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Richard R. Lyman
Full name Richard Roswell Lyman
Born November 23, 1870(1870-11-23)
Place of birth Fillmore, Utah Territory
Died December 31, 1963 (aged 93)
Place of death Salt Lake City, Utah
LDS Church Apostle
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Ordained April 7, 1918 (aged 47)
Ordination reason Death of Hyrum M. Smith
End of term November 12, 1943 (aged 72)
End reason Excommunicated for unlawful cohabitation
Reorganization at end of term Mark E. Petersen ordained
LDS Church General Authority
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Start of term April 7, 1918 (aged 47)
End of term November 12, 1943 (aged 72)
End reason Excommunicated for unlawful cohabitation
Richard R. Lyman's grave marker

Richard Roswell Lyman (November 23, 1870 – December 31, 1963) was an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1918 to 1943. He was excommunicated in 1943 for unlawful cohabitation, a result of a polygamous relationship. In 1954 Lyman was rebaptized but never had his priesthood or temple ordinances restored.[1] Lyman is the most recent apostle of the LDS Church to have been excommunicated.

Lyman was born 1870 in Fillmore, Utah Territory, and was closely related to many early leaders of the LDS Church. His father Francis M. Lyman was the son of Amasa M. Lyman, both of whom served as apostles in the LDS Church. His mother was Clara Caroline Callister, whose grandfather was John Smith, Joseph Smith's uncle, and a Presiding Patriarch in the Church. Clara Caroline Callister's mother was Caroline Smith Callister, the only sister of the Apostle George A. Smith, who had served with Brigham Young as a counselor in the First Presidency of the church.

Lyman was ordained an elder in the church on August 29, 1891 by Joseph F. Smith. He graduated from high school at Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah in 1889 with a Normal Certificate, then taught at Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah, and later studied at the University of Michigan. Lyman was a teacher and civil engineer and was known for his work on the Utah State Road Commission.

Lyman was married to Amy Brown on September 9, 1896 by Joseph F. Smith. Amy Lyman would serve as the eighth general president of the Relief Society from 1940 to 1945.

Lyman was ordained an Apostle April 7, 1918.

In 1943, the First Presidency discovered that Lyman had long been cohabitating with a woman other than his legal wife. In 1925 Lyman had begun a relationship which he defined as a polygamous marriage. Unable to trust anyone else to officiate due to the church's ban on the practice, Lyman and the woman exchanged vows secretly. By 1943, both were in their seventies. Lyman was excommunicated on November 12, 1943 at age 73. The Quorum of the Twelve provided the newspapers with a one-sentence announcement, stating that the ground for excommunication was violation of the Law of Chastity, which any new marriage post-second manifesto constituted. (Plural marriages performed between 1890 and 1906 were allowed to continue to practice polygamy until those polygamists died off.) For years after his excommunication, some apostles worried that Lyman might join the Mormon fundamentalist movement.

Later, Lyman returned to the LDS Church through rebaptism on October 27, 1954. He died at Salt Lake City, Utah.


  1. ^ Edward L. Kimball & Andrew E. Kimball. (1977). Spencer W. Kimball, twelfth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah.  

External links


  • 2005 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2005): 65.
  • Kimball, Edward L. & Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1977) p. 208-210.
  • Quinn, D. Michael, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2002): 252-253.
  • Quinn, D. Michael, Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth Century Americas: The Mormon Example (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996): 371-372.
  • Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1997): 183.
  • Sillito, John R., "Enigmatic Apostle: The Excommunication of Richard L. Lyman." Paper presented at Sunstone Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1991.
Religious titles
Preceded by
Stephen L Richards
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
April 7, 1918–November 12, 1943
Succeeded by
Melvin J. Ballard

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