John Taylor, Adopted Son of America
Casey Paul Griffiths, “John Taylor, Adopted Son of America,” in Champion of Liberty: John Taylor, ed. Mary Jane Woodger (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009), 1–20.
Casey Paul Griffiths was a seminary teacher in Sandy, Utah, when this was published.
Less than five years after his arrival in the New World and only months after moving his family to American soil, John Taylor found himself face to face with a mob. The local Church members near Columbus, Ohio, had warned Taylor of the mob’s intentions to tar and feather him if he insisted on preaching in the open air that night. Despite their pleas, Taylor chose to keep his appointment. When he arrived and found himself confronted by the ruffians, Taylor—at the time still an English citizen—proceeded to deliver a lecture on their heritage as Americans: “Gentlemen, I now stand among men whose fathers fought for and obtained one of the greatest blessings ever conferred upon the human family—the right to think, to speak, to write; the right to say who shall govern them, and the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences—all of them sacred, human rights, and now guaranteed by the American Constitution. I see around me the sons of those noble sires.”
Taylor then described how the flag of liberty which hung over them was a beacon of light and hope to the oppressed peoples of the world, how in America, “liberty is more than a name.” He spoke of his admiration of their system, how the word liberty fell from the tongue of the highest official in government to the lowliest infant, how it saturated the land so much that the very breeze seemed to whisper it. Then this upstart foreigner went ahead and launched into a firm rebuke of these sons of liberty: “I have been informed that you purpose to tar and feather me, for my religious opinions. Is this the boon you have inherited from your fathers? Is this the blessing they have purchased with their dearest hearts’ blood—this your liberty? If so, you now have a victim, and we will have an offering to the goddess of liberty.” He then dramatically tore open his vest, shouting, “Your victim is ready; and ye shades of the venerable patriots, gaze upon the deeds of your degenerate sons!” The crowd, stung to the core by this rebuke, put their tar and feathers away and listened to Taylor preach for the next three hours.
Perhaps no other incident captures as well the paradoxical relationship John Taylor experienced with his adopted homeland of America. As the only Church President born and reared on foreign soil, Taylor had a complex relationship with his new country. On the one hand, Taylor heard and heeded a divine call to come to this land as a youth. Throughout his life he praised and espoused the ideals of American liberty. Of his own choice he applied for American citizenship in 1849 and served actively in governmental positions. At the same time, he felt an intense disgust at the injustices his people suffered in a place where religious freedom was supposed to be the law of the land. As a Church member he would suffer severe persecution at the hands of his fellow American citizens. During his administration as Church President, he would suffer the worst storm of government-sponsored persecution the Church has yet endured. Branded the “Champion of Liberty” by his own people, he would finally die an exile, hunted by the very government he had sought citizenship from. His writings and speeches show a profound love for the ideal and institutions of the United States, coupled with an intense frustration at how the American people and government treated the people of his faith. First and foremost, he was a citizen of the kingdom of God, but he saw the ideals of the American system of government as a divinely inspired stepping-stone to the institution of that kingdom on the earth.
John Taylor was born in Milnthorpe, England, in 1808. For the first two decades of his life, he followed a traditional English trajectory, being raised in the doctrines of the Church of England and apprenticed as a cooper at the age of fourteen. By sixteen he had become dissatisfied with the teachings of his native church and joined the Methodists. Anxious to seek out the truth, he devoted many hours to prayer and scripture study and eventually became a Methodist “exhorter,” or preacher. It was during this time that he felt the first stirrings of a call to come to a new land. Traveling with a companion, he abruptly stopped in the middle of a road and remarked, “I have a strong impression on my mind, that I have to go to America to preach the gospel!” He knew almost nothing about this new country but could not shake off the impression. Two years later he found himself standing on the deck of a ship in the midst of a severe ocean storm. Panic had gripped even the ship’s captain and officers, but Taylor found himself absolutely certain of the outcome of the journey: “So confident was I of my destiny that I went on deck at midnight, and amidst the raging elements felt as calm as though I was sitting in a parlor at home. I believed I should reach America and perform my work.”
Making his first home in the new world in Toronto, Canada, Taylor set about preaching on behalf of the Methodists but soon felt as if he wasn’t yet fulfilling his call to preach the gospel in America. It was during this vital time that he met an American missionary, Parley P. Pratt, and found his true calling as a minister of the restored gospel. For a time Taylor served as a presiding officer among the branches of the Church in Canada, but it wasn’t long before he was called to serve nearer to the American headquarters of the Church. From that time on, Taylor’s fate and the American nation would be intertwined.
Less than a year after his baptism, Taylor found himself shaking hands with the prophet of the Lord, Joseph Smith. Upon his arrival to the United States, he found the Church at Kirtland in the grips of apostasy. He even had to rebuke and assist back to the fold his mentor, Parley P. Pratt, who had fallen into the spirit of darkness. At a meeting of apostates in the Kirtland Temple, Taylor rose and boldly defended the Prophet, but the tide of discontent and apostasy in the city would not be stemmed. Such was Taylor’s first experience with an American branch of the Church.
Taylor’s subsequent experiences with American life were no more positive. Called by revelation to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve, he organized a caravan of Canadian Saints to go to Far West, where the Prophet had relocated. Along the way, Taylor fearlessly proclaimed the gospel at every chance, sometimes exciting the ire of the local citizenry. Just outside Columbus, Ohio, he met and subdued the mob mentioned earlier, and as he arrived in the promised Zion of Missouri he found himself purchasing arms to protect his family. Injured in a wagon accident on the trip, Taylor later described his feelings in this moment: “I had no [weapons], and heretofore considered that I needed none in a Christian, civilized land; but I found I had been laboring under a mistake. . . . I therefore threw off the sling and bandages from my lame arm, suppressed my repugnance to fighting, borrowed a gun, bought a brace of pistols, and prepared myself at least for defensive measures.”
Arriving in Far West, the Taylors found themselves thrust into the maelstrom of the most severe persecutions the Church had yet experienced. The frequent violence disturbed Taylor, but he was particularly horrified to see such acts take place in a land that proclaimed freedom. Years later he would recall seeing an aged veteran of the Revolution beaten senseless by the mobbers. Moved deeply, Taylor recalled the old man “lay quivering there, his white locks clotted with his own brains and gore, on the soil he that had heretofore shed his blood to redeem—a sacrifice at the shrine of liberty!” In light of such brutality, it is remarkable that Taylor retained his hope for the promises of liberty this new land offered. While he found fault in the people of the United States, he found no fault in the ideals of America. Taylor felt strongly that the ideals of the Revolution had been forgotten and perverted by the those who were persecuting the Saints.
As the Church regrouped in Nauvoo, Taylor’s powerful voice became an important weapon in the fight to prevent another confrontation between the Saints and their neighbors. He served a mission to his native land and, upon his return home, continued to protect the rights of the Saints. He played an important role in the 1844 presidential campaign of Joseph Smith. Even though the Prophet’s chances of victory were slim, Taylor reasoned that “if we have to throw away our votes, we had better do so upon a worthy, rather than upon an unworthy individual, who might make use of the weapon we put in his hand to destroy us.” As editor of the Church newspapers in Nauvoo, Taylor sought to remind the people of their legacy as Americans:
We as republicans, look back to the time when this nation was under the iron rule of Great Britain, and groaned under the power, tyranny and oppression of that powerful nation. We trace with delight, the name of a Washington, a Jefferson, a La Fayette and an Adams, in whose bosoms burnt the spark of liberty. . . . But where are now those principles of freedom? Where the laws that protect all men in their religious opinions? . . . I speak of this government as being one of the best of governments, as one of the greatest, purest, and yet, what a melancholy picture.
Only a few weeks after making this statement, Taylor found himself confronted by another mob in Carthage Jail. This time there would be no reasoning with them, and Taylor would find his own body shattered and left for dead by the mob, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith murdered. In a eulogy eloquent and inspired enough to become canonized scripture, he proclaimed that “their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States” would be “an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations” (D&C 135:7; emphasis in original).
As the Saints struggled out of Nauvoo and into the wilderness, Taylor wrote what amounts to a farewell and an indictment for the failings of the government to protect them: “It is reduced to a solemn reality, that the rights and property, as well as the lives and common religious belief of the church, . . . cannot be protected in the realms of the United States.” Taylor noted with irony that the Saints “must quit their freedom among freemen, and go where the land, the elements, and the worship of God are free.” Despite the stark tone of his writings, during the exodus Taylor’s feelings toward the United States and its people were still in conflict. A journal entry when Captain James Allen arrived to recruit the Mormon Battalion summarizes Taylor’s conflicting feelings: “I have myself felt swearing mad at the government for the treatment we have received at the hands of those in authority. . . . The US are at war with Mexico and the US have a perfect right to march into California according to the laws of nations. . . . We would have a great story to tell that we fought for the liberties of the country and our children can say our fathers fought and bled for the country.” Railing at first on the United States, Taylor also expressed a desire to fight on behalf of a government whom he felt had failed to protect his rights.
It was during this critical time that Taylor was called upon a second time to return to his native land. Leaving his family at Winter Quarters was difficult for Taylor, but problems had arisen in the Church in England, and he was called upon to correct them. After placing the English branches of the Church back in order, he hurried to the camp of the Saints in Iowa as quickly as possible. During the journey home, he took the time to pen a song recording his feelings about his new homeland. The song is an insightful portrait of Taylor’s wit and his bittersweet feelings about the liberty he had found in his new home:
O! this is the land of the free!
And this is the home of the brave,
Where rulers and mobbers agree,
’Tis the home of the tyrant and slave. . . .
No monarch or autocrat reigns,—
No kingly dominion is here,
But the modest Vox Populi deigns
To take what he wants without fear. . . .
You may worship your God without fear,
For none can your conscience control;
But if you’re not orthodox here,
It will be bad both for body and soul.
It should, however, not be assumed that Taylor possessed too much enmity for his adopted homeland. In 1849, not long after he penned these words, he wrote a letter to the county court in Salt Lake City that reads, “I, John Taylor, do declare an oath, that it is bona fide my intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce for ever all allegiance and fidelity to all and any foreign Prince, Potentate, State and Sovereignity.” Like many Americans, past and present, he admired the institutions of the country, but the country had yet to live up to the potential the Constitution promised. While on another mission to France a few years later, he wrote The Government of God, a treatise dealing with a wide range of subjects, among them the governments of the earth and their relation to the coming millennial kingdom. Taylor felt America was better off than most nations because of its vast resources and its “constitution and laws are good, but in practice defective, through popular clamor and violence.”
When the 1852 announcement of plural marriage raised a firestorm of controversy against the Church, Taylor was called upon to act as a defender of the faith. Following orders from Brigham Young, Taylor traveled to New York City, where he set up a newspaper which he named the Mormon. Never one to back down from a challenge, from 1854 to 1856 Taylor offered in the Mormon a defiant, intelligent, and, at times, bombastic voice for the Church. Taylor was at his finest when defending the faith, and his personality leaps off the page in its editorials. Taylor’s writings in the Mormon could be classed as apologetics, but such a word does not capture the bold spirit of his writing. Nearly every part of the page was saturated with Taylor’s feeling that Mormonism was here to stay and that it deserved as much of a place in the American panoply of cultures as any other group. The masthead of the paper took up nearly half of the first page, featuring a wide array of symbols. Mixed together were quotes including the Mormon creed, “Mind Your Own Business,” two American flags, the all-seeing eye, and an eagle perched on top of a beehive—the symbols of Mormonism and the American republic fused together in harmony. The first issue proclaimed, “We are Mormon—inside and outside; at home or abroad, in public in private—everywhere.”
Taylor used the Mormon to answer attacks upon the Church, proclaim the gospel, and place the Church’s political views before the public. In the February 1855 issue of the paper, Taylor issued what could be termed the political “articles of faith”—a set of short statements which summarized the views of the Church. Written in the same format as the Articles of Faith Joseph Smith wrote in the Wentworth letter, some of the declarations were as follows: “We believe that our fathers were inspired to write the Constitution of the United States, and that it is an instrument, full, lucid, and comprehensive; that it was dictated by a wise and forseeing policy, and . . . that it is the great bulwark of American liberty. . . . We therefore rest ourselves under its ample folds.” The other articles addressed topics ranging from religious freedom, the proper selection of legislators, and the strife between political parties. The articles conclude on a wary but hopeful note: “We believe that although there is much to lament, and room for very great improvement, . . . that we have the most liberal, free, and enlightened government in the world.”
During this period Taylor’s efforts to defend the Church even took him to the White House. Meeting with President Franklin Pierce to lobby on behalf of the Church, Taylor spoke of the trek west, the settlement of Utah, and the need for popular sovereignty in the territory. When Pierce brought up plural marriage, Taylor cited the biblical precedents of Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and other men in the Bible. Pierce remained somewhat ambivalent about the matter in the end, but the episode does serve to illustrate the fearless manner in which Taylor fought to uphold the faith.
The service of Taylor’s editorial pen was cut short when he was called home after President Buchanan ordered a military expedition to Utah to put down a supposed rebellion of the Saints. Taylor’s defense of the Saints during this time was unyielding. Speaking during a Sabbath service attended by Captain Stewart Van Vliet, part of the advance party of the coming army, Taylor announced the position of the Church in no uncertain terms. Speaking to the Saints he asked, “What would be your feelings if the United States wanted to have the honor of driving us from our homes, and bringing us subject to their depraved standard of moral and religious truth?” He then asked if the Saints would be willing to burn their homes to prevent the invasion. When Brigham Young asked him to set the vote forth before the congregation, more than four thousand raised their hands. According to one account, Taylor’s preaching became so spirited that Brigham Young pulled on his coattail to remind him of his place. At this Taylor wheeled around, saying, “Brother Brigham, let go of my coat-tail; I tell you, the bullets in me yet hurt!”
On another occasion, answering charges of treason, Taylor remarked, “If it be treason to stand up for our Constitutional rights; if it be treason to resist the unconstitutional acts of a vitiated and corrupt administration . . . then indeed we are guilty of treason.” Fortunately the conflict was resolved peacefully and the Saints did not have to resort to any dramatic action.
A few years later when the Civil War broke out in the eastern United States, Taylor looked upon it as divine retribution on both sides for their appalling treatment of the Saints. In an address given on the Fourth of July, Taylor minced no words in sharing his feelings about the warring states:
In regard to the present strife, it is a warfare among brothers. . . . No parties in the United States have suffered more frequently and more grievously than we have in the violation of our national compact. . . . Still we are loyal, unwavering, unflinching in our integrity; we have not swerved nor faltered in the path of duty. Shall we join the North to fight against the South? No! Shall we join the South against the North? As emphatically, No! . . . We know no North, no South, no East, no West; we abide strictly and positively by the Constitution.
For those in Utah, the war passed with relatively little violence. After its conclusion, the nation’s attention gradually shifted from the East to the West, and as storm clouds gathered around the Saints, the Champion of Liberty would again be called on to defend their rights.
In 1856 the Republican Party announced its platform to destroy what it termed to be “the twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery.” Subsequently, the bloody struggles of the Civil War removed the latter of the two, and now the Republican-controlled government turned its resources toward the suppression of plural marriage. The first acts of legislation designed to stifle the practice were actually passed during the war, but the diversion of the war and other factors had made them largely ineffectual. Now the government was preparing to launch a full crusade against the Church because of its practices. One of the most significant discussions of the legality of these acts came when Taylor was called upon to debate no less a figure than the vice president of the United States, Schuyler Colfax.
Speaking in Salt Lake City in 1869, Colfax delivered an insulting address, calling the loyalty of the Saints into question. Colfax covered a number of subjects, but the heart of his message was an accusation that the Saints were using their religion to disobey the law by continuing to practice plural marriage. Colfax asserted that “no assumed revelation justifies anyone in trampling on the law. If it did, every wrong-doer would use that argument to protect himself in his disobedience to it.” Writing from Boston, where he was serving a mission, Taylor leaped into the fray, and the debate raged in the nation’s newspapers for several months. Seeing Colfax’s statements as an attack on revelation itself, Taylor fired back:
Allow me, sir, here to state that the assumed revelation referred to is one of the most vital parts of our religious faith; it emanated from God and cannot be legislated away. . . . Whose rights have we interfered with? Whose property have we taken? Whose religious or political faith or rights have been curtailed by us? None. . . . Are we to understand by this that Mr. Colfax is created an umpire to decide upon what is religion and what is not, upon what is true religion and what is false? If so, by whom and what authority is he created judge?
When Colfax issued another attack, Taylor stood at the ready, “roasting him,” as B. H. Roberts described it, “before the slow fire of his sarcasm.” When Colfax tried to deflate the miraculous greening of Utah by attributing it solely to the use of water, not divine intervention, Taylor wrote, “Water! Mirabile dictu! [Latin for “amazing to behold!”] . . . This wonderful little water nymph, after playing with the clouds . . . for generations . . . about the time the Mormons came here, took upon herself to perform a great miracle, and descending to the valley with a wave of her magic wand and the mysterious words, ‘hiccory, diccory, dock,’ cities and streets were laid out!” Taylor went on, “Did water tunnel through our mountains, construct dams, canals and ditches, lay out our cities and towns, . . . and transform a howling wilderness into a fruitful field and a garden. . . . Unfortunately for Mr. Colfax, it was Mormon polygamists who did it.” 
Of the debates, B. H. Roberts said, “Taking it all in all, this is doubtless the most important discussion in the history of the Church.” The debates placed the Church’s position on the national stage and allowed many to see the debate over plural marriage in a religious context for the first time. Unfortunately for Taylor, the fight was just beginning, and it would rage the remainder of his life.
With the passing of Brigham Young in 1877, Taylor, as head of the Quorum of the Twelve, took over the leadership of the Church. The storm of the polygamy crusade, which had been gathering for decades, broke in full fury during his presidency. Taylor’s courageous leadership during this turbulent period was vital to holding the Church together. As the government heightened its pressure upon the Church, Taylor could not stifle his feelings that the institutions of government were being perverted for unjust means. Even before he had assumed the presidency, he stated, “What shall I say of US? . . . As part of the common brotherhood of the nation, we will perform the part of a good citizen, rally round the cause of right; maintain inviolate the Constitution of the United States, . . . and if all men forsake this great bulwark of human rights, let us rally around it.”
One of Taylor’s labors as president was to reconstitute the Council of Fifty, a political council intended to symbolize the future civil kingdom of God on the earth. How could Taylor reconcile his proclamations of loyalty to the Constitution while privately participating in a council designed to bring about the kingdom of God on earth? The answer lies in Taylor’s understanding of the role of the Constitution and how the kingdom of God would be established. Taylor did believe that the kingdom of God would be a literal and not a symbolic organization, but he did not believe that citizenship in the kingdom and citizenship in the nation had to be mutually exclusive. Rather, he saw the Constitution as the instrument crafted by God to prepare the way for the coming millennial kingdom. Early in his service as President, he stated, “It is true that the founders of this nation, as a preliminary step for the introduction of more correct principles and that liberty and the rights of man might be recognized, and that all men might become equal before the law of the land, had that great palladium of liberty, the Constitution of the United States, framed. This was the entering wedge for the introduction of a new era, and in it were introduced principles for the birth and organization of a new world.”
While the Constitution might prove to be a forerunner to the kingdom, it was not perfect. Taylor felt that the Constitution, “good as it was, was not a perfect instrument; it was one of those stepping stones to a future development in the progress of a man to the intelligence and light, the power and union that God alone can impart to the human family.”
Taylor’s reverence and love for the Constitution made his indignation toward those he felt were abusing its power all the more powerful. The main brunt of persecution faced by the Church during the Taylor administration came not from the citizenry of the country but from the federal government itself. As one historian has described it, “What began as a campaign against polygamy eventually became a war against all who professed to be Mormons, a war intended to break the secular power of the Mormon church and force it into conformity with mainstream America.”
With each successive piece of legislation passed, the government ratcheted up the pressure on the Church to capitulate. With the passage of the Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1882, the storm burst upon the Saints in full fury. Many members of the Church were disenfranchised as voters; others were forced to take a test oath before they could be allowed to vote. In its first year alone, the act barred over twelve thousand Saints from voting in Utah. Despite the law’s harsh provisions, Taylor still wished to avoid conflict. At the October conference that year, he remarked, “I do not believe there is a nation upon the face of the earth today, where we could have as much liberty as we here enjoy—and that is precious little, God knows. . . . Do we wish to fight the government of the United States? No. What shall we do? Stand up for the rights granted to us by the laws and constitution of the United States as American citizens.”
The Church made every attempt to question the legality of the law but was rebuffed at every turn. When Taylor learned that he was being sought by federal officials, he went underground, but not before delivering a fiery address to the Saints. Taylor did not wish to disobey any laws, but he felt he had a higher obligation: “I would like to obey and place myself in subjection to every law of man. What then? Am I to disobey the law of God? Has any man a right to control my conscience, or your conscience, or to tell me I shall believe this or believe the other, or reject this or reject the other? No man has a right to do it. These principles are sacred, and the forefathers of this nation felt so, . . . and shall I be recreant to all these noble principles that ought to guide and govern men? No, never! No, never! NO, NEVER!”
Taylor could not compromise because he felt it would be a violation of not only the spiritual principles of the gospel but also the spirit of the Constitution. When President Grover Cleveland wrote a letter personally appealing to Taylor to renounce plural marriage and “come and be like us,” Taylor could not yield. He wrote back, “What does it mean to become like them? It means E pluribus unum is a fiction; it means that we tamper with and violate that grand palladium of human liberty, the Constitution, . . . and substitute expediency, anarchy, fanaticism, intolerance and religious bigotry for those glorious fundamental principles of liberty, equality, brotherhood, human freedom and the rights of man.” Taylor felt a solemn obligation to the principles he believed in. Driven to ill health from his time in exile, he died a fugitive two years after going underground. The struggle continued until the Lord chose to intervene through revelation. But Taylor’s spirit of integrity lived on. Wilford Woodruff remarked, “I should have gone to prison myself, and let every other man go there, had not the God of heaven commanded me to do what I did do.”
John Taylor saw the fingerprint of God in the Constitution of the United States and believed the ideals of liberty remain a key part of the message of the gospel. Taylor felt it was a vital part of his mission to teach this. He said, “We have a right to liberty—that was a right that God gave to all men.”
After Taylor’s death, the Church continued to grow. In our time we have seen it expand from a largely American church to an international organization. As the only President ever born and raised outside of the United States, what lessons may be found in John Taylor’s experience with America? First, our obligations to God extend beyond any national boundaries. The motto “The Kingdom of God or Nothing” has long been associated with John Taylor. He was first a member of the Lord’s kingdom, and second an American citizen. He did not believe that the two roles had to conflict. While he believed, as have all prophets, that the kingdoms and nations of this world would eventually become the “kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15), he was not content to sit aside and wait for the world’s destruction. Instead, he took it upon himself to become a defender of rights, a champion of liberty. Certainly he saw the fingerprint of God in the Constitution of the United States, and he believed God was an active participant in the fate and destiny of the nations of the earth. In our time, when the Saints of God may be found in all nations, the ideals of liberty remain a vital part of the message of the gospel. Taylor felt it was a vital part of his mission to teach this. He said, “Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man. . . . We have a right to liberty—that was a right that God gave to all men.” In the end, human liberty, regardless of nationality, was the earnest desire of this adopted son of America.
 B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963), 32; emphasis added.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 33.
 Samuel W. Taylor, Raymond W. Taylor, The John Taylor Papers: Records of the Last Utah Pioneer (Redwood City, CA: Taylor Trust Publisher, 1984–85), 1:143.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 10–11.
 Taylor, Papers, 1:21–23.
 Taylor, Papers, 27.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 39.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 77.
 Times and Seasons, April 1844, 578–79.
 Times and Seasons, February 1, 1844, 6:1114; emphasis in original.
 John Taylor, Journal, July 2, 1846, Church History Library, Salt Lake City, cited in Sherman L. Fleek, History May Be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion (Spokane: Arthur H. Clark, 2008), 128.
 John Taylor, Millennial Star, 1847, 351.
 John Taylor to Thomas Bullock, September 5, 1849, Salt Lake City, MS 677; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
 Taylor, Papers, 1:143.
 John Taylor, The Government of God (Liverpool: S.W. Richards, 1852), 24.
 John Taylor, The Mormon, February 17, 1855, 2.
 Taylor, The Mormon, February 17, 1855, 2.
 John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses (Liverpool: F. D. Richards and S. W. Richards, 1854–86), 25:89–90.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 245.
 Millennial Star, 56:389.
 Taylor, Papers, 1:213.
 Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons Co., 1892–1904), 2:28–29, cited in E. B. Long, The Saints and the Union (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 33.
 Long, The Saints and the Union, 9.
 Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 131.
 Taylor, Papers, 1:243.
 Taylor, Papers, 1:247–48.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 266.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 267–68.
 Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 269
 Taylor, Papers, 1:272.
 Glen Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise (Salt Lake and Provo, UT: Deseret Book and Brigham Young University Press, 2002), 326. For a complete discussion of the Council of the Fifty, its purpose, and history, see D. Michael Quinn, “The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844 to 1945,” BYU Studies 20, no. 2 (Winter 1980): 163–97.
 John Taylor, Gospel Kingdom, arr. and ed. G. Homer Durham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987), 207.
 Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 21:31; emphasis added.
 Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 21:31.
 Firmage, Zion in the Courts, 129–30.
 Firmage, Zion in the Courts, 231.
 Taylor, Papers, 2:254, 256.
 Taylor, Papers, 2:337; emphasis in original.
 Taylor, Papers, 2:445.
 Deseret Weekly News, November 14, 1891, cited in Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981), 293.
 Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 6:18.
 Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 23:63; emphasis added.