The Truman G. Madsen Story
Thousands of people across the world, from students to scholars, from Latter-day Saints to respected leaders of other religious traditions, can attest to the influence of Truman G. Madsen in their lives. A gifted writer, respected speaker, faithful teacher, and devoted scholar, Truman was a tireless and articulate advocate of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He was also a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend, confidant, and counselor.
This intimate biography by his son, Barnard N. Madsen, tells of the inner life, private choices, and personal struggles that set Truman Madsen on the course of his life's journey. from the death of his mother when he was just a young child to his own battle with the cancer that ended his life, from his work as a missionary to his years of teaching at Brigham Young University to his service at the BYU Jerusalem Center, Truman's formative years as well as his distinguished career all come to life in these pages—often in his own words.
Drawing from Truman's extensive journals, numerous writings, and the papers he chose to preserve for his posterity, this is a candid portrayal, as the author writes, of "the man himself ... of his decisions and indecisions, sorrows and joys, regrets and aspirations, reverses and accomplishments, and, above all, his constant striving to achieve a balance between his intellectual and spiritual life."
By Edward Palmer, Submitted on 2017-01-23
Dr. Madsen has long been a hero of mine. The ability to read a fairly forthright story of how he lived was very satisfying to me, especially considering it not being whitewashed in the traditional sense of not showing that Dr. Madsen was fallible. I especially enjoyed (and would be worth the price of purchasing the book alone) on the content of how Heber J. Grant is sealed in the eternities to Joseph Smith.
By Cathy J, Submitted on 2016-07-18
I loved reading this book! I loved the way that it's written, it's from the perspective of Truman G Madsen's son and a lot of times he uses Truman's own words. I love this kind of book, and the way this book made someone I've heard about my whole life seem like a real person to me, even though I've never met him.
I particularly liked the parts about him as a child and as a young man. Seeing the way that he grew into the man he was was truly fascinating to me. Reading about his courtship and life with his wife and family touched me as well.
This is a great book that I didn't want to put down, make sure to get your own copy!
By Vicky Hammond, Submitted on 2016-06-20
Reading this book was a blessing to my life! I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in this great disciple and scholar. I loved the honesty of the book--it shared with us the path that Truman Madsen followed in becoming who he was. It was inspiring and motivating!
By Jimmy H, Submitted on 2016-06-08
I listened to his insights on Joseph Smith when I was preparing for my mission. His inspiring words enlightened my mind and strengthened my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I did not know that Bro. Madsen's drive to learn more about the Prophet came from when he was serving his mission. Bro. Madsen did not have an easy childhood and was raised by his aunt and cousins after his mother's death. He didn't look at any of these experiences negatively but was able to strive for a better life. He is a great example of someone who found his passion and pursued it with vigor! He was inspired by many and was shaped by his life's events. By reading this book you will get insight into his life as a youth, missionary, teacher, and leader. If you ever wanted to know more about Truman Madsen, then this is the book for you.
By Roy Saunderson, Submitted on 2016-06-04
From speeding tickets to spiritual vistas; from academic pursuits in search of truth and following the servants of the Lord; his personal struggles and eventual challenge with cancer; Barnard Truman has written an honorable biography of his father. I read the book daily and was captivated to stay up late to finish the final pages. Truman Madsen's life is the epitome of by "study and faith". He was devoted follower of Jesus Christ and a firm testifier of the doctrines of the restored gospel revealed through the prophet, Joseph Smith. This biography is a reminder of the power of writing journals and keeping historical accounts of one's life. The book is a constant reminder that there are no such thing as coincidences and that Truman Madsen was called to be on the earth at the time he lived "for such a time as this." I highly recommend this book to enjoy, learn and grow from.
By Anonymous, Submitted on 2016-06-03
This is a well-told story of an extraordinary life. Truman Madsen is held in high esteem and, as is often the case, knowing more about the man only heightens my respect for him. His humanity, his successes, and his failures make him all the more lovable and bring even greater meaning to his teachings. This biography is very much worth reading. The positive impressions I received in doing so will last for a long time.
By Karen, Submitted on 2016-06-01
I loved this book. I didn't want to put it down!!! Truman G Madsen has long been one of our favorite people. We have all his books and have ead them, and read them together, and studied them since our BYU days decades ago. We were excited to learn about this biography written by his son and have loved it!! It is so well done! So personal and personable and thorough. The writing style is very fluent and easy to read. There are so many uplifting themes to incorporate in daily living. My husband and I have both read it at the same time and have loved discussing it. This is a book we will purchase for gifts for our kids and others that we know will enjoy it.
By Valerie Christensen, Submitted on 2016-05-25
This in depth telling of a devoted disciple's life demonstrates how turning ones life over to God and following wise counsel can create a life full of unimaginable experiences and blessings. It is a delightful read. Read it!
By David Meredith, Submitted on 2016-05-23
I have always been interested in Truman Madsen and his understanding of gospel doctrine. He had a unique insight and to learn and understand where he was coming from was insightful. I had a couple of issues with the book itself. I was somewhat troubled on how the author referred to his father as Truman instead of my father. Also, there were a couple of stories or incidences that were used more than once in the book, so I thought the editing could have been improved. But overall, a delightful book to get to know Truman Madsen.
By Emily Wardle, Submitted on 2016-05-23
This is a very interesting book. I have been a fan of Truman Madsen for many years. I grew up in the neighborhood where he raised his children and loved learning from him in person as he served in various callings. This book is a fresh way to look at this intelligent and thoughtful gospel scholar. I loved reading the personal thoughts and writings that came directly from him and learning about where those beliefs stemmed from. The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars was because I found the chronology of the book hard to follow in the early chapters. It skipped around between his childhood, mission life, ancestors and family experiences in a way that I felt didn't flow very well. Definitely worth the read!
By RikkiM, Submitted on 2016-05-23
“Read, read, read! Read aloud, read together!” These words spoken by Truman G. Madsen’s father, Axel, to him as a young boy ring true for this book of his life. If you are a TGM fan, you’ll enjoy and appreciate these insights into this gospel scholar’s life. It’s so him! In fact, so often when reading quotes, messages and writings of TGM, my mind could hear his lyrical voice, cadence and inflections that were uniquely his. And, I took notes to use for future moments & lessons in my own adventures. I’m even coming away with the family’s secret recipe (footnotes) of TGM lemon ice cream. Even had I not known the author was a TGM direct descendant, I would have guessed it since the writing had a “touch of Truman” in its style. A review of his life and dedication have made me realize even more the unique blessing to have been touched by TGM’s voice, knowledge and testimony. These kind of gents don’t come around too often even though, as he says, “Many are cold, but few are frozen.” His humor is dotted throughout the pages. And although he now waits in another heavenly realm, his mother’s words stay with me… “It won’t be long, I won’t be far.” Scoop this up.
By LisaAn, Submitted on 2016-05-22
Over the years I have enjoyed and learned from Truman G. Madsen's books and recordings so I was pleased to be able to read his biography "The Truman G. Madsen Story: A Life of Study and Faith" written by his son Barnard N. Madsen. While it has the usual things a biography does such where he was born, how he grew up, where he went to school and the family he established with his wife Ann, it also has so much more. By reading how Truman G. Madsen faced the triumphs, joys, challenges, and sorrows of life, how he responded to various calls to serve and in doing so put aside his own desires and dreams helped instill me with hope and courage. How he then was able to pass his knowledge and experiences on to others while teaching full time along with all his other responsibilities and callings was inspiring to me. Looking back at the writings of Truman G. Madsen afer reading this biography helps me understand more fully and round out what I had previously read. This biography is a tribute to a life well lived, a life that testified of Jesus Christ and his gospel and one that also testified of the restored church and the prophet Joseph Smith. I highly recommend this book.
By Jean Robinson, Submitted on 2016-05-21
I knew nothing of Truman Madsen before reading this book. It has something for everyone: genealogy, history, personal testimony, teachings, life experiences, and family commitment. Normally I do not enjoy reading the genealogy of others, but Madsen's was handled succinctly, so as to move me on in the book. It was shown that he was close to prophets and apostles but he remained humble. Many of the chapters elicited thought; however, the chapter on Doctrine and Covenants 93 led me to re-read and re-examine the words and meanings. His work in Israel seems to have touched hundreds of people, and the stories brought tears of love to my eyes. Then there are other chapters that put me very much in the world. For instance, his disagreements with other BYU professors regarding the proposed outcomes for classwork. I would hope that professors in all church colleges /universities would follow the example of Professor Madsen in expecting to elicit intellectual curiosity and critical thinking first and to build testimonies second.
The book is chock full of wonderful quotes; not only from Elder Madsen but others. Some were profound and clarifying such as that of Elder Scott: He said a patriarch does three things: designates lineage, makes prophetic promises (but does not sermonize) and declares the gifts that can bring fulfillment on condition of faithfulness. . ."
It is not necessary to read from chapter one straight through to the end although that paints a complete, progressive picture. Each chapter offers different facets of his life; something for everyone. It is likely that the reading of this book will provoke one to seek out and read Madsen's own original works.
By Jessica, Submitted on 2016-05-17
I enjoy reading biographies. They provide inside and clarification to people in history and sometimes in your own life's sphere. This biography of Truman G. Madsen is no different. Madsen spent his life dedicated to a cause and was excellent at his craft. He will be remembered as a man of academia, a man of words and above all a man of faith.
The strong point of this book is the extensive use of personal journals and correspondence. Truman's story is shaped and flavoured with his own thoughts and own words, providing a need grounding.It also adds an air of veracity when the biography is written my a son who clearly loves his father and who honourably wants to cement that legacy.
My only issue with the biography was the occasional tone it carried. Clearly the audience is intended to be LDS;much time is laboured in explaining the rich heritage provide through multiple generations of ancestors. At times it could appeared, to someone not familiar to LDS culture, to be aggrandizement and placing the family in a legendary stratosphere.
All in all, if you have listened or read any of Madsen's works, it was an interesting and elevating read. Highly recommended .
By Mabel R. Boone, Submitted on 2016-05-15
I bought the book the Truman G. Madsen Story; A Life of Study and Faith and finished it in a few days. I could not stop reading! Barnard you are an exceptionally gifted writer. I am sure that your Dad is so proud of this inspiring story of his life that you organized from his journals, etc., and wrote. I have laughed, cried, and received revelation from his life and teachings. The words in the scriptures, 'Thou art a Teacher come from God,' kept coming to mind as a description of Truman G. Madsen. Just loved all the stories and pictures from his earliest years of living in Grantsville, his cars, mission, his courtship and throughout his life. Learning of his faith and humility while going thru trials was so valuable. For many years his teachings about The Savior, Joseph Smith, The Sacrament, and The Temple have Blessed my life. I have watched the DVD sets On Sacred Ground filmed in the sites of The Restotation and The Eternal Christ filmed in The Holy Land many times and given them as gifts as well. Loved learning about their production. Many people never have the opportunity to visit these sacred sites but through the DVDS they can visit them with Truman G. Madsen as their guide! Thank you for the blessing and opportunity to learn more about a Master Teacher, his eternal companion, and family. What a profound experience for those to learn from him now in the Spirit World!
By Anonymous, Submitted on 2016-05-13
Like countless others, I've been a fan of Dr. Madsen's eloquent lectures on Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith for a long time. As I’ve listened to his unparalleled erudition on topics as varied as the Temple, the Presidents of the Church and the power of married love, I’ve always wanted to be able to get a view into his personal life. This biography provides that view in rich abundance.
I very much appreciated the last chapter in the book regarding how Dr. Madsen spent his last days, finally succumbing to cancer. One particular picture of he and his wife in the hospital was quite touching, as were his constant displays of gratitude to his family and those around him. As somebody once said (speaking of their own experience with cancer), “I mastered the art of living while dying.” While the biography clearly paints this for Dr. Madsen, it also shows that he mastered the art of living well before cancer took his life.
Not only did Dr. Madsen teach about discipleship, he was a disciple himself. From his interaction with students at BYU in Utah and in Jerusalem, to his exceptional interfaith work, the biography provides the reader with multiple examples of Dr. Madsen’s commitment to bridging divides interpersonally, culturally, or religious.
If I had to pick one critical comment, I suppose it would be the length of time spent on Dr. Madsen’s ancestors. While the narrative on these individuals was also excellent, it tended to drag on a bit, and it wasn’t immediately evident how they (or their experiences) helped shape Dr. Madsen’s life. This really is a very minor quibble though, and is probably driven by my own personal preferences for biographies.
I highly recommend this book. I want to be better and do better after reading it.