Elder M. Russell Ballard is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been serving as an Apostle since October 6, 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church.
He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 8, 1928, to Melvin R. and Geraldine Smith Ballard. He attended the University of Utah.
As a young man, he served a mission to England for the Church, where he was a counselor in the mission presidency. He has also served as a bishop twice.
In 1974, he was called as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, where he was serving when called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in April of 1976. As a member of the Seventy, he supervised and trained leaders in his assigned geographic regions. He later served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from February 1980 to October 1985, overseeing the Church’s Quorums of the Seventy. Much of his ministry has been focused on missionary work.
Prior to his call as a full-time Church leader, Elder Ballard had interests in the automotive, real estate, and investment businesses. He has served on many Church and civic committees and boards.
He married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple on August 28, 1951. They are the parents of two sons and five daughters.