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Viewpoint on Mormonism series focuses on Christmas book citations from LDS leaders

By Eric Johnson

From 1981 until 2017, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published leather-bound editions of the Standard Works or books written by General Authorities, including the first 16 presidents of the church as well as Apostle James Talmage, who has the record with three entries. Biographies of church founder Joseph Smith and fifth President Lorenzo Snow were also given away.

These books were gifted as Christmas presents to other general authorities or select employees of the church. Thus, they were not for sale and could only be obtained in the second-hand market. Today each book on the open market ranges in price from $10 to $200 in used books stores or on Ebay, depending on rarity and condition. (I have collected the majority of these editions over the past two years.) Each original book was sealed in cellophane and included a card from the First Presidency documenting the book. A copy of the card from Stand Ye In Holy Places by eleventh president Harold B. Lee is to the right, with the last sentences explaining how this book contains “timeless” truths and will benefit anyone seeking after Jesus. Such a statement was common with most of the cards given with each offering.

These were made of leather and were adorned with gilded pages. The quality is very high, as the leaders did not skimp on the production of these volumes. Generally, each book had been previously published many years before. However, several books were unique and had never been offered before, including a compilation of tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith’s three-volume series Doctrines of Salvation. This book was given away in 2001 and was titled Selections from Doctrines of Salvation.

Citations found in these book are the focus of a 10-week Viewpoint on Mormonism series that began April 6, 2020. Since these books were written by past leaders of the church, it would been logical to assume that the current leaders wanted its general authorities and employees to read these books and learn from them. Besides the Standard Works–copies of the Bible and the three unique LDS scriptures were given away on three separate occasions–these books are not considered “scripture,” per se, and yet most of them were written by men whom Mormons today believe were prophets and apostles of God. Thus, these should be considered to have some type of church authority.

During this series MRM is raising funds for its radio show/podcast. If you would like a PDF electronic copy of both:

  • Bill McKeever’s In their Own Words, a searchable file with close to 400 pages full of LDS quotations compiled to help the researcher of Mormonism; Bill and Eric regularly use this book in their shows
  • All the citations used (and more that were not used) during the first month of this series

Click here and go to the Donate button to make a tax-deductible donation. In the comment please put “PDF.” If you listen to a radio station, please put the call letters of your station or your city/state. If you listen on podcast, put your city/state. This will help us immensely. We will email your copy of the PDF files within the next week. 100% of the funds go to our radio and podcast ministry. Thank you for your support.

Below are the links to pages containing the quotes Below are links to pages containing the quotes (and more not used in the shows) cited on the podcast series. We did not provide links to the biographies or the Standard Works–these are marked with boldface type. Otherwise, we have collected important quotes from the other books. We will continue to add to these citations during the course of this radio/podcast series.

For a list of the podcast shows airing between April and July, go to the bottom.


1981: Triple Combination (10 inch flexible leather)

1982: Bible (10 inch flexible leather)

1983: Jesus the Christ (James Talmage, 10 inch flexible leather)

1984: Articles of Faith (James Talmage, 10 inch flexible leather)

1985: Hymnal (regular size)

1986: Booklet of quotes

1987: Pocket hymnal

1988: Pocket quad

1989: Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet (George Q. Cannon)

1990: Gospel Doctrine (Joseph F. Smith)

1991: Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Joseph Fielding Smith, ed.) 

1992: Discourses of Brigham Young (Brigham Young)

1993: Gospel Ideals (David O. McKay)

1994: Gospel Standards (Heber J. Grant) 

1995: Stand Ye in Holy Places (Harold B. Lee)

1996: The Gospel Kingdom (John Taylor)

1997: Discourses of Wilford Woodruff (Wilford Woodruff)

1998: The Miracle of Forgiveness (Spencer W. Kimball) (For more on this book, visit here.)

1999: Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow (Eliza Roxy Snow)

2000: The Teachings of George Albert Smith (George Albert Smith)

2001: Selections from Doctrines of Salvation (Joseph Fielding Smith) 

2002: Teachings of Howard W. Hunter (Howard W. Hunter)

2003: Sermons and Writings of Ezra Taft Benson (Ezra Taft Benson)

2004 and 2005: Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Volumes 1 & 2 (Gordon B. Hinckley)

2006: Triple Combination

2007: Bible

2008: Hymnal

2009: Jesus the Christ (James E. Talmage)

2010: Articles of Faith (James E. Talmage)

2011: Pathways to Perfection (Thomas S. Monson) 

2012: The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow (Lorenzo Snow)

2013: House of the Lord (James E. Talmage) 

2014: Teachings of Thomas S. Monson (Thomas S. Monson)

2015: Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Harold B. Lee)

2016: Triple Combination

2017: Bible


The podcast series began April 6, 2020 and the links to the shows are included here.



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