Robert L. Backman

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Robert L. Backman
Emeritus General Authority
October 3, 1992 (1992-10-03)
Presidency of the Seventy
October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06) – August 15, 1992 (1992-08-15)
End reason Honorably released
General President of the Young Men
1979 – October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06)
First Quorum of the Seventy
April 1, 1978 (1978-04-01) – October 3, 1992 (1992-10-03)
End reason Granted general authority emeritus status
General President of the
Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women
November 1972 – 1974
Personal details
Born Robert LeGrand Backman
(1922-03-22) March 22, 1922 (age 96)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Robert LeGrand Backman (born March 22, 1922) was a Utah lawyer and politician and has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 1978. Since the death of Eldred G. Smith in April 2013, Backman has been the oldest living general authority of the LDS Church, although he has not been active in this role since 1992.[citation needed]


Backman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, but spent much his youth in South Africa, where his father, LeGrand Backman, was president of the LDS Church's South African Mission. After returning to Utah for his last year of high school, Backman later served as a missionary in the church's Northern States Mission.

Backman served in the U.S. Army in the Philippines during the Second World War. Following the war, he enrolled at the law school at the University of Utah. He was a member of the Utah House of Representatives for two terms.

Before his call as a general authority, Backman served as the president of the church's Northwestern States Mission, as a temple sealer, and as a regional representative. In 1972, he was briefly the second assistant to W. Jay Eldredge, the general superintendent of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA). When the YMMIA was renamed the Aaronic Priesthood–MIA in 1972, Backman was called as its general president. He served in this calling until 1974, when the Aaronic Priesthood–MIA was placed under the direct supervision of the church's presiding bishopric. In 1978, Backman became a member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy. In 1979, he succeeded Neil D. Schaerrer as the general president of the Young Men organization. Backman is the only man to serve two non-consecutive terms as the general president of the Young Men.

In 1985, Backman was released from the Young Men and became a member of the seven-man Presidency of the Seventy, with Vaughn J. Featherstone succeeding him as president of the Young Men. Backman served in the Presidency of the Seventy until August 1992; in October of that year, he was designated an emeritus general authority.

In 1986, Backman was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boy Scouts of America for his efforts in incorporating Scouting into the LDS Church's Young Men organization.

From 2005 to 2008, Backman was president of the church's Jordan River Utah Temple.

Personal life[edit]

Backman was married to Virginia Pickett, who died in 1999. They are the parents of seven children.

See also[edit]

  • George I. Cannon : a fellow counselor of Eldredge's at the time of Backman's service


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Neil D. Schaerrer
General President of the Young Men
1979–October 6, 1985
Succeeded by
Vaughn J Featherstone
Preceded by
W. Jay Eldredge
as Superintendent of the
Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association
General President of the
Aaronic Priesthood MIA Young Women

November 1972–1974
Organization under jurisdiction of
the Presiding Bishopric
Title next held by
Neil D. Schaerrer
as General President of the Young Men