Closing Series of a Mission

Salt Lake City,
Sept. 29, 1879

Editors Deseret News:

I again resume my pen in order to give you a few items respecting my late mission. Bro. Daniel Stuart and myself, having been released to return home, on the 21st of July, we bid adieu to President J. Argyle and the Saints and friends of the Tennessee Conference, and took cars for St. Louis, where we arrived on the 23rd, and spent a few days in visiting the Saints and in administering to the sick. On the 27th, we attended a meeting of the Saints there and addressed them, impressing upon them the great necessity of gathering with the body of the Church. At this point, Bro. Stuart parted with me to visit relatives in Iowa, while I made my way be steamer up the Mississippi to visit the Saints of Illinois and Iowa, some of whom Bro. N. Madson and I had baptized during the early part of our mission. Found the most of them in the enjoyment of the Spirit of the Gospel. Some had emigrated, and others were desirous or doing so as soon as circumstances would permit. On August 10, I met with Saints of the Pittsburg branch presided over by Bro. Wm. Emerick and instructed them. They are a good people and have the Spirit of the gathering, and will do so as soon as they can dispose of their property.

Passing on to Des Moines, the Capital of Iowa, I was kindly entertained by Sister D. Reese and others. By desire of some of the citizens, on August 17, I delivered an address on the restoration of the gospel, to an intelligent and attentive audience. The Lord was with me on the occasion, and after the meeting, several gentlemen and ladies came up and shook me warmly by the hand and expressed themselves as being well pleased with what they had heard. A Mr. L.D. Berry who is believing invited me home from the meeting and paid my expenses at the hotel. He is a good mechanic, and a man of liberal views, and will soon identify himself with our people. Passing on to Council Bluffs and Omaha, I visited the few Saints of those places, partook of their hospitality, and in return imparted to them the words of counsel and encouragement.

At Omaha being rather short of means, and feeling impressed with the necessity of economizing as much as possible, I concluded to try an experiment of crossing the plains without purse or scrip (having only $1.80 in hand); preaching my way through, trusting in the Lord to open up my way from place to place. Spending my $1.80 for a ticket to Fremont, (half fare), I boarded the train on the 23rd of August, and started for the West. A pleasant ride of 47 miles brought me to the above place, where I was made welcome by Bro. Pars Olsen and wife. Here on the 24th I addressed a good audience and found and made a few friends. Passing over the Platte River, I was kindly entertained by Bro. J.T. Mowery, one of the Mormon battalion boys; he is preparing to return to Utah with his family in the spring. I also visited a Bro. Joseph Wall, who has sold out and will emigrate this fall. Here I had the pleasure of meeting Bro. W.H. Newman; he is a zealous, good man, and is doing all he can to disseminate the truth. Passing on by rail still further west. On August 31st, I had the pleasure of speaking to a respectable audience at Columbus. Sept. 5th I also addressed the citizens of North Platte, and was the means of removing some prejudice from the minds of the people. Passing on still further, I found in almost every village, a few persons who had once been connected to our Church. Some few were bitter apostates, while others still retained a portion of the spirit of the gospel, and were anxious to get back again into the gospel net. Arriving at Rawlins, Wyoming, by request of some of the citizens I consented to deliver an address in the Court House on the evening of the 12th inst. At the hour appointed I found the house well filled. Taking a text from the 16th of Mark, I thought of speaking on the first principles of the gospel, but was led to speak on the early settlement by our people in the Rocky Mountains, and of the trials and persecutions we had endured from time to time for the gospel’s sake. After speaking 20 minutes or more, two young men left the room and going to the door they bellowed and yelped like demons. I applied to the peaceable citizens present to try and check them; but they did not have the courage or will to do so. In a few moments they were joined by others outside of the building when passing around to a side window they began throwing eggs at me, when I ceased speaking and dismissed the meeting by prayer. While praying I was struck on the side of my face and arm with eggs. At close of the meeting a Mr. Samuel Morgan invited me to his hotel to partake of his hospitality. While on the way to the hotel we were followed by a mob of 12 or 15 men, who pelted me with eggs till our arrival, they even pressed themselves on to the portico and used very abusive language, declared they would have no more preaching of Mormonism in that town; threatened that if I did not leave the place forthwith they would use me still more severely, and talked glibly of shooting, hanging, etc. In reply I told them that I was an American citizen and that I should not leave town till I got ready to do so. In justice to the people of Rawlins, I will say there were some who deprecated the deed, while others were in full sympathy with the mob. My head, hat, coat, pants and boots, were badly smeared with eggs, and it took me some hours the following morning to clean my clothes.

Arriving at Evanston, I was kindly received and entertained by Bishop Wm. G. Burton and family, tarried with them over Sunday, 21st inst. and in the afternoon and evening spoke to the Saints of Alma and Evanston. Bishop Burton of Evanston, and Bishop J. Brown of Alma, are fully imbued with the spirit of Zion, and are true shepherds to their flocks. The Saints under their watch care are feeling well in the great Latter day work.

While I have endeavored in my weakness to administer the word of life to Saints and Strangers in different places where I have labored, the people in return have cheerfully fed, clothed and sheltered me, and have also given me money to bear my expenses from point to point, and I c an truly say that through the blessings of God my way has been opened up far beyond my most sanguine expectations, and all my necessities have been supplied. On the morning of the 24th, at Evanston, I joined a company of our emigrants from Europe, and traveled in company with them to Ogden, and the following day I arrived in this city, after an absence from home of a little over two and half years. I have enjoyed my mission very much, and feel very thankful to have the privilege of once more breathing my own pure mountain air, and enjoying the society of family and friends.

Your brother in the gospel of peace,
P.P. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Sep. 29, 1879, 3-5]
[Deseret News, Oct. 2, 1879]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


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