Truman G. Madsen, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2004, 6.5×9″ softbound, 500 pages.
On visiting the Joseph Smith Memorial monument in Vermont and the Sacred Grove many years ago, noted gospel scholar and philosopher Truman G. Madsen began to be preoccupied with the lives of the Presidents of the Church, beginning with Joseph Smith. Now one of the happy results of that preoccupation is this outstanding set of fifteen tapes, each containing a new lecutre about one of the Presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, from Joseph Smith to Gordon B. Hinckley.
Brother Madsen has mined the most reliable historical sources available to tell the stories of the Church Presidents, and throughout the lectures his deep respect for these servants of the Lord is evident. Each lecture presents a fascinating biographical sketch that focuses on various events in the designated President’s life, events that shaped him to become a great leader in the Church. Intriguing details regarding such matters as Wilford Woodruff’s narrow escapes from death, Lorenzo Snow’s experiences in Italy and in the Holy Land, Joseph F. Smith’s self-taught language skills, and Heber J. Grant’s sacrifices in order to help his widowed mother help listeners come to a fuller understanding of the President’s backgrounds and personalities. Glimpses from journals and letters further enhance the presentations.
In addition to the biographical anecdotes contained in each lecture, Brother Madsen tells of each prophet’s contributions to the kingdom and gives a summary of enduring teachings.
Engaging and imformative, these lectures indicate how the Presidents were both unique and alike, how each prophet was a man for his own season but also an important player in the grand progression of the gospel. From this book, readers will gain a new appreciation for the Presidents of the Church and for their sacrfices and contributions to the kingdom.