President M. Russell Ballard was remembered with heartfelt tributes during his funeral at the Tabernacle on Temple Square on November 17, 2023. The First Presidency, represented by President Dallin H. Oaks, lauded President Ballard as a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ and a man deeply committed to his family. Acknowledging his nearly 50 years of dedicated Church service, the First Presidency emphasized President Ballard’s global impact as a missionary, mission president, and General Authority. They hailed him as a “courageous warrior for truth” who tirelessly testified of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel.
President Oaks shared personal insights into the close relationship he, President Nelson, and President Eyring had with President Ballard during their many years together in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. President Jeffrey R. Holland, President Ballard’s successor, recounted the powerful spiritual confirmation he received about President Ballard’s friendship during a challenging period in his own life. Elder Quentin L. Cook also spoke, expressing gratitude for President Ballard’s mentorship and describing their collaborative work on “Preach My Gospel” as a highlight of his life.
President Ballard’s personal qualities were highlighted by Elder Cook, who described him as a warm bridge builder with a great sense of humor. Elder Cook expressed gratitude for President Ballard’s inclusive nature, simplicity, and unwavering testimony of the Savior. The funeral also featured two of President Ballard’s seven children, who shared personal anecdotes illustrating their father’s compassionate and dedicated nature.
President Ballard’s son, Craig, recalled his father’s commitment to serving others until his final hours. Even two days before his passing, President Ballard was determined to go to the office, and his last blessing was given to a hospital patient. Another daughter, Holly Clayton, emphasized her father’s impact on their lives, citing his example in living and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. She shared a poignant moment when President Ballard, devastated by her cancer diagnosis, gathered the family for fasting and prayer, offering a heartfelt blessing for strength, peace, and healing.
Holly Clayton also highlighted President Ballard’s devotion to his family, recounting instances where he ensured the safety of his daughter traveling alone and expressing deep love and admiration for his wife, Barbara, who passed away in 2018. President Ballard considered himself the luckiest man to have won her heart, and his family aims to live up to the example set by their parents.
The funeral concluded with a private burial service at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, marking the end of a significant chapter in the Church’s leadership. President M. Russell Ballard was celebrated not only as a dedicated Church leader but also as a loving father, mentor, and disciple of Jesus Christ, leaving a lasting legacy of faith, service, and familial devotion.