Elder Ballard Tells Young Adults to Focus on What Matters Most

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News staff writer

  • 25 May 2017

 Thousands of young single adults from northern Utah gather for a stake conference on May 20-21, during which Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke.

Article Highlights

  • The sacrament should be a sanctuary from the world.
  • No one is beyond the reach of Jesus Christ’s Atonement.
  • This life is meant to be difficult, but an eternal perspective gives us hope.

“Stay focused on what matters most. Let’s not get so captured with the things of the world that we lose sight of who we are.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Offering a message that “is very tender” to him, Elder M. Russell Ballard asked Latter-day Saint young single adults to observe the Sabbath day and strengthen their faith.

“Our goal is not just to get through the day,” he said during the Syracuse Utah Lake View YSA Stake conference, held May 20 and 21. “You of all people should be the happiest, because you know who you are. You know you are the sons and daughters of God, and you have a special relationship with deity. You have been baptized. You have received the Holy Ghost. Your focus must always be to qualify for that day to enter back into the presence of the Father and Son and to dwell with Them forever.”

Excited to be part of the kingdom

Thousands of young single adults from northern Utah gathered for the conference, during which Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke during the Saturday evening and Sunday general sessions. Elder Ballard was accompanied by Elder James R. Rasband, sustained as an Area Seventy in April’s general conference.

As part of the Sunday general session of the conference, Elder Ballard promised those in the congregation that they have not done anything that would disqualify them from returning to their Heavenly Father and His Son.

“There may be some things you have done which you shouldn’t have done,” he said. “There’s an escape from that. It’s called repentance.”

Latter-day Saints should never lose sight of the fact that they know about Joseph Smith and that the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him in the spring of 1820, said Elder Ballard.

“What a marvelous thing to be a member of the Church,” he told the congregation.

The Light of Christ “is in each one of you,” Elder Ballard said. “It came from the premortal world. Let it shine through your eyes, your words, your expressions of love and appreciation to your friends, ward members, or anyone who might be struggling, so they feel the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ through you.”

To have that kind of impact, however, Church members need to study the scriptures and pray every day, he said.

“Let heaven be our teacher to enlighten our minds and lift our countenances, that when that day comes, when it’s our turn to pass from this life to the next one, we’ll be greeted as one who believed and lived and taught and testified and warned.“

“God bless us to be in a hurry, doing righteous, proper, and faithful things. And be excited about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Sabbath and the sacrament

Speaking in the Saturday evening session of the conference, Elder Ballard called sacrament meeting “a wonderful and glorious time.”

“We want you to make a shift on Sunday when you come into the chapel and the sacrament is on the sacrament table, … a shift in your minds that we’re now in a sanctuary, a special place, contemplating Christ and His great and glorious mission,” he said.

Through the Church’s Sabbath observance initiative, leaders are “trying to make a mindset in the Church where you put aside the things of the world for things that are eternal in nature,” said Elder Ballard.

While participating in Sunday meetings, “put aside your cell phone,” he added. “Ponder about Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Those attending sacrament meetings should feel the power of the message of Jesus Christ, he said. Everyone needs to be renewed spiritually. “We live in a confused world. It seems nobody likes anybody anymore, except in the Church. Congress can’t get together to benefit and bless the people. There’s a sense of anger. Men and women are doing terrible things to other men and women. It’s an interesting and difficult period. There’s been counsel that we ought to have hope.”

Hope needs to center on God and His commandments and the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, he said. “Regardless of what happens, we are anchored and we know who we are individually and collectively. We need spiritual insight and we need spiritual feeding. It must come as we teach one another the gospel by the power of God.”

Sacrament meeting “ought to be a time where we pull our chairs up to the table of the Lord and fill our hearts and minds with the things of the Spirit.”

To the young single adults, Elder Ballard said: “We’re on a journey. We left the spirit world. We left the presence of our Heavenly Parents. Life is not simple. It wasn’t intended to be.”

People think the Apostles don’t have any trials, he said. “We’ve had our problems and challenges.”

Elder Ballard then spoke about the loss of three of his grandchildren at different times and under different circumstances. “I’m telling you this because everyone is going to go through some trial or challenge like this. None of us will escape from having to make decisions on how we will live our lives.”

Closing, he asked the young single adults to seek and prepare for marriage and keep an eternal perspective. “Stay focused on what matters most,” he said. “Let’s not get so captured with the things of the world that we lose sight of who we are.”

Thousands of young single adults from northern Utah gather for a stake conference on May 20–21, during which Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke.

Thousands of young single adults from northern Utah gather for a stake conference on May 20–21, during which Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke.