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The Great Apostasy Considered in the Light of Scriptural and Secular History   By: (1862-1933)

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By JAMES E. TALMAGE D. Sc. D., Ph. D., F. R. S. E.

Press of Zion's Printing and Publishing Company Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.

Published by the Missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in America

BUREAU OF INFORMATION Temple Block, Salt Lake City, Utah. CALIFORNIA MISSION 153 W. Adams St., Los Angeles, Calif. CANADIAN MISSION 36 Ferndale Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. CENTRAL STATES MISSION 302 S. Pleasant St., Independence, Mo. EASTERN STATES MISSION 273 Gates Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. HAWAIIAN MISSION P. O. Box 3228, Honolulu, Hawaii. MEXICAN MISSION 3531 Fort Blvd., El Paso, Texas, U. S. A. NORTHERN STATES MISSION 2555 N. Sawyer Ave., Chicago, Ill. NORTHCENTRAL STATES MISSION 2725 3d Ave.S., Minneapolis, Minn. NORTHWESTERN STATES MISSION 264 East 25th St., Portland, Ore. SOUTHERN STATES MISSION 371 E. North Ave., Atlanta. Ga. WESTERN STATES MISSION 538 East 7th Ave., Denver, Colo.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints proclaims the restoration of the Gospel and the re establishment of the Church as of old, in this, the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Such restoration and re establishment, with the modern bestowal of the Holy Priesthood, would be unnecessary and indeed impossible had the Church of Christ continued among men with unbroken succession of Priesthood and power, since the "meridian of time."

The restored Church affirms that a general apostasy developed during and after the apostolic period, and that the primitive Church lost its power, authority, and graces as a divine institution, and degenerated into an earthly organization only. The significance and importance of the great apostasy, as a condition precedent to the re establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.

The evidence of the decline and final extinction of the primitive Church among men is found in scriptural record and in secular history. In the following pages the author has undertaken to present a summary of the most important of these evidences. In so doing he has drawn liberally from many sources of information, with due acknowledgment of all citations. This little work has been written in the hope that it may prove of service to our missionary elders in the field, to classes and quorum organizations engaged in the study of theological subjects at home, and to earnest investigators of the teachings and claims of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Salt Lake City, Utah, JAMES E. TALMAGE. November 1, 1909.


The first edition of "The Great Apostasy" was issued by the Deseret News, Salt Lake City, in November, 1909, and comprised ten thousand copies. The author has learned, with a pleasure that is perhaps pardonable, of the favorable reception accorded the little work by the missionary elders of the Church, and by the people among whom these devoted servants are called to labor. The present issue of twenty thousand copies constitutes the second edition, and is published primarily for use in the missionary field. The text of the second edition is practically identical with that of the first.

Salt Lake City, Utah, JAMES E. TALMAGE. February, 1910.



Introduction: The Establishment of the Church of Christ .

Conditions at beginning of Christian era. Religious systems, Jewish, Pagan, and Samaritan. Jewish sects and parties. Law of Moses fulfilled and superseded. Apostles chosen and ordained. Apostolic administration. The Church established on the western hemisphere. The "meridian of time."


The Apostasy Predicted .

The Church has not continued in unbroken succession. Divine fore knowledge... Continue reading book >>

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