Melvin J. Ballard

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Melvin J. Ballard
Melvin J. Ballard.JPG
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
January 7, 1919 (1919-01-07) – July 30, 1939 (1939-07-30)
Called by Heber J. Grant
LDS Church Apostle
January 7, 1919 (1919-01-07) – July 30, 1939 (1939-07-30)
Called by Heber J. Grant
Reason Death of Joseph F. Smith; reorganization of First Presidency
at end of term
No additional apostles ordained[1]
Personal details
Born Melvin Joseph Ballard
(1873-02-09)February 9, 1873
Logan, Utah Territory, United States
Died July 30, 1939(1939-07-30) (aged 66)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37.92″N 111°51′28.8″W / 40.7772000°N 111.858000°W / 40.7772000; -111.858000 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Spouse Martha A. Jones

Melvin Joseph Ballard (February 9, 1873 – July 30, 1939) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was born in Logan, Utah Territory. His grandson, M. Russell Ballard, was also ordained an apostle.

Birth and Early Life[edit]

Ballard was born at Logan, Utah to Henry Ballard and his wife, the former Margaret McNeal, on Feb. 3, 1873. His father was a native of England and had immigrated to Utah in 1852 to gather with the saints. Henry Ballard had been aboard the Saluda when it exploded at Lexington, Missouri and was injured in that incident. He later served under Orrin Porter Rockwell in the Nauvoo Legion working to prevent the entry of Johnston's Army into Utah. In 1858 Henry was the first settler of Logan, and he served as bishop of the Logan 2nd Ward from 1861-1900.[2]

Prior to Ballard's birth, his mother had an experience that led her to believe her son would be an apostle. In his patriarchal blessing, this was reaffirmed.

Melvin Ballard attended Brigham Young College from which he graduated in 1884.

Career and early church service[edit]

In June 1896 Ballard married Martha A. Jones. The following month he left with B. H. Roberts and George D. Pyper on a mission to the large cities of the eastern United States. He was later reassigned to the Northern States Mission from which he returned in December 1898.

In 1899 Ballard organized the Logan Knitting Factory along with Joseph E. Cardon. In 1900 he was made a counselor in the bishopric of the Logan 2nd Ward.[3]

Mission President[edit]

Ballard served for several years as president of the Northwestern States Mission of the church. While serving in this capacity he organized missionary work on some of the Native American reservations in Montana.


When church president Heber J. Grant was pondering whom to call to replace the vacancy caused by the death of former Church President Joseph F. Smith, he decided to call on his good friend Richard W. Young, as many suspected he would. As he met with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to announce his decision, he found himself saying that the Lord wanted Melvin J. Ballard to serve instead. He used this experience to teach about inspiration and to testify that the Lord calls the leaders in the church.[4]

Ballard was ordained an apostle and became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on January 7, 1919. He served in the Quorum until his death in Salt Lake City from leukemia.[5] Sylvester Q. Cannon was called to fill the vacancy caused by his passing. Ballard opened up missionary work in South America in 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.


He died in Salt Lake City and was buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Published works[edit]

  • Ballard, Melvin J (1966). Melvin J. Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness. Bookcraft. 1. 
  • --- (1922). Three Degrees of Glory: A Discourse. Deseret Book Company. 2. 

Biographies by others[edit]

  • Hinckley, Bryant S., ed. (1949). Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard. Deseret Book Company. 3. 

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Sylvester Q. Cannon was added to the Quorum of the Twelve to take Ballard's place; however, Cannon had been ordained an apostle the year before.
  2. ^ Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 419
  3. ^ Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p. 418-419
  4. ^ Reference for last two sentences in this paragraph - Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000. 496.
  5. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Richard R. Lyman
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
January 7, 1919–July 30, 1939
Succeeded by
John A. Widtsoe