When Elder LeGrand Richards stands to speak, a ripple of excitement stirs the audience. Most of them have heard him before and are enthusiastic to hear him again. For over four decades Elder LeGrand Richards has captivated and delighted audiences with his dynamic delivery and deep conviction of the gospel. Here he speaks at general conference.
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When Elder LeGrand Richards stands to speak, a ripple of excitement stirs the audience. Most of them have heard him before and are enthusiastic to hear him again. For over four decades Elder LeGrand Richards has captivated and delighted audiences with his dynamic delivery and deep conviction of the gospel.
Here he speaks at general conference. None have lived so long. On that date he became the General Authority who has lived on earth the longest in this latter-day dispensation, passing by one day the milestone set by President David O. McKay, who lived to 96 years, days. Witness the voice: he speaks in ringing tones, speaking at a rapid pace so that it holds listeners breathless for him to take his breath!
Every sermon he preaches has a freshness and a vitality that give life to his message. And the joy that flows from him is such that we almost wish he could! At 96, he has spanned well over half of the Church history in this dispensation. His parents were George F. Richards and Almira Robinson Richards.
He was their third child out of fifteen. His boyhood home was primitive by present standards. There was no indoor plumbing, and water had to be carried for table, bath, and laundry use. Washings were put out by hand at first, then by a hand-turned washer when such machines became available. Weekly baths were taken in a big washtub by the stove, with only a quilt hung to give a measure of privacy. Fruit was bottled in the hundreds of quarts for the large and ever-growing family, and this on the wood-burning stove.
Hard work was the order of life, and even the small children had their share in it. Each was taught to do the tasks which were commensurate with his age and level of understanding. He was then encouraged to take hold and perform his work unfailingly.
Whatever the task that needed doing, winter made it more difficult. LeGrand tells of going into the canyons with his father to get wood, of frozen gloves, tipped-over loads of cedar stumps, and near-runaways.
As deacons quorum president, he served in that office as faithfully as his father served in the stake presidency. We had to clean the chimneys of our coal oil lamps and fill them. We also had to take care of our meetinghouse grounds.
Determined to prepare himself for the coming of his mission call, he began to study and memorize the scriptures, a practice that has been lifelong.
His study also familiarized him with the prophets, so that in a special sense they became his friends. Life was not physically easy for LeGrand, even in his youth.
While LeGrand was still a very small boy, he was struck on the head with the back of an axe. He sprawled on the ground, stunned and bleeding, but recovered after a priesthood blessing and medical care. As he hit the ground, the wagon wheel passed over his head. Before he could be pulled away, a quick forward movement of the team caused the wheel to pass over his head a second time.
His frightened father gathered the crying boy up into his arms and blessed him. Again he recovered. At age eight, LeGrand contracted some type of hipbone disease. For nine months he wore a plaster cast on his leg from shoe-top to hip and around his waist, during which time he used crutches and missed a year of school.
Later that year, still in the cast, he was attacked by a vicious ram. The animal came at him time and again as he braced against the fence and tried to ward off its attack with his hands. Still on crutches at age nine, he was hit by another misfortune. He again fell under a wagon. I felt around to find my crutches and then managed to crawl out from under the load. As a youth, he was stricken with a severe case of scarlet fever and his temperature ran dangerously high for many days.
Finally, at age nineteen, when ready to leave for his mission, LeGrand was again on crutches, this time with a painfully enlarged knee in a cast. He was advised to stay home and take care of himself. Instead, he asked his father to give him a priesthood blessing, and he then left as scheduled with neither cast nor crutch. From all accidents and maladies, except one, LeGrand was spared permanent disability. The exception was the hip trouble, which resulted in one leg remaining an inch and one half shorter than the other, giving him a lifelong limp and almost constant discomfort and pain.
In , married only three years, LeGrand was stricken with the dread disease smallpox. Then, during the deadly influenza epidemic of —, he contracted that illness. In addition to these troubles, Elder Richards has suffered two heart attacks, in and in Bishop Marvin O. From then on he carried his usual work loads, but his associates often saw him walking with a cane.
Packer to their meeting in the temple. On 23 February Elder Richards was taken to the hospital, where he remained in critical condition for nearly a month. But gradually Elder Richards recovered. Kimball announced in the first session that all General Authorities except Elder Richards were present.
A stir went through the audience as they took in the situation. Elder Richards had come in and taken his place on the stand, sitting in full view of the congregation, a blanket over his knees, oxygen tube in his nose, and a broad though wan smile on his face.
President Kimball turned, saw his beloved associate, and delightedly corrected his previous announcement. From his youth he was honest, diligent, committed to the gospel, filled with faith, grateful to God for his blessings. Joseph drove down from Idaho, seeking to trade his farm for some Salt Lake property. LeGrand was the real estate agent Joseph was dealing with, and LeGrand showed him what his firm determined they could reasonably trade. The commission from that transaction would have been an almost-new automobile and several thousand dollars.
It made no difference. Diligence and Commitment. He felt the urgent need to learn the language and often felt hampered because of his lack of proficiency. He pushed to get the office work current so he could study Dutch. His return calls to gather them yielded many gospel conversations, halting and incomplete as they no doubt were at first on his part.
Elder Richards left his business and family to serve six months in another part of the country. In he responded again, when President Grant asked him to sell his home and business and move to California, where he served first as bishop of the Glendale Ward and then as president of the Hollywood Stake.
As they neared the American shore a terrible storm arose. Gigantic waves rolled about, and everything not attached to the deck was thrown around. It seemed such a part of me that my heart would just bubble over. The Lord has called Elder Richards into his service an impressive number of times. He has served twice as a full-time missionary and twice as mission president, for a total of nearly ten years.
Add to that his diligent efforts as branch president in Portland, Oregon, bishop in Salt Lake City twice , and bishop and stake president in California. Typical of his forthrightness as a leader is this story from his service as Southern States Mission president. At a conference he attended in one district, the Relief Society served lunch on the lawn between meetings, and this gave the president opportunity to circulate around and visit with the people. You would make a good member of that church.
During his fourteen-year tenure, the Presiding Bishopric made many contributions, among which are the following:. Elder Mark E. Petersen, as a counselor in a stake presidency at the time, witnessed the changeover. Our office doors remained always open, and the widow, the harassed businessman, the youth with his problem, the immigrant, always received a kind word and assistance from Bishop Richards. Bishop Richards was noted for his experience and understanding. He was never hurried.
It was shortly after noon on Sunday, 6 April The morning session of the nd Annual General Conference had just concluded. Moyle, who later served as counselor to President David O. McKay, that the President wished to see him at his office.
Merrill on February 3. Elder Richards has served in many capacities in his thirty years as a member of the Council of the Twelve. Aside from missionary effort, from which he is never far removed, some of the areas in which Elder Richards functions as a member of the Council of the Twelve are those of special administrative assignments, various boards, and committee work.
He is also chairman of the committee to approve changes of counselors in stake presidencies, bishops of wards, and all temple workers worldwide.
Like most General Authorities, Elder Richards has traveled extensively, lifting his voice in testimony. He has literally traveled the length and breadth of the Church, touring missions and attending conferences. In addition, he has attended area conferences, which have taken many of the General Authorities to people who could never hope to attend general conferences in Salt Lake City.
In , he was elected president of the Orson Hyde Foundation, which had the responsibility of raising a million dollars for a special park in Jerusalem.
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A marvelous work and a wonder.
The book was intended as a missionary tool and is traditionally cited as the best-selling Mormon book of all time not including the standard works. In , as presiding bishop of the church, Richards expanded his document into a full-length book, which he named after a phrase used in the King James version of Isaiah —14 ; Richards identified the teachings of the LDS Church as the wonder referred to. Richards donated all proceeds of the sale of the book to the missionary funds of the LDS Church. However, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder is no longer part of the "approved missionary library. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Marvelous Work and a Wonder First edition. Dewey Decimal.
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder