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M. Russell Ballard (1928-2023)

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M. Russell Ballard (10/8/1928-11/12/23, a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served as an apostle and the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,  died on November 12, 2023. Ballard was married to Barbara, with whom he had seven children. They had a total of 43 grandchildren, 105 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

Ballard first became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976. Then, in 1985, the 57-year-old Ballard was sustained as an apostle, replacing the legendary Bruce R. McConkie. He became the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in January 2018 when his predecessor, Dallin H. Oaks, was picked by 17th President Russell M. Nelson to become the First Counselor in the First Presidency.

Before becoming a general authority, Ballard organized and directed several businesses related to the automotive, real estate, and investment fields. In fact, he was a top-selling car salesman for his father’s dealership–Ballard Motor Company–when he left it in the early 1950s. He later returned in 1956 so he could run it. A few years later the Ford Motor Company convinced him to be the first Utah dealership to sell the Edsel, which he decided to do even though he had an inclination not to do it. It ended up costing his family a large amount of money.

Ballard first entered church work as a Mormon missionary to England from 1948-1950. Later he was a counselor to a mission president, twice held the office of bishop, and was the head of the Canada Toronto Mission while he was a Seventy. Ballard’s pedigree in LDS leadership is direct, as he was related to Apostle Melvin Joseph Ballard (1873-1939), Apostle Hyrum Mack Smith (1872-1918), and Hyrum Smith, the brother of Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith.

Nobody will ever write a book about the “quotable quotes” of M. Russell Ballard, as he is typically straightforward and to the point in both his writings and general conference talks. In other words, he was not the most memorable of the speakers at General Conference.


Our Top 10 Ballard Quotes

  1. “We’re not Catholic and we’re not Protestant, but we are the New Testament Church that’s been restored because we believe it was lost after the times of Christ and his apostles and was required to be restored through a prophet” (“Elder Ballard Responds to Evangelical Criticism,”Deseret News, December 6, 2007).
  2. “However, in the Lord’s Ch urch there is no such thing as a ‘loyal opposition.’ One is either for the kingdom of God and stands in defense of God’s prophets and apostles, or one stands opposed” (“Beware of False Prophets and False Teachers,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1999, p. 64).
  3. “There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the prompting of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven” (“Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, July 2008, p. 63).
  4. “They’re [Evangelical Christians] locked into the Nicene Creed…We’re locked into the restoration and the experiences of Joseph Smith,” said Elder M. Russell Ballard, a senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ‘And that will undoubtedly be an issue until God himself comes’” (“Elder Ballard Responds to Evangelical Criticism,” Deseret News, December 6, 2007. Ellipses in original. Brackets mine).
  5. “One of my children once said, ‘Dad, I wonder if I will ever be able to make it.’ I responded, ‘All Heavenly Father asks of us is to do the very best we can each day.’ Brothers and sisters, do the best you can do day after day, and before you know it, you will come to realize that your Heavenly Father knows you and that He loves you. And when you know that—really know it—your life will have real purpose and meaning and you will be filled with joy and peace” (M. Russell Ballard, “The True, Pure, and Simple Gospel of Jesus Christ, Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2019, p. 28).
  6. “False prophets and false teachers are those who declare that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a duplicitous deceiver; they challenge the First Vision as an authentic experience. They declare that the Book of Mormon and other canonical works are not ancient records of scripture. They also attempt to redefine the nature of the Godhead, and they deny that God has given and continues to give revelation today to His ordained and sustained prophets” (“Beware of false prophets and teachers,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1999, p. 63).
  7. “Thankfully, Jesus Christ courageously fulfilled this sacrifice in ancient Jerusalem. There in the quiet isolation of the Garden of Gethsemane, He knelt among the gnarled olive trees, and in some incredible way that none of us can fully comprehend, the Savior took upon Himself the sins of the world” (“The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 2004, p. 85).
  8. “I would rather be a woman not entering into marriage in mortality than a man. I would not want to stand before the Lord as a healthy, normal man and try to explain why I never married. Please understand that temple marriage is absolutely vital in our quest to inherit the highest degree of the celestial kingdom” (“Keep the Commandments – Beginning Right Now!,” BYU fireside address given September 6, 1987).
  9. “And third, if neighbors become testy or frustrated because of some disagreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with some law we support for moral reasons, please don’t suggest to them—even in a humorous way—that they consider moving someplace else. I cannot comprehend how any member of our Church can even think such a thing! Our pioneer ancestors were driven from place to place by uninformed and intolerant neighbors. They experienced extraordinary hardship and persecution because they thought, acted, and believed differently from others. If our history teaches us nothing else, it should teach us to respect the rights of all people to peacefully coexist with one another” (“Doctrine of Inclusion,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2001, p. 37-38).
  10. “As you teach your students and respond to their questions, let me warn you not to pass along faith-promoting or unsubstantiated rumors or outdated understandings and explanations of our doctrine and practices from the past. It is always wise to make it a practice to study the words of the living prophets and apostles; keep updated on current Church issues, policies, and statements through and; and consult the works of recognized, thoughtful, and faithful LDS scholars to ensure you do not teach things that are untrue, out of date, or odd and quirky” (M. Russell Ballard, “By Study and By Faith,” Ensign, December 2016, p. 26).

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