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Joseph Smith the Prophet

4.5 of 5 stars 4.50  ·  rating details  ·  1,316 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Many books have been written about Joseph Smith. This one the product of Truman Madsen's deep love for the subject and years of research illuminates specific facets of Joseph Smith s greatness. The topics discussed include Joseph Smith's First Vision; his personality and character (including perspectives on his family life); his spiritual gifts and attributes; his varied t...more
Hardcover, 202 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Bookcraft Pubs (first published 1978)
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These lectures ought to be titled: Joseph Smith the Hero. By the time Madsen is done painting his portrait, the Mormon Prophet seems more a Greek statue than a human.

When I was a green LDS missionary in rural Maine, my trainer introduced me to this collection of lectures. We listened to them as part of our morning study. My mission boundaries included the birthplace of Joseph Smith, and the town where he had a famous leg operation as a boy. So I was primed to relish these lectures.

Madsen is cand...more
Rich Mccue
As I believing member of the mormon church I loved this book, but after reading Richard Lyman's Rough Stone Rolling, it's obvious that Truman Madsen decided not to delve in to the less faith promoting details of Joseph's life. The book does a great job of promoting the image Joseph Smith that the LDS church teaches, but is leaves out major themes and incidents from Joseph's life that. I'd recommend Rough Stone Rolling for anyone interested in a more historically accurate look at Joseph Smith's l...more
Jen Scott
This is a great book given to me by a wonderful friend for my birthday. My father is good friends with Truman and so I took interest in reading Truman's writings. I loved reading the lectures on Joseph Smith. It truly brought Joseph to light and provided many quotes by the Prophet that I had not heard before. I enjoyed how he broke down the spiritual gifts the prophet had possessed and also the personality traits of the prophet. The other part that I enjoyed is that the book is full of footnotes...more
I liked the book overall as it had some very interesting quotes in it; however, Madsen's approach to Joseph Smith ends up being (for lack of a better way to say this) quasi idolization of the prophet. When he continually says things like "Joseph was the life of the party", or praises Joseph Smith for his physical strength, the credibility of this book diminished. Is it important for a prophet of God to be "the life of the party"? How is this relevant to any prophet's calling and mission?
A really great book that contains oodles of information about the Prophet Joseph Smith. The writing style is easy-going-- not sterile research language-- and all the great little insights and tidbits from the Prophet's life helped me visualize him as a real person. The only flaw I found with the book is that it couldn't possibly hold as much information as I wanted. When I would read about a particular experience or quotation from Joseph Smith, I would wonder, "Well, what happened then?" or "Wha...more
I read this book recommended by my dad and was pleased with the insights and testimonies presented by Madsen. It is not an exhaustive history of Joseph Smith (nor does Madsen present it as such) but reviews/discusses various roles in which the prophet was called to serve in his lifetime. In the introduction, Madsen states that we still wait for the "definitive" work on Joseph Smith. IMO, Rough Stone Rolling has come as close as anything to meeting that challenge. Madsens's book certainly accompl...more
Todd Lemmon
My testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith was not quite complete until I read and listened to this several years ago. I drove a truck and wore out the tapes. The experiences and life of the prophet are captured in a way only Brother Madsen can do it. Both he and Joseph Smith are legends in church history. I know without reservation that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Reading the book will only strengthen your resolve to be more Christlike, appreciate what the prophet went through to rest...more
This book about Joseph Smith began as a series of lectures at BYU education week and because of so many requests to have it in written form, Truman Madsen took the recorded version of this talk and turned it into a book. This was an amazing book about Joseph Smith and made me love and admire him as a prophet and man even more. I love that in the forward to the book, Madsen says that the depths of Joseph cannot be plumbed. He was taught by God and the things he knew and understood can't be neatly...more
If you liked the lectures, you will like the book better. There are several little inaccuracies in the lectures, quotes that aren't quite word for word, etc. He fixes all those in the book, great read, great reference.
Maybe not as technical or in depth as could be, but Truman Madsen excells because you can sense the love he has for the prophet and feel that he wants to share and instill the same for the prophet in the listener.
This book is amazing! I learned so much about the prophet Joseph Smith, facts about his life, his true character and his understanding of his divine calling. My testimony was reconfirmed that he was not only a prophet of God, but truly one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth. For all that he endured for this testimony, my adoration and appreciation is too great to even describe. There is no one who has studied the life of Joseph Smith more in depth then Truman Madsen and you can feel his...more
3.5 stars

I listened to the recording of these lectures given by Truman Madsen in conjunction with reading the published work. It was interesting to note the instances where his words were rearranged or left out completely for the sake of clarification, correction or simplicity. For the most part, the omissions were understandable, but there were a few instances where his comments were charming or informative, and I would have liked to see them in written form.

This is not a catch-all biography of...more
I have always been impressed by Dr. Truman Madsen's writing and speaking and this book just confirms that he was one of the LDS Church's greatest scholars. He loved the prophet Joseph Smith and this biography stands in living proof of that love. He brings Joseph back to life. Telling the story of a young New Englander, who spoke with God and Jesus Christ and was prompted by them to bring about a restoration of Christ's Church on earth in 1830 in upstate New York. It follows his journey through K...more
Kurt Brown
Fantastic read! Madsen does a nice job of showing the non-religious and 'every-day' side of the man. Dozens of great anecdotes from journals, etc that I had never heard before. I couldn't put it down.
This is a profound book about Joseph Smith. It captures, better than any other book I know, the greatness of Joseph Smith and his largeness of spirit. The reader learns insights into his character traits and personality.

Outside of Mormon circles, there is often confusion about how Mormons view Joseph Smith. It's certain that we do not worship him. Rather, we revere him as the first prophet of the latter days. We revere him for having restored the full gospel with its saving ordinances. In the b...more
Good book. Well spoken and i even learned a bunch of new things in this one I didn't know already. Truman G. Madsen was a very spiritual speaker and was really easy to listen to and understand.
Lizzie Jones
This book is fascinating, there's no other way to describe it. Truman Madsen is a wonderful scholar and presents the prophet Joseph Smith in such an interesting light. Prophet, husband, father, man, kind, imperfect, impulsive, goofy, spiritual, intellectual, simple, human. I have thought many times about this book ever since I put it down. I really loved it.
Aug 15, 2010 Annette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Annette by: Gail A
Shelves: lds
I learned a lot about Joseph Smith that I didn't know before. Unfortunately, I borrowed this book from a friend so I couldn't highlight in it, I think I will need to invest in my own copy so I can reread it and mark in it. I especially enjoyed Brother Madsen's testimony at the end, very touching and inspirational. One of the things that I liked about this book is that it's brief. He somehow packed a lot of information in only a little more than a hundred pages. I highly recommend it to anyone wh...more
I read this on the heels of a C.S. Lewis book that was difficult to follow, so I was especially grateful for a brilliant author with immense understanding that could write such an easy to follow, insightful book. I learned so much about Joseph Smith that was completely new to me. It not only strengthened my testimony of him as a prophet, but on many gospel principles that were incorporated into the book. It is so well done that I did not want to put it down. Enjoyable and enlightening.
The only complaint I have is that it wasn't twice as long! I wish that Bro Madsen had included more of his discourses about the Prophet.
Sandra Strange
Truman Madsen's set of lectures on Joseph Smith are great to listen to and even greater to read! He has a great grasp on what is important, and more important, what is fun to learn about and to read about. He has copious research to reveal anecdotes that show the role of Joseph in the LDS church, but also that show Joseph as a man going through hard experiences and struggling to fulfill his challenging role and retain his humanity and humility.
Words cannot express how much I have loved reading this book. I have collected many books on the life and teachings of Joseph Smith; this is one of my favorites. Thanks to my son Mark, his wife Joani, and their two beautiful daughters for giving this to me as a Christmas gift a few weeks ago. I had never read or heard any of the tapes by Truman Madsen. I will be reading more of his books in the future.
After starting this book almost a year ago and reading it in fits and starts, I was determined to finish it yesterday which I did. It is a wonderful book containing a wealth of information about Joseph Smith that I had never known but more than that, it strengthened my testimony that he truly is a prophet. I only give it four stars because it took me so long to read it, i.e. I could put it down.
I encourage ANY person, whether LDS or not, man, woman, child, to listen to this book on CD. Truman Madsen, who I've had the pleasure of meeting, is a great man and can weave a tapestry of a tale. He knows his subject matter, and I can't help but feel closer to this Prophet of God after listening to these CD's. If you are struggling to understand him, this may be one to consider.
Brad Cramer
This is a bit different from other biographies of Joseph Smith I have read. Madsen goes a little deeper and points out qualities that other authors seem to miss. I first came across this as a missionary by someone who had the lectures on tape. I really enjoyed it then and took a lot away from reading the book 6 years later. Very good read.
I listened to these lectures 20 years ago and enjoyed hearing them again. I was surprised to hear so many stories that have been in my head for 20 years, not realizing that they had all come from Truman Madsen. I can't imagine anybody hearing these lectures and not be completely convinced of Joseph Smith's calling of God.
I actually listened to the tapes. I'm in the car a lot these days - so I figured I may as well do something constructive. I listened to them twice. It's hard to take everything in at once. I'm sure I'll listen to them again sometime. You learn something (actually several things) every time you listen. Highly recommended.
I loved this testimony:
"Anyone who has enough of the Spirit of God to know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ, by that same spirit will be brought to recognize that one of the prophets called by the Father and the Son was Joseph Smith."
"Jesus is the Christ, and Joseph is his Prophet."
Wonderful read, although I was more curious about the references when I first heard some of the tapes when they came out, I got more comfortable with the book as the references are given and spread over more than 50 pages. Great for anyone who wants to gain some insight into the man, his life, and calling.
Wonderful book on Joseph Smith. Madsen infuses his writing with interesting facts and tidbits that I had not heard elsewhere. Well written and well documented. The particular edition I bought is beautifully illustrated with pictures from various artists, interspersed throughout the pages.
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Truman G. Madsen is a philosopher, essayist, teacher and biographer. He is emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Brigham Young University, and was Director of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in Jerusalem. He held the Richard L. Evans Chair in Religious Studies at B.Y.U. He has been guest professor at Northeastern University, Haifa, and Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California...more
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