Nottingham Conference
Nottingham, April 16, 1864

President Cannon.

Dear Brother,

At the late General Council held in Birmingham, I was released, with other Elders, to return home the present season.  Before leaving the shores of England for America, my native land, I feel desirous of penning you a few lines respecting the condition of this Conference during the last ten months, and I can say truly that I have had joy and satisfaction in my labors, for the Spirit of the Lord has been with me, and his blessings I have enjoyed, for which I feel thankful.  This Conference is composed of eight Branches.

Our Statistical Report is as follows: Three Seventies, 45 Elders, 23 Priests, 21 Teachers, 13 Deacons and 580 members, making a total of 685.  We have added to the Church by baptism, during the last nine months, 117 souls.  According to present prospects, about 65 or 70 will emigrate, the present season, for Zion.

The Priesthood we have are, generally speaking, efficient and good men, and they have been united with me in the work of the ministry.  Elder J.D. Chase is our District President.  His labors have been greatly appreciated in this Conference, and, as far as I can learn, they have been throughout the entire District.  Elder M.F. Farnsworth has been laboring in this Conference for two months and a half.  His good works have been appreciated.  The great majority of the Saints love the truth, and are a warm-hearted and good people.  They have felt to sustain the Work and carry out the counsels of the Priesthood.  I am sorry to say, however, that we have some who are luke-warm and indifferent as regards the Work of God.  I would exhort the latter to repent and turn unto the Lord, and seek to bring to pass righteousness upon the earth, instead of being as clogs upon the progress of the Kingdom of God.  The Lord will only accept of those who love him and are willing to keep his commandments.  In order for a person to gain eternal life, it requires a “noble sacrifice, a persevering aim and an arduous toil.”

Since I have been on this mission (which is my first), I have felt my weakness, and I have felt continually to rely upon the Lord for strength and wisdom to enable me to magnify my calling.  In my teachings I have taught the Saints to be united, for unity is strength.  I have taught them to be obedient, for obedience is better than sacrifice.  I have taught them respecting the law of Tithing, and of this organization of the Church, of the blessings to be obtained in Zion, and of the great necessity there was for them to gather, in order that they might separate themselves from the world and its pernicious influences, and associate themselves more intimately and closely with the people of God, that they may be taught more fully in the laws of God, and learn to “walk in his paths.”  I have endeavored, by the aid of the Spirit of God, to teach the stranger to exercise a true faith in Jesus Christ, and to be baptized, by one holding authority, for the remission of his sins, and to have hands layed upon him for the reception of the Holy Ghost, so that he might enjoy the fruits of the Spirit spoken of in the last chapter of Mark, as well as many other choice blessings the Lord bestows on those who obey the Gospel.

I have not failed, when a favorable opportunity presented itself, to bear a faithful testimony to the Divine authenticity of the Work, both in private and in public—in public halls and in the market places.  I have borne testimony to thousands of people of the restoration of the Gospel, and to Joseph Smith being a true Prophet of God.  I know him to be a Prophet by the spirit of revelation.  By the same spirit Peter could testify that Jesus was the Christ.  And, again, I know Joseph Smith to be a true Prophet, because many of his predictions have been literally fulfilled.  He prophecied that the Saints would be driven to the Rocky Mountains; he foretold, over thirty years ago, in unmistakable language, the division and overthrow of the American people; he foretold, as did the Savior, his own death, for, said he,–“I am going like a lamb to the slaughter.”  Any person who will take his history and peruse it, will find that many, very many, of his prophecies have already come to pass.  When the children of Israel wanted a key by which to discern between a false and a true Prophet, the Lord said,–“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken.”  Let those who doubt Joseph Smith being a true Prophet, apply the above rule, and mark well the result.  John the Revelator said, that “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  Why then should the world reject a living Prophet?  It would be impossible for them to do so, had they the testimony of Jesus burning in their bosoms.

Elder Heber John Richards succeeds me as the President of this conference.  I pray the Lord to give him wisdom and to bless and sustain him in his duties.

I shall never forget the kindness the saints of this conference have manifested toward me.  They have fed and clothed me and have contributed in various ways to my happiness for which I pray they may receive a good reward.  In taking my leave of the saints I feel to exhort them to remain faithful and true to their covenants which, if they do, the Lord will reward them eventually with eternal life.

All being well, I shall sail from Liverpool on the 22nd inst. on the “Monarch of the Sea,” which, if I do, it will be just three years to a day since I left G.S.L. City on a mission to this country.

I hail with joy the opportunity I have of returning home to enjoy the society of my family and friends in the blessed and peaceful vales of Deseret.

I remain your brother in the New Covenant,

P.P. Pratt

[Millennial Star, 26:332]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 16, 1864, 1-2]

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

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