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Select quotations for The House of the Lord by James E. Talmage

The following quotes come from the book The House of the Lord, authored by Apostle James E. Talmage, that was originally published by the Deseret Book Company in 1912. This leather Christmas gift edition uses the original 1912 edition and we given away by the First Presidency in 2013. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.

Baptism of the Dead

“The Latter-day Saints affirm that their vicarious work in behalf of the dead is required of them by the call of the Lord through direct revelation; and that it becomes the duty and privilege of every individual who accepts the Gospel and enters the Church to labor for the salvation of his dead. He is expected and required by the obligations and responsibility he has assumed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, so to live as to be a worthy representative of his departed ancestors, in holy ordinance, and to be of clean life, that he may not forfeit his right to enter the sacred confines of the Lord’s House, where alone he may officiate in that privileged capacity” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 69).

“Missionary work is in progress there—work, compared with which the evangelistic labor of earth is but a small undertaking. There are preachers and teachers, ministers invested with the Holy Priesthood, all engaged in declaring the glad tidings of the Gospel to spirits who have not yet found the light. As has been shown, this great labor amongst the dead was inaugurated by Jesus the Christ, during the brief period of His disembodiment. The saving ministry so begun was left to be continued by others duly authorized and commissioned; even as the work of preaching the Gospel and administering therein amongst the living was committed to the apostles in the Church of old” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 70).

“One of the fundamental principles underlying the doctrine of salvation for the dead, is that of the mutual dependence of the fathers and the children. Family lineage and the sequence of generations in each particular line of descent are facts, and cannot be changed by death; on the other hand it is evident from the olden scriptures already cited, and attested by the equally sure word of modern revelation, that the family relationships of earth are recognized in the spirit world. Neither the children nor the fathers, neither progenitors nor descendants, can alone attain perfection; and the requisite co-operation is effected through baptism and related ordinances, administered to the living in behalf of the dead” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 72).


“There is but one price set on forgiveness for individual transgression, and this is alike to all,–to poor and rich, to bond and free, to illiterate and learned; it knows no fluctuations, it changes not with time; it was the same yesterday as today it is, and even so shall be forever,–and that price, at which may be bought the pearl beyond all price, is obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 57. Italics in original).

“By way of summary let it be repeated: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds as a fundamental doctrine, attested and proved by scripture both ancient and modern, that compliance with the laws and ordinances of the Gospel is an absolute and irrevocable requirement for admission into the Kingdom of God, or in other words, for the securing of individual salvation to the souls of men, and that this requirement is universal, applying alike to every soul that has attained to age and powers of accountability in the flesh, in whatever period or dispensation that soul has lived in mortality. It follows as a necessary consequence that if any soul has failed, either through ignorance or neglect, to render obedience to these requirements, the obligation is not removed by death” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 66. Italics in original).


“The Latter-day Saints are one with other Christian sects in the unreserved acceptance of the doctrine that the atoning death of Christ terminated the Mosaic rites of sacrifice involving the ceremonial shedding of blood, that, in truth, the prototype was consummated in the reality. The temples of today are provided with no altars of sacrifice, no courts of slaughter, no shambles red with the blood of beasts, no pyres on which carcases are burned, no censers of incense to becloud the fumes from burning flesh” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 100).


Salvation and Exaltation:–Some degree of salvation will come to all who have not forfeited their right to it; exaltation is given to those only who by active labors have won a claim to God’s merciful liberality by which it is bestowed. Of the saved, not all will be exalted to the higher glories; rewards will not be bestowed in violation of justice; punishments will not be meted out to the ignoring of mercy’s claims. No one can be admitted to any order of glory, in short, no soul can be saved, until justice has been satisfied for violated law. In the Kingdom of God there are numerous degrees of exaltation provided for those who are worthy of them. The old idea, that in the hereafter there will be but two places for the souls of mankind,–a heaven and a hell, with the same glory in all parts of the one, and the same terrors throughout the other,–is wholly untenable in the light of Divine revelation” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 84).


“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that it is the possessor of the Holy Priesthood again restored to earth, and that it is invested with Divine commission to erect and maintain Temples dedicated to the name and service of the true and living God, and to administer within those sacred structures the ordinances of the Priesthood, the effect of which shall be binding both on earth and beyond the grave” (James Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 13).



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