Elder Richards was born on the 6th of Febuary in 1886. He was born in the town of Farmington, Utah. His father, George F. Richards, would become a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1906.
LeGrand Richards served as a missionary in the Netherlands from 1905 until 1908. After returning from his mission, Elder Richards married Ina Jane Ashton. He was employed in various business ventures in Salt Lake City. From 1914-1916 Richards served as president of the Netherlands Mission.
From 1920 until 1925 Elder Richards was the bishop of the Sugar House Ward in Salt Lake City. In 1926 he served a short-term mission in Rhode Island. In 1931 Heber J. Grant called Elder Richards to move to California to serve as president of the Hollywood Stake. However, President Grant had not informed the stake president of this plan, and when Elder Richards arrived he was called as bishop of one of the wards in that stake. He convinced President Grant to hold off on making him stake president, so Elder Richards served for about six months as bishop in a ward in Los Angeles before he was made stake president.
In 1933 Elder Richards was called as president of the Southern States Mission to replace Charles A. Callis, who had been called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Richards served as president of the Southern States mission for three years and oversaw efforts to build better chapels and provide better quality activities for the branches in the mission. He also introduced an organized method of preaching the gospel through a systematic set of teachings. This plan eventually evolved into his book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder.
In 1936 Elder Richards was released as president of the Southern States Mission and then moved back to Salt Lake City. At this point he moved into the University Ward and was made its bishop. Despite its name, this ward was not a student ward, but did include many students and professors in its boundaries. In 1938 Elder Richards was called as presiding bishop of the Church. He served as presiding bishop until 1952, when he was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. Bishop LeGrand Richards' sending out notices to the deacons quorum secretaries has on occasion been mentioned by Thomas S. Monson as one of his earliest memories in relation to serving in the priesthood.
Elder Richards spent the last 31 years of his life as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He was known for his style of giving talks in which he would just begin to speak, and had to be prompted when his time was up.
- Church Almanac, 2008 Edition, p. 78.
- Tate, Lucille C., LeGrand Richards: Beloved Apostle.
- Jenson, Andrew. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Vol 4, p. 356.
- Flake, Lawrence R. "LeGrand Richards" in Garr, Arnold K., Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan ed., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History p. 1023.