Tuesday, December 29, 2015

by Samuel W. Taylor
Signature Books, 1999. 406 pgs. Nonfiction

Originally published in 1976 by Macmillan as The Kingdom or Nothing: The Life of John Taylor, Militant Mormon is a bright, engaging biography of the 3rd President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Born in England in 1808, John Taylor joined the LDS Church in Toronto, migrated to Far West, Missouri, then to Nauvoo, Illinois. When the Mormons migrated west to Utah, Taylor headed to England on his second of four missions completed during his lifetime. He returned in 1847 and led a wagon train to Salt Lake. Besides two missions to England, Taylor also went to France & Germany and later to New York City. He supervised the translation of the Book of Mormon into French & German, he published a newspaper in New York City, and he attempted to begin the sugar beet industry in Utah. In this account, Taylor had at least seven wives and he became a staunch defender of the Mormon practice of polygamy. During the last few years of his life it was necessary for him to go underground to avoid capture by Federal officials. In this volume the entire story is related in satisfying detail.

That which stands out the most in this biography is Taylor’s capabilities and unflinching dedication despite any and all opposition and circumstances. Taylor has lightly documented the details in this biography with but few footnotes throughout. Included at the back are an adequate bibliography and index.


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