John Taylor Goes to America

    “John Taylor Goes to America,” Friend, Mar. 2001, 44–45

    From the Lives of the Church Presidents

    Adapted from The Lord Needed a Prophet, by Susan Arrington Madsen, pages 45–56

    John Taylor Goes to America

    John Taylor
    Events in the life of John Taylor

    John Taylor was a deeply religious child. One day he had a vision of an angel with a trumpet.

    John: What could it mean?

    As a teenager, he sometimes heard angelic choirs singing. He once surprised a friend with a strange announcement.

    John: I have a strong impression on my mind that I have to go to America and preach the gospel.

    Six years later, he sailed for Canada. A terrible storm arose. Although even the captain feared that the ship would go down, John was perfectly calm. He knew that he had a work to do in America and that Heavenly Father would keep him safe.

    In Canada, John Taylor married. He and his wife met Elder Parley P. Pratt, a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and were converted. John then understood that the angel with a trumpet he had seen as a child was the angel Moroni, whose statue is now on the tops of many temples. John then understood why he had come to America. He joined Elder Pratt in preaching the gospel, converting his own parents. He was later called as an Apostle and served a mission to Great Britain.

    Elder Taylor admired Joseph Smith. When he first shook the Prophet’s hand, John felt “a charge like an electrical shock.”

    John: This is a prophet of God!

    When Joseph and Hyrum were imprisoned in Carthage Jail, John insisted on staying with them, though he didn’t have to. Like the angels he had heard as a child, he had a beautiful voice, and he sang now to comfort his fellow prisoners.

    John: “A poor wayfaring Man of grief Hath often crossed me on my way . …”*

    A mob burst in and murdered Joseph and Hyrum. Elder Taylor was shot five times, but survived.

    One of the bullets was stopped by a watch in his vest pocket. As in the storm at sea, his life was spared because he still had a task to accomplish.

    John Taylor led the second pioneer company to the Salt Lake Valley. He was a powerful writer and speaker. He was known as a fearless defender of truth, both as an Apostle and as President of the Church.

    If you’d like to learn more about President Taylor, do the “President John Taylor Crossword” on page 19.