January 21, 1890

According to previous appointment, I tonight delivered a lecture on “The Theory of Evolution” at the University of Deseret under the auspices of the Delta Phi Society. The subject and the nature of the audience caused me to depart from my usual course in lectures,—I wrote and read the address, mainly that there may be no uncertainty to my expressions. While speaking extemporaneously, a person is liable by a slip to say the opposite of what he means. It is easy to omit a “not” or a “no” and cause a misunderstanding.

February 10, 1890

The Liberal Party have boasted of their intentions to steal the city; and in their confident hopes have failed even to try to cover up their infamy. Whatever charges the People’s Party prefer against them they straightway admit and boast of their perfidy. Thus, in consequence of the irresponsibility of the Liberals and their open efforts to enrich themselves at public expense, the People’s Party have spoken of them as “carpet-baggers”—and at once the Liberals adopted the carpet bag as their emblem and have even set it above the country’s flag.

February 11, 1890

The result of the election is known and the Liberals have succeeded in stealing their way into power. This city, the central of the Saints, the seat of the First Presidency of the Church is now in the hands of the enemy. The Lord’s will be done. He doubtless has His reasons for what is. Perhaps this will teach us humility, and liberality. As a people, we are not entirely free from bigotry or intolerance. If we are made better by the experience, then all is indeed well with us.

March 8, 1890

According to an appointment of long standing, I this day went to Provo and there delivered a lecture on the “Theory of Evolution” before the County Teacher’s Convention. The convention, after listening to the lecture, asked permission to publish it. Because of the importance of the subject and the ease with which misunderstandings arise as to a speaker’s intentions, I read the lecture from notes.  

May 27, 1890

The day named in the contract [drawn on March 3] for completion of the construction [of the Talmages’ new house] is now three weeks gone, and the house is far from being finished.

June 22, 1890—Sunday

Mother has worried a great deal over the absence of my brother John, who left home about seven week ago.  I have been greatly concerned over the matter, but have refrained from mentioning it here until I could cite facts.  

It appears that John’s actions had proved very annoying to Father and Father is of a very irritable nature; he had repeatedly told John to go off, as he was tired of his actions etc: and on the occasion referred to John went, and has not yet returned.  

Soon after his departure I learned of him being in Salt Lake City, and found afterward that he had got employment there.  He has visited us at our home in Salt Lake City once. Yesterday, as I was expecting to see the folks today, and being desirous of giving them correct information concerning John’s welfare, I visited the establishment where he is employed – A. Keyser, Lumber, Grain, and Wool Dealer, Corner of 2nd South and Third West streets, Salt Lake City; also his Boarding House, which is kept by Mrs. Price, corner of 2nd South and 4th West streets, city.

Both his superintendent and his landlady gave good reports of him, praising him for his regularity and diligence.  I do not at all approve of John’s course, but now that he is away from home, I earnestly hope and pray for his safety.  The boy’s ambition is now aroused, while he was on the arm he showed but a bad ambition. The experience may do him good; he has thus far met with great success in procuring fairly remunerative employment; I hope this prosperity will not intoxicate him.

The folks were overjoyed to learn of his welfare.

June 28, 1890

Today I learned the decision of Pres. Woodruff on the subject that constituted the cause of my visit to Payson on Sunday last (June 22, see page 257); and the explanation to which I forbore giving at the time. (See entries September 11 to October 1, inclusive, 1887 – this book, pages 4 to 12). During portions of the years 1886 and 1887, I was present much at the house of sister C. J. Webb in Provo, owing to the terrible accident that had befallen her daughter Zella. To this young lady’s intense suffering, and the fortitude with which she bore all, previous reference has been made in my journal. I took as active a part as I did in ministering to her wants at her mother’s and her own request, and because Zella appeared to place confidence in me. Bro. Maeser was about as constant in his visits as was I. For some time before the date of her accident, which occurred September 12, 1886, Zella had been engaged to be married to a young man of Provo, Bro. George Smoot, a son of President A. O. Smoot of Utah Stake; but during the year and two weeks that marked her lingering agonies, his demeanor toward her became cold and distant, and by many acts he convinced her of a change in his heart. All this time, the young girl was grifting toward her grave, and was pining for love, and manly protection. Some time before her demise, on several occasions in fact, she declared that she preferred death to living to fulfil her promise to George. Zella left with her mother a death-bed charge, that unless George Smoot radically changed his course of life, he should not be sealed to Zella in the Temple of God, Again, she espoused a desire, that if such could be done with the sanction of the proper authorities, she should be sealed to myself. The subject has been very dear to my heart from the first; I have felt deterred however from taking steps in the matter, by a desire to avoid even the appearance of depriving George Smoot of a blessing, whose right and prerogative I considered it to be allowed all opportunities. He married some months after Zella’s death, without making any promises for Zella’s work. A short time ago I received a letter from Sister Webb, who is desirous of attending to her daughter’s temple ceremonies. I applied to Bro. George Q. Cannon, of the First Presidency, and was counselled by him to write to, or, better to see Sister Webb, and request her to write an explanatory letter to Pres. Woodruff. For this purpose I visited her at her home in Payson on Sunday last. I carried back with me a letter from her to President Woodruff: this I delivered and the decision of the President – whose exclusive right it is to give and seal the sons and daughters of God to each other – is to the effect that of right Zella should be given to me. I am profoundly affected by this action. I am thankful from my heart. I feel willing to make any needed sacrifice to effect an early consummation. Immediately I wrote to Sister Webb, to whom an official notification has been already sent, to make arrangements for an early visit to the Temple. Great indeed are the mercies and blessings of the Lord to me.

August 14, 1890

Aug 14. Several of the folks accompanied me today on a visit to Sister Polly – Mrs. Downs, – who lives about two miles from Father’s. She has recently given birth to a son; both are doing well. Father and I then drove to Pleasant Grove and visited Grandma. She is suffering greatly, mostly from lung affections, and diopsy; her death has been expected for some time, and the event seems indeed near. She presented me with a large Family Bible and Aug. 14 <other books,> the most prized of all being a copy of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. This was formerly the property of her husband, Bro. Hiram Winters now deceased. While at Grandma’s we met Elder Lewis Harvey of Pleasant Grove, who witnessed the presentation of the Book of Mormon above spoken of, and who related the following incident; — that on one occasion while Joseph Smith sat translating the plates, a strange personage entered the room and inspected the plates. This being, Joseph declared to be the Apostle Paul.* I had never before heard of the incident and know not if it has been published. Bro. Harvey named Uncle John Young, and Patriarch Zebedee Coltrin as authorities for the statement.

[The following is written sideways in left margin:] *On Aug. 30. 1890 I related this incident to Elder George Reynolds, and asked his opinion therein. He knew of no confirmation, though the story is often told. He suggested that it be not spread by repetition from myself.

We left Grandma apparently cheered by our visit. On the way home Father related to me the following incident as told him by Hiram Winters shortly before his death. Father Smith — the  prophet’s father, came once to Hiram Winter’s house while the latter was suffering a slight despondency caused by the poverty-stricken condition (with respect to worldly riches) in which he and all others of the church found themselves. To cheer Bro. Winter’s spirits, Father Smith assured him that the church did not really lack money; that there were tons of gold stored away which he himself had seen. He said he accompanied his son Joseph the prophet, and one other elder (either Oliver Cowdery or Sidney Rigdon) when the plates were given into the keeping of the angel, after the translation of the Book of Mormon had been completed. Joseph the prophet had been commanded to take the plates again to the Hill Cumorah, but as to the further disposition of them neither he nor his companions knew anything till they arrived at the Hill.

There they saw an opening like a tunnel on the hill side, and at its entrance stood a personage who beckoned them in. All entered, and soon found themselves in a spacious room, within which was a table bearing a number of books of plates, resembling the Book of Mormon plates. Some of these the elders were permitted to read, and the gift of interpretation was given to each, that he fully understood the characters. In the room were piles of gold, mostly or all in bars of different lengths, and each stamped as if once used as a coin. A sword that had hung over the door as they entered, was now taken down by the angelic personage in charge, and was placed by him upon the table, unsheathed except its tip. Upon its blade the elders read “This, <the> sword of Laban, shall never more be sheathed till the kingdoms of this earth become the kingdoms of our Lord.” The brethren were then conducted to the entrance to the tunnel, and turning round they saw only the continuous hill surface. I know not if this be authenticated or published.

[The following is written sideways in left margin:] Aug. 30. 1890. Elder George Reynolds told me he had heard a somewhat similar account and thought it well founded. He added that Joseph Smith seemed to know the place of deposit of other ancient records than the Book of Mormon, and that the Prophet had on one occasion consulted with Apostle John Taylor as to the advisability of bringing forth and translating other records.

October 6, 1890

This manifesto has caused much comment among the Saints. Some regard this step as one of retrocession, others look wise and say, ‘I told you so.’ Since this document was issued I have prayed for light as to its true import; and I see in it nothing but good for the people.

January 14, 1891

By appointment I this evening delivered a lecture before the combined Improvement Associations of the 18th Ward on “Atheism and Idolatry.”

January 15, 1891

This afternoon, Sister C. J. Webb of Payson and myself proceeded by train to Logan. The object of our visit will be understood from the entry in Journal Vol. III p. 263, June 28, 1890. Preparations for such a trip were being made at the time of my serious attack of illness, during the last summer; and many and diverse circumstances have seemingly conspired to prevent the consummation of the object until the present.

We arrived at Logan about 9 p.m was met at the depot by Bro. Douglas M. Todd and by him taken to Brother Lufkin’s residence, at which place we were hospitably entertained while we remained.

January 16, 1891

Early this morning, Sis. Webb and I applied for admission to the Temple, we were received, and attended to the work which we came to do. Sister Webb took endowments for her deceased daughter Zella; the sealing ordinance followed; and now, by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I may call dear Zella mine. If I forfeit not my right then I may hope to live with her in eternity. Great and glorious are the blessings of our Father; my heart overflows with thanks for the blessings of the House of God, and for the great gift which this day has fallen to me; the theme is too sacred a one to be spoken of at length even here. I was able also to attend to work for one of my deceased ancestors, and to direct work for two others.

In the afternoon, Bro. Todd took me to the Agricultural College, where we were received courteously by President Sanborn and several of the Professors.

In the evening, according to previous arrangement, I delivered a lecture before the Polysophical Society of the Brigham Young College, on “The Sun Moon and Stars” illustrated by stereopticon views.

January 17, 1891

By early train, Sister Webb and I returned to Salt Lake City; by afternoon train she proceeded to her home in Payson.

January 18, 1891

Sabbath. Tabernacle meetings were again dispensed with, and worshipping assemblies were called in the Ward houses. By request I visited the Ninth Ward Meeting House, and there addressed the people.

January 19, 1891

Began the rearrangement of specimens in the Deseret Museum of which institution I have been given charge, at least temporally.

January 20, 1891

By previous appointment I this evening addressed the people of the Second Ward under the auspices of the Mutual Improvement Associations. I had chosen a subject, but upon arriving at the meeting house, a request was made that I speak upon “Atheism and Idolatry,” which I did.

January 24, 1891

Today the little book referred to under dates of Oct. 21, and Nov. 1, last, (this book pp. 27 and 30) left the press. Its publication has been greatly delayed owing to him- dances in procurring illustrative cuts; and the cuts that were at length procured, were of a very poor order. In other respects the little work is of neat and orderly appearance. It comprises 331 pages in all, octavo size. The typography is good, the binding serviceable. The book is bound in two styles, cloth and leather; the former is sold at $1.00 per volume; the latter at $1.25. As I felt it to be proper I [-]have dedicated the work to Bro. Maeser, in the words:–



Karl G. Maeser, D. L. D.,

General Superintendent of Latter-day Saint Schools, and Pioneer Teacher in Such Schools; 

To whom the Author, in common with all the youth of this people, owes so much, this unpretentious volume is respectfully and affectionately inscribed.

As was stated on page 30 (this book) the MSS. was examined by a Committee appointed for the purpose, and a report was made to Pres. Woodruff. The first Presidency issued an endorsement of the work; which was accompanied by one from General Superintendent Maeser.

These documents bear date of Dec. 1, 1890: and have been already published. They appear however in the fore part of the book; and are as follows:

[newspaper clipping pasted into journal]


The following endorsements of the work speak volumes in its favor:

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec: 1, 1890.


With the growth of our Church school system, and of the Mutual Improvement Associations among our people, the need of text-books specially adapted for use under those organizations becomes very apparent.

A short time ago Dr. J. E. Talmage was requested by us to prepare a work of medium size and scope on subjects of practical and scientific interest; and as a result he has written a small volume entitled “Domestic Science.”

A committee appointed to examine the book has heartily endorsed it as a worthy work representing an extended array of useful facts expressed in simple but forcible style, and imbued throughout with the spirit of our religion.

We take pleasure in recommending the little work to our people as well adapted for use in our Church schools, also in the Mutual Improvement Associations, and for general reading.

Your brethren in the gospel,





PROVO CITY, UTAH, Dec. 1, 1890.

The study of “Domestic Science,” recognized as an essential feature of education, has received in this work of Dr. J. E. Talmage such a thorough and systematic treatment as will entitle the work to the careful consideration of all educators; I earnestly recommend it, therefore, to all our Church schools for adoption.


Gen. Supt. L. D. S. Schools.

I am hopeful that the little book will prove of value; that it may be the means of accomplishing some good. It has been written with that object.

January 25, 1891—Sunday

Sunday. Attended Prayer Circle, but remained home rest of day, having been excused from a Missionary Appointment, because of my boy Sterling’s threatened ill health. However, he is better today.

January 28, 1891

 Attended regular monthly meeting of the Home Missionaries.

January 30, 1891

According to previous arrangement I this night went to Provo, and delivered a lecture before the Polysophical Society of the Brigham Young Academy on the subject of “Atheism and Idolatry.” I felt great pleasure in again being present at my old home. The spirit prevailing there is so congenial, I could almost believe I had not left the institution at all. Stayed with my friends and benefactors Brother and Sister Cluff.

February 9, 1891

At present, I am out of debt for my home. Thank God for this! True, my house is not finished and furnished in all particulars, but it is a goodly home, and the Lord has given it. Of late I have been greatly reduced for lack of means; indeed, I have had to solicit loans to pay my fare on lecturing tours. Yet, I feel rich—wife, son and home, and a name in the Church of God.

September 11, 1891

Today I had an interview with the First Presidency of the Church, relative to the Religion Class system. Being the Superintendent of such classes for this Stake, and having found from the labors of the past, that the Bishops of many of the wards feel that they have now all they possibly can carry in the way of special organizations. I asked instructions from the authorities as to the proper procedure. Plans for some change in the system are pending, and another appointment for an interview was set for Monday next […]

September 14, 1891

Met by appointment with the First Presidency relative to the Religion Class system. It is the intention of the brethren to cause to be published a class work in Theology for use in the Church schools and religion classes generally. The need for such a work has long been felt among the teachers of the Latter-day Saints. The plan of the work is not fully matured as yet, the probability of issuing a series of two or three books is strong. Several preliminaries have to be arranged before the work is begun; but the First Presidency have expressed to me their intention of appointing me to do the labor. I find myself very busy already, but I have never yet found it necessary to decline any labor appointed to me by the Holy Priesthood; and in the performance of duties so entailed, as my day, so has my strength ever been. […]

December 16, 1892

By request I went this evening to Ogden, and there delivered a lecture to the Student’s Society of the Weber Stake Academy; subject— “A peep through the Microscope”, with optical lantern illustrations. Stayed at night at Bro. Dalton’s house,—the lodging place of Bro. Isgreen, the Principle of the Academy.

On the train en route to Ogden, I had a long and interesting conversation with Apostle Lorenzo Snow, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. He spoke to me at length concerning the Church School Cause, and encouraged me in my labors in the same. Then taking me by the hand, he pronounced over me words of counsel and blessing, and that too by the spirit of prophecy; for so he declared to me: and so the testimony in my own heart bore record. As soon as possible,—within a quarter of an hour after the interview closed, I wrote down, as fully as I could remember, the sentiments he expressed.

Said he: “I do not know exactly why, but I feel, and have always felt a deep interest in you. I want you to feel encouraged in your labors, and to cultivate a love for life and a desire to live, for I tell you, you shall live till you are satisfied with life; and if you so desire till you are a very old man. You shall attain to the very highest pinnacle of fame, that your heart may aspire toward; and you shall reach a position which very few men in the church will attain. The Lord has wondrously blessed you; you are endowed with talents many and great,—endowments for which many men would give a fortune of millions of dollars; and if you will continue to cultivate a spirit of humility, and fail not to give to God the glory for your successes, achieved through His favor, you shall be blessed of god, more and more, and your heart shall be filled with blessings indescribable. You are called to fulfill a mission of rare and great importance in the Church, and the Lord will assist you.”

I was deeply affected at his words; and I asked of him as a favor to offer criticism and instruction whenever he saw me wandering from the track of the Gospel, for I have seen so many men, highly favored of God fall away through pride and arrogance. To this President Snow replied,—”Brother Talmage, I will do so, but I prophesy to you, as Joseph Smith prophesied to me once,—though your weaknesses may be many, and your failings not a few, yet the Lord will not permit you to live to wander entirely from the path of right. God bless you, and you shall be blessed”.

Oh, how can my heart contain the blessings of my Father! God grant me power to live for them and to resist the temptations that come my way.

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