Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Sarah M Pratt: The Shaping of an Apostate Richard S. Van Wagoner I am the wife of Orson Pratt ... I was formerly a member of the Mormon church. ... I have not been a believer in the Mormon doctrines for thirty years, and am now considered an apostate, I believe (Journal History, 22 Jan. 1875). Sarah Marinda Bates Pratt, first wife of Apostle Orson Pratt, is almost always portrayed in Mormon history as a sharp-tongued shrew with a shady past — Hester Prynne's rival for the scarlet letter. Who is the woman behind the rumor? Sarah, the first daughter and third child of Cyrus Bates and Lydia Harrington Bates's twelve children, was born in the sleepy hamlet of Henderson, New York, on 5 February 1817. During the summer of 1835, when Sarah was eighteen, Mormon missionaries taught the Bates family (Bates and Harrington). Sarah believed the Mormon message and also fell in love with the intense, blue-eyed missionary who delivered it — twenty-four-year-old Apostle Orson Pratt. Orson baptized Sarah on 18 June 1835, four days after he baptized her brother Marcellus and sister Lydia Augusta. Other siblings would be baptized later: Ormus Ephraim on 4 July 1836 and Orissa Angelia, on 14 April 1838 (Bates Family Group Sheet). Though Pratt moved on to proselyte in other areas, he did not forget Sarah. "Went to Brother Bates," he wrote in his 7 June 1836 journal, "found them all well. I was very much enjoyed to see them as I had been absent about 1 yr., and more especially as I had previously formed an acquaintance with their daughter with whom I had held a correspondence by letter and with whom I shortly expected to enter into the sacred bonds of matrimony" (Watson 1975, 82). RICHARD S. VAN WAGONER, a clinical audiologist, is the co-author with Steven C. Walker of A Book of Mormons (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1982) and author of Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1986). He has published in BYU Studies, Dialogue, Sunstone, Utah Historical Quarterly, and Utah Holiday. His "Mormon Polyandry in Nauvoo" received Dialogue^ 1984 first prize for historical writing. The author thanks Stephen F. Pratt for liberally sharing his research on Orson Pratt.