‘Pratt Ride’ recalls heavy sacrifices of missionaries of the past
By Robert Stevens
Sept. 28, 2017
SPRING CITY—Some local LDS church members saddled their horses this weekend and rode them up a mountain trail to take part in a ceremony to honoring missionaries who died or suffered traumatic injuries while serving their missions.
David Tuttle of Spring City organized the Parley P. Pratt Missionary Memorial Ride, which is the first held in Sanpete County.
Tuttle has been organizing the rides since 2000. He moved to Sanpete County in 2012, and this year, decided to coordinate the inaugural Sanpete County Pratt ride.
Named after Parley Parker Pratt, one of the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the ride is part of the Parley P. Pratt Memorial Project, which Tuttle says is “dedicated to honoring the work of all missionaries who have paid the ultimate price for their commitment to sharing the greatest message this world has ever heard.”
Tuttle said the ride also shows appreciation for loved ones who, when they sent family members into the mission field, had to be prepared for the possibility of the family members never returning alive.
According to Tuttle, despite inclement weather, participants saddled up and headed out along Canal Canyon, near Spring City, Saturday, Sept. 23 at 9 a.m. They rode for about an hour before stopping in a meadow to hold a ceremony.
Tuttle says because the ride only had a handful of attendees, the event ended up being more informal and conversational than a lecture-style ceremony.
During their meadow ceremony, Tuttle says they discussed the death of Bradley Savage of Lehi, who died along with three companions in a car accident during his mission in Iowa.
Tuttle says another story was recounted during the ceremony about a group of South American missionaries who were struggling to be received by the locals on their mission.
During a robbery attempt, one of them was shot and killed. Tuttle says word spread quickly about the death, and soon doors all over town began to open to the missionaries.
“There are many accounts where their sacrifice ended up being the key to open a door for greater works to be done,” Tuttle said.
One of the memorial ride participants shared the story of her brother, who was told by a highly-placed church leader to hurry home after his farewell with a warning that “Satan does not want you on this mission.”
The young missionary did not heed the words and was hurt badly in a car wreck, which not only delayed his mission by six months, Tuttle says, but left him with long-term injuries that plagued him for years and contributed towards his recent passing.
The Parley P. Pratt Missionary Memorial Project has been a work in progress for years, says Tuttle. The project has taken more than 120 stories of missionaries who paid the ultimate price and published them into three volumes.
“The point of the Parley P. Pratt Missionary Memorial,” Tuttle said, “is that we remember the willingness of those who accept calls to serve, whether that service is completed without major incident or whether part of their mission is to give their lives in that service, something Elder Parley P. Pratt did when he was martyred for his commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”