October 2, 2023

John Taylor Calling a New Stake President

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John Taylor, while president of the Church he needed to call a new Stake President in the Tooele Stake. A young successful businessman, not yet twenty-five was considered for the position. The man was interviewed by John Taylor and his counselor Joseph F. Smith, and reluctantly accepted his position as Stake President.

In the morning session of Stake Conference the man's name was announced and he was invited to stand and say a few remarks and did so.

After, Stake conference had ended President John Taylor and his counselor Joseph F. Smith went to the home of the former Stake President for lunch. During this lunch President Smith had remarked how the new Stake President had not born his testimony that he knew the Church was true in his remarks. "Don't you know with every fiber of your soul that this church is the only true church on the earth?" President Smith asked.

"No, I don't", came the reply. "I believe it is the only true church, but I don't know it."

Dumbfounded by what was said, President Smith turned to President Taylor and said "President Taylor, I move that we return to this afternoon's session and undo everything that we did this morning. I don't think we should allow a man to be the president of a stake unless he knows the Church is true."

The man responded "Well, President Smith, I don't. I did not seek this position, and I would only be too happy to be relieved of it."

Speechless at this revelation, President Smith gaped at President Taylor in disbelief. But President Taylor gave a hearty laugh, and throwing back his head, he retorted, "Joseph, Joseph, Joseph! This man knows that the Church is true just as much as you and I. The only thing that he does not know is that he does know it. And it will be but a short time before he is able to bear testimony that the Church is true. We will not undo what we have done this morning."

The new Stake President was sustained in his position, and it was not long before he could bare the testimony of the truth of the gospel, and the fervent testimony was borne. Fewer than two years later that new Stake President was called to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the man was Heber J. Grant, who later became the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

References: "Witness to the Martyrdom, John Taylors personal account of the last days of the prophet Joseph Smith's life." p.143-145

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