Elsie Talmage Brandley
1896-1934

Elsie Talmage Brandley was the daughter of an impressive couple: May Booth Talmage and scriptorian scholar James E. Talmage.

At Brigham Young University, Elsie was student body vice president and associate editor of the White and Blue, a student periodical. Years later she became the associate editor of the Young Women’s Journal (which later became The Improvement Era of which she was the general editor). “The mother of seven daughters, she darned stockings in between writing paragraphs or reading over proofs for the magazine.”

She was a very popular speaker and championed young people. She encouraged youth to search and find answers to their own questions.

Just after the The Great Depression, of which she lived through, Elsie delivered a speech to the youth at Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. Here is an excerpt:

“Youth must ask in order to find answers; youth must analyze and harmonize. Their very eagerness to do so is indicative of their interest; indifferent passiveness would be death…on the other hand, youth must admit the fact that it accepts much without criticism and doubt: fruit is eaten without knowing botany; stars are loved in ignorance of astronomy; telegrams are sent with no knowledge of the Morse code; love and friendship, home and books and nature become dear and of great value with little attempt to explain technical reasons. Let us not encourage youth to segregate religion as the only phase of life upon which to concentrate doubtful inquiry; let us help them to see that they accept certain conditions with no stronger proof of their doing so than that they provide joy and hope and faith and courage; can they not accept religion, up to a certain point, with the same composure?”

The whole speech is brilliant, from the great mind of Elsie Talmage Brandley.

Elsie died of a “sudden illness” just before her 39th birthday. Her youngest was 4-years-old. There was a great mourning for a great lady.

Source: At the Pulpit by Reeder and Holbrook

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