Get to Know John W. Taylor

This is John W. Taylor, son of John Taylor the Prophet.

Born in 1858 in Provo John served the church as a missionary converting over 250 people to the church.  He was ordained and apostle May 15, 1884.  Taylor was a main proponent of polygamy at the death of his father along with Joseph F. Smith.

Taylor however is also well known in the town of Raymond Alberta Canada.  His efforts to establish the Saints in Raymond were considerable.  He sought for and got a Sugar mill in place and with the help of local coal and rail barons the Galts he was able to establish Raymond as a major centre outside of Cardston in Southern Alberta for LDS members.  Up until the 1970s the Raymond Stake was called the Taylor Stake in his honour.

The town also created a street in his honour as well in 2000.

Taylor stayed true to the principle of plural marriage after many of the other leaders saw things could not stay as they were.  It all came to a head over the seating of Apostle and Senator Reed Smoot.

Smoot, a non polygamist was accused of supporting polygamy through the protestant churches and other senators.  As proof they showed that four Apostles were continuing plural marriage.  One of whom was John W. Taylor after the Manifesto of Wilford Woodruff.

Taylor, refused to testify at the Smoot hearings and stayed in Canada arguing that he was not subject to US laws in Canada, techically true but a convient excuse nonetheless.  He would in fact never testify and would eventually face the other leaders of the church over the issue after the so-called Second Manifesto from Joseph F. Smith promising punishment for those who would not obey.

Taylor would be removed from the Apostleship first and then excommunicated in the end over polygamy.  He had six wives and 36 children.


For more on the conflict between Taylor and the others in the quorum see Kathleen Flake’s The Politics of Religious Identity:  The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle.

For more on Taylor’s role in Canada for the LDS see B. Y. Card’s The Mormon Presence in Canada.


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