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Francis M. Lyman
Full name Francis Marion Lyman
Born January 12, 1840(1840-01-12)
Place of birth Good Hope, Illinois
Died November 18, 1916 (aged 76)
Place of death Salt Lake City, Utah
LDS Church Apostle
Called by John Taylor
Ordained October 27, 1880 (aged 40)
Ordination reason Reorganization of First Presidency[1]
End of term November 18, 1916 (aged 76)
End reason Death
Reorganization at end of term Stephen L Richards ordained
LDS Church General Authority
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by John Taylor
Start of term October 27, 1880 (aged 40)
End of term November 18, 1916 (aged 76)
End reason Death
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Start of term October 6, 1903 (aged 63)
End of term November 18, 1916 (aged 76)
End reason Death

Francis Marion Lyman (12 January 1840 – 18 November 1916) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was the President of the Quorum from 1903 until his death.

Lyman's father and son were also apostles in the church: his father was Amasa M. Lyman and his son was Richard R. Lyman. Both his father and son were excommunicated from the church while serving as apostles.


Early life

Francis M. Lyman was born as the first son to Amasa M. Lyman and Louisa Maria Tanner in Good Hope, Illinois. That spring the family moved to Iowa. From there, about one year later, they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois to be with the church. In 1843, they moved again to Alquina, Indiana. After the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Jr., they moved back to Nauvoo in 1844.

His father left with the first group to travel on the Mormon Exodus to the West. His family moved to Winter Quarters in June 1846 under the care of his maternal grandfather. His family set out to the Salt Lake Valley to join the Latter-day Saints in 1848. Though only 8 years old, he helped drive a yoke of cattle and the wagon. He was baptized by his father in the Elkhorn River on July 1, 1848. He arrived in the Salt Lake Valley October 19, 1848.

By 1851, at 11 years of age, his father had purchased land along with Elder Charles C. Rich in San Bernardino, California. Together, he helped drive the animals from Salt Lake to California. They settled there and he became busy with tending the animals and driving them between Utah and California across the desert. He was present at the laying of the cornerstone of the Salt Lake Temple in April 1853.

Adult life and service

In 1856, at about 16 years of age, he was given the Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained an elder by his father. In 1857 he was called on a mission to Great Britain. He was stopped at Salt Lake City, Utah and told to turn back and bring the settlers in California in to the valley. The Utah War had prevented his mission at this time.

He married Rhoda Ann Taylor on November 18, 1857.

In 1859, his family settled in Farmington, Utah. His ordination to the seventy followed shortly thereafter. John S. Gleason ordained him on January 7, 1860. Prior to his departure on his previously called mission, he built a cabin in Beaver, Utah for his wife and one son. He left for his mission in the spring of 1860.

Mission in England

Arriving in Kirtland, Ohio, he was shown through the Kirtland Temple by Martin Harris. He left through the port of New York and arrived by steamer in Liverpool, England on July 27, 1860.

He served diligently for roughly two years. Upon release from his mission, he accompanied about 800 immigrants back to the United States. They arrived in New York on June 25, 1862. In New York, he was appointed president of the group. By early July, they had arrived in Florence, Nebraska, which is now a neighborhood on the north end Omaha. It was not until the middle of October that he arrived back to his wife and homestead in Beaver.


In March 1863, Church President Brigham Young asked Francis to settle in Fillmore, Utah. The next fourteen years of his life were spent there, and he engaged himself in leadership in church, politics, business, and manufacturing there. Among his positions and honors were:

  • assistant assessor of United States internal revenue
  • lieutenant-colonel of the first regiment of militia in the Pauvan District at 25
  • member of the House of the General Assembly of the State of Deseret
  • a member of the 17th, 18th, 22nd and 23rd sessions of the Utah Territorial legislature
  • county clerk and recorder
  • superintendent of schools
  • prosecuting attorney

When a stake was formed in Fillmore, he was ordained to the office of high priest. Later he was called to the High Council.

On October 4, 1869, he practiced polygamy by marrying his second wife, Clara Caroline Callister. Her grandfather was John Smith, Joseph Smith's uncle, and her son Richard R. Lyman would go on to serve as an apostle from 1918 to 1943.

He was called to a second mission to England and left Salt Lake City on October 20, 1873 and arrived in Liverpool on November 12. During his mission, he also visited and proselyted in Wales, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and France. He arrived with 300 saints in Utah, returning to Fillmore on October 11, 1875.

Tooele County

In April 1877, he was called to preside over the Tooele Stake, which was organized June 24, 1877 in Tooele County, Utah. He involved himself in the politics of that county as well. By August 1878, he was elected county recorder and representative to the legislature.

At that time, since 1874, Tooele County was in the hands of the Liberal Party, and nicknamed the Tooele Republic. The legislature in 1878 passed a resolution providing for the registration of voters. After allegations of corruption and excessive spending by the Liberal Party, leaving the county in deep debt, the People's Party won the election of 1878. However, the Liberal Party officials refused to count the votes, and declared themselves the winner of the election.

Francis M. Lyman was key in challenging the election and after hearing cases in the district and supreme courts, the People's Party were declared the winners on March 29, 1879. He earned a reputation for fighting corruption due to his zeal and effectiveness in winning this battle.


At the October General Conference held October 10, 1880 he was called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles along with John Henry Smith. Having been on a mission to survey parts of southern Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, he wasn't ordained until October 27 by Church President John Taylor. Upon his call and ordination, he completely devoted himself to church service.

Lyman visited nearly every town that had members of the church in the West during his apostleship. He also maintained a daily record of his business as an apostle in detail.

In early 1883, he served a mission to the Indian people of the Unitah and Ouray in Utah at the call of President Taylor. He was overwhelmed with the calling. Climbing to the summit of a mountain on the borders of the Indian territories, he found a flat spot and felt inspired to pray. He poured out his heart on the mountain, and turned towards the work. Facing anti-Mormon Indian agents and working among a people he knew very little about was a daunting task.

With his company of men, he set out and preached vigorously. The Indian agents were receptive and allowed them to preach freely. Members of the Utes had joined them, and they were most effective in preaching to their brethren. Many Indians received the Book of Mormon and their preaching and were baptized. He served the Indians both spiritually and temporally.

He returned to Provo, Utah on May 28, 1883 and continued serving diligently in other callings.

Lyman was called to minister over the European Mission in 1901. He set about several key reforms and expanded the number of mission homes throughout Europe. In 1903, Lyman and Joseph J. Cannon visited and preached in Finland and Russia.

In the spring of 1902 he visited Palestine and offered up a solemn prayer on the Mount of Olives.

In 1903, Brigham Young, Jr. died, making Lyman the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He returned to Utah in 1904.

Soon after returning home, he went to Washington, D.C. to testify in the Reed Smoot Investigation before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Lyman died in his home of pneumonia on November 18, 1916.[2] Stephen L Richards was called to replace him in the Quorum of the Twelve after his death. Heber J. Grant replaced him as President of the Quorum.

Lyman's style was one of reconciliation and the ability to say unpleasant things in an uplifting way. He was known for his sincerity and at times sharpness. But everyone who met him came away a better person, no matter what his personal message was for them. He was hardened by years of hard work starting with crossing the plains at the age of 8 and driving livestock to California at the age of 11, yet he was known for his kindness and sincerity by members of the church.


  1. ^ Lyman and John Henry Smith were ordained apostles on the same date. After their ordinations, there were still only 11 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  2. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate.

External links

Religious titles
Preceded by
Brigham Young, Jr.
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 11, 1903–November 18, 1916
Succeeded by
Heber J. Grant
Preceded by
Moses Thatcher
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 27, 1880–November 18, 1916
Succeeded by
John Henry Smith


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