Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reflections: Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt

Adam C. Zern opines on Parley P. Pratt's autobiography:

"I love history.  I especially love American history and the history surrounding the reformation.  One area of history in which I have felt eager to learn more about but haven't done so is the history of the establishment and progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I, of course, knew all of the basics, the key players, the major events, but my specific knowledge was lacking.  I wanted to learn more about individual personalities and events that can only be learned from a record like Parley P. Pratt's autobiography.

It's a hefty book, but it's relatively accessible.  Parley's personal story is truly fascinating.  His life was so intertwined with the rise and progress of the LDS Church as one of the original Apostles that to learn about Parley is to learn about the LDS Church in some ways.  Some of my favorite parts of Parley's history were his interactions with antagonistic clergymen, his passionate sermons and testimonies of the gospel, and the tremendous detail he provides regarding the severe persecutions the Latter-day Saints experienced in Missouri.

Historical writings, such as Parley's autobiography, always give me pause when I think about all that is being left out of the history.  Parley writes extensively about the Latter-day Saints' experiences in Missouri but seems to shorten up his narrative quite a bit when discussing the persecutions in Illinois.  Also, I was very surprised that Parley left out so much about his family life, including his marrying of multiple wives.  If it wasn't for the footnotes found in the Revised and Enhanced edition of his autobiography, I would have known very little about what I thought would be large aspects of Parley's life.

I really enjoyed the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.  It has given me an even greater desire to learn the history, especially its nuances, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsParley's autobiography is a worthy addition to my Thousander list."