Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to Talmage by Calvin R. Stephens

A Beginner's Guide to TalmageA Beginner's Guide to Talmage by Calvin R. Stephens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description: 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.

My thoughts: There are few authors that intimidate me. Those who are intimidating are those who have the enviable gift of writing succinctly and intelligently, possess a spiritual and theological knowledge that is difficult to articulate, and yet they do, and they have higher I.Q.'s than I do. The three that meet this criterion include Neal Maxwell, Hugh Nibley, and James E. Talmage.

All three all intellectuals along with being theologians. I have no doubt that they have had visions of the earth being formed down to chemical reactions and molecules to atoms. Few people have a better understanding of the Atonement, the mission of Jesus Christ, and the nature of Jesus Christ than James E. Talmage. Not only does he have great understanding, he offers supporting documentation and the gift of articulating difficult ideas into a nearly tangible object. But it takes great concentration and time for the reader to grasp these concepts. Which is why each of the aforementioned giants have, on at least one occasion, failed to engage me but succeeded in putting me to sleep.

Before you start judging me, please go check to see if that is a mote in your eye.

And Isaiah. I can't forget to include Isaiah.

So what Calvin Stephens has done has written a book that includes Talmages' greatest insights and/or summaries of gospel principles and has organized them into bite sized sections. It's a topical guide on gospel principles according the man who wrote Jesus the Christ and the many volumes on the Savior. The concepts are organized into chapters and the sub concepts that fit into that chapter are included in natural segues.

I understand Talmage.

I am still struggling with Isaiah. But I'm still reading Isaiah. Until I fall asleep.

Again. Go look to see if you have a mote in your eye before you judge me too harshly.

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