When Elder Taylor arrived in England he immediately made his way to No. 43, Norfolk Street, where his brother-in-law George Cannon (3rd great grandfather) lived with his wife, Ann Quayle Cannon, and their five children. Because he had never met the Cannons, Elder Taylor brought a letter of introduction from his wife, Leonora, George’s sister. Elder Taylor planned to share the gospel with the Cannons and other friends and relatives of his wife in Liverpool and on the Isle of Man, the British island home where she had grown up.
George was not at home when his brother-in-law called, so Elder Taylor visited briefly with Ann and the children, who received him warmly. It was Saturday, 11 January 1840, the thirteenth birthday of the eldest son, George. Although Elder Taylor left without having taught the gospel to the family, Ann Cannon turned to her son and said, "George, there goes a man of God. He is come to bring salvation to your father’s house."
The elder George Cannon and his sister Leonora had left the Isle of Man as teenagers and moved to England seeking work after their father’s death.
George had established himself as a skilled turner and cabinetmaker in Liverpool. There he married his second cousin, Ann Quayle, also from the Isle of Man. Leonora had returned to the island, but she later accompanied a newlywed friend on her wedding trip to Canada. Leonora met and married John Taylor in Toronto; and they joined the Church there.
It was Leonora’s great desire to welcome George and other family members into the Church, so she and her husband were delighted when Elder Taylor was called to his native land, England, as a missionary.
After his first visit, Elder Taylor returned to the Cannon home on the evening of January 11 and was heartily welcomed by his brother-in-law. Though religious by nature, George was dissatisfied with the doctrines taught by churches of his acquaintance and was looking for a religion he could believe in. John Taylor wasted no time in sharing the message of the restored Church with the Cannon family. He sang a few songs of Zion, testified to the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and left a copy of the Book of Mormon, promising to spend more time with them as soon as he had completed important business in the city of Preston.
My 2nd great grandfather John Bennion wrote the following.
“My father had been a member of the Methodist Society a number of years and had taught his children strict morals and religion; but as I grew up in my teens and became associated with boys who were less under religious influence, going to Sunday School and to hear preaching became burdensome to me, choosing rather to spend the Sunday with my comrades in some fun. One Sunday, I with two others were rambling through the fields with a dog a rabbit chasing when the dog caught one. A watcher came upon us and declared we were poaching. Next day we were summoned to appear before a justice for trial but I was determined not to submit to such proceedings. I therefore took my departure another way and came to Liverpool.
“In 1840 two elders came to Liverpool to preach the gospel in its fullness; namely, John Taylor and Joseph Fielding. They came first to Mr. Aitken's chapel where I belonged. My attention was taken upon them as they came in chapel, although strangers. Elder Taylor, after the preaching, asked the privilege to make some remarks but could not, except to the leaders.
On account of Elder Taylor coming and teaching the way of salvation as it had been revealed from the heavens, there became quite a stir; a few believed and obeyed; some got angry and kicked against it while others gave heed to the cry of the priests saying, "Keep away from it, it is a dangerous delusion." I was amongst the last class. I kept away from it, fearing I might get caught in the snare, as they called it, until one evening, April 22nd, 1841, I was going to chapel; unawares I met Elder Domville, my former class leader; after passing some compliments he commenced on religion and laid before me the way of salvation, as taught by the ancient apostles according to the scriptures; too plain and scriptural for me to reject. After this I resolved to investigate for myself, which, the more I did, the more I became convinced that it was not for [of] man but of God. After ten days I went to Elder Domville's house to inquire more about it. My inquiries were satisfied. Next day I attended the Saints meeting three times, forenoon, afternoon and evening, hearing preaching and testimony. I was now fully convinced, and resolved to obey. Accordingly, after the meeting was dismissed, I went, in company with some others, to the seashore and was baptized by Priest Robert Reid, and went to my lodgings rejoicing in the truth. This was on Sunday May 2nd 1841. On Tuesday evening I attended a meeting at Brother Harrington's where I was confirmed a member of Christ's Church under the hands of Elders James McGuffey and Richard Harrison.
My old religious acquaintance on hearing that I had embraced the faith and doctrine of the Latter Day Saints came to see me, and as they thought, to reclaim me from the error of my ways. They appeared to show much sympathy for me, saying that the course I had taken would lead me to hell. I reasoned with them from the scriptures, showing that the doctrine I had embraced was strictly in accordance with the scriptures; and that theirs was not. Soon they found that I was too fast grounded in Mormonism to be shaken loose, and after several visits in about nine days they gave up all hope of reclaiming me. Mr. Shone whom I lodged with felt sorry for me and more so for my Father who had taken much pains to bring me up religiously. He thought my course would be a source of much grief and sorrow to him; thereby, he said, I was breaking the commandment, "Honor thy father and thy mother."
This caused me to reflect upon it and that same night I dreamed that I went home and instead of my folks being angry and reprimanding me for my course, they were silent on the matter and I had to introduce it myself. After a few days I went home on a visit, and as I had dreamed, so it was. They welcomed me, but as though some strange thing had happened to me that they feared to ask me about. This being on Saturday night, on Sunday I purposed going to Ewloe, two miles off, to meet with the Saints, but when I went to put on my coat, it was missing. My sisters had concealed it to prevent me from meeting with the Saints. When their Methodist Chapel time had come, my coat came to light and I started with my father to his place of meeting. While on the way I showed from the Scriptures that the doctrine and faith that I had embraced was such as the apostles anciently preached and that there had been a falling away in the church also that God had restored the everlasting gospel with commissioned officers to administer the ordinances and that signs do follow them that believe. These things appeared strange to him but too scriptural for him to contradict. We attended chapel, heard a fine discourse from an itinerant preacher. His text was good but his comment was like sounding brass and tinkling cymbal.
Before I left home to return to Liverpool I made up my mind to come back home and work for father on his farm as I had left home when young and had not been of any or little help to him. I went back to Liverpool and gave my employer due notice to leave his employ, which I did. At the end of five and a half weeks after I was baptized I returned home. Before leaving Liverpool I was ordained a priest under the hands of John Greenhow and Thomas Domville, both high priests, in the house of Brother Thomas Hall. I went home to tarry; this was in the month of June, and commenced to labor for my father on the farm. On the first Sunday I went to the meeting of the Saints. They received me gladly, and as there was ho higher officer present I had to take the lead of the meeting and stand up to preach for the first time. I spoke a short time under a great depression of spirits. I continued at home until February , working for father in the daytime and meeting with the Saints evenings and Sundays, enjoying myself very well. At times I had to take the lead of small meetings and speak a little which became less of a task. I baptized five persons and labored in the branches around according to my ability. I also discovered by hearing and reflecting that the time had come for the Saints to gather to Zion. One day while I was at work with my father I made known to him that I felt it my duty to gather with the Saints and that the ship would sail in about two weeks and that I would like to sail in it. He replied that as he understood our faith he expected that I would at some time go, but did not expect that I would go so soon. But as he thought I knew what I was about he should not try to stop me. He told Mary, my oldest sister, to take money out of his box and give me to pay my passage. She said she would not hand out money to carry me away from home to a foreign land, never to see me any more, but my younger sister mustered courage and fetched out the money.
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