This episode features a wide ranging conversation between LDF host Dan Wotherspoon and his good friend and historian James Harris about the life and ministry of Elder James E. Talmage. Just before and then in the first few decades of the twentieth century (1862-1933), Elder Talmage served the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in myriad ways. He is among the earliest academics/scholars to come into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1911), but even before his time in the quorum he was kept busy leading what is now known as the University of Utah, head of its geology department, as well as being heavily consulted by LDS leaders on a myriad of topics. (All this while he was also married and raising a family, as well!)
He is most widely known among church members for three books he produced at the request of the First Presidency: The Articles of Faith, Jesus the Christ, and The Great Apostasy, all of which have been very influential in the lives of Latter-day Saints and the narratives they tell about these subjects.
What most don’t know is much about the man himself–and that is where the expertise of James Harris comes in. From him, we get a nice overview of his schooling and church service that intersected with many interesting leaders and issues. But through story and reflection, Harris helps us get a better feel for the man.
We lift him up here as a potential example for many who struggle to be their authentic selves within an organization that often doesn’t feel welcoming to secular knowledge. His steadiness and ability to see things from large perspectives, even if some of his colleagues didn’t, or in some cases vociferously disagreed with him, is worth considering
There is much in this conversation that one might label, “sidetrips,” as during the course of things, Dan and Jim reflect on wider issues and things they find helpful or interesting that were prompted by something in Elder Talmage’s life.
LDS, Mormon, James E Talmage, Faith, Academics, Scholarship, Leadership