John Taylor was very sensitive spiritually, even from a young age. He recalled, "When quite a small boy I saw an angel in the heavens holding a trumpet to his mouth." He didn't understand the meaning until later.
While living in the village of Penrith, Cumbria, England, a maturing John Taylor learned and practiced the trade of turner, or woodworker.
Although christened in the Church of England, John joined the Methodist Church and became a local preacher at age 16.
It was at Penrith that John expressed the following to a friend: "According to the voice of the Spirit, I have a strong impression on my mind that I have to go to America to preach the gospel." He moved to Canada in 1832 and continued his affiliation with the Methodists.
After being initially unreceptive to the message of Latter-day Saint Apostle Parley P. Pratt, John became convinced of the truth of the restored gospel. Both he and his wife, Leonora, were baptized by Elder Pratt in Black Creek near Toronto on May 9, 1836. John was 27 years old at the time. He later became the third president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.