Elder Nephi Pratt Laid in the Grave
President Joseph F. Smith Speaker At Funeral of Late President of Northwestern States
The funeral of Nephi Pratt was held at noon today in the Seventeenth ward chapel. The bier and stand were burdened with many floral tributes bearing their mute testimony of the love and esteem in which the memory of the departed is held by the wide circle of friends with which he surrounded himself in life. The service was presided over by Elder Arthur Barnes of the ward bishopric. Prest. Pratt died in Spokane, Washington, April 29. On the stand were President Joseph F. Smith, Prest. John Henry Smith, Prest. Francis M. Lyman, Elders George F. Richards and Joseph F. Smith, Jr., Presiding Bishop Charles F. Nibley, Prest. Melvin J. Ballard of the Northwestern States mission and the members of the ward bishopric.
The service was begun with a selection by the ward choir, “When firs the glorious light of truth.” Elder Seymour B. Young offered the opening prayer. Miss Maggie Tout sang in impressive manner, “O My Father.”
Prest. Joseph F. Smith was the first speaker. Prest. Smith offered consolation to the bereaved family in a manner filled with deepest feeling, drawing their attention to the fact that the parting is but temporary and unfolding the plan whereby the reunion on the other side of the veil may take place. He bore a strong testimony to the sterling worth of the man in whose honor they were met. Prest. Smith declared that Elder Nephi Pratt had availed himself of every right and privilege afforded him in the gospel of Jesus Christ and has made his calling and election sure. One always knew where he stood, remarked the speaker. He was pronounced in his character and faithful to every trust. President Smith told of his intimate association with Parley P. Pratt, the father of President Nephi Pratt, and incidents were related showing the poetic and spiritual nature of the father, which he said, too, were pronounced attributes of the son. He said that from Parley P. Pratt he had learned many things relative to the kingdom of God, many of them things which were doubted by many at the time they were told, but which time proved to be eternal truths. The son, he said, was much like his father, though not developed to the same extent, but was strong, virile and great in the things of God. The president’s remarks were closed with an appeal to the members of the family to follow in the footsteps of their father, whom he loved, whom God loved. He bore a strong testimony to the truth of the gospel as revealed through the Prophet Joseph.
Prest. Ballard sang “Face to Face.”
President Franics M. Lyman spoke of his boyhood acquaintance with Nephi Pratt and his brother, Helaman, who, the speaker said, were like one soul. He spoke feelingly of the days spent together in Fillmore, Utah, and of the love in which he remembers them. He said that he believed that if Nephi Pratt had had the same opportunities for labor in the vineyard of the Father that had been afforded his father he would have developed the same facility with the pen as characterized the writings of Parley P. Pratt. He bored a strong testimony to the character of the deceased, ever solid, ever faithful, deeply concerned for the welfare of his family, honest and true as man may possibly be. He was a man of prayer and of wonderful inspiration. The speaker said that he had had a struggle that would have sorely tried the hearts of most men. He said that he had loved him as a brother. His sons and daughters, he said, he admired, for in them he saw many of the virtues of their father. The speaker concluded in ministering to the comfort of the family in the hour of sorrow.
Elder Melvin J. Ballard, who succeeded President Pratt as president of the Northwestern States mission, was the next speaker. He said that every Saint in the mission loved the departed man as their own father. He recounted incidents with his last illness, showing his abiding faith in the gospel and in the Father. He said that it seemed when Nephi Pratt spoke as though the heavens were opened and the spirit of God flowed from his lips. He concluded with an appeal to his children to believe the gospel for their father’s sake, even if they could not understand it as he had done.
Elder Arthur Barnes closed the services with a tribute to the worth of the departed. The choir sang “Farewell all earthly honors.” The benediction was pronounced by President John Henry Smith. The pallbearers were W.P. Pratt, Milando Pratt, Frank Newton, Earl Leaver, and Lon J. Haddock. Burial was in City cemetery. Nephi Pratt came to Utah in September, 1847.
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 4, 1910, 2]
[Deseret News, May 4, 1910]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]