MEN OF THE HOUR.
" Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upem them,"— Skakesveare.
PRESIDENT JOHN TAYLOR,
TIIE SUCCESSOR OF BRIGHAM YOUNG.
The " Mormon" question among the peo- ple and in Congress is fast assuming the excited phase which always precedes a course of action, when action has been long delayed. Whatever may be the dis- position^ the question, the portrait and biography of the present head of the church must be of interest.
Elder John Taylor, the successor to Brigham Young as the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, more generally known as Mor- mons, was born in Mi'lnthrop, County of Westmoreland, England, November 1st, 1808. In his boyhood he received the advantages of a good, sound English ed- ucation, and in early manhood joined the Methodist church, and became a local preacher in that . sect. In his twenty- j fourth year he emigrated to Canada to join his father's family who had preced- ed him two years. Shortly after his ar- rival he married Miss Leonora Cannon, a Manx lady, who was residing in Canada as the companion of the wife of the. Gov- ern or of the Province. This lady ( now deceased) was the aunt of Hon. Geo. Q. Cannon, Delegate to Congress from Utah.
Mr. Taylor soon became locally con- spicuous as a religious teacher and re- former in Toronto, and was associated with a body of thoughtful men and women who were dissatisfied with the existing forms of religion, and seeking Bible truth by all legitimate means. In this state of enquiry, Parley E. Pratt, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Latter- day Church, visited Toronto, which visit resulted in Mr. and Mrs. Taylor and a number of their friend's and associates being baptized. Mr. Taylor was very shortly afterwards ordained an Elder, and before long appointed to preside over the eh nrches in that region.
In a short time,'" Elder Taylor visited tiie main body of the Church to which he had allied himself, in Kirt'^ nd, Ohio. Here he became conspicuous for his zeal and courage in defending the tenets of " Mormonism," and his strong personal friendship for the Prophet, Joseph Smith. He suffered with his fellow fanatics the miseries that attended the expulsion of the Mormons from that State in 1838. He rook a prominent part in the reorganiza- tion of the fugitive Saints in* Illinois, and in the building of the city of Nauvoo. There he became editor of The Times and Seasons, and also of a political weeklv paper, entitled the Navvoo Neighbor.
When the two brothers, Joseph and Hiram Smith, were confined prisoners in the Carthage jail, Elder Taylor stayed with them as a friend and visitor. When they were assassinated he was present, and was himself shot in four places by the mob. For some months his life trembled in the balance, and he carries one ball in his bod}'' to this day When the Mormons were exiled from Nauvoo, Elder Taylor accompanied them to the Missouri River. From that point he was sent, with two others, by the Council of the Twelve Apostles, on a mission to England to regulate the business affairs of the Church in that land. Leaving his family camped on the river and exposed to all the deprivations and annoyances incidental to their situation, he departed in answer to this call, from which he re- turned the year following ( 1847), when he found his family encamped at Winter Quarters, about six miles above where Omaha now stands. He then, as one of the Apostles, took a prominent part in the organization and guidance of the companies of expatriated " Saints," who followed the pioneers under Brigham Young in their toilsome and perilous journey across the plains and the Rocky Mountains He was also among the most energetic in the formation of the Battal- ion of 500 men who enlisted to serve as volunteers in the war with Mexico. He ar- rived in Salt Lake City in 1847, and has since been conspicuous in the councils of the church in Utah.
He has also been on several preaching missions to foreign lands; chief among which was one of the earliest to Great Britain; those to France and Germany, from 1849 to 1852, when he arranged for and superintended the translation of the Book of Mormon into the French and German languages, and in later years in the Eastern States, when he published the Mormon newspaper in New York.
When Brigham Young died, in 1877, Elder Taylor stood, by seniority, at the head of the Council of the Apostles, and consequently was de facto, head of the church. For nearly three years the Apostles regulated the affairs of the clinch, when the first Presidency was re- appointed and Elder Taylor was elected President, with George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith as his Counselors. This is the position he holds to- day. He has also been elected Trustee in Trust for the church, and holds a prominent position as President or Director in most of the business concerns in which the church has an interest.
President Taylor has been in his time, and is now for his age, a handsome man. He is of dark complexion, about six feet high, of commanding presence, erect car- iiage" and great natural dignity He is by many, considered the finest pulpit orator in his church. He has always been noted for great independence ' of thought and action, uncompromising de- termination and great will power. His zeal and fiery eloquence made him a marked man in the earlier years of his association with the Mormon people. His policy thus far, during his Presi- dency, has been marked for its conserva- tive character. He has enunciated no new doctrines, proposed no innovations, but determinedly carried out the policy of his predecessors.
Besides his numerous missionary du- ties, President Taylor has written a num- ber of works on the tenets of his sect, and is at present engaged on three or four doctrinal treatises, the most elaborate of which is " An Examination into the Doc- trine of the Atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
From recent information we learn that he recently married his twenty- eighth wife, a buxom Massachusetts widow.
His attitude toward the United States is expressed in these words " if the Gov- ernment lifts its hands against us the Lord will destroy the Government. 1'
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