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

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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.

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