John Harris Taylor, one of the first seven presidents
of Seventies and a member of the general board of Y. M. M. I. A., was born
in Salt Lake City, Utah, June 28, 1875, the son of Thomas E, Taylor and
Emma Louise Harris. His paternal grandfather was John
Taylor who served as President of the Church from 1880 until
his death in 1887
He was baptized when eight years of age in the old
Endowment House in Salt Lake City, and being active in the Church from
his boyhood days, John H. was ordained to the offices of Deacon Dec. 9,
1889; Teacher Sept. 29, 1893, and Priest July 6, 1894. On Jan. 5, 1896,
he was ordained to the office of an Elder by Edward Wm. Davis. He was ordained
a Seventy Jan. 24, 1896, by Apostle Heber J. Grant, and during the two
following years filled a mission to England, during which time he labored
as a traveling Elder and later as secretary of the Nottingham Conference.
After his return from this mission on Sept. 20, 1900
Bro. Taylor married Susan Rachel Grant (daughter of Heber
J. Grant and Lucy Stringham), born Aug. 30, 1878. This marriage, which
took place in the Salt Lake Temple, was blessed with two children,
namely, Lucy and Heber Grant Taylor. To attend to the secular needs of
his family he attended the Chicago College of Dental Surgery at Chicago,
Illinois, from which institution he graduated in 1901, after which he practiced
his profession in Salt Lake City.
In 1907-1909, he filled a mission to Holland and
presided over the Belgian Conference of the Netherlands Mission for a year
and a half.
While residing in the 14th Ward, Salt Lake City,
Bro. Taylor acted as president of a Deacons' quorum and assistant superintendent,
and later as superintendent of the Sunday school. In 1900 he located in
Forest Dale, where he acted as assistant superintendent of the Sunday school
and as president of the 105th Quorum of Seventy. On Sept. 20, 1911, he
was sustained a member of the general board of Y. M. M. I. A. and called
to take charge of athletic work for that organization throughout the Church.
Later, he was sustained as scout commissioner and
appointed special scout commissioner for the Church, representing the national
organization of the Boy Scouts of America. In May of 1913, the M.I.A. Scouts,
upon invitation from the National Council, affiliated with and became a
part of the Boy Scouts of America. The official action of the Executive
Board of the National Council was taken May 2, 1913, at which time the
General Board of Y.M.M.I.A. issued a charter covering the entire Church,
and Dr. John H. Taylor was given a special commission as representative
of the National Council in charge of all M.I.A. Scouts. At the June Conference
of 1913, on Saturday afternoon, June 7th, a M.I.A. day celebration was
held at Wandamere, and the program was devoted entirely to Scout activities.
This was the first general Scout gathering in the Church.
In 1923, Dr. Taylor was called to preside over the
Northern States Mission, with headquarters at Chicago, Illinois, and upon
being released from that position in 1928, he and his wife were called
to take charge of the Missionary Home in Salt Lake City, where missionaries
receive training from one to two weeks, preparatory to leaving on their
Dr. Taylor had a pleasing personality and was eminently
fitted for the position he then held; he wielded a great influence for
good over the young people with whom he came in contact in the mission
home, in which work he was ably assisted by his wife.
In the General Conference of the Church held in 1933,
he was sustained as one of the seven presidents of Seventy. He was set
apart to that position by President Heber
J. Grant. He would hold that position and serve with honor, distinction,
and energy until his death May 28, 1946 at Salt Lake City, Utah.