This article was first published in the ChurchBeat newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.
Two apostles have posted social media tributes to President M. Russell Ballard days after the funeral for the man who had been their quorum leader in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Ballard died Nov. 12 while serving as the acting president of the quorum. He was responsible for giving assignments to the other 11 apostles in the quorum to travel the world to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and organize the church wherever they went.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband knew President Ballard long before they labored together in the Quorum of the Twelve.
In a post on Instagram and X on Tuesday, Elder Rasband said President Ballard was a mentor, friend and leader to him for most of his life. When Elder Rasband worked for the Huntsman Chemical Corp., President Ballard served on the company’s board of directors.
“It was in this association that he taught me the following,” Elder Rasband shared, “which I hope to never forget: ‘Ron, always let your word be your bond.’”
Similar lessons ensued, Elder Rasband said.
“Many times in my business career, President Ballard taught me the importance of being honest, truthful and having complete integrity in my work. These lessons became even more pronounced in my close associations with him in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles over the past eight years.”
Read the entire post here.
Elder Dale G. Renlund also had served eight years in the quorum with President Ballard, who became the acting president of the quorum in January 2018 after President Thomas S. Monson died and President Russell M. Nelson, who had been the quorum president, became the new president of the church.
Elder Renlund said on Instagram and Facebook that President Ballard’s death “has left a hole in my heart. He was not just my acting quorum president for more than 5 ½ years, he was a fixture in church leadership for a major part of my life. I know that all is well with him and that a glorious reward awaits him, but I and many, many others will miss him dearly.”
He also shared parts of his last conversation with President Ballard on Nov. 1 before the Renlunds left for South America on an assignment from his quorum president.
President Ballard said he wasn’t feeling well, but then Elder Renlund said one of the cities he was visiting was Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“(He) became animated and told me about his grandfather (Elder Melvin J. Ballard) dedicating the lands of South America for the preaching of the gospel on Dec. 25, 1925.”
Remarkably, he said, “President Ballard cited most of the prayer from memory.”
Read the rest of the post here.
My recent stories
About the church
President Russell M. Nelson issued a personal invitation to all youth and young adults to attend seminary and institute. Watch the video invitation here. Over the last two years, institute enrollment has grown by more than 57,000 students. Between the ages of 18-30, 95% of church-attending young adults will also attend institute. Here’s a piece on what the increase in institute enrollment says about the strength of the rising generation.
President Nelson’s video was part of a young adult devotional hosted by Elder Quentin L. Cook and Sister Mary Cook. Elder Cook addressed five key concerns for young adult members.
The Nauvoo City Council approved plans for a new Nauvoo Temple Visitors’ Center.
Utah’s Giving Machines are open and ready for the 2023 holiday season.
The First Presidency announced the exact locations for temples in Mexico and Brazil and released a rendering of the Barcelona Spain Temple. Read about them here.
After attending President Ballard’s funeral with the rest of the Twelve, Elder Ulisses Soares spoke remotely to a Portuguese-language devotional.
What Travis Kelce, Tammy Reid and others have said about the Giving Machines in Kansas City.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé attended the annual Catholic Community Services of Utah Humanitarian Awards Dinner, according to iCatholic.org.
What I’m reading
The law that changed religious freedom forever: 30 years ago, Democrats, Republicans and a wide variety of religious groups banded together to boost religious freedom protections.
Major leadership change announced for Deseret Management Corp., which operates the Deseret News.
Can Major League Baseball improve October? How these tweaks could rock the playoffs.
Behind the scenes
I’m working on a piece about some Latter-day Saint history that will be heavy on historic photographs. I came across this photo of late church President Gordon B. Hinckley while doing research. It doesn’t fit that story, so I thought I’d share it here. It reminded me of his remarkable wit.