Over the weekend (April 14) Deseret Morning News reported that a group of interested people will be gathering in Arkansas on April 21st for a conference looking at the life and ministry of LDS Apostle Parley Pratt. I don’t know what the conference will be like, but if the report in Deseret News is any indication, it may be a frustrating event for those who prefer accurate history above revisionist history.
Deseret News explained,
An early apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pratt was killed near Van Buren, Ark., in May 1857, by a small Arkansas band antagonistic toward his teachings.
In truth, Parley Pratt was murdered by an outraged husband and father by the name of Hector McLean, with the misguided support of McLean’s friends. Pratt was not killed so much because these men were “antagonistic” toward his teachings, but because Pratt was living those teachings with McLean’s legal wife.
McLean’s wife, Eleanor, had abandoned her family to become Pratt’s 12th plural wife. Soon thereafter, in 1857, McLean learned that Eleanor and Pratt were intending to abduct the McLean children and spirit them away to Utah. After finding no help in this situation from the legal system, McLean and his friends took matters into their own hands — tracking, attacking, and brutally killing Parley Pratt, the Mormon Apostle.
Many Mormons consider Parley Pratt a martyr for his faith. Was he really killed because a few men in Arkansas opposed Mormon teachings?
Pratt was murdered not only because he practiced polygamy according to the teachings of the LDS religion, but because he engaged in “spiritual wifery” with another man’s wife, and sought to steal McLean’s children as well.
Was Pratt’s murder wrong? Of course; no doubt about it. But where is the virtue in reporting, as LDS Church-owned Deseret News has done, that Pratt was killed by some men who just didn’t like Mormonism? There is none.