After serving for 47 years as a general authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President M. Russell Ballard died on Nov. 12.
In his many years of church ministry, President Ballard impacted the lives of thousands through his callings and his goodness. Due to his death, many students, faculty and BYU-Idaho alumni reflected on the impact President Ballard’s example had on them.
“One of the things I will remember about dear President M. Russell Ballard is how much he loved his wife and the Restoration of the gospel,” said Catherine Bangerter, a senior studying therapeutic recreation. “I feel like he gave me the perfect example of what to look for in a future husband. He loved so fully.”
While visiting England where President Ballard served his mission, junior business management student Jace Wheeler pondered on the sermons preached by President Ballard and his companions.
“I love that he realized his knowledge and testimony of the gospel was just starting to emerge once he began to testify,” Wheeler said. “He carried this principle throughout his life, and invited us in a recent address to bear testimony about what we know and believe rather than what we are merely thankful for.”
Wheeler continues to learn from President Ballard even after his death.
“The best part about his passing is that he endured to the end,” Wheeler said. “He did it! He chose to live celestial laws here and now he will inherit the celestial life. I rejoice that he is reunited with the love of his life, and the Lord he came to know so well in this life.”
Senior communication student Matthew Assante learned from President Ballard’s example that true conversion comes from service in God’s kingdom.
“(He taught me to) allow our experiences from our missions be the launching pad to more spiritual experiences we have with the Lord,” Assante said.
James Chase, a senior studying computer science, expressed his gratitude for President Ballard’s continual missionary service.
“(President Ballard taught) we do not have to have a name tag to bring others to Christ, in fact, the efforts of people who aren’t full-time missionaries are often the most needed to help the work continue to move forward,” Chase said. “Every soul is of great worth in the eyes of God.”
Jonathon Corbett, a BYU-I alumni, said that he has learned through President Ballard’s example that the gospel and the Church have an order that points us to Christ.
“We can get distracted or sidetracked, but ‘Stay in the Boat, and ‘Beware False Prophets’ are two talks I remember from him,” Corbett said. “Teaching us to trust the Prophet and the Church to bring us home to Christ.”
BYU-I President Alvin F. Meredith III pondered on the personal experiences he had with President Ballard. He recalled on an Instagram story the times he was ordained and set apart by President Ballard for his Church callings.
“My first thought upon hearing of his passing was that he is now reunited with his beloved wife Barbara, who passed away five years ago,” President Meredith wrote. “We certainly mourn with those that mourn, especially among President Ballard’s family, but we also rejoice in the ‘peace of God, which passeth all understanding’ (Philip. 4:7) that because of Jesus Christ, we all will be resurrected and may live with those we love eternally.”
Ballard funeral services schedule can be viewed on the Church Newsroom.