Have Righteous Expectations, Elder Ballard Tells Young Single Adults
Contributed By Valerie Johnson, Church News staff writer
- As a disciple of Jesus Christ, strive to emulate His pattern of living.
- Turn to the Savior during times of disappointment.
- Pray for guidance in living up to righteous expectations.
“Regardless of who you are or where you are, you are always a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means that we are always thinking how He would want us to think.” —Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Where are you going? What is it you really want to do? And what is it you really want to be?” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked a capacity congregation of students and young single adults at a devotional held at the Salt Lake Institute adjacent to the University of Utah campus on January 24.
Joining Elder Ballard on the stand were his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard; President David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah, and his wife, Sandi Pershing; Elder John C. Pingree Jr., an Area Seventy; Salt Lake Pioneer YSA Stake President Jeffrey Shields and his wife, Patty Shields; Salt Lake Bonneville YSA Stake President Kevin Anderson and his wife, Julie Anderson; and Tracy L. Williams, director of the Salt Lake Institute, and his wife, Teri Williams.
President Pershing opened the devotional by encouraging the students in the congregation to graduate. “Make sure completing your degree is on your life plan,” he said. “I know it’s hard to see the future clearly. I have had the perfect ability … to not be able to see the future. I could never see the next step in my own life, but I can guarantee you that finishing a degree will help ensure that the next steps are good.”
President Pershing also praised the institute program and those who participate in it. “[The institute] is a very important part of the University of Utah campus,” he said. “We know having support, being part of a group, is one of the most positive indicators for college success. You are already fortunate to be part of a wonderful faith group, an important group of friends.”
Elder Ballard added to President Pershing’s advice. “His counsel for you to graduate—you ought to do that because I made a mistake,” he said. “When I was taking business courses from professors here at the University [of Utah], I’d gotten the crazy idea that I was making more money than the teachers were making. … I was, I guess, a fairly good salesman, so I got confused and I didn’t finish my last year. I’ve regretted that my whole lifetime. I wish I’d had someone like President Pershing pushing me like he pushed you here tonight.” Elder Ballard expressed his gratitude that President and Mrs. Pershing could be at the devotional that night.
Elder Ballard told the congregation, “Regardless of who you are or where you are, you are always a disciple of Jesus Christ, which means that we are always thinking how He would want us to think. We’re always striving to be honest. We’re always striving to be the best we can. We’re always striving to reach out and help one another and love one another in this process of moving through mortality.”
He spoke of the importance of defining expectations for one’s life in regards to what and who to become. “We become what we expect to become,” he said. “If you have righteous, proper expectations, then go for it. Begin with this wonderful education opportunity you have at the University of Utah.”
These expectations for the future should take into account a family. “For example, in your expectation list, are you expecting and planning to marry?” Elder Ballard asked. “I would hope so.” He shared the joy and blessings he has seen in his life since proposing to his wife, Barbara, 65 years ago. “My dear wife and my children and my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren are everything [to me],” he said.
A young man wanting to ask a woman on a date should talk on the phone instead of sending a text, Elder Ballard said. “Do not lose this opportunity while you’re here to get acquainted with each other. You don’t do that if you don’t talk with each other, if you don’t learn to communicate with each other.”
While planning on disappointment isn’t wise, preparing for it is, Elder Ballard said. “I want you to know that even when disappointment is in front of you, there is a secure way to handle it,” he said. “That is through turning your hearts to your Heavenly Father and particularly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Stay close to Him. He promised that if we have a challenge or a problem, whatever it might be, if we are sincere in our affection, devotion, and commitment to Him, He will help us carry those burdens.”
One way to stay close to the Lord is through prayer, which Elder Ballard encouraged the students and other young single adults to not neglect. “Prayer is one of the ways we’re able to keep in our minds what matters most, and I encourage you to never sacrifice personal prayer,” Elder Ballard said. “Prayer is one of the great gifts that our Heavenly Father has given to all of us to stay in touch with Him.” He suggested that those who live in an apartment with roommates might consider having a nightly apartment prayer.
Elder Ballard left members of the audience with an assignment. “If you will reach out, every one of you, to just one … who is not participating in the institute program, invite them and bring them and let them feel what happens here, you will have a personal sense of fulfillment and a sense of warmth. The Spirit will be with you.”
“May you be able to keep yourself clean and worthy in every way of the blessings that the Lord has in store for you,” Elder Ballard said in closing. “May you be blessed in your studies and be able to accelerate your efforts and find that wonderful day when you graduate.”