed that Elder Helaman Pratt’s missionary party reached Phoenix, on Salt River, on the 23rd ult., where they held meeting and had an attentive congregation. At Phoenix they found several members of the church, who had emigrated from Utah last year. Elder Trejo was at Tempe, laboring amongst the Mexican population in that district. All the company were in good health and spirits.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 4, 1877, 3]

[Deseret Evening News, Jan 4, 1877, 25:792]

1877 Jan. 17, p.3

Missionary Labors

We have seen an interesting letter, of a late date, written by Elder Helaman Pratt, at Tampe, Maricopa Co., Arizona. Himself and fellow missionaries were laboring unceasingly, holding meetings and preaching to both the English and Spanish speaking population of that locality. At the place named the people who speak the Spanish language were visited by the Padre of Priest from another section, and informed by him that if they went to hear the Mormon Elders they would be under condemnation as committing a great sin, therefore they were shy about coming out to meeting.

Elder Pratt relates some circumstances connected with himself and Elder Stewart visiting Phoenix, traveling on horseback, taking nothing with them for the sustenance of themselves of animals, trusting in God to provide for their wants. Their faith was not in vain, for they were supplied with food and lodgings, and had their animals cared for in a most unlooked for manner, adding to their assurance that God was with them. When the Elders have spoken in public they have also been blessed with great freedom and power, even to their own astonishment.

Some of the party expected soon to visit and preach to the Pimas, Maricopas and Papago Indians, some of whom speak the Spanish language.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 17, 1877, 3]

[Deseret Evening News, Jan. 17, 1877, 25:817]

1877 Dec. 10, p.2

An Arduous Mission

On Saturday we were pleased to greet Elders J.Z. Stewart, and Isaac Stewart, of Draper, in this county, who had just returned from an arduous and toilsome mission to Arizona, Mexico and New Mexico.

The party was composed of the two brethren above named, Elders Helaman Pratt, George Terry, Lewis Garff, and Meliton Gonzales Trejo. The latter returned home a few months since, for the purpose of going back to settle in the south with his family. Elders Pratt and Terry traveled with the Stewart brothers, on the return, as far as Orderville, where they stopped over, and Elder Garff stayed at Lehi.

This company of missionaries left here for their extensive field of labor being the second mission of Elder J.Z. Stewart and H. Pratt to Mexico, on the 18th of October, 1876.

They proceeded to Prescott, Arizona, where they did some preaching, and then devoted their labors among the settlers on Salt River, who are mainly Mexicans, holding a number of meetings in Phoenix and Tampe. Numbers of the people were favorably disposed to the teachings of the Elders, in fact were convinced to the truth of the gospel, but had not the fortitude to come out boldly and embrace it in the face of the vindictive and virulent opposition incited by the Catholic priests.

The next place visited was Tucson, where the missionaries were invited to hold meetings and preach in Spanish and English, a request to which they responded cheerfully. A number of people at that place signified that they were ready to be baptized, but most of them receded from that position on account of opposition. However, a number were baptized in Arizona, cases occurred of the healing of the sick by the power of God, creating a great stir among the people, and the Elders were greatly blessed with the spirit of the Lord.

They visited and preached to the tribes of Indians known as the Pimas and Papagos, on the Gila River, who received them kindly and listened attentively to their teachings. They said it was all good, but wanted time to consider, to revolve what they had heard over in their minds before taking any steps toward obeying it.

The next part visited was the State of Sonora, Mexico, where a great many meetings were held, four of the missionaries being constantly engaged traveling and preaching in the cities and towns for three months. Five persons were baptized, one of which is a school teacher, is quite intelligent, and when last heard from was preaching the gospel to the best of his ability. Numbers of others frankly confessed their belief in the gospel, but were deterred by their want of the necessary firmness to stand against the prejudice and opposition raised by the priests, who show great bitterness. None of the elders, notwithstanding many violent threats against them, received any bodily injury.

The brothers Stewart next proceeded to Texas, and were followed by the other Elders, excepting M.G. Trejo. On the way there, the manner in which they escaped being attacked and killed by hostile Indians is really marvelous. In one place they met a party of soldiers in full retreat before a band of hostiles, who had shot and killed the mail driver a short distance ahead. Next day the next driver was also killed and an escorting party of soldiers corralled until rescued by another force who were out repairing the telegraph line. In that part of Texas where the brethren visited the population are Mexicans, and a number of them visited the priest there and asked him if they should kill the missionaries. He advised them not to do so, but to avoid them and have nothing to do with or say to them. The priest afterwards asserted that the Elders owed their lives to him. They, however, attributed their protection all the way through to the interposition of Divine Providence in their behalf, knowing that they were pursuing the line of their duty. They baptized four persons in that part.

Leaving Texas the party followed up the Rio Grande to Los Lunas, explaining in conversation, the principles of the gospel to the people as opportunity presented.

Leaving Los Lunas they visited the La Guna or Lake Indians and had an interview with the chief and other leading men of the tribe. They said they liked what they heard and they believed it to be true. The interpreter who acted for the brethren was the same who acted for a Presbyterian minister, and the latter interfered and was the means of hindering further progress of the labors of the Elders in that part.

The brethren also visited the Zunis, and found most of those who had been baptized of that tribe holding fast to the faith and seeking to improve.

The party passed through New Mexico, visiting the settlements of the Saints, striking the Little Colorado, and following the line of that river. At Captain Lot Smith’s camp their release to return home reached them.

The brothers Stewart are in excellent health and spirits, and though pleased to be once more at home, they feel that they would not exchange the experience they have gained on their late mission for any consideration, if it was possible to do so. We learn from them that the Elders of the party are also in good health.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 10, 1877, 2]

[Deseret Evening News, Dec. 10, 1877, 26:717)

1877 Dec. 18, p.1

Missionaries—This morning we had the pleasure of greeting Elders Helaman Pratt and George Terry, who reached the city last evening. They belonged to the party of missionaries which had been laboring in Arizona, Mexico and New Mexico. The other members of the party reached home a short time ahead of them, they having stopped over awhile at Orderville. We have heretofore given a detailed account of the mission, in accordance with particulars received from the brothers Stewart.

Elder Pratt, who is son of the late Parley P. Pratt, is in excellent health, but Brother Terry is somewhat ailing, having been afflicted for some time with chills and fever.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 18, 1877, 1]

[Deseret Evening News, Dec. 18, 1877, 26:737]

1884 Mar. 22, p.2

Missionaries in Mexico

The family of Elder Helaman Pratt, now laboring in Mexico, as a missionary, has received a letter from him in which some interesting facts are related. In the part of the country where he is operating the feeling was, sometime ago, exceedingly bitter; so much so that one wealthy resident offered $800 to some parties if they would assassinate Elder Pratt and his companion missionary. Circumstances that subsequently transpired, however, caused a revulsion of feeling and the same person who was so anxious to have the brethren murdered is now their friend, having invited Elder Pratt to accompany him to his farm, soliciting his advice regarding the purchase of agricultural machinery. The individual referred to and a number of others are now reading the Church works and investigating into the doctrines of the Gospel.

One cause of this change is the occurrence of several instances of persons being healed through the administrations of the Elders. According to Brother Pratt’s letter the prospect for a number of additions to the church at an early day was very encouraging.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mar. 22, 1884, 2]

[Deseret Evening News, Mar. 22, 1884]

1884 May 20. P.3

The Mexican Mission

The Work of the Lord in the Land of the Aztecs

Following is an interesting excerpt from a letter by Elder Helaman Pratt dated at the City of Mexico, May 20, to Brother August Wilcken, of this city.

“I have visited the Saints of the Tierra Caliente twice, found them feeling well, and on our last visit, the 27th ult., we baptized two in San Andres de la Cal. On the 12th instant, we baptized five here in the city; this makes thirty that have been baptized since our arrival a little over six months ago; we have also blessed 23 children, ordained two Elders and administered to many who have been sick. We have been greatly blessed in our administrations, the Lord hearing and answering the prayers.

He has also raised us up friends on every hand, some of whom are among the best families in the land. A few of them are reading and seem to be greatly interested in our books. Your old friend Silvester Lopez is very friendly and I have a good stopping place with him, where I am always welcomed by his good wife and family. He is convinced of the truth of the Gospel, but thinks it best to postpone a little while. They often speak of you. I have also formed the acquaintance of Mr. Lutz and family; we occasionally spend an evening in pleasant conversation and listening to your former pupils on the piano.

Bro. Candenosa and I returned yesterday from a visit to Ameca, Tecalco Ozumba and Chimel, where we found all well, and the interest steadily increasing. The native brethren are working faithfully for the spread of the truth. Bro. Snow is busy with his classes and is earning enough to keep up with his expenses; he is making good progress in the language. I am free to go and come as circumstances may require. I shall endeavor to keep you posted in the affairs of the mission from time to time. Bro. Snow joins in respects to yourself and wife, and also the Spanish classes; say to them that there is a big field opening to all those who can speak Spanish and have a desire to labor for the redemption of the scattered remnants of the house of Jacob.”

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 20, 1884, 3]

[Deseret Evening News, May 31, 1884]

1893 May 26, p.5—report of Mexico Mission Conference, mentioning Elder Helaman Pratt spoke

1902 Apr. 11, p.2

Friday, April 11, 1902. Prest. Anthony W. Ivins of Juarez Stake had a talk with the First Presidency this afternoon, Bros. Brigham Young and John Henry Smith also present. On the recommendation of Bro. Ivins, it was decided that Guy Wilson, now teaching in the Juarez Academy, be second counselor to Prest. Ivins, and that Helaman Pratt be the first counselor.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 11, 1902, 2]