Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's the Deseret News Review of Texting Through Time, John Taylor and The Mystery Puzzle

Hope you like it.

"TEXTING THROUGH TIME: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle," by Christy Monson, Bonneville Books, $12.99, 176 pages (f) (ages 8 and up)
A new book by Christy Monson is a wonderful piece of fiction for young children. “Texting through Time: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle” is also a useful tool for parents who want to teach their youngsters about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the sacrifices of the early Mormon pioneers.
Alicia and Micah are young children with a fascination for church history. Their father recently developed a cell phone that allows people to travel through time. The children have already used this tool to visit Brigham Young in the first book it the series, and they tell their father they would like to use the phone this time to visit the prophet and third president of the LDS Church, President John Taylor.
Their father is skeptical at first because he has learned of a few glitches the phone has. He tells his kids he will go with them. But when the phone is activated, it only takes Alicia and Micah to England, the place where John Taylor was born.
Alicia and Micah meet John Taylor as a child. After playing war games with him and his friends, Alicia and Micah decide they should go home and see their father. The phone will not transport the children back home, however, until they finish a puzzle.
The puzzle makes the children travel throughout the entirety of President Taylor’s life. They go with him to Canada where he was a Methodist preacher. They also go to Nauvoo, Ill., after he was shot in Carthage Jail.
The most poignant part of the book comes when President Taylor describes the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith to Micah and Alicia. Children reading the book will not only understand the gravity of the situation, but they will appreciate Joseph Smith and his sacrifices on a much higher level.
The combination of time travel, cell phones and church history makes this book appealing to young children.
Monson does an excellent job intertwining scriptures into the book as well. The scriptures are placed in such a context that children will be able to understand them easily.
Monson is also the author of “Texting Through Time: A Trek with Brigham Young.” Her works have been published in multiple church magazines, as well.
Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

About this same time news came from England that the men who were to collect passage for the poor British Saints to come to America had squandered all the money. Brigham Young asked John, Parley P. Pratt and Orson Hyde to go to England to solve the problem.
Before he left, John made arrangements for his family to be taken care of until he could return. He would never forget how ill Leonora had been when he came back from his last mission.
When John arrived in Great Britain, one of the offenders fled to London; and the other men were severely reprimanded. John visited the Saints throughout the land and restored confidence in the Church. The people welcomed him with open arms, and the Saints in Wales gave him an ovation.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

When the company reached Council Bluffs and the Missouri River, the herd boys were assigned to drive the cattle and oxen across the river. John watched his son, George, and the other herd boys urge their horses up next to the bulls. Each boy leapt from his horse to the back of a bull, prodding it with a stick until the bull plunged into the river. Other boys whooped the rest of the herd into the water. As one of the boys leaped from one animal to another, he fell into the river among the bobbing animals. John strained to see the boy. Could he swim well enough to come up for air? Would he be kicked or trapped by the animals?
Soon the boy surfaced and pulled himself onto the back of a cow. Boys, John thought to himself, remembering his love of spirited horses as a youngster. John smiled with relief when everyone, including the cattle, reached the Nebraska side.7
After crossing the river, the Saints, under the direction of Brigham Young, established the settlement of Winter Quarters where the Saints could live undisturbed by mobs and persecution. Houses had to be built and grain planted while it was still summer. The Saints worked to prepare food and supplies for themselves and those pioneers that would follow for the trip west to the Rocky Mountains. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The snows of February chilled the Saints to the bone. The lumbering wagon train of bedraggled pioneers jolted across rough icy roads, along with their cattle and other animals, only to find conditions worsen as the weather warmed. Sleet and hail turned to rain in March and April. Slogging through mud, the soaking-wet Saints dug their wagons out of the mire and trudged on. May brought relief with warmer weather and drier trails.
John received word that the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple was scheduled for the first three days of May. Most of the Saints had already received the temple blessings and now traveled west. But John knew that before they could leave the temple in the hands of God, they must dedicate it to Him.
He left his family traveling across the plains and returned to Nauvoo by carriage for the meetings. “My feelings were very peculiar while standing in the font . . . and passing through the rooms, when I thought how the Saints had labored and strove to complete this building, and then be forced to leave it . . . in the hands of their enemies.”6 The temple was a gift and testimony of faith from the Saints to their God. After the dedication, John hurried to rejoin his family on the plains.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A ferry floated the wagons across the river. Joseph James, John’s youngest son, age 7, and his friend Rollo White took care of the animals on the flat boat that followed after the ferry. The flat boat began to tip and sink. Joseph James and the stock fell into the river. John paddled his small row boat toward his son, hurrying to pull him out of the water. Others helped rescue the animals. John rowed a shivering Joseph James safely to shore and told him to go stand near the bonfire to dry his wet clothes.
But where was Rollo White? He had been on the flat boat too. John scanned the water. Rollo was nowhere to be seen. From the Iowa shore, John climbed back into his craft to go look for the child. Someone on shore yelled that Rollo was safe. John found the boy dripping wet, huddling close by the fire. Breathing a sigh of relief, John knew there would be tragedy enough on the trip. He was thankful for Rollo’s safety. When the boat had begun to tip, Rollo’s dog, Tiger, jumped into the water. Rollo latched onto the dog’s tail and glided safely to shore. Tiger was the hero of the day.
Several days later as they traveled across Iowa, Tiger escaped into the woods. Rollo and Joseph James dodged after him because dogs were not allowed to run free. A loose barking dog could create chaos, scattering the sheep and small animals. John watched Milo White, Rollo’s father, run after the dog with his gun. Would he kill the dog? Soon there was a shot from the woods. John’s heart sank as he walked to meet the boys, hoping to comfort Joseph James. But Milo appeared, holding a large turkey. The boys and Tiger were at his side.
“A ram in the thicket!” Milo smiled, and went to work at once to make a leash for Tiger.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It was February of 1846, and John and his family were ready to leave. All the arrangements had been made – food gathered, wagons outfitted. John and his family drove down Parley Street for the last time. Leaving behind their beloved City of Nauvoo, they headed toward the Mississippi and a new life in the west. John glanced back with a heavy heart. He had walked away from a two-story brick house, with a store next to it. On the other side of his house was a new printing office he had helped build. Together the lot and buildings were worth about $10,000. He also left a 106 acre farm on the outskirts of town, along with another city lot.3 For the sake of the gospel, he could start again.
What sacrifice! Would we do the same today?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A second Texting Through Time book is here, John Taylor And The Mystery Puzzle. It’s a fast-paced quick read—fun for kids and the entire family.

As Micah and Alicia get to know John Taylor, they find he is faithful, courageous, prayerful and loving. They must solve a mystery puzzle about his life before they can return home. While hunting for the puzzle pieces, they land in France with a dead phone battery—and Micah is in a dress! What else can go wrong?

This was such a fun book to write. I enjoy doing the research. It’s a blessing for me to learn about our modern-day prophets.

I am honored that Mary Jane Woodger, BYU Faculty and editor of Champion of Liberty, John Taylor, has written a forward for my book. Maureen Smith, International President of the Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers has endorsed the book. And Mathew Buckley, author of Chickens in the Headlights, and Bullies in the Headlights has given it a thumbs-up.

If you like contests, be sure to join the book blast on November 13th. Order a book from Amazon and leave me a message on one of the following sites to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.

My book launch will be at the Ogden Temple Deseret Book Store on Friday, November 23rd from 2 – 3:30 pm. Join the fun. Come for refreshments and a fun signing.

Check the websites for other scheduled signings.

Friday, October 19, 2012

John continued to publish the Times and Seasons newspaper and equip his family for the trek west.

It was February of 1846, and John and his family were ready to leave. All the arrangements had been made – food gathered, wagons outfitted. John and his family drove down Parley Street for the last time. Leaving behind their beloved City of Nauvoo, they headed toward the Mississippi and a new life in the west. John glanced back with a heavy heart. He had walked away from a two-story brick house, with a store next to it. On the other side of his house was a new printing office he had helped build. Together the lot and buildings were worth about $10,000. He also left a 106 acre farm on the outskirts of town, along with another city lot. For the sake of the gospel, he could start again.

It was sad to leave all he had built. He left his whole life for the gospel's sake.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Establishing a Home in the West

How oft when they [Saints] have met together . . . has the spirit of revelation rested upon them, and the future been opened to their view in all its beauty.

Joseph, the Prophet, and his brother Hyrum were dead. Chaos reigned in the State of Illinois. Anti-Mormons called for the extermination of the Saints from the area. False accusations about the Saints hung over Nauvoo like an impending storm. Several groups sprang up, trying to usurp the leadership of the Church. Sidney Rigdon wanted to call himself the ‘guardian’ of the Church. Brigham Young addressed the Saints, telling them that the Twelve Apostles should lead the Church. After much preaching and discussion, and through prayerful consideration, the Saints voted to follow the Twelve.

Because of the constant persecution, the Saints knew they would be forced to leave Nauvoo for the west. Even as they built their wagons and packed their supplies, they continued to work on the temple. John worried the Saints would be unable to finish it before being driven from the state. On June 18, 1845 he wrote in his journal, “I dreamt that I stood by the temple and . . . saw that it was finished . . . and rejoiced.” This dream answered John’s prayers and relieved his fears about the temple. Heavenly Father would help them complete it. As soon as the building could be occupied, the Twelve worked day and night to give everyone an opportunity to receive the temple blessings that had been revealed to Joseph Smith. The Saints were eager for these gifts from God, and gratitude filled their hearts as they received this endowment from on high.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eliza R. Snow wrote of John:

To Elder John Taylor

Thou Chieftain of Zion! Henceforward thy name

Will be class’d with the martyrs and share in their fame;

Thro-ages eternal, of thee will be said,

With the greatest of prophets he suffer’d and bled.14

John experienced trials in Nauvoo – including the murder of his dear friend and leader, the Prophet Joseph, yet he never lost faith. Through the strength of his testimony, he always sided with the truth, working for righteousness.

With faith John bore his trials

Saturday, September 29, 2012

As John slowly recovered, he wrote of his friendship for the Prophet in poetry:

“The Seer, the Seer, Joseph the Seer!

I’ll sing of the Prophet ever dear;

His equal now cannot be found,

By searching the wide world around,

With Gods, he soared in the realms of day,

And men he taught the heavenly way.

The earthly Seer! The heavenly Seer!

I love to dwell on his memory dear;”

The Saints were grief-stricken. Confusion reigned. What would happen to the Church? Brigham Young would become their leader, but John was the last connection they had to the Prophet Joseph and the Saints revered him for it. Wilford Woodruff recorded this revelation in his journal: “While I [Heavenly Father] have taken my servants Joseph and Hyrum Smith unto myself, I have preserved my servant John Taylor for a wise purpose in me.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

John was so glad to be back in Nauvoo with the Saints. “I shall never forget the feelings of gratitude that I then experienced towards my Heavenly Father . . . the Lord had preserved me by a special act of mercy . . . I had still a work to perform upon the earth.”10

“I rejoice in afflictions; . . . and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers.”11 As a living martyr, John was with Joseph Smith during his last minutes on this earth.

John recorded the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hyrum in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 135: “To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. . . . Joseph . . . has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. . . . In life they [Joseph and Hyrum] were not divided, and in death they were not separated. . . . They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward.”

The spiritual strength of the poetic language of this scripture is felt in the hearts of people throughout the world. Many Saints know the verses by heart. Through the Spirit, the truthfulness of the message John recorded can be felt by all nations.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Leonora came that afternoon and brought Dr. Samuel Bennet to remove the ball in John’s hip. John wanted no whiskey as an anesthetic. He would bear the pain. In fact the cutting was a relief to the agony he suffered. The bullet near his knee remained the rest of his life.

Because of his wounds and loss of blood, John remained in Carthage for several days, unable to return to Nauvoo in a carriage or wagon. The pain would be too great. But he longed to return home. Carthage seemed a dangerous place. Would a mob kill him also?

The Saints didn’t attack Carthage so the people came back to their homes. They thought about keeping John as a hostage. If he was in Carthage, the Saints wouldn’t retaliate.

But John wanted to go home. Several men hooked a sleigh to the back of a wagon and laid John carefully on it. Sliding across the prairie grass with Leonora at his side filled him with thankfulness. He would be back with the people he loved.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Willard Richards, who was unharmed, dragged John into the next room and threw a dirty straw mattress over him, hoping to protect him.

John coughed at the dusty mattress covering him. What had just happened? Joseph’s body lay in the yard. Hyrum’s body rested peacefully in the next room. Pain wracked John’s knee and hip. His hand ached. Grief overwhelmed him.

The Prophet was dead. “I felt a dull lonely sickening sensation at the news. . . We [the Saints] were left alone.” How would the Church continue without Joseph? Was all lost?

The people of Carthage feared the Saints would retaliate. They fled their city. A few curious onlookers stayed behind, climbing the stairs of the jail to see the damage. One of them was a doctor. With no pain medication, he gouged the bullet out of John’s hand with a dull pen knife. John later called it “surgical butchery.”

Some of the people tried to move him to the Hamilton Hotel where he could be cared for, but he would not go. He feared for his life. After eight hours of anguish, he allowed himself to be moved. It was two in the morning. Colonel Jones of the Hancock County militia was kind to him. He stayed with John to protect him. When he had to leave John’s room, he left two loaded pistols on the table for him.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Angry cries broke the stillness. A mob with black axel-greased faces shouted obscenities, storming the jail. They fired through the door, killing Hyrum instantly. John rushed to hold the door shut. Crashing through the entry, the men smashed John against the wall and continued to fire their weapons. John fought back, deflecting the discharging guns with a cane as their muzzles came through the door.

“That’s right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can.” These were Joseph’s last words to John.

John ran for the open window, but a bullet struck his left leg near his knee. He fell onto the windowsill, hitting his pocket watch and throwing him back into the room. Bleeding, he dragged himself under the bed; bullets pierced his right thigh and his left hand.

The Prophet ran to the window. Did he do it to draw the gun fire away from his friends? Weapons fired on him from inside and outside the jail. Joseph Smith leaped from the window and was killed.

The mob left the jail, gathering outside.

Mobs sought to destroy the Church and thought that the best way would be to kill the Prophet. Angry men roamed the country, plotting the death of Joseph Smith. Fear filled the air.

Reluctantly, but of their own choice, Joseph and Hyrum Smith went to Carthage jail to be locked up. Irate groups gathered there, crying for the death of Joseph Smith. Governor Ford came to Carthage to try to smooth the situation. John met with the Governor on June 27, 1844, to see if he would protect Joseph and Hyrum, but the Governor felt the law should take its course. The hearing would be in two days. John felt helpless and frustrated.

On that same day John and Willard Richards waited with Joseph and Hyrum in Carthage Jail, looking toward the hearing on June 29. The afternoon felt muggy and oppressive. Heaviness weighed on John’s chest.

Hyrum asked John to sing “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” John sang – his rich, deep voice echoing through the prison with sadness lacing the melody.

“Sing it again,” Hyrum said.

John sighed. “Brother Hyrum, I do not feel like singing.”

“Oh, never mind; commence singing and you will get the spirit of it,” Hyrum replied.

John inhaled the sultry air and sang one more time, feeling an unexplained sorrow. The weight of the afternoon heat seemed unbearable.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

During the next few months opposition to the Church became bitter and angry. Harassment of the Mormons in Missouri had come from nonmembers of the Church, but much of the persecution in Nauvoo came from those who joined the Church and then had fallen away. Some of the apostates set up an anti-Mormon newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor. On June 7, 1944 the paper cruelly derided the Prophet and the Saints in Nauvoo.

The city council met in long sessions to decide what to do. Should they demolish the newspaper? They studied city codes to see what legal action they could take, using a famous English judge and jurist of the time, William Blackstone, as an authority. The council decided that if a newspaper slandered people, it could be considered a public nuisance and should be destroyed. Twenty presses in the State of Illinois had been dismantled in the last twenty years for the same reasons without any retaliation. The council also felt, if they didn’t take action, angry Mormons would probably tear down the press anyway, causing more problems. The Nauvoo Expositor was demolished.

Anti-Mormon outrage at the destruction of a free press called for the Saints to be driven from Illinois. Joseph sent word to the men on political missions, campaigning for his presidency, to return home. He also wrote to Governor Ford of Illinois, asking for help; but the governor did nothing.

Mobs threatened to destroy Nauvoo if Joseph and Hyrum were not put in jail. Joseph and Hyrum said they would go to Carthage to protect Nauvoo and the Saints, but they felt they had done nothing wrong. A hearing date was set.

In the early part of the day on June 24, Joseph, Hyrum and John Taylor with others paused at the temple site on their way to Carthage. Joseph said, “This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.”

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Joseph Smith met with the apostles to discuss the upcoming 1844 Presidential election and the course the Saints should take. Political candidates in the area knew the Mormons carried a large vote so they tried to persuade the Mormons to support their political views. If the Saints supported the Whigs, the Democrats were angry with them. If they supported the Democrats, the Whigs were upset. The Saints wanted to be free of the negative political badgering. They also wanted a candidate that wouldn’t allow them to be persecuted. When the Saints had asked President Martin Van Buren for help in Missouri, he had said, “Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”

The apostles urged the Prophet to run for President of the United States. So Joseph Smith, the Prophet, became a candidate for President. By this time, John was editor of both the Nauvoo Neighbor and the Times and Seasons newspapers. John’s enthusiasm for the Prophet’s candidacy spilled into his writing. He wrote editorials about Joseph in both newspapers. Because of John’s excellent writing skills, over forty-five newspapers in the United States printed some of the articles about the Prophet Joseph. John played a “pivotal role” in Joseph’s campaign. Many men, including all of the twelve, except John and Willard Richards, traveled to the East to campaign for the Prophet. Joseph gained popularity throughout the United States, and a lot of people learned about Mormonism.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

John didn’t neglect his civic responsibilities in Nauvoo. His election to the City Council, and appointment to be a member of the Board of Regents for the Nauvoo University, kept him very busy. He attained the rank of colonel in the Nauvoo Legion, and the Prophet also asked him to be the associate editor of the Times and Seasons newspaper.

John’s writing skills enabled him to present a timely outline of the Church’s stand on political issues, and put down negative arguments with literary style. The Saints also loved his humor. He told of a man who lost his leg and had an artificial one made. The limb was so precisely carved that when the man got his wooden foot wet, he came down with a cold.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Prophet revealed the principle of celestial marriage, instructing the apostles that marriage was not just until ‘death do you part,’ but ‘for time and all eternity.’ Included in the revelation was the instruction to practice polygamy (to marry more than one wife). John said, “I had always entertained strict ideas of virtue, and I felt as a married man that this was to me, outside of this principle, an appalling thing to do. Hence, nothing but a knowledge of . . . the revelations of God . . . could have induced me to embrace such a principle.” Reluctantly John obeyed the Prophet and entered into the practice.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

During the first few weeks of John’s return, he spent many hours with the Prophet and the apostles. The Joseph Smith designated John to write letters and redress the wrongs done to the Saints in Missouri.

John was not only close to the Prophet in civic and Church matters, but the Smith and Taylor families spent time together socially with other apostles and their wives. The Prophet Joseph recorded in his journal, January 1, 1844, “A large party took a New Year’s supper at my house, and had music and dancing till morning. I was in my private room with my family, Elder John Taylor and other friends.” February 6, 1844, the Prophet said, “I spent the evening with my brother, Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and the Twelve Apostles and their wives at Elder John Taylor’s.”

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Upon returning from England, John sailed with Heber C. Kimball down the Atlantic coast and up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo. “When we struck the dock,” Heber C. Kimball reported, “I think there were about 300 Saints there to meet us, and a greater manifestation of love and gladness I never saw before.”

John searched the crowd for Leonora but didn’t find her. Where was she? Why hadn’t she come to meet him? He crossed the river to the old army barracks where he’d left her. She lay sick in bed – close to death. John looked around the barracks. Dampness filled the dark dingy space. Leonora told him snakes, skunks and other small animals roamed the area, climbing in and out of cracks in the building. John shuddered. He felt heartsick that Leonora and the children had lived in such terrible circumstances while he enjoyed the labors of the mission field.

Calling some of the elders together, John blessed her. Immediately she started to recover. John began building a house on the corner of Parley Street in Nauvoo away from the river, and Leonora continued to get well.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Because of the persecution and problems the Church had in the United States, Joseph Smith counseled the apostles not to talk to the converts about coming to America. John wrote, “I find it difficult to keep anything from the Saints, for the Spirit of God reveals it to them.” Sister Mitchell dreamed that she and her husband were on a boat with a group of Saints. Others also wanted to leave their homes and families to join the Saints in the new world. Before John left to return to Nauvoo in May of 1841, he organized eight hundred converts into companies so that they could come to America.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

When John arrived in Liverpool, the city of his childhood, he and his companion, Joseph Fielding, spoke in many of the churches. Great opposition arose from some of the ministers. But John told them that the scripture in Revelation had been fulfilled. “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.” Several people believed his message and were baptized, and soon more and more joined the Church.

John also preached in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man (where Leonora grew up). The small towns in the countryside welcomed him, and those in the city listened to his message. He taught the poor and the rich – everyone who was interested in hearing the truth of the gospel.

John willingly met with ministers of all faiths to discuss the truths of the Bible. John loved to debate. He had a quick mind and was good at organizing a discussion. He knew the Bible so well that he understood any scripture someone had questions about.

Almost two years later when John and the other apostles returned to Liverpool to book passage home, eight thousand people had joined the Church. With the donations from the wealthy converts, the apostles had published the Book of Mormon so many could read its truths. They had also collected music for a hymn book, and John had written articles for the Millennial Star, a Church published newspaper.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

While in New York, Elder Pratt wanted to publish his Voice of Warning, and asked the others if they had any money. John said he had plenty of money. “If you could furnish me with two or three hundred dollars, I should be very much obliged,” Brother Pratt said. “You’re welcome to all I have.” John pulled a single penny from his pocket. “But – I thought you said you had plenty of money?” “Yes, and so I have. I am well clothed, you furnish me plenty to eat and good lodging. With all this and a penny over – is that not plenty?” John and Elder Pratt laughed together. Even though John knew he had to have money for the ship leaving for England in six days, he was not worried. He prayed that the Lord would provide. “How will you get the money,” Elder Woodruff asked. “Oh, there will be no difficulty about that. Go and take a passage for me . . . and I will furnish you the means.” John received the money just in time to sail to England, fifteen dollars for steerage passage which was the way poor immigrants travelled – in an open section of the hull below the lower deck with no privacy, no bedding, the stench of being with many people in close quarters, and only the clothes he brought with him.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

John couldn’t keep anything in his stomach. Day after day his flu-like symptoms became worse. He lost weight until he looked like a skeleton. Discouraged, John felt death approaching. But he knew Heavenly Father wanted him to serve a mission to his homeland. With faith John prayed that he might get well. Trusting in the Lord, he was determined to recover. His prayers were answered little by little. He never complained, and each day he felt a bit stronger. After about five weeks, John was able to travel to New York.9 Gratitude filled his heart. Only a few days before the apostles were to sail for England, John made his way through the city and knocked on the missionaries’ door. They received him with great joy. Through faith and prayers he was healed and ready to serve the Lord.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Missionary Trials

Back in Quincy, Illinois, John prepared to leave for the east. The only place he could find for Leonora and the children to live was an old army barracks on the banks of the Mississippi River. It was run down, cold and dreary. Wishing he could leave them with a nice home and better surroundings, but knowing there was no time to do that, he blessed his wife and children and left. John and Wilford Woodruff began their missionary journey on August 8. On the way out of town they met Parley P. Pratt and Heber C. Kimball who were building a log house. Brother Pratt gave John an empty purse to take on his mission because it was all he had. Brother Kimball only had a dollar to put in it. John and Elder Woodruff got as far as Germantown, Pennsylvania, and became very ill. John was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed. Elder Woodruff was in poor health, but he would be able to travel, so John told him to go on ahead. Better to leave one sick man behind than two, John reasoned. Elder Woodruff gave John a blessing--left him to the Lord, and headed for New York.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Dangerous Beginning

On April 25 he met the other apostles, and they slipped quietly into the shells of the empty houses damaged by the mobs. They would camp there for the night. After dark Heber C. Kimball came to tell them that Joseph had escaped from Liberty Jail and was on his way to Illinois. John was so ecstatic with joy that he could hardly sleep. The Prophet was alive and free! He thanked God for that blessing. Soon it was after midnight, April 26, the day the prophecy was to be fulfilled. Stars shed meager light on the group as they made their way to the temple site. John and the apostles, along with about thirty others, huddled together against the chill of the clear, cold night. Their breath hung in faint clouds in the open air. Scanning the horizon for members of the mob, they laid the corner stone of the temple, according to revelation. All was quiet. Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were ordained apostles. The group was on guard – still no mob. They sang a hymn. Was it too loud? Did the Missourians hear? All was quiet. The meeting ended, and the apostles breathed a sigh of relief, thanking God for their protection. They had come back into enemy territory in the shadow of night and the Lord had watched over them as John knew He would. With a silent prayer of gratitude for the blessings of this sacred night, John began to retrace his steps toward Illinois, in the direction of Great Britain, his homeland and the mission field.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Missouri Devastation

At the beginning of April, 1839, the apostles decided not to go as a group; they traveled to Far West by different routes so they wouldn’t attract the attention of the mob. As John said good-bye to Leonora, he knew the dangers he could possibly face. Would he see his beloved wife and children again? He put himself in the hands of the Lord. During the trip, John watched for danger, knowing the Missourians could attack at any time, but he felt the Lord protecting him. Along the way they passed many Saints still struggling toward Illinois. John was devastated when he saw the destruction in Far West. Houses had been ransacked, leaving only empty shells. His hurt turned to anger as he thought of the suffering the Saints had endured at the hands of the mob.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Congratulations to Cathy. She's the winner of Texting Through Time. Thanks to everyone for following. Christy

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Welcome to Prophets In Person where each Saturday a new post contains an incident from a modern-day prophet's life. Check first posts to find a history of Brigham Young. Read more recent posts to find the story of John Taylor. Welcome to the blog hop. To enter the contest: 1. Follow this blog 2. Leave a short comment You are entered to win Texting Through Time! It's a great summer read! Good Luck! Thanks for the follow! Christy

Monday, May 7, 2012

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

John Taylor: A Mission to Great Britain

I have come five thousand miles without purse or scrip, and I testify to you . . . that the Lord has revealed Himself from heaven. John looked forward to missionary service, and he was eager to share the gospel. He said, “I feel the word of the Lord like fire in my bones.” The Lord gave a revelation to Joseph Smith, saying that the apostles were to serve a mission to Great Britain. They were to leave from Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1839. It was the first of the year, 1839; all the apostles and their families had been driven out of Missouri and fled to Illinois. The Missouri mob heard about this revelation and was determined to keep it from being fulfilled. The apostles knew there would be trouble if they returned. Some of the brethren suggested they start from Illinois and not Missouri where they had suffered persecutions. John knew he needed to fulfill the prophecy made by Joseph Smith. So, obedient to Heavenly Father’s will and with faith that the Lord would protect him, he decided he must return to Far West. The other apostles decided to go also.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

John Taylor: Missouri Exodus

Before John left Missouri with his family, he went to visit the Prophet in Liberty jail. Leonora made a basket of food for the prisoners. The jailer told John he couldn’t see the inmates. But John gave the guards an apple pie that Leonora sent to thank them for their care of the prisoners. John talked with the guards as they ate the pie. Soon the guards decided John could visit with the prisoners and give them the food Leonora had sent. The jailer opened the cell and let John in. The stink in the darkened room was almost unbearable. “The room was heavy with smoke; the tiny stove . . . had little draft. Beds were mounds of moldy straw on the floor; sanitary facilities consisted of a pitcher, basin, and reeking commode. Confined in this dank room, fourteen feet square, was the presidency of the restored church of Christ, Joseph, Hyrum and Sidney . . . [along with] Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRae.”15 The prisoners thanked John for the food; and John left, saddened, not knowing if he would ever see the Prophet again. With a heavy heart, filled with prayers for the Prophet, John took his family to Illinois. Heavenly Father used John’s leadership and speaking skills to further His work on the earth. John was obedient and faithful to the callings he was given, and he loved and defended the Prophet Joseph Smith. With faith, John became an apostle of the Lord

Monday, April 23, 2012

John stopped for a couple of months near Indianapolis, Indiana, so that Leonora could have their baby, a second son. John worked during that time, building furniture and making a carriage for the family. By the time they arrived in Missouri, violent mobs harassed the Saints daily. The Prophet Joseph was captured and sent to Liberty Jail. The Prophet knew John was a gifted writer and asked John to help compose a statement about the persecution of the Mormons. John did so. But when it was given to President Van Buren, he did nothing. Governor Boggs of the State of Missouri paid no heed to the message either. At Joseph’s request, John was ordained an apostle by Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball on December 19, 1838, while Joseph was still in jail. Of his calling, John said, “I felt my own weakness and littleness; but I felt determined, the Lord being my helper, to endeavor to magnify it.” Mobs continued to persecute the Saints so Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball led 11,000 Mormons back across the Mississippi River to Illinois and safety.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

At Season's End, a Five Star Read

At Season's End
There was Paw in the lead goin’ as hard as he could, then Maw, Tim next, and me tryin’ to catch up knowin’ they must all be crazy. Even the river didn’t stop Paw. Clothes and all, he jumped into the whirlin’, swirlin’ waters of the great Columbia.

At this Maw let out a scream. Mebby she thought Paw was goin’ to end it all. Then Tim yelled, “Oh, no, Paw!” But I was too surprised and scared to say anythin’.

I suppose it was just a second or two, but it seemed like minutes before he came up again to show us he had two heads and four arms. Then the mighty water turned him over to prove he had four legs. That was when we realized Paw was holdin’ on for dear life to a young drownin’ boy.

Hit hard by the Great Depression, Sal’s family loads up an old Buick and heads out to find work wherever they can. Driving from place to place, living off the little they can make, they soon realize they’ll never be able to afford to settle down again.

Then, when tragedy strikes, Sal and her brother must learn to fend for themselves. In a world of harsh realities, there’s no room left for romance. But that can’t stop Sal from dreaming of a life with Ben—a boy from another migrant family—even though she knows she may never see him again.

This heartwarming story about growing up in a troubled time is sure to resonate with modern readers of all ages.

Eric Hendershot, a writer/director has produced several family friendly films and documentaries. Season of Hope is one of the most heart-warming stories I’ve read in a long time. Hendershot’s writing style is smooth and engaging. His character development is superb as this family goes from hilarity to tragedy as the pages slip by. The book is engaging and a fun easy read.

Paw and Maw become migrant workers during the great depression. They, along with their children Tim and Sal, create an old-fashioned family filled with kindness and morality.

Trouble devastates this family, and Tim and Sal learn to live by their wits. Will Sal ever see Ben, the boy she truly loves again? Odds are against it.

I highly recommend this read.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tar and Feathers

John and his family, along with many of the Canadian members, decided to gather with the body of the Saints in Kirtland. When they arrived, they found many members apostatizing from the church. The faithful Saints were moving to Missouri, so John and the group he traveled with continued toward Missouri from Kirtland.

During their journey, they stopped in a little town near Columbus, Ohio. On the Sabbath the company asked John to preach. With no building available he found a place to teach the people outside in the open air. Everyone eagerly awaited his message. Just before the meeting began, some of the brethren informed John that a mob would tar and feather him if he preached. It wasn’t just a rumor; they had seen the tar and feathers. John said he would speak anyway. The others feared for John because they didn’t have the strength to protect him.

At the designated hour, the Saints gathered along with townspeople and members of the mob. John stood up to speak. He began, “Gentlemen, I now stand among men whose fathers fought for . . . the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. . . They nobly fought and nobly conquered; . . . and the flag of freedom waves from Wisconsin to Louisiana – from Maine to Missouri. . . . Gentlemen, with you liberty is more than a name. . . By the by, I have been informed that you purpose to tar and feather me, for my religious opinions. . . . Is this the blessing they [your forefathers] purchased with their dearest hearts’ blood . . . ? If so, you now have a victim.”

John ripped his vest open and said, “Gentlemen come on with your tar and feathers, your victim is ready.” Everyone was quiet. Not a sound could be heard. After a few moments of silence, John began to preach, giving a message about the restoration of the Church. When he finished speaking, the people of the town complimented him on his address, and he and the other Saints continued their journey. Those who would have tarred and feathered him slunk into the background.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

John Taylor, An Apostle of the Lord

The next day John and the people he came with left Kirtland to return to Canada. On the way, they stopped at Niagara Falls. Amidst the grandeur of the beautiful falls, John was filled with the Spirit, and knew he would be called as one of the Twelve Apostles of the Church. It would be over a year before the calling came, and at times John wondered if this revelation was really from the Lord. However, he kept the knowledge close to his heart. The Lord had given him revelation before, and it had come to pass. He would faithfully follow the path that Heavenly Father had set for him.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Faithful follower of Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith was out of town, and the meeting began with some of the brethren saying negative things about the Prophet Joseph. Soon a fight started. John quickly helped Emma Smith, Joseph’s wife, and their children gather their things and leave. John returned to the scuffle, which was quickly over. John rose from the ruckus, straightened his jacket, held his head high, and with majesty walked to the pulpit. Everyone watched him. He defended the Prophet, bearing testimony of the truth that had been revealed through Joseph Smith. The faithful members in the audience listened and agreed.

John was glad that the majority of the Saints in the meeting were still loyal to the Prophet. “I rejoiced to see the firmness, faith, integrity and joy of the faithful.” From then on, John became known as the ‘defender of the faith.’

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Loyalty to Joseph Smith

Shortly after arriving in Kirtland, John found a lot of quarreling among the members of the Church. He was stunned to find people saying bad things about the Prophet Joseph.

When he heard Brother Parley Pratt was among the dissenters, he was upset. John rebuked him, “Now Brother Parley, it is not man that I am following, but the Lord. The principles that you taught me led me to Him and now I have the same testimony that you then rejoiced in. If the work was true six months ago, it is true today. If Joseph Smith was then a prophet, he is now a prophet.”4 Brother Pratt repented and sought forgiveness of the Prophet Joseph, feeling sorry for the things he said. Joseph forgave him, and he again returned to the Lord’s service.

John attended a church gathering in the Kirtland Temple. He was excited to be in the building because he had heard many wonderful stories of angels and heavenly messengers being present at the dedication of the temple. Would there be angelic visitors today, he wondered?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

An Apostle of the Lord, Defender of the Faith

Go, ye messengers of glory;

Run, ye legates of the skies;

Go, and tell the pleasing story,

That a glorious angel flies,

Great and mighty.

With a message from the skies.

In 1836 after his baptism and ordination to the priesthood, John was called to preside over the churches in Canada. John wanted to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith, so the next year in March of 1837 he visited Kirtland. Joseph welcomed John into his home. When he first took Joseph’s hand in greeting, John said “a charge like an electrical shock” went through him.

John treasured the time he spent with the Prophet Joseph. Both men had prayerfully sought religious truth in their lives; both loved learning and discussing spiritual truths. As their friendship deepened, their respect and admiration for each other grew.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

John Taylor, Converter of Souls

Soon he was ordained an Elder, and he began preaching the gospel just as he knew he would. This was the message God wanted him to share with others. John helped convert Mary Fielding to the Mormon Church. She was to become the wife of Hyrum Smith, and mother of Joseph F. Smith, apostle of the Lord and sixth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph F. Smith would also be John’s counselor when John was President of the Church.

From his childhood, John knew God had a purpose for him. Because of this knowledge, John lived close to Heavenly Father so he would be able to find the truth. As he listened to the Holy Ghost, studied carefully and prayed, John learned that the message of the gospel was true. Even though he would have many trials and hardships in his life, he never doubted.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Elder Parley P. Pratt's mission

Even though John loved teaching about Christ in the Methodist Church, he knew that there was something more he was to preach about. He and the people of his study group examined the Bible carefully. They wanted to find a religion that had apostles, prophets and the gift of the Holy Ghost – exactly the same organization Jesus had set up when He was on the earth. The study group fasted and prayed that God would help them, believing that the true church should have all the blessings Christ gave the early Saints.

The Methodist weren’t happy with this study group. The ministers told the study group that they could still be Methodists, but they couldn’t preach any more. The group continued to meet and fast and pray.

Elder Parley P. Pratt was called on a mission to Canada. Before he left, Heber C. Kimball blessed Elder Pratt that on his mission, “Many [would be] be brought to the knowledge of the truth . . . and from the things growing out of this mission, shall the fullness of the gospel spread into England.”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Leonora Cannon

Leonora Cannon, a pretty English lady, belonged to the same church study group John did. Leonora had grown up in a privileged family and was chosen to be a companion to the wife of Lord Aylmer, Governor General of Canada. As companion to the governor’s wife, she had attended many social events of the upper class society of Canada. She was refined, very religious and well educated. She and John became friends and enjoyed talking about the Bible. John fell in love with her and asked her to marry him, but Leonora said no. She knew John would always work for a religious cause and wondered if she really wanted that kind of life. Besides, he was twelve years younger than she was.

John was disappointed; age and rank in society didn’t matter to him. He still saw Leonora at study group; she was beautiful. However, a short time later, Leonora had a dream where she saw herself with John. She knew the message came from God. Their courtship blossomed. John was in love and so was she. They were married January 28, 1833.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coming to America

Finally at the age of twenty-four, John was ready to leave for Canada. He heaved his trunk up on the ship’s deck and stood the near the railing. The crowd on the dock hunched their shoulders against the wind. Dark clouds blanketed the sky. As his vessel sailed out to sea, a great storm arose. Several boats were dashed to pieces in fierce winds, and the crew of John’s ship prepared for their craft to go down any minute. But John wasn’t worried. He knew Heavenly Father wanted him to preach the gospel in America. He had faith he would arrive safely.

John climbed onto the deck at midnight. Lightning crackled, shattering the sky with brightness. Rain and cold pelted him. The wind ripped at his clothes. Everyone else was afraid. But John said, “I felt as calm as though I was sitting in the parlor at home. I believed I should reach America and perform my work.”

Weeks later, John landed safely in New York harbor and then made his way to Toronto, Canada, where his parents lived. There he joined the Methodist Church and began to preach about Christ.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

John Taylor comes to America

Preaching in America

I . . . believe in a religion . . . that I can live for or die for. . . . I would rather have God for my friend than all other influences and powers.

John finished his apprenticeship and came back to Hale to begin a furniture-making business. But in 1830 John’s parents decided to join many British citizens who were leaving England to start a new life in Canada. John’s father asked him to stay behind to settle the family business, which took him almost two years. John was disappointed because he was anxious to go to America, but he wanted to help his father so he stayed behind.

Finally at the age of twenty-four, John was ready to leave for Canada.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

John Taylor's First Missionary Efforts

John’s zeal for missionary work extended beyond the youthful prayer group and long before he joined the Church. He became friends with an older gentleman who had a critical wife. The man attended church and prayed to be able to endure. When the man’s wife died, he married a kind woman who was easy to live with. Soon the man forgot the Lord and spent his time in the pubs, drinking heavily. John called him to repentance. The man felt ashamed and began to attend church again. He didn’t drink any more.

Because of John’s understanding of the Bible and his ability to preach, he was called as a local minister in a town several miles from Penrith. This was a great honor and responsibility for he was only seventeen and still working as an apprentice to a furniture maker. One Sunday while he and a fellow church member walked toward the town where he was to preach, John stopped on the road and told his companion, “I have a strong impression that I have to go to America to preach the gospel!” From that time on, John looked forward to life in the Americas.

Contest Winner

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

John Taylor, the Writer

John developed a poetical gift early in his life. He wrote about “water nymphs playing with the clouds on mountain tops, frolicking with the snow and rain in rugged gorges, coquetting (flirting) with the sun and dancing to the sheen of the moon.”

Studying the Bible with great earnestness and searching for religious truth became a quest of John’s youth. At the age of sixteen, he left the Church of England to join the Methodists because he liked the commitment they showed to their faith and their emphasis on prayer. He prayed constantly in his heart.

Beautiful music played frequently in John’s head. “Often when alone, and sometimes in company, I heard sweet, soft, melodious music as if performed by angelic or supernatural beings.” He felt like he was never alone. God was leading him, teaching him as he studied about Christ. At times he saw “dreams and visions.”

John talked a group of friends into joining him in the fields each day for prayer. They came a few times but eventually quit. John was disappointed, but he soon turned his enthusiasm for religion to preaching to his friends about living a good Christian life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

John Taylor's Youth

When he was fourteen, his father sent him to Liverpool as an apprentice to a cooper where he learned to make barrels. But the business failed within a year, and John came back home only to be sent to Penrith, a town further north in the Lakes District. There he was apprenticed to make furniture.

This new country was beautiful. Lush green woods surrounded the lakes nestled among rolling hills and green fields. Druid ruins (priestly shrines), timeworn and disintegrating among the trees, begged to be investigated by a young boy. As John tramped the forest, he found the place where the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table began.

Exploring brought him to the tall stone Pele towers that stood as lookouts, built to resist the plundering Scots of ages past. The ground floor of each tower housed animals. The kitchen was on the second floor, and the soldiers slept on the third level. A flat roof with protective battlement slits provided a place for the soldiers to launch their arrows.

Investigating the ruins, swimming in the lakes, and hiking the woods and the back roads gave John time to think about life and decide what he was to become. The splendor of his surroundings and the ancient ruins inspired and refined him.

John also loved to read. He studied the writers of his day. British literature abounded with great authors like Milton, Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott.

William Wordsworth, one of the great poets of his day, wrote about the worth of the soul.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:

The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,

Hath had elsewhere its setting,

And cometh from afar:

Not in entire forgetfulness,

And not in utter nakedness,

But trailing clouds of glory do we come

From God, who is our home: