Elder H. Bryan Richards, who served as a General Authority Seventy from 1998 to 2006, died Saturday, Oct. 10, at his daughter’s home in Farmington, Utah. He was 86.
As a General Authority Seventy, Elder Richards testified that those who gain a divine witness of the Book of Mormon “will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.”
H. Bryan Richards, the second of Horace B. and Carol Bryan Richards’ three children, grew up in the Stratford Ward on Salt Lake City’s east bench.
As a young man, he was greatly influenced by the example of his father, who served as bishop during his youth. “Much of what I do, much of what I understand about the gospel, I learned from my father on the mountain top: deer hunting or fishing,” Elder Richards recalled. “I think after I got old enough, the reason I went hunting was for my father to teach me the gospel.”
Later, when Elder Richards was married with children, his father also helped spark a lifelong interest in family history work in his son.
Growing up, Elder Richards developed a love for sports that would last throughout his life. As a young man preparing to serve as a missionary in the Great Lakes Mission, he showed up to his bishop’s interview with a ball glove and his cleats on. On their first five dates when he was courting his future wife, LynnAnne Taylor, she watched him play basketball.
If nothing else those first dates were an indication of “what she was getting into,” said Elder Richards. As an adult he spent many hours coaching youth sports teams, including those of his children and grandchildren.
He married LynnAnne on Aug. 23, 1957, in the Salt Lake Temple. Together, they raised eight children — six daughters and two sons.
Elder Richards earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from BYU and worked as a benefits administrator for E-Systems Manufacturing, which manufactures airplane parts and navigation equipment.
After serving as a regional representative, he and his wife were called as president and companion over the England Manchester Mission in 1994.
“One of the finest experiences my wife and I have enjoyed together, other than raising our family, has been presiding over the mission,” he said. “I learned there the worth of a single soul and grew in my understanding of the price paid by Jesus Christ for the redemption of each soul.”
Following his service as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Richards served as president and Sister Richards served as matron of the Bountiful Utah Temple from 2006 to 2009.
Elder Richards spoke twice in general conference: first in October 1998 and then again in October 2004.
Elder Richards recounted in his October 2004 general conference address how as a young boy after a Sunday School lesson about the First Vision, he “was wondering if it was really true. My father was leaving for a Church meeting. I stopped him and asked, ‘Dad, how do we really know that Joseph Smith had that vision?’
“My father put his arm around me, and we sat on the sofa in our living room. There he shared with me the Prophet Joseph’s account and his own testimony of its truthfulness. That experience with my father burns in my heart today,” he said.
The quest for a personal testimony “is a journey each of must take,” he said. “The Book of Mormon can and does change lives.”
He is survived by his wife, LynnAnne; their six daughters — CarolLynn, Shari, Robyn, Heidi, Rebecca, and Jennylynn — two sons, Taylor and John; 31 grandchildren; and 26 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services are pending.