Letter from Parley P. Pratt, 23 May 1837
, Letter, , OH, to JS, , OH, 23 May 1837; Naked Truths about Mormonism, Apr. 1888, p. 4.
, one of the original Twelve Apostles ordained in 1835, became upset with JS and during the 1837 economic crisis in , Ohio. He presented his concerns in a personal letter to JS that was not intended for public circulation. Pratt charged JS and with fostering a spirit of speculation and with falsely prophesying that land values would remain high. Pratt further accused JS of extortion for selling land to Pratt at what he felt was a greatly inflated price. More particularly, Pratt sought redress regarding the impending loss of his home and property to the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, a circumstance for which he held JS personally responsible.Early in 1838, , JS’s estranged clerk and former secretary of the Kirtland Safety Society, sent ’s letter to the New York Wesleyan Society’s weekly publication, Zion’s Watchman, edited by LaRoy Sunderland and Timothy Merritt. The letter appeared in the March 1838 edition. Later that year, it was again published by Richard Livesey, a Methodist Episcopal minister in Britain, in his pamphlet An Exposure of Mormonism.In the August 1838 issue of Elders’ Journal, claimed that his letter as published in Zion’s Watchman had been altered and that it misrepresented his intentions. Pratt acknowledged he wrote the letter in “great severity and harshness” and “much regretted having written it.” He affirmed his full confidence in the Book of Mormon, the revelations, and the integrity of JS and .The original letter has not been located. In 1888, Arthur B. Deming reprinted what he purported to be “an exact copy of the original” in Naked Truths about Mormonism. The 1888 version included a postscript omitted in 1838 and other significant differences with the Zion’s Watchman version in terms of spelling and punctuation. It is Deming’s text that is featured here even though its fidelity to the original cannot be independently verified.