by Matt Slick
On the jacket cover of James Talmage's book it says, "For clarity, brevity, and forthrightness, there is no finer summary statement of the basic beliefs of Latter-day Saints than the Articles of Faith, which were written by the Prophet Joseph Smith . . . For more than eighty years this book has been a standard text for gospel students and teachers alike. The publication of the work preceded Elder Talmage's call to the apostleship." (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1984).
The Publisher's Preface in the book says, "Articles of Faith is considered one of the classics in Latter-day Saint literature. It is the outgrowth of a series of lectures in theology give by Dr. James E. Talmage, commencing in October of 1893. At that time Dr. Talmage was serving as the president of the LDS College in Salt Lake City. The First Presidency of the Church invited Dr. Talmage to prepare a text for use in Church schools and religion classes . . . On December 7, 1911, he was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, where he served faithfully until his death on July 27, 1933." (All of the below page references are from The Articles of Faith by James Talmage).
- "Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body, infinitely pure and perfect and attended by transcendent glory, nevertheless a body of flesh and bones," (p. 38).
- "Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh . . . " (p. 466-467).
- "Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed his mission in the flesh," (p. 421).
- "The twofold effect of the atonement is implied in the article of our faith now under consideration. The first effect is to secure to all mankind alike, exemption from the penalty of the fall, thus providing a plan of general Salvation. The second effect is to open a way for Individual Salvation whereby mankind may secure remission of personal sins. As these sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements--'obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel'" (p. 78-79).
- "Hence the justice of the scriptural doctrine that salvation comes to the individual only through obedience" (p. 81).
- "There are some who have striven to obey all the divine commandments, who have accepted the testimony of Christ, obeyed 'the laws and ordinances of the Gospel,' and received the Holy Spirit; these are they who have overcome evil by godly works and who are therefore entitled to the highest glory" (p. 83).
- "The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil. The idea upon which this pernicious doctrine was founded was at first associated with that of an absolute predestination, by which man was foredoomed to destruction, or to an undeserved salvation" (p. 432).
- " . . . the spirits of mankind passed through a stage of existence prior to their earthly probation. This antemortal period is oftentimes spoken of as the stage of primeval childhood or first estate" (p. 174).
- "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims against the incomprehensible God, devoid of 'body, parts, or passions,' as a thing impossible of existence . . . " (p. 44).
- "The opportunity of winning the victorï's reward by overcoming evil was explained to our parents, and they rejoiced. Adam said: 'Blessed be the name of God, for because of my transgression my eyes are opened, and in this life I shall have joy, and again in the flesh I shall see God.' Eve was glad and declared: 'Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient'" (p. 62).
- "The redemption of the dead will be effected in accordance with the law of God, which is written in justice and framed in mercy. It is alike impossible for any spirit, in the flesh or disembodied, to obtain promise of eternal glory except on condition of obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. And, as baptism is essential to the salvation of the living, it is likewise indispensable to the dead" (p. 134-135).
- "Temples or other sacred places are required for the administration of the ordinances pertaining to the salvation of the dead, and in certain ordinances for the living" (p. 138).
- "Salvation is attainable only through compliance with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel" (p. 422).
- "Those who have been born unto God through obedience to the Gospel may by valiant devotion to righteousness obtain exaltation and even reach the status of godhood" (p. 424).
- "The preexistent condition is not characteristic of human souls alone; all things of earth have a spiritual being of which the temporal structure forms but the counterpart" (p. 442).
- "Man in his mortal state is the union of a preexistent spirit with a body composed of earthly elements. This union of spirit and body marks progress from the unembodied to the embodied condition . . . " (p. 428).
- "Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them . . . Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or estates by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation" (p. 426).