Stephen L Richards

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 Mormon Apostle Stephen L. Richards
Stephen L Richards (18 June 1879 – 19 May 1959) born in Mendon, Utah, was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from January 8, 1917, to April 9, 1951. Elder Richards also served as first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church under President David O. McKay from April 9, 1951, until his death.

Richards was a grandson of Willard Richards, an early Apostle of the Church at the time of Joseph Smith. Elder Stephen L Richards was the son of Stephen Longstroth Richards and Emma Louise Stayner. In fact, Elder Richards' father and George F. Richards were half-brothers, since they were both children of Nancy Longstroth, who after the death of her first husband, Willard, married Willard's nephew, Franklin D. Richards.

Stephen L Richards was tutored by Camille Cobb. He then attended the Farmington public school, the Davis Stake Academy, Salt Lake county and city public schools, the LDS University, the Salt Lake High School, and the University of Utah. While at the University of Utah he was one of the team of inter-collegiate debaters; he was the first Utah student to be graduated from the Department of Law at the University of Chicago and was one of the first class ever graduated in law from that institution receiving a cum laude degree.[1]

He studied law for one year at the University of Michigan and earned his LLB degree from the University of Chicago. After completing law school, he passed the bar and served the Utah populace as an attorney. In addition to practicing law, he was a member of the law faculty at the University of Utah. He also farmed in Tooele, Utah, ranched in Oneida County, Idaho, and was principal of the Malad City public schools.

At the age of 37, he was called to the Sunday School General Board. Following the death of George Reynolds he was appointed second assistant general superintendent of the Sunday School Union April 6, 1908. He was also chosen as a member of the Priesthood Study Committee and of the Board of Control of the Deseret Gymnasium.

Richards was a mentor to Gordon B. Hinckley, since he was the head of the Radio, Publicity, and Missionary Literature Committee when Elder Hinckley served as its executive secretary.[2]

On February 21, 1900, Richards married Irene Merrill (a granddaughter of George A. Smith) and they were the parents of nine children. Elder Richards' brother, Stayner Richards, was an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

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

External Links


  1. Dew. Go Forward With Faith. p. 86
  2. Dew, Sheri L., Go Forward With Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996) p. 86