M. Russell Ballard: The Real Deal (and some fine print)


Today is M. Russell Ballard’s birthday. Wahoo! He was born Born October 8, 1928.

Here are a dozen things to get to know him better:

• M is for Melvin. (Named after grandfather and Apostle Melvin J. Ballard)

• Great-great grandson of the Hyrum Smith.

• 1st Lieutenant in the Army Reserve.

• Ran a car dealership, concert venue, and other business ventures. Mowed lawns as a boy to make money.

• Back in the 50’s, the Holy Ghost told him not to start an Edsel car dealership in Salt Lake City. He ignored the impression, and it proved to be a financial disaster. He feels that the experience taught him empathy.

• Jokes that his struggle to convincing Barbara Bowen to marry him “Was the greatest sales job I ever did.”

• When I was a young missionary in South America, I was once assigned to be Elder Ballard’s companion speaker. Before the meeting, I found myself standing next to him at the urinals in the bathroom. He gave me some personal counsel that I remember to this day. He said, “Be careful, because when you flush, the water will spray up on your shoes.”
I heeded his warning. (True story)

• Favorite meal? Steak and fries.

• When he was in college, his fraternity brothers called him “The Bishop,” because he was so solidly righteous.

• Would take his son Clark to Nevada to explore abandoned mine shafts. (I am happy to say he is still with us.)

• Loves to talk about missionary work – and practices what he preaches. 

• Is an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy 85th Elder Ballard!

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  1. I’m interested to know where you got the information about President Ballard being called “Bishop” by his Sigma Chi fraternity brethren. I thought I knew everything about that, but I have never heard that story. Hilarious!

  2. My oldest 5 kids and I got to see him this past Sunday at our church building. He was here for the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Liberty Jail memorial. He asked us to put our hands in the air and shake them… at the same time he did. He then told us to write in our journals that we had shaken hands with an Apostle.

    (it had been a long day and he was not able to stay to really shake our hands)

    Amazing experience overall. 🙂

  3. The tidbit about ignoring the impression about not opening the car dealership was interesting… because I felt that we had a big job change/move that we were impressed not to do, but we did anyway (mostly because we had already accepted, sold our house, and felt that we couldn’t let people down and back out of the job… the same job that closed down the company 6 months later and left us jobless and unable to sell our new home… and although it ended up being a much harder road than we might have had, had we listened, we have learned so much, and have felt like we’ve ended up in a good place. I think sometimes He gives us options that will make things smoother, but as long as we’re trying hard, He will make many options work for our good. It helped me to read that an apostle doesn’t always end up on the easy path either. 😉

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