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
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
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
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
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.
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.