James Edward Talmage September 2. He was baptized into the LDS Church at age 1. June 1. He moved with his family to Provo, Utah Territory, in 1.
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Importance of Theological Study. All truth is of value—above price indeed in its place; yet with respect to their possible application, some truths are of incomparably greater worth than are others. A knowledge of the principles of trade is essential to the success of the merchant; an acquaintance with the laws of navigation is demanded of the mariner; familiarity with the relation of soil and crops is indispensable to the farmer; an understanding of the profound principles of mathematics is necessary to the engineer and the astronomer; so too is a practical knowledge of God essential to the salvation of every human soul that has attained to powers of judgment and discretion.
The value of theological knowledge, therefore, ought not to be under-rated; it  is doubtful if its importance can in any way be over-estimated. What is Theology? The term is of very ancient usage, and may be traced to pagan sources. Plato and Aristotle speak of theology as the doctrine of Deity and divine things. Concisely defined, theology "is that revealed science which treats of the being and attributes of God, His relations to us, the dispensations of His providence, His will with respect to our actions, and His purposes with respect to our end.
It has been held by some as a truth, that theological knowledge is not properly a subject for analytical and otherwise scientific treatment on the part of man; that inasmuch as a true conception of Deity, with which theology has primarily to deal, must necessarily be based upon revelation from the source divine, we can but receive such knowledge as it is graciously given; and that to attempt critical investigation thereof by the fallible powers of human judgment would be to apply as a measure of the doings of God the utterly inadequate wisdom of man.
Many truths are beyond the scope of unaided human reason, and theological facts have been declared to be above reason; this is true so far as the same remark might be applied to any other kind of truth; for all truth, being eternal, is superior to reason in the sense of being manifest to reason, but not a creation of reason; nevertheless truths are to be estimated and compared by the exercise of reason. The Extent of Theology. It deals with Deity—the fountain of knowledge, the source of wisdom; with the proofs of the existence of a Supreme Being, and of other supernatural personalities; with the conditions under which, and the means by which, divine revelation is imparted; with the eternal principles governing the creation of worlds; with the laws of nature in all their varied manifestations.
Primarily, theology is the science of God and religion; it seeks to present "the systematic exhibition of revealed truth, the science of Christian faith and life. The industrial pursuits that benefit mankind, the arts that please and refine, the sciences that enlarge and exalt the mind, are but fragments of the great though yet uncompleted volume of truth that has come to earth from a source of eternal and infinite supply.
The comprehensive study of theology, therefore, would embrace all known truths. God has constituted Himself as the great teacher;  by personal manifestations or through the ministrations of His appointed servants, He instructs His mortal children. To Adam He introduced the art of agriculture,  and even taught by example that of tailoring;  to Noah and Nephi He gave instructions in ship building;  Lehi and Nephi were taught of Him in the arts of navigation;  and for their guidance on the water, as in their journeyings on land, He prepared for them the Liahona.
Theology and Religion, though closely related, are by no means identical. A person may be deeply versed in theological lore, and yet be lacking in religious, and even in moral traits. Theology may be compared to theory, while religion represents practice; if theology be precept, then religion is example. Each should be the complement of the other; theological knowledge should strengthen religious faith and practice.
As accepted by the Latter-day Saints, theology comprehends the whole plan of the gospel. The "Articles of Faith. The Latter-day Saints announce no creed as a complete code of their faith; for while they hold that the precepts of eternal life are unchangeable, they accept the principle of continuous revelation as a characteristic feature of their belief. However, when asked for a concise presentation of the principal religious views of his people, Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church in the present dispensation, announced as a declaration of belief the "Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As these Articles of Faith present the leading tenets of the Church in systematic order, they suggest themselves as a convenient outline for our plan of study. The Standard Works of the Church form our written authority in doctrine; but they are by no means our only sources of information and instruction on the theology of the Church. We believe that God is as willing to-day as He ever has been to reveal His mind and will to man, and that He does so through chosen and appointed channels.
We rely therefore on the teachings of the living oracles of God as of equal validity with the doctrines of the written word, the men in chief authority being acknowledged and accepted by the Church as prophets and revelators, and as being in possession of the power of the holy Priesthood.
The written works adopted by the vote of the Church as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are four,—the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Other works have been and are being issued by officers and members of the Church, and many such books are unreservedly sanctioned by the people and their ecclesiastical authorities; but the four publications named are the only regularly constituted standard works of the Church. Of the doctrine treated in the authorized standards, the Articles of Faith may be regarded as a fair, though necessarily but an incomplete epitome. Joseph Smith, whose name is appended to the Articles of Faith, was the prophet through whom the Lord restored to earth in these the last days the Gospel, and this in accordance with predictions made in previous dispensations.
If his claims to a God-given appointment be false, forming, as they do, the foundation of the Church in the last dispensation, the superstructure cannot be stable; if, however, his purported ordination under the hands of heavenly personages be a fact, one need search no further for the cause of the phenomenal strength and growing power of the restored Church. The circumstances of the divine dealings with Joseph Smith, the marvelous development of the work instituted by this modern prophet, the fulfilment through his instrumentality of many of the grandest predictions of old, and his own prophetic utterances with their literal realizations, will yet be widely acknowledged as proof conclusive of the validity of his ministry.
His Parentage and Youth. He was the son of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith—a worthy couple,  who though in poverty lived happily amid their home scenes of industry and frugality. At the place last named, the future prophet spent most of his boyhood days. In common with his brothers and sisters, he had but little schooling; and for the simple rudiments of an education, which by earnest application he was able to gain, he was mostly indebted to his parents, who followed the rule of devoting a portion of their limited leisure to the teaching of the younger members of the household.
In their religious inclinations, the family favored the Presbyterian church, the mother and three or four of the children having united themselves with that sect; but Joseph, while at one time favorably impressed by the Methodist creed, kept himself free from all sectarian membership, being greatly perplexed over the strife and dissensions manifesting themselves among the churches of the time.
He had a right to expect that in the Church of Christ there would be unity and harmony; yet in place of such he saw among the wrangling sects only confusion. When Joseph was in his fifteenth year, the region of his home was visited by a storm of fierce religious excitement, which, beginning with the Methodists, soon became general among all the sects; there were revivals and protracted meetings, and the manifestations of sectarian rivalry were many and varied.
These conditions added much to the distress of the young searcher after truth. His Search for Truth and the Result. If  any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it? It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart.
I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passage so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if He gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and not upbraid, I might venture.
So, in accordance with this my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day, early in the spring of It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak.
Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me, for a time, as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of  this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction, not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such a marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being; just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly above my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. In answer to his prayer for guidance as to which of the sects was right, he was told to join none of them, for all were wrong, with their creeds which are an abomination in the sight of God, and their professors who are corrupt, in that they draw near with their lips while their hearts are far from the Lord, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men, having a form of godliness while denying the power thereof.
Such knowledge as has been communicated in this unprecedented revelation was not to be held secret within the heart of the youth. He hesitated not to impart the glorious truths, first to the members of his family, who received his testimony with reverence, and then to the sectarian ministers, who had labored so diligently to convert him to their several creeds.
To his surprise, these professed teachers of Christ treated his statements with the utmost contempt, declaring that the day of revelation from God had long since passed away; and that the manifestation, if indeed he had received any such at all, was surely from Satan. Nevertheless, the ministers exerted themselves,  with a unity of purpose strangely at variance with their former hostility toward one another, to ridicule the young man, and to denounce his testimony.
The neighborhood was aroused; persecution, bitter and vindictive, was waged against him and his family; he was actually fired upon by a would-be assassin: yet through it all he was preserved from bodily injury; and in spite of increasing opposition he remained faithfully steadfast to his testimony of the heavenly visitation.
He was keenly sensitive of his own frailty and conscious of human weaknesses. He pleaded before the Lord, acknowledging his errors and craving help. Angelic Visitations. There appeared in his room a brilliant light, in the midst of which stood a personage clothed in white, and with a countenance of radiant purity and loveliness. The celestial visitor announced himself as Moroni, a messenger sent from the presence of God; and then he proceeded to instruct the youth as to some of the Divine purposes in which Joseph was to take a most important part.
The angelic messenger then repeated several prophecies which are recorded in the ancient scriptures; some of the quotations were given with variations from our Bible readings. Of the words of Malachi the following were quoted: "For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall burn as stubble, for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming. Having delivered his message, the angel departed, the light in the room seeming to condense about his person, and disappearing with him. But the heavenly visitant returned  a second and a third time during the night, each time repeating the instructions, with additional admonitions as to the requirements, and warnings regarding temptations that would assail the youthful seer.
On the following day, Moroni appeared to Joseph again, reciting anew the instructions and cautions of the preceding night, and telling him to acquaint his father with all he had heard and seen. This the boy did, and the father promptly testified that the communications were from God.
Joseph soon repaired to the hill described to him in the vision. He recognized the spot indicated by the angel, and with some labor laid bare a stone box containing the plates and other things spoken of by Moroni. The heavenly messenger again stood beside him, and forbade the removal of the contents at that time, saying that four years were to elapse before the plates would be committed to his care, and that it would be his duty to visit the spot at yearly intervals.
On the occasion of each of these visits the angel instructed the young man more fully regarding the great work awaiting him. The bringing forth of the plates from their resting-place of centuries, their translation by divine power, and the publication of the record as the Book of Mormon, shall receive attention on a later occasion; for the present it is sufficient to say that the ancient record has been translated; that the Book of Mormon has been given to the world; and that the volume is accepted as scripture by the Latter-day Saints.
Later Developments: the Martyrdom. From an initial membership of but six persons, the Church grew to include thousands during the life-time of the Prophet Joseph; and the growth has continued with phenomenal rapidity and stability until the present time. One by one the powers and authorities possessed by the Church of old were restored through the man who was chosen and ordained to be the first elder of the latter-day dispensation.
With the spread of the Church, persecution increased, and the effect of evil opposition reached a climax in the cruel martyrdom of the prophet, and his brother Hyrum, then patriarch of the Church, June 27, The incidents leading up to and culminating in the foul murder of these men at Carthage, Illinois, are matters of common history.
Ancient prophecy has been fulfilled in the restoration of the gospel and the re-establishment of the Church upon the earth through his instrumentality. He received by direct ordination and appointment, at the hands of those who held the power in former dispensations, the authority to minister in the various ordinances of the gospel.
His possession of the power of true prophecy, and of other spiritual gifts, is shown by the results of his ministry.
His doctrines are both true and scriptural. Each of these classes of evidence will receive attention and find ample demonstration in the course of our study of the Articles of Faith; and a detailed consideration will not be attempted at this stage of our investigation; a few illustrations, briefly stated, however, may not be out of place.
The Fulfilment of Prophecy, wrought through the life work of Joseph Smith, is abundantly shown. John the Revelator, from his prophetic vision of the latter-day dispensation, understood and predicted that the gospel would be again sent from the heavens, and be restored to the earth through the direct ministration of an angel:—"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
Malachi predicted the coming of Elijah specially commissioned with power to inaugurate the work of co-operation between the fathers and the children, and announced this mission as a necessary preliminary to the advent of "the  great and dreadful day of the Lord. In teaching this doctrine, and in complying with its behests, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands to-day alone amongst all the sects professing Christianity. The ancient scriptures are teeming with prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel in the last days, and the gathering of the chosen people from among the nations and from the lands into which they have been led or driven as a penalty for their waywardness and sin.
The return of the tribes after their long and wide dispersion is made a preliminary work to the establishment of the predicted reign  of righteousness with Christ on the throne of the world; and its accomplishment is given as a sure precursor of the millennium.
Jerusalem is to be re-established as the City of the Great King on the eastern Hemisphere; and Zion, or the New Jerusalem, is to be built on the western continent; the Ten Tribes are to be brought back from their hiding place in the north; and the curse is to be removed from Israel.
Their testimony is thus stated, in the description given of manifestations in the Kirtland Temple, April 3, —"Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. The bringing forth of the Book of Mormon is held  by the Latter-day Saints to be a direct fulfilment of prophecy.
Articles of Faith (Missionary Reference Library)
Talmage received a distinguished primary education and was named an Oxford Diocesan Prize Scholar after six years of schooling. Maeser as one of his teachers; he graduated in at the age of seventeen. After graduating, he started advanced work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in They requested he compile his lectures about the life of Jesus Christ into a book that would be widely available to church members and other readers. At that time, Talmage had many responsibilities with his church callings, his family, and his profession that kept him from starting the book but nearly ten years later, following another request from the First Presidency, he started writing Jesus the Christ.
The Articles of Faith
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The Articles Of Faith
In the short period of time that measures the span of mortal existence, it is not possible for man to explore any considerable portion of the vast realm of knowledge; it becomes, therefore, the part of wisdom to select for study the branches that promise to prove of the greatest worth. All truth is of value above price indeed in its place; yet with respect to their possible application, some truths are of incomparably greater worth than are others. A knowledge of the principles of trade is essential to the success of the merchant; an acquaintance with the laws of navigation is demanded of the mariner; familiarity with the relation of soil and crops is indispensable to the farmer; an understanding of the profound principles of mathematics is necessary to the engineer and the astronomer; so too is a practical knowledge of God essential to the salvation of every human soul that has attained to powers of judgment and discretion. The value of theological knowledge, therefore, ought not to be under-rated; it is doubtful if its importance can in any way be over-estimated. What is Theology? The word "theology" is of Greek origin; it comes to us from Theos, meaning God, and logos a treatise, or discourse, signifying by derivation, therefore, collated knowledge of Divinity, or the science that teaches us of God, implying also the relation existing between the Supreme Being and His creatures. The term is of very ancient usage, and may be traced to pagan sources.
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