In 1884, a mysterious newspaper from England made its way into the hands of Elder M. Russell Ballard's great-grandfather. That event can only be described as a miracle that would change the family forever.
Shortly after the Logan Utah Temple was dedicated on May 17, 1884, Bishop Henry Ballard of the Logan Second Ward was busy interviewing members and writing recommends when his young daughter, Ellen, delivered a newspaper to him. The paper was the Newbury Weekly News, which was published in his birthplace of Newbury, Berkshire, England. The paper’s date—May 15, 1884—indicated that it had been printed only three days earlier. At the time, a typical trip across the ocean, and then the plains, took weeks!
Bishop Ballard’s young daughter explained that she had been playing on the sidewalk when two strangers handed her the paper and gave strict instructions that she deliver it to no one except her father. Upon inspection, Bishop Ballard found the newspaper to contain a story with the names of 60 people and their accompanying dates of birth and death. The next day, Bishop Ballard sought an explanation from Temple President Marriner W. Merrill. After listening to the bishop’s story, President Merrill said, “Brother Ballard, someone on the other side is anxious for their work to be done and they knew that you would do it if this paper got into your hands.” Bishop Ballard made certain the temple work was complete, and later it was learned that most of the people named in the newspaper were related to the Ballard family.
More than a half-century later, a young M. Russell Ballard, the great-grandson of Henry Ballard, was serving a mission in England and made a visit to the offices of the Newbury Weekly News. “I visited the Newbury Weekly News,” he records, “and verified that the newspaper had never been postdated or mailed out early. I held the issue of 15 May 1884 in my hands and photographed it. There is no mortal way that, in 1884, it could have reached Logan from Newbury within three days.”
Adapted from Holy Places: True Stories of Faith and Miracles from Latter-day Temples by Chad Hawkins. Now available as an eBook on deseretbook.com. Read about many new temple miracles in Temples of the New Millennium by Chad Hawkins, coming next spring!
Photo by Cory Maylett