If Elder Brian K. Taylor and his wife, Sister Jill Taylor were to pick a headline phrase for their lives, it would be “Following the living prophets of God.”
“It reverberates in our hearts and minds,” said Elder Taylor, who was sustained at the recent April general conference as a General Authority Seventy.
Sister Taylor said it stems from what they were taught by their parents from childhood. “Setting goals and long-term plans for themselves, they determined that would be the pattern for their lives.”
Elder Taylor, a northern Utah native, was born in Ogden but grew up in Kaysville, the fourth of five children born to Lowell Moon and Marie King Taylor. He and his brothers were reared in a home in which love of the gospel, fishing and sports were the order of the day.
In fact, the propensity to throw down a challenge played a role in the motivation that Elder Taylor and his eldest brother, Craig, had to be missionaries.
“He had a basketball scholarship at Utah State University, and he was trying to decide whether to serve a mission or stay home and continue to play basketball up there,” recalled Elder Taylor.
“I remember it just kind of came out of my mouth one night at dinner: I said, ‘Hey, if you go on a mission, I’ll go on a mission.’ It affected him a lot, I guess, though I didn’t know it at the time. But he decided to go, so I kept my promise.”
His service in the Spain Seville Mission was “a life-transforming experience.”
Upon his return, he enrolled at Brigham Young University, where his athletic prowess and quick reflexes earned him a spot on the basketball team.
Those reflexes also had something to do with his meeting Jill Featherstone, a BYU student who would become his wife.
She was teaching the Sunday School gospel doctrine class in one of the student wards. Impressed by her, Brian’s brother invited him to visit her class to meet her.
Brian already knew her father, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone, a General Authority Seventy who had been an ardent BYU sports fan.
“I had met him a few times before going on my mission, and he had always been really kind to me, but I didn’t know he had a daughter,” Elder Taylor recalled. In fact, she was the only daughter in a family of seven children belonging to Elder Featherstone, now an emeritus General Authority, and his wife, Sister Merlene Featherstone.
Regarding that Sunday School class when they met, Sister Taylor recalls that the course for the year was the Old Testament, and she felt intimidated teaching a class full of returned missionaries, not having served a mission herself.
“To help ease the tension and my own nerves, I would bring a basket of ‘fun-size’ Snickers bars to class — the kind you give out at Halloween — to try to get some interaction in the class. If a class member answered a question correctly, I would toss him or her a candy bar.”
One of the correct answers was given by Brian Taylor.
“So I tossed him the Snickers, and he caught it and, in the same motion, just tossed it right back up to me,” Sister Taylor recalled.
“I can’t believe I did that; it just happened,” he said.
She caught the candy bar. He said, “I’ll trade this in for a tennis date instead.”
It caught her off guard, but she just continued on with the lesson.
“I was persistent,” he recalled. “I had to ask a few times and use every missionary skill I had, but she finally said yes.”
A romance blossomed, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on April 30, 1987, after Brian asked Elder Featherstone for permission to ask his only daughter for her hand in marriage. One day, he would follow in his future father-in-law’s footsteps as a General Authority.
On the basketball squad, Elder Taylor’s teammate from 1982-1984 was Devin Durrant. Elder Taylor joked that his job and that of the other teammates was to pass the ball to Brother Durrant, the all-star forward. Today, they are again teammates of a sort, this time as associates in the general leadership of the Church, where Brother Durrant serves as first counselor in the Sunday School general presidency.
Elder Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, but his aim was to have his own business. This he accomplished a number of times.
In one of these ventures, he and a close friend, a computer software developer, marketed a computer application to the 9-1-1 emergency public safety profession. It facilitated what is called interoperability between police, fire and other entities, including some federal agencies. With the technology, the agencies could share computer data in any format.
On one occasion, an 11-year-old girl in Minnesota had been abducted. There was word that the suspect was headed for Utah, so the message went out to law enforcement agencies nationwide via the new computer app. As a result, a highway patrol officer in Heber spotted the vehicle and apprehended the suspect. The software had only been deployed 10 days at the time. The officer credited the business partners with helping save the girl’s life.
Along life’s journey, the Taylors have reared seven children. The four eldest are married. A daughter and son have been with their parents as they are concluding their service in the Texas Dallas Mission, where Elder Taylor presides.
“We have witnessed what we call the miracle of a mission,” he said. “this change, this transformation in missionaries’ lives as they come unto Christ and as they invite others to come unto Christ.”
The mission, he said, is the hardest thing they have done in their lives. “We like to say that hard equals holy.”
Family: Born April 15, 1964, in Ogden, Utah, to Lowell Moon and Marie King Taylor. Married Jill Featherstone in the Salt Lake Temple on April 30, 1987; seven children and six grandchildren.
Education: Received bachelor of arts degree in Spanish from Brigham Young University.
Employment: Co-founder and CEO of FATPOT (For All the People of the World) Technologies; Partner in Rockwell Tic.
Church service: President of Texas Dallas Mission; former institute teacher, bishopric counselor, high councilor, ward Young Men president, stake president, missionary in Spain Seville Mission.