Book Review: Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism. By Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Gr


Apostle Paul, Mormonism, New Testament, Bible, Apostles


Viewed from one angle, Terryl Givens and Matthew Grow have crafted a traditional Mormon biography. Their Parley P. Pratt, after all, features a member of the movement's nineteenth-century founding elite, whose career as an intrepid apostle offers adventurous, even heroic, feats of evangelism and theological expression. The volume's format as biographical narrative, its chronological scope, its prioritization of theology, and its subject's privileged standing fit it rather neatly into a venerable Mormon historiography. Questions of gender, race, and power often lurk dimly as subtler background shades that blur behind the pugnacious apostle's vividness. To dismiss their account as a monument to Mormon history's widely critiqued "leading men" obsession would be a mistake, however. The authors' combined skill pulls the work back from hagiography. Their mastery of Pratt's historical and intellectual contexts coupled with their expository gifts make for a tale that will engage and and fascinate a broad readership.

Original Publication Citation

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism, by Terryl L. Givens and Matthew J. Grow, in Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 82, no. 2 (June 2013): 484-87.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Permanent URL


Church History




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor