The lectures herewith presented have been prepared in accordance with the request and appointment of the First Presidency of the Church. The greater number of the addresses were delivered before the Theology Class of the Church University; and, after the close of the class sessions, the lectures were continued before other Church organizations engaged in the study of theology. To meet the desire expressed by the Church authorities,—that the lectures be published for use in the various educational institutions of the Church,—the matter has been revised, and is now presented in this form.
In anticipation of probable question or criticism regarding the disparity of length of the several lectures, it may be stated that each of the addresses occupied two or more class sessions, and that the present arrangement of the matter in separate lectures is rather one of compilation than of original presentation.
The author's thanks are due and are heartily rendered to the members of the committee appointed by the First Presidency, whose painstaking and efficient examination of the manuscript prior to the delivery of the lectures, has inspired some approach to confidence in the prospective value of the book among members of the Church. The committee here referred to consisted of Elders Francis M. Lyman, Abraham H. Cannon, and Anthon H. Lund, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder George Reynolds,[iv] one of the Presidents of the Presiding Quorum of Seventy; Elder John Nicholson, and Dr. Karl G. Maeser.
The lectures are now published by the Church, and with them goes the hope of the author that they may prove of some service to the many students of the scriptures among our people, and to other earnest inquirers into the doctrines and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
James E. Talmage.