Brother Russ Ballard in the Instructor

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As I’ve mentioned before, I recently borrowed some old issues of the Instructor magazine (see The Busy George Romneys – Juvenile Instructor May 1958 and April 1957 Juvenile Instructor – Draw It With Chalk… note: I erroneously called the magazine Juvenile Instructor). The July 1970 issue of the magazine had an article by some guy named Russ Ballard:

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Russ Ballard is president of the Family Achievement Institute and the organizer of several business in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he and his wife, Barbara Bowen, make their home. The couple have seven children and are members of the Monument park (Utah) Stake. Brother Ballard completed a mission to Great Britain in 1950, has served as a high councilor and twice as a bishop. He currently teaches Sunday School in the Monument Park 13th Ward.

Yes, that is Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love stuff like this. I loved hearing Presidents Hinckley, Monson and Faust, referring to themselves or each other as Gordon, Tommy, and Jim (I wonder if Dieter has an short-form). We show so much respect and reverence for their positions, that sometimes we forget these are men, who at one point lived just like me. I actually find it more faith-promoting to think of these men as regular men who have overcome the average challenges of life to become who they are, rather than as these perfected beings that we seem to associate with Prophets, Seers and Revelators. I wonder what type of a person Russ was… Was he a good Sunday School teacher? Did his members like him when he was a bishop? Was there any sign in 1970 that 15 years later he’d be an Apostle?

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