Heber J. Grant, the seventh prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had worked closely with many amazing people throughout his life. As a young boy he met Brigham Young, and learned from him. As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he served under the leadership of Presidents John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith. He served in the Quorum of the Twelve with three others who would become Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, David O. McKay, and Joseph Fielding Smith. All these great men had a large impact on the life of Heber J. Grant and through all these association he wanted a dear childhood friend to join the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with him, and the Lord taught him a very important lesson in the process.
For years, of working as an apostle he wanted a dear friend, Richard W. Young, to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with him. At one point, there were three vacancies, in the Quorum and Heber even hinted to his friend that he could be called. When the sustaining of the new men happened Heber hesitated to raise his hand in unanimous support. Wilford Woodruff asked if Elder Grant was okay. Elder Grant told Wilford Woodruff that he had hinted to this friend of his that he might be called. Wilford Woodruff reminded Heber that he was not suppose to do that :).
Then, it came time for Heber to become Prophet, and as prophet chooses the next members of the Quorum of the Twelve, or so he thought. Everyone around Heber assumed Heber would pick his friend, finally, after so many years of waiting, Heber went to let the Lord know who he picked as the new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
It is said that one night Heber J. Grant was praying about the decision and the thought came to him "haven't you better inquire of the Lord?" To this thought Heber said "Yes, who would You have me call?" The thought came to Heber J. Grant, "choose my servant Melvin J. Ballard." to which Heber J. Grant replied "who is Melvin J. Ballard?"
"Since the day that I called a comparative stranger rather than my dearest lifelong friend, I have known that I am not leading this Church, The Lord is."
He went home and told his family about his experience in prayer, and his family replied that maybe he has broken his childhood friends heart, and Heber J. Grant replied that "maybe he had broken his own heart, but I am not in charge here, the Lord is."
Melvin J. Ballard was called as the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Melvin J. Ballard he was an important part of the new welfare plan of the Church. Melvin J. Ballard even visited with President Roosevelt in Washington about the plan and got help and endorsement of the welfare plan.
President Heber J. Grant ended up relying on Melvin J. Ballard more than he ever could have imagined. Melvin J. Ballard ended up not living a very long life, comparatively. At the end of Elder Melvin J. Ballards life President Heber J. Grant is quoted saying "I can spare almost any man but him", but Elder Ballard passed away at age 66. Melvin J. Ballard is the grandfather to recently deceased Apostle M. Russell Ballard.
"Presidents of the Church" by Truman G. Madsen Chapter 7