Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LDS BOOK REVIEW: A Beginner's Guide to Talmage compiled Calvin R. Stephens


Have you ever wanted to read the gospel classics by Elder James E. Talmage but never quite found the time? Or have you wished you could recall highlights from Jesus the Christ or Articles of Faith? Now you can find the best by Elder Talmage all in one place, arranged by the major themes found in his writing. The first in a new series of classic material from beloved writers, A Beginner’s Guide to Talmage brings together the best quotations and hand-selected excerpts from Jesus the Christ, Articles of Faith, The House of the Lord, The Great Apostasy, The Parables of James E. Talmage, The Story and Philosophy of “Mormonism,” The Vitality of Mormonism, and Elder Talmage’s general conference addresses. A brief introduction offers insight about his life and the influence of his teachings. This thematic arrangement of some of the best thinking from an apostle of the early twentieth century will renew your appreciation for the writings of James E. Talmage.


Calvin R. Stephens received his master’s degree in LDS history and doctrine from Brigham Young University. He has been a popular instructor at the Ogden LDS Institute, BYU–Jerusalem Center, and BYU Education Week. He served as the president of the California San Bernardino Mission and as a member of the Church’s Materials Evaluation Committee. He and his wife, Lynette Davis Stephens, are the parents of four children.


James E. Talmage was a well-known LDS gospel scholar and apostle. His books such as Jesus the Christ, Articles of Faith, and The Great Apostasy are some of the definitive works on LDS doctrine. They do not of course take the place of the scriptures but provide a lot of insight into LDS beliefs. But Talmage's works can be a bit intimidating thus this book presents selections from Talmage's books and general conference talks to provide an introduction to his work.

The selections are divided up by category: Plan of Salvation, The Godhead, Jesus the Christ, The Atonement and more. Stephens has done a nice job choosing selections that explain various LDS doctrines in an understandable way. A great reference for those who want a deeper understanding of gospel doctrines.  A wonderful book full of insights and explanations about important doctrines. Highly recommended.

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