John Whittaker Taylor was born to John Taylor and Sophia Whittaker on 15 May 1858 in Provo, Utah Territory. He served a mission in the southern United States from 1880 to 1882 and was then called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1884. Taylor resigned from that position in 1906. He spent much of his adult life in agricultural and colonization projects. Taylor died in Forest Dale, Salt Lake County, Utah, on 10 October 1916.
 “Former Apostle of Church Dies in City,” Salt Lake Tribune, 11 Oct. 1916, 16; “John Whittaker Taylor,” in Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History, 1901), 151–156; “John Whittaker Taylor, in Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 3 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History, 1920), 3:789–790.