Latter-day Saint Life

President Ballard Shares the Message He Feels Joseph Smith Is Sharing with Him Today


About statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith that President M. Russell Ballard keeps in his office, President Ballard shares, “I look at them, and I think I hear them say, ‘Get going boy, and do something worthwhile. Tell the world what’s happened.’ So to me, I get nudged big time when I see them and see what they did and what they gave. Then I feel obligated to do everything I can to declare and to teach that the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is once again upon the earth.” 

As the colors of New England’s bright fall foliage began to give way here Friday, the changing season provided a reflective atmosphere for President M. Russell Ballard.

His thoughts turned to his grandfather, Elder Melvin J. Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve from 1919 to 1939. Near the end of his life, Elder Melvin Ballard traveled to Sharon, Vermont.

“He was not well,” said President Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “My grandmother pled with him not to come.”

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Still, Elder Melvin Ballard stood for 40 minutes and boldly declared his witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the very place he was born.

Then he got in his car, drove to Boston and delivered what would become his final address and witness as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Melvin Ballard then drove his car to Salt Lake City. He died of Leukemia two weeks later.

“And yet he was here and he would not — even though he had very little energy — give up the responsibility he had to declare the word of the Lord to the world. … in the birthplace of the prophet in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times.”

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In His Footsteps | President M. Russell Ballard

Story by Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News; lead image by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.
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