Utah reacts to President M. Russell Ballard’s passing

Nov 13, 2023, 12:01 PM | Updated: Nov 14, 2023, 9:44 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 — Local leaders shared their condolences Monday following the death of Elder M. Russell Ballard, the Acting President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Ballard died Sunday at age 95.

Family on President Ballard

According to the church, President Ballard is “survived by his seven children, 43 grandchildren 105 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.”

The Church released a video Monday honoring President Ballard’s life. In it, his son Craig Ballard spoke on his father’s work ethic.

“When he was a young businessman, if things didn’t go right, you know many business people would just say, ‘Well sorry’,” he said. “But my dad would always figure out a way to make it right.”

President Ballard worked in the automotive, real estate and investment industries prior to his call as a church leader.

President Ballard’s daughter Holly Clayton looked back on her parents’ marriage in the video.

“I just think they were so in love with each other to begin with,” she said. “Dad would often say, ‘I would never do anything that would hurt your mother. I would just think about her looking at me with those big blue eyes and I had to just always behave.”

Reaction from Latter-day Saints community

In the remembrance video, Latter-day Saint President Russell M. Nelson recalled how lucky he was to have worked with President Ballard.

“We had the privilege of sitting beside a man who’s the great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith,” he said. “And Joseph Smith was his great-great-uncle. Both of his grandfathers were apostles of the lord. His commitment and his consecration were in his blood.”

President Nelson said President Ballard knew exactly what the Lord taught and how to apply those lessons to bring joy and happiness in life.

President Dallin H. Oaks,  First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints shared his thoughts in the video, saying, “I will miss his extraordinary judgment and wisdom. I have been blessed by that again and again.”

Political leaders on President Ballard

Gov. Spencer Cox shared a statement on Monday that read in part, “He [President Ballard] spent a lifetime of service trying to make the world a better place for everyone.”

Utah’s two senators also shared their thoughts on President Ballard’s passing.

Sen. Mike Lee shared his condolences in a statement that read: “President Ballard’s life was a testament to his devoted service to the Church and its members.”

Lee wrote that President Ballard’s legacy will live on.

In a statement, Sen. Mitt Romney wrote that President Ballard was a “great leader, a spiritual giant and a dear friend” who offered valuable guidance to Romney and his wife.

“To him, we owe decades of our extraordinary journey through life.”

Utah’s congressional representatives shared their condolences as well.

Rep. Blake Moore shared a statement that read: “President Ballard lived a life of selfless, faithful service. His passing will be felt deeply.”

A statement from Rep. John Curtis read: “President Ballard’s unwavering dedication to faith, family and service has left an indelible mark not only within the Church but across communities worldwide.”

Curtis also shared that his father spent time with Ballard at Brigham Young University. He wrote that his father’s stories about President Ballard gave him a greater appreciation for the spiritual leader.

Rep. Burgess Owens wrote: “A man of unwavering integrity, President Ballard devoted his life to serving his faith and fellow man.”

A statement from Speaker Brad Wilson read: “President Ballard was kind, thoughtful, humble, and often humorous in all our interactions.”

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams wrote: “I join many Utahns and those around the world in mourning the one-of-a-kind individual who illustrated a strong and selfless commitment to his faith, our state and our community.”

The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City also extended its condolences on Monday. A statement from the Diocese read, “He [President Ballard] was a man of integrity and true friend of our Catholic bishops, many of our clergy and other leaders.”

The Church of Jesus Christ released plans for President Ballard’s funeral services on Tuesday.

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.

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Utah reacts to President M. Russell Ballard’s passing