Being curious on the authenticity and subject of the Angel of the Prairies document I contacted the Scholarly & Historical Information Exchange for Latter-Day Saints or SHEILDS at their websitehttp://www.shields-research.org/index.htm .
SHEILDS is run by individuals with experience in some of the rarer documents dealing with the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I therefore expected their answers to my questions to have a sound basis in fact.
The following is the discussion I had via email with some of the individuals at SHEILDS:
----- Original Message -----
From: Stan Barker
Cc: Malin Jacobs
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2004 1:37 PM
Subject: Re: SHIELDS Correspondence form
Hollin Parrott wrote:
First of all I enjoy you site very much. I'm LDS and stumbled upon the following while surfing the net:
I was wondering if this was actually written by Parley P. Pratt and if so how is it received as a document by the church. I mean the preface writes:'While purporting to be written under the similitude of a dream or vision, we will state that no such dream or vision was had by the writer, the whole manuscript having been written at Nauvoo, in the Winter of 1843-4.'
Stan Barker replied: From all that I have been able to understand, this is not a real dream and was just a made up story. I am cc:ing this to one of my colleagues who I believe knows more about this issue than I do.
Hollin Parrott wrote:
And also: 'This manuscript was read in Nauvoo, in a Council of the Church, in the presence of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but never appeared in print until last Spring, in the Northern Light, when it became at once the admiration of all the Saints who had the privilege of its perusal.'
I just want to know where I catalog this in my head...along with The White Horse Prophecy as conjecture or as a teaching tool of some kind.
Stan Barker Replied:
I'd probably "head" it in the direction of fiction.
Hollin Parrott concluded:
Thank you and keep up the good work!
After having contacted his colleague Marlin Jacobs I received the following answer from Mr. Jacobs to Stan Barker on January 14th 2004:
"Angel of the Prairies" was a piece of fiction written by Pratt in Nauvoo. It was transformed into a speech given by Pratt by anti-Mormon lawyer Theodore Schroeder in his defense of the Spaulding Manuscript Theory in the American Historical Magazine, which B. H. Roberts responded to in the same magazine (which changed its name to Americana). We have this series (both Schroeder and Roberts) on the web site.
According to Roberts, Pratt did write "Angel of the Prairies," but only as fiction.
Conclusion: The document ‘Angel of the Prairies’ is a fictitious story written by Parley P. Pratt and is in no way connected with the theology or revelations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.