A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
The Mission To The Indians
In the month of September, 1830, a young man came to the house of Joseph Smith, at
Fayette, and asked to see the prophet. As Joseph was absent, he was referred to his
brother Hyrum who explained to him what he wanted to know about the Book of
Mormon, the revelations of the Lord to his brother, and the establishing of the Church.
The young man was a preacher of the sect called Campbellites, and his name was Parley
P. Pratt. On his journey from his home in Ohio to New York he had obtained a copy of
the Book of Mormon, had read it, and had been deeply impressed with its beautiful truths.
Wishing to know more about this new revelation of God, he had sought out Joseph.
Parley P. Pratt joined the Church and soon became one of its leading men, working with
Joseph and his brethren with great energy. He became one of the Twelve Apostles,
traveled in many parts of the earth preaching the gospel, wrote many fine books, and at
last was killed by a wicked man in the state of Arkansas.
Some day you will want to read a full account of this great man's history as he wrote it
himself, but here I will give you but a few of these interesting events, because they have
much to do with the Church at this point of our history.
You will remember that the Book of Mormon tells about the early history of the Indians.
In this book it is predicted that some day the gospel should be preached to them, and the
record of their forefathers should also be brought to their knowledge. At the second
conference of the Church held in Fayette, September 1st, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt,
Ziba Peterson and Peter Whitmer, Jr., were called to go on a mission to the Indians. They
were to go into the wilderness through the western states and into the Indian Territory,
preaching by the way whenever a chance afforded.
It was late in October when these four elders started on this the first important mission of
the Church. They preached to some Indians near the city of Buffalo, presented them with
the Book of Mormon, and proceeded on their journey into the state of Ohio. In the
northeastern part of this state is the town of Kirtland where Elder Pratt had some friends.
They stopped here for some time and preached the gospel to the people. Great interest
was aroused, many believed and were baptized. Among these was Elder Pratt's former
teacher, Sidney Rigdon, who also became one of the Church's leading men. Others who
joined the Church at this time were Edward Partridge who became the first bishop in the
Church, Newel K. Whitney who became the second, Lyman Wight who became an
apostle, and many others. In a few weeks the missionaries had raised up a large branch of
the Church at Kirtland.
Having done this good work, the elders went on their way westward. One evening they
were stopping at the house of one Simeon Carter not far from Brother Pratt's old home.
They were just about to read to him from the Book of Mormon when an officer entered
and arrested Elder Pratt. The elders left their book with Mr. Carter and went with the
officer to a sort of court, where Brother Pratt was ordered to pay a large sum of money or
go to prison. The prisoner paid no attention to these demands, which made his