John Taylor--Intellect & Faith
During my mission to Guatemala I learned the practicality of relying on Heavenly Father to help me do things I couldn’t do on my own. For example, learning languages. In high school I struggled mightily to earn a “B” in Spanish and in college flunked German out right. But when I showed up at Penn two years later after my mission I easily challenged the language requirement in Spanish, and I had written materials to help missionaries learn the Quiche Indian language and also teach the gospel in Quiche.
After my mission to Guatemala, I began building a doctrinal foundation for my testimony and especially enjoyed studying John Taylor’s An Examination into and an Elucidation of the Great Principle of the Medication and Atonement of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Published in 1882, it was clearly written and intellectually stimulating. John Taylor, who assumed leadership of the Church upon the death of Pres. Brigham Young in 1877, also demonstrated great faith. I especially recommend the following story from Leon R. Hartshorn, “John Taylor: The Courageous,” New Era, Jan 1972, 25:
“After a difficult journey from Far West, Elder Taylor arrived in New York with only one cent in his pocket. But he was the last man to plead poverty, and in answer to questions if he had money, he said he did. So the next day Elder Parley P. Pratt approached him:
“Yes, Brother Pratt, that’s true.” “Well,” said Elder Pratt “I’m about to publish my ‘Voice of Warning’ and ‘Millennial Poems;’ I am very much in need of money, and if you could furnish me two or three hundred dollars I should be very much obliged.”
“Well, Brother Parley, you are welcome to anything I have, if it will be of service to you.” At that he put his hand in his pocket and gave Elder Pratt the penny. A good laugh followed and then Elder Pratt said, “But I thought you gave it out that you had plenty of money.” “Yes, and so I have,” replied Elder Taylor. “I am well clothed, you furnish me plenty to eat and drink and good lodging; with all these things and a penny over, as I owe nothing, is that not plenty?”
“That evening at a council meeting of some of the brethren preparing to go to England, Elder Pratt proposed that the brethren assist Elder Taylor with means to pay his passage, since Wilford Woodruff was waiting for Elder Taylor to go with him. At the close of the meeting, Elder Taylor objected and said if they had anything they should give it to Parley Pratt because he had a family to support and needed money for publishing. Wilford Woodruff, a great man of faith himself, expressed regret at Elder Taylor’s position. Then said Elder Taylor: “Well, Brother Woodruff, if you think it best for me to go, I will accompany you.” “But where will you get the money?” asked Elder Woodruff. “Oh, there will be no difficulty about that. Go and take a passage for me on your vessel, and I will furnish you the means."
"Elder Woodruff did as he was asked—and then from various persons who were moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord, voluntary donations, unasked for by Elder Taylor, came into him, sufficient for him to not only pay his passage but that of another elder.”