Times & Seasons Looks at Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

December 7, 2011 | 4 comments
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Starting tomorrow and extending for several weeks, several of my co-bloggers and I will post reviews of Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism by Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, which was published a few months ago by Oxford University Press.

As the book’s title suggests, Parley P. Pratt’s role within Mormonism is much like the role of the Apostle Paul in early Christianity. Like Paul, Pratt was an energetic and persuasive missionary who carried the new message to distant shores, a key player in the building of an international church. Also like Paul, Pratt was a prolific writer whose expositions and explorations of doctrine did much to popularize and systematize the teachings of the new church. For these reasons, and because he was so close to the founder, Joseph Smith, this biography of Pratt provides an important window into the formation of a new world religion.

Since Pratt wrote an autobiography, biographies of Pratt have been very few (as I understand it, this is only the second). But Pratt’s influence, innovation and activity justify much more attention than he has had. This biography, then, illuminates Brother Parley beyond what his autobiography provides, discussing his writings and and his personal life, in addition to the contents of the autobiography.

We expect five or six different reviews, posted once or twice a week. Each of these reviews will, of course, come from a different perspective. Given that these posts could well extend into January, and given the season of the year, we hope no one will wait until the end of all of these posts to make purchase decisions. I can’t speak for the others who will be reviewing the book, but I suspect this work will be very favorably recommended. I know that is what my recommendation will be.

Further information about the book can be found at the publisher’s website:

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/ReligionTheology/American/?view=usa&ci=9780195375732

or on Amazon:

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

I will also update this post with a list below of the reviews as they appear:

4 Responses to Times & Seasons Looks at Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

  1. Lucy on December 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Great. I have been studying the teachings of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, and I have almost finished reading the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. I look forward to joining the discussion on Given’s book after I read it.

  2. clark on December 7, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I’ve not read the bio yet. (I’m way behind on my reading unfortunately) The one thing I’m curious about is how it deals with the relation to Orson both in terms of influence, theology and more. That is what was the influence of each on the other. I’ve always found Parley more interesting but sometimes it seems like Orson has the lion’s share of influence.

  3. M Miles on December 8, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Looking forward to it.

  4. Kent Larsen on December 8, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Clark (2), my impression from the biography is that before the trek to Utah, Parley had substantially more influence, while after the trek, Orson had much more influence, mainly because Parley didn’t write as much unless he was actively in the mission field.

    The significant exception is Parley’s Key to the Science of Theology.

    Of course, the brothers also had a disagreement that lasted from about 1846 to 1853 (about, I’m going from memory) during which Orson never responded to Parley’s letters. I doubt they had much influence on each other during that time.

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