Missionary Labors

St. Louis, May 18, 1878

Editors Deseret News:

I herewith send you a condensed account of my labors in the ministry during the past three months. With a view to awaken, it possible, an interest in the work here, I took the liberty, in the latter part of February, of calling upon several of the principal editors of this place, and succeeded in getting three of them to publish the time and place of our meetings, the name of the speaker, etc. By advertising, however, but few strangers attended our meetings, and those who came seemed to come more for curiosity than for anything else. The masses of the people are so carried away with the love of the world and its amusements and pleasure that they seem to have but little if any time to devote to investigating the truth. The churches even of the most learned and eloquent ministers, are, as a general thing, but poorly attended. It requires a Beecher, an Ingersoll, or a Moody to draw a house, and the more infidelity, fable and sensation they have, the better people seem to like it. While the churches are but poorly attended, theatres, concert-halls, beer-gardens and beer-saloons (2,000 of the latter in number) are well patronized, even on Sunday.

During the month of April I spent some three weeks in visiting some five small towns east of here, in Illinois, found, generally speaking, much bitterness of feeling and many enemies, but I also found a few friends. I taught the gospel to many families at their homes.

I have recently returned from a three weeks tour up the river. While absent I visited Quincy, Keokuk, Nashville, Nauvoo, Lagrange, Kahoka, and Alexandria, instructing the saints and others. One family is preparing to emigrate. While at Alexandria a Methodist church being opened to me, for one night, I addressed some 35 strangers on the subject of the gospel. At the close of the meeting, I was invited home by a Mr. Scott and wife, who believe the truth but have not yet obeyed it. Since my last report one family have emigrated from here to Utah. Sister Sophrona Fletcher and son have the means by them to emigrate, and all being well, they design leaving here for Ogden on the 7th day of June. They will take with them an old lady from Barry, Ills., who has sons living in Utah, who have sent money for her emigration. She is 94 years of age, and is in the enjoyment of good health. If she makes the trip, I think she will be the eldest person that has emigrated to our Territory. In justice to Sr. Fletcher I wish to say, that since her connection with the Church, her house has always been open to the Elders from Zion, and she and her son William have always made them welcome, and in return they have been greatly blessed.

The saints throughout the district have kindly administered to my necessities while laboring as a missionary among them. The Lord reward them for their good works. Since my last letter I have baptized two persons, “one of a city,” and there are some few others who are investigating.

Your brother in the gospel,
P.P. Pratt

[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, May 18, 1878, 3]
[Deseret News, May 28, 1878]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, May 2006]


Return to histories of Parley Parker Pratt Jr.