George F. Richards

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George F. Richards
George F. Richards 1920.jpg
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
May 21, 1945 (1945-05-21) – August 8, 1950 (1950-08-08)
Acting Presiding Patriarch
October 8, 1937 (1937-10-08) – October 3, 1942 (1942-10-03)
Called by Heber J. Grant
End reason Honorably released
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 9, 1906 (1906-04-09) – August 8, 1950 (1950-08-08)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
LDS Church Apostle
April 9, 1906 (1906-04-09) – August 8, 1950 (1950-08-08)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Reason Resignation of Matthias F. Cowley and John W. Taylor from the Quorum of the Twelve; death of Marriner W. Merrill[1]
Reorganization
at end of term
Delbert L. Stapley ordained
Personal details
Born George Franklin Richards
(1861-02-23)February 23, 1861
Farmington, Utah Territory, United States
Died August 8, 1950(1950-08-08) (aged 89)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000
Spouse Alice A. Robinson
Children 15
Parents Franklin D. Richards
Nanny Longstroth

George Franklin Richards (February 23, 1861 – August 8, 1950) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from April 9, 1906 until his death. He also served as Acting Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church from 1937 to 1942 and President of the Quorum of the Twelve from May 25, 1945 until his death.

Family[edit]

Alice Richards

Richards was born in Farmington, Utah Territory, the son of Franklin D. Richards and Nanny Longstroth. Richards' father was an Apostle of the LDS Church and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Franklin D. Richards also served as President of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1898 to 1899.

After George Richards' death, one of his sons, LeGrand, became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church, thus making the Richards family only the third Latter-day Saint family in history with three consecutive generations with members in the Quorum (the others being the succession of George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, and George Albert Smith and of Amasa M. Lyman, Francis M. Lyman, and Richard R. Lyman).[2]

Richards was baptized by Oliver L. Robinson, who would later become his father-in-law.[3] In 1882, Richards married Alice A. Robinson.[3] George and Alice had fifteen children.[4] One of the halls in Heritage Halls at Brigham Young University is named for Alice.

Education[edit]

Richards received a degree in English from the University of Deseret, later the University of Utah. He also studied mathematics there. Since at that point the University of Deseret was really a high school, degree is probably a misleading term.

Employment[edit]

Richards worked for the Utah Central Railway as a clerk from 1881 to 1882.[3] From 1885 to 1888, Richards lived on a farm in Box Elder County, Utah. In 1888, he moved to Tooele, Utah, where he served on the school board and on the irrigation board as well as directing the Tooele City Water Company.[3] Richards engaged in farming and the lumber business in Tooele.[5]

Early church callings[edit]

Richards was ordained an elder in the LDS Church at age fifteen. He received the endowment shortly after this. Among various early callings he held were those of home missionary and president of the ward Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA).[3] In 1890, Richards became a second counselor in the Tooele Stake Presidency.

In 1893, Richards was ordained a patriarch by Francis M. Lyman.[3] At age 32, Richards was one of the youngest men to have ever held this office in the church.

Politics[edit]

From 1899 to 1900, Richards served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives from Tooele County.

Calling as an apostle[edit]

Richards ca. 1915

In 1905, two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles resigned after an argument over LDS Church doctrine and policy. John W. Taylor disagreed with the 1890 Manifesto forbidding plural marriage; Matthias F. Cowley felt that it should apply only to the territory of the United States. In February of the next year, Apostle Marriner W. Merrill died; this left three vacancies in the Quorum.

On April 8, 1906, at a general conference of the LDS Church, Richards was called to be an Apostle by church president Joseph F. Smith. He was ordained and set apart the following day, ahead of Orson F. Whitney and David O. McKay.

Early assignments in the Twelve[edit]

Richards was appointed to the General Boards of the YMMIA and the Religion Classes shortly after his call to the Twelve. He also served as an advisor to the Primary General Board.

During his early days in the Twelve, Richards went on several tours of missions in the United States as well as visiting many stake conferences.[5]

Mission president[edit]

In 1916, Richards was made the president of the church's European Mission. In this position he was directly over missionary work in Great Britain as well as having a supervisory role over the mission presidents on the European continent. Among the mission presidents in mainland Europe was Richards's son LeGrand, who was president of the Netherlands Mission.

Richards succeeded Hyrum M. Smith as president of the European Mission.

Temple president[edit]

From 1921 to 1938, Richards was the president of the Salt Lake Temple. In this capacity, he assisted in the changing of the temple ordinances to conform with the church's "Good Neighbor" policy.

Acting Presiding Patriarch[edit]

In 1937, Richards was asked by church president Heber J. Grant to assume the duties that would normally be carried out by the church's Presiding Patriarch. Richards accepted, and served in this capacity until 1942, when Grant called Joseph Fielding Smith to be the church's Presiding Patriarch. Richards was called, sustained, and set apart as only the Acting Presiding Patriarch to the LDS Church because he was not a direct descendant of the first Latter Day Saint patriarch, Joseph Smith, Sr. During his tenure as Acting Presiding Patriarch, Richards remained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and retained his seniority within that body.

President of the Twelve[edit]

With the death of LDS Church President Heber J. Grant, Richards became the second-most senior apostle in the church and thus the President of the Quorum of the Twelve on May 21, 1945, a position which he held until his death. He is the only person in the history of the LDS Church to have been both the Presiding Patriarch of the church and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Death[edit]

Grave marker of George F. Richards.
GeorgeFRichardsHeadstone.jpg

Richards died in Salt Lake City of coronary thrombosis.[6] He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery. After Richards' death, Delbert L. Stapley was called in the October general conference of that year to fill the vacancy, and David O. McKay became President of the Quorum.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Orson F. Whitney and David O. McKay were called at the same time as Whitney to fill the three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve.
  2. ^ Hyrum, Joseph F., and Joseph Fielding Smith were also three consecutive generations of Apostles, though Hyrum wasn't a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1901) vol. 1, p. 544.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Appendix 1, p. 1644.
  5. ^ a b Andrew Jenson. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia vol. 3 (1920) p. 772.
  6. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
George Albert Smith
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
May 21, 1945–August 8, 1950
Succeeded by
David O. McKay
Preceded by
Charles W. Penrose
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 9, 1906–August 8, 1950
Succeeded by
Orson F. Whitney
Preceded by
Frank B. Woodbury
Acting Presiding Patriarch
October 8, 1937–October 3, 1942
Succeeded by
Joseph Fielding Smith