The Last Pioneer.
The Last Pioneer
Samuel W. Taylor
564 West 400 North, Salt Lake City, UT 84116-3411
1560851155, $19.95, www.amazon.com
John Taylor, the successor to Joseph Smith and Brigham Young as president of the Mormon Church was the great-grandfather of this reviewer's step-father. As such I was privy to family historical records. That's why I read Samuel W. Taylor's biography of "The Last Pioneer: John Taylor, A Mormon Prophet" with intense interest and appreciation. This is the story of a many who was first contacted by a Mormon missionary in 1836 and soon moved his family from Toronto to Ohio where the church was headquartered at the time. From there John and his family migrated to Missouri and became enmeshed in the 'Mormon War' of 138. Drawing from personal letters and speeches, as well as the diaries and journals of his contemporaries, the reader is provided with John's full career, adventures and hardships as he moved west to what became the Deseret Territory with Brigham Young after the murder of Joseph Smith at the hands of a Missouri mob. Eventually becoming the third president of the Mormon Church, he presided over an expanding Mormon colonization, receiving visions and revelations in his own right with respect to leading the Mormon Church during continued troubled times, and leaving a legacy that would include revelations that would foster fundamentalist schisms over the theological practice of plural marriage (polygamy) that continue to this day. Samuel Taylor writes with a special expertise as the grandson of John Taylor and the son of John W. Taylor (who became an Apostle of the Mormon Church). "The Last Pioneer" is informed and informative reading, making it a highly recommended addition to personal, academic, and community library American Biography Collections in general, and Mormon History Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.