In anticipation of probable question or criticism regarding the disparity of length of the several lectures, it may be stated that each of the addresses occupied two or more class sessions, and that the present arrangement of the matter in separate lectures is rather one of compilation than of original presentation.
The author's thanks are due and are heartily rendered to the members of the committee appointed by the First Presidency, whose painstaking and efficient examination of the manuscript prior to the delivery of the lectures, has inspired some approach to confidence in the prospective value of the book among members of the Church. The committee here referred to consisted of Elders Francis M. Lyman, Abraham H. Cannon, and Anthon H. Lund, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder George Reynolds, one of the Presidents of the Presiding Quorum of Seventy; Elder John Nicholson, and Dr. Karl G. Maeser.
The lectures are now published by the Church, and with them goes the hope of the author that they may prove of some service to the many students of the scriptures among our people, and to other earnest inquirers into the doctrines and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
James Edward Talmage was 13 years old when his family emigrated from their native England and settled in Provo, Utah.
Intelligent and thirsty for knowledge, James was a part-time member of the faculty of the Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, by the time he was 17. He went on to study chemistry and geology at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Membership in many prominent scientific societies gave James Talmage access to important people and publications and helped him combat much of the prejudice faced by Latter-day Saints at the time.
In 1888 he married Mary May Booth. They became the parents of eight children. From 1894 to 1897 he was president of the University of Deseret in Salt Lake City (now the University of Utah). During that time he bought one of the popular new chain-driven bicycles and rode it often. One evening he arrived home an hour late for dinner, bruised, bloodied, and dirty. Near his home was a single-plank bridge across a ditch. Normally, he dismounted and crossed on foot. But this time he felt he could ride across. He kept at it, crash after crash, until he mastered the maneuver.
Elder Talmage was an effective lecturer, and some of his talks and lessons became the basis of some of the books for which he is well-known, including The Articles of Faith. Prior to his call to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1911, the First Presidency had asked him to write a book on the life and ministry of the Savior. Later, a room was set aside in the Salt Lake Temple where Elder Talmage could concentrate on his writing. His 700-page book, Jesus the Christ, was published in 1915 and has been reprinted several times since then.
By way of affording means of easy comparison between the Temple-building achievements of past and those of current time, a brief treatment of the sanctuaries of earlier dispensations has been included. While detailed information pertaining to ancient Temples and related sanctuaries is accessible to all, through cyclopedias, Bible dictionaries and works of more special scope, but little concerning the Temples of today and the sacred service therein rendered has been published in separate form. The official "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" contains abundant data on the subject; but the information is distributed through many tomes, and is of access to comparatively few.
Elder Talmage is widely recognized as a premier LDS scholar. His seminal work, Jesus the Christ, has been read by generations of missionaries and others seeking to learn more about the life of Christ and become His disciples. Jesus the Christ was first published in 1915, four years before this book. In addition to Jesus the Christ, Talmage is also the author of Articles of Faith, Articles of Faith, Great Apostasy, House of the Lord, Story and Philosophy of “Mormonism”, as well as hundreds of General Conference talks and articles for LDS Church publications.
The writings of Elder Talmage are filled with faith and have the power to bring those who seek diligently closer to Jesus Christ. I hope that they will strengthen your faith as they have mine.
The author describes this book as “a powerful and well directed beam, [which] illumines many dark passages of ancient construction.”
As an inspired writing, the author acknowledges the constant companionship of the “spirit of sacredness” throughout his labor of love in writing this book. Like the prophets of ancient and modern days, Elder Talmage reverently envokes the spirit of sacredness to be with all the readers of this volume.
Elder Talmage died in 1933, thus making this writing a “Voice from the Dust.” In recognition of 100 years since its original publication, Latter-day Strengths is well-pleased to present this edition of Jesus the Christ.