LeGrand Richards' Ninetieth Birthday
[author and source unknown]

LeGrand Richards was born in 1886; he became the Presiding Bishop of the Church when he was 52, and an apostle at age 66. He served with faith and enthusiasm until his death in 1983 at age 96.

On his 90th birthday, Elder Thomas S. Monson paid tribute: "Few leaders in this century have preached the gospel with the fervor and far-reaching effects of this apostle of the people. . . . At ninety, he continues to sparkle like a mountain spring with wit and wisdom and hard work in building the kingdom of God around the globe."

Next Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then president of the Quorum of Twelve, said of his friend: "Sitting beside me is one of the noble and great ones shown to Father Abraham. There is no better example of our religion in action than that of our faithful and honored guest - Elder, Bishop, President, Brother LeGrand Richards. . . .We love you and honor you, and hand you this little volume of the scriptures [signed by all of the Brethren]. I imagine that you have worn out one or two copies."

Elder Richards arose to accept and responded, "Who have you been talking about, Ezra?" He then continued: "I don't deserve this, but it's very nice and I appreciate it. I love my family with all my heart. I love the Lord in like manner and the privilege of bearing his name honorably throughout the world in this calling. I love you Brethren - and I love the women as much as the Lord permits."

He touched the shoulder of his dear wife, Ina, with a smile, and then closed: "No matter what happens, I can only expect a short time to tarry with you. The words of Moroni as he closed his writings express my feelings at this time." He quoted Moroni 10:34: "And now I bid [you] all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God."

President N. Eldon Tanner said he asked Elder Richards when he arrived that night if he had lived all his live in the United States. He responded, "Not yet!"

Thousands were blessed by Elder Richard's insights into the scriptures, his love of the Saints, his perceptive writing (especially the book A Marvelous Work and a Wonder), and his ever-joyful testimony of the Gospel.

(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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