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Address to the Saints: Supplement to the Millennial Star

[Supplement to the Millennial Star: August 1844. Address to the Saints.]
[Liverpool, 1844] 16 pp. 22 cm.

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This supplement brought the details of the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith to the British Saints. It is routinely bound with the fifth volume of the Star; and even though it does not indicate a place of publication, it certainly was printed in Liverpool by James and Woodburn, who were printing the Star at the time.

It includes the text of the Nauvoo Neighbor Extra of June 30, 1844, with a few trivial grammatical improvements. This is followed by some editorial comments presumably by Thomas Ward, the editor of the Star; Joseph Smith’s mayoral proclamation of June 16, taken from the Nauvoo Neighbor Extra of June 17 or the Neighbor of June 19; a letter from Orson Hyde dated at New York, July 10, 1844; an extract of a letter from Reuben Hedlock, dated at Birmingham, July 31, 1844; and an article from The Prophet of May 25, 1844, on the authority of the apostles.

Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume One, 1830–1847. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, [1997]). Item 233, p. 276.

Used by permission of the author and the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.

Appeal to the American people

Rigdon, Sidney. An appeal to the American people: being an account of the persecutions of the Church of Latter Day Saints; and of the barbarities inflicted on them by the inhabitants of the state of Missouri. By authority of said church. Second edition, revised. Cincinnati, Printed by Shepard & Stearns, 1840.
vi, [7]-60 p. 19 cm.

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Appeal to the American People was a quasi-official publication of the Church, written by Sidney Rigdon. It was first published in January 1840 by Orson Hyde and Rigdon’s son-in-law, George W. Robinson. The second edition, printed in an edition of 2000 a few months after the first, was published as a fund-raiser to assist the impecunious Orson Hyde on his mission to the Holy Land. Contrasted with John P. Greene’s documentary Facts Relative to the Expulsion and Parley Pratt’s more personal Late Persecution, Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People tends to be propagandistic, and at places it is clearly overdrawn. It does, however, print some first-hand accounts not in either Greene’s Facts or Pratt’s Late Persecution. The only significant difference between the two editions is Hyde’s preface added to the second edition describing the genesis and purpose of his mission to Jerusalem.

Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in conjunction with the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. (Provo, Utah, Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984). Item 17, p. [15–16].

Used by permission of the authors.

Appeal to the inhabitants of the State of New York

PRATT, Parley Parker. An appeal to the inhabitants of the state of New York, letter to Queen Victoria (reprinted from the tenth European edition,) the fountain of knowledge; immortality of the body, and intelligence and affection: by Parley P. Pratt. Nauvoo, Illinois, John Taylor, Printer, [1844]. [i-ii][1]-40 pp. 23.5 cm.

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Even though the distinctive doctrines of Mormonism came to full expression during the Nauvoo period, apart from Joseph Smith’s King Follett funeral sermon added as an appendix in his Voice of Truth, An Appeal to the Inhabitants of the State of New York is the only book published in Nauvoo which might be called speculative theology. Collected in its pages are five of Parley Pratt’s essays, one written in December, 1843, three others written early in 1844. The Times and Seasons took notice of it in its March 15, 1844, issue, calling it “a new publication,” and included excerpts from the last three essays in its next number.

The lead essay grew out of the public meeting in Nauvoo, November 29, 1843, in which Joseph Smith urged all who could “wield a pen” to write to their mother states to support the Mormon claims against Missouri. In spite of the notation on the title page, this printing of Pratt’s letter to Queen Victoria was taken from the first edition. “Reprinted from the tenth European edition” is a bit hyperbolic since there were only two editions. It likely refers to the fact that these comprised ten thousand copies.

Parley Pratt wrote “Fountain of Knowledge,” “Immortality of the Body,” and “Intelligence and Affection,” early in 1844. These essays embrace as optimistic a view of mankind as in any LDS book and hint at the dramatic concept of God that Joseph Smith would reveal in his King Follett funeral sermon. The first argues that the Bible cannot contain all knowledge and hence is not the fountain of knowledge. This fountain, the essay declares, is direct revelation from God, and the scriptures exist to invite and encourage men and women to come to it.

“Immortality of the Body” is an amplification of the ideas in Pratt’s “The Regeneration and Eternal Duration of Matter.” It begins by asserting that “man’s body is as eternal as his soul,” and that both are designed to endure throughout the life to come. Matter can neither be created nor annihilated, it declares, so the earth was not created out of nothing but organized out of existing matter. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the material body is universal. In the hereafter, “men that are prepared will actually possess a material inheritance on the earth. They will possess houses, and cities, … and they will eat, drink, converse, think, walk, taste, smell and enjoy.” “God the Father,” the essay continues, “has a real and substantial existence in human form and proportions, like Jesus Christ, and like man.” That AGod is a spirit” and is omnipresent, it argues, is to be understood in the sense that his influence is everywhere felt. ” Heaven then, is composed of an innumerable association of glorified worlds … of which our earth … must form some humble part.”

The opening sentences of the final essay assert that intelligence and affection “have their origin in eternal, uncreated elements; and like them, must endure forever. They are the foundations of enjoyment, the main-springs of glory and exaltation, and the fountains from which emanate a thousand streams of life, and joy, and gladness.” The human mind is capable of expanding to unlimited intelligence, the essay says, and when freed from the limits of a mortal body, it will grow to infinite capacity. Intelligence gives rise to affection: God “loves because he knows,” and “love or affection is dependent on knowledge, or intelligence, and can only be increased by an increase of knowledge.” “Our natural affections are planted in us by the Spirit of God,” this essay continues, “for a wise purpose; and they are the very main-springs of life and happiness.” Religious austerity, unsocial sadness, celibacy, self-denial, it states, are opposed to true religion. “We feel safe in the conclusion, that a field wide as eternity and boundless as the ocean of God’s benevolence, extends before the servants of God. A field where, ambition knows no check, and zeal no limits; and where the most ardent aspirations may be more than realized… And where man-once a weak and helpless worm of dust may sit enthroned in majesty on high, and occupy an exalted station among the councils of the sons of God.”

Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume One, 1830–1847. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, [1997]). Item 202, p. 247–49.

Used by permission of the authors.

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt

Pratt, Parley Parker. The autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, embracing his life, ministry and travels, with extracts, in prose and verse, from his miscellaneous writings. Edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt [Jr.]. New York, Published for the editor and proprietor by Russell Brothers, 1874.
502, x p. Illus, plates, ports. 23cm.

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No writer of the early decades of Mormonism had a greater influence in print than did Apostle Parley Parker Pratt. One of Mormonism’s earliest pamphleteers, Pratt was the first to emphasize in print the differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity and thus he created a standard for all future Mormon pamphleteers by setting down a formula for describing Mormonism’s basic doctrines. Born April 12, 1807, Parley was a contemporary of the Prophet Joseph Smith (just 17 months younger) and following his baptism in September of 1830, at the age of 23, his life paralleled the early history of the Church, consequently his autobiography gives first hand accounts of the important and seminal events of the infancy of Mormonism.

The autobiography, in addition to covering Pratt’s life in the Church, also includes an account of his ancestry and early life as well as an appendix describing his assassination. The book was compiled from “various forms of manuscript, some in book form, some in loose leaves, whilst others were extracts from the Millennial Star, and other publications.” The task of compiling, collating, and editing was laid upon Pratt’s oldest son Parley P. Pratt, Jr. who was charged “just before [Parley’s] departure on his last mission to the United States” with the “responsibility of publishing his history in case anything should happen to prevent himself from doing it.” Elder Pratt’s untimely death on May 13, 1857 at the hands of Hector McLean, a former husband of Pratt’s last plural wife, near Van Buren, Arkansas, required the younger Pratt to “[discharge the] duty solemnly imposed upon me by my lamented father.”(Preface, p. [3]-6). The junior Pratt was assisted in the editing by Apostle John Taylor who in 1836 was introduced to Mormonism and baptized into the Church by Pratt in Toronto, Canada during one of his many proselytizing missions. Taylor also lived through many of the defining events of the history of the Church -including the assassination of Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage jail. Consequently with Pratt as the primary source of his story and John Taylor as an editor, the Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt is viewed by many to be a history of high literary and historical quality for the period of Church history before 1857.