Rewards of faith
William and Elizabeth Patrick Taylor are believed to be among the first converts in Missouri, baptized in Monroe County in 1831. For the next nine years, the lives of this faithful couple threaded through Church history as they settled in Ray County, were driven out by mobs, and settled again in Daviess County, south of Far West.September 1839 found the parents and their 14 children driven out again, refugees bound for a new settlement that would become Nauvoo. But as they traveled by wagon along the main road between Lima and Warsaw, Ill., William suffered from the effects of privation. He died Sept. 9, 1839. The family dug a grave for him by the main road and buried him there, only to learn later that the grave was on the property of a man who had great hatred for the Mormon refugees. The man threatened to dig up the grave.
"Elizabeth called upon the boys to gather poles or logs and make a fence around the grave and keep a watch to see that the body was not disturbed." (Autobiography of Pleasant Green Taylor.)
However, that unmarked grave, dug during a maelstrom of oppression, was more of a beginning than an end for the Taylor family. The faithfulness of the children continued after their father's death.
Thirteen of them later crossed the plains and today, their descendants can be found in LDS congregations throughout the United States. In fact, on June 9, 1994, a reunion of the descendants of William's parents - Joseph and Sarah Best Taylor - began with 225 descendants at the Ogden Temple doing work for their kindred dead. They ranged from children doing baptisms to sealers joining families for eternity.
"The family members are all so gracious to help," said descendant Blanche Pyper of the Ogden (Utah) 28th Ward, who helps organize the family temple work.
"I just can't express the great love I have for my family. When we go through the temple, the family on the other side feels so close."
Sherry Franke of the Unitah (Utah) 6th Ward said the family organization has gathered the names of some 14,000 relatives into the master list. Temple work is being done by family members at 12 temples.
"These are the rewards for the humble faithfulness of William and Elizabeth Taylor," said Noel M. Taylor, a descendant. "We expect many more rewards to come through numerous future reunions and temple ordinances." - John L. Hart