President M. Russell Ballard has passed away at 95

Nov 13, 2023, 7:24 AM | Updated: May 29, 2024, 11:07 am

President M. Russell Ballard...

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during a special stake conference of the Hamilton Ontario Stake, April 23, 2023. (Nick Lachance for the Deseret News)

(Nick Lachance for the Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Elder M. Russell Ballard, the Acting President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, passed away at age 95.

Melvin Russell Ballard was born October 8, 1928, in Salt Lake City. He was a great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith, the brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Both of his grandfathers were apostles, Hyrum Mack Smith and Melvin J. Ballard.

According to Anxiously Engaged, a biography by Susan Easton Black and Joseph Walker, he attended East High School and the University of Utah. He served a mission in England, becoming a counselor in the mission presidency.

He also served as a private and then a lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He courted Barbara Bowen, whom he met at a dance at the university. They were married on August 28th, 1951. Russell and Barbara had seven children.

He went on to work as a top salesperson in his father’s auto dealership and then in his own, as well as a series of business ventures, including real estate and securities. Not all were successful — he owned Utah’s first Edsel dealership, a model discontinued by Ford after a few years.

President M. Russell Ballard served as a bishop twice as well as in a number of other church callings. He was a mission president in Canada when he was called to the First Quorum of Seventy in 1976. In 1980, he was called to the Presidency of the Seventy. Then, in 1985, on a General Conference weekend, he got a phone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley.

“Sunday morning about 7:30 in the morning,” President Ballard recalled, “President Hinckley called me and asked me if I was out of the shower yet. He had such a great sense of humor. I said, ‘Oh, boy, President, I’ll say. We’re coming to Conference.’ And he said, ‘Well, would you come by and see me at 9 o’clock in my office?'”

On that day, he was called to be a member of The Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He was sustained as Acting President of the Quorum in 2018.

His service as an apostle took him to every corner of the globe. He told a General Conference session the most difficult challenge came with the passing of Sister Ballard in 2019

“Barbara and I were blessed to live together for 67 years,” President M. Russell Ballard said in a recent session of General Conference. “But I’ve learned in a very real way what it means to weep for the loss of those we love. Oh, how I love and miss her.”

President M. Russell Ballard said then he took comfort in the hope of the reunion that is at the center of Latter-day Saint teachings.

Funeral services for President Ballard will take place Friday.

Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Race, Religion + Social Justice

Juneteenth Utah...

Emma Keddington

Juneteenth: the past, the present and the future

Juneteenth is "a celebration of freedom, family and the joy of being alive," said museum specialist Kelly Navies.

6 hours ago

People outside the Supreme Court, supporting the DACA program. A Utah immigration attorney said Bid...

Aimee Cobabe and Emma Keddington

Utah immigration attorney breaks down Biden’s executive action aimed to help immigrants

Local immigration attorney Carlos Trujillo said these changes will impact thousands of people here in Utah.

15 hours ago

Heidi Thomas, left, and Meggane Vasquez, right, look at each other during the Rainbow March and Ral...

Mariah Maynes

Deer Valley to host its first Pride event, Mountain Pride Day on June 30

Deer Valley announced that it will host its first Pride festival on June 30.

24 hours ago

Lloyd D. Newell, the announcer and writer of the weekly Music & the Spoken Word broadcast for the p...

Emma Keddington

WATCH: Lloyd Newell reflects on time as voice for “Music & the Spoken Word”

SALT LAKE CITY — Since 1929, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has broadcasted “Music & the Spoken Word.”  Sunday, June 16, marked the end of an era for Lloyd Newell, who has been the voice of the weekly program for 34 years. Newell spoke to Inside Source’s Boyd Matheson on Sunday about […]

3 days ago

View of Salt Lake City pictured, governor is cracking down on denver sending immigrants to utah...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah governor’s office pushing back against Denver for bussing immigrants to Utah

Gov. Spencer Cox's office says that the City of Denver did not consult with them about sending immigrants to Utah.

5 days ago

Music and the Spoken word getting new voice...

Adam Small

Iconic voice of ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ to present his final program

Lloyd Newell who has presented "Music and the Spoken Word" for 35 years will be stepping down from his position.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

President M. Russell Ballard has passed away at 95