(3) Talmage: Agency

Jesus The Christ – Study Guide

(3) Agency

In the Premortal Existence (PME) “the entire human race existed as spirit being…they were endowed with the powers of agency…” (p. 17). If we treat agency as the power to act righteously with the ability to make choices, it adds to the richness of the construct.PME

Elder Talmage explains that God’s omnipotence relates to agency and also provides an answer to the underlying question of how we are able to exercise agency despite His omniscience. He permits us the ability to make choices without infringing upon our desire to act righteously. However, when we choose sin over His commandments we no longer engage in agency. Instead we stray from the strait and narrow and His Spirit is withheld.

(2) Talmage: Premortal Existence

Jesus The Christ – Study Guide

(2)      The Premortal Existence

Genesis 1:26-27 is the biblical account of what is left of the premortal life, which according to some LDS scholars was over 2.5 billion years of existence. In this organizational meeting (Abraham 3:22-28), we were all present and witnessed the Savior’s appointment as the Premortal_existenceRedeemer. Jesus explained that some souls would be lost and not make it back. Lucifer argued that he could save them (v. 26). In verses 24-25, Jesus is already the Chosen One. He is speaking in past tense that we (God the Father and Him) we prove us to determine if we keep our covenants made (in the premortal existence).

100-Year Anniversary of Jesus the Christ

LDS Book Reviews

Jesus The Christ – Study GuideJTC_book


Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Thomas A. Wayment have written a study guide to James E. Talmage’s Jesus The Christ commemorating the 100-year anniversary of its publication. They presented an overview during Education Week (2015). I picked up the book and will share some thoughts from their writings.

The Trial of Christ: Ironies, Contradictions, and Violations

The Mosaic Law had safeguards placed within it to prevent wicked leaders from usurping their powers and making scapegoats out of the people.Jesus_Pilate

After the Jewish leaders talked themselves into believing that Jesus was guilty of a death sentence, they presented Him to Pilate.

Here is a short list of violations:

  1. No one-day trials resulting in capital punishment.
  2. No self-incrimination or confession without corroborating witnesses who agree with each other.
  3. No hearing before the Sanhedrin in the house of the high priest.
  4. The voting cannot be unanimous for a guilty verdict.

Ironies and Contradictions


My son Elder Himmer, who is serving in South Korea, sent me a few questions this week. The provided answer is to the question about the difference between the Garden of Gethsemane and Golgotha. This post addresses Gethsemane.Gethsemane

Jesus approached death on three occasions, the Garden of Gethsemane, the scourging, and on Golgotha. In Gethsemane He experienced death symbolically, however, no human can bleed at every pore and live. During the scourge, any human would have died. On the cross he permitted himself to die.


This talk was delivered on June 9, 2013 in the Wollochet Ward.

It was a cold blustery morning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when Frank Daly, a local teenager was taking the bus home. The bus driver, John Williams, shivered each time he opened the door to let new passengers on. Inside the bus was warm, outside it was 10 degrees. Not far from his stop, Frank noticed a pregnant woman board the bus.

Her clothes were tattered, her socks were ripped and she had no shoes. The woman was heading in the opposite direction of her destination, but she boarded the bus to escape the cold. She was a mother of eight children and had enough money for the children’s’ shoes but not for her own.

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

As the story was related to me, many years ago, as a missionary, Elder Jack Welch was admiring the stain glass art work in a German Cathedral. This particular glasswork depicted the parable of the Good Samaritan. It was then he connected the meaning of the parable to the Plan of Salvation. Years later and many hours discussing and pondering his discovery, this is my understanding of the Savior’s immortal words. My thanks to Brother Welch’s insights.

The parable is found in Luke 10:25-37

Challenges: Are they from God or Satan?

When teaching the gospel to an investigator, it is common for the teaching missionaries to warn the investigator of impending temptations and trials the closer they come to the truth. “Satan will have you,” we warn.

While on my mission, one of the major stumbling blocks encountered was the story of Nephi dispatching Laban with his own sword. Sometimes the investigator would return the Book of Mormon with a brief, but firm explanation that such a story was inappropriate for scripture, while others would place the book on the porch with a short message.

It is finished!

I received a phone call from a young friend who is a recent convert. While visiting his family and disclosing his newly acquired faith, many questions and statements have been entertained. Last night he called asking how to handle his grandma’s statement, which is roughly as follows:

The bible is the last word from God; there is no more. When Jesus was on the cross he said, “It is finished”, which means there is no more church organization and no more scripture.

The answer is two-parts:

Part 1

My Testimony of the Book of Mormon

My testimony of the Book of Mormon

Richard P. Himmer

23 April 2012

Our family just concluded reading the Book of Mormon aloud. We read almost every night before bedtime as part of our nightly routine for the past two years. Some nights it was only one scripture, while other nights we had up to four readers taking turns. Some nights we didn’t get far because of the many questions our sons would ask. When friends would spend the night, we would take extra time to explain the background behind the story or we’d go to the map on the wall and point out specific geographic landmarks for reference.

The Prophecies are Fulfilled (5 BC – birth of Jesus Christ)

And so things continued in the land about as they were. The wicked hardened their hearts and the righteous looked for the sign. The wicked rationalized the signs and the verity of a Savior saying, “…it is not reasonable that such a being as Christ shall come[1]

If He were to really come, why in Jerusalem? What are we, the “B” team? If He’s going to come, He should come here as well and prove to us that He is God. The more they thought about it, the angrier they became. Since there were more wicked people than righteous they made very wicked laws, and the most startling law of all time came as the five years were about to expired.

Samuel the Lamanite (5 BC)

The scene is now set for Samuel the Lamanite who comes into the land of Zarahemla and delivers his message of repentance along with a specific timeline of events. He indicates that Zarahemla would already be destroyed by fire if it were not for the righteous within the city.

Now if you’re among the wicked, at whom do you turn your wrath? A wicked mind accepts no blame, therefore, the righteous are going to get the consequences. To those who repent he gives them an out, but to those not willing to change Samuel says that their days of probation are over. Imagine a prophet of God telling you that your mortal probation is over while you are still alive.

The Nephite Disease (41 BC – 7 BC)

Around 41 BC we read: “And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure[1].”

Seven years later (34 BC) Nephite dissenters join forces with the Lamanites and take the land of Zarahemla. In other words, they overthrow the capital in a military coup[2]. In 30 BC we read the following: “For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.[3]

The Nephite Roller Coaster Ride (559 BC – 53 BC)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

In the Book of Mormon, this prophecy is recorded between 559 and 545 BC. About 20 years earlier the anger of Laman and Lemuel had come to a boil and

Virtue Values #2

The Guidance and Influence of the Holy Ghost

In September 1981, I was attending Brigham Young University and was starting my senior year. During spring term I discontinued a serious relationship and was questioning many things about life and myself. I went to the Lord in fasting, prayer, and supplication to learn from Him how to proceed. I poured my heart out expressing my desires and asked, if He approved, for certain blessings.

I was desirous to meet a young woman, virtuous, lovely, and with a good report card to befriend, experience emotional intimacy with, and pursue a lasting relationship that would ultimately lead to a Ketubah (marriage contract) in the Temple of God of my choosing.