Biography of James Standing
James Standing was a native of England. He was born in Forton, Lancashire County, England. November 11, 1815. He was the son of John Standing and Nancy Varley. John was the son of William Standing. When James was but two years old, his Parents came to the United States making their home in New York. They stayed there but a few years and then moved to Canada. It was there that he first heard the Gospel and was baptized in his 21st year 1836, by Elder Theodore Turley.
James was a member of a large family. There were 10 living children. Six out of 16 died as children. His father joined the church but never joined the Saint in their move westward. He remained in Canada. His mother was not converted to the Gospel and it grieved her very much that her son had embraced it. James expressed his determination to join the Saints in Missouri.
When he and his father discussed the Principles of the Gospel and his Mother heard him say that he was desirous of being with the body of the Church, she would leave the room and weep bitterly. He was very fond of his Mother and it grieved him sorely to see her weeping. He tried to show her that it was best for him to go and help further the cause of the great religion that had come into his life.
The time had come when he must say farewell to his parents, brothers and sisters. A good many others in that vicinity had been converted. There was a train of wagons carrying the saints to the west. As they proceeded they attracted the attention of residents of the county through which they passed and people asked them where they were going. They explained that they were going to join the Mormons in Missouri. They told them that the Mormons were a terrible lot of people, blood thirsty and lawless. Brother Standing’s heart sank. Could it be that his Mother was right, that they were not the people he thought them to be? He doubted so much that he became sick and very weak. The more he heard about the terrible Mormons the worse he felt.
He thought he would ask the Lord if he was doing the right thing. He left the wagon and knelt down by the side of the road and prayed to the Lord to tell him if he was right in leaving his home and friend to join this people. Immediately his heart became light and he felt like shouting for joy. The weakness that had preyed upon him left him and felt like a new person. No more did he doubt that Mormonism was true and this was a living testimony to him and a guiding star throughout his entire life.
He finally arrived in West Missouri and participated in all the trials come on by the Saints. He took an active part in trying to protect the lives and property of the Saints from this unprincipled mob. While at Farr West the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum gave themselves up to the mob, and Hyrum called Brother Standing aside and confided his family to him and he looked after them until they arrived in Nauvoo.