Grampa Bill's General Authorrity Pages
John Q. Cannon John Q. (Quayle) Cannon

1857 - 1931
  • Born 1857 San Francisco, California
  • Baptized 1865
  • Ordained Elder 1873
  • Married Elizabeth Anne "Annie" Wells 1880; twelve children
  • Mission to Europe; thence to Swiss and German Mission 1881-1884
  • President of Swiss and German Mission 1883-1884
  • Second Counselor in Presiding Bishopric 1884-1886
  • Excommunicated 1886
  • Rebaptized 1888
  • Died 1931 Salt Lake City, Utah

    John Quayle Cannon, second counselor to Presiding Bishop William. B. Preston from 1884 to 1886, was the eldest son of George Q. Cannon and Elizabeth Hoagland, and was born in San Francisco, Cal., April 19, 1857, his father at that time being on a mission to California, accompanied by his wife. They returned the following winter to Salt Lake City, where John Q. was baptized by his father, April 19, 1865. In July, 1873, he was ordained to the office of an Elder.

    John learned the trade of a printer at the Deseret News Office. He was married to Elizabeth Anne "Annie" Wells, daughter of Daniel H. Wells, in 1880. They would eventually have twelve children but before that he was called to take a mission to Europe. He left home Aug. 9, 1881, and arrived in Liverpool, England, on the 27th.

    After laboring in the London conference for about seven months, he was called to the Swiss and German Mission, where he labored a short time in the North German conference; afterwards he was secretary of the mission, with headquarters at Berne, Switzerland, and finally succeeded P. F. Goss in the presidency of the mission. He occupied the latter position for about ten months. Before returning home he visited the principal cities on the European Continent, having been joined by his wife, in whose company he returned home June 25, 1884, after an absence of about three years.

    After his return home, Elder Cannon was asked to deliver a report on his mission to the General Conference next held. Although somewhat lengthy, it is included here for the gentlereader's perusal:

    My brethren and sisters and friends, it is with feelings which I am utterly unable to express that I stand before you this afternoon-feelings on the one hand of gratitude to my Heavenly Father, that after an absence of nearly three years from this city I am again permitted to meet with my brethren and sisters in this place, and with feelings on the other hand of intense timidity in standing before so large an audience. But I rely, my brethren and sisters, upon your faith and prayers during the few moments that I may stand before you, and I rely, furthermore, upon the promise which our Lord gave, when He said, "Where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." I am satisfied, on my own part, that we, this afternoon have assembled ourselves in the name of the Lord, and I am consequently satisfied that His Spirit will be with us inasmuch as we seek for the same, inasmuch as we rid ourselves of every feeling of worldliness and come together with pure hearts to partake of the emblems of the death and suffering of our Lord, and to become instructed in the plan which He has laid down for our salvation.

    It four days since I returned from a mission, and in six weeks it will have been three years since I left this city, in obedience to a call made upon me by the authorities of the Church. On the 9th of August, 1881, I left this city on a mission to Great Britain, in company with eleven other missionaries, who were destined for Scandinavia. We reached Liverpool in due time, and I was assigned, shortly after my arrival there, to the London Conference, where I labored with great pleasure until the 17th of March, 1882. Early in the month the then President of the European Mission-Apostle Albert Carrington-notified me that I should proceed to the German Mission, and within a few days after receiving this notice I joined my brother in North Germany. Of course in going to Germany I had to learn the language; I was utterly ignorant of it when I started and when I landed there; but the Lord strengthened my memory, and in a short time I was able to make myself understood, and pursue the real object of my mission. I labored-it is not for me to say with how much success-until relieved a short time ago to return home.

    I can say, my brethren and sisters, that I have enjoyed my mission greatly. The blessing of the Lord has been with me. The promises that were sealed upon my head by the Presidency before I went have been literally fulfilled, and, to my mind, in a most remarkable manner.

    Above all things I prize my mission for the testimony it has given me of the truth of this Gospel. It may seem strange to you that I make this assertion; because one would naturally think that I had a testimony before I went. I, however, confess this was not the case. I had heard what the world calls Mormonism-from my childhood up I had heard nothing else. I believed as much as it was possible that this, the Gospel as preached by the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the true religion, and was the path of redemption as proclaimed by Jesus Christ and His Apostles. This was my firm belief. But a direct and firm and steadfast testimony of the truth of the Gospel I had not received, and it was to obtain this testimony, more than for anything else, that I obeyed the call that was made of me. I had heard, as you had, that every man who returned from a mission and rose up in this stand or elsewhere to proclaim his testimony and to report his labors-I had heard every man say: "I know this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ." And I felt within myself, if I can acquire a knowledge of the truth of the Gospel through going on a mission, I am willing to go. I valued my salvation and a knowledge of the truth of the Gospel just that much. Well, I went, and I labored with great weakness, I have no doubt. But the Lord heard my prayers. He granted unto me a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, and from the time that I received the first one until this moment, one testimony has followed another in rapid succession. I am therefore able to proclaim before you, as I have done with much pleasure before the world, that I do know that God has spoken in these our days, that He has revealed Himself and restored his Priesthood by means of which the human family-those of them who are willing to be saved and to obey the requirements which He has given-may be saved.

    It was told me before I started away-the remark was made to me by my father: "My son, you will find in the world that the nations are about in the same condition as the Athenians were when Paul went to preach to them. They have temples and they have altars built, but these are dedicated to the 'Unknown God.'" I found this to be the truth. I found the word, the written word of God was read in every church in every land, and that every family had it ; but I was surprised to find that but few of them were willing to receive the truths which are therein contained. They were content with the dead letter of the law; and when I undertook or attempted to explain the principles of life and salvation, the principles which Jesus Christ taught His disciples, and which they taught all those who would listen to their testimony, I found there was a great coolness. People would not listen. They were content with what they had received. This was my general experience. On the other hand I found very many who acknowledged to me the truth of that which I had said. When I said unto them, "faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is insufficient to save you in His Kingdom;" when I said that something more was necessary than a simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and attempted to prove my position by Scripture, I found many who said, "You are right; something more is necessary according to the Scriptures; faith alone can not save us." But when I went on to explain the other principles of the Gospel-repentance, baptism for the remission of sins by one who has authority to baptize, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, I discovered that they said, "That may be all true, it is true, we believe, but we don't want it." That has been my experience and the experience of others in a great many instances. There are thousands in the world-I have spoken with hundreds I believe-who have made a similar confession-that faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, were Scriptural principles, that they could not be denied, that the same Gospel was preached by Jesus Christ and His Apostles-but I have found among those hundreds very few who were willing to obey those principles. I am happy to say, however, that some few have obeyed them-that I have been the means, in the hands of God, of bringing some to a knowledge of the truth, and I am very thankful for this privilege.

    It may, perhaps, interest you to know something of the present prospects of the Swiss and German mission, where I have labored for upwards of two years. We have some seventeen Elders in the field. Some of these have been laboring in Austria, one is in Italy, all the others are in Switzerland and Germany. In certain parts of Germany the laws are very strict. Public meetings of any kind are forbidden. We are, therefore, not allowed to preach. This has been brought about by the action of the Socialists, with whom we are confounded. They have held meetings, as you who read the papers know, and passed resolutions to upset governments and kingdoms, and reduce everything to chaos, if possible. In the kingdom of Prussia, however, we are at present in the enjoyment of liberty to a great extent. We have the permission of the authorities of the city of Berlin to hold our regular meetings, and we can announce these meetings in the papers if we desire. Of course our meetings are visited by detectives and policemen occasionally, to see that nothing contrary to the laws of the land is promulgated, which action, is, of course, quite agreeable to us. This is the case, however, only as regards the kingdom of Prussia. In the kingdom of Bavaria, which is strongly Catholic, we have been unable, up to the present time, to obtain any rights whatever. We have been threatened and in some cases expelled for having attempted to preach the Gospel. We have been forbidden to hold meetings of any kind. It has even been declared to us that where seven persons assemble together, that number would be considered a meeting, and if the participants were strangers they would be expelled, while natives would be heavily fined. In the Grand Duchy of Baden the same rule holds. In the kingdom of Wurtemberg, it has never been forbidden that we hold meetings, but we have as yet no official permission to do so. Of course in Switzerland we have full permission. We can hold our meetings in any house. It is not yet allowed us, or in fact any one, to hold open air meetings. The prospects of the mission as I look at it, are very good, and I think the day is soon coming when these rigorous laws will be broken, when all those who desire to serve God in the way that He has commanded, although it may not be in accordance with the desires of the rulers, may have the privilege. The laws of Bavaria pretend to give full freedom of worship; but the actual fact is, every person is prohibited, through pressure which is brought to bear upon him, from attending anything but the established church, which is Catholic, or the Lutheran. People are expected to attend or at least be members of one of these churches; and they are compelled to make an official acknowledgement of their belief in their work books, which are a sort of credential, containing the name, age, business, and place of residence, of every workman in the country. In this book each man must announce his religion, and if this happens to be anything but Lutheran or Catholic, he is put to great trouble and inconvenience, would perhaps find difficulty in obtaining work at all; and in case he called himself a "Mormon," would be punished according to the regulations which some of the States have made. I do not believe that the king of Bavaria, and the rulers of the kingdoms are as bitter as some of the subordinate officials. The strongest persecution we have met with has been in the city of Nurenburg, and that has been on the part of the circuit judge, a man who in other respects is very liberal, but whose mind became prejudiced through some false reports which came into the country, and were scattered by the press just as we made a beginning. I nevertheless hope-and I believe it is the general feeling-that the day is not far distant when freedom of worship will be allowed-when the Elders can go through the country and proclaim the Gospel without fear or molestation. We pray for that day, and have great hopes that there are many thousands in those countries who will receive the Gospel.

    The Elders are laboring energetically. They have spared themselves no pains to discover those who are willing to receive their testimony. They are laboring faithfully and with good results. The emigration has been quite extensive, as you know; but the number of those baptized exceeds by a considerable amount the number that have emigrated. Our branches are therefore growing continually.

    My brethren and sisters: I am thankful to be able to testify to the truth of this Gospel, which is being preached in these days. I do know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and this is a testimony which I have received for myself. It is not because my parents taught me this, or because I have heard it from others; that has given me courage to bear this testimony before others. But I have felt free in saying to all men, "Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and that will give you a testimony as it has given it to me." That is the testimony, my brethren and sisters, that I feel to bear before you this afternoon.

    I am glad to be once more in these mountains, to breathe this air, to see those with whom I have grown up, and to feel once more at home. During the three years that I have been absent, many changes have taken place, some of the very mournful to me; but I am thankful to be back once more. And now that I am home, I hope to be able to work steadfastly in the cause of God, and to do my part in helping to build up His kingdom upon the earth. This is my desire, and I pray that the Lord will help all of us to remain true to the end, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.".

    At this same October conference Elder Cannon was appointed to act as second counselor to Presiding Bishop Wm. B. Preston, a position which he occupied until September, 1886. He was released from the presiding Bishopric and excommunicated from the Church September 5, 1896, the result of an unwillingness to abide the constraints of the Manifesto and the moral codes of the Gospel. It is unclear to Grampa Bill whether this involved an unauthorized plural marriage or immorality outside the bands of marriage. He, however, manifested a spirit of repentance and was rebaptized two years later on May 6, 1888.

    From 1889 to 1892 he was editor of the Ogden Standard, and from October, 1892, until the breaking out of the war with Spain, April 1898, he was editor in chief of the Deseret News.

    Having been since 1894 prominently connected with military affairs in Utah, he enlisted as a volunteer for the Spanish-American war, and in May, 1898 was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of cavalry, serving as such in Florida until mustered out at the close of hostilities.

    He returned to The Deseret News after the war and worked with the Deseret News until his death. The Salt Lake Tribune reported an interesting incident obstensibly concerning the rivalry between the Tribune and the News but possibly relating to the matter over which Bishop Cannon was eventually excommunicated.

    "John Q. Cannon, an editor at the News, took the conflict to the streets when he confronted Tribune reporter Joseph Lippman on the corner of State and First South to demand a retraction for a 'vile' story.

    'I want you to get right down here on your knees and apologize for the lie you published about me,' Cannon sputtered. When Lippman refused, Cannon sent his rival 'flying through the air as if a cannonball had struck him' and then beat Lippman with a whip."

    Cannon pleaded guilty to the assault and paid a small fine, but went on to serve as executive editor of the Deseret News off-and-on until his death in 1931

    Brother Cannon died Jan. 14, 1931, in Salt Lake City.

   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p. 243
   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 4, p. 387
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
   2005 Church Almanac p. 95

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