Essential James E. Talmage
James P. Harris, editor

Chapter 24
Jesus the Christ

(Entries from the Journal of James E. Talmage, 1904-22, Archives and Manuscripts,
Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah)

[p.163]Sept. 18, 1904—Sunday: Forenoon committee meeting and afternoon consultation regarding University Sunday School. Decided to conduct the work this year as lecture courses, of which there will be one on the Book of Mormon by Brother John M. Mills, and one on the subject “Jesus The Christ” by myself… .

Aug. 9, 1905—…In the course of the interview with the First Presidency, I was handed the attached letter, which has been awaiting me since the date thereof. Compliance with the request will require much time as not half the lectures have been delivered and not a line of one of them written, except as class notes.

The First Presidency
of the
Church of Jesus Christ
of
Latter-day Saints
P.O. Box B
Salt Lake City, Utah

July 18th, 1905

Dr. James E. Talmage,
City.

Dear Brother:——

We should be pleased to have you print and publish in book form the course of lectures being delivered by you before the University Sunday School on the subject, Jesus the Christ, believing they will prove a valuable acquisition to our Church Literature, and that the proposed work should be placed within the reach of Church members and general readers.

[p.164]Your Brethren,
Joseph F. Smith
John R. Winder
Anthon H. Lund…

Sept. 14, 1914—During the school periods of 1904-1905, and 1905-1906, I delivered a series of lectures entitled “Jesus The Christ” under the auspices of the University Sunday School. The sessions were held during Sunday forenoons in Barratt Hall. I received written appointment from the First Presidency to embody the lectures in a book to be published for the use of the Church in general. Work on this appointment has been suspended from time to time owing to other duties being imposed upon me. Lately, however, I have been asked to prepare the matter for the book with as little delay as possible. Experiences demonstrated that neither in my comfortable office nor in the convenient study room at home can I be free from visits and telephone calls. The consequence of this condition and in view of the importance of the work, I had been directed to occupy a room in the Temple where I will be free from interruption. I began the work in the Temple today and hope that I shall be able to devote the necessary time thereto…

Nov. 19, 1914—Spent some time at the office of the First Presidency. During the afternoon attended a meeting of the First Presidency and certain invited members of the Deseret Sunday School Union Board. At this meeting I read aloud several chapters of the book, “Jesus The Christ” now in process of preparation. The purpose being to ascertain whether the book would be properly suited for the lower or higher grades in the theological department. As was intended the work is being prepared for our people in general and is not adapted for use as a textbook for immature students. It was decided by the First Presidency that the work be completed of the same scope and plan as here-to-fore followed, and that the theological department of the Deseret Sunday School Union provide their own outline of the students of the first years work in said departments. In connection with the matter of the book, it may be well to record here that since my beginning on the writing September 14th last, I have devoted every spare hour to that labor and have at present in written form though not all in revised condition, twenty chapters. According to present indications, the work of the book will be interrupted through other appointments already made. The pur-[p.165]pose is, however, to bring it to completion at the earliest possible time, though with some relief from the intense pressure under which the writing has been here-to-fore done…

Dec. 22, 1914—Sunday. Devoted a greater part of the tight day to study in the Temple…

Jan. 1, 1915—I spent the greater part of this day in the Temple engaged in study and writing on the book, “Jesus The Christ”, to which labor I have been devoting for months past all available time…

Jan. 10th, 1915—Sunday. Was engaged in study at the Temple greater part of the day, then attended the prayer circle…

Jan. 12, 1915—Engaged in committee work at the President’s office during the early part of the day and in the Temple, as usual, at all spare time…

Jan. 16, 1915—Engaged in President’s office during early part of the day and in the Temple the rest of the day…

Feb. 6, 1915—Engaged in committee work as appointed by the Presidency greater part of the day. Succeeded in devoting a few hours to writing.

Feb. 7, 1915—Sunday. Wife and I attended fast meeting in the Temple and during the forenoon and I remained in the Temple engaged in scriptural study during the rest of the day…

Feb. 12, 1915—Lincoln’s Birthday. I devoted the day to writing on the book.

Feb. 13, 1915—Engaged in the Temple throughout the day.

Feb. 14, 1915—Sunday. Spent greater part of the day in the Temple…

Feb. 21, 1915—Sunday. Engaged in the Temple during the forenoon. Attended prayer circle during the afternoon; …

Feb. 28, 1915—Sunday. Spent greater part of the day in the Temple, as I have spent every day on which I have been free from appointments for months past. Attended prayer circle during the afternoon and was engaged for considerable length of time for administering to the afflicted…

Mar. 28, 1915—Sunday. Engaged in the Temple greater part of the day. Attended prayer circle in the afternoon…

Apr. 19th, 1915—Finished the actual writing on the book, “Jesus The Christ” to which I have devoted every spare hour since settling down to the work of composition on September 14th, last. Had it not been that I was privileged to do this work in the Temple, it would be at [p.166]present far from completion. I have felt the inspiration of the place and have appreciated the privacy and quietness incident thereto. I hope to proceed with the work of revision without delay…

May 4th, 1915—At meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve in the Temple, I read three chapters of the book. At each of the meetings thus far held for this purpose, all members of the First Presidency and all of the Twelve who are not absent from the city on appointed duties were present. We have now read nine of the 43 chapters…

May 6, 1915—Attended committee meeting at 8:15 a.m. in the Temple. At 9:30 a.m. the Presidency and Twelve sat to hear another reading of the matter prepared for the book. Two chapters were read and passed. Then attended regular council meeting of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

May 7, 1915—Forenoon devoted to reading four chapters of the book to the First Presidency and the Twelve…

May 11, 1915—Forenoon devoted to meeting of First Presidency and Twelve at which three chapters of the book were read…

May 13, 1915—Attended an early morning meeting of the counselors of the First Presidency and Twelve at which three chapters of the book were read. The reading thus far finished includes chapter 21. President Smith was absent, he having left yesterday afternoon for a trip to the Hawaiian Islands…

May 18, 1915—Read three chapters of the book to the Brethren during the forenoon…

May 20, 1915—Attended early meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve and read to the Brethren two chapters of the book…

May 25, 1915—Read two chapters of the book to the First Presidency and Twelve…

May 27, 1915—Attended council meeting of First Presidency and Twelve in the Temple. Before regular services of the council began, I read to the brethren two chapters of the forthcoming book …

June 1, 1915—Attended 12th sitting of the First Presidency and such members of the Twelve as were in town, held for the purpose of hearing read the book “Jesus The Christ”. Two chapters were read today. First installment of copy of the book “Jesus The Christ” was delivered to the primer today. Contract provides that the book shall be ready for delivery the first of September…

June 3, 1915—Spent two and one-half hours in reading to the First Presidency and Twelve, then attended regular council meeting [p.167]of First Presidency and Twelve…

June 8, 1915—Read two chapters of the book to First Presidency and Twelve…

June 15, 1915—…then attended a late afternoon meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve at which two more chapters of the book were read…

June 17, 1915—Read one chapter of the book to the First Presidency and Twelve.

June 18, 1915—Immediately after the meeting, President Joseph F. Smith, President Anthon H. Lund, and I met as a committee appointed before President Smith’s departure on his recent tour to consider the section in chapter 11 of the book, “Jesus The Christ”, relating to the Son of Man. The section was passed in the form in which it had been written…

June 24, 1915—Had an early meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve. I read the last installment of the matter for the book. This was the 18th sitting of the council to hear the reading of the manuscript. Printing is now in progress on the book…

July 4, 1915—Sunday, Fast Day. I was engaged during the day in revising chapters of the book on which the printers are at work during my absence…

July 10, 1915—Engaged during the afternoon in reading proofs of the book that have been sent me and telegraphed specifications of typographical errors.

July 11, 1915—Sunday. Left for home. Engaged in proofreading on the train.

July 12, 1915—Reached Salt Lake City about 9:00 p.m. Spent about 2 hours at the office examining the last proof sheets and then went to the house.

July 14, 1915—Yesterday and today have been engaged in consultation with Church Authorities and in proof reading…

Aug. 7, 1915—Practically every spare moment of my time since my return from San Francisco has been given up to the revision of copy and reading of proofs for the book “Jesus The Christ”, the printing is now well advanced…

Aug. 12, 1915—Attended council meeting of First Presidency and Twelve. Since returning from the coast I have devoted every spare hour to the work of revising copy and reading proofs in connection with the book “Jesus The Christ.” …

[p.168]Aug. 19, 1915—The attached official notice issued by the First Presidency first appeared in the Deseret Evening News of August 14th, and has been reprinted at intervals since. The purpose of giving this early notice is to advise Church school authorities and officers and other Church organizations concerning the publication of the book so that they may plan to include it in their courses.

This announcement is printed in the news on the 14th signed by Joseph F. Smith, Anthon Lund and Charles Penrose.

OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

Within the month of September, 1915, there will be issued from The Deseret News press a book entitled Jesus the Christ, written by Elder James E. Talmage, of the Council of the Twelve. This important work has been prepared by appointment, and is to be published by the Church. The field of treatment is indicated on the title-page as “A study of the Messiah and his mission, according to Holy Scriptures both ancient and modern.”

The book is more than a “Life of Christ” in the ordinary acceptation of that title, as it not only treats at length the narrative of our Lord’s life and ministry in the flesh, together with his death, resurrection, and ascension, but deals also with his antemortal existence and Godship, and with his ministry in the resurrected state, both of old and in the current dispensation. The sacred subject of our Savior’s life and mission is presented as it is accepted and proclaimed by the Church that bears his Holy Name.

We desire that the work, “Jesus the Christ” to be read and studied by the Latter-day Saints, in their families, and in the organizations that are devoted wholly or in part to theological study. We commend it especially for use in our Church schools, as also for the advanced theological classes in Sunday schools and priesthood quorums, for the instruction of our missionaries, and for general reading.

JOSEPH F. SMITH,
ANTHON H. LUND,
CHARLES W. PENROSE,

First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah, Aug. 13, 1915…

Aug. 29, 1915—Sunday. Attended morning and afternoon sessions of the quarterly conference of the Granit[e] Stake. In accordance with [p.169]request of the Stake Presidency, I was appointed to this duty with the special provision that I speak on the subject of “Jesus The Christ”…

Sept. 3, 1915—Returning to the printers the final proof sheets of the last forms of the book, “Jesus The Christ“…

Sept. 5, 1915—In the evening I attended by appointment the meeting in the 12th-13th Ward and in accordance with prior requests, spoke on the subject, “Jesus The Christ.” …

Sept. 7, 1915—Attended regular weekly meeting of the General Board of the Sunday School Union. During the pressing labor in connection with bringing out of the new book, I have been excused from attendance at meetings of auxiliary boards for many months past. Today the First Presidency renewed an appointment originally made about 5 years ago and suspended because of press of work—that I prepare as soon as possible a work dealing with the restoration of the gospel. The book to be in the nature of a companion volume to “The Great Apostasy”…

Sept. 9, 1915—Today I had the great pleasure of presenting to the First Presidency the first three copies of the book “Jesus The Christ” to leave the bindery…

Sept. 11, 1915—The first newspaper review and advertisement of the book, “Jesus The Christ”, appeared in this evenings Deseret News. Clippings attached…

Oct. 13, 1915—At a conference today attended by the First Presidency, Brother Horrace G. Whitney, Business manager of the Deseret News, and myself. Brother Whitney explained the need of an early beginning on the second edition of the book, “Jesus The Christ”. This day marks the end of the first month since the book was placed on sale, and according to Brother Whitney’s written report, over half the edition has already been sold. As the book is to be used in the Advanced Theology classes in the Sunday Schools beginning January next, and as it also has been adopted in the Quorum classes of the Melchizedek Priesthood, it appears that a second edition must be issued before the beginning of the coming year. The decision was reached today that plans for the second edition be proceeded with immediately…

Oct. 26, 1915—Was occupied in committee work with President Lyman and in consultation with the First Presidency during the greater part of the day. Definite action was taken by the First Presidency authorizing the Deseret News to proceed with the preparation of a second edition of the book “Jesus The Christ”, the issue not [p.170]to succeed 10,100 copies. Owing to lack of capacity in the Deseret News plant, it is probable that both printing and binding will be done in New York…

Nov. 10, 1915—Engaged with the First Presidency during greater part of the forenoon. Left by evening train for the East. My course of travel lies by a Oregon short line Union Pacific Chicago Northwestern to Chicago. The prime purpose of my going is that of being on the ground in New York during the electrotyping of the book “Jesus The Christ”, the type-setting of which is now nearing completion according to telegraphic reports. Proof sheets will be ready for me on the 15th. Our train was delayed at Ogden about three hours waiting for the train from the West…

Nov. 13, 1915—Engaged during greater part of the day in close reading. A stop of 2 hours at Buffalo, 4-6 p.m. gave me an opportunity for much-appreciated exercise. I spent greater part of the two hours in brisk walking. Then went by a Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railway. Read late into the night. Had been able to read critically about 3/4ths of the book while traveling. [14-30 November 1915 were spent proof-reading the second edition of Jesus The Christ in New York City; Talmage then returned to Salt Lake City.]

Nov. 23, 1922—Thurs. Attended council meeting of the First Presidency and Twelve, which lasted longer than usual. This is the 76th birthday of our faithful brother, George S. Gibbs, who has been secretary in the office of the First Presidency through many administrations. It is also the 42nd birthday of Brother Richard R. Lyman of the Council of the Twelve.

Today I received a copy of the book “Jesus the Christ,” sixth edition, including the 30th thousand. This edition has been printed at the Deseret News establishment from the electroplates used in earlier issues, with some corrections of typographical errors and other minor changes. Both in printing and in binding the new book presents a very attractive appearance. The work has been “out of print” for months past.

A new edition of the combined Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price has been finished, and today I examined the first copy. This issue comprises 1500 copies, printed by the W.B. Conkey Company of Hammond, Indiana, and bound in divinity circuit style by James Pott and Company of New York City. This edition is printed on thin paper and forms a companion volume to the India paper Book of Mormon, divinity circuit binding…