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Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith Hardcover – December 15, 2002
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The conflicts between Apostle Orson Pratt, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young revolve around the key concepts of apostolic authority, theological harmony, and the role of continuing revelation within the governing body of the LDS church. The Pratt-Smith conflict emerges with the introduction of plural marriage and an alleged illicit affair of Pratt's wife Sarah in 1842. Bergera argues effectively that the 1842 allegation was a response to Sarah's rejection of Joseph Smith's advances. Pratt, his world shattered over the incident, voluntarily withdrew from the church for a time. This led to the misconception that he had been excommunicated. The alleged excommunication would provide Brigham Young with the legitimization needed to realign the governing body in 1875. The first major Pratt-Young conflict began in 1847 with the reorganization of the First Presidency. Pratt contended it was the right of the apostles to lead the church and not a separate quorum or individual. The debates continued for the next two decades over doctrinal issues. Bergera argues effectively that the heart of the conflict lay in Pratt's intellectual reservations over Young's consolidation of power and Young's theological teachings. It was Pratt's striving for a consistent, harmonizing, literal hermeneutic rather than blind acceptance of charismatic authority that led to the difficulties. Bergera's work provides a valuable tool for researchers by including transcripts of previously unpublished apostolic council minutes surrounding the Pratt-Young conflicts. Bergera has made a welcome and significant contribution to the field of Mormon studies. --Kurt Widmer, Religious Studies Review
From the Inside Flap
Pratts response was that he was "not a man to make a confession of what I do not believe. I am not going to crawl to Brigham Young and act the hypocrite. I will be a free man," he insisted. "It may cost me my fellowship, but I will stick to it. If I die tonight, I would say, O Lord God Almighty, I believe what I say."
"You have been a mad stubborn mule," Young replied. "[You] have taken a false position ... It is false as hell and you will not hear the last of it soon."
It was not infrequently that these two strong-willed, deeply religious men argued. Part of the difficulty was that they did so from opposing perspectives--Pratts a rational and independent-minded stance and Youngs a more intuitive and authoritarian position. "We have hitherto acted too much as machines ... as to following the Spirit," Pratt explained in a quorum meeting in 1847. "I will confess to my own shame [that] I have decided contrary to my own [judgment] many times. ... I mean hereafter not to demean myself as to let my feelings run contrary to my own judgment." He issued a warning to the other apostles: "When [President Young] says that the Spirit of the Lord says thus and so, I dont consider [that] ... all we should do is to say let it be so."
For his part, Young quipped that Pratt exhibited the same "ignorance ... as any philosopher," telling him "it would be a great blessing to him to lay aside his books." When Pratt appealed to logic, Young would say, "Oh dear, granny, what a long tail our puss has got."
Ironically, Pratt would have the last word both because Young preceded him in death and because several of Youngs teachings and policies had proven unpopular among the other apostles. One of Youngs counselors said shortly after the
- Item Weight : 1.27 pounds
- Hardcover : 300 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1560851643
- ISBN-13 : 978-1560851646
- Product Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.9 x 9.25 inches
- Publisher : Signature Books; Second printing Edition (December 15, 2002)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #839,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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