Thursday, May 28, 2009

Truman Madsen Memories

Truman Madsen passed away this morning, and as I have read some of the remembrances others are writing of him, I thought of my own experiences with this amazing man.

I first encountered him as a freshman at BYU. Second semester, I took "Writings of Isaiah", a religion course taught by Ann Madsen, his wife. What an amazing class that was! It was a rare class when I did not feel touched by the Spirit, and I learned so much. For the final exam, we met at the Madsens' home north of the football stadium and read short essays we had written about Isaiah's teaching. Their home was welcoming; as host and hostess the Madsens were gracious. My father had told me he was a big fan of Truman Madsen's lectures on Joseph Smith, so I was so excited to shake Brother Madsen's hand and tell him that. (I bet he got that a lot.)

My next experience with the Madsens was two years later, when I moved into the student stake where Brother Madsen was stake president. What an amazing year that was! In June of that year, our stake held an amazing fireside in the Provo Tabernacle celebrating the life of Joseph Smith. I was picked to be one of the ushers, and the stake actually rented pioneer-style costumes for us to wear. We sang "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" to the older tune that Joseph would have known, and listened to President Madsen talk about the prophet's life. Wow!

On Easter Sunday, instead of normal church we had a morningside at the Provo Tabernacle. A stake choir had been formed, and the music and talks about the Savior truly made the day a celebration of Christ. Watching the stained glass windows brighten with the dawn while listening to the choir singing praises will always be a treasured memory.

These are but a few of the things that come to mind when I think about Truman Madsen. Thank you for touching my life, Brother Madsen. Go with God.


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  • Yes, he was quite important in my family's spiritual culture as well. My mother loved all his tapes (Joseph Smith, the temple lectures, and on and on) for as long as I could remember and so we heard them a lot when we rode in her car. And when his Presidents of the Church lectures came out on CD we all listened to those as well. Sent them to my bro on his mission and he gobbled them up and then gave them to a new convert. And when he was off the mission and back to BYU he took that Anne Madsen Isaiah class you talked about and practically fell in love with her as well. If they'd offered to adopt him into their family I'm sure he would have dropped us in a heartbeat.

    I'm sure it didn't hurt in bro Madsen's impressive story collecting that he was a grandson of Heber J Grant and therefore a bit more of an Insider than the average Church scholar. I have a particular love for Pres Grant, and it didn't surprise me at all when I learned that they were related.

    My favorite moment with Bro Madsen was when he interviewed me for my ecclesiastical recommendation for the Jerusalem Center program (when I was also in that student stake). He made me promise that every Sunday I was in Jerusalem, taking the sacrament while looking out on the Old City through gorgeous arched windows that I would say a little prayer for poor Bro Madsen, back in Provo, taking the sacrament on campus in a depressing windowless classroom.

    By Blogger Marie, at 11/14/2009 7:58 PM  

  • I love that story about the sacrament. I'll have to remember that next time I'm in Jerusalem.

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 11/16/2009 8:56 AM  

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