PREFACE: RfM Admin Has Approved the Following for Posting.
Just so folks know, I did what any of us here at RfM can do (and, in fact, in certain cases, have been asked by this board’s mods to do): namely, I requested, and received, specific moderator permission to put up this particular post. That permission came in the following note from the Mod Behind the Curtain:
“Please go ahead and post about Talmage and his drug use. . . . . Let's do the drugged GA first.”
Oh, goodie. Here we go.
Forget the admonition of the Mormon God to “experiment upon my words” (Alma 32: 27).
A man with an intensively curious and scientific mind--who would be become a professional geologist and eventually a Mormon apostle--was James E. Talmage.
He was more interested in experimenting upon hashish. In fact, he ate some them and then, like any good scientist, dutifully and truthfully reported on what happened.
A. What James E. Talmage was Consuming in the World of Drugs
Before proceeding, for the record and so that we know exactly what we’re talking about here, let me make it clear that this post is not in any way intended as advocating for drug use, With that out of the way, time to define our terms: “Hashish” is another name for “marijuana/cannabis." It is described by way of its properties, effects and hazards as follows:
“Hashish is a potent form of cannabis (marijuana) produced by collecting and compressing trichomes, the most potent material from cannabis plants Trichomes are the fine growths on cannabis plants that produce a sticky resin. . .. Sinsemilla, hashish and hash oil are stronger forms of marijuana.
“It is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a 'joint' or a 'nail'), . . . in a pipe or bong . . . [[or as] cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana . . .. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea. . ..
“Hashish contains the same active ingredients as marijuana, like THC and other cannabinoids, but with higher concentrations. . . .
"Marijuana or hashish affects memory, judgment and perception. Learning and attention skills are impaired among people who use marijuana or hashish heavily. Longitudinal research on marijuana use among young people below college age indicates those who use marijuana have lower achievement than the non-users, more acceptance of deviant behavior, more delinquent behavior and aggression, greater rebelliousness, poorer relationships with parents, and more associations with delinquent and drug-using friends”
“The short-term effects of marijuana or hashish use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch); difficulty in thinking and problem solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. . ..
“People who smoke marijuana often have the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. These individuals may have daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and more frequent chest colds. They are also at greater risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Marijuana contains some of the same, and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in cigarette smoke. . . .
“While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug. Some frequent, heavy users of marijuana develop a tolerance for it. Tolerance means that the user needs larger doses of the drug to get the same desired results that he or she used to get from smaller amounts.”
(“Hashish: Effects, Hazards and Means of Abuse," https://www.google.com/#q=hashish
B. The Mormon Church’s Official Position on Marijuana/Hashish
The Mormon Church, through its house organ, “The Deseret News” –-specifically in the newspaper’s “Church News” section--has, through the Office of the First Presidency, stated its opposition to the use of marijuana/hashish. I
It appears that Talmage did not get the memo.
“The First Presidency has sent letters to Church leaders and members in four states urging them to vote against proposed recreational marijuana. . .. In an October 13 letter to Church leaders and members in Arizona, California and Nevada, the First Presidency addressed legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. They wrote:
“’Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented. Recent studies have shed light particularly on the risks marijuana use poses to brain development in youth. The accessibility of recreational marijuana in the home is also a danger to children. We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana.’”
(“First Presidency Asks Members to Oppose Recreational Marijuana, Assisted Suicide,” in “Church News,” by Camille West, 14 October 2016, LDS. Org, https://www.lds.org/church/news/first-presidency-asks-members-to-oppose-recreational-marijuana-assisted-suicide?lang=eng
Two days after the above official directive was issued, the “Desert News” again drove home the Mormon Church’s official point:
“SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The LDS Church's First Presidency is asking the faith's members in four western states to oppose bills that would legalize . . . recreational marijuana use. / . . They sent a similar letter Wednesday to Mormons in Arizona, California and Nevada about marijuana legislation.
‘“We urge Church members to let their voices be heard in opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana use,’ the letter said. The LDS Church leaders referred both to Church policies as well as research-based reasons for opposing the measures.”
(“LDS Leaders Ask Mormons to Oppose Legalization of Assisted Suicide, Recreational Marijuana,” by Ted Walsh, "Deseret Mews." 13 October 2016, updated 24 October 2016, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865664777/LDS-leaders-ask-Mormons-to-oppose-legalization-of-assisted-suicide-recreational-marijuana.html?pg=all
The non-Mormon and major “other” metro newspaper in Salt Lake City--the “Salt Lake Tribune”--reported on the LDS Church’s anti-marijuana/hashish position as follows:
“The LDS Church is urging Mormons in four Western states to ‘let their voices by heard’ in opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana . . . . In a letter sent Wednesday, the governing First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has called on Church members in Arizona, California and Nevada to oppose pro-marijuana initiatives on ballots in those states, citing the drug's perceived risks to children, youths and adults.
"’Drug abuse in the United States is at epidemic proportions, and the dangers of marijuana to public health and safety are well documented,’ says the one-page letter, signed by LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf. . . While not tying its stance on recreational marijuana directly to Church doctrine, the First Presidency's letter cites ‘recent studies’ on the risks it poses for brain development in young people.”
(“Mormon Leaders Send Letter to Voters Urging Opposition of Recreational Marijuana, Medically-Assisted Suicide,” by Tony Semerad, “Salt Lake Tribune,” 14 October 2016, http://www.sltrib.com/home/4468616-155/mormon-leaders-send-letter-to-voters
C. Talmage’s Confirmation of His “Tolerably Satisfactory”/"Very Agreeable" Personal Use Hashish, Which Use He Said was “Proper for Studying Its Effects” (At Other Times He Reported It Had "No Effect," was "Not Pleasant" or was "Not Desirable")
When it comes to internalizing hashish at the Mormon Gospel’s expense, Talmage appeared to be something of a rebel with a rational mind (both of which are inherently foreign to the world of Mormonism). Former RfM poster “Deconstructor” provides the opening salvo, reporting that Talmage personally investigated hashish by actually ingesting it, as verified by Talmage himself in his personal diary entries.
“March 22,1884: James E Talmage begins using hashish at Johns Hopkins University as ‘my physiological experiment’ of its effects. By April 6, he is using 20 grains, ‘and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.’ This is last reference in his diary. Four months later, he becomes [a] member of stake High Council. “
(“Great Moments in LDS/Mormon Church History,” http://exmormon.org/phorum/list.php?2
In the book, “The Essential James E. Talmage," James P. Harris, ed. [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997, pp. 10-11) one finds this admission from Talmage regarding his own use of hashish. From the Chapter 3 heading, “The Effects of Narcotics Upon the System":
“’March 17: I have been engaged some time in the study of the effects of Narcotics upon the system, i.e. studying the same theoretically only. Today I found a gentleman who works in the same laboratory as I, and who has for two years been addicted to the habit of eating Hashish or extract of Cannabis Indica. He was very willing to give me any data from his own experience; and gave me such.’
“’March 18: My Hashish-eating friend gave me further details at odd times today. Three of us in the University have entered upon the study of the Narcotics in use.'
“’March 21: The result of our work in research upon Narcotics has been tolerably satisfactory. We utilize my friend referred to above, with his Hashish-eating experience—and find four or five others whom he knows have also an experience upon the subject. But the effects experienced by the different ones are so widely different that we can scarcely draw a conclusion. The Opium habit is well explained by books, and the bad after-effects of the same are sufficiently appalling to keep down experimentation upon the subject. But, the ill effects are reported very low in the Hashish or Hemp administration; and we have concluded to try effect of small dose upon ourselves’
“Of course, such a course is the proper one for the study of the effects of the drug, though I very much disliked the idea of doing such a thing for, as yet, I have never known what it is to be narcotized either by tobacco, alcohol, or any drug.’
“’March 22: This being Saturday, [it] was the day I selected to study practically the effects of Hashish. This evening, after work and all was over, I took at three doses, each an hour after the preceding, five grains solid extract Cannabis Indica. At this writing--midnight--five hours since [my] last dose, I have experienced no effect whatever. The effect is said to be widely different in different people.’
“’March 23: Sunday. Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted of my physiological experiment yesterday. I do not feel inclined to try again till the end of next week--as the realization of the effects of the drug are not desirable on working days.’
“’April 5: This evening--[the] first opportunity which has presented itself--I attempted my experiment on the effects of Hashish as referred to March 22 (page 26). Took, in all, 15 grains. No effects.'
“’April 6. Sunday: Continued my experiment by taking 20 grains [of] Cannabis Indica, and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way. My fellow experimenters and I concluded I should take n larger dose—but perhaps vary the trial in the future.”
(“The Essential; James E. Talmage,” James P. Harris, ed. Chapter 3, “The Effects of Narcotics Upon the System,” [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, hardcover], p. 10; “Entries from the Journal of James E. Talmage, while at Johns Hopkins University, 1884, Archives and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah,” http://signaturebookslibrary.org/essential-james-e-talmage-03/
D. Talmage Justified Making Himself a Human Guinea Pig for Testing Recreational Hasish at Increasingly Higher-Dosages Because He Said It Wasn’t as Bad as Other Drugs
“In the spring of 1884, while at Johns Hopkins, Talmage journaled about laboratory experiments involving the ingestion of hashish, reporting that interviews with users conducted by himself and two colleagues yielded very different accounts of the experience.
“Talmage noted that the ill effects of Opium were very unpleasant and had been well-documented, ‘[b]ut the ill effects are reported very low in the Haschich or Hemp administration; and we have concluded to try effect of a small dose upon ourselves . . . though I very much dislike the idea of doing such a thing, for as yet I have never known what it is to be narcotized either by tobacco, alcohol, or any drug."
“Thus, on three occasions, March 22, April 5 and April 6, 1884, Talmage ingested increasing doses. On the first two occasions, he felt no effect, but on the third he reported simply, ‘[c]ontinued my experiment by taking 20 grains Cannabis Indica and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.’
(“James E. Talmage, “under “Academic Career,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_E._Talmage
E. Mormon Apologists May Attempt to Rationalize Talmage’s Personal Use of Hashish as Supposedly Not Being Covered by the Word of Wisdom.
Unfortunately for the excuse-making crowd, the following appears under the inconvenient title, “History of the Word of Wisdom, March 17, 1884,” and bears repeating for those in denial:
--"March 17, 1884:
“Future apostle James E. Talmage, at Johns Hopkins University, writes in his journal: ‘March 17 : ‘I have been engaged some time in the study of the effects of Narcotics upon the system, i.e. studying the same theoretically only. Today I found a gentleman who works in the same laboratory as I, and who has for two years been addicted to the habit of eating Haschich or extract of Cannabis Indica. He was very willing to give me any data from his own experience; and gave me such.’ Five days later he[Talmage] includes himself as a subject by taking "Cannabis Indica" himself. (1)
--“March 22, 1884
“James E Talmage begins using hashish at Johns Hopkins University as ‘my physiological experiment’ of its effects. He takes three doses of five grains every hour ‘solid extract Cannabis Indica’. By April 6. he is using 20 grains, ‘and the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.’ Nevertheless, he intends to ‘vary the trial in the future.’ This is last reference in Talmadge's diary to using narcotics. Four months later he becomes member of stake high council
“[Word of Wisdom] ‘This being Saturday, [it] was the day I selected to study practically the effects of hashish. This evening, after work and all was over, I took at 3 doses each hour after the preceding, 5 grains solid extract Cannabis Indica. At this writing, midnight, five hours since last does, I have experienced no effect whatever. The effect is said to be widely different in different people.’ (“The Essential James E. Talmage, “James P. Harris editor, “Classics in Mormon Thought Series,” No. 5, Signature Books, Inc., 1997 pp. 11-12)
--”March 23, 1884
“The day after he took three ‘doses,’ five grains each of Hashish (Cannabis Indica), James E. Talmage writes in his journal: ‘Sunday. Spent quietly. Have had no result to be noted of my physiological experiment yesterday. I do not feel inclined to try again till the end of next week--as the realization of the effects of the drug are not desirable on working days’
-- “April 5, 1884
“[Word of Wisdom] ‘This evening--[the] first opportunity which has presented itself--I attempted my experiment on the effects of hashish as referred to March 22. Took all 15 grains. No effects.’ (“The Essential James E. Talmage, James P. Harris editor, Classics in Mormon Thought Series No. 5, Signature Books, Inc., 1997 pp. 11-12)”
(“History of the Word of Wisdom, March 15, 1884," http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/2011/09/history-of-word-of-wisdom-mar-17-1884.html
F. Talmage Personally Experimented with Hashish Outside of Utah Because He Knew the Suffocating Mormon Church Environment Would Not Give Him the Room He Needed to Conduct His Research and to Gather New Knowledge
It seems clear enough that, at least in part, Talmage embarked on his personal research project involving hashish-eating because he knew he could not effectively research the subject in the stifling theocratic atmosphere of Mormondumb’s Brigham Young Academy. He saw his out-of-Utah scientific endeavors as his opportunity and responsibility to expand his educational pursuits and, then, to return to the Mormon Church/State with his collection of scientific data on hashish gleaned from information he obtained through experimenting on himself.
As they say, “Beware of Scientists Bearing Gifts.”:
“During the 1880-81 academic year, Talmage realized his need for further education. He consulted with [Mormon] Church president John Taylor, who agreed and gave him a blessing of encouragement. Talmage’s excursion to Lehigh University in South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, became a mission of sorts. . . . Part of the admonition Talmage received when he left Utah was that he was ‘not to seek after personal honors or degrees’ but bring this new knowledge back to Utah to serve the needs of BYA and the Church. . . . He . . . visited the local steel works and other places of interest to a fledgling geologist, and spent considerable time in the well-stocked campus laboratory . . . At that time, there were no seminaries or institutes of religion for LDS students, neither was there a local Mormon congregation, so Talmage spent his Sundays at various denominations in the area.
“After a year at Lehigh, Talmage decided to continue his studies at a university which offered courses unavailable at Lehigh. With encouragement and loans from friends in Utah, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. While at Johns Hopkins, he learned of the devastating fire that destroyed much of Brigham Young Academy. He thought that this might force him to return to Utah, but he was encouraged to stay. During this time, he began outlining lectures that he would later deliver in Utah and would then find their way into his numerous articles.
“Talmage also spent as much time as possible in the Johns Hopkins laboratories, knowing that his scientific resources would be severely limited at Brigham Young Academy [NOTE: and perhaps not just because of the fire].
“One telling episode involved his research into the effects of narcotics, an incident which demonstrates his devotion to science and the scientific method. On 17 March 1884, as part of a class assignment, Talmage interviewed a man addicted to hashish. The man introduced the curious Talmage to others who had used hashish, all of whom described their experiences as being very different. Talmage and his associates decided ‘to try the effect of small dose upon ourselves.’ Talmage confessed that he ‘disliked the idea of doing such a thing, for as yet I have never known what it is to be narcotized by either tobacco, alcohol, or any drug. . . . ‘
“On 22 March, he reported taking three doses of five grams each [and] every hour. At midnight, he had experienced no reaction. On Sunday, 6 April, he increased the dosage and reported ‘the effect was felt in a not very agreeable way.’
“Following his return to Utah, his lecture on ‘Stimulants and Narcotics’ became one of the young scientist’s most popular”
G. Despite Experimenting with Hashish, Talmage Managed to Move "High" into the Mormon Church’s Ruling Ranks--Including the High Council and Eventually the Quorum of the Twelve
Talmage’s public admissions that he has used hashish (admissions made once he had returned to Utah) didn’t stop him from being advanced up the ladder of Mormon Church leadership:
“Talmage returned to Provo in late June 1884, after first reporting to Church authorities in Salt Lake City. He immediately resumed his old teaching posts at BYA, where he was also appointed acting principal. Additionally, he was called as a home missionary and spent many Sundays traveling to various wards and branches of the Church. On 29 September, he was ordained a high priest and was named as an alternate to the High Council (he had been ordained an elder on 28 June 1880)”
In 1911, Talmage was appointed to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
(“The Essential James E. Talmage,” Harris, Signature Book Library, http://signaturebookslibrary.org/essential-james-e-talmage/#14
If apostle-destined James E. Talmage could get away with using hashish, some might ask their local Mormon Church Control-Freak Geeks for God why that permission is not being granted to Mormons today.
Could it be because of that good ol’ boy Mormon adage:
“Different smokes for different folks”?
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/2016 12:18PM by steve benson.