Parley P. Pratt and the Making of MormonismBook - 2011
Arguably Mormonism's most influential early leader after Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Pratt is also one of its least understood. This collection of essays uses Pratt's life and writings as a means for gaining insight on early Latter-day Saint history, including the Church's initial internationalization, vibrant print culture, development of a unique theology, family dynamics, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
This fascinating compilation sets Pratt and Mormonism in the context of American religion and culture. The contributors examine Pratt's political and religious struggles on behalf of Mormonism. His murder is also situated within competing narratives of religious martyrdom and sexual deviance, Victorian domestic ideals and domestic abuse.
Because Pratt was killed in Arkansas, the massacre of Arkansas emigrants at Mountain Meadows in Utah has long been viewed as vengeance for his death. This well-crafted collection shows that view to be oversimplified. The narratives that emerge here will appeal to anyone seeking to understand the nuances of early Mormon history in the context of one of its most important and controversial figures.