The House of the Lord
|Author||James E. Talmage|
|Publisher||The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
The House of the Lord: A Study of Holy Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern is a 1912 book by James E. Talmage that discusses the doctrine and purpose of the temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Published by the LDS Church, it was the first book to contain photographs of the interiors of Mormon temples.
On September 16, 1911, the Salt Lake Tribune published an account of individuals who had secretly taken photographs of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple while it was undergoing renovation. The photographers had written to the First Presidency of the LDS Church in an attempt to blackmail the church: the church was offered the photographs for $100,000; if it refused, the photographers would publicly display the photographs. Church President Joseph F. Smith was outraged and refused to deal with the photographers.
In response to this report, Talmage wrote to the First Presidency, proposing that the LDS Church pre-empt the revelation of the photographs by authorizing the publication of a book that contained high-quality photographs of the interior of church temples. Talmage also proposed that the book could contain an explanation of the purpose and importance of temples to Latter-day Saints. The First Presidency agreed with Talmage's proposal and on September 22 assigned Talmage to produce such a book. The book was completed on September 30, 1912; in the midst of his work in December 1911, Talmage was ordained as an apostle of the church.
The House of the Lord contained 46 photographic plates with descriptive captions and included photos of the interiors and exteriors of the Kirtland, Nauvoo, Salt Lake, St. George, Logan, and Manti Temples, which were the six temples that had been built by 1912. The majority of the photos—31 of them—were of the interior of the Salt Lake Temple, including one of the temple's Holy of Holies. In the 1968 edition of the book, the photograph of the Holy of Holies was omitted.
Talmage's book "had a significant and long-lasting effect on nonmembers and members alike". The book has gone through a number of editions and remains in print. In October 2010, an adapted excerpt from the book was published by the LDS Church in its official magazine. In 2000, Signature Books published a 1912 first-edition reproduction.
Sample of photographic plates
A spiral staircase in the Salt Lake Temple
The Telestial Room in the Salt Lake Temple
The Garden Room in the Salt Lake Temple
The Terrestrial Room in the Salt Lake Temple
- Nelson B. Wadsworth, Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass: The Great Mormon Temple and Its Photographers (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1992), pp. 355—59.
- Kent Walgren, "Inside the Salt Lake Temple: Gisbert Bossard's 1911 Photographs," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29:1—43 (Fall 1996).
- David R. Seely, "Explaining the Temple to the World: James E. Talmage's Monumental Book, The House of the Lord", FARMS Review 12(2):415–426 (2000).
- James E. Talmage, "A History of Temples", Liahona, Oct. 2010.