Latter-Day Prophets Speak

Compiled by Daniel H. Ludlow

Synopsis: This book is somewhat of a classic in LDS literature. Written in 1948, it is a compilation of teachings of the first eight Presidents of the Church on various topics.

Strong Points: The book contains a wide variety of topics yet is not overly long. At times I found it keenly interesting; many of the teachings by various Presidents of the Church were incredibly insightful, powerful, and intriguing. It seemed to contain a spectrum of passages that ranged from the quite ordinary to the powerful to what some might consider controversial; it was a good mix. There were even some quotes that overturned commonly-held misconceptions. While reading through the book, I constantly had the desire to make notes and write down the references to interesting teachings, and often did so. It was not a case of having a good quote here or there throughout the book; it was one of the situations where the entire book was full of the type of great quotes that jump out at you, and that you just want to share with others. A lot of beneficial study could be had from this book, and it makes a valuable and instructive resource to have in a Latter-day Saint’s personal library. 

Weak Points: An obvious weakness of the book is that it only contains teachings of the first eight Presidents of the Church, a natural limitation considering the date at which the book was produced. Of course, not all of the quotes from each prophet were taken from when they were President of the Church. This is not bad, because otherwise many choice teachings would be missing from the book. But it may diminish the authority of the teachings in the minds of some. While it did not particularly bother me, it is true that the book was not evenly distributed between prophets: despite being President of the Church for the second longest term (27 years), Heber J. Grant was notably under-represented in the book; while Brigham Young was quoted extremely frequently throughout, with Joseph F. Smith as a runner-up.

Interesting: 4.6/5

Must Read: 4/5

Overall: 4.2/5

Selected Quotations: “I believe . . . that when the gospel is preached to the spirits in prison, the success attending that preaching will be far greater than that attending the preaching of our elders in this life. I believe there will be very few indeed of those spirits who will not gladly receive the gospel when it is carried to them. The circumstances there will be a thousand times more favorable.” (Lorenzo Snow, p. 35).

“In regard to the battle in heaven . . . I cannot relate the principal circumstances, it is so long since it happened: but I do not think it lasted very long; for when Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, claimed the privilege of having the control of this earth and redeeming it a contention arose; but I do not think it took long to cast down one-third of the hosts of heaven, as it is written in the Bible. But let me tell you that it was one-third part of the spirits who were prepared to take tabernacles upon this earth, and who rebelled against the other two-thirds of the heavenly host; and they were cast down to this world.” (Brigham Young, p. 6).

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