|James E. Talmage|
|Quorum of the Twelve Apostles|
|8 December 1911– 27 July 1933|
|LDS Church Apostle|
|8 December 1911– 27 July 1933|
|Reason||Death of John Henry Smith; Charles W. Penrose added to First Presidency|
|Reorganization||Charles A. Callis ordained|
|Born||James Edward Talmage|
21 September 1862
|Died||27 July 1933 (aged 70)|
|Salt Lake City Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Merry May Booth|
James Edward Talmage (21 September 1862 – 27 July 1933) was an English chemist, geologist, and religious leader who served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1911 until his death.
A professor at Brigham Young Academy (BYA) and University of Utah (U of U), Talmage also served as president of the U of U and Latter-day Saints' University. In addition to his academic career, Talmage authored several religious-themed books, the most prominent of which are Jesus the Christ and Articles of Faith. Despite first being published in 1915 and 1899, the books remain classics in Mormon literature. An academic and religious scholar, Talmage did not believe that science conflicted with his religious views. Regarding the conflicting Mormon views on evolution, Talmage attempted to be a mediator between church leaders B.H. Roberts and Joseph Fielding Smith who disagreed about evolution and the origin of man. In addition to his academic and religious involvement, Talmage was involved in local political leadership in Provo as a city council member, alderman, and justice of the peace.
James E. Talmage, the first son of Susannah Preater and James Joyce Talmage, was born and raised in Hungerford, Berkshire, England on 21 September 1862.:481 He was born in the Bell Inn, a hotel in Hungerford, for with which Talmage's father was the manager.:484 Talmage's parents converted to the LDS Church, probably in the 1850s before his birth.:490-401 Neighbors and local clergy did not like the Talmage family's membership in the LDS Church or their innkeeping business, which included serving alcoholic beverages during the temperance movement. Shortly after Talmage's birth, his family moved into a cottage in Edington, where most of his ten younger siblings were born.:484-485 Talmage moved to Rambury to stay with his grandfather at the age of two. There he attended infant schools and received some schooling from his grandfather.:486-488 He returned to Hungerford to live with his parents at age five.:491 As Talmage was spending his time helping take care of his siblings and helping at the inn, he attending school sporadically for the next three years.:491
At the age of twelve, he graduated from elementary school, passing the Oxford Diocesan Association exam for a second-class certificate. Talmage received a distinguished primary education and was named an Oxford Diocesan Prize Scholar after six years of schooling.:501-502 He was baptized a member of LDS Church at age 10 on 15 June 1873, but due to local hostilities toward Latter-day Saints, he was baptized in secret at night. The same year he accidentally pierced his younger brother's (Albert) eye with a digging fork, blinding him.:506-507 He moved with his family to Provo, Utah Territory, in 1876.:9-10 In Provo, he studied the Normal Course at BYA, with Karl G. Maeser as one of his teachers; he graduated in 1879 at the age of seventeen.:11-12 He became an instructor at BYA while continuing to study. In 1881, Talmage became the first graduate from the Scientific Department at BYA and the first student from BYA to receive a college degree.:3
Talmage's early predilection was for the sciences, and in 1882 and 1883 he took selected courses in chemistry and geology at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. After graduating, he started advanced work at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1883. In the spring of 1884, while at Johns Hopkins, Talmage journaled about many laboratory experiments, including one on the ingestion of hashish. After researching at John Hopkins, he returned to Brigham Young Academy and became a professor of geology and chemistry.
For many years, Talmage was a Fellow of the following learned societies: the Royal Microscopical Society (London), the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (Edinburgh), the Geological Society (London), the Geological Society of America, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also an Associate of the Philosophical Society of Great Britain, or Victoria Institute. He received a bachelor's degree from Lehigh University in 1891 and a PhD from Illinois Wesleyan University for nonresident work in 1896. In 1912, Talmage received an honorary PhD from Lehigh University. He was the president of Latter-day Saints' University from 1889 to 1894 and then was president of the University of Deseret from 1894 to 1897. From 1897 to 1907, Talmage was a professor of geology at the U of U.
In 1907, Talmage redirected his career from academic to the private sector, mining geology. In 1891, Talmage became curator of the Deseret Museum. In 1909, while Talmage was serving as the director of the Deseret Museum, he went to Detroit, Michigan, in November of that year to participate in diggings connected with the Scotford-Soper-Savage relics craze. Talmage would go on to denounce these findings as a forgery in the September 1911 edition of the Deseret Museum Bulletin in an article entitled, "The Michigan Relics: A Story of Forgery and Deception". In 1911, after becoming a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, his son Sterling Talmage replaced him as curator of Deseret Museum.
Talmage was the author of several religious books, including The Articles of Faith, The Great Apostasy, The House of the Lord, and Jesus the Christ. These volumes remain in print and are still widely read in the LDS Church. Talmage wrote the book Jesus the Christ by request of the church's First Presidency in 1905. 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 significance that was placed on the writing of this book about the life of Christ is seen in the First Presidency's setting aside space in the Salt Lake Temple as an area for Talmage to work on the book uninterrupted and without distractions.Jesus the Christ was published in September 1915, just under one year after Talmage started writing it.
In 1911, the First Presidency learned that a man named Max Florence, a former theater owner in Salt Lake City, had gained unauthorized access to the Salt Lake Temple. He had taken numerous photographs of the interior and was holding those photographs for ransom, but the church president at that time, Joseph F. Smith, would not negotiate with Florence on the subject. Florence said that he would sell the pictures to anyone who named a high enough price. A few days after this news was publicized, Talmage suggested to the First Presidency that they commission their own photographs of the Salt Lake Temple and publicize them as a book of photos. Smith authorized Talmage to get the pictures and also write on the subject of the temple to accompany the publication of the photographs. The House of the Lord was completed and published shortly thereafter in 1912.
Before he became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Talmage was an alternate high councilor in the Utah Stake of Zion. He became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on December 7, 1911 after Charles W. Penrose was appointed as second counselor in the First Presidency.:215 Additionally, from 1924 to 1928, Talmage served as president of the church's European Mission.
Talmage was an attentive student and teacher of science, but he did not believe there was conflict between science and religion and did not worry about differences or discrepancies between the two fields of thought. He believed that with time and continued learning, these discrepancies would eventually be resolved.:231-233 He had confidence in the scientific method and was able to accept scientific discoveries and findings supported by it while still holding fast to his religious beliefs. His views on science and religion are demonstrated by this statement: "Within the Gospel of Jesus Christ there is room for every truth thus far learned by man, or yet to be made known."
Talmage's views on science and religion can also be seen through an event that took place in 1929. In that year, B.H. Roberts, a scientific scholar and LDS Church leader, presented a 700-page manuscript to the First Presidency which attempted to completely align theology and science. Other church leaders were concerned with what was written in this manuscript and disagreed with the claims about evolution represented. Joseph Fielding Smith, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made a statement against what was written about evolution in the manuscript prepared by Roberts. Talmage tried to mediate between Smith and Roberts, suggesting to the First Presidency that they come out with a statement of neutrality on the issue, which they did. They soon came out with a statement stating that neither side of the argument was accepted as church doctrine.
Almost immediately after his return to Provo, Utah after his schooling in the East, Talmage was asked to run for the office of Territorial Superintendent of Schools by the People's Party. He could not accept due to his recent appointment as the first counselor in the presidency of BYA. Additionally, he was ineligible to run for office since he was not a United States citizen.:56-57 Soon, he applied for citizenship and received his naturalization papers and although he was uninterested in political involvement aside from necessity, Talmage went on to serve on the Provo City Council as an alderman, and as a justice of the peace.
Talmage died on July 27, 1933 in Salt Lake City at age 70. He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery. The vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve created by his death was filled by Charles Albert Callis.
Talmage married Merry May Booth (1868-1944) on 14 June 1888. Booth was a native of Alpine, Utah, and the daughter of immigrants from Lancashire. She started studies at the normal school connected with BYA in 1885, when she was 16. It was there she met Talmage, who was one of her instructors. While at BYA, Booth was secretary of the Polysophical Society. After completing her course of normal study, May took a job as a teacher in Kaysville, Utah. A few months later, Talmage undertook a project to study the waters of the Great Salt Lake; Talmage's main reason for this journey, though, was to pursue a relationship with Booth, and five months later they were married in Manti, Utah.
The Talmages had eight children. Among their children was John Talmage, who wrote a biography of his father. Another of their children, Sterling B. Talmage (1889-1956) became a geologist.:98
|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles|
Joseph Fielding Smith
| Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
8 December 1911 – 27 July 1933
Stephen L Richards
Joseph T. Kingsbury
| President of the University of Utah
Joseph T. Kingsbury