Spend an Evening with the Authors
We are excited to announce the arrival of Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism by Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, published by Oxford University Press. We will have both authors at our store to speak about and sign their book on Friday, October 14. They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time.
After Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt was one of the most influential figures in early Mormon history and culture. Missionary, pamphleteer, theologian, historian, and martyr, Pratt was perennially stalked by controversy–regarded, he said, “almost as an Angel by thousands and counted an Imposter by tens of thousands.”
One of countless ministers inspired by the antebellum revival movement known as the Second Great Awakening, Pratt joined the Mormons in 1830 at the age of twenty-three and five years later became a member of the newly formed Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which vaulted him to the forefront of church leadership for the rest of his life. Pratt’s missionary work–reaching from Canada to England, from Chile to California–won hundreds of followers, but even more important were his voluminous writings. Through books, newspaper articles, pamphlets, poetry, fiction, and autobiography, Pratt spread the Latter-day Saint message, battled the many who reviled it, and delineated its theology in ways that still shape Mormon thought.
Drawing on letters, journals, and other rich archival sources, Givens and Grow examine not only Pratt’s writings but also his complex personal life. A polygamist who married a dozen times and fathered thirty children, Pratt took immense joy in his family circle even as his devotion to Mormonism led to long absences that put heavy strains on those he loved. It was during one such absence, a mission trip to the East, that the estranged husband of his twelfth wife shot and killed him─a shocking conclusion to a life that never lacked in drama.
Daniel Walker Howe had this to say about Parley P. Pratt: “Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow update Parley P. Pratt’s own autobiography with their informed account of his historical context in the Second Great Awakening of evangelical religion and the nineteenth-century Communications Revolution of printed media. The authors’ fascinating narratives of Pratt’s worldwide adventures, multiple marriages, and eventual murder will make this book welcome not only in the academic community but among all those with an interest in early Mormon history.”
Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp added “For anyone seeking to understand the development of early Mormonism, Parley P. Pratt is essential reading. As the foremost systematizer, theologian, missionary, and popularizer of this new religious movement in its first two decades, not to mention a colorful and mobile personality, Parley Pratt represented the soul of the tradition. Givens and Grow provide an engaging, thoughtful, and thorough assessment of his significance in the foundations of the Mormon faith.”
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