Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
James E. Talmage James E. (Edward) Talmage

1862 - 1933

  • Born 1862 Hungerford, England
  • Baptized 1873
  • Ordained Deacon 1873
  • Ordained Teacher 1877
  • Ordained Elder 1880
  • Ordained High Priest 1884
  • Married Mary May Booth 1888; eight children
  • Between 1891 and 1906 received a multiplicity of Baccalaureate and Doctoral Degrees
  • Authored Articles of Faith 1899
  • Ordained Apostle and sustained to the Twelve 1911
  • Authored Jesus the Christ 1915
  • Died 1933 at Salt Lake City, Utah

Adapted from the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.
    James Edward Talmage was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born Sunday Sept. 21, 1862, at Hungerford, Berkshire, England, the son of James Joyce Talmage and his wife, Susannah Preater. He is the first son and second child in a family of eight. He was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the place of his birth, June 15, 1873, and on the 18th of the following August was ordained a Deacon in the Ramsbury branch of the London conference.

    The entire family left England May 24, 1876, landed in New York June 5th, and arrived in Salt Lake City June 14th following. His career in the Church was upward and onward from the time of his baptism. In Provo, Utah, where the family had established a home, he was ordained a Teacher December 17, 1877, and an Elder June 28, 1880. On September 29, 1884, he was ordained a High Priest, and was set apart as an alternate High Councilor in the Utah Stake of Zion.

    On December 7, 1911, he was appointed and sustained to be one of the Apostles, to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Elder Charles W. Penrose as second counselor in the First Presidency, and on the following day (Dec. 8th) was ordained an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and was set apart as one of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the hands of President Joseph F. Smith, assisted by his counselors and members of the Council of the Twelve.

    In 1888 (June 14th) he married Mary May Booth (daughter of Richard Thornton Booth and his wife, Elsie Edge Booth), at the Manti Temple, and from this union there came the following children: Sterling B., born May 21, 1889; Paul B.,born Dec. 21, 1891; Zella, born Aug. 3, 1894, died of pneumonia April 27, 1895; Elsie, born Aug. 16, 1896; James Karl, born Aug. 29, 1898; Lucile, born May 29, 1900; Helen May, born Oct. 24, 1902, and John Russell, born Feb. 1, 1911.

`    Elder Talmage obtained his early schooling in the National and Board schools of his home district in England, and was an Oxford diocesan prize scholar in 1874. He entered the Brigham Young Academy (now University) at Provo, Utah, in 1876, and followed to completion the high school and normal courses, and in his 17th year was a teacher of elementary science and English in the institution named. His early predilection was for the sciences, and in 1882-83 he took a selected course, mainly in chemistry and geology, at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. Though a special student and not a candidate for a degree, he passed during his single year of residence nearly all the examinations in the four-year course and was later graduated; and in 1883-84 he was engaged in advanced work at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.

    He returned to Utah in the fall of 1884, in response to a summons from the home institution, and served as professor of geology and chemistry, with varied activities in other departments, in the Brigham Young Academy from 1884 to 1888. While still a member of the faculty, he was elected a member of the board of trustees of the Brigham Young Academy. During his residence in Provo, he served successively as city councilman, alderman and justice of the peace.

    In 1888 he was called to Salt Lake City to take the presidency of the Latter-day Saints College, which position he held until 1893. He was president of and professor of geology in the University of Utah, 1894-97. In the year last named he resigned the presidency, but retained the chair of geology, which had been specially endowed; and ten years later (1907) he resigned the professorship to follow the practical work of mining geology, for which his services were in great demand. In 1891 he received the degree of Bachelor of Science, and in 1912 the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, from his old alma mater, Lehigh University. In 1890 he was given the honorary degree of Doctor of Science and Didactics by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in 1896 was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Illinois Wesleyan University for nonresident work. Dr. Talmage was elected to life membership in several learned societies, and for many years was a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society (London), Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (Edinburgh), Fellow of the Geological Society (London), Fellow of the Geological Society of America, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Associate of the Philosophical Society of Great Britain, or Victoria Institute, and Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Dr. Talmage traveled extensively, having traversed most of this country and of Europe many times in the course of scientific pursuits. He was a delegate from the Royal Society of Edinburgh to the International Geological Congress held at St. Petersburg (Petrograd)) in 1897, and was a member of the party that crossed the Urals into Siberia. Throughout the period of his professional career as teacher and professor, Dr. Talmage was particularly active and efficient in encouraging scientific study by popular lectures and writings, and for this labor his deep love for science and his exceptional command of language and ability as a public speaker particularly fitted him.

    Impelled by the same spirit, he took charge of the little Deseret Museum in 1891, and had the satisfaction of seeing the institution become large and influential. He retained the directorship until 1919, when the Deseret Museum ceased to exist as a unified institution, its collections being segregated to form the L. D. S. University Museum, and the L. D. S. Church Museum, respectively. In his teaching work Dr. Talmage was the first to establish courses in domestic science and agricultural chemistry in the intermountain West.

    When called to special ministry in the Church he promptly relinquished his profession as a mining geologist and engineer, the practice of which had grown to be extensive and lucrative, and from that time he devoted himself entirely to ecclesiastical service.

    Dr. Talmage was the author of many scientific and theological works, among which are: "First Book of Nature" ( 1888 ); "Domestic Science" ( 1891 ); "Tables for Blowpipe Determination of Minerals" ( 1899); "The Great Salt Lake, Present and Past" (1900) ;"The Articles of Faith" (1899), a comprehensive exposition of the doctrines of the Church; "The Great Apostasy" ( 1909 ); "The House of the Lord" (1912 ), a discussion of holy sanctuaries, ancient and modern; "The Story of Mormonism" ( 1907 ); lectures delivered at Michigan, Cornell and other universities; "The Philosophical Basis of Mormonism" ( 1915 ); "Jesus the Christ" (1915); "The Vitality of Mormonism" ( 1919 ), and numerous pamphlets and contributions to periodicals.

    Bishop Orson F. Whitney, author of the "History of Utah," said of him: "Professionally a scientist and a preceptor, with gifts and powers equalled by few, Dr. Talmage is also a writer and speaker of great ability and skill. He is an absolute master of English, both by pen and tongue, and possesses a musical eloquence of marvelous fluency and precision. His style of oratory, though not stentorian, is wonderfully impressive, and his well stored mind, capacious memory, quick recollection and remarkable readiness of speech render him a beau-ideal instructor, in public or in private."

    Elder Talmage served in the Quorum of the Twelve until his death July 27, 1933 at Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of seventy.

    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p.787
    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, pp.248, 320
    Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.439
    2005 Church Almanac, p.65

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