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Testimonies: President John Taylor

Third President of the Church. Member of the Council of Twelve from December 19, 1838, to October 10, 1880. President of the Church from October 10, 1880, to July 25, 1887.

If it were not for the religion I profess, which gives me to know something about the matter, by revelation for myself, I would not have anything to do with religion at all. I would worship God the best way I knew how, and act justly and honorably with my neighbor; which I believe thousands of that class of men called infidels do at the present day. But I never would submit to be gulled with the nonsense that exists in the world, under the name of religion.

We believe in the restoration of all things. We believe that God has spoken from the heavens. If I did not believe He had, I would not be here. We believe that angels have appeared, that the heavens have been opened. We believe in eternal principles, in an eternal Gospel, an eternal Priesthood, in eternal communications and associations. Everything associated with the Gospel that we believe in is eternal. If it were not so, I would want nothing to do with it. I do not want to make a profession, and worship a God because this one, that one, or the other one does it, and I not know whether I am right, and those whom I imitate not know, any more than myself, whether they are right or wrong.

I profess to know for myself, and if I did not know for myself. I would have nothing to do with it. Acting upon this principle, I associated myself with the Latter-day Saints. I preach that doctrine which I verily believe with my whole soul. I believe in its principles, because there is something intelligent about it. For instance—if I am an eternal being, I want something that is calculated to satisfy the capacious desires of that eternal mind.

If I am a being that came into the world yesterday, and will leave it again tomorrow, I might as well have one religion as another, or none at all; let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. If I am an eternal being, I want to know something about that eternity with which I am associated.

If there is a God, I want a religion that supplies some means of certain and tangible communication with Him. If there is a heaven, I want to know what sort of a place it is. If there are angels, I want to know their nature, and their occupation, and of what they are composed. If I am an eternal being, I want to know what I am to do when I get through with time.

I believe that we as "Mormons" have the truth, and for this reason I have traveled extensively in most of the States of the Union, and in Canada; also in England, Ireland and Scotland; in the Isle of Man, Jersey, and other islands of the sea; in France, Germany, Belgium, and other parts of the earth; and I have not yet seen a man that could find one error in doctrine or principle connected with the religion of the Latter-day Saints.

Then if you have a thing that nobody can overturn, but can be sustained everywhere; that defies the wisdom and intelligence of the world to find one fault in it, you must say it is right, until it is proven to be wrong.

We believe that God has set His hand in these last days to accomplish His purposes, to gather together His elect from the four winds, even to fulfill the words which He has spoken by all the holy Prophets, to redeem the earth from the power of the curse, to save the human family from the ruins of the fall, and to place mankind in that position which God designed them to occupy before this world came into existence, or the morning stars sang together for joy. We believe in and realize these things; we feel them, we appreciate them, and therefore are we thus assembled together.

God has told me to preach the Gospel to every creature, saying, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned." He has told me to do this.

We must spread forth the light of the Gospel, because God has communicated a system of religion which is calculated to ennoble and exalt the human family.

(See Biography of John Taylor; Testimonies home page)

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