Learn Obedience and Service

Russell Ballard, Jr.


My dear brethren, I am grateful that Brother Asay has echoed my feelings for me. I am also grateful to know that I’m not the only one whose heart is throbbing up in his throat.

As I contemplated the possibility of bearing my testimony tonight to you, my mind went back to many years ago when I was in the Aaronic Priesthood, and somehow I and one of my companions found ourselves over here by the stairs where we didn’t belong, just prior to the beginning of the priesthood meeting. President George Albert Smith, in his kindly way, saw our plight, saw that we really had nowhere to go, and invited us to sit on these stairs by the pulpit. I sat there with my friend and watched the proceedings of that great priesthood session, never believing that I would ever again get that close to this pulpit.

I remember that I said to my friend when we left the conference, “It sure would be nice to be a General Authority; then you would have one of those big red chairs to sit in.”

I would like to say, my brethren, that I have been sitting in a big red chair for just a few minutes, and the greatest desire of my heart is that I will learn through my obedience and my service to become comfortable in that big red chair. I pray that the Lord will bless me that I might properly represent President Kimball, his counselors, the Council of the Twelve, and all my brethren of the General Authorities; that as they send me forth on whatever errand it might be, I might do the will and the bidding of the Lord.

I thank my wife, my seven children, my mother and father, for making this calling possible. I pledge my full support and loyalty to my brethren and to the Lord and ask for his peace and blessing to be with me as I grow in my assignment.

I have a great testimony of the gospel, for I know that it is true. I bring the greetings of the Saints in eastern Canada and all the missionaries there to all brethren of the priesthood around the world. I leave this testimony humbly, and in the worthy name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.