180 years ago today - Jul 15, 1842 - Friday

[Joseph Smith Journal]

This A.M. early a report was in circulation that O. P. [Orson Pratt] was missing. A. letter of his writing was found directed to his wife stating to the effect that he was going away;

[[Pratt's wife, Sarah Bates Pratt, was allegedly involved with John C. Bennett in an illicit relationship, which apparently ended quietly upon Orson Pratt's return from a proselytizing mission to Britain in summer 1841. When JS publicly exposed Bennett for similar relationships with other women in the 1 July 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, Bennett asserted that JS himself seduced women in Nauvoo and that he (Bennett) was present when JS asked Sarah to be one of his "spiritual wives." Sarah supported Bennett's claim; indeed, that Orson was aware of the allegations against JS on 14, while Bennett's claim was not published until 15 July, suggests that Orson first heard of it from Sarah rather than from Bennett. JS denied the charge. The "letter of his writing," to which the text may refer, was written the evening of 14 July and found on Munson Street, east of Heber C. Kimball's home; it illustrates the difficult position in which these charges and countercharges placed Orson. The unaddressed letter began: "I am a ruined man! my future prospects are blasted! the testimony upon both sides seems to be equal: the one in direct contradiction to the other—how to decide I know not neither does it matter for let it be either way my temporal happiness is gone in this world if the testimonies of my wife & others are true then I have been deceived for 12 years past—my hopes are blasted & gone as it were in a moment—my long toils & labours have been in vain. If on the other hand the other testimonies are true then my family are ruined forever."]]

Soon as this was known Joseph summoned the principal men of the city and workmen on the Temple to meet at the Temple Grove where he ordered them to proceed immediately throughout the city in search of him lest he should have laid voilent [violent] hands on himself [IE suicide]. After considerable search had been made but to no effect a meeting was called at the Grove where Joseph stated before the public a general outline of J[ohn] C. Bennetts conduct and especially with regard to Sis P [Sarah Bates Pratt] ... O. P. returned at night. He was seen about 2 miles this side Warsaw ; set on a log. He says he has concluded to do right.

[[In spite of this report, two days later Brigham Young wrote in a letter to Orson's brother Parley P. Pratt: "Br Orson Pratt is in trubble in consequence of his wife, his feelings are so rought up that he dos not know whether his wife is wrong, or whether Josephs testmony and others are wrong and due Ly and he decived for 12 years, or not; he is all but crazy about matters."]]

[Joseph Smith, Journal, Dec. 1841–Dec. 1842 in "The Book of the Law of the Lord," Record Book, 1841–1845]

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