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H.M.S Richards Library

What the Second Coming of Christ Means to Me

One of the last HMS Richards sermons we have in our files, "What the Second Coming of Christ Means to Me" is part of a series he did late in 1978 on basic Christian beliefs.  In his early years as a preacher, Richards could assume that his audience knew a great deal about the Bible.  As the years rolled by, this was no longer so true, and while he was still the Voice of Prophecy, HMS Richards preached less about Daniel and Revelation, and more about Jesus, God, sin, repentance, conversion, and the Christian life.  Here, he leaves a decided testimony about the event he had been awaiting all his life..

"What does the second coming of Christ mean to me?  Everything.  Everything.
'Even so, come , Lord Jesus.'
Amen."

Read it for yourself, and see what it meant to him, and may mean to you.

Texas Letter Voice of Prophecy

The early years of the Voice of Prophecy were often a scramble with insufficient means and inspired improvisation. HMS Richards' files include much on the growth and work of his radio evangelism ministry. During the 1930s, Richards's broadcasts were restricted to the Mutual network segment in Arizona and California. He continued to run large evangelistic crusades in various towns -- five months in Phoenix in 1939, for instance; several months in San Diego and Lodi earlier. This was possible because the network had radio stations in those cities, and the local station could hook up with the tent or auditorium where Richards was preaching and send out the program from there. In this three-page letter from March of 1939, Richards explains to F. D. Wells, then president of the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, why the Voice of Prophecy would not be able to put on a crusade in Texas given the current situation: cost and time zone issues stood in the way. Read the description of the VOP schedule and the follow-up baptismal classes to get a glimpse at the early world of Adventist radio evangelism. The letter itself was in the folder for Richards' March 12, 1939 sermon; we are not sure why. This, and similar letters, perhaps played a role in the October 1941 vote by the General Conference to more fully fund the VOP ministry. In January 1942, two years and nine months after this letter, the Voice of Prophecy made its first coast-to-coast broadcast. Richards and the King's Heralds would travel around the United States, and eventually around the world, broadcasting as they went.

Story of the Advent Message Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844

"Adventists have always been exercised by the memory of the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844, and HMS Richards was no exception.

His library lets us follow along in his studies, as we see what he considered important enough to annotate and mark up, just as many students still do today.  He had already begun building his library -- you can see from the title page that this book, published in 1926, was the 780th addition to his library.  An inscription inside the front cover indicates that he bought it the same year, seven years after his graduation from Washington Missionary College. The selection from pages 54 and 55 shows Richards' study of the early days of the Adventist church, and their discovery of the seventh-day Sabbath.  Richards would continue reading -- his library has more than 30 books just on the history of Adventism.  Why not come down and see for yourself what this pioneer of radio evangelism thought was worth remarking and remembering about the early days of our church?

Voice of Prophecy Scripts

The HMS Richards Library has three filing cabinets filled with scripts from which Richards preached decades of sermons over the Voice of Prophecy.  Today we bring you the oldest script we have, from July 17, 1934, when the program was still titled "Tabernacle of the Air".  We hope older sermon scripts will turn up as we continue to explore Richards' files.  He preached his first sermon, on angels, in 1912! Note all the handwritten corrections on the page.  These are not for the 1934 presentation!  Richards read from clean scripts, to avoid stumbling on the air.  Such extensive revisions would have lead to re-typing the sermon -- which they did, when Richards preached this sermon again on May 5, 1937.  The 1937 script leaves off the first paragraph of the 1934 version (see how it's crossed out), and has many other changes.  He recycled it again during the first year of coast-to-coast broadcast, on September 20, 1942.  Richards frequently re-cycled old or favorite sermons, particularly near the end of his life, and kept looking for better words, clearer phrasing, and more powerful preaching all his life. "...it is necessary to make the Scripture message plain, and to tell the story over and over and over again." -- HMS Richards, _Feed My Sheep_ (1958), p. 233.

Echoes of Liberty

Some of the books in HMS Richards' library had a long history before they reached his shelves. Many music books came from his wife Mabel's collection.  This songbook, "Echoes of Liberty", was printed three years before HMS Richards was born, and had at least three owners before coming to its present home. The cover is gray and rather plain, but inside there are treasures.  At the top of the title page, we see a dedicatory inscription by its compiler, Franklin Edson Beldon (1858-1945), a prolific hymn-writer and music publisher in the early Seventh-day Adventist church, and the nephew of Ellen White.  (Twelve of his songs are still in the current SDA Hymnal.)  The inscription reads: "Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Lewis Comp[liment]s. of author." This is probably Charles Clarke Lewis (1857-1924), who taught at several Adventist universities from 1883 onward, and later was president of Walla Walla College. In fine handwriting above the title is "E. May La Vern Williams",otherwise unknown but presumably an intermediate possessor of
the book. In faint pencil below the title is "H. R. Eastman", most likely someone from the family of Richard's wife, Mabel Annabelle Eastman.  So this book had at least three owners before  arriving at its present home. F. E. Belden was a music publisher as well as a hymn-writer, and this particular songbook was dedicated to the Women's Relief Corps, the female auxiliary to the Grand Army  of the Republic, the main organization of Union veterans in the American Civil War.  It received favorable mention in the Literary Century in 1892. The third picture is the last page of the book, where Belden had included an advertisement for a book of religious songs and lessons for children, published by the Review and Herald.  See what you can tell about 19th-century bookselling and book distribution from that!

From H.M.S. Richards' Father

Here is a little piece of history from H.M.S. Richards' father.

Halbert Marshall Jenkin Richards was a 19th-century Adventist preacher who collected many items from early Adventist history.  Many of his books and papers passed to his son.  Here is an exciting one: a letter from Alonzo T. Jones, originally sent in 1899, about the Adventist health message.  H.M.J. Richards had copied it out by hand in 1903, and at some point it passed into H.M.S. Richards' file on "Health"; evidently it was kept for its practical advice, not merely as a memento.

Note the care taken for authentication -- H.M.J. Richards and D. Rush, the man to whom the letter had been sent, both signed the assertion that it was a true copy of Jones' original letter.

Now you, too, can see this letter, 116 years old, and share the advice that Richards' father copied out, and Richards kept.

"Behold Thy Mother"

HMS Richards often told stories from his own life in his sermons.  Here, for Mother's Day, he tells us how his own mother raised him and inspired him.

"Prophecies of Resurrection"

"This Easter sermon was preached 70 years ago, in the closing days of World War II. One can hear H.M.S. Richards speaking across the years to us, the King's Heralds singing songs chosen to work with the sermon to carry its message, and H.M.S. Richard's father, H.M.J. Richards, offering the prayer for the program.

H.M.S. Richards, pioneer religious broadcaster, was the founder and long-time speaker of the Voice of Prophecy radio ministry. His ministry inspired broadcasts in dozens of languages on more than 1,000 stations worldwide, as well as Bible courses in some 80 languages offered by more than 125 correspondence schools.

Upon graduation from college in 1919, H.M.S. Richards served as an evangelist in various places in the United States and Canada. In the 1920s in California he began experimenting with radio announcements for his meetings. He began regular radio broadcasts on October 19, 1929 on KNX (AM) in Los Angeles. Later, Richards presented daily live broadcasts of The Tabernacle of the Air over KGER in Long Beach, and live weekly remote broadcasts from his tabernacle to KMPC (AM) in Beverly Hills. In January 1937 his footprint expanded over a network of several stations of the Don Lee Broadcasting System, and the name of the broadcast was changed to the Voice of Prophecy. His first coast-to-coast broadcast over 89 stations of the Mutual Broadcasting System was on Sunday, January 4, 1942.

HMS Richards Library Hours

This is a closed collection. Please make an appointment with Michelle Rojas, the Special Collections Librarian.

Contact Us

Michelle Rojas, Special Collections Librarian
mrojas@lasierra.edu
(951) 785-2518

Library Location

麻豆产精国品 Library
Room 121

Contact and Location

divinity@lasierra.edu
951.785.2041
La Sierra Hall, Room 205

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