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John W. Taylor

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John W. Taylor, Mormon leader
and his wife, Sofia. Like his father, John W. became a General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the "Mormon Church."

John W. Taylor was born on May 15, 1858, in Provo, Utah. He was born at a time of high tension in the area. Johnston's army was approaching Utah, and the Latter-day Saints expected an attack. The Saints in the Salt Lake City area, about 40 miles north of Provo, were planning on burning their homes before the army arrived. Many had temporarily relocated in Provo. John Taylor's family was among them. They had rented a small house in Provo from Roger Farrar.

The potential for harm was diffused in this situation, and the family returned to Salt Lake City, where John W. was raised until he was twenty-five. He had a strong mind and body. [1] At the age of 25, he married and moved to Cassia County, Idaho.

Although John Sr. was the president and prophet of the LDS Church, the family was not prosperous, so John W. didn't receive an excellent education. But he did receive a lot of experience with hands-on tasks, and was well-taught as far as honesty and work ethic were concerned. His mother Sofia was patient, industrious, and God-fearing. John W. displayed a mature understanding of gospel principles at a young age. He studied the scriptures with great dedication and memorized many. His first Mormon mission was to the Southern States, and he carried in his mind 400 scriptures memorized in preparation to serve. Most of these were from the Old and New Testament.

Taylor's earliest callings in the LDS Church were as a teacher to various age groups. He was a master teacher. As a young man, he was employed in the county recorder's office. He afterwards was employed for some time in the office of the "Deseret News."

Spiritually gifted, Taylor received many visions in his boyhood and young adulthood that turned out to be prophetic, and which strengthened his faith in Christ and certitude that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. During his mission to the Southern States (1880 - 1882), his countenance often shone, and the Holy Ghost inspired his speech, so that all who listened were touched. Taylor was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1884 and was ordained on April 9th of that year.

John W. Taylor served with vigor in the Church.

Once he went to Washington, D. C., in company with others and presented to President Grover Cleveland an appeal from the Saints for their rights. In 1884 he went on a mission to Mexico, and had the privilege while there of meeting President Diaz. On his return from this mission he served a term in the Utah legislature. Another mission given him was to preach to the people of the Uintah Stake. Here he performed a good work, bringing a large number of people there into the Church, and awakening to renewed spiritual life many Church members who had become cold and indifferent. [2]

In 1896 he was called to open a mission of the Church in the adjoining State of Colorado. He continued to serve and to prophesy often. However, in 1890, after receiving a vision that insured him of the possible collapse of the LDS Church should the practice of polygamy not be abandoned, then prophet Wilford Woodruff issued a 'manifesto' ending the practice of polygamy. In 1904, prophet Joseph F. Smith added the punishment of excommunication for those who continued in the practice. Polygamy was very tough on the early Latter-day Saints when they began the practice, and it was just as difficult to end it, since it meant unraveling family ties and commitments.

John W. Taylor resigned from his position as one of the Twelve Apostles in April, 1906, over the practice of polygamy. Standing by his opinions and against the leadership of the LDS Church, he was excommunicated in 1912. Excommunication from the LDS Church is meant to be a step in the repentance process and not imposed exile. After the resignation, he retired to private life and spent the remainder of his days attending to necessary labors in providing for his large family.

John W. Taylor died at his home in Forest Dale, Salt Lake county, Utah, Oct. 10, 1916. John W.'s blessings were restored after his death. His family remained faithful to the Church of Jesus Christ.

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