The Savior’s Touch

M. Russell Ballard

Of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy


Since last conference, I have come to know that many of our Heavenly Father’s children need help with their problems. Hundreds of letters filled with pleas for help have come to the General Authorities. Fathers plead for their sons, mothers for their daughters, boys and girls for their parents. The contents of these letters have been heartrending.

I have learned firsthand that the wounds of those who suffer spiritually can be healed when you and I put forth the extra personal effort required to reach out to them.

Jesus Christ has the power to heal all manner of illness, whether spiritual or physical. A woman was healed by simply touching the border of his garment, as recorded in the book of Luke:

“And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.

“And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.

“And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” (Luke 8:46–48.)

Can the Master touch others’ lives through you and me? Oh yes, he can, and he will if we will just do our part. A home teacher in Florida let the Savior’s touch be felt in this way. I quote excerpts from a letter to me dated July 8, 1980.

“When I joined the Church in 1973, my husband did not join. He didn’t want to come to meetings, and he wasn’t sure there was a God anyway.

“In 1975 our home teacher became my husband’s best friend. For more than three years he missed coming only once. My husband found in our home teacher someone to talk to. He unburdened his years of bitterness and unhappiness. He had never had a real friend before in his entire life.

“In August 1978, our home teacher told us he was moving. We were heartbroken. On his last visit, our home teacher, with my husband’s permission, talked about how one can gain a testimony.

“In November, Elder Ballard, you came to our stake and taught the gospel at a special fireside. My husband and I attended and at the conclusion of the meeting, you put your arm around my husband and the Lord spoke through you. You told my husband that our Heavenly Father loved him and wanted him to be baptized and that the Church needed him.

“That night my husband made a decision to be baptized. We called our former home teacher, now living in Louisiana, to see when he could come to baptize my husband. He came and baptized him. One year later he was with us and our family when we were sealed for time and eternity in the Washington Temple.

“Although you may not remember us—for we know you meet many people every year—our lives were touched in an unforgettable way. We are especially grateful to our faithful home teacher.”

In another instance, a Young Women teacher had a blind girl in her class whose participation was limited because she could not study in the usual way. The teacher would go to the girl’s home and read out loud while the girl translated her personal progress book into braille. The work took two years. The teacher also encouraged the other girls in the class to help. Under her direction, they went to the blind girl’s home and read to her from the manual until it was translated into braille.

The Master’s touch through that teacher reached out and blessed not only this girl but many others who are blind, because the braille translation is available at the general offices of the Young Women organization.

Sometimes the Savior’s touch can reach others through little bodies with big hearts. A lovely woman had received the missionary discussions but had not made the final commitment to be baptized. One Sunday she decided to attend sacrament meeting in a ward where she was not acquainted. She wanted a place where she could be alone with her thoughts. She sat beside a little boy. As the sacrament was passed, this little boy noticed that she did not take the sacrament bread. When it came to him, he carefully broke it in two and gave half to her. The woman was very impressed that a child would perform such a meaningful act of kindness. That day she contacted the missionaries and said, “If this is what you teach the children in your church, I want to become a member.”

The Lord taught the Nephites, “Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up.” (3 Ne. 18:24.) A recent example of the light of the Lord touching someone who needed it desperately came when I called upon a very close friend shortly after the death of his eternal companion. I asked him, “What can I now do to help?” He answered, “Help my son to understand.” You see, this son loved his mother very much. When he saw her suffer month after month, he began to feel that the prayers and the priesthood blessings went unanswered. This caused his faith in our Heavenly Father to waiver, and he lost the light of the Lord in his life.

The words rang in my ears: “Help my son to understand.” I asked myself, “How? What can I do?” Finally, I invited him to come to Church headquarters to talk with me. When he arrived and we went to the lunchroom, a most unusual circumstance unfolded while we were eating. During our visit, many General Authorities came by our table and greeted us. Most importantly, he shook hands with eight of the Twelve Apostles that sit here on the stand. Never before or since have I seen that many members of the Twelve in the lunchroom at one time.

As we were leaving the Church offices, another unusual thing happened. We caught a glimpse of President Kimball, and my young friend asked, “Does President Kimball ever talk to someone like me?” Circumstances that would rarely happen again placed us with President Kimball for a few minutes. The short time with him was unforgettably impressive. His instructions were eternal, and his love for this young man was unquestionable. My friend’s heart and mine were touched deeply during those few minutes.

President Kimball’s final statement to this young man, after giving him a loving embrace, impressed my friend very much. He said, “My boy, when you come home from your mission, you will understand more fully the things we have been talking about.” That day a prophet of God reached out as I suppose only a prophet can. Through him, the Savior touched the life of my friend and turned him toward the light of the Lord.

As we returned to the parking area, I put my arm around him and said, “I know that your mother knows you are here today. Because of her love and devotion to the Lord and her great love for you, I am sure our Heavenly Father has allowed her influence to be felt here today.” Tears flowed, attitudes changed, directions became clear, and commitments were made.

What a thrill, my brothers and sisters, to report a few months later to President Kimball that this fine young man was serving faithfully and diligently as a full-time missionary!

Finally, may I share how the Lord will touch our personal lives through our own faith and prayers. A beautiful baby girl came to our son’s home only to stay with them here on earth for less than five months. The love and care given to her by her parents was deeply touching. The struggle of this infant granddaughter for life was almost more than we could bear. The night before her passing, we went to the Logan hospital giving what support we could to our children.

Later that evening in my son’s home, his mother and I knelt with him and prayed for guidance. When we returned to the hospital and I took my tiny little grandchild’s hand and looked at her, I felt the Savior’s touch. Into my mind came the words, as though spoken by her to me, “Don’t worry, grandpa; I’ll be all right.” Peace came into my heart. The Master’s touch fell upon all of us. Soon thereafter she was released to go home again to her heavenly parents.

Oh, yes, brothers and sisters; we can feel the Savior’s touch, and we can help others feel that divine touch. We can bless each other by reaching out to the wayward youth, the inactive adult, the widowed, the aged, the sick, and to all of God’s children everywhere, member and nonmember of the Church alike.

We somehow need to realize the vital importance of feeling the blessings of the gospel and the peace of the Lord in our lives individually. That is much more significant than how well the mechanics of a program may be working in our wards and stakes. Oh, that every parent, teacher, and Church leader would know that we can bless each other when we administer the Savior’s touch to the benefit of our fellowmen.

I realize that many of you are very conscious of the needs of others. I also know that you and I can do much more. Let us make the choice never to let a day pass without striving to touch the life of someone through our service! Then we can cherish and appreciate more the Savior’s beautiful admonition: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).

I bear testimony that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that he touched the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that through him the fulness of the gospel has been restored to the earth to bless and guide all mankind. This witness and testimony I bear in the sacred and beloved name of Jesus Christ, amen.