Serve to Feel Christ’s Love, Elder Ballard Tells Students
Contributed By By Michael Ann McKinlay, Church News staff writer
Service is one of the most important ways for Latter-day Saints to come to know and sense the reality that their Father in Heaven is there and that He hears and answers prayers, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve said at a devotional held at the Salt Lake University Institute of Religion, located adjacent to the University of Utah campus, on September 22.
University of Utah President David W. Pershing and his wife, Sandi Pershing, also spoke to young adults in attendance.
“You need hope, you need to be determined, and I want you to hang on,” the university president said. “And most important … finish your degree.”
He expressed appreciation for the students and encouraged their support of the institute and the university.
Elder Ballard called the Pershing family “great friends and supporters of the Church.”
Mrs. Pershing, assistant vice president for continuing education, spoke on the importance of having an education to further service to society.
“With education as your backbone, endure to the end and do something that will change your community,” Mrs. Pershing said.
Elder Ballard told those in attendance that they can know and feel their Savior’s love while living in a world that is drifting away from religion.
“We are very concerned that far too many of our Heavenly Father’s children have abandoned the reality that He does live,” he said.
“In all that you do, in all that you learn, in all you try to accomplish in life, please remember that we are all sons and daughters of God. We have to help each other,” Elder Ballard said. “And service helps us feel the Savior’s love for us and for others.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, left, chats with the University of Utah president, David W. Pershing, prior to speaking to students at the Salt Lake University Institute of Religion on September 22. Sitting between them is Sister Barbara Ballard. Photo by Matt Gade, Deseret News.
“When you reach out and help one another or help anyone who needs your support, you will walk away from those experiences feeling good,” he said.
Elder Ballard explained that people have asked him how the Church is able to produce almost 77,000 full-time missionaries in the field, get the youth to volunteer in service projects, and have the members pay tithing.
“It’s testimony and belief that guides our people to do what they do,” Elder Ballard said.
“The membership of the Church doesn’t look at tithing as a burden; membership looks at it as a great privilege to be able to assist, in the Lord’s way, to build the kingdom of God around the earth.”
To encourage those present to actively serve, Elder Ballard gave an assignment for each to fellowship one less-active member of the Church by the end of the year.
“Each of you, reach out to one other student who is a member of the Church and invite them to come participate in this great institution,” Elder Ballard said.
He explained that “the most enjoyable and exciting” thing that they can be doing is to help others “reconnect the power source between earth and heaven.”
“The Lord Jesus Christ will help you. He will help you carry your burdens. He will help you make wise decisions. He will help you accomplish righteous goals if you will pray and call down the blessing of heaven in your own personal lives as well as the lives of others you can influence,” he said.
“And we grow closer to Him. When we quietly ask Heavenly Father for help, miracles will begin to happen in people’s lives.”