State leaders, Church members remember the life of President M. Russell Ballard

Nov 13, 2023, 11:46 AM | Updated: 5:23 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Several of Utah’s leaders are expressing their gratitude for the life of President M. Russell Ballard, who died Sunday night at the age of 95.

Gov. Spencer Cox posted on X, formerly Twitter, his appreciation for the late apostle.

“Abby and I are deeply saddened at the passing of our dear friend. He spent a lifetime of service trying to make the world a better place for everyone. We are forever grateful for the goodness and light he brought to this world,” Cox wrote.

The legacy of President Ballard also touched Utah’s federal delegation, with Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Blake Moore expressing their thoughts via X as well.

“Ann and I mourn the loss of Elder M. Russell Ballard, a great leader, a spiritual giant, and a dear friend. He kindly offered us wise personal counsel on our life choices. To him, we owe decades of our extraordinary journey through life. United with his beloved wife Barbara, he is home again,” Senator Romeny wrote.

“President Ballard lived a life of selfless, faithful service. His passing will be felt deeply,” Rep Moore wrote, sharing a post from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Ballard’s passing.

Senate President Stuart Adams tells KSL it was an “honor” to have known President Ballard.

“I can remember him talking about his desire to have, be led and directed by the Spirit, and I think that’s what probably gave him that sense of commitment to others as he was trying to follow the promptings the feelings he had within himself, of doing good and serving other people,” he said.

Adams said Ballard always made a conscious effort to be kind to people.

The loss is also felt by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Many who were walking around Temple Square Monday reacted to the news.

“I think his legacy to me is just selfless service and such warmth. I think he was a tremendous natural leader. Everything he did was selfless,” said Carl Black, a Utahn. “To me. He’s a perfect example of a disciple of Christ, the way he lived his life and the way he served not only members of the Church but the whole community and the communities where he lived and worked. He was an amazing man.”

One woman visiting with her mom and aunt from Colorado said she was saddened but not too surprised by the news of his passing.

“Because of his last conference talk. It felt like he was saying goodbye to us. But we’re happy for him that he’s reunited with his wife once again.,” said Linda Madson of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The three women shared that one of their favorite talks from the Church leader was called “Stay in the Boat and Hold On!”

“The Lord in His goodness has provided help, including a boat, essential supplies such as life jackets, and experienced river guides who give guidance and safety instructions to help us make our way down the river of life to our final destination,” Elder Ballard said in his message from the October 2014 talk. “Let’s think about rule number one: stay in the boat!”

Madson said the advice has stayed with her.

“Just stay in, stay in the boat, ride it out. If you have any doubts or fears or whatever, and just be peaceful and calm, and the Lord is in charge,” she said.

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State leaders, Church members remember the life of President M. Russell Ballard