John Taylor, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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LDS Prophet John Taylor

Birthplace: Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, England (United Kingdom)
Death: July 25, 1887 (78)
Kaysville, Davis, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Taylor and Agnes Taylor
Husband of Leonora Taylor; Jane Taylor; Margaret Taylor; Mary Ann Oakley; Harriet Taylor and 2 others
Father of Joseph James Taylor; George John Taylor; Leonora Agnes Taylor; Mary Ann Taylor; Richard James Taylor and 31 others
Brother of James Taylor; Elizabeth Boyse; Agnes Hoagland; William Moon Taylor; George Taylor and 1 other
Half brother of Sarah Cole and Whitfield Andrew Taylor

Occupation: Prophet of the LDS Church, 3rd President of the Mormon Church, Whitesmith, 3rd President LDS Church
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Taylor, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Wikipedia Biographical Summary:

"...John Taylor (November 1, 1808 – July 25, 1887) was the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1880 to 1887. Taylor was born in Milnthorpe, Westmorland (now part of Cumbria), England, the son of James and Agnes Taylor..."

"...Taylor and his wife first came in contact with the Latter Day Saint church in 1836 after meeting church apostle Parley P. Pratt in Toronto. Leonora was the first to join the church and she persuaded Taylor to continue his studies with Pratt..."

"...In 1839, Taylor and some of his fellow apostles served missions in Britain. While here, Taylor preached in Liverpool and was responsible for Mormon preaching in Ireland and the Isle of Man..."

"...In 1844, Taylor was with church founder Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith and Willard Richards in the Carthage, Illinois jail when the Smiths were killed by a mob. Taylor was severely wounded in the conflict..."

"...In 1846, most Latter-day Saints followed Brigham Young into territory then controlled by Mexico, while Taylor went to England to resolve problems in church leadership there. On his return, he and Pratt led more Latter-day Saints, a group of about 1500, to the Salt Lake Valley, where Young and the others had settled..."

"...Taylor applied for United States citizenship in 1849. That same year he was appointed an associate judge in the provisional State of Deseret. He later served in the Utah territorial legislature from 1853 to 1876..."

"...Following Brigham Young's death in 1877, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles governed the church, with John Taylor as the quorum's president. Taylor became the third president of the church in 1880. He chose as his counselors Joseph F. Smith and George Q. Cannon, the latter being the nephew of his wife Leonora..."

"...In 1882, the United States Congress enacted the Edmunds Act, which declared polygamy to be a felony. Hundreds of Mormon men and women were arrested and imprisoned for continuing to practice plural marriage. Taylor had followed Joseph Smith's teachings on polygamy, and had at least seven wives. He is known to have fathered thirty-five children..."

"...Taylor died on July 25, 1887, from congestive heart failure in Kaysville, Utah..."

"...Taylor practiced plural marriage and was married to seven wives: Leonora Cannon, Elizabeth Kaighin, Jane Ballantyne, Mary Ann Oakley, Sophia Whitaker, Harriet Whitaker, and Margaret Young. He was the father of 34 children.."

At the age of fourteen he became a cooper’s apprentice in Liverpool, and subsequently learned the turner’s trade at Penrith, in Cumberland. He received his first schooling at the village of Hale, Westmorland, where his parents lived on a small estate bequeathed to the head of the house by an uncle. In 1830 he emigrated to America, following his parents, who were then residing at Toronto, Upper Canada. He was baptized into the Mormon Church May 9, 1836, at Toronto, Canada, and ordained an elder by Apostle Parley P. Pratt; shortly afterward he was set apart to preside over the Church in Upper Canada. In March, 1837, he visited Kirtland, where he first met the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was his guest while sojourning there. He attended a meeting in the temple, at which Warren Parrish made a violent attack upon the Prophet. Elder Taylor defended the absent Prophet and endeavored to pour oil upon the troubled waters. He was ordained a high priest August 31, 1837. In 1838 he removed to Kirtland, proceeding thence in the general exodus of the Saints to Missouri. At DeWitt, Carrol County, Missouri, he and his party, numbering twenty-four, were confronted by an armed mob of one hundred and fifty, led by Abbott Hancock and Sashiel Woods, the former a Baptist, the latter Presbyterian minister, who, after some parleying, retired and permitted them to continue on to Far West. He was a witness to the outrages perpetrated by the Missourians upon the new settlers, and a participant in the scenes of peril and disaster ending in the imprisonment of the Prophet and other leaders and the expulsion of the Mormon community from the state. That he bravely and unflinchingly bore his part of the general burden of sorrow and trial we may be sure. John Taylor knew no fear, and shirked no responsibility or sacrifice that his duty entailed. In the fall of 1837 he was told by the Prophet that he would be chosen an apostle, and at a conference in Far West, October, 1838, it was voted that he fill the vacancy occasioned by the apostasy of John S. Boynton. The High Council at Far West took similar action on the 19th of December, and on that day John Taylor was ordained an apostle by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. He was one of the committee appointed to memorialize the Missouri Legislature for redress of grievances, and was also appointed with Bishop Edward Partridge to draft a similar petition to the general government. He assisted President Young to superintend the exodus of the Saints from Missouri, and was with him and others of the Twelve when they made their famous ride from Quincy to Far West, prior to starting upon their mission to Great Britain. He started upon this mission August 8, 1839. At Nauvoo he was joined by Wilford Woodruff, and these two were the first of the Twelve to sail. They landed at Liverpool on January 11th, 1840, and at a council held at Preston, it was decided that John Taylor should labor In Liverpool, with Elder Joseph Fielding. He was appointed a member of the committee to select hymns and compile a hymn book for the Latter-Day Saints. In July, 1840, he passed over to Ireland, and preached in the court house at Newry, County Down. This was the introduction of Mormonism in the Emerald Isle, the first convert being Thomas Tate. He next went to Glasgow, and after preaching to the 76 saints in that city, returned to Liverpool and delivered a course of lectures at the music hall in Bold street. On September 16th, he, with elders Hiram Clark and William Mitchell, sailed for the Isle of Man. He delivered a course of lectures, baptized a goodly number, organized a branch, and then returned to Liverpool. He returned to America with President Young and other apostles, arriving at Nauvoo, July 1, 1841.

At Nauvoo he was a member of the city council, one of the Regents of the University, Judge Advocate with the rank of Colonel in the Nauvoo Legion, associate editor and afterward chief editor of the “Times and Seasons.” He was also editor and proprietor of the “Nauvoo Neighbor,” in the columns of which paper, in February, 1844, he nominated Joseph Smith for the Presidency of the United States. He, with Willard Richards, voluntarily shared the imprisonment with the Prophet and Patriarch. While in prison he sang a hymn to raise their drooping spirits, and soon after the jail was assaulted by the mob who shot to death the Prophet and Patriarch. In the midst of the melee the apostle stood at the door with a heavy walking stick, beating down the muskets of the assassins that were belching deadly volleys Iinto the room. After Joseph and Hyrum were dead, he himself was struck by a ball in the left thigh, while preparing to leap from the window whence the Prophet had fallen. Another missile, from the outside, striking his watch, threw him back into the room, and this was all that prevented him from descending upon the bayonets of the mob. In his wounded state he dragged himself under a bedstead that stood near, and while doing so received three other wounds, one a little below the left knee, one In his left hip, and another in the left fore-arm and hand. The, Prophet’s fall from the window drew the murderers to the yard below, which incident saved the lives of John Taylor and Willard Richards, the latter the only one of the four prisoners who escaped unharmed. As soon as practicable Apostle Taylor, who had been carried by Doctor Richards for safety into the cell of the prison, was removed to Hamilton’s hotel in Carthage, and subsequently to Nauvoo. He accompanied the exodus, February 16, 1846, to Council Bluffs, from where he was sent with Parley P. Pratt and Orson Hyde to set in order the affairs of the British mission. After accomplishing their purpose they returned, arriving in 1847. Apostle Taylor brought with him a set of surveying instruments, with which Orson Pratt, a few months later, laid out Salt Lake City.

After the departure of President Young and the pioneers, in April, Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor exercised a general superintendency over the affairs at Winter Quarters, and with Isaac Morley and Newel K. Whitney organized the immigration that crossed the plains that season. It was about the 21st of June when these apostles, with six hundred wagons and upwards of fifteen hundred souls, began the journey from the Elk Horn. John Taylor’s division arrived at Salt Lake City October 5, 1847.

In 1849 he was called to head a mission to France, and in company with Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow and Franklin D. Richards, who were on their way to Italy, Denmark and England, respectively, he set out on the 19th of October to re-cross the plains. After a very successful mission, where he organized a branch and made arrangements for translating the Book of Mormon into the Gallic tongue, he returned arriving at Salt Lake City August 20, 1852. He brought with him the machinery for the beet sugar plant, manufactured In Liverpool at a cost of twelve thousand five hundred dollars; also the busts of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, prepared under his personal direction by one of the first artists of England. Two years later he was called to preside over the Eastern States mission and to supervise the emigration. Resigning as a member-elect of the legislature, he, accompanied by his son, George J. Taylor, and by Elders Jeter Clinton, Nathaniel H. Felt, Alexander Robbins and Angus M. Cannon, set out in the fall of 1854 for New York City, where the first number of “The Mormon” was issued February 17, 1855. In 1857, at the outbreak of the “Utah War,” John Taylor returned to Salt Lake City.

He was a member of the Utah legislature 1857-76, and for the first five sessions of that period, speaker of the house. From 1868 to 1870 he was probate judge of Utah county. In 1869 he held his celebrated controversy with Vice-President Colfax through the columns of the New York press, and from 1871 to 1875 he published a series of letters in the “Deseret News,” reviewing the situation in Utah, denouncing territorial government as un-American and oppressive, but warning the people against violent resistance to Judge McKean’s high-handed and exasperating course. In 1877 he was elected territorial superintendent of schools, and served as such for several years.

The next important event in his history was his elevation to the leadership of the Church, to which he virtually succeeded at the death of President Young, August 29, 1877. He had been for some years President of the Twelve Apostles. He continued to act in that capacity until October, 1880, when the First Presidency was again organized, with John Taylor, George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as its personnel.

President Taylor’s last appearance in public was on Sunday, February 1, 1885, when he preached his final discourse in the tabernacle at Salt Lake City. He had just returned from Mexico and California, after a tour through the settlements of the Saints in Arizona. That night he went into retirement and was never again seen in life except by a few trusted friends. He died July 25, 1887, at the home of Thomas F. Rouche, in Kaysville, Davis County, Utah. His funeral was held four days later, at the tabernacle in Salt Lake City.


  • Joseph Smith Papers Project profile: John+Taylor
  • Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, page 1201
  • Wikipedia contributors, 'John Taylor (Mormon)', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 27 January 2011, 21:49 UTC, [accessed 3 February 2011] SOURCE:
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John Taylor, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints's Timeline

November 1, 1808
Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, England
December 4, 1808
Heversham Parish, , Wstmrlnd, Eng
December 4, 1808
Milnthorpe, Westmoreland, England, United Kingdom
May 9, 1836
Age 27
June 8, 1838
Age 29
Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States
July 14, 1839
Age 30
Worcestershire, England, United Kingdom
December 10, 1845
Age 37