Taylor, John, 1808–87, American leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, b. England. He emigrated in 1832 to Canada, where he was converted (1836) to the Mormon faith. He moved to the United States and became (1838) an apostle in the church. He was also active in missionary work in Europe. While a newspaper editor (1842–46) at Nauvoo, Ill., he was wounded by the mob that assassinated Joseph Smith in Carthage. In the controversy over Smith's successor, Taylor supported Brigham Young and assisted in the Utah colonization. In Utah he served in the territorial legislature (1857–76) and as probate judge (1868–70). After the death of Young, he became acting president (1877) and then president (1880) of the church. From 1884 until his death he directed the affairs of the church while in hiding to avoid arrest for polygamy.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.