John Taylor's courage

John Taylor's strength of witness and conversion were illustrated by an event that occurred near Columbus, Ohio, where a group of trouble-makers, learning that he had scheduled to preach a service there, decided to tar and feather him. When a few Church members heard about the plot, they urged him to cancel the meeting, for they lacked the strength to protect him. Expressing his thanks for their concern, he decided nevertheless to fulfill the appointment. At the meeting, the English convert proceeded to lecture his audience about the blessings of freedom guaranteed in the American Constitution and about the valor of their forefathers in fighting for liberty. Having laid that groundwork, he suddenly shifted his focus: 'I have been informed that you purpose to tar and feather me, for my religious opinions. Is this the boon you have inherited from your fathers? Is this . . . your liberty?' After letting the implications of these accusatory questions seep in, he said, 'Gentlemen come on with your tar and feathers, your victim is ready; and ye shades of the venerable patriots, gaze upon the deeds of your degenerate sons! Come on, gentlemen! Come on, I say. I am ready!' (in B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor [1892], 53–55). The would-be tormentors made no move. Instead they remained quiet and attentive while Elder Taylor expounded on the plain and precious doctrines of the restored Church for three hours.


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