M. Russell Ballard: Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ

From MormonWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

M. Russell Ballard was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on January 14, 2018, which was announced in a special broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple on January 16, 2018. Dallin H. Oaks is the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, but because he was called as a counselor in the First Presidency, President Ballard acted in his place.

M. Russell Ballard, Mormon Apostle
President M. Russell Ballard, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

President Ballard passed away on November 12, 2023. At the time of his death, he was the longest-tenured general authority in the church, having been called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976 and the Quorum of the Twelve in 1985.[1]

Melvin Russell Ballard was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 8, 1928, to Melvin Russell Ballard Sr. and Geraldine Smith. He was the only boy in his family and had three sisters. In 1948 he was called to serve a mission to England. While there, he served as a counselor in the mission presidency. He was honorably released in 1950 and returned to Utah. Not long after his return, he met Barbara Bowen at a dance held at the University of Utah. They dated for eleven months. Elder Ballard said of their courtship,

She was not only beautiful, but had a sparkling personality. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to marry her, but she didn’t share the same feelings. It was a little hard convincing her. I kid her now that getting her to marry me was the greatest sales job I ever did” (Kathleen Lubeck, “Elder M. Russell Ballard: True to the Faith,” Ensign, March 1986, 6).

They were married on August 28, 1951, and eventually had two sons and five daughters. She passed away on October 1, 2018. He mentioned her in his October 2018 general conference address.[2]

After they were married, Elder Ballard was called into a bishopric, then in 1974 he was called to be the president of the Toronto Canada Mission. In 1976 he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy where he served as the executive director of the Curriculum Department, executive director of the Correlation Department, executive director of the Missionary Department, and as president of the International Mission. In 1980 he was called into the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

On October 6, 1985, M. Russell Ballard was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. His wife recounted the call,

It came as such a surprise. We were just ready to leave the house to go to conference. The phone rang, and it was President Gordon B. Hinckley, who asked my husband to come to the office. He thought he would perhaps be called on to speak in conference, since one of the speakers was ill. We were relaxed on the way to President Hinckley’s office and discussed what Russell might talk about if called to speak. When we got to the office, President Hinckley called my husband to be an Apostle. I almost thought, please say that again. I don’t know if I heard correctly. Russell looked at me with tears in his eyes. It was a sobering experience (Ibid.).

Elder Ballard accepted the call that morning and that afternoon was sustained by the Church in the closing session of conference. Elder Ballard had a strong testimony of the truth of the gospel.

Quotes from President Ballard

  • "Brothers and sisters, refuse to be used. Refuse to be manipulated. Refuse to support those programs that violate traditional family values. We may be a small voice to begin with; nevertheless, let us speak out and encourage a more uplifting, inspiring, and acceptable media."
“Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign, Nov. 2003
  • "In our lives, He who knows most about us, our potential, and our eternal possibilities has given us divine counsel and commandments in His instruction manuals—the holy scriptures. When we understand and follow these instructions, our lives have purpose and meaning. We learn that our Maker loves us and desires our happiness. In an incomparable manifestation of this divine love for us, he sent his Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ."
“God’s Love for His Children,” Ensign, May 1988

Other interesting information

  • In November of 2009 the Catholic Community Services in Utah awarded Elder Ballard a humanitarian service award.

More on President M. Russell Ballard

Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Jeffrey R. Holland | Dieter F. Uchtdorf | David A. Bednar | Quentin L. Cook | D. Todd Christofferson | Neil L. Andersen | Ronald A. Rasband | Gary E. Stevenson | Dale G. Renlund | Gerrit W. Gong | Ulisses Soares | Patrick Kearon