Moroni L. Pratt’s Mission to the Eastern States


Oct. 7, 1869, 1 — listed in General Conference report as called to go on short mission to Eastern States

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 7, 1869, 1]


“Mormon” Missionaries

The following paragraph is from a late Des Moines (Iowa) paper:

“Wednesday one hundred and ten Mormon missionaries arrived at Omaha from Salt Lake City, having been sent out among the people of the different States by President Young to preach their gospel. Five arrived in this city yesterday, and will make a short visit. Elder Edward Stevenson called last evening and gave us an insight, as far as words could do so, into the doctrines of the church. He will preach at the Court House at 11 o’clock on Sunday next, and friends and others are cordially invited to attend. The other missionaries are Nathan T. Porter, Ezra T. Clark, Stephen C. Perry, and Moroni L. Pratt, son of the apostle Pratt. All but the last named are considerably married, in accordance with their faith, and we impart such information as inquirers may need. A church with eighteen members has an existence right here in Des Moines, and efforts will be made to swell that number during the visitation of these missionaries.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 1, 1869, 1]
[Deseret News, Dec. 4, 1869, 18:534]

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


Polk City, Polk Co., Iowa
Dec. 6, 1869

Dear Brother Cannon:

Feeling that a few lines would not be unwelcome, I take the liberty of addressing you. Brother Edwards Stevenson, Ezra T. Clark, Nathan T. Potter, Moroni L. Pratt and myself arrived at Desmoines City at 11:30 p.m. of the 24th ult., having crossed the plains in 90 hours, and from Omaha to Desmoines in 6 hours. We put up at the Desmoines House for the night, and our arrival was noticed I n the Desmoines Bulletin in the following manner: “Mormons: Six Mormons, form Salt Lake, came to our city last night and are stopping at the Desmoines House. They are hunting proselytes to their peculiar faith. We learn that about 250 have come from Mormondom on this same business and are scattering over the country.”

We found Bro. Bullinger and his interesting family well and alive in the work, he is in his right place as president of the branch here. He remembers me as the first Mormon Elder he ever saw, at which time I held a meeting at his father’s house in Brown County, Illinois. This was twenty-seven years ago. We have had some 17 meetings up to this date, in and about Desmoines, two of which were held in the Court House in Desmoines. We have had very attentive congregations in every instance, and a spirit of inquiry is in the hearts of a goodly number. We have had no public opposition but once, and that time through a man by the name of Buzzard, who has once belonged to the Church, but is carried away by spiritualism, even to denying the atonement of the Savior. We, considering a Buzzard an unclean bird, noticed him as little as possible, but he seems disposed to follow us up, and is trying to prejudice the minds of the people against us. I will here remark, that the proprietors of the Iowa State Register and the Desmoines Bulletin kindly advertised our meetings at the Court House, together with other matter in the Register; this last expressed a wish to effect an exchange with your office.

On Saturday the 27th ult., bro. Moroni L. Pratt and myself took a walk in the eastern part of Des Moines city, and in the course of our walk brought the State house in our way, and asked the privilege of looking at it. The Janitor being busy, kindly gave us the privilege of going through the house. After visiting the different apartments and the look out, we were about to retire when the Janitor invited us into the Governor’s rooms where there was a good fire burning. We gladly accepted the offer and took seats at the fire. He then enquired what part we were from, we told him we were from Utah. “Ah,” said, he, “let me introduce you to the Governor’s private Secretary,” at the same time enquiring my name (Being the older). He led us to the next room and presented me, and I in turn presented bro. Pratt, as son of the apostle P.P. Pratt. In a few minutes His Excellency Governor Merrill came in, with the Hon. Mr. Craig, of Bluff city, and other gentlemen. The Secretary presented me to the Governor, and I, as before, presented bro. Pratt. After a pleasant visit of a few minutes we arose to take our leave. His Excellency arose and gave us a very friendly shade of the hand as a parting salute, the other gentlemen followed his example. The Governor seems a true gentleman, plain but agreeable.

We are stopping at brother George Beebee’s, at Polk city, fifteen miles from Desmoines. We held our regular fast meeting at his house on Thursday last, more particularly on account of Bro. Beebee’s son, Alvaro, who has been paralised in his entire body, so that he has been as helpless as child for three months. We commenced meeting at 7 a.m., and continued until 2:30 p.m., having eaten no food in the morning. We had a blessed time of five and a half hours; at about 1 p.m., we proceeded to wash Bro. Beebee, and then anointed him from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet and then proceeded and laid our hands upon him and blessed him. He is fast recovering, for which we feel thankful to our Heavenly Father.

On Saturday last four persons were added to this branch by baptism, which now numbers twenty-two; but in a scattered condition. Our 18th appointment for tonight is out; and the door is opening and extending further. Bro. Beebee and family are all in the church and alive in the faith and anxious to gather. We leave here soon to go farther east to visit. We feel there is plenty of labor right here for all of us; others have expressed their readiness to be baptized.

Please accept the kind regards of the brethren and myself, and our prayers for your future welfare.

Yours in the bonds of the Covenant,
Stephen C. Perry

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dec. 6, 1869, 2-3]
[Deseret News, 18:548]

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


A Des Moines (Iowa) paper had a talk with Elder Edward Stevenson, who had arrived in that city in company with Elders Nathan T. Porter, Ezra T. Clark, Stephen C. Perry, and Moroni L. Pratt. A church of 18 members existed at Des Moines.

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 4, 1870, 1]
[Millennial Star, Jan. 4, 1870]

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


From the Missionaries

We are in receipt of letters from Brothers Stevenson and Sheets, now on missions in the East; also one from Brother B.R. Hulse, written to President G.A. Smith.

Brother Stevenson, writes from Polk City, Iowa, on the 25th ult. He and Brother Moroni L. Pratt were the only Valley elders in the vicinity at that time, others who had been there having removed to other localities. The brethren had held thirty-four meetings, and their labors had been rewarded by a few additions to the Church. Others were expected at an early day.

On the 24th, the day before Brother Stevenson wrote, he says that he and Brother Pratt attended the funeral of Brother Alvaro Beebe, who died on the 23rd, at Polk City. The deceased was only 19 years, 7 months and 20 days old; and up to last June was a youth of great promise. At that time symptoms of paralysis made their appearance and, notwithstanding the advice and assistance of physicians, this disease gradually developed itself until he lots the use of all his limbs, when death terminated his sufferings. At the time of his decease he was six feet and seven inches in height….

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 5, 1870]
[Deseret News, Jan. 5, 1870]

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


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