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Alma O. Taylor

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Alma Owen Taylor (August 1 1882 – June 19, 1947) was the first person to translate the Book of Mormon into Japanese. He was a missionary in the Japanese Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) under Heber J. Grant and Horace S. Ensign. Taylor himself then served as the third president of the Japanese Mission.

Taylor was born in Salt Lake City, Utah to Joseph E. Taylor and his wife Lisette Williams. He studied at LDS College and then in Chicago at Harvey Medical College's School of Embalming. He then returned to Salt Lake City where he became a mortician in the same firm as his father and some of his brothers.

Taylor was a fellow ward member and friend of Heber J. Grant. This was a contributing factor to Grant recruiting Taylor to go with him to open the Japanese Mission in 1901. Louis A. Kelsch and Horace S. Ensign were the other two missionaries who went with Grant.

Taylor managed to translate at least one hymn into Japanese as well as the Book of Mormon. He also went to China to investigate the possibility of opening missionary work there but recommended against doing so. In 1909 Taylor returned to Salt Lake City. He then resumed work in the mortuary business with his brothers. In 1915 he married Eunice Angeline Holbrook, who was an English professor at the University of Utah. In 1923 they adopted a child, Richard Taylor. From 1939 to 1943 Taylor served as president of the Intermountain Casket Company, but he dissolved the company in the later year due to a lack of resources caused by World War II.


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