An award-winning poet, a BYU English professor for 26 years, and a defender of faith, Sally Taylor has contributed much to this campus and countless numbers of its students.
Sally Thorne was born in 1938 in Salt Lake City, Utah, but would grow up in Provo. She attended Brigham Young University, graduating with honors in 1960. She then went on to earn a master’s degree, also from BYU, and a PhD from the University of Utah. She studied English and specialized in Shakespeare, presenting her research on the Elizabethan poet at conferences in the United States, Australia, and Finland.
Sally married David Taylor, and the couple has four children. She has been involved in education and the community in her home of Utah Valley, serving as the president of the Parent Teacher Association for Orem, as well as running for positions on the Alpine School District Board.
Sally Thorne Taylor was part of the faculty at her alma mater from 1978 to 2004. During her time at BYU, she had two textbooks published: one in freshman English (three editions) and another in technical writing. However, teaching was her true passion. She was given the Alcuin teaching award.
Staying active in her own writing, Sally Taylor’s poetry has been published in Creative Juices, Conservative Review, Hob-Nob, Harvest: Contemporary Mormon Poems, and BYU Studies—the last of which she edited from 1992 to 1993. Her own book of poems has also been published, entitled A Little Light at the Edge of Day, as well as a few nonfiction books to help other writers, such as The Critical Eye: Thematic Readings for Writers. Always using her talents to uplift others and build faith, she has written for the Ensign and New Era magazines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and penned a collection of seven sonnets about the prophet Joseph Smith that was set to music and performed on Temple Square. She has served as a member of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, the Academy of American Poets, and as president of the State League of Utah writers.
From 1993 to 1994, the Taylors served a mission for the Church in French Guinea, where she taught literacy and English as well as missionary lessons. She continued teaching literacy at home in Utah through Project Read, and served another mission with her husband in Orem from 2006 to 2008.
In 1996 Sally Taylor delivered this devotional address at BYU on the roles of the Holy Ghost. In true BYU spirit, she combines intelligence, art, and faith to deliver a powerful message.