Menu
In the News

Today is President Ballard’s 92nd birthday. Here are 27 photos to celebrate his life

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, waves as he lea

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, waves as he leaves the Saturday afternoon session of the 188th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Behind are Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Sister Patricia T. Holland.

Ravell Call, Deseret News


On Thursday, Oct. 8, President M. Russell Ballard celebrates his 92nd birthday.

President Ballard has been serving as the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since Jan. 14, 2018. He was sustained as an apostle on Oct. 6, 1985.

While serving as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April 1976. From February 1980 to October 1985, he served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Inside the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: What President Ballard has learned in over 40 years of service

He married Barbara Bowen on Aug. 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of seven children. Sister Ballard passed away on Oct. 1, 2018, at the age of 86. President Ballard acknowledged the passing of his wife during his October 2018 and October 2019 general conference talks.

During his October 2020 general conference address, President Ballard reminded listeners of the power of prayer amidst a deadly global pandemic where individuals' lives are being disrupted and many feel isolated and alone.

“Each night when I pray, I ask the Lord to bless all who are burdened with grief, pain, loneliness and sadness. I know that other Church leaders echo that same prayer. Our hearts, individually and collectively, go out to you and our prayers go to God on your behalf,” he said.

Here are 27 photos celebrating the life of President Ballard:

russell_ballard_boy_portrait_paast_bio_34063B.jpg

M. Russell Ballard as a toddler. He was born in Salt Lake City on Oct. 8, 1928 to Melvin Russell and Geraldine Smith Ballard.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

barbara_and_russell_ballard_on_wedding_day_paast_bio_34063C.jpg

M. Russell Ballard and Barbara Bowen were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 28, 1951.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ballard_Barbara.jpg

M. Russell Ballard and his wife Barbara B. Ballard.

Deseret News archive

Ballard_Auto_Desk.jpg

M. Russell Ballard, left, worked as the president of Ballard Motor Company, his father's car dealership, in the 1950s.

Deseret News archive

Holladay_12th_Olympus_stake.jpg

M. Russell Ballard served twice as a bishop. Here he is pictured with the Holladay 12th Ward, Olympus Stake. Left to right are Glendon M. Whitmore, first counselor; Bishop M. Russell Ballard Jr., and Boyd N. Nielson, second counselor. At rear are Irvan W. McCarrel, J. Rodney Taylor and H. Clive Kimball, clerks.

Deseret News archive

Ballard_and_wife.jpg

Elder and Sister M. Russell Ballard are thrilled at the new calling to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Church News archive

Ballard_game.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, second from left, and Sister Barbara Ballard, right, and their children match wits and luck in the game of Bonkers in the 1980s.

Church News archive

Reading_Paper.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard reviews curriculum material at the Church in March 1980.

Church News archive

Lets_Talk_Families.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard gives a talk about families in a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse on May 25, 1980. Pictured with his daughter and son-in-law, he uses his grandson to make a point that no one knows the destiny of a child.

Church News archive

Hawaii_Ballard.jpg

Elder Charles Didier and Elder M. Russell Ballard, on front row, mingle with children and others in the congregation when Suriname was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel in February 1990.

Church News archive

Ballard_Bush.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, right, was a guest of President George Bush at Camp David for the dedication of the new interfaith chapel at the former president's Maryland retreat. Elder Ballard received a silver tray for the Church's contribution to the Camp David Chapel Fund Inc. This picture appeared in an April 1991 edition of the Church News.

Church News archive

dedication_3.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Howard W. Hunter, and Elders Russell M. Nelson Joseph B. Wirthlin, and Dean L. Larsen watch the cornerstone laying at the dedication of the Las Vegas Temple in 1989.

Church News archives

ballard2005SeptHurricanKatrina2.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Boyd K. Packer, Jon M. Huntsman Sr., Bishop H. David Burton, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson at the Baton Rouge Evacuation Center on Sept. 4, 2005.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

ballard1994JulyJonHuntsman.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard and Jon M. Huntsman Sr. at Waterfall Resort in Alaska in July 1994.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

ballard_1.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, talks about grave sites of Joseph and Hyrum Smith commemoration service June 27th, 2002.

Jeffrey D. Allred

ballard2005HurricaneKatrina_.jpg

Peter Huntsman, Sr., Elder M. Russell Ballard, and Elder Jon M. Huntsman survey some of the damage in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Sept. 4, 2005.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

823282.jpg

Left to right: Elder Quentin L. Cook, Michelle Obama, Elder M. Russell Ballard. Michelle Obama met with the apostles during a campaign stop in Salt Lake City on behalf of her husband, Senator Barack Obama, in February 2008.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc

Moscow_stake_conference.jpg

Elder M. Russell M. Ballard shakes hands with a young child in Moscow, Russia, June 4.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

01ballard0117chn.471281.2288595_01.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard tells a story to his family members during a council meeting in Salt Lake City on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. Now President Ballard — as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles — has been an energetic advocate of the council system in the Church stretching at least as far back as October 1993, when he talked on that subject in general conference for the first time.

Nick Wagner

Arenarodeo_JDA_0532.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard speaks during the annual Days of '47 rodeo at the new state fair park arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, July 19, 2017.

Jeffrey D. Allred

Ballard_Houston3_20171.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency gather in prayer with The Reverend Clemons in Houston, Texas, Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, 2017.

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

SunPMphoto.chn_0557.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve of the Quorum of the Twelves and his wife Sister Barbara Ballard exit at the end of the afternoon session of the Church's 187th Semiannual General Conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Pioneer_Parade_9629.jpg

Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, rides in the Days of Õ47 Parade in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

Kristin Murphy

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President M. Russ

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, Italy, on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

The Vatican

AR8Q8673.jpg

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, pose near the Vatican in Rome, Italy, on March 9, 2019 after meeting with Pope Francis.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

President M. Russell Ballard and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter

President M. Russell Ballard and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints react to an photograph taken earlier in the day of themselves in Rome, Italy on Monday, March 11, 2019.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Ch

Every member of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posed for an iconic photograph in Rome, Italy on Monday, March 11, 2019. Front center are President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring. Also included are members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder David A. Bednar, Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Elder Dale G. Renlund, Elder Gerrit W. Gong and Elder Ulisses Soares.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed