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Sketch of Mary P. Young
Mary Pratt Young (daughter of Apostle Parley P. and Mary Wood Pratt) was born Sept. 14, 1853, in the Fourteenth Ward, Salt Lake City. She led a quiet and uneventful life in girlhood, though enjoying all the fun and frolic that the young only know how to enjoy.
Though possessed of few educational advantages, owing to the undeveloped condition of the then partially subdued desert, yet inheriting from her illustrious father and noble, devoted mother a strong religious tendency and progressive mind, influenced her to unite herself with the young ladies’ meetings soon after they were organized, being a member and subsequently a secretary, when a few of her girl friends, like herself, eager for higher development, met together in Sister M. I. Horne’s parlor.
Having grown up in the midst of a polygamous family, loving them with the same love she bore her own mother’s children, being familiar from her earliest infancy with the unselfishness and devotion of her father’s wives one toward the other, who were early left to guide their little flocks alone, through the martyrdom of the husband and father, she saw nothing in her own family to prejudice her against the holy order of celestial marriage, hence grew up a firm believer in that principle.
She believes that just so far as the mothers overcome their natural selfishness and jealousy, they make it that much easier for their daughters to subdue and finally eradicate from their natures those evil propensities which make life in this or any other order of marriage hard to bear. This belief is demonstrated in her own life by the quiet and positive yet gentle and womanly dignity which has characterized all her associations in her family relations. She has mounted the higher plane, where principle instead of impulse has been the guiding star of her conduct.
Her lady-like deportment under all circumstances marked self control and that true consideration for others which springs only from the noble and cultivated soul. One instinctively breathes the air of refinement in her presence, and in few women are the virtues of a perfect wife and mother and the graces of an intellectual mind with a spiritual organization so harmoniously blended.
She was married to Royal B. Young in 1872, and the mistake that so many young wives make in thinking she no longer needed the instructions given in the Y.L. meetings, that she had reached the climax or taken the highest degree in mental and spiritual development, not realizing that her duty to herself, her God and her religion remained unchanged after her marriage equally with that of her husband, and through her all-absorbing devotion to husband and home she lost interest in M.I. Associations until, after becoming the mother of two children, she had her attention drawn to the necessity of renewing her interest in mutual improvement, became a member and soon after a counselor in the Eighth Ward association, and held that position until 1885, when she was elected president of that association. With the blessing of the Lord and the help of good counselors, she was able to discharge her duties to the general satisfaction of all and the marked improvement of the association.
In December, 1888, she was called to hold the position of first counselor to President Mary A. Freeze, in the Salt Lake Stake.
During this time three other children were added to her family. She was ever prompt and faithful in the discharge of her public duties, and it cannot be said truthfully that her home interests were ever neglected, on the contrary, they were more wisely developed and controlled by the increased knowledge and power acquired through her faithfulness to duty and her wider field of action. Her executive ability is portrayed not only in management of her home and the wise, consistent government of her children, whose deportment show the most careful and thoughtful training, but also in her skillful, judicious management of public affairs under her direction. She has learned the art of home making, which must call into active use all the higher facilities of the human mind.
Owing to her removal to Forest Dale in August, 1890, she resigned her position as president of the 8th Ward association. She testifies that she has had great pleasure in attending her sisters’ meetings, through which she has formed friendship and congenial companionship that will last through life. She has learned to love her co-laborers and members of associations as she does her own sisters, and has been blessed in every exertion made to attend meetings while raising her family.
She urges her young married sisters as well as the girls to keep up their interest in mutual improvement, and the daughters of Zion who are asleep or uninterested, she exhorts to awake and seek for a testimony of this work, which will impress them with a sense of the responsibility they are under to attend their meetings, where they will learn to become more dutiful as daughters, better helpmates as wives, and more wise and patient mothers.
[Young Woman’s Journal, Mar. 1894, Vol. II, No. 6]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2006]