Faithful search led John Taylor to true Church

John Taylor was a friend to God, to Joseph Smith, to all of the Brethren, to the people and to himself, Leon Hartshorn said at the Sons of Utah Pioneers Mormon History Symposium.

Acknowledging that President Taylor is best remembered for being with Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail during their martyrdom, Brother Hartshorn said, "I like to see what a person did before and after he walked on center stage."Often the real service takes place "off center stage," he added, where a person's actions are not as well noticed or remembered. Such was the case with John Taylor.

The strength of his character was illustrated, Brother Hartshorn said, when the gospel was first introduced to John Taylor at a meeting conducted by Parley P. Pratt in Toronto, Ontario.

As recounted in The Life of John Taylor by B. H. Roberts, John Taylor addressed the assembly and said: "We are here, ostensibly in search of truth. Hitherto we have fully investigated other creeds and doctrines and proven them false. Why should we fear to investigate Mormonism? This gentleman, Mr. Pratt has brought to us many doctrines that correspond with our own views. We have endured a great deal and made many sacrifices for our religious convictions. We have prayed to God to send us a messenger, if He has a true Church on earth. . . . I desire to investigate his doctrines and claims to authority; and shall be very glad if some of my friends will unite with me in this investigation. But if no one will unite with me, be assured I shall make the investigation alone. If I find his religion true, I shall accept it, no matter what the consequences may be; and if false, then I shall expose it."

Brother Hartshorn commented: "He doesn't walk away. He wants to do the right thing before he goes on his way."

At another time, John Taylor, who was the third president of the Church, said of Mormonism that initially he almost hoped it was not true because it could cost him his life, Brother Hartshorn noted. President Taylor said, "I had counted the cost and stood prepared to meet it."

"The facts are with John Taylor, that's true," Brother Hartshorn remarked. "He just doesn't falter, no matter what the circumstances are."

Additional Information

-The martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith was the theme of the second annual Mormon history symposium sponsored Nov. 12 by the National Society of the Sons of the Utah Pioneers.

-Speakers were Larry Porter, Keith Perkins and Leon Hartshorn, all BYU religion professors with specialties in Church history and doctrine. Reports of their presentations are on this page.

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