Stephen L. Richards

First Counselor in the First Presidency (April 9, 1951 – May 19, 1959)

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (January 18, 1917 – May 19, 1959)

General Conference Addresses

  • April 1949 General Conference
    • Keep The Commandments
      • “Keeping the commandments, as President Grant used the phrase, is not news in the modern sense. It is seldom dramatic. It doesn’t often arrest attention, and very infrequently wins a place in the headlines for a man or woman, and there are those who look with a measure of contempt and belittlement upon persons who order their “humdrum” lives in strict conformity with all the commandments.”
      • “In spite of the prosaic and commonplace aspect of this subject, I have long been convinced, my brethren and sisters, that the most challenging, dramatic, and vital thing in our lives is this “keeping the commandments.” It tests every fiber of our beings. It is at once a demonstration of our intelligence, our knowledge, our character, and our wisdom.”
      • “I cannot see how the rank and file of the people who are classed as atheistic communists could accept the godless totalitarianism of Marx and Lenin if they really had a comprehension and knowledge of the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the eternal plans of the Father for the well-being and exaltation of his children. I can understand how their leaders, lustful for power and domination, and beset by the constant fear of losing their unrighteous dominion will subordinate every decent, honorable, and virtuous principle to the gaining of their ends, but I cannot believe that even their own people would support these avaricious leaders if they had the truth.”
      • “The Church needs the undivided allegiance of these men, and they need the Church, as do their families also. Just so sure as they divide their allegiance the world will claim them.”
      • “We all prize wisdom. It is said to be the greatest of gifts. It is really the power to apply beneficent knowledge in all the decisions and vicissitudes of life. How we need wisdom in the composition of the troubles and difficulties of the world. How we need wisdom in our own affairs, with our families, our business, and our associations. Almost every day is a day of decision. What to do. What choice to make. I don’t know of a better way to secure the wisdom that we need than by keeping the commandments. We are enjoined by the commandments to study, to pray, to work and to serve, and be humble and contrite of spirit. The great promises are to the meek who shall inherit the earth. Wisdom is not to be found among the arrogant, the haughty and self-sufficient, nor among the sinful and the anti-Christs of the world. Wisdom is a gift to the prayerful student, to the faithful and the obedient, to those who repose their trust in the counsels of the spirit and the priesthood of God.”
  • October 1917 General Conference
    • Security and Safety
      • “We all seek after eternal life. It is the greatest gift that God can give to men. We pray for it; we work for it; and I believe, my brethren and sisters, that we are doing the things that will bring it to us. Our lives are being conformed, to the life of the Master. There is encouragment wherever one goes in the land of the Saints. On every hand are the evidences, the indisputable evidences of the love of men for God, in the love of men for men, and it is our service to these children of men, no matter how humble they are, no matter how insignificant in the world they may seem to be, that will be accepted by God as our service for him. We can’t help him. He is beyond any help that we can give to him, but we can help his children; we can work for them; we can love them; and we can persuade them with the help of God to live good lives and to come nearer to him, that they may eventually come back into his presence.”
      • “He who serves God’s children in God’s name is doing the greatest service for the Master that can be done.”
  • April 1917 General Conference
    • The Laws of the Gospel
      • “Our religion is not a thing apart from our life. It is incorporated in it, and forms a part of the very tissue and sinews of our being. It provides a rule of conduct and of action for us, not only in our occasional worship but in our lives, in our work, in our play, in all that we do in the whole course of our conduct. It is this intense practicality of it that appeals to me as its greatest strength, constituting its greatest salvation for the human family. There has been in times past, to my thinking, too much of Sunday religion. There is comparatively too much of that notion that our religious views are to be considered separate and apart from the lives we live, and that has led to a devitalization of the religion which has been professed by Christianity.”
      • “Within the purview of the gospel, there has been given to us, as I view it, a remedy for every ill, a precaution for every evil into which we might fall, and a safeguard against all harm.”
      • “If you would build a home filled with love and charity and divine affection, you can go to no place that will give you a more adequate conception of the proper way to rear and maintain a family, of the proper way to lay the foundations of a home than among the Latter-day Saints.”
      • “I tell you a great nation can no more exist without good homes than it can exist without the loyalty and patriotism of a devoted citizenship.”
      • “That to me is one of the greatest blessings which comes to Latter-day Saints, for no matter how engrossed we may be in our life’s work, no matter how intensely interesting it may become to us, we still see above the petty things of life, with which we are so engaged from time to time, and we see the eternal purposes of God being worked out in all our workaday world, and it gives us hope and encouragement and faith and strength to go forth and to devote and consecrate our lives, by doing whatever little duty we may, to God and the accomplishment of his purposes.”
      • “So far as I know there is nothing worth striving for, there is nothing of truth, there is nothing of true beauty, of refinement, of culture, that may not be had within our own Church, within the principles and ordinances of the gospel itself.”

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