BALLARD, Melvin Russell Jr. - I36984

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Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Melvin Russell Ballard, Jr. (born October 8, 1928) is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been serving as an Apostle since October 6, 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church.[1]

Elder Ballard was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Melvin Russell Ballard Sr. and his wife Geraldine Smith Ballard.[2]


M. Russell Ballard met Barbara Bowen while they were studying at the University of Utah. They married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 28, 1951. Together, they have seven children.[1]

Church Service

As a young man he served as a missionary in England from 1948 to 1950. In 1974, Ballard was called to be the president of the Canada Toronto Mission of the church. He served as mission president and 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.[3] 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 of the LDS Church on October 10, 1985.

Ballard is the grandson of apostles Melvin J. Ballard and Hyrum M. Smith and is a descendant of Hyrum Smith, brother of church founder Joseph Smith, Jr.

Business Activities

Professionally, Ballard became 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.

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 high-quality 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, he ensured that investors recovered the money invested.


  1. 1.0 1.1 LDS Church biography
  2. Matthew O. Richardson. "M. Russell Ballard" in Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon and Richard O. Cowan, ed., Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saints History (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000) p. 74
  3. Richardson. "Ballard" in Garr, Encyclopedia of LDS History, p. 74
  4. M. Russell Ballard, Our Search for Happiness: An Invitation to Understand the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1993), 85-86.