[Extracts of Letters from Elder Parley P. Pratt to President Brigham Young.]
Santa Clara, Oct. 25, 1854
I am in good health and spirits. The Sandwich Islands missionaries have all sailed, except two or three, who have not the means as yet. The newspaper columns have been opened to us a little and we have laid some truth before the public through them. No door has opened as yet to procure lands for stake in this country, nor have circumstances yet called for a stake here.
We have sent brother Merrick to Sacramento to preach; he has baptized one man, a Baptist student. We have baptized three new members in the city of San Francisco, one in Union City, some twelve or fourteen in Santa Clara, and brother Horner has baptized two or three about his place, and of his kindred.
I have been twenty-five days on a mission, in connection with brother McBride, in Santa Clara, San Jose City, Santa Cruz, Panaro, &c. Court houses, school-houses, churches, and other buildings, have been kindly opened to us, and all our meetings have been well attended. Judges, lawyers, and leading spirits, and many others have listened with attention, and many are reading and inquiring with deep interest. The cry is—“Give us knowledge—we are weary with sectarian nonsense.” The revolution of mind is tremendous in one who receives this work now,–the truth sinks deep, the veil is rent, tradition flees away; new trains of thought expand the soul; and the whole man seems created anew. The past, the present, the future open to his astonished vision, and stretch away in an infinitude of light, and truth, and love.
It is not the work of a moment. Men come to a dead stand, stop, are amazed, overwhelmed, confounded; they ponder, search, expect every moment to run against a snag, or to find some bounds, some limits, some bottom, or top the ocean of light; but it opens still. At length they settle down into the deep current of thought; the revolution progresses within them, and ere they are aware, they open their mouths and streams of light and truth rush forth to their gainsaying neighbors, or the ignorant around them. They exclaim afterwards, “Why, what ailes me? I had no idea that I knew anything, but everything is confounded which would gainsay the truth?”
I think there are many souls here in California, who will one day be in the kingdom of God, but so great a revolution of mind is not the work of a moment. They see, and realize that Mormonism is everything—if it is anything at all.
We are so glad of your invitation to the Saints indeed, to come up to Utah. After searching diligently for a place for a city of holiness in this country, I have found it not as yet; but have since receiving your letter told the Saints that we would rendezvous in Santa Clara, and start for the mountain of the Lord’s House from this point, on the first of May next. This news is hailed with a thrill of joy, and I think there will be a host of us—I feel it in my bones—at any rate, enough for a guard.
I think I can just slip home on a visit then, unless you order otherwise. There also will be brothers McBride, Tanter, Hawkins, Farrar, Bigler, Chancey West, Dewey, and the Lord knows how many others. We have six months to prepare, so we shall not go “in haste, nor by flight.”
The old members in this country, who are alive, are rejoicing in spirit, and doing all they can, as well as the new ones. I think there are some fifty active members in this upper country; and there are many more candidates for membership. One man who speaks Spanish, and his wife, a Spanish lady, have become deeply interested on reading the books; they have sent for me, and feel bound for the Lake, if I will advise them to go there. I have sent an appointment to see them.
A learned Frenchman and his son, who also speaks Spanish, have become convinced by reading the works, and hearing; they give up their Catholicism, and are now reading the French Book of Mormon. God bless you all.
[Deseret News, Jan. 4, 1855]
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 25, 1854, 1]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Aug. 2006]