[James E. Talmage]
This evening's issue of the Deseret News contained the official announcement on reverse side of this sheet. This is the outcome of a report which I recently made to the First Presidency
and Twelve, copy of which follows:
Salt Lake City, Utah.
May 11, 1915.
President Joseph F. Smith and Counselors,
I have received an inquiry from the Presiding Bishop's Office relative to the correct or approved spelling of the proper name by which the Higher Priesthood is distinctively designated. Numerous questions relating to the same subject have come to me from unofficial sources. I venture to suggest, inasmuch as uniformity in the matter is greatly to be desired, that a ruling be made as to the approved spelling of the name to be used in our Church literature.
I submit for your consideration the following facts:
In the Old Testament MELCHIZEDEK, and in the New Testament MELCHISEDEC appear.
In literature other than scriptural both the foregoing forms are used with a decided preponderance in favor of the first.
Funk and Wagnalls "Standard Encyclopedia", the Encyclopedia Britannica, Smith's Bible Dictionary, and the Standard Bible Dictionary all give preference to MELCHIZEDEK.
The Century Dictionary adopts the same spelling but gives as an alternative form the New Testament spelling MELCHISEDEC.
The only work of recognized authority examined by me which gives the New Testament form first place is the New Standard Dictionary; and this specifies the more common MELCHIZEDEK as correct.
The Book of Mormon spelling is the same as that in the Old Testament, MELCHIZEDEK.
The Doctrine and Covenants introduces a spelling found nowhere else except in the writings of some of our own people, namely, MELCHISEDEK. Another variant form used only by some of our own writers is MELCHIZEDEC.
From the foregoing it will be seen that the spelling almost universally used by Theologians and writers in general outside of our Church is MELCHIZEDEK; and this is the form given in both the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon.
I respectfully recommend that this last spelling be adopted as the approved form of the name to be used in the publications of the Church.
It is interesting to note that nowhere outside the Doctrine and Covenants, and the writings of our own people is the name used as an adjective. We so use it in speaking of the MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD. The New Standard Dictionary gives MELCHISEDICIAN and MELCHIZEDEKIAN. as the adjective forms derived from the proper nouns MELCHISEDEC and MELCHIZEDEK. I do not think a departure from our usage in this particular is advisable.
Should you deem it wise to make a ruling as to an approved form of spelling, I respectfully suggest that notice thereof be sent to each of our Church publications, at home and abroad, and, if deemed advisable, that a brief article on the subject be published.
Respectfully your brother in the Gospel,
[James E. Talmage, Diary]