John Taylor was the third president of the Church. In 1836, he and his wife were converted to the church in Canada. He traveled thousands of kilometers as a missionary. In 1844 he narrowly escaped death when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered at Carthage Jail. Unable to defend himself against the angry mob, Brother Taylor ran to the window to leap out but was stopped as a shot struck him in the thigh. Another bullet followed that would have entered his chest, killing him, had it not been stopped by a silver watch in his vest pocket.
At the age of sixty-nine, he became president of the Church. He served as president from 1880 to 1887. These years were filled with hardship for him and the Church, yet he remained a gentle and loving man to his family and associates. He often invited children to attend meetings with their parents, and he would show them his damaged pocket watch and tell them the story behind it. He was a man who loved social gatherings and who had a well-developed sense of humor.