Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 407–9.
Born: 15 May 1858, Provo, Utah
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: 9 April 1884 (age 25)
Resigned: 28 October 1905
Excommunicated: 29 March 1911
Died: 10 October 1916 (age 58), Salt Lake City, Utah
One evening in 1881, two Mormon missionaries called on a devoutly religious family in the state of Kentucky. The younger of the two missionaries, John W. Taylor, boldly proclaimed, “We have a message for you from heaven; and if you will entertain us, it shall be made known to you by dreams this very night that we are the true servants of the Lord.”  The elders taught them the gospel, and that evening the father and mother and even some of the children received marvelous dreams and visions confirming the truth of the message. These people were among the more than two hundred fifty souls baptized by Elder Taylor during his ministry in the South, the West, Canada, and Mexico. As a representative of the Church, he spoke with President Grover Cleveland, President Diaz of Mexico, and Premier McDonald of Canada.
The son of President John Taylor and Sophia Whittaker, John W. was born in Provo at the time the Saints abandoned Salt Lake City as a result of the invasion of the U.S. Army.  During his childhood in Salt Lake City, he formed a lifelong friendship with a neighborhood boy, Matthias F. Cowley. As Aaronic Priesthood holders, they helped collect money for the building of the Salt Lake Temple. Later they served together in the presidency of the elders quorum. Both young men, hoping to fill missions, studied the scriptures and memorized important passages. Their hopes were realized in 1880 when they were sent to the southern states and were assigned for a time as companions.
Following this mission, John married and at the age of only twenty-five became an apostle. Brother Taylor’s call to the Quorum of the Twelve fulfilled several prophecies spoken earlier concerning him, one of which was given in tongues during a fast and testimony meeting in his Salt Lake City ward. For over twenty years he served in the Quorum of the Twelve, being joined there by his friend Matthias Cowley in 1897.
The closeness of these two men continued through a disagreement with the presidency of the Church and the other members of the Twelve concerning the cessation of plural marriage. In October 1905 they both resigned from the Twelve, and six years later John W. Taylor was excommunicated. At the time of his passing, the Improvement Era described him as “a kind man of indomitable perseverance and strong convictions” and said his excommunication was “accepted by him without expressed protest and with no bitterness to the Church.” 
 Edwin F. Parry, “Apostle John W. Taylor,” Lives of Our Leaders: Character Sketches of Living Prophets and Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1901), 175.
 See Matthias F. Cowley, Prophets and Patriarchs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Chattanooga, TN: Ben E. Rich, 1902), 274–78; Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History, 1901): 151–56.
 “Passing Events,” Improvement Era, November 1916, 93.