New Release: “The Vitality of Mormonism: An Address” by James E. Talmage

This is a short, but spectacular LDS pamphlet written by James E. Talmage, better known for Jesus the Christ and his other book-length works. Get it on Project Gutenberg.

The address was originally “delivered by invitation at a meeting of the Denver Philosophical Society, at Denver, Colorado, December 14th, 1916” and was later re-printed in pamphlet form. It runs to only 45 pages, and provides a brief, but complete explanation of the important beliefs of Mormonism. Talmage divides his remarks under three headings: “facts attesting the vitality and virility of the Church,” “some causes thereof,” and “some of the results,” and he discusses the restoration, growth, and beliefs of the church through both the 13 Articles of Faith and a brief discussion of scriptures.

It’s similar to “The Story of Mormonism” and “The Philosophy of Mormonism” in that it’s an example of Talmage explaining the Church to educated non-members. His style shows:

“Mormonism” affirms that the “everlasting Gospel” has been restored to earth in the manner specified, that is by angelic ministration. The necessity of a restoration postulates the prior removal of the thing restored; and the restoration of the Gospel is proof of the precedent apostasy of mankind. But, it may be asked, had not we the Holy Bible, the scriptural repository of the Gospel record? The letter, yes. But surely the Gospel is more than a book. The Holy Bible prescribes administrative ordinances as essential to salvation baptism by water and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost by the authoritative imposition of hands, the rebirth of water and of the Spirit, without which, unless the Lord Christ spoke to Nicodemus falsely, no man can enter the kingdom of God. Who will venture to affirm that a possession of a copy of the Holy Bible, or even a letter-perfect memorization of the contents thereof, can give to men the right to administer in the ordinances therein prescribed?

Happy reading!


Special thanks to Emma Cahoon, who as part of her Mormon Texts Project internship proofread this pamphlet, produced it for Project Gutenberg, and contributed to this blog post. She was the first intern to finish the program, and she did great work, especially considering her patience as our first experimental intern. Her other project, History of the Church vol. 2, should be available on Project Gutenberg soon.

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