clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

First printing of biography of President M. Russell Ballard sells out; Deseret Book prints more

Book’s success mirrors that of biography of President Dallin H. Oaks, says Deseret Book president

President M. Russell Ballard shares his life story in his new biography, “Anxiously Engaged.”
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares his life story in his new biography, “Anxiously Engaged.”
Deseret Book

The first printing of a new biography of President M. Russell Ballard has sold out, and two factors are making it hard for Deseret Book to keep its shelves stocked with the second printing of the book about the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first printing of “Anxiously Engaged: A Biography of M. Russell Ballard” sold out weeks after it was released in September. Stock from the second printing is limited because of supply chain issues and demand, Deseret Book president Laurel Day said.

Some patrons have reported being unable to find the book on shelves during the holiday season.

The success of the biography, a collaboration by Susan Easton Black and Joseph Walker that hit shelves in September, comes on the heels of another successful biography about a Latter-day Saint leader. “In the Hands of the Lord: The Life of Dallin H. Oaks,” by Richard E. (Rick) Turley Jr., was released in March.

A new biography of President Dallin H. Oaks was published in March 2021.
A new biography of President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was published in March 2021. It sold out its first print run.
Deseret Book

The first printing of that biography of the first counselor in the church’s First Presidency also sold out swiftly, and Deseret Book sent it back to the press for reprinting.

“We released President Oaks’ biography in the spring, and it was the same thing, the demand exceeded the supply,” Day said. “We thought we were a little more prepared for President Ballard because of that, but I think people are hungry to get to know the leaders and their lives behind the call.

President M. Russell Ballard shares his life story in his new biography, “Anxiously Engaged.”
President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares his life story in his new biography, “Anxiously Engaged.”
Deseret Book

“I think President Ballard is a good example of someone who people have an affinity for and they don’t really know very much about his personal life and how he became President Ballard. I think the sales are a reflection of people’s interest in understanding what made him, him.”

The two leaders have quite literally been close for over most of the past 36 years.

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look through Anthon H. Lund’s journal from 1918 while touring Joseph F. Smith’s bedroom in the Beehive House in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. President Ballard and Sister Kristen M. Oaks are descendants of Joseph F. Smith.
President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, and President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, look through Anthon H. Lund’s journal from 1918 while touring Joseph F. Smith’s bedroom in the Beehive House in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. President Ballard and Sister Kristen M. Oaks are descendants of Joseph F. Smith.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

President Oaks was called as an apostle in 1984 and President Ballard in 1985. They sat next to each other, except when one was away on assignment, in the weekly meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1985 until President Oaks was called into the First Presidency in 2018.

Read more about the biography of President Oaks here. That book revealed the story behind President Nelson’s selection of President Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring as his counselors in the First Presidency.

Read five notable accounts from the biography of President Ballard here.

Both books are available for online orders at DeseretBook.com.