In 1915, the church made the following official announcement. "The sacred subject of our Savior's life and mission is presented as it is accepted and proclaimed by the church that bears His Holy name. We desire that the work "Jesus the Christ" be read and studied by the Latter-day Saints." That was over 100 years ago. In fact, 108 to be exact. And today, you guys, the invitation still stands. In this episode, we get to study and discuss "Jesus the Christ" as we talk to 4 women who accepted the invitation, and what that experience was like for them.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, we just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come, Follow Me study, just like my friends Carrie and Terrell Klaus from Arizona. Hi, friends. Okay, now another awesome thing about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends. But I said earlier in the intro that I actually have 4 friends today and I am so grateful that they were willing to join me because I love them so much. Okay, okay, so we have an original - Sharon Staples. Hi, Sharon.
Sharon Staples 1:28
Hi, Tammy. Hi, listeners. Have a great day.
And Sharon, I'm gonna have you introduce the 3 women here with us because you're the reason why they are here.
I can. I'm happy to do that.
Who do we have?
Sharon Staples 1:35
We have Addie Fuhriman, my dearest friend with whom I live and our dog Pebbles, who rules the roost. She's (Addie) a dear friend and a true disciple. Next to her is Faylene Fairbanks, whom I dearly love, who has found a place in my heart just for her. And I'm so grateful to her and for her. On my left is my good friend Danene Torgerson, whom I also love and has a place in my heart as well. These women are true disciples. They're inspired, and they are aware of revelation. And they are true followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ. And I love them very much, and you too, Tammy. I love you.
Oh, I love you. And I love you 4. I, oh my gosh, it makes me emotional. I love you f4so much and just for the years that we've been friends and the experiences we've had together, and I could go on. So thank you for being here and for joining me for this episode. I asked them specifically to come for our Easter episode, because I found out several years ago that they have been doing a study group for many years. And as part of their study group, they choose to read certain books and study them. And not just read, but really study in depth. And they chose "Jesus the Christ". And so I've asked them to join us today to talk to us about their experiences. So before we begin, if you have a copy of "Jesus the Christ", I recommend you grab yours. If not, go to "Jesus the Christ" in the Gospel app. You can find that on your Gospel app page, then click the picture that looks like, of Jesus. And once you click Jesus, you'll see "Jesus the Christ", and join us for an incredible study of "Jesus Christ". So we're gonna start; I want to know first of all, how did you guys start this study group? How did it begin?
Sharon Staples 3:32
Well, uh, we were in the same ward at the time. And we were going to, of course, study the New Testament as our Gospel Doctrine study plan. And so we were all kind of just chatting and we decided just looking at one another and saying, Hey, maybe we should study "Jesus the Christ" to help us with understanding the 4 Gospels. And we, they, we all agreed and said, Sure, let's do that. So we grabbed "Jesus the Christ" manuals and books and said, Okay. So we've been meeting since - how long ago - has it been 20 years? 25?
Sharon Staples 4:16
You've been, you've been meeting together for 25 years?
We haven't studied "Jesus the Christ" for 20 years. (laughter)
But as friends, you've been meeting for 25 years. Okay, tell me how you first decided to meet 25 years ago. What, what brought that on?
I have no idea. I can't remember.
25 years ago.
I know it was a long time.
I remember. I was new to Draper and I was new to the church. I had not been active. And when I moved to Draper I met these wonderful women and got active in the church. And more than getting active in the church, I I wanted to learn the gospel. And these ladies all took me under their wing. They're all past missionaries, they know the gospel so well, and I didn't. And so, like I said, they took me under their wing and said, Let's study together. Because, I remember it was the Book of Mormon was the first book we studied. And I said, I need help with this. I, this is a lot for me. And so they said, Let's get together, let's meet then. And once a month, since then, we try to meet monthly. We get together and study either scriptures or a book that we want to study.
Okay, so that was my next question is: Other than "Jesus the Christ" what are some of the things you've studied? So you studied the Book of Mormon?
What are some other books you've studied?
"Articles of Faith "
The book, "Articles of Faith"?
Sharon Staples 5:56
"Lectures on Faith", which we did twice.
You have to
We kind of have an understanding among us that it's going to take us a long time to get through any of the books. So it really kind of says a little something about us, that we've repeated some.
Sharon Staples 6:17
And we also studied "Door of Faith" by Givens." "Doors of Faith" by Givens.
Sharon Staples 6:24
And "Infinite Atonement" by Callister.
Oh, "God Who Weeps,
Sharon Staples 6:28
"The God Who Weeps"
and "Christ Who Heals"
Sharon Staples 6:31
and "Christ Who Heals".
And then "Women of the Old Testament".
Sharon Staples 6:34
Oh, that's right by Camille Fronk.
Sharon Staples 6:36
We studied that, along with the Scriptures. We, you know, they were there because they, those authors quoted so many times the Scriptures so we looked those up as well.
Nibley. Didn't we do one on Nibley?
Oh, yeah. Temp
"Temples and Cosmos".
Sharon Staples 6:53
"Temples and Cosmos", we did that.
That would take a lifetime.
Sharon Staples 6:56
Well, it was like reading "Jesus the Christ".
Sharon Staples 6:59
I had to have a dictionary at my side to understand the words, and then the same with "Jesus the Christ"
Of all the things you studied, is there one for each of you that just stands out the most?
I loved "Infinite Atonement".
I learned so much from "Infinite Atonement" - the depth, the breadth of the Atonement. I still don't understand it completely. I don't think I ever will on this earth understand it. But it gave me insight that I don't think I could have found any other way than reading that book.
Sharon Staples 7:42
Well, I have to, I would have said "Door of Faith" by Givens is one of my favorites until I started reviewing for this podcast, and leafed through "Jesus the Christ". And my heart just leapt, it just leaped. And so probably this book of all of those did more for me and my testimony than the others, although the others were great.
Yeah, I think mine is hands down, "Jesus Christ".
Did it had the same effect on your testimony as well?
Oh, huge. Like it is my testimony.
Because you've been born and raised in the church. I mean,
Oh, yeah, I went to all the firesides and girls camp and scripture chase and I did all of the things. And I was raised in a good home, but I don't, I don't know that I knew who Christ was. And it's embarrassing to say that at my age, having been on a mission and had callings, that I really now feel like I'm embracing who Jesus Christ is.
I just want to pause for just a quick second with this because you just said 'at my age'. If it's possible, can you each remember how old you were the first time you read "Jesus the Christ", just to give our listeners some context? So when you said 'at your age', how old were you when you read it?
How long ago did we read it?
Sharon Staples 9:11
It would have been at least six years ago.
Sharon Staples 9:15
Before that maybe. It was one of our first texts.
so I was 50.
Danene, how old were you?
I would have been 52.
Sharon Staples 9:26
I was still very old, but I was in my late 70s.
Okay. And Addie?
I'd be pretty close. Yeah. I think I took it on my mission. I think it was one of the 4 that we were to take. But I didn't read it through then. Would probably be late 60s.
I just wanted everyone listening to have some context because people are wondering like, Well, I'm too old, or It's too late, or.... It just never is, like anyone can read "Jesus the Christ". So we'll talk more about that later. But I want to go back to you, Addie. Book. Was there one of all the books you've read that has stood out to you?
Well, I think it's probably the "Lectures on Faith", and "Jesus the Christ". We've read that through twice, "Lectures on Faith". And actually, it's our most recent one. I'm just struck by the difference in, in the meaning of it for me this time, and also the meaning for it in relationship to "Jesus the Christ", and how they dovetail into the significance of, of who He is, and why we believe Him as He is.
Thank you. I hadn't realized you had read "Articles of Faith". I have never read that book and so now I'm going to read it. I've never even considered that. But that is awesome. So thank you, all of you for talking about that. Okay, so if anyone's wondering, Well, where do I fit? Can I read "Jesus the Christ"? Is it too late? And we know it's not. And so in the next segment, we are going to dig in to how you guys even came to the decision to read "Jesus the Christ".
Segment 2 11:23
All right. So you 4, how did you even come to the decision to study "Jesus the Christ"? Because it is a very big book. It's totally daunting. And I'll be honest, it scares a lot of people, including me. It did. It did.
Well, I carried it around my whole mission.
But it was huge. And big words, and I was afraid of it. So I just kind of never opened it. Ever.
Ever. Yeah, I think a lot of us can relate
Sharon Staples 12:10
That gets in the way of, if you don't open it; it gets in the way of reading it, you know. It just does that. (laughter)
I remember when I challenged everyone to read it this year, many people sent me messages on Facebook and Instagram that said, I think it's on my shelf; it's been there for a while. Danene, tell me about your experience, because did you have a copy of the book,?And having come back to the church, what was that like for you?
I actually bought a copy and thought - this was probably 15 years ago - so I was, had been active maybe about three years. And I went and bought a copy and thought, I'm going to read this. And not having the fear and the trepidation that you guys are talking about, I thought, I can read this, and broke it open, started reading it. I will say I read through probably a third of it. And I just couldn't do it. I just, I, I thought, What am I doing? I don't even know what I'm reading. So that's why when we were talking about books to read, this one came up and I said, I'd love to read it, but I'm gonna need a lot of time and a lot of help on it. So that was why I wanted to take it on as a book club.
I will tell you, I brought a copy of my "Jesus the Christ" - this was the very first adult purchase I'd ever made in my life as far as books go. Because I always joke that the last book I read was "Super Fudge", which might be kind of true by Judy Blume. But I remember when I was at Rick's college, I walked into the bookstore and I saw "Jesus the Christ". And I thought, I'm gonna read that. And so I opened, I bought the book. And then I wrote right here, 'Summer of 1999.' That was a very long time ago. I started it for the very first time, but I bought it 10 years earlier, and it just sat on my shelf, because I was like you. I read the first couple pages. I was like, I'm out. Like I don't even know what I'm reading at all. And so this is still the copy I've had ever since the early 90s when I bought it. And Addie. you have kind of a cool copy. Will you tell us a little about your "Jesus the Christ"?
It actually isn't the one that we were reading, which is a later edition. But I have a copy of "Jesus Christ" of my grandfather on my mother's side. Parley B Dunkley and it is the 1915 edition.
Whoa! 1915 edition, that was the year it was printed.
Uh huh. And actually it gave me pause. And kind of in this day of connectedness and among family, I have a sense of connectedness to him just in knowing that he carried this book throughout the southern states. And at that point in time that was, that and the Book of Mormon, and some little pamphlet, was what they carried. So it's priceless.
Absolutely priceless. In fact, we will have a picture of that in our show notes, if you'd like to see what it looks like. It is beautiful and old and worn and used. And it is neat to think that someone read that book and loved it then. And, this is kind of neat, because we're at the Deseret Book downtown offices. And ladies, tell us what you saw when you got off the elevator and you kind of, as you said, nosied around and looked at some of the cool things. There's a display case. Tell us what you saw.
There's a display case with the original, right? "Jesus the Christ". Gosh, that just kind of hit me what we're doing today and to see that, it was kind of cool.
Yeah, it really is. And the fact that it's lasted this long, like it has surpassed the times to still be a book that is relevant to us today. You know, in fact, here are some really cool facts about "Jesus the Christ" that I want to share with you. So listen to this. James E. Talmage was first asked to write the book about the life of Christ in the summer of 1905, and he was 42 years old. Now, the previous September, he agreed to teach a course on Jesus Christ to the University Sunday School at the BYU Academy, which was an organization similar to the church's current Institute program. On July 18 1905, the First Presidency which at the time included Joseph F. Smith, John R Winder, and Anthony H. Lund, they wrote Talmage a letter requesting that he convert his lectures into a book, believing that they would prove to be a valuable acquisition to our church literature. And the proposed work should be placed within reach of church membership and general readers.
Then nearly 10 years passed before Talmage was even able to focus on the project because he was super busy with his calling, with his responsibilities: work and family and professional obligations. So all the while though, he had been pondering and preparing and looking forward to the day when he'd be able to write this requested book. And the day finally came in September of 1914 when the request was again made, this time specifying that he should write the book with as little delay as possible. And something else that I thought was pretty fascinating. As you read this book, back before he wrote it, the Jews had not begun their return to Jerusalem. And the word for that is ALIYAH. That's what they call it, where they all go back to Jerusalem.
And so it's fascinating to me as I've been reading "Jesus the Christ" this time around, because there's a part in there where James E Talmage says, 'We're not sure where Capernaum is, no one's really been able to tell us.' And we actually do know, because as the Jews have begun return, excavations have been happening. And so Capernaum is a very big deal when you go to Jerusalem, if any of you have time to take that trip in your life, you'll go to Capernaum. And it is phenomenal. So that's kind of something to keep in the back of your mind which this was written before the Jews returned. And I thought that was pretty cool to know. So in the next segment, we're going to learn where he wrote the book and exactly how long it took him to write it.
Segment 3 18:22
Okay, so here's the first thing we're going to do. Let's dive in. Let's open up our books. Let's go to the preface in the book of "Jesus the Christ". Now you can also find the preface, it's online on your gospel app. So if you're going to be on the Gospel Library page, what you want to do is go to "Jesus the Christ", then select Preface, then go down to the third paragraph, because it's going to contain some very interesting information as to how this book was written. Now, we will acknowledge, because we just found out, not every book has a preface, and I thought that that was pretty interesting. I didn't know that. So some of the women here, they don't have a preface in their book; I have a preface in mine. The Preface does exist on the Gospel Library app. So go to the app, you can read it there. I'm just choosing to read one paragraph, and it's the third paragraph down. So let's read this and Thalene, will you read this for us, please.
"The author of this volume entered upon his welcome service under request and appointment from the presiding authorities of the church; and the completed work has been read to and is approved by the First Presidency and the Council of Twelve. It presents, however, the writer's personal belief and profoundest conviction as to the truth of what he has written. The book is published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Okay. Now that was interesting. The book. I don't know that there's another book published by the Church itself. Like I can't even think of a single one. Deseret Book publishes books, not the Church itself. So the church sanctions this, they published it, and what I like in the paragraph is it says "the author of the volume entered upon his welcome service". Now this is cool. He entered upon this service in the Temple. This book was written in the Temple on the fourth floor of the Salt Lake City Temple in what's called the Council Room. This kind of might blow some of your minds that there are more floors, but there are. There are, I thought that was, when I learned that I was like, wait, what? I thought it was just the Celestial Room and the Baptistry. So there's actually five floors, I think.
And it just, it's kind of interesting, because the Salt Lake Temple, the fifth floor, it's really cool. It actually, well, I'll just tell you this: as a seminary teacher, one year we got to take a tour of the Temple and go on the different floors. And we got to see this room, and it's called 'The Talmage Room' on the fifth floor. And in this room, there is a bed that he slept on, it has, still has the dictionary that he used, and a little bathroom. And it's the tiniest little room ever. And that is where he stayed. He slept, he ate, he breathed while he wrote this book in seven months. And that is amazing to me. Because listen,
He wrote it in seven months? and it took us two years to read it! (laughter)
That'll give you perspective, huh. Oh, my gosh.
Sharon Staples 21:20
A different mind than we have.
Oh, it's fun to think, because when you read the book, it could not have been written anywhere else.
Sharon Staples 21:28
Okay, I think, because we looked at the book and decided to read it, we found it so daunting to begin with. We found this video and it's called "The story behind "Jesus the Christ" by James E Talmage." And it's produced by Covenant Communications. And at the beginning, were told that he was a scientist, which he was. He was an innovator and a religious scholar. This introduction to him, for me, was almost as significant as the book itself, because of his life, his mind, his testimony, his scientific approach in a day when science and religion were juxtaposed. They - you couldn't say them in the same sentence - because you either had a religious concept of life or you had a secular concept of life, a scientific. He combined the two in such a way that confirmed my testimony of the truthfulness of the, of the gospel. And it's a, it's only 35 minutes. It tells about when he became an apostle. There was a part in there when he talks about the Martin family who had been struck by the plague and what he did to help them, and what he did scientifically as a scholar, and as an apostle. It's a great introduction that helped me be not afraid to read what he wrote.
Well, several of you are shaking your heads yes. What did seeing that video do for you, as you read and learned about him. Danene?
Well, it for me, it gave him credence, because he's a scientist. And if you're a scientist, you approach things very factual. And my way of thinking is I like to know the facts, I like to have, I like things to line up and make sense. And he did that for me with Jesus. And I think that's what affected me the most from the book is he, he was a thinker, he was a clear thinker. And the way he writes this book is really succinct and clear. But he also is human. There's a story - if we have time - I want to tell you that I read about him as a young boy. They were living, he and his family lived somewhere in England, I can't remember where, but that's where they were born and raised. And at 10 years old, his younger brother was I think, 6. At 10 Elder Talmage was out tossing hay to the cows to feed them. And it was night and it was dark. And he had no idea, but his little brother that was 6 years old had come out to the barn and he didn't know he was there. And as he was pitching hay, he hit his little brother with the fork of the pitchfork in the eye.
And it changed I think who he was. I think, I think that was the start of, I don't know for sure, but I just, the story is really tender to me. It blinded his brother. He lost that eye, and then there's a thing that the other eye becomes blind -it's "sympathetic blindness". He only could see shadows. Well, it was then not long after that that he and his family migrated to Utah. And the story of the little brother and what he grew up and did with his life was really amazing. He was, he was key to the Blind School in Utah, the first, I believe it's first in this region. But anyway, he started the school and made a huge difference in the blind community. And that was way back when at the very beginning. And he ended up marrying, this younger brother ended up marrying a woman who also, I'm not sure if she was blind, but she worked at the school and they worked together. And they, that was their life.
And I think about Elder Talmage at 10 years old. Imagine, imagine realizing that you blinded your brother. He didn't, it was not intentional, he didn't even know he was there. But every time you look at him, you know, that's because of what I did he's blind. And it just, there's something really tender about that story that sets, kind of sets how I see him as an individual.
Oh, my gosh, I've never known that story. Okay, that adds so much more power to my favorite part, which I'm gonna share later. But I'm just now considering that, why he wrote, wrote it the way he wrote it in "Jesus, the Christ". Uhhh, Danene, thank you. Any other thoughts on James E Talmage from what you learned about him?
Well, I, he didn't just, he didn't just magically sit there for seven months and write this book. I'm impressed by his background. I mean, he did, he developed as a human to the point that he was qualified to sit there for seven months and write this book. And because of his background and his intellect, and because of who he was as a person, he was able to do that.
That's great perspective. Absolutely. And both of you the way you describe him makes the book more believable then. Yeah. What about you, Addie? Any thoughts?
Well, I think that James Talmage is an answer to kind of our dilemma at this point in time. For me, he's the epitome of study, learning by study, and by faith. I think we live in a world where it's a reasoned world. And we value that a great deal. And there's more of an emphasis on learning by study or by reason; we come to what we believe, by reason. And I think I hold him up as the individual that learns by study. But equally, and maybe even more by faith. And maybe I'll say this with regards to your having talked about how he came to write it, and how the church, I mean, that was his task was to write that. Can you imagine what that says about him? That, that the trust is that you are going to represent why we believe in Him.
Yeah, another witness of Jesus Christ. Awesome. Addie, thank you so much for pointing out 'by study and by faith'. Because as you were saying that I was thinking we live in such a hurried world where you can Google any question and get an answer immediately. And there really isn't a big push to put a lot of time to pay the price. And you definitely pay a price to read "Jesus the Christ." But I will testify that the price is worth it. And I think the 4 of you would absolutely agree with that. Absolutely. And so in the next segment, we are going to talk about the price you paid, and as a result, what your favorite part is in this book. So we'll do that next
Segment 4 29:15
So for this segment, I asked my guests to come prepared to share a favorite chapter or passage from the book. So we're going to start with Sharon, then we'll go around the room so everyone can do it. Ladies, what would you have us mark? Like, give us the page number or something specific that we need to know about that you thought was important from the book that affected you?
Sharon Staples 30:24
Well, my favorite part, believe it or not, is the introduction to "Jesus the Christ", pages 1-5. It explains Talmage's testimony of whom he is writing. And it's, it's endearing, it's positive. It's, it invited me to continue reading the book. Because the introduction was so impressive about who the Savior is, how He operated, why we should believe in Him, the Scriptures that testify of Him, and on and on and on. And so I thought, Gosh, this is going to be a great book. And it is and was and will be, but it was those first 5 pages that captured me. It was, it hooked me in. And he talked about the Savior I know and whom I want to know more. And I thought by reading the book, I will understand our Savior more. And maybe I will understand if I can align my will with His because of what James Talmage said.
Sharon, is there a specific line that we could underline or mark that you liked in the introduction that you could read to us?
Sharon Staples 31:43
Well, to the students, this is on the first page, "To the student of history this Man among men", which would be the Savior, "stands first, foremost, and alone, as a directing personality in the world's progression. Mankind has never produced a leader to rank with Him. Regarded solely as a historic personage He is unique." At every line, I've underlined everything. He's the word of power, He is the creator. "He shall present the glorified earth and its sanctified hosts,spotless and celestialized, unto the Father." That's page four. It just, well, I'd be repeating myself. So the introduction. The second thing are the end notes.
Sharon Staples 32:30
The end notes captivated me as well, because he explained everything. And like Danene, I like things explained. I like to understand why, where, when, what, and those end notes were/are amazing information. It's just, so the introduction and the end notes for me.
Sharon Staples 32:56
and everything in between.
I agree with you, though. You would do a disservice to the whole book if you didn't read the end notes. Oh, they're so good. Thank you, Sharon. Addie.
Well, the preface. Some of the lines from the preface, which I understand now that the prefaces don't have pages, so that makes it easy.
And if you even have a preface. I was surprised your book didn't have a preface.
Sharon Staples 33:24
Do you have a preface in yours?
Sharon Staples 33:26
How about you?
I, there is a Preface in the online, on the Gospel app and in the older, mine's an older version. When is mine copyrighted? 1982. But yours is more current. Okay, hit it.
Okay. So in the Preface, you, you get then, I got an understanding of Talmage with study, and the emphasis and the emphasis on faith. The last paragraph is "The spirit of the sacredness inherent in the subject has been a constant companion of the writer throughout his pleasing labor, and he reverently invokes the same as a minister to the readers of the volume." I just thought that the Preface gives a foundation for who is writing this book and his convictions about it. And then, and then in the Introduction, Sharon had mentioned a number of the things about it, but it is reinforced that this is all about Jesus AS the Christ. And I've thought about that a lot. That is, the title of the book is "Jesus the Christ" and the purpose here is to expound not all this other information about Christ. It is to underscore or restate, or make very, very clear that all of this is about Jesus as the Christ. We are to, "We are to study Him as the Creator of the world, as the Word of Power, through whom the purposes of the Eternal Father were realized in the preparation of the earth for the abode of His myriad spirit-children during the appointed period of their mortal probation."
Sharon Staples 35:46
And that's on page three of the introduction.
Thank you, Addie. I mean, right there, we haven't even gotten into the book yet. we're just doing the Preface and the Introduction! We're like,
That's why it took us two years.
The rest of that introduction just lays out the significant point of Jesus as the Christ in what He, what He did, and is.
And I really like how you said that: Jesus AS the Christ. That changes it, changes the way you look at Him and the way, what He does for us. So thank you, Addie. Thalene.
Okay, so I, when I was reviewing this last night, I don't know why this jumped out at me, but it did. On page 561 he's talking about the apostles, the Holy Apostleship. And he says, "Without Christ what were they, but unschooled Galileans, some of them fishermen, one a publican, the rest of undistinguished attainments, and all of them weak mortals?" So he says, without Christ, what were they? And the thought came to my mind: without Christ, what am I, and I think reading this book, about His life from literally beginning to end, the pre-existence to the Second Coming, just made me realize I'm nothing without Him. None of us are anything without iHm. He is why we're here, He is the reason that we exist and we're on this earth and we're learning and growing and that we'll see him again. And it just really hit me that without Christ, who am I?
Great question. That's a great sticky note to put at the front of the book to remind yourself every time you begin reading, I like that, Thalene, thank you. Danene.
Well, asking what your favorite passage or part of this book, it's like asking a mother who her favorite child is, it's just, it's just too hard. You love so many different things for so many different reasons. One thing I found really interesting, this book was published in 1914. And you realize that that was at the time when the women's suffrage movement was really taking place. There were a lot of states; some states, women were able to vote, a lot of other states, they were not able to vote. So this book was published when women really didn't have a voice. And when you read him, and he talks of Christ, it's a two-fold thing. Here he is a man writing a book at a time when women are really discounte,d about a man at a time when women are non-existent, basically, n the world. And throughout this book, you'll find passages where they speak of women, and the power of women and the, and the spirituality of women. And for me, it, as women, it just so reinforces our value. Our value, not just to the world, but to this gospel, to Jesus Christ. He values us, He loves us. That's huge to me.
In my world, there's, there's another part of it. There's, I love the part where they're talking about His teachings: Sermon on the Mount, and He's out teaching the people. And a lot of it is because I got insight into Scripture stories that I've never had before. And there's one I'll just read to you real quick. It's in the scriptures. He's been taken with spirits and evil spirits, and he comes to Christ and he says, "Heal me, heal me." And He says, "Your belief will heal you. He doesn't say faith. He says, "Your belief will heal you." And the, and says, "Do you believe?" And the man says, "I believe." And then he says, "But please help my unbelief." I can't tell you how often that goes through my mind, I believe, but sometimes there's a part of me that I just go, Oh, please help my unbelief so that I can do this.
And then it goes on to talk about mustard seed. We've all heard the story of the mustard seed; starts in Primary where we hear about the mustard seed. It's top of page 360. "Hereby we learn that the achievements possible to faith are limited or conditioned by the genuineness, the purity, the unmixed quality of that faith."O ye of little faith"; "Where is your faith?" and "Wherefore didst thou doubt?" are forms of admonitory reproof that had been repeatedly addressed to the apostles of the Lord." And he goes on to say "Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Then this is Talmage: "The comparison between effective faith and a grain of mustard seed is one of quality rather than quantity.; it connotes living, virile faith, like unto the seed, however small, from which a great plant may spring, in contrast with a lifeless, artificial imitation, however prominent or demonstrative." That explained that parable to me in a way I'd never thought of it. It's the quality, not the quantity. What's the quality of our love for Christ and His gospel? It's not how much we know. It's not how many scriptures we can recite. It's where our heart is, and the depth of our hearts for Him.
Danene, thank you, great stuff. Nice stuff. So, oh, yeah, Addie, go ahead.
There was something I wanted to say. Back when we were talking about the study group, and and I didn't ever say it. And the name just reminded me of that say, okay, for me, part of the of the benefit of the study group is the richness of different individual's experience with what we're reading. And then it constantly reminds me that part of our understanding of becoming one, as a people, and of being one with Christ, is being able to include their perspective, and what the difference is that they bring to something. And, and so then it's enriched. And so, and just what Danene did, and and it would be same of what Thalene brings, and what Sharon brings. I mean, it's just, it's just a wonderful blessing. And particularly in the group that we're in, it reminds me once again, that the way I see it is not the totality of what's there. It's what others bring. Thank you, Addie.
Yeah, it's, I think it's a great way to encourage anyone listening to find three friends and just study together. I I agree, I think having different perspectives is what has made from what I can see on you 4 has made this study group so effective. So that's neat.
So to go along with what you said, Danene about women, on page 443 Talmage writes, "The world's greatest champion of women and womanhood is Jesus the Christ." And I felt that throughout this book.
In fact, I really appreciate your perspective on that, that you're right. It was at a time in 1915. We didn't have the vote yet. I mean, to have a man be so pro women in his book is profound at his time.
And talking about our Savior who is THE, as Thalene just said, the greatest proponent of women.
Sharon Staples 44:50
That he could even write all that stuff and what, seven months? or whatever was going on. In 1914 Europe was at war. I mean, there was strife and heartache and killing and awfulness,
Sharon Staples 45:03
and he's in the Temple talking about the only thing who can save the world, only person who can save the world. And that's our Savior.
My mind is just reeling, because he so would have been within his perfect mindset at the time to say like the story about Mary and Martha and Jesus Christ. He could have completely written, Well, Martha was just doing what she women did at the time. They were just cooking just like they should be, in the kitchen making a meal for the men, you know. I mean he, it was never, you never read a single story about women that is in any way jaded by how women were treated at the time. Oh, my gosh, I like that.
Well, and it's always meant the world to me that a woman was the first to see the Resurrected Christ.
Yes. And he supports that in here. He states that, he believes that. Oh, good stuff. Okay, I'm gonna go off of what Danene said in the segment about James E Talmage, his story about blinding his brother. Because now when I read this line from him in "Jesus the Christ", so this is in chapter 17, it's about, it's where the Sermon on the Mount takes place. And I just will never read this the same way. He says, "Prayer is made up of heart throbs and the righteous yearnings of the soul". And I was always like, why would he say heart throbs? He, that's from experience to say that prayer is made up of heartthrobs. The prayers he must have prayed, injuring his brother or any other prayers throughout his life. So that's the line that stood out to me right now.
I had that same line.
Did you underline that, too?
It's marked in my booktoo. It's very sweet,
So powerful the way he describes prayer.
I wonder if Brother Talmage was here in this conversation, if it would amaze him that we talk about women, or that he was in this time? I don't believe that he would have even seen it that way. I think he saw it as it is.
If only we all could see it as it is.
Yeah. And to have a seven month experience in the Temple. Everybody could, ah gosh, yeah that's
With the cot.
Sharon Staples 47:22
the cot, yeah.
And a big dictionary. Oh, my gosh, thank you ladies, what you've shared. You shared beautiful passages. And I have absolutely felt the Spirit as you have shared these words of truth. What you've spoken is truth and you've read words of truth. So thank you so much. Okay, so in the next segment then, we're going to tackle the question, I want to know if you would recommend this book to everyone? Or if you have a slight disclaimer before you would say to read it? We'll talk about that next.
Segment 5 47:49
Would, I mean, I know you'd say yes, but let's seriously think about this. Would you recommend this book to everyone? Is there a disclaimer? Talk to me about that?
Sharon Staples 48:15
Well, yes, I would recommend this book. And I would recommend that they also have a dictionary at hand, and that they actually look up the big words that he writes in this book, because it will be helpful to understanding what he's saying. But I would recommend this book because from my personal experience, it helped me to draw closer to the Savior, and to try to develop His character and His characteristics. So it's a big boost. And it's also intellectually challenging, which I think goes along with, 'by faith and by intellect'. And so I want to understand the precepts,the concepts, the ideas behind why he included the things in this book that he did. It's a rational book, and as well as an inspiring spiritual book. And I want to know, and I wanted to know and do know now, the importance of intellectually understanding what the gospel is all about, on which I base my faith. Though I would recommend it without any question.
Well, I'm going to start on why I'd recommend this study. I'd recommend doing it for the third time. I've read it twice. And for this experience today, then I started it again. And it had an entirely different experience. The reason I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone is that it is like a panorama of Jesus, the Christ. And it starts before the New Testament. And you just, really if you think of it as a panorama or an epic, and he takes us - the pre-existence, through Christ's mortality, then through His appearances, bothto the apostles, after the apostolic period, then to on this continent - Western Hemisphere, then, in modern times, and then into the promise of the Second Coming, or the second advent.
I like that idea of a panorama, like a movie. You're in it as you're reading along, it's, it really is, the book is better. You could make a movie, people have tried, but yeah, this book is better. So thank you, Addie.
I think that is the perfect word - panorama. Because that's what I was thinking, because it starts in the pre-existence. What Christ's role was in the pre-existence, goes all the way through to His second coming and what His role is in the Second Coming. And it made me, I mean, there were times in there like in the crucifixion that I was all wound up thinking, I can't read this because I know what's coming. And then I got to the part of the Second Coming. And I'm just so excited for that, because I know who's coming now. And when I was done reading, I felt like a new convert, that I just wanted to go to the whole wide world, You've got to read this book, you got to read this book. In fact, I did. I told my sister and my sister-in-law and everyone. I'm like, you have to read this book. It's my, if I had to pick my favorite book, and I've read a lot of books, this would be it.
Okay, you have. I know that you have read a lot of books. So everyone listening, just so you know, the fact that she just said that is heavy. Like that is powerful for you to say that this is your favorite book. That's awesome. Any thoughts from you Danene? Would you recommend it?
As like a new, coming back to in the fold?
I guess my, when I think of this book, it's really personal to me. It is panoramic, it is. It gives you so much information. But for me, my intent in reading it was to learn more about my savior. And that's what I did. And for me, I recommend anyone that reads this, if you come to it with a sincere desire to know who our Savior is, to know who He is in your life, I think it will speak to your heart in a way that other things just can't and don't. I get emotional because Tammy, you know I didn't want to do this today at all.
I do know that.
The only reason, as much as I love you and I love all these women, the reason I'm here is because of my love of the Savior. I love, the love of MY Savior. And what I've come to understand of Him and who He is to me personally, it, it makes me emotional.
Yeah, and for those of you, if you can't hear it in her voice, the 4 of us can see it in her face. So thank you, Danene, thank you so much. I'm going to go back to Sharon when she said you need a dictionary. I concur. And here's something kind of cool. So one of our listeners and my friend Melissa Bliss Mayler, she reached out to me. She asked for my address because she said, I have to send you something. She said that she was talking to her father and telling her dad about how excited she was to read "Jesus the Christ" this year. He walked over to his wall of books, and he pulled out a pamphlet and so I have to show this to you. Pulled out a pamphlet that he purchased at the BYU bookstore for 30 cents back in 1963. And the pamphlet is called "A Contextual Dictionary to Supplement the Study of "Jesus the Christ. ""
Sharon Staples 54:56
Oh my gosh
And she made a copy of it and sent it to me.
Oh, how cool!
How fun! And it goes through in alphabetical order every single big word that this book has,
Sharon Staples 55:05
Oh, my gosh.
and the definitions. So it is really fascinating. And I'm wondering how different the words have changed. But this would have been maybe close to the dictionary he used at the time versus our dictionary today. But it's really, because they're, and listen, there's a lot of words in there.
Sharon Staples 55:21
I had to look up a lot of words the first time I read it. I challenged, so I have a nephew that's on a mission right now. And he reached out to me and he started asking me all these questions about Jesus and things he's never known before. And, and you know, he's 19. He's trying to figure this out. And so I sat down, I'm about to write all the answers. Because I know the answers to these questions. I've studied Jesus, I read the book. And as I started to write all the answers to the questions he had about Jesus, the thought came, No. Just tell him to read Jesus the Christ. And that's what I said to him. I said to him, Listen, I can answer everything. But I'm gonna challenge you: read "Jesus the Christ.", and let's check in with each other each week and we read one chapter a week, and we'll just discuss it while you're gone. And let's see if that helps answer your questions.
Sharon Staples 56:04
Oh, my gosh, that's a great idea.
I know, right? I mean, listen to me, I'm like, Okay, I can answer your questions. But I'm gonna let James E Talmage the professional do it. But it was sweet, because he did send me a message back. And I just want to read you his answer. Because I said, How is it going? You've been reading Jesus the Christ, what has your experience been like? And I just want to read this to you really quickly what he said. "The interesting thing is, after beginning to read I had such a strong desire to deepen my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have had experiences since leaving that brought me so close to God, but that left me wondering how to deepen that with Jesus. "Jesus the Christ" is definitely helping me with that, understanding that He is more than just a story. It's been really good to be able to grow that through this book."
Sharon Staples 56:50
Oh, that's neat.
Sharon Staples 56:52
But what what a great thing to do with a missionary, is to discuss it once a month and see what you've learned, and,
And they don't have access to a lot of things as a missionary, but they do have access to "Jesus the Christ" . So I highly encourage anyone thinking of going on a mission, start it or read it in your personal study as you study every day on your mission.
Plan on it taking a long time, don't rush through it.
Like take 3 years if you need to. Like read it slow. And then a thing that helped me, I would pray every time before I started reading a chapter. And it wasn't like I had an out of body experience or anything, but I felt blessed to the point where I was, I almost felt like I was in a different place as I read. And then when I was done reading, I like came out of that place. I think the Lord blessed me to understand what the words were and to feel the spirit of what was being written.
Oh, yeah. Oh, I like that idea. Pray before you read. Very good idea. Addie,
You know, in talking about the how it came to be of his writing this and the sanction of the Church of it. And is there anything in "Jesus the Christ" that is not in the New Testament? For me, that's part of the message, that it's all there. And what you'll have in addition is that it's sanctified by the church. That this, this is that word of God.
Wow, the word you just used. It is sanctified. It is made holy, this book is holy. Addie, awesome word. Thank you.
Sharon Staples 58:47
Yes. On a lighter note, what's the chances of getting a copy of that little dictionary that you have there on the little pamphlet?
I might be able to make you one.
Sharon Staples 58:55
That would be, that would be
I did look to see if there was a copyright on it. I don't think there is, I think it was just sold and handed out at BYU bookstore. Yeah, I'll make you one.
Sharon Staples 59:06
Okay. All right. Because I intend to read this book again, probably starting immediately. Because it's, it's comforting.
So hold that thought,
Sharon Staples 59:16
We're gonna talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 6 59:19
Okay, so Sharon is now going to read this book for the third time, but I want to know, do any of you plan to read it again? And what was it like to revisit it and read it for the second time?
The first time I tried to read it. So the second time was vastly different. I had more gospel knowledge the second time that I had gained, and then I had these 3 women and we really studied it. And I, I think the spirit that I brought to it was completely different the second time than the first time. I think the first time it was a, I'm going to do this, I can read this, and I'm going to put this under my belt. The second time, it was about drawing closer to my Savior. And I think that changes everything when you have an intent of wanting to be close to your Savior.
Mine was an accumulation. I read this book and then had the privilege to go to Israel. And the two combined, I just, I deeply, deeply love my Savior and know for a fact that He did live, and that He lived for me and for all of us. And I look forward to reading the book again because now I have that foundation, and it, the richness that will build on that I think will be life-changing.
The other thing I'll say about it is, Will I read it again? Oh, absolutely. But it's become more like scripture to me that I refer to it when I have a question about something that I read in the New Testament that I'm not quite sure of or something that I hear, you know, in our lessons. I will reference - it has a great index - I will reference that in "Jesus the Christ" and get, get fit differently than I will from other books.
Oh, I totally agree. Thank you. Sharon, why are you going to read it a third time?
Sharon Staples 1:01:41
It's like I never read it the first time. I mean, when I read it the second time, it was like, Did I read this? I remember this part but I don't remember this part. So it piqued my intelligence in such a way that I thought, I need to read this again, because I didn't get it all the second time. I will read it the third time. It's like a really good movie you want to see over and over and over again. Well, this is a book that I want to read and digest and internalize again. So I might, you know, it's like a wonderful meal - the first time you forgot the dessert, and then the second time you forgot the gravy on your potatoes, and the third time you, so I want to, I want to refresh and reinvent my understanding of my Savior.
Um-hmm. And Addie, you've begun it again.
The effect that this, that "Jesus the Christ" has had on me is it's strengthened my reliance on the gifts of the Spirit.
And specifically, in the 46th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses 8, verses 13 and 14. "Seek ye out the best gifts of the Spirit. To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And that he was crucified for the sins of the world. Verse 14, "To others, it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful." I am grateful for the gifts of believing, on having the faith to believe on the words of those who know.
Sharon Staples 1:03:45
Are you going to read it again, Tam?
Yes, I'm reading it right now. I'm reading it in connection with studying the New Testament. And it's been really fun. We've even had guests come on that have referenced this book in their notes and things they've studied. So yep, I'm in the middle of reading it again. And I, I love it. I love it. And it, this will be also my third time. So I write the dates of when I read it. So I'll write the date again when I finish it. But like you said, I liked that both of you said, Take the time to read it. Like I might not finish it this year, but that's okay. Then there's parts where I go back and reread. So thank you ladies, thank you for your brilliant answers. And for the time that you gave today and for considering all the questions. I sent these questions ahead of time because I knew it would take time to really think about this. Like we've talked about, there's a lot in "Jesus the Christ".
But one thing that I felt like was consistent throughout this whole episode is the effect that it had on your lives and your testimony, and the spirit that we felt as we've discussed this sacred piece of literature. And I don't know what other literature we can call sacred or sanctified as - I like that word that you used Addie - it is a Holy book. Okay, so tell me then ladies, this is it. I think many people listening are like, I'm gonna read "Jesus the Christ". So give us your last pieces of advice and anything you want people to know.
Sharon Staples 1:05:01
Read it with someone; have the support and faith and investment of others as you study this. That, reading it alone, now I can and to understand it more. But the first go around, or the second go around, I thought, Well, I need the support of these sisters to help me understand this or to reinforce or to say, Umm, wrong, you know, to let me do that. So I would read it with someone, especially with friends or family. And, and read maybe just a chapter at a time, like was has been said earlier. Don't think, Oh, I'm gonna read this book and you read it like a fiction novel or some other thing. You take a chapter at a time and you digest it, which gives you enough information to try the second chapter. But it's, it's a commitment, and a commitment for investing in, understanding, and sharing what you learn from the book.
Great advice, read it with someone. I like it.
I have 3 things. When you're going to read it, I'd consider Talmage's statement of the sacredness of the topic. And you remember he said, "The Spirit of the sacredness inherent in the subject has been a constant companion of the writer throughout his pleasing labor, and he reverently invokes the same as a minister to the readers of the volume." In other words, seek your own, seek the confirmation of the Spirit. The second thing is I would consider the consequences of prevailing on faith in the midst of a reasoned world. And the third thing is, what would you give? or would you give up to know Christ?
That last question sank deep cuz I'm thinking of games I play on my phone. I could just read it on my phone. Oh, Addie, that's good. What would you give up? Or pay? Thank you. Thalene?
I would say don't be afraid of it. Because if you will read it you will know Christ on a level you've never known Him before. And I look forward to reading it again so that I can know Him on an even deeper level.
I don't know what I can add to any of that, they've pretty much covered it. The one thing I will say that I think might be an advantage to reading it on a tablet or even your phone, is that all those big words? Just look them up as you're reading. And it's really convenient.
Oh, it is.
Absolutely. Wow. Well, thank you, ladies. That's it. That's the end of our discussion. How easy was that? Thalene's rolling your eyes. Listen, that was an awesome discussion. We just encourage everybody who's listening, really just take the time to study and have, have the faith to read "Jesus the Christ". It will change your life, we can all agree on that.
Sharon Staples 1:08:21
And if you have questions, text Tammy.
Yeah, yeah, okay. I'll just tell you to read "Jesus the Christ", and get a dictionary. Oh, but it's totally worth it. I always say this, "paying the price", but you 4 have paid the price by reading this book. And that was evident throughout this discussion. You, I just loved it. The Spirit was so strong, and how could it not be as you testify that Jesus AS the Christ, and I will remember that forever, Addie, so thank you. And for those of you listening, I am so excited. And I just want to know what you've learned. Or maybe what your goal is if you're going to read "Jesus the Christ". Reach out, send us a message on Instagram or Facebook.
So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, go do it. Because I want to know, are you going to read "Jesus the Christ"? Or have you read it, or what your experience has been like? Share with us some of your thoughts and feelings as you've listened to this episode. And you can even ask questions on Instagram and Facebook, and then at the end of every week, - usually on a Saturday - we post a call or a question from this specific episode. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and share your answers and thoughts.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDS living.com/sunday On Monday, and it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because it's where we're going to have the links to the all the references that we used today, as well as a transcript of this entire discussion. And we will have a glue-in for you to put in your "Jesus the Christ", so go check it out. The Sunday on Monday Study Group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original; it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our incredible, awesome, fabulous, very brave study group participants were Sharron Staples, Addie Fuhriman, Thalene Fairbanks, and Danene Torgesen. Our podcast is produced by Cole Wissinger and me. It is edited by Hailey Higham and recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here.
We'll see you next week and please remember, You are God's favorite.
Here, add this Cole: (slurp) laughter
Transcribed by https://otter.ai