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LDS Church takes down articles promoting Tim Ballard, Operation Underground Railroad

Removed the same day of Church issuing a statement condemning Ballard for "morally unacceptable" behavior
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Posted at 12:22 PM, Sep 17, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has removed articles promoting Tim Ballard and the nonprofit he founded, Operation Underground Railroad (OUR).

The removals occurred on the same day of the Church releasing a statement citing betrayal and condemning Ballard for “morally unacceptable” behavior.

The statement was in response to documents obtained by VICE News, detailing a criminal investigation into Tim Ballard and his nonprofit; “Tim is fully convinced that he is supposed to be the ‘Mormon Messiah and lead people back to the church.’”

The documents reportedly outline how prosecutors believe Ballard communicated with a psychic to speak to the prophet Nephi "to get intel" on how to rescue children.

OUR was reportedly under criminal investigation for communications fraud and witness tampering, and at least a portion of that investigation has concluded.

The Church’s condemnation of Ballard was released to several media outlets but was not posted on the Church’s official website.

In a video obtained by FOX 13 News on Saturday, Ballard stated he did not believe the condemnation was accurate or truly came from the Church.

“I don’t believe the Church did this,” he said in the video. “I truly don’t. Can you imagine that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would publicly condemn one of its members?”

The Church’s statement was sent directly to FOX 13 News by Doug Anderson from his official email address.

Anderson has been the Director of Media Relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for nearly 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints never endorsed, supported or represented OUR, Tim Ballard or any projects associated with them," the statement reads.

An article published by the Church entitled “Saving Children: Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad” was last seen online on Friday, September 15, 2023.

By Saturday, the Church article forwarded to a page stating: “Page Not Found.”

A website archiving service known as the WayBack Machine took screenshots of the article before it was removed.

“Tim Ballard has clear blue eyes – piercing, in fact – eyes that have seen far more trouble and fear than you or I probably ever will,” the article begins. “But his eyes have also seen immeasurable amounts of gratitude and hope from the innocent young victims he has helped rescue from the horrors of sex slavery.”

Ballard is quoted in the article stating: “There’s no question in my mind that this is the Lord’s work and that we are His hands. This is so important because it’s so important to the Lord... The Atonement heals all. It’s our job in the meantime to serve especially the downtrodden and the suffering, to liberate the captive.”

The Church article goes on to link to the nonprofit’s website for information about a new full-length documentary promoting OUR.

It also links to a “recent episode of Mormon Channel Daily” in which Ballard was interviewed, but that link also appears to no longer be active, instead redirecting to a home page.

The Church article refers to Ballard as “a former CIA operative.”

For years, questions have surrounded Ballard’s actual role with the CIA.

His Twitter bio states: “Former CIA & DHS: Undercover Operator.”

In an interview with FOX 13 News in February, Ballard clarified his role with the CIA was simply behind the scenes, as an analyst.

“It wasn’t operational stuff. It was an analyst/ officer position. It wasn’t, like, hands on,” Ballard said. “All the cool stuff I ever did was with (Homeland Security).”

Glenn Beck, one of Ballard's partners, indicated on social media that Ballard had been "effectively excommunicated" from the Church "through ambiguous, but unquestionably damning statements" without being given "adequate notice" or the ability to respond.

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