LeGrand Richards discusses the role of Brazil in Official Declaration 2.

LeGrand Richards

Wesley P. Walters and Chris Vlachos, Audio file of interview with Elder LeGrand Richards, ca. August 1978, accessed November 21, 2022

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
Chris Vlachos, Wesley P. Walters, LeGrand Richards
Chris Vlachos, Wesley P. Walters

[excerpt from appoximately 4:22 to 10:18 on the audio recording]

WALTERS: You know, on this revelation of the priesthood to the Negro, I heard all kinds of stories: I’ve heard that Christ appeared to the Apostles. I’ve heard that Joseph Smith appeared. And then I heard another story that Spencer Kimball had had a concern about this for some time and simply shared it with the apostles, and they decided that this was the right time to move in that direction. Now are any of those stories true? Or are they all . . . ?

RICHARDS: Well, the last one is pretty true. And I might tell you what provoked it in a way.

WALTERS: All right.

RICHARDS: Down in Brazil, there's so much Negro blood in the population there that it’s hard to get leaders . . .

WALTERS: Uh-huh.

RICHARDS: . . . that don’t have Negro blood in them.


RICHARDS: And we just built a temple down there. It’s going to be dedicated in October.


RICHARDS: All those people with Negro blood in them have been raising the money to build that temple. And then, if we don’t change, then they can’t even use it.

WALTERS: Oh, yeah. Right.

RICHARDS: So Brother Kimball worried about it, and he prayed a lot about it. And he asked each one of us of the Twelve if we would pray--and we did--that the Lord would give him inspiration to know what the will of the Lord was. And then he invited each one of us in his office--individually, because you know when you are in a group, you can’t always express everything that’s in your heart.


You’re part of the group, see--so he interviewed each one of us personally to see how we felt about it.

WALTERS: Uh-huh.

RICHARDS: And he asked us to pray about it. And then he asked each one of us to hand in all the references we had for or against that proposal. See, he was thinking favorably toward giving the colored people the priesthood.

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: Then we had a meeting where we meet every week in the temple and we discussed it as a group together. And then we prayed about it in our prayer circle. And then we held another prayer circle after the close of that meeting, and he leading us in this prayer--praying that the Lord would give us the inspiration that we needed to do the thing that would be pleasing to Him and for the blessing of His children.

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: And then the next Thursday--we meet every Thursday--

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: Uh, he--the Presidency came with this little document written out to make the announcement--to see how we’d feel about it--and [unintelligible] in written form.

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: Well, some of the members of the Twelve suggested a few changes in the announcement.

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: And then in our meeting there we all voted in favor of it--the Twelve and the Pres[idency]. And one member of the Twelve, Mark Petersen, was down in South America

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: but Brother Benson, our President, had arranged to know where he could be reached by phone. And right while we were in that meeting in the temple, Brother Kimball talked to Brother Benson [Petersen] [unintelligible] and read him this article. And he approved of it.

WALTERS: What was the date?

RICHARDS: That was the . . .

WALTERS: Would that have been the first of June, or something?

RICHARDS: The first Thursday, I think, in May.



WALTERS: In May, oh.

RICHARDS: At least that’s about when it was.

WALTERS: Yeah. Uh-huh.

RICHARDS: And then after we all voted in favor of it, we called another meeting for the next morning--Friday morning, at seven o’clock, of all the other General Authorities--that includes the Seventy's Quorum and the Patriarch and the Presiding Bishopric. And it was presented to them. And they all had an opportunity to express themselves. And then there were a few of the brethren that were out presiding in the missions. And so the Twelve were appointed to interview each one of them. I had to interview Brother Rex Reeve. I read him the article and asked for his feelings. And he was thrilled because he labored down there in Brazil

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: And he knew what it would mean for those people.

WALTERS: Yes. Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: Now--and so every member of the General Authorities, to a man, approved it before the announcement went out. [unintelligible] Now we had a letter from a colored man up in Ogden, read like this. He was a member of the church, and he said “If the Lord is willing to let me have my wife and children in this life, why wouldn’t He be willing to let me have them in the next life?” That makes sense, doesn’t it?

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: And then, you know, the Lord gave a revelation to Prophet Joseph where He said that “There is a law irrevocably decreed in the heavens before the foundation of the earth was laid

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: upon which all blessings are predicated

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: and no blessing can be obtained except by obedience to the law upon which it is predicated.” Well all that means is if you want to raise wheat you’ve got to plant wheat, doesn’t it?

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: If you want raise corn then [you’ve got to] plant corn.

WALTERS: Mm-hmm.

RICHARDS: Well if I plant wheat and get a harvest and the colored man plants wheat and takes a good care of it--why isn’t he as much entitled to the harvest as I, you see?

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