M. Russell Ballard

Salesman, Edsel Dealer and Apostle

Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Full Name:

Melvin Russell Ballard

Most Recent Position:

Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Known For:

Being an Edsel dealer.

Being a grandson of two Apostles, Melvin J. Ballard and Hyrum M. Smith. Also, Hyrum Smith is his great-great grandfather and Joseph F. Smith is his great-grandfather.

Personal Details:

Born: October 8, 1928 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Died: n/a

Marriage and Family: He married Barbara Bowen in 1951. They have seven children, five daughters and two sons.

Education: He attended the University of Utah.

Experience: Ballard worked in several areas including investment, real estate and automotive businesses. He oversaw the Ballard Motor Company, his family's business.

Other: Served a mission to England. He spent two years in the U. S. Army Reserve. He presided over the Canada, Toronto Mission and continued to do so when he was called to the Quorum of the Seventy. He later served in the presidency of the Seventy. He was ordained as an Apostle in 1985.

Notable Quotes:

On failure:

Years ago when I was in business, I learned a very expensive lesson because I did not listen carefully to the counsel of my father, nor did I heed the promptings of the Spirit giving me guidance from my Heavenly Father. My father and I were in the automobile business, and the Ford Motor Company was looking for dealers to sell their new line of cars. Ford executives invited my father and me to a preview showing of what they thought would be a spectacularly successful product. When we saw the cars, my father, who had over 35 years experience in the business, cautioned me about becoming a dealer. However, the Ford sales personnel were very persuasive, and I chose to become Salt Lake City’s first—and actually last—Edsel dealer. And if you don’t know what an Edsel is, ask your grandpa. He will tell you that the Edsel was a spectacular failure.

On fast and testimony meeting:

Fast and testimony meeting is a time to share brief inspirational thoughts and bear solemn testimony. It is not a time to give a speech.

On financial stability:

Do not trust your money to others without a thorough evaluation of any proposed investment. Our people have lost far too much money by trusting their assets to others. In my judgment, we never will have balance in our lives unless our finances are securely under control.

On missionary work:

I remind you returned missionaries that your preparation for life and for a family should be continuous. “RM” doesn’t mean “retired Mormon”!

On marriage:

I know some of you fear family formation. However, if you marry the right person at the right time and in the right place, you need not fear. In fact, many problems you encounter will be avoided if you are “anxiously engaged” in righteous dating, courting, and marriage. Don’t text her! Use your own voice to introduce yourself to the righteous daughters of God who are all around you. To actually hear a human voice will shock her—perhaps into saying yes.

On sharing the gospel online:

There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.

On the status of women:

Men and women are equal in God’s eyes and in the eyes of the Church, but equal does not mean, brothers and sisters, that they are the same. The responsibilities and divine gifts of men and women differ in their nature but not in their importance or influence. Our Church doctrine places women equal to and yet different from men. God does not regard either gender as better or more important than the other.

Notable Addresses:

God Is at the Helm: Address given at General Conference, October 2015.

Stay in the Boat and Hold On: Address given at General Conference, October, 2014.

Let Us Think Straight: Devotional address about women in the church given at Brigham Young University's Education Week on August 20, 2013.

Learning the Lessons of the Past: Address given at General Conference, April, 2009.

Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet: July, 2008, Ensign article adapted from an address given at BYU-Hawaii Commencement, December 15, 2007.

O Be Wise: Address given at General Conference, October, 2006.

Other Resources: