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A Symposium on the Life and Thought of Parley and Orson Pratt

Posted by joespencer on June 25, 2009

Parley and Orson Pratt and Nineteenth-Century Mormon Thought
Public Symposium at Brigham Young University

July 2, 2009

B092 of the Joseph F. Smith Building at BYU

In the tradition of Richard Bushman’s summer seminars on Joseph Smith and early Mormonism, eight graduate students, under the direction of Terryl Givens and Matthew Grow, have studied the writings of Orson and Parley Pratt and will be presenting their research at this symposium.

10:00 Terryl Givens, University of Richmond, Introduction
10:10 Ryan Tobler, University of Chicago, Parley Pratt and Evolving Views of the American Republic in Early Mormonism
10:40 Jordan Watkins, University of Nevada-Las Vegas: “All of One Species”: Parley P. Pratt and the Evolution of Early Mormon Conceptions of Theosis
11:10 Christopher Blythe, Utah State University: Spiritual Gifts and Mormon Identity in the Nineteenth Century
11:40 Loyd Ericson, Claremont Graduate School: “The Great Grand Executor”: The Development of the Holy Spirit in the Thought of Orson and Parley Pratt

Intermission for Lunch

1:30 Musical Interlude: Songs of Parley P. Pratt, Liz and Katie Davis (descendants of Parley Pratt and accomplished cellist and fiddler with the folk musical group FiddleSticks)
1:45 Adriane Rodrigues, University of Minas Gerais: Parley Pratt’s “Mighty Pen” and Satire
2:15 Benjamin Park, University of Edinburgh: “Here was an End of Mysticism”: Divine Embodiment, Human Corporality, and the Pratt Brothers
2:45 Joseph Spencer, San Jose State University: “A Wellcome Messenger”: The Development of Parley P. Pratt’s Theology of Death
3:15 Trevan Hatch, Baltimore Hebrew University: Remembering the Chosen: The Gathering of the Jews and the Tribes of Israel in the Minds of Parley and Orson Pratt

6 Responses to “A Symposium on the Life and Thought of Parley and Orson Pratt”

  1. BrianJ said

    looks like another great meeting I’m going to miss.

  2. Ben Pratt said

    Ditto. This looks to be fantastic.

  3. Michele Mitchell said

    Will proceedings be available?

  4. joespencer said


    Yes, we are going to make audio recordings and make them available (where I don’t know yet; I’ll have information up sometime soon), and the proceedings will be published by the Religious Studies Center at BYU (of course, publication takes a bit more time than podcasting, but it will be available in print eventually).

  5. Clint Jones said

    Have the proceedings been published and are they available online?

  6. joespencer said


    There were plans to publish the essays in a volume last year (in advance of the collection I’ll mention in the next sentence), but I’ve heard nothing about that in a while. The essays will eventually be published in a collection by BYU’s RSC, but that may be a few years. Some spinoffs of the seminar ended up in a roundtable printed in the a recent issue of the Journal of Mormon History, and one or two of the essays has appeared in expanded form in publication (I’m thinking at least of Jordan Watkin’s piece appearing in the first issue of the Claremont Journal of Mormon Studies).

    In a word, keep watching. :)

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