Delbert L. Stapley

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Delbert L. Stapley
Delbert L Stapley.JPG
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 5, 1950 (1950-10-05) – August 19, 1978 (1978-08-19)
Called by George Albert Smith
LDS Church Apostle
October 5, 1950 (1950-10-05) – August 19, 1978 (1978-08-19)
Called by George Albert Smith
Reason Death of George F. Richards
at end of term
James E. Faust ordained
Personal details
Born Delbert Leon Stapley
(1896-12-11)December 11, 1896
Mesa, Arizona Territory, United States
Died August 19, 1978(1978-08-19) (aged 81)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Delbert Leon Stapley (11 December 1896 – 19 August 1978) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1950 to 1978.

Early life[edit]

Stapley was born in Mesa, Arizona Territory. As a youth, he rejected a chance at playing Major League Baseball so he could serve an LDS mission in the southern United States[1] and because he didn't want to play on Sunday,[2] the day Latter-day Saints observe as the Sabbath. He remained active throughout his life, his favorite sport being golf.

Quorum of the Twelve[edit]

He had been stake president for three years before receiving a call to the apostleship on September 30, 1950. Stapley was sustained on October 5, 1950, at the church's October general conference, filling the vacancy caused by the passing of George F. Richards. Stapley was notified of his new calling by church president George Albert Smith in the elevator bank of the Hotel Utah.

Views on civil rights[edit]

A letter sent by Stapley is illustrative of his perspective regarding blacks of African descent, before they were more widely assimilated into the LDS Church. Dated January 23, 1964, and specifically stating he was not speaking for the church or in his position as an apostle, the letter urged Michigan Governor George W. Romney to back away from certain positions favoring civil rights, calling the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "vicious legislation."[3] Romney is reported to have accelerated his engagement in the civil rights cause shortly after receiving the letter.

Like those of many, Stapley's views changed with time and, from his hospital bed, he sustained the First Presidency's action on June 8, 1978, announcing that all worthy men would be permitted to receive the priesthood, regardless of race.[4]


Stapley delivered his last conference address in October 1977. The following April conference he was too ill to attend. Stapley died on August 19, 1978 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He suffered cardiac arrest at about noon while walking near his home.

At the time of his death, he was the third apostle in line to the presidency of the church. His vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve was filled by James E. Faust.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Janet Brigham (October 1978). "Ensign, October 1978, Death of Elder Delbert L. Stapley Mourned". Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  2. ^ Elder Delbert L. Stapley (April 1973). "Friend, April 1973, Friend to Friend: Pocketknives and Baseballs". Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  3. ^ The Boston Globe |url= missing title (help). 
  4. ^ First Presidency (1978-09-30). "Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration 2, Unanimous Declaration Regarding Priesthood For All Worthy Males". Retrieved 2012-05-19. 

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Henry D. Moyle
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 5, 1950–August 19, 1978
Succeeded by
Marion G. Romney