LeGrand Richards
and Patriarchal Blessings

from Just to Illustrate, pp. 214-15)
LeGrand Richards served as the
Presiding Bishop of the Church from 1938 to 1952,
then as an apostle until his death in 1983, at age 96.
He once shared this experience he had as a parent:

One of the greatest sorrows we have experienced in our married lives was the death of our oldest son, LeGrand. We had four daughters before he was born. Two months before he turned sixteen, we lost him through an accident at the Santa Monica Beach, in California.

At the time, I was serving as President of the Hollywood Stake, and I told my Counselors that I was sure we could adjust our thinking and find comfort if we only knew that the Lord wanted him and that his mission here upon the earth had not been cut short because of our having let him go to the beach that day with his friends. We had read his Patriarchal Blessing, and we could not feel that it was time for him to go.

One Saturday evening, shortly after his death, I invited my wife to take an auto ride and we invited LeGrand's younger brother, LaMont, to accompany us, but he said he would rather remain home. While at home he got out LeGrand's and his [patriarchal] blessings and read them. I am sure the Lord gave him the interpretation of the blessings for our comfort, for that next morning being Sunday, we did not arise as early as usual, and LaMont came into our bedroom holding these two blessings in his hands and said, "You have not understood these blessings." Then he proceeded to explain them as he had received the understanding. He read from LeGrand's blessing as follows:

"You shall be privileged to preach the gospel in strange lands and unto strange people." Then he commented that there are no strange lands or people here upon this earth. Then he read from his own blessing as follows:

"You shall be called to preach the gospel at home and abroad." Then he explained that this refers to this world....

Then he read from LeGrand's blessing, "in the own due time of the Lord your home will be the fit abode for the spirits of your loved ones." Then he explained that that meant in the next life when he would have spirit children. Then he read from his own blessing as follows: "You shall be privileged to see your children grow up around you and honor you in the same manner that you have honored your parents." This, he explained had reference to his family here upon the earth.

This explanation brought us great comfort for we felt with this explanation we could hardly reach any other conclusion than that the Lord had not intended to leave him with us for long here upon this earth. Yet, when he and his brother obtained their blessings the same day from the same Patriarch, the Lord had to give both of the boys promises, even though in words they could not fully understand at that time.

(edited by David Van Alstyne)
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