In another part of this paper will be found a Prospectus of a work about to be published by Mr. Parley Pratt, of this city, namely, the autobiography of his deceased father, Elder Parley P. Pratt.

It is well know that Elder P.P. Pratt was one of the earliest and most prominent elders of the church, that many years of his life were spent in promulgating the faith of the Latter-day Saints in his native land and in foreign countries; that he shared in most of the persecutions endured by the Saints in the early history of the church, while so doing undergoing imprisonment, and passing through many trying circumstances.  The author, too, as is well known, was a preacher and writer of rare ability, and as the forthcoming work is a narrative of all the leading incidents and circumstances of his eventful life, written by his own hand and in his best style, it will without doubt possess far more than ordinary interest, and meet with a large sale among members of the church and others.  Read the prospectus for information as to its general outline and character.

[Deseret News, Feb. 5, 1873]

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


Prospectus to the Life and Writings of the Late Elder Parley Parker Pratt

I contemplate publishing an edition of the Life and Writings of the late Elder Parley Parker Pratt, written by himself.

My father desired to have this work published while on his last mission to the eastern States, but not being able to accomplish his object, he placed the manuscript in care of Elder Geo. A. Smith, who was then in the East, requesting him to convey the same safely into my hands.  On his, Elder Smith’s, arrival home, the writings were delivered to me.

Previous, however, to the author’s going east, he placed me under solemn promise and covenant that, in case he did not live to see his history in print, in due time, I would have it published.

In order to carry out the design and request of my much respected and lamented father I am now sending out this prospectus that the public may be apprised of the nature and general character of the work, and be prepared to subscribe for the same if they feel disposed.

A perusal of the work will show that the author has not been the recorder of a certain number of dull, stale, and uninteresting events; but in writing his life, he has bestowed upon it a great amount of care, thought and labor, passing over portions that would be of no interest to the general reader, and selecting the most noted and striking incidents of, as he says himself, a truly eventful life, and with the pen of a ready writer weaving them into history with an originality, a force and beauty of style peculiar to himself.

In reading the work I am strongly reminded of the saying that truth is stranger than fiction and in conversing about it with the General Historian of the Church, Hon. George A. Smith, he remarked to me: “Your father’s history is written in his best and happiest style and is one of the most interesting works that I have ever perused.”

Below I give portions of the headings to some few chapters, etc.

Chapter 1.—Genealogy, etc.

Chapter 2.—Childhood—Youth—Education—Early Impressions—Journey to the West—Make a new farm in the wilderness of Oswego

Chapter 5.—Revisit Canaan, N.Y.—Interesting meeting—Marriage—Return to my Forest Home.

Chapter 7.—Interview with Hyrum Smith—Visit to the church—Ministry among my Kindred and Baptism of my brother Orson—Wonderful Signs in the Heavens—First Interview with Joseph Smith—Description of his Person and Abilities, etc.

Chapter 12—Description of the Inhabitants on the south side of the Missouri River—Instantaneous Healing—Strange Manifestations—Discourse on board a steamer on the 4th of July—Its effect—A voice from the dead—Exposure in crossing the swamps—Hospitality of a preacher, etc.

Chapter 16.—An army—Long march—A voice—Delegation to the Governor—A solemn oath—Great storm and flood—Mob committee—Sudden destruction—Labor with my hands—Calling and ordination of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—My ordination, blessing and charge.

Chapter 17.—Removal to Kirtland—A Temple—Endowments—Prophecyings, Visions, etc.—Visit from H.C. Kimball—A remarkable prophecy and its fulfillment—Mission to Canada—Falls of Niagara—Reflections.

Chapter 23.—Betrayal and imprisonment of Joseph Smith and others—Secret inquisitory trial of the prisoners—Sentence of death—How reversed—A Judas—Preaching in camp by Pres. Smith—Farewell scene.

Chapter 25.—Massacre at Haun’s Mill.

Chapter 27.—Conduct of Colonel Price and guards—Rebuke of Joseph Smith—Contrast between King Herod and Governor Boggs—Wholesale extermination of the Mormons threatened—My family visit me in prison.

Chapter 29.—Joseph Smith and his fellow prisoners—Reflections in prison—Mock trial—Final escape—“P.P. Pratt’s Imprisonment and Escape while in Missouri.”

From the preceding headings selected at random, the public will be enabled to form a tolerably correct idea of the character of the work.

In its pages will be found many of the author’s best poetical productions including his last, entitled, “My Fiftieth Year.”

The former works of the author have been received by the public with great favor.  His autobiography, the crowning labor of his life, I feel confident, will possess as strong claim upon the favor of the general reader as any of its predecessors, while to the Latter-day Saints, it will have an all-absorbing interest as a record of the life, labors, and ministry of one of the first and most prominent elders of the Church.

The work will contain at least three-fourths as much reading as the Book of Mormon.  It will be published in one volume, by subscription, on good paper, in good sized, clear type; and will be bound in cloth, calf, and morocco.

The price per copy, bound in cloth            $2.50
“            “            cloth gilt            $3.00
“            “            calf, gilt            $4.00
“            “            morocco, gilt            $5.00

It is expected that the work will be ready for distribution to subscribers in about twelve months from the date of this prospectus.

I design visiting the country, soliciting subscriptions.

The autobiography which I am about to publish will contain a full and complete account of the Author’s life, from his boyhood to his martyrdom, and I trust it will be well received and duly appreciated by all lovers of truth, and be the means, through the blessing of God, of accomplishing much good, for it may now be said of the author, as it was said of Abel, viz, “He being dead yet speaketh.”

Yours Respectfully,
P.P. Pratt

N.B.—The work will be sent post paid to any part of the country, on receipt of the price, either in U.S. Currency, or P.O. Orders, for the amount.

All communications must be addressed to

P.P. Pratt
PO Box 935, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Jan. 27, 1873

[Deseret News, Feb. 3, 1873]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jan. 27, 1873, 2]

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

Return to histories of Parley Parker Pratt Jr.