Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

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

Congratulations to Kirsten, winner of a Texting Through Time Book.

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: