“I note one thing about time. The first twenty years seem lengthy, real, substantial, paced for looking ahead and slow, waiting, growing, all kinds of not yets. And then a swirl of events, and a week was gone like a day, and a year like a week. And suddenly it seems dream-telescoping of the residue of years.”  The Truman G. Madsen Story, p. 442


13 December 1926

Born to Axel A. and Emily Grant Madsen

6 February 1927

Given name and father’s blessing by Axel A. Madsen (“AAM”)

31 July 1929

Death of mother, Emily Grant Madsen

October 1929

Stock Market crash, beginning of Great Depression


Lived with Aunt Dessie and Uncle Ashby Boyle

5-6 January 1935

Baptized in Salt Lake Temple font and confirmed by father AAM

Fall 1935

Returned to live with his father and two brothers

18 December 1938

Ordained deacon by father AAM

21 December 1941

Ordained teacher by father AAM

6 May 1943

Received patriarchal blessing from Winslow Farr Smith

16 April 1944

Ordained priest by father AAM


World War II (because of back problems, classified “4F,” drove trucks as a civilian for Ninth Service Command from Ft. Douglas motor pool)


Premier of movie “Random Harvest”


Graduated from East High School, Salt Lake City

14 May 1945

Death of grandfather, Heber J. Grant

3-20 June 1946

17 days in Salt Lake City Jail for multiple moving violations

23 June 1946

Ordained elder by C. Clarence Neslen

27 June 1946

Received endowment, Salt Lake Temple

July 1946

Set apart as full-time missionary by Joseph Fielding Smith (great-grandson of Hyrum Smith) to serve in New England Mission

3 July 1946

Boarded train from Salt Lake City to Boston

July 1946-August 1948

Missionary, New England Mission

July-August 1947

Served on Prince Edward Island (without purse or scrip)


District President, Nova Scotia


2nd counselor, Ensign Stake Genealogical Committee (attended Salt Lake Temple every Friday)


Korean War


Graduated from University of Utah

3 May 1951

Date of rejection letter from Harvard PhD program


Applied for Rhodes Scholarship; not selected

Mid 1951

The Ethics of William James (masters thesis)

29 October 1951

Death of brother, Grant Wells Madsen (killed in action in Korea)


F.S.C. Schiller Philosophical Essay Prize, University of Southern California


Mudd Fellowship in Philosophy, University of Southern California

15 June 1953

Date of letter admitting TGM to Harvard philosophy PhD program

16 June 1953

Married to Ann Nicholls Madsen, Salt Lake Temple, by David O. McKay


Executive Assistant, Temple Square (summers)


2nd counselor, Atlantic District Presidency

8 November 1954

Daughter Emily Ann born


Teaching Assistant, Harvard University, Philosophy

3 September 1956

Death of father-in-law, Barnard Johnson Nicholls

4 November 1956

Son Barnard Nicholls born

Fall 1957

Began teaching at Brigham Young University

11 May 1958

Daughter Melinda born


Faculty award ?


Received PhD from Harvard University


Bishop, BYU 11th Ward


Editorial Board, BYU Studies


The Heritage of Heber J. Grant (pamphlet; Grant Reunion, Lion House)


1960-75 – Vietnam War

15 September 1962

Set apart as president of the New England Mission by David O. McKay


President, New England Mission

June 1963

“Whence Cometh Man?” (first article in a series published in “The Instructor” magazine; became first chapter in Eternal Man)


President Kennedy assassinated


“Fables on Foibles,” for This Time of Your Life (New England Youth Conference)


Eternal Man published


Honors Professor of the Year, BYU


Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Award


Director, Institute of Mormon Studies, BYU

June 1967

Led first tour to Holy Land (Six-Day War)


Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teacher Award, BYU

20 July 1969

Apollo 11 mission lands first man on the moon


Sabbatical in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts

1969 early

Visiting Professor, Northeastern University in Boston

1969 mid

Mormon History Association Award

1971 early

Four Essays on Love published

1971 mid

“The Sacramental Life” (BYU James E. Talmage Lecture)

12 October 1971

“Power from Abrahamic Tests (BYU Devotional)

5 March 1972

“House of Glory” (BYU 10-Stake Fireside)


Outstanding Educator’s Award


Vice-Chairman, Adult Committee, Sunday School General Board


Richard L. Evans Endowed Chair of Religious Understanding, BYU

28 July 1973

“Freedom to Become” (Oakland Interstate Center fireside)


“The Intimate Touch of Prayer” (Know Your Religion Series, California; published in Ensign, January 1976)

1973 early

“I Am the Life” (BYU Education Week devotional)

1973 summer

“Conscience and Consciousness” (Address prepared for the Commissioner’s Lecture Series, CES, delivered at the LDS Institutes of Religion at Weber State College, Ricks College, and the Church College of Hawaii)


Chairman, Public Programs Committee, National Endowment for the Humanities

3 March 1974

“The Highest In Us” (10-Stake Fireside at BYU)


Visiting Professor, Graduate Theological Union, University of California, Berkeley

10-11 March 1978

Reflections on Mormonism:  Judaeo-Christian Parallels (BYU Religious Studies Center Symposium) published 1978

Summer 1978

Built family cabin, “Jedediah’s,” at Brighton, Utah

27 June 1978

broke ground

August 1978

“Joseph Smith tapes” recorded at BYU Campus Education Week


Defender of the Faith:  The B.H. Roberts Story published

Summer 1980

Visiting Professor, University of Haifa, Israel

1 September 1985-1 September 1988

Fellow in the David M. Kennedy Center

10 September 1986

Death of father, Axel Angus Madsen


Taught Jewish philosophy and New Testament at Jerusalem Center

25 September 1988

Death of mother-in-law, Berenice Larsen Nicholls


Director, BYU Jerusalem Center of Near Eastern Studies


Retired, became emeritus professor at BYU

26 December 1995

Death of stepmother, Edna Skinner Madsen

Thanksgiving 2002

Diagnosed with cancer


Revelation, Reason, and Faith (Essays in Honor of TGM) published

27 October 2004-28 May 2009

Patriarch, Provo, Utah Sharon East Stake

April-May 2008

Last trip to Holy Land

May 2008

Diagnosed with bone cancer

28 May 2009


2 June 2009

Funeral Provo Tabernacle, burial in Heber J. Grant family plot, Salt Lake City Cemetery

March 2010

“The Eternal Christ” published (8-hr DVD series on the life of the Savior)

September 2010

“On Sacred Ground” (8-hr DVD series on the Prophet Joseph Smith)


“Truman G. Madsen Collection” CDs


Eternal Man republished as paperback; e-books of published works available on Deseret Bookshelf


“Ultimate Questions” DVD


Sacramental Reflections: Feasting at the Lord’s Table – paperback


The Truman G. Madsen Story: A Life of Study and Faith published


Crucial Dates, Places, Events


My name is Truman Grant Madsen. I was named after Truman 0. Angell, architect of the Salt Lake Temple, and Grant after my maternal grandfather, Heber J. Grant.

I was born in the LDS hospital on December 13,1926, premature by nearly two months. Mother kept a blue baby book of my early days.

My father, Axel A. Madsen, was born in Salem, Fremont, Idaho on 5 March, 1893. My mother, Emily Grant was born in Salt Lake City, 5 June 1896. They were married 17 October 1923.

My older brother, Grant Wells, was born in Salt Lake City, 10 September, 1924. My younger brother, Gordon Axel, was bom in Salt Lake City, 3 July, 1928.

I attended Wasatch, Ensign, Bryant Jr., East High, University of Utah, University of Southern California, and Harvard.

Church Ordinances

Blessed 6 February 1927 by my father,

Baptized 5 January 1935 by my father, Confirmed 6 January 1935 by my father

Deacon 18 December 1938

Teacher 21 December 1941

Patriarchal Blessing 6 May 1943, Winslow Farr Smith.

Priest 16 April 1944, all three by my father.

Elder 23 June 1946 (one week before my mission) by C. Clarence Neslen

Endowed, Salt Lake Temple, 3 July 1946 [or 27 Jun 46?].

I was marred June 16,1953 in the Salt Lake Temple to Ann Nicholls Madsen by

President David 0. McKay

Our Family

Emily Madsen 8 November 1954

Barnard Madsen 4 November 1956

Melinda Madsen 11 May 1959 [1958]

Graduated from East High Seminary 1944.

Graduated from U of U Institute in 1951

Church Callings

Choir Member Ensign Ward 1940-46.

Set apart for New England Mission 6 July 1946 by Joseph Fielding Smith.

Missionary to New England, June [July], 1946 to September 1948.

District President, Nova Scotia District, fall 1947-April 1948.

Chorister, Ensign Ward MIA, 1948-9

SS Teacher, 16 year olds, Ensign Ward, 1948

Counselor in the SS Superintendency of the Ensign Ward, 1948

Elders Quorum Teacher, Ensign Ward, 1949

2nd Counselor Ensign Stake Genealogical Committee, with Lynn A. McKinlay and Bertram H. Stokes, 1950.

Seminary Teacher, Jackson Jr. (8th Ward) 1948-51

Seminary Teacher Arlington Ward, Inglewood Stake, Los Angeles, 1951.

Teacher 15 year olds; (Teachers) Adams Ward, Los Angeles, 1952

Teacher Special Interest Class, Adams Ward MIA, 1952.

Executive Assistant on Temple Square under Richard L. Evans and Marion D. Hanks, summers, 1953-57.

Teacher Investigator’s Class (Cambridge) 1955-56.

Teacher and M-Men Leader, Cambridge Branch MIA 1953-4.

2nd Counselor in the Atlantic District Presidency, 1956. President Wiliam N. Jones. 1st Counselor, C. Monroe Hart.

Chairman Edgemont Third Ward Building Fund, 1958.

Sunday School Teacher, Edgemont Third Ward, 1959.

Teacher Elders Quorum Edgemont Third Ward, Provo, 1958-1960

Ordained a High Priest and Bishop 3 May 1960 by Harold B. Lee

Bishop BYU 11th Ward 1960-62.

Set apart for New England Mission Presidency 15 September 1962 by President David O. McKay.

Mission President, New England, 1962-65

Institute Teacher, Cambridge Institute, while Mission President, 1962-5.

Church Curriculum (Manual) Committee, 1958-9 [1968-69]

Teacher, Gospel Essentials Class, Weston Ward, 1969.

General Board of the Sunday School 1972-79. Set apart by

Counselor in Israel District Presidency 1988. President Peter Hoag.

Teacher 15 year olds, PI View Ist Ward, 1989

Teacher 17 Year olds, PI View Ist Ward, 1990

Teacher, High Priests Quorum, Dale Taylor President, PI View Ist Ward 1990-1991

Set Apart as Director of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies and as first Counselor in the Israel District Presidency, May 21, 1991 by Howard W. Hunter. President first second Dr. Richard Hebertson and 2nd Counselor

Released, June 1993.

Teacher, Gospel Doctrine Class, PI View First Ward, 1993-4.

President BYU 5th Stake, 1955-2000.  [1995-2000]

Since Graduation

8  years in Boston as missionary, as  grad student, then as Mission President, then on Sabbatical.

Visiting Professor at Northeastern University, (1969)

Graduate Theological Union, (1972,3,4) and

Haifa University (1979-80)

Richard L. Evans Endowed Chair at B.Y.U. (1972-1992)


Recent Positions

Richard L. Evans Endowed Professor, Brigham Young University, 1973-93 Director, Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, Jerusalem, 1991-93 Professor of Philosophy, Brigham Young University.


B.S. M.S. University of Utah in History of Philosophy, 1950,51.

Graduate Study in philosophy at University of Southern California, 1951-2.

A.M. Ph.D. Harvard University, History and Philosophy of Religion, 1957,1960.


Winner Mudd Fellowship in Philosophy, University of Southern California

F.C.S. Schiller Philosophical Essay Prize, 1952.

Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teacher, B.Y.U. 1969

Outstanding Educator, 1972.

Winner Mormon History Association Award, 1969

Richard L. Evans Endowed Professor, 1973 to 1993

Kennedy Center Research Fellow, 1987-8

Resident Scholar, Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, 1989.

Guest Professorships

Northeastern University, Boston Mass., Department of Philosophy, 1969-70 Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California (Commuting), 1973,74,75. Haifa University, 1979-80.


Vice Chairman, Public Programs Committee, National Endowment for the

Humanities, Washington D. C.,1973-79 Director Institute of Mormon Studies Director, Judeo-Christian Studies Center

Director, Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, Jerusalem 1991-1993. Advisory Committee, Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Church Administration

Executive Assistant, Temple Square Visitor’s Center, 1953-7

Counselor, Atlantic District Presidency, (Boston, Massachusetts) 1957-8

Bishop, BYU 11th Ward, 1960-62

President, New England Mission, (Boston, Massachusetts) 1962-65

LDS Sunday School General Board, 1972-79

Counselor, Israel District Presidency 1987-9,1992,1993.


Guest Editor, BYU Studies, six years (Annual Historical Issue)

Editorial Board, BYU Studies, three years.

Editor/Contributor/Participant in six published Symposia

Reflections on Mormonism, 1978 includes Robert Bellah, David Winston,

Abraham Kaplan, Jacob Milgrom, W. D. Davies, Krister Stendahl,

Ernst W. Benz, Edmond D. Lab. Cherbonnier, Jane and John Dillenberger.

Temple in Antiquity, 1984 includes Mitchell Dahood, Frank Moore Cross, Jr.

Carol Meyers, Shaye J. D. Cohen, George MacRae, John Lundquist,

Hugh W. Nibley. Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless. (An anthology). Deity and Death, includes Sami A.Hanna, EdwardT. Jones, Seiji Katanuma,

Laurence G. Thompson Mormons and Muslims, includes Mahmoud Ayoub, Frederick M. Denny, Haji

Alamsjah Ratu Perwiranegara, Umar F. Abd-Allah. Religion and Law, includes Moshe Greenberg, Izhak Englard, Shalom Paul, Moshe Wcinfeld, Ze’ev Falk, Delbert Hillers, Mahmoud

Ayoud, Bernard Jackson, George Mendenhall, E. P. Sanders. The Search for Human Nature, Essays by Abraham Kaplan,

David Noel Freedman, R. J. Zvi Werblowsky, Archimandrite Dionyssios,

  1. Don Sorenson, James H. Charlesworth, Richard Mathes, and DavidFlusser.

Contributing Editor Encylopedia of Mormonism, five volumes, Macmillan and

Company, New York, 1992. Judge, David O. McKay Essays The Restoration of the Gospel and Applied Christianity., three years.

Main Books

Eternal Man,

Christ and the Inner Life,

Four Essays on Love,

The Highest In Us,

Joseph Smith the Prophet,

Defender of the Faith, Biography of B.H. Roberts,

Jesus of Nazareth,

The Radiant Life

Judaism and Mormonism (Forthcoming)

Sponsored three Symposia at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Jesus-Hillel (with James H. Charlesworth), 1992 to be published by Fortress Press, Philadelphia. Includes Charlesworth, Flusser, Segal, Sievers, Safrai, Aune, Lichtenberger, Fiensy, Dunn, Levine, Herr, Schwartz, Gnadt, Beker, Mueller, Stroumsa, Viviano, Lowe, Weinfeld.

Cultures and Clash of Cultures, co-sponsored with Multicultural Forum, Buber Institute, Hebrew University, 1992

The Search for Human Nature 1993, includes Abraham Kaplan, Archimandrite Dionyssios, Richard Mathes, David Noel Freedman, James H. Charlesworth, R. J. Zvi Werblowsky, David Flusser, A. Don Sorenson, Truman G. Madsen.

Taught Jewish Philosophy and New Testament at the Jerusalem Center,1987- 89,93.

Served on the B.Y.U. Jerusalem Center Academic Coordinating Committee and Committee on the Learning Center.


American Philosophical Association

Society for Biblical Literature

American Association of Religion

Society for Scientific Study of Religion

Phi Kappa Phi

Religion Adviser, Boston Broadcaster’s Association

International Platform Association

Advisory Council, Redd Chair for Western History

Values and Behavioral Science Center

Asian Religions Center

Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature ICCI (Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel), Jerusalem. Multicultural Forum, Buber Institute, Hebrew University Rainbow Group, Jerusalem, Israel.

Distinctions in the Mormon Understanding of Death and Dying

The Mormon Attitude Toward Zionism, Faculty Lecture, Haifa University

Putting on the Names, Essays in Honor of Hugh Nibley, 1990.

B.H. Roberts and the Book of Mormon, in Authorship of the Book of Mormon,

  1. Reynolds, Editor, 1982 Atonement in the Book of Mormon I Nephi, Monograph Series

— Journal 95, Box 9