M. Russell Ballard

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M. Russell Ballard
Photo of M Russell Ballard standing behind a podium giving a speech.
Ballard speaking at the
BYU Church History Symposium
on March 2, 2012.
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06)
LDS Church Apostle
October 10, 1985 (1985-10-10)
Reason Death of Bruce R. McConkie
Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy
February 21, 1980 (1980-02-21) – October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
First Quorum of the Seventy
April 3, 1976 (1976-04-03) – October 6, 1985 (1985-10-06)
End reason Called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Military career
Service/branch United States Army Reserve
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant
Personal details
Born Melvin Russell Ballard, Jr.
(1928-10-08) October 8, 1928 (age 89)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Alma mater University of Utah
Occupation Businessman
Spouse(s) Barbara Bowen
Children 7
Signature of M. Russell Ballard

Melvin Russell Ballard Jr. (born October 8, 1928) is an American businessman and religious leader who has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 1985. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Ballard is accepted by church members as a prophet, seer, and revelator. Currently, he is the fourth most senior apostle in the church.[1]

LDS Church service[edit]

Ballard was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Melvin Russell Ballard Sr. and his wife, Geraldine Smith.[2] As a young man, Ballard served as a missionary in England from 1948 to 1950, he met his wife while they were studying at the University of Utah. In 1974, Ballard was called as president of the church's Canada Toronto Mission. While serving as a mission president, he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976; he completed his three-year term as mission president as a member of the Seventy.[2]

Following the death of apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Ballard was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 6, 1985, and ordained an apostle on October 10, 1985.[3]

Ballard is the grandson of apostles Melvin J. Ballard and Hyrum M. Smith. Through Smith, Ballard is a descendant of Hyrum Smith, brother of church founder Joseph Smith.[citation needed]

Business activities[edit]

Professionally, Ballard was involved in several enterprises, including automotive, real estate, and investment businesses. He was the top-selling salesman for his father’s Nash car dealership when he left it in the early 1950s to pursue other business interests; in 1956, Ballard returned and took over the Ballard Motor Company from his father. During this period he also served in the United States Army Reserve, resigning his commission as a first lieutenant in 1957.[citation needed]

During the late 1950s, Ballard was recruited by the Ford Motor Company to become the first Edsel car dealer for Salt Lake City, after praying for guidance, he had the "clear impression" not to sign the franchise. He did anyway and incurred a huge loss, "without doubt the darkest period" of his business career.[4]

One highlight of his business career was his presidency of the Valley Music Hall in Bountiful, Utah, which offered family entertainment. There Ballard worked with Art Linkletter, Danny Thomas, Bob Cummings, and other Hollywood celebrities who were advisers to the enterprise. Although the music hall failed financially, investors recovered their money when the LDS Church purchased the building.[5][6]


On August 8, 1951, Ballard married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple;[7] they are the parents of seven children. One of their daughters is married to Peter Huntsman, who is the brother of Jon Huntsman Jr., former governor of Utah, and the son of Jon Huntsman Sr.[citation needed]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Apostolic seniority is generally understood to include all ordained apostles (including the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; there is currently an apostolic vacancy due to the recent death of Robert D. Hales). Seniority is determined by date of ordination, not by age or other factors. If two apostles are ordained on the same day, the older of the two is typically ordained first. See Succession to the presidency and Heath, Steven H. (Summer 1987). "Notes on Apostolic Succession" (PDF). Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 20 (2): 44–56. .
  2. ^ a b Richardson, Matthew O. "M. Russell Ballard" in Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, ed., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000) p. 74, ISBN 978-1-57345-822-1 OCLC 44634356
  3. ^ "The Sustaining of Church Officers", Ensign, LDS Church, October 1985 
  4. ^ M. Russell Ballard, Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1993) pp. 85-86.
  5. ^ Dockstader, Julie (February 9, 1991). "Lord has a way of turning adversity to good". Retrieved 24 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Packer, Lynn. Lying For The Lord: The Paul H. Dunn Stories. p. 269. 
  7. ^ LDS.org: Prophets and Apostles: What are Prophets? Bio: M. Russell Ballard, retrieved 26 July 2015.


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Dallin H. Oaks
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 10, 1985 –
Succeeded by
Joseph B. Wirthlin

There is currently a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, due to the death of Robert D. Hales on October 1, 2017.[1]