published : 2023-11-13

Renowned LDS Church Leader M. Russell Ballard Passes Away at 95

A successor to be chosen for M. Russell Ballard at a later date, officials say

M. Russell Ballard, a remarkable leader of the LDS Church, during a conference speech, captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

One of the highest ranking leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, M. Russell Ballard, has died at the age of 95.

Surrounded by his family, Ballard passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, as announced by the church on Monday morning.

As the second longest-serving member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ballard held the position of second-in-line to become the church president.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is a top governing body that assists in setting church policies and overseeing the faith's business interests.

Established in 1889, the tradition within the church ensures a smooth transition of leadership without lobbying.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the top governing body of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gathered together for a portrait, taken with a Nikon D850.

A descendant of church co-founder Hyrum Smith, Ballard's journey in church leadership began as a young missionary in England, eventually leading him to serve as a bishop and president of the Toronto mission.

Speaking at a church conference in April, Ballard emphasized the importance of lasting relationships, particularly with family, which he realized while visiting victims of natural disasters who were in need of support and assistance.

Notably, Ballard was recently in the news as the church accused Tim Ballard, founder of the anti-child-trafficking organization Operation Underground Railroad, of unauthorized use of his name for personal gain.

Tim Ballard has denied these allegations, while a lawsuit has emerged, alleging sexual coercion and assault of women involved in child-trafficking stings overseas by Tim Ballard.

Born in Salt Lake City in 1928, M. Russell Ballard was the son of Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard.

Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad, addressing a crowd at an anti-child-trafficking event, photographed with a Sony Alpha A7R III.

He was survived by his seven children, 43 grandchildren, 105 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

Funeral arrangements for Ballard are pending, and the announcement of his replacement will be made at a future date, typically during the church's semi-annual conference held in April.

While new members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles can come from any background, historically they have been older men who have achieved success outside of the church.