December 27, 1898—Tuesday

Began the reading of manuscript for a proposed theological publication; the reading was before a committee created at my request by action of the First Presidency of the Church. The history of the affair is briefly as follows:—Years ago, while I was officially connected with the Church School work, the First Presidency expressed to me their desire to have prepared a book or a series of books, suitable for use as textbooks in theological classes of the Church. This developed into a request that I write such a book and a letter of appointment to the work dated February 20, 1893 was received February 22, 1893. When the theology class in connection with the Church University was established I was appointed instructor, and the work decided upon was a series of lectures on the “Articles of Faith,” the plan being that I present in lecture form the matter which would have been published as the substance of the proposed book. At my request a committee was appointed to pass upon the matter of the lectures. Twenty-two lectures were given before the class: then on April 1, 1894 the class was discontinued owing to my call to the presidency of the University of Utah. I was counseled to drop the work of preparing the unfinished part of the lectures for the time being, in view of my busy condition. Part of the matter presented to the class was published in serial form in the “Juvenile Instructor” commencing November 15, 1893, and running to August 15, 1894. Many requests, personal and official have been made for the continuation of the work. The subjects of the “articles” not presented before the Church University class were subsequently treated before other classes and theological organizations. Not until this autumn have I been able to resume the work of writing the lectures. For three months past I have been suffering from my baneful affliction of sleeplessness, and my nights, often extending until daybreak have been devoted to writing the matter, which is now practically completed. The printed parts have been completely re-written, and the unpublished part has been added. As stated, at my recent request, the First Presidency appointed a committee to hear and pass upon the matter in its present form. This is really the old committee reconstituted, the only change in the personnel being the appointment of Apostle Anthon H. Lund in place of Apostle Abram H. Cannon deceased. Apostle F. M. Lyman continues as chairman: the other members are Elders George Reynolds, John Nicholson, and Karl Maeser. Two sittings, each two hours, were held today, and such are to continue daily with

January 5, 1899

Finished the reading of the manuscript on “Articles of Faith” to the Committee. Committee passed a unanimous vote of hearty, approval: and referred the question of publication to the First Presidency […]

January 13, 1899

Meeting with the First Presidency and the Committee on the lecture book; at which the latter referred certain points of doctrine and instructions as to the manner of publishing. As the book has been written by appointment previously made I knew not whether to consider my mission completed now that the Mss. has been approved, or to regard myself as under appointment until the book appears in print. I was surprised at a suggestion made by the committee a few days ago, and still more so at the approval of the suggestion by the First Presidency that the book be published by the Church. I was not aware that such an honor had ever been paid to one of our writers; and I hardly felt to urge the matter for I don’t think the Church is rightly to be made responsible for the slips and errors which will inevitably appear in the book. The details of publication were not settled today. 

One of the questions referred to the First Presidency by the Committee was as to the advisability of reprinting the lecture entitled “The Holy Ghost” which appeared in the “Juvenile Instructor” soon after its delivery in the theology class of the Church University. I remember that considerable discussion attended the reading of the lecture before the former committee prior to its delivery. The question hung upon the expediency and wisdom of expressing views as definite as those presented in the lecture regarding the personality of the Holy Ghost when marked ambiguity and differences of opinion appeared in the published writings of our Church authorities on the subject. The lecture was approved as it appeared in the “Instructor.” I have incorporated it in the prospective book in practically an unaltered form. President Snow took the article under advisement today. In conversation Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon supported the view of the distinct personality of the Holy Ghost and stated that he had actually heard the voice of the third member of the Godhead, actually talking to him. […]

January 16, 1899

Meeting with the First Presidency on the lecture book matter. President Snow announced his unqualified approval of the lecture on the “Holy Ghost”; and directed its insertion. The preliminaries relating to publication were furthered.

January 17, 1899

Final word from the First Presidency regarding the publication of the lectures. It has been decided that the Church publish the work. This action will give the book greater prestige, and will doubtless add to its usefulness among the people. I am sensitive of the confidence in the work thus shown by the authorities, and of the honor thus given to myself. The printing will be done at the “Deseret News” office the Church publishing establishment. I am notified that new type is to be purchased for the work, and I am asked to make the selection. An edition of 10,000 copies is ordered. As to the financial phase of the undertaking I note this:—In my first acceptance of the appointment to prepare a text-book for use in the theological organizations, I expressed a willingness to undertake the work, without hope of royalty or other pecuniary advantage from the sales, provided the book could be sold at cost. In a reply to this the First Presidency wrote me under date of February 20, 1893, as follows: We understand it is your intention not to make any charge for the preparation of this work so that it may be placed on the market at so low a price that it will be within the reach of all; with this suggestion we hastily concur.

In presenting recently the question of publication before the Committee, and the First Presidency, this offer of mine was commended as liberal and praiseworthy; although some opposition was referred to, the thought of some of the brethren being, that the waving of the royalty would either make so little difference in the price of the book as to be inappreciable, or, should the cost of publication permit a markedly low price to be charged, there would be a danger of some-what demoralizing effect on home publications in general. Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon was outspoken in the belief that no unusually low price should be set on the book. Nevertheless my offer was treated from the first as fully accepted. In an itemized estimate of the cost of publication, H. G. Whitney, Business Manager of the “News” establishment, writes me under yesterday’s date that the new type needed will cost about $200.00 and that “the work with typesetting and paper will cost…$1500 to $1600 on an edition of 10,000,” to which is to be added 25 cents per copy for cloth and binding. It is proposed to charge not less that $1.00 per copy of the cloth-bound book. Evidently this allows considerable profit, which I am told will accrue to the Church. While the purpose of my offer to do the work without charge was to secure a selling price of the book at cost, I do not demur to this plan of a moderate profit being made for the Church. I have tried to do the work in the true spirit of making an offering to the Church, and I leave the matter to the authorities. If I can feel that the Lord has accepted my humble and imperfect offering I shall count myself as richly recompensed. But the work is not yet finished; the Mss. is to be prepared for the press, and the labor of carrying the book through will be considerable […]

February 2, 1899

Sisters Priscilla Jennings and Emily S. Richards called at the President’s Office and had a talk with President [Lorenzo] Snow desiring to learn his mind and will in relation to them continuing their work in connection with the Utah State Council of Women organization. They explained that when this organization was first organized, members of the National society objected to Mormons being connected with it, but had since become friendly and quite cordial in their feelings towards the Mormon members, and they had invited the State society to send delegates to the convention to be held shortly in Washington, and Sister Richards had been appointed with Mrs. Gilmer to attend that convention as delegates. President Snow advised these sisters that it was his opinion that it would be politic for us to take advantage of every opportunity that would likely bring honor to Utah, and he encouraged Sister Richards in the desire to attend the National Woman’s Suffrage Convention at Washington, D.C. Presidents Snow, [George Q.] Cannon and [Joseph F.] Smith were at the office. Elder James E. Talmage called at the President’s office and had a talk with the Presidency regarding the edition of the Pearl of Great Price which he is to publish with foot note references. President Cannon suggested that it would be perfectly proper to make references to chapters and verses, but nothing should be done in the way of foot notes in this edition in the way of explaining the meaning of any passages as this might lead to difficulty. Benjamin Cluff, Jr., who is organizing an expedition to go to Central and South America for the purpose of exploring Book of Mormon lands, called at the office in relation to the expedition. President Snow, who approved of the plan, authorized Brother Cluff to use his name to assist him to obtain contributions in the shape of financial help. Brother Cluff proposed that six young men be called on a mission to accompany the expedition with the understanding that they go for the purpose of learning the languages of the people and studying their myths, as he was of the opinion that the Maya people had traditions regarding the extraordinary physical disruptions of the earth at the time of the crucifixion of the Savior, as noted in the Book of Mormon. He had been impressed with this idea from the writings of [Augustus] LePlongeon, the author and explorer, and felt that a study of these people by a number of capable young men would confirm the writings of the Book of Mormon in various ways. Moreover, LePlongeon states that the Maya people were acquainted with the Egyptian language and the writings engraved on their temples go to show it. The Presidency consented to call young men for this purpose. At 1:30 o’clock Mr. [Elliot T.] Galt and Mr. [Charles A.] Magrath accompanied by their engineer, Mr. [George] Anderson, Judge [LeGrand] Young, Brothers [Milton D.] Hammond and [Charles O.] Card came to the office. They had been on consultation in the forenoon regarding certain indefinite clauses in the contract regarding the building of the canal, water rights and selection of lands. They reported that they had come to an agreement which had been prepared and would be signed in the morning. These gentlemen remained at the office in consultation until three o’clock when all withdrew excepting Mr. Galt and Mr. Magrath who remained to talk with the Presidency. In view of the fact that the Church had to take about six thousand acres of land in lieu of cash advanced to the sub-contractors, they now offered free water right for two years for this land, in order to give an opportunity to sell them to settlers. They also offered a quarter section in two different places as a bonus on which to form villages, with the privilege of purchasing three thousand acres immediately around. They also offered five dollars a head for emigrants to settle these villages, either from Europe or America; and if from Europe, $300. towards paying the expenses of a man to do the business of selecting them. They thought that each village could sustain sixty families, but it was not the intention to limit the Church in any way in what may be done in this direction. President Snow said he could see only one difficulty in this, and that would be the lack of means by new settlers to purchase implements and teams. President Cannon inquired of Mr. Galt as to the attitude of the Dominion of Canada towards our people. That gentleman replied that it was made acquainted with the contract with the First Presidency, and it has encouraged, and made some small appropriations towards carrying it into effect, and that the Dominion officials were working hand in hand with the Irrigation Company to carry this project through. Mr. Magrath, at the request of President Snow, promised to submit a paper embodying the above propositions, at their meeting tomorrow. Had interview with the First Presidency on a matter which has been under informal consideration for some time, viz: that of preparing a revised edition of the “Pearl of Great Price,” one of the standard works of the Church. I was appointed today to prepare the same, the text to be divided into paragraphs or verses, with references. I undertake this as I have attempted other labors in connection with church work, in a missionary spirit without hope or expectation of reward. Indeed I doubt that I will be known as the reviser even if the work be completed, and a revised edition published.

February 25, 1899

At last typographical work has begun on the “Articles of Faith” book. New type was ordered from the East, and the kind selected had to be made to order, then a delay was caused by the recent snow blockades on the railways: and the last lot of type arrived yesterday. The first form of the book was placed in my hands for proof reading tonight. The plan is to keep up the printing operation night and day if necessary so as to bring out the book by or before the time of April conference […]

March 10, 1899

In this evenings issue of the “Deseret News” appeared the first public announcement of the prospective book on the “Articles of Faith.” This first mention is made by the President of the Church, in the manner following:—


During the early part of April there will be issued by the Deseret News a new Church work entitled “The Articles of Faith,” the same being a series of lectures on the principal doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Dr. James E. Talmage. The lectures were prepared by appointment of the First Presidency, and the book will be published by the Church. It is intended for use as a text book in the Church Schools, Sunday Schools, Improvement Associations, quorums of the Priesthood, and other Church organizations in which the study of Theology is pursued, and also for individual use among the members of the Church. The work has been approved by the First Presidency, and I heartily commend it to members of the Church.


The work of printing is progressing at the rate of a form (16 pages) every day; and the assurance is still held that the work will be completed by the approaching April conference […]

April 1, 1899

Read proof of last form on the “Articles of Faith” book. The preface will be put to press under date of Monday next (The 3rd) and my work on the book is finished for the present. I read proof of the first form (16 pp.) February 25: one form per day was promised: 32 forms have been completed in the 30 intervening days (Sundays excepted) […]

April 4, 1899

First copies of the book left the bindery. The earliest issues were taken to the office of the First Presidency. The matter of the lectures with appendix and index occupy 490: the book in its entirety 498 pages. The title page is as above [copy of title page is glued to the page above the journal entry] for that I am not responsible as it was prescribed by the First Presidency. President Snow disapproved of my preference of “Elder” as the title of the author, saying that the name as given above would be more assuming to non-members of the Church into whose hands the book may come. I have copyrighted the book in my own name, and will assign the right for the first edition to the Church In defense to my wish to have the work sold at the lowest possible price, the cloth-bound copy is offered at $1.00; prices of other bindings $1.50 to $2.50. Actual cost of the cloth-bound copy as per statement of the “Deseret News” Manager is 45 cents […]

August 21, 1899

In the evening Patriarch Jesse Martin who was visiting the folks, gave me a patriarchal blessing. It reads as follows:—

A Patriarchal Blessing, given by Jesse B. Martin, upon the head of James Edward Talmage, son of James J. and Susannah Talmage, born September 21st, 1862, at Hungerford, Berks, England.

James Edward, in the name of Jesus Christ, I lay my hands upon thy head, and give thee a Patriarchal Blessing; for thou art a literal descendant of Ephraim, and entitled to all blessings pertaining to that tribe. And thou shall have all things given unto thee through thy holy anointings, that shall prepare thee for a fulness of glory in the Celestial Kingdom of God. For thou art one of the chosen of the Lord, to do a great work among the Saints of the Most High, as well as amongst the world. And the Lord shall bless thee with the discernment of spirits, and thou shalt not be deceived by wicked and designing persons. And the time is not far distant when thou shalt be called and set apart and ordained as one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ in this dispensation. And thou shalt do much good among the people in preparing them to go to the Center Stake of Zion; for the Holy Ghost shall rest down upon thee in all thy labors, and thou shalt speak forth words of truth with power and much assurance, and thousands will flock around thee to hear thy words; and thy influence among the people shall cause many to turn from their wayward ways and serve the Lord more perfectly. And thou shalt have the privilege of going with the Saints of God even to the Center Stake of Zion, and do much good in helping to build that beautiful Temple; for the Saints will listen to thy words and thy counsel as they would to an angel from the presence of God. Thou shalt enter into that Temple when it shall be prepared for the reception of Jesus Christ; and thou shalt see the Redeemer and know that He is the Son of God. And thou shalt travel from place to place with the Apostles of God and organize stakes in the land of Zion; for thou hast been chosen to do this great work, and thou shalt never be forsaken by thy Father in Heaven; for thou art of royal seed, and shalt accomplish a great and glorious work for the redemption of the human family. Thou shalt be a savior upon Mount Zion, because of the work thou shalt do for thy friends that have passed away behind the vail. And thou shalt be ready and prepared to meet the Savior when He shall come upon the earth. And thou shalt enter into the great feast as one of the wise, and shall feast and drink wine with the Apostles of old, and with Jesus Christ here upon this earth. Let thy heart be comforted, and fear not the powers of darkness, for thou shalt have power over all evil spirits that come in thy way, and they shall have no power to tempt thee more than thou canst bear.

And I seal thee up against the power of the Devil, and he shall not lead thee from the Church of Jesus Christ. And I seal thee up unto Eternal Life, to come forth in the morning of the First Resurrection.

All these blessings I seal upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ; Amen.

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