For additional articles covering O.U.R., please go to ACJ Investigates: Derailed: Operation Underground Railroad
Following an extensive investigative series by Anna Merlan and Tim Marchman of Vice News, the LDS Church denounced Tim Ballard after documents obtained in the now closed Davis County and FBI criminal investigation into Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad illustrate extensive ties between M. Russell Ballard and Tim Ballard (no relation). American Crime Journal and numerous Utah news agencies have confirmed the statement’s authenticity from Doug Anderson who is the director of Media Relations for the LDS Church.
In December 2020, Lynn Packer and American Crime Journal were the first to shed light on the financial ties and co-mingling between both Ballards. These revelations gained particular significance during the Davis County and FBI criminal investigation into Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R). In a revealing interview in the same month, then Operation Underground Railroad executive, Carlos Rodriguez, confirmed the troubling ties between the LDS Church and O.U.R.
For years, Tim Ballard had claimed to be ‘called upon’ and to have received ‘revelation’ from a divine source to rescue children. He also frequently highlighted his association with M. Russell Ballard, who holds the esteemed position of Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Notably, the LDS Church’s involvement in Operation Underground Railroad was prominently discussed during a secretive 2019 meeting, colloquially referred called ‘the Whiteboard Meeting,‘ by ACJ) hosted at the residence of then O.U.R. rainmaker, Paul Hutchinson. Sources indicate that at this gathering, the O.U.R. Operations Team Leader, David Lopez, and Paul Hutchinson expressed their discontent and left in frustration.”
Full Statement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
“President Ballard and Tim Ballard (no relation) established a friendship a number of years ago. That friendship was built on a shared interest in looking after God’s children wherever they are and without regard to their circumstance. However, that relationship is in the past. For many months, President Ballard has had no contact with the founder of Operation Underground Railroad (OUR). The nature of that relationship was always in support of vulnerable children being abused, trafficked, and otherwise neglected. Once it became clear Tim Ballard had betrayed their friendship, through the unauthorized use of President Ballard’s name for Tim Ballard’s personal advantage and activity regarded as morally unacceptable, President Ballard withdrew his association. President Ballard never authorized his name, or the name of the Church, to be used for Tim’s personal or financial interests.
In addition, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints never endorsed, supported or represented OUR, Tim Ballard or any projects associated with them.
Doug Anderson, Director of Media Relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints