drama, it will be all well. We shall gain the great goal, and inherit eternal
In New York, Taylor sold the wagon and horses to help finance the
projected newspaper. He wrote to Brigham Young that it was one thing to
be on a mission without purse or scrip, but quite another to publish a
newspaper on the same terms. Expenses would be at least $100 a week,
while he could expect little support from the local Saints, because the
church was shattered in the area.
In New York, when we went there, we found a people that called themselves
"Mormons." I called a meeting, and there were only two that I would
acknowledge as such. I told the rest to go their own way; told them what I
acknowledged to be Mormonism, and, if they would not walk up to that, they
might take their own course.
 On Sunday, 17 December, George recorded:
Today we went to a pseudo Bro. Hicks, one of the hasbeenswas, and
still claims to be, Prest. of the N.Y. Branch; but where the Branch is, is
difficult to ascertain. . . . We found that Bro. Hicks had given the Saints a
holiday about two years prior to our arrival, and he had not notified them
when to commence again.
Mission headquarters consisted of two rooms on the third floor of
Mrs. Englebrecht's boarding house at 256 Hicks Street in Brooklyn. The
missionaries paid $4 a week for board, with gas light, fire, and washing
One with two single beds, a table, wash stand, fireplaceor
rather gratethree chairs and one sofa, and the other adjoining it not any
too large for the single bed and chair and wash stand . . . . are not
the warmest I ever saw as the windows are loose and . . . Jack Frost sometimes
spreads himself upon the windows half an inch in thickness.
George was appointed to draw the impressive heading for The Mormon.
The 20yearold artist worked with stiff fingers while the room was
almost cold enough, he said, to freeze the head off a nail.
At a council meeting 21 December:
J. Taylor spoke upon the establishment of a paper and means to do it
with. It was proposed that the brethren go in different directions and meet
members that are scattered through the country and . . . get them interested
in the work.
With the new year, George noted that "Father has not means enough to
pay another week's board." However that didn't stop him from engaging two
rooms for the editorial offices, at the corner of Nassau and Ann Streets,
in the heart of newspaper row. Rent, $225 per year. The missionaries
bought a tiny stove for $8, and worked in below zero weather, with fire
bells ringing almost constantly as overloaded chimneys in the city burst
The first issue of The Mormon came off the press on Saturday, 17
January 1855. Inasmuch as the initial run was distributed free, a minor
The news boys got wind of it and rushed into the building en masse,
filling the stairway and passage, and creating such a disturbance with their
clamours for the paper that . . . we ordered them out . . . .
Then we tried physical force, but the youngsters wedged themselves in the
doorway in such a way that it was impossible to get them away, as they had any
amount of backing. Then the proprietor came along and ordered them out, but
couldn't manage them, so he went and called some policemen.
Taylor didn't mince matters in the first issue. "We are Mormon," he
announced, "inside and outside; at home or abroad, in public and
"We are not ashamed," he added frankly, "to declare that we are
We do this calmly, seriously and understandingly, after due deliberation,
careful examination and close investigation of its principles and bearings
religiously, socially, morally, physically and politically. . . .
 Since this doctrine has been promulgated by us as a part of our
religious creed, every variety of opinion has been expressed by men in all
classes of society. It has been talked about by religious and irreligious,
professors and profane. It has been the theme in the legislative hall, the
pulpit, the barroom and the press. Polygamy and the Mormons, Mormons and
polygamy, have resounded everywhere . . . . We unhesitatingly pronounce our
full and implicit faith in the principle as emanating from God, and that under
His direction it would be a blessing to the human family . . . .
We are not surprised, then, that men of reflection and virtue . . .
should feel indignant of polygamy. They look upon it as something pandering to
the brutal passions of man; and . . . can scarcely conceive of anything but
lasciviousness associated with it.
We respect the conscientious feelings of such men.... But we would
respectfully ask such persons if they ever seriously reflected upon the
matter? . . . Did they think that Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon and a host
of other good men mentioned in the scripture were polygamists? That the Twelve
Tribes of Israel, to whom belong the covenants and promises, descended from
four womenthe wives of one man? Did they ever reflect that those men were
more virtuous than this generation; and that for such things that are
practiced here every day with impunityadulterya man would be stoned to
death by all Israel? Did they ever reflect that it might be possible for the
Lord to be unchangeable? That . . . possibly he was not in error then; and if
not then, the same principles might probably be as correct now as they were at
that time? It is well for us not to be too hasty.
This was a bombshell to newspaper row. Nor did it help matters when
Taylor published articles on the Kingdom of God, explaining the Mormon
expectation of taking over control of the nation and the world in
preparation for the millennial reign.
With vehemence the Gentiles counterattacked. Press, pulpit and
public not only denounced the abominations of Mormonism, but hatched
various schemes to abate this "loathsome ulcer of the body politic." The
American Bible Society planned to flood Utah with Bibles. (Taylor advised
that they be wellbound, for they would get hard use.) Newspapers urged
New York churches to send missionaries to darkest Utah. There was a plan
to send troops to the valley to seduce plural wives; another to send an
army of women'srights females to lead their Mormon sisters into the
So bitter was the feeling that when Utah was threatened with famine
in 1855 because of crop failure, caused by drought and a plague of
crickets, the New York press "but ill concealed its rejoicing," Roberts
says, at the prospect that the Mormon question would be settled by
"You may as well talk to sticks and stones as to Gentiles," Taylor
wrote Brigham Young.
In regard to preaching here, it seems to be of very little avail. There
are some odd ones get baptized, but it is like gleaning of grapes when the
vintage is gone . . . .
I have spoken, and so have others, to large congregations; but they seem
to be deaf and dumb and dead; very few indeed have been baptized, although
some of our most diligent Elders have labored among them increasingly. Some
Elders have been laboring for more than twelve months and have not baptized
Mormonism was in the public eye. It was fashionable to know
something about it. People jammed large halls to hear Taylor  speak.
But it was curiosity about this outlandish sect that drew people, not
interest in the gospel.
It is almost impossible to produce any effect on the feelings of the
people. In New Jersey, I held several days' meetings, to see if something
could be done. They turned out in great numbers; Mormonism was popular; as
many as 200 carriages were present. We were treated well, and preached
faithfully. Somebody came and set up a little groggery, and it was removed
forthwith. Was anybody converted? No. They turned their ears like a deaf adder
to the cause; and that is the general feeling, so far as I have discovered . .
. . (7)
In newspaper row, "There seems to be a deadly hostility against us,"
We have not a more virulent, bitter and unscrupulous enemy than
Greeley of the Tribune. I have lately spoken very plainly of his course in The
Mormon . . . .
I have examined his articles, watched his course, read his paper daily,
and have formerly conversed with him a little; but latterly I would not be
seen in his company. I was thrown in his society in traveling from Boston, and
occasionally met him afterwards; but I would not talk to him.
Taylor was particularly scornful of Greeley's selfrighteous
attitude in denouncing plural marriage among the Saints, while he himself
was an advocate of free love.
The majority of the people think we are a most corrupt people, following
a doctrine something like those Free Love societies in the east. Greeley . . .
was associated with one of those societies, and was its principal supporter.
 That is what is called a virtuous kind of an abomination, used under a
cloak of philosophy, a species of philosophy imported from France. Hence they
call Greeley a philosopher; and, in writing about him, I have called him the
same. I believe him to be as dishonest a man as is in existence . . . .
I do not know that the editor of the Herald is any more honest; but, as a
journalist, he tells more truth. He publishes many things as they are . . . .
But Greeley will not; he will tell what suits his clandestine plans, and leave
the rest untold. (8)
John Taylor, Champion of Liberty, declared that all Gentile editors
"are in a state of vassalage; they cannot tell the truth if they feel so
People talk very loudly about liberty; but there are very few who
comprehend its true principles. There is a species of bondage that is
associated with every grade of society . . . . There are yokes made for men of
every grade to put their necks into . . . . With regard to officehunters,
they are in bondage to each other; and even the President of the United States
is trammelled, bound down, and no man has the manliness to say, "I dare do as
These things are so in a monetary point of view, in a religious point of
view, and they are so in a political point of view. Every man bows down his
neck to his fellow, and every man must be true to his party, no matter what it
is. Politicians are bound by their parties, editors by their employers,
ministers by their congregations, merchants by their creditors and Governors
and Presidents by political cliques. Divisions, strife, contention and evil
are everywhere increasing, and there is little room for truth in the hearts of
In the mercantile world there is what is called the credit system, which
I consider one of the greatest curses  that was ever introduced by man.
Some will set up a small groggery or grocery; they go into debt . . to some
larger ones in St. Louis; those to merchants in Cincinnati, New York and New
Orleans; and they are in debt to larger houses in England, France, Germany and
other places. They all bow the neck; they are all trammeled and bowed down
with the same chain.
People talk about our credit not being good lately. I hope to God nobody
will credit a Mormon. We don't want anything on credit. I want us to live as
we can live; and if we cannot live without going into debt to our enemies, let
us dienever put our heads under the yoke. (9)
John Taylor, Defender of the Faith, outlined the LDS political
policy in The Mormon:
We believe that our fathers were inspired to write the Constitution of
the United States, and that it is an instrument, full, lucid, and
comprehensive; that it was dictated by a wise and forseeing policy, and . . .
that it is the great bulwark of American liberty. We therefore rest ourselves
under its ample folds.
We believe that all legislative assemblies should confine themselves to
constitutional principles; and that all such laws should be implicitly obeyed
by every American.
We believe that all men should have a right to do good; a perfect freedom
of action; and be protected in that right; . . . but that no man is free or at
liberty to do wrong, or transgress law.
We believe that all men are responsible to God for their religious acts,
and therefore ought to have perfect freedom of conscience.
 We believe that the president, governors, judges and governmental
officers ought to be respected, honored, and sustained in their stations; but
that they ought to use their positions and power not for political emolument,
or party purposes, but for the administration of justice and equity, and for
the well being and happiness of the people.
We believe that legislators ought to be chosen on account of their
intelligence, honor, integrity, and virtue; and not because they belong to
some particular party clique.
We believe that the high party strife, logrolling, wirepulling,
political juggling and spoilation, are a disgrace to any politician; that they
are beneath the dignity of an American, and disgraceful and humiliating, alike
to the people and statesmen of this great republic.
We believe that legislative enactments ought to be for the good of the
whole, and not for any particular location or district; and that anything else
is at variance with the spirit and genius of our institutions.
We believe that although there is "much to lament, and room for very
great improvement, . . . that we have the most liberal, free, and enlightened
government in the world. (10)
For the Gentile audience, Taylor defined Mormonism as "a revelation
from the heavens to man, introducing a new dispensation to the human
family, viz: the everlasting gospel, which has been corrupted,
transformed, and changed."
It has its origin from God, and is the . . . living, breathing energetic,
intelligent power; instead of the dead, withered, lifeless, inanimate body or
form. It introduces man to a knowledge of himself, shows him his relationship
to his fellow man, to the world, to Saints, spirits, and to God. It unfolds
his origin and destiny, and  unlocks the dark, impenetrable future; the
heavens are unveiled, and eternity is laid open.
Standing upon its broad platform, encircled by the mantle of truth, the
man of God, by faith, peers into the future, withdraws the curtains of
eternity, unveils the mystery of the heavens, and through the dark vista of
unnumbered years, beholds the purposes of the great Elohim, as they roll forth
in all their majesty and power and glory. Thus standing upon a narrow neck of
space, and beholding the past, present, and the future, he sees himself as an
eternal being claiming an affinity with God, a son of God, a spark of Deity
struck from the fire of his eternal blaze. He looks upon the world and man in
all their various phases, knows his true interests, and with intelligence
imparted by his Father Celestial, he comprehends their origin and destiny . .
Such was the religion of the ancients, both upon the continents of Asia
and America. The everlasting gospel made known in the last days is nothing
more nor less than the ancient religion restored. It is the commencement of
the "restitution of all things, spoken of by all the holy prophets since the
world was." It is the bringing back of ancient, eternal principles, whereby
men can know God as they knew him formerly; not a vague fantasy, not a simple
form, but a living reality . . . .
Did ancient men of God revel in the truth? So do we. Did they have
revelations and visions? So do we . . . . Did God communicate with them? He
does with us . . . . Did they prophesy of a kingdom of God? We are helping to
build it up. Had they ministering angels? So have we.
Had they prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, and evangelists? So have
we . . . . Did they expect that God would purge the wicked out of the earth
and introduce a reign of righteousness? So do we. Did they look for Jesus and
the saints to reign on the earth? So do we.
 We are, in fact, looking for all things that they did; seeking to know
all things that they knew, and to bring to pass all things that they
prophesied of, the great consummation of which is the restitution of all
things; and men may lie and rant and rave; they cannot frustrate the designs
of God, nor stop the progress of eternal truth one moment. Its course is
onward, ONWARD, ONWARD, and it defies opposition . . . .
The omnipotent power of eternal truth will stand unscathed in the view of
gathering hosts, and the nations will know that God rules the heavens, that
Mormonism is not a vague fantasy and wild chimera, but the greatest boon that
could be conferred upon man; the offspring of heaven, the gift of the Gods, a
celestial treasure, an earthly, heavenly inheritance, a living, abiding, and
eternal reality. (11)
Taylor moved from the rented rooms to a house in Brooklyn. He made
frequent trips to Westport, Connecticut. At Westport was a cotton mill
owned by a convert, Ebenezer Young (unrelated to Brigham), which Taylor
considered a nucleus for a manufacturing center, to provide employment
for converted textile workers from England, who were arriving by the
Another reason for the house in Brooklyn, and the trips to Westport,
was Ebenezer's attractive daughter, Margaret, whom Taylor was courting.
Taylor composed an article for The Mormon, "Origin and Destiny of
Woman," which embodied basic LDS doctrine, and was also a love letter to
. . . Lady, whence comest thou? Thine origin? What art thou doing here?
Whither are thou going, and what is thy destiny? Declare unto me if thou hast
 Knowest thou not that thou art a spark of Deity, struck from the fire of
His eternal blaze, and brought forth in the midst of eternal burning?
Knowest thou not that eternities ago thy spirit, pure and holy, dwelt in
thy Heavenly Father's bosom, and in His presence, and with thy mother, one of
the queens of heaven, surrounded by thy brother and sister spirits in the
spirit world, among the Gods? That . . . thou sawest worlds upon worlds
organized and peopled with thy kindred spirits who took upon them tabernacles,
died, were resurrected and received their exaltation on the redeemed worlds
they once dwelt upon . . . .
Thou longed, thou sighed, and thou prayed to thy Father in heaven for the
time to arrive when thou couldest come to this earth . . . . At length the
time arrived, and thou heard the voice of thy Father saying, go, daughter, to
yonder lower world, and take upon thee a tabernacle, and work out thy
probation with fear and trembling and rise to exaltation. But, daughter, . . .
you are to forget all things . . . in the spirit world . . . truth
shall touch the chords of your heart; . . . then intelligence shall illuminate
your mind, and shed its lustre in your soul, and you shall begin to understand
the things you once knew . . . .
Now crowns, thrones, exaltations and dominions are in reserve for thee in
the eternal worlds, and the way is open for thee to return back into the
presence of thy Heavenly Father, if thou wilt only abide by and walk in a
celestial law, fulfill the designs of thy Creator and hold out to the end; you
may go down to our grave in peace, arise in glory, and receive your
everlasting reward in the resurrection of the just . . . .
Thou will be permitted to pass by the Gods and angels . . . to thy
exaltation in a celestial world among the Gods. To be a priestess queen upon
thy Heavenly Father's throne, and a glory to thy husband and offspring, to
bear the souls of men, to people other worlds. . . .  while eternity goes
and eternity comes; and if you will receive it, lady, this is eternal life . .
If faithful, lady, the cup is within thy reach; drink then the heavenly
draught and live. (12)
At Westport on 27 September 1856, John Taylor and Margaret Young
were married. (13) Carefully vague about such matters, George noted in
his journal that "a girl came to keep house."
In The Mormon, Taylor's views went beyond issues of the day to
comprehensive discussions of world development.
A great destiny lies before the United States. The question is, is she
competent for the task? She has outridden the fiery test of revolution, hurled
defiance at a despot's power, and grasped the sceptre of liberty with a
powerful grip. She has, out of the chaotic, confused mass of material
associated with corrupt, governments, organized a system of government and
framed a constitution that guarantees to all, to the fullest extent, "Liberte,
Egalite, Fraternite . . . ." Here man is free to speak, free to think free to
write, free to act, free to do good. The very genius of our Constitution and
institutions is freedom. If there is a fault, it is the fault of party,
sectional strife, or narrow bigotry; it is not in our institutions . . . .
Such is America at present. What is her future? Her destiny is evidently
onward; for although yet in her youth, she has grown to be a giant among the
nations . . . .
Will the concentrated intelligence of past ages, with the improvements of
the present, advance man in the scale of being, and lead him to seek for
improvement in the science of life? We think it will, for man is a progressive
being. It is an era of transition, an age of active, busy preparation.
"Is it," Taylor asked, "preparatory to the establishment of some
vast permanent moral, political, or religious government. . . . under
which all the nations of the earth may gather?"
Although the present distracted state of the world might seem to forbid
the expectation of an immediate amalgamation, yet the rapid increase of means