Stephen L Richards

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Stephen L Richards
Stephen L Richards4.jpg
Richards, ca. 1956
First Counselor in the First Presidency
April 9, 1951 (1951-04-09) – May 19, 1959 (1959-05-19)
Called by David O. McKay
Predecessor J. Reuben Clark
Successor J. Reuben Clark
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
January 18, 1917 (1917-01-18) – April 9, 1951 (1951-04-09)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Predecessor James E. Talmage
Successor Richard R. Lyman
End reason Called as First Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
January 18, 1917 (1917-01-18) – May 19, 1959 (1959-05-19)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Reason Death of Francis M. Lyman
Reorganization
at end of term
Henry D. Moyle added to First Presidency; Howard W. Hunter ordained
Personal details
Born (1879-06-18)June 18, 1879
Mendon, Utah Territory, United States
Died May 19, 1959(1959-05-19) (aged 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park
40°41′52.08″N 111°50′30.12″W / 40.6978000°N 111.8417000°W / 40.6978000; -111.8417000 (Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park)
Spouse Irene Smith Merrill
Children 9
Parents Stephen L. Richards
Emma Louise Stayner
Relatives Willard Richards (grandfather)
Stayner Richards (brother)

Stephen L Richards (June 18, 1879 – May 19, 1959) was a prominent leader in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church and as First Counselor in the First Presidency.

Early life[edit]

ca.1917
ca.1920
ca.1959

Richards was born in Mendon, Utah Territory. He was the oldest of ten children born to Stephen Longstroth Richards and Emma Louise Stayner. He was raised in the Cache Valley. He was the grandson of Willard Richards, an early apostle of the church and colleague of Joseph Smith. Willard Richards witnessed Smith and his brother Hyrum murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. Willard Richards served as Brigham Young's Second Counselor in the First Presidency. He died before Stephen was born.

Stephen L Richards married Irene Smith Merrill (a maternal granddaughter of George A. Smith) in 1900. The couple had nine children.

Education and profession[edit]

Richards did undergraduate studies at the University of Utah. He received his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1904.[1] He began his law school career at the University of Michigan before transferring to Chicago.[2]

After graduating from the University of Chicago Richards practiced law in Salt Lake City and was a professor of law at the University of Utah. Richards considered running for governor of Utah in the 1918 election, but when he was selected as an Apostle in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1917, he decided not to run for office.[3]

Church leadership[edit]

Joseph F. Smith called Richards to be an apostle at the age of 37. Richards became a member of the Superintendency of the Deseret Sunday School Union under David O. McKay in 1918. In April 1919 McKay was appointed Church Commissioner of Education and chose Richards as his first counselor.[4] Richards would remain a counselor in the Deseret Sunday School Union Superintendency until 1934 when apostles were released from these positions and men were called who could devote their full-time to the Sunday School, also freeing up the apostles to focus more on their specific calling.

When McKay became LDS Church president, he selected Richards as his first counselor. Richards served in that position from April 9, 1951 until his death. Richards followed his grandfather, Willard by first serving as an Apostle and then in the First Presidency.

The Christus statue that is at the visitors center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City was purchased by Richards as a gift to David O. McKay.

Richards was a mentor to Gordon B. Hinckley as he was in charge of the Radio, Publicity and Missionary Literature Committee when Hinckley served as its executive secretary.[5]

Death[edit]

Richards' grave marker

Richards died in Salt Lake City at the age of 79, shortly before his 80th birthday.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dew. Go Forward With Faith. p. 86
  2. ^ Ernest L. Wilkinson, ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo: BYU Press, 1975) Vol. 2, p. 7
  3. ^ Wilkinson. BYU. Vol. 2, p. 7
  4. ^ Wilkinson. BYU. Vol. 2, p. 3
  5. ^ Dew, Sheri L., Go Forward With Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996) p. 86

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
J. Reuben Clark
First Counselor in the First Presidency
April 9, 1951 – May 19, 1959
Succeeded by
J. Reuben Clark
Preceded by
James E. Talmage
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
January 18, 1917 – April 9, 1951
Succeeded by
Richard R. Lyman