Pratt Family In Reunion
B.H. Roberts Suggests Erection of Public Memorial in Honor of Orson Pratt
(an extract from the 1911 reunion information)
Brigham H. Roberts responded to the toast, “The Illustrious Brother and the Apostle-Poet.” In a masterly effort Mr. Roberts summed up the attributes of the two men, Parley P. and Orson Pratt, designating the former as the author, the poet, and the latter as the man of science: both different in characteristics and methods of reasoning, but irresistible in reaching the conclusions sought. Parley P. Pratt spoke and wrote in poetry, the speaker said, while Orson Pratt spoke and wrote with the exactness of the scientist. Orson Pratt, he said, in addition to being the first man of the pioneer train to look upon the site of Salt Lake City, laid the city out in lots, blocks and streets with such accuracy that the government engineers, coming afterward with modern scientific instruments and learning, had not found it necessary to change his lines. Orson Pratt, he said, also laid out other cities in Utah, including the city of St. George. Orson Pratt, he said was not only a benefactor to humanity by his religious writings, but he had earned the gratitude of the people of the city and of the community for his work in its behalf, and that it was his opinion that it would be eminently fitting and proper, and the time would come when there would be erected to his memory in a public place in this city, a monument of bronze in recognition of his great services to the people.
To illustrate the poetic nature of Parley P. Pratt, the speaker read an extract from his leading work, the Key to Theology.
At the conclusion of Mr. Roberts’ address, President Francis M. Lyman told an incident in connection with the book, the Key to Theology, in which an educated Englishman after reading it several times, told the speaker that the only criticism of the book was that it was too good to be true.
“Orson Pratt, the Apostle-Pioneer,” was responded to by Prof. J.H. Paul, of the University of Utah; and “Orson Pratt, as Scientist and Philosopher,” was responded to by Dr. J.E. Talmage. That Orson Pratt was thoroughly imbued with the scientific spirit—the spirit of search and research—was the tribute of Dr. Talmage. Orson Pratt, he said, knew no dogma nor dictum; he considered proposition, analysis, demonstration, and his conclusions are all set forth with all their steps plainly marked. “Such a one was the man whom we honor, whose achievements we respect, whose memory we revere.”
[Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 9, 1911, 4]
[Deseret News, Oct. 10, 1911]
[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Apr. 2006]