Church History Library Opens “Jesus the Christ” Exhibit

  • September 8-30, 2015
Date
September 8-30, 2015
Location
Church History Library at 15 North Temple Street in Salt Lake City

A copy of the book Jesus the Christ, written by James E. Talmage.

Article Highlights

  • A new temporary exhibit on Elder James E. Talmage’s Jesus the Christ will launch September 8.
  • The exhibit features the original, handwritten manuscript.
  • This free exhibit is located in the Church History Library and is open to the public during regular library hours.

“In the past 100 years, there have been dozens of reprints and a number of different editions released. It has never really gone out of print, which is pretty impressive for a book.” —Elise Reynolds, Church history specialist

A new temporary exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first publication of the book Jesus the Christ by Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be displayed through September 30, 2015, in the lobby of the LDS Church History Library.

Jesus the Christ is perhaps one of the most influential publications in Mormon literature. It has influenced doctrine, has been used twice as the curriculum for priesthood meetings, and is one of the few books to be approved for the official missionary library. The book was compiled from information and insights presented by Elder Talmage during a course he taught from 1904 to 1906 on the Savior. In 1905, the First Presidency asked him to convert the lectures into a book. Items in the new exhibit will include his lecture outlines and pages from the original, handwritten manuscript, as well as a first edition of Jesus the Christ, a 1963 edition, and a few foreign language editions.

Elise Reynolds, Church history specialist at the library, explained some of the significance of the book: “In the past 100 years, there have been dozens of reprints and a number of different editions released. It has never really gone out of print, which is pretty impressive for a book.” Reynolds also gave insight into the historical context in which Elder Talmage compiled the text, noting that “the writing began in the Salt Lake Temple just two months after the start of World War I,” a time when faith in Christ was much needed. In addition, Elder Talmage did not have a Latter-day Saint source like Jesus the Christ to refer to.

The cover of the classic work Jesus the Christ in a familiar edition.

Elder James E. Talmage

“We’re very excited to put the Talmage manuscript on display,” Keith Erekson, director of the Church History Library, added. “We have had such great interest in the Foundations of Faith exhibit and such improved security in the reference room that we wanted to experiment with a timely and temporary exhibit. The anniversary of the publication of Jesus the Christ provided the perfect opportunity.”

This free exhibit is located in the Church History Library at 15 North Temple Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is open to the public during regular library hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday; and 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. Visitors may also see the Foundations of Faith exhibit, which remains at the library.