Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Melvin J. Ballard Melvin J. (Joseph) Ballard

1873 - 1939
  • Born 1873 Logan, Cache County, Utah
  • Baptized 1881
  • Received Aaronic Priesthood and ordained Deacon 1884
  • Received Melchizedek Priesthood and ordained Elder 1895
  • Married Martha A. Jones 1896; Logan Temple; eight children
  • Ordained Seventy 1896
  • Special Mission to Eastern States 1896
  • Mission to Northern States 1896-1898
  • Ordained High Priest 1900
  • President of Northwestern States Mission 1909
  • Ordained Apostle and sustained to the Twelve 1909-1939
  • Died 1939 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Melvin Joseph Ballard, Apostle, was born Feb. 9, 1873, at Logan, Cache county, Utah, the son of Bishop Henry Ballard and Margaret McNeil. His parents, who emigrated to Utah in 1852, were numbered among the old sturdy pioneers, who endured the hardships incident to travel over the plains with ox teams and who assisted in the establishment of the great Western empire, making the "desert blossom as the rose" and laying upon the rocks a foundation that will weather every storm during the ages to come. They were exceptionally unassuming and succeeded in living the divine law as nearly perfect as seems possible to mortals. A few years prior to the birth of Melvin, much sickness and numerous deaths visited the home of the Ballards until it appeared at times as if they were forsaken, yet never a word of complaint fell from their lips, nor did they ever deny the power of God, who, in the midst of all these trials and sorrows, had comforted them with a testimony that God lives and overrules to bring about the perfection of his obedient children.

    Upon one of these sad occasions, when the clouds of darkness hovered long about them, the mother, with a "broken heart and a contrite spirit," bowed in solemn supplication before her Father, and received the assuring comfort that she should be given a son who would be numbered as one of the Apostles of the Lamb, and to her last day she maintained that this would come to pass just as it had been revealed to her. This knowledge was one of the many blessings which sustained and cheered her long years of toil and sacrifice.

    The boyhood days of Melvin were spent upon his father's farm, and in attending school as time and means permitted. He was a devoted worker and possessed a studious mind, aiming to qualify himself for what he felt to be his life's mission, the salvation of his fellow-men. He succeeded well in acquiring a common school education in the midst of difficulties. The divine art, music, made up a large part of his nature, the development of which brought joy mingled with tears to thousands of souls, and no one in his home county was more gratefully and lovingly remembered in this respect than was he. Few funerals were held where the sadness of the occasion was not made brighter by the sympathetic strains of melody as they pierced into the very hearts of those who needed comfort.

    Melvin was baptized and confirmed on his eighth birthday by his father. In 1884 he was ordained a Deacon. In this capacity, as a boy, he first learned obedience in the operations of the Priesthood. He was prompt in attending his quorum meetings, in caring for the Ward meeting house, keeping it clean, making fires, and in doing whatever was essential for the comfort of those who attended Ward gatherings. In those days it was customary for the Deacons quorums throughout the Church to chop wood for the widows and poor among the people, and in this work young Melvin took great delight. Especially was it his custom to spend a part of each Christmas day, with a sleigh as a vehicle, in distributing gifts which had been given through his father, the Bishop, for the blessings and comfort of the widows and orphans and those in need.

    As a Priest, to which office he was ordained, Dec. 27, 1891, by his father, he manifested the same zeal and love for God's work that he had done while acting as a Deacon. In this calling he traveled as a teacher among the Ward members and received his first experience as a preacher of the gospel. His love for this constantly increased, and he endeared himself in the hearts of the people until they looked upon him as indeed a bearer of glad tidings.

    Elder Ballard entered the Brigham Young College and graduated with the class of 1894 in the business course, following which he became a member of the faculty and taught music. The Higher Priesthood was conferred upon him Feb. 5, 1895, at which time he was ordained an Elder, and succeeded in magnifying his holy calling to the entire satisfaction of those who presided over him. At about this time he became acquainted with Miss Martha A. Jones and they were married in the Logan Temple June 17, 1896.

    On the sixth of July, 1896, Elder Ballard was ordained a Seventy by Apostle John Henry Smith and on the following day he was set apart as a missionary to labor with Elders Brigham H. Roberts and George D. Pyper to hold meetings in the larger cities of the United States. This special mission was continued for several months, and upon the return of Elder Roberts and Pyper to Utah, Elder Ballard was assigned to the Northern States Mission, where he labored with his usual energy. He was appointed president of the Southern Illinois Conference, in which capacity he served until honorably released to return home in December, 1898.

    In 1899, he assisted in organizing the Logan Knitting Factory, one of the leading factories of the State. He also assisted in organizing the Logan Commercial Club which was later united with the Booster's Club under the name of Commercial-Boosters Club. He served two terms as president and director of that organization. During the same year he was set apart as one of the presidents of the 40th quorum of Seventy, which position he filled with signal honor. In January, 1899, he held a week's discussion with one of the ministers of the Reorganized Church upon the question of succession, and succeeded in establishing in the hearts of the hearers the fact that the authority of the Priesthood is with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Brother Ballard was ordained a High Priest, April 23, 1900, by Apostle Francis M. Lyman, and by him set apart as a counselor to the Bishop of the Logan Second ward, where he labored untiringly until 1906, when he was called as an alternate High Councilor in the Cache Stake of Zion, in which position he was afforded an opportunity of enlarging upon his usefulness because of a larger field in which to labor. At this time he had become a recognized speaker of exceptional ability, and his services were sought after by Bishops and presidents of auxiliary associations in his own and adjoining Stakes of Zion.

    During the winter of 1902-1903 he was called upon a short mission to Boise, Idaho, and assisted President Joseph W. McMurrin in organizing the scattered saints into a branch, which they successfully accomplished to the joy and comfort of many who had been long deprived of the blessings of an organization. Many public meetings were held which resulted in bringing several into the fold of the Redeemer. This small beginning later resulted in the organization of the Boise Stake of Zion.

    Notwithstanding his strenuous religious and business activities, he found time to serve in a civil way as a city councilman, and as a member of the civic organizations of the city and county. For three years he served upon the Stake Board of Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association and Religion Classes; acted for many years as chorister of the Logan Second Ward, and was chairman of the Cache Stake Tabernacle choir for seventeen years, and assisted in installing a $15,000 pipe organ. While engaged primarily in Stake work he always found time to assist in a Ward capacity, for he was a devoted teacher in the Sunday school and president of the Y. M. M. I. A. for several years.

    Being called to preside over the Northwestern States Mission he was set apart for this very responsible position April 6, 1909. During his ten years of presidency, he presided over hundreds of young men and women missionaries, all of whom loved him with exceptional devotion. Thousands of saints also regard him as a man of God, devoted to the uplift of humanity. His friends are legion in the Northwest and are numbered among the leading business and professional men. Many chapels were built under his direction, and the spiritual and financial condition of the saints improved.

    Elder Ballard was ordained an Apostle, Jan. 7, 1919, by President Heber J. Grant to fill a vacancy caused by the reorganization of the First Presidency. The appointment of Elder Ballard as a member of the Council of Twelve, in harmony with the revelation to his mother before his birth, was further evidence of the beautiful harmony that comes through the operations of the Spirit of God through his humble and devoted children. His appointment gave universal satisfaction, and he entered upon his new duties with the love and affection of the saints everywhere. Brother and Sister Ballard were the parents of eight children.

    After faithful service in the Quorum of the Twelve for twenty years, Elder Ballard died July 30, 1939 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

   The LDS Biographical Encyclopedia
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 65
   Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation

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