Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
LeGrand Richards LeGrand Richards

1886 - 1983

  • Born 1886, Farmington, Utah
  • Baptized 1894; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to the Netherlands 1905-1908
  • Married Ina Jane Ashton 1909; ten children
  • President of Netherlands Mission 1914-1916
  • Ordained High Priest and Bishop 1919
  • Mission to Eastern States 1926
  • President of Southern States Mission 1934
  • Presiding Bishop of Church 1938-1952
  • Sustained to Twelve and ordained Apostle 1952
  • Died 1983 Salt Lake City, Utah

    LeGrand Richards was born February 6, 1886 at Famington, Utah, a son of George F. Richards and Alice A. Robinson. He was baptized June 11, 1894, and filled two missions to the Netherlands, the first one in 1905-1908. On his second mission, from 1914 to 1916, —when he presided—he was accompanied by his wife, Ina Jane Ashton Richards, who was born Sept. 14, 1886, at Salt Lake City, a daughter of Edward T. Ashton and Cora Lindsay and by whom he would father ten children. Elder Richards was ordained a High Priest and Bishop June 29, 1919, by Charles W. Penrose, and presided over the Sugar House Ward, Granite Stake, from 1920 to 1925.

    In 1926 he filled a short term mission to the Eastern States. In 1931-1933 he presided over the Hollywood Stake, California, and was set apart Dec. 29, 1933, to preside over the Southern States Mission. (See Improvement Era, Vol. 17, p. 250.)

    Elder Richards left us with the following short synopsis of his life and thoughts:

    "As a boy, my father taught me that there was no corporation, organization, or institution in the world that would pay me as great dividends on the investment of my time and my talents and my means as the Church.  This came home forcefully to me here a time back when one of my rich friends, worth millions of dollars, said: “LeGrand, I would trade you all my money for your Church experience,” to which I replied, “Yes, but I wouldn't trade you. You can't take your money with you when you go, but I can take my experience.”

    When I was eight, my father, who had just recently been ordained a patriarch, gave me my blessing. Among other things, he said that I had not come here upon earth by chance, but in fulfillment of the decrees of the Almighty to accomplish a great work, and then he defined that. All my life, I have prayed that if I didn't come by chance, that the Lord would help me to accomplish what He sent me to do, so that when my mission here on earth was completed, he wouldn't have to say to me: “This is what we sent you to do, but you failed and we had to raise up someone else to do your work for you.”

    True success to me is to accomplish the purpose for which the Lord sent me upon the earth."

    Elder Richards was called as the Presiding Bishop of the Church April 6, 1938, suceeding Sylvester Q. Cannon who had been called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He served in that position until April 6, 1952 when he was suceeded by Joseph Leopold Wirthlin, he himself having been called to follow Elder Cannon into the Quorum of the Twelve and being ordained to this high and holy office by President David O. McKay on the same April 6, 1952.

    Elder Richards served in the Council of the Twelve until his death January 11, 1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of ninety-six. Sister Ina J. Ashton Richards, wife of Elder LeGrand Richards preceded him in death, her demise being recorded in the Statistical Report for 1977.

The following is taken from "the News of the Church: Elder Richards Eulogized" in the Ensign for March 1983.

    General Authorities, family members, and throngs of his friends, “the Saints,” filled the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Friday, January 14, to honor the memory of Elder LeGrand Richards, who died earlier that week at the age of ninety-six.

    President Spencer W. Kimball, in an address read by his personal secretary, D. Arthur Haycock, paid tribute to Elder Richards as “one of the greatest missionaries of our time. He reminded me of a modern-day Apostle Paul. I can think of no one who has borne his testimony to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with deeper conviction or with greater fervor. With it all, LeGrand Richards was a perennial optimist and his words were a rare combination of wit and humor, comfort, encouragement, and wisdom. He rarely, if ever, delivered a message from a written text. He just spoke from his heart, drawing upon a lifetime of experience, study, and inspiration.”

    Speaking in behalf of Elder Richards’ large family, his son, G. LaMont Richards, reflected upon his father’s deep affection for members of the Church. “Father wanted me to tell you, the Saints, how much he truly loved you. ‘I know all of the Saints except their names,’ he often said.”

    “Through the eyes of this beloved man,” said Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, “we have looked back across the history of the Church. When LeGrand Richards was born, President John Taylor presided over the Church. When he was seven years old he attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. He remembered President Wilford Woodruff very clearly. …

    “From his memory we read between the lines of the whole of the history of the Church. What he did not see himself, he learned from others who saw it back to the very beginning of this dispensation. He lived out his century in close association with the servants of the Lord.”

    Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke movingly of Elder Richards’ devotion to his wife, Ina, and their eternal union. “He was one of our most persuasive advocates in teaching the immortality of the soul,” said Elder Petersen. “He knew that immortality is a fact. One reason he was so certain of it was that his wife, Ina, had passed away and was over there in the spirit world, a thing he never doubted.

    “He could not think for one moment that she did not live on and on in that eternal world, which was as real to him as the world in which we now live. There was no thought of anything but eternal life—life forever—everlasting life with Ina.”

    President Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve affirmed that “without a doubt, LeGrand Richards is one of the noble and great ones shown in vision to our father Abraham. There is no greater example of our religion in action than the life of our faithful brother. … Elder Richards will ever be remembered among his colleagues as one of the purest of souls—never any pretense or guile. His only aim was the promotion of truth. How we appreciated his frankness, unpretentiousness, total and energetic dedication, and sparkling humor.”

    “I have often felt,” reflected President Gordon B. Hinckley, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “that [Elder Richards’] parents were inspired when they named him LeGrand. The Le is the French equivalent of the article the in our language. Grand is just what it means in our language. The synonyms for that word are magnificent, imposing, stately, majestic, impressive, wonderful.

    “I am confident that the Lord had him marked out for great service when he was named as a child. To all of us who have known him, LeGrand has been The Grand Man. He has been the grand example of eloquence in declaring the word of the Lord. … He spoke with the enthusiasm of a man on fire with a cause. That cause was the gospel of Jesus Christ, and his consuming love for it was contagious with those who heard him. He was Le Grand example of fidelity to the Lord, to the Church, to his friends, to his family, to the great name which he carried.”

    Elder Packer had noted earlier the unique spirit of this modern-day Paul in a short description of Elder Richards’ devotion to the gospel, commenting that when one studies the life of Elder LeGrand Richards, he sees the “missionary, the student, the missionary, the young businessman, the missionary, the family man, the missionary, the bishop, the missionary, the stake president, the missionary, the stake president (no, I do not repeat), the missionary, the bishop, the missionary, the Apostle, the missionary.”

    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p.477
    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p.356
    "News of the Church: Elder Richards Eulogized," Ensign, March 1983
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.489
    2005 Church Almanac, pp.66-67

Selected Discourses and Writings
Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete listing available free on the web of LeGrand Richards' talks and articles. Please email the Grampa if you note any busted links, errors, or if you are aware of any LeGrand Richards talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in an audio (ASX, MP3, or WMA) format; while still others are available in both text and audio formats.

Any talk marked with an asterisk (*) is not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, it has been copied onto this web site.
Response to a Mission Call *
Note: This is Elder Richards' first General Conference Address. The occasion was his call to preside over the Southern States Mission.
General Conference, 7 April 1934  
Grateful for the Opportunity *
Note: This is Elder Richards' first General Conference address as a newly called General Authority... Presiding Bishop of the Church.
General Conference, 6 April 1938  
Willingness to Sacrifice *
Note: This is Elder (then Bishop) Richards' address to the first General Conference following the onset of World War II.
General Conference, 5 April 1941  
Preparation for the Return of the Soldiers *
Note: World War II was still raging in April of 1944, but already the Church was preparing for post-war challenges. In this talk, Presiding Bishop LeGrand Richards speaks of preparations for the return of America's servicemen.
General Conference, 8 April 1944  
Leadership BYU Devotional, 23 June 1950 MP3
Called to Serve *
Note: This is Elder Richards' first General Conference talk as a newly called Apostle to the Lord Jesus Christ. The talk is a response to the call, which had been issued only a couple of hours earlier.
General Conference, 6 April 1952  
Testimony BYU Devotional, 10 May 1955 MP3
Choice Seer and Prophet BYU Devotional, 27 March 1956 MP3
The Worth of Souls BYU Devotional, 19 June 1956 MP3
America, a Land of Promise BYU Devotional, 16 April 1957 MP3
Leadership Week Address BYU Devotional, 24 June 1957 MP3
How You Can Best Honor Your Parents BYU Devotional, 29 October 1963 MP3
Value of the Scriptures BYU Devotional, 21 February 1967 MP3
We Have to Pay the Price BYU Devotional, 24 October 1967 MP3
Friend to Friend Friend, March 1971  
A Profitable Homecoming BYU Devotional, 11 May 1971 MP3
In the Mountain of the Lord’s House Ensign, June 1971  
Every Young Man Should Aspire to Fill a Mission New Era, September 1971  
Laying a Foundation for the Millennium General Conference, October 1971  
The True Church General Conference, April 1972  
Strange Creeds of Christendom General Conference, October 1972  
The Value of a Testimony BYU Devotional, 17 October 1972 MP3
He Has Sent His Messenger to Prepare the Way General Conference, April 1973  
The True Church—A Missionary Church New Era, June 1973  
"Heaven Doesn't Matter" BYU Devotional, 16 October 1973  
Revealed Truths of the Gospel Ensign, January 1974  
Stories from the General Authorities: An Uncommon People New Era, February 1974  
Prophecy General Conference, April 1974  
What After Death? General Conference, October 1974  
I Am More Interested in the Long Hereafter Than in the Brief Present BYU Devotional, 25 February 1975 MP3
One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism General Conference, April 1975  
Your Fringe Benefits BYU Devotional, 16 September 1975 MP3
Prophets and Prophecy General Conference, October 1975  
Stories from the General Authorities: That Kind of Young Man New Era, February 1976  
Value of the Holy Scriptures General Conference, April 1976  
A Constructive Life New Era, June 1976  
The Prophets and the Scriptures BYU Devotional, 28 September 1976 MP3
The Simplicity in Christ General Conference, October 1976  
Patriarchal Blessings New Era, February 1977  
God Moves in a Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform General Conference, April 1977  
The Things of God and Man General Conference, October 1977  
"Earth's Crammed with Heaven": Reminiscences BYU Devotional, 11 October 1977 MP3
The Second Coming of Christ General Conference, April 1978  
The Joy of Serving a Mission General Conference, October 1978  
We Believe in Prophecy BYU Devotional, 28 November 1978 MP3
The Gift of the Holy Ghost General Conference, October 1979  
God's Simple Eternal Truth BYU Devotional, 16 October 1979 MP3
The Scriptures Speak General Conference, April 1980  
Be a Missionary New Era, May 1980  
A Testimony General Conference, October 1980  
Thanksgiving BYU Devotional, 18 November 1980 MP3
“The Righteous Shall Come Forth” Ensign, April 1981  
Call of the Prophets General Conference, April 1981  
“Be Ye Prepared” General Conference, October 1981  
Missionary Experiences BYU Devotional, 20 October 1981 MP3
What the Gospel Teaches
Note: This is Elder Richards' last General Conference address prior to his death in January 1983.
General Conference, April 1982  

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