Prepare and Think in Terms of the Future

An address given by Elder M. Russell Ballard to young single adults from Salt Lake and Davis Counties at an April 28 meeting in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Well, brothers and sisters, you all know where you’re going to go Sunday? If you don’t, don’t call the Twelve. Call the Seventy or somebody else, because none of us would be able to tell you. 

I’d just like to express to the Seventy tonight, in your presence, what a wonderful work they have performed in covering every detail, which has been a tremendous undertaking, to make this very significant change, which we think will be a wonderful thing for each and every one of you.

I come here tonight in the name of the Lord and at the direction of the Presidency of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve. I extend to each one of you individually our love and our appreciation for your goodness and for all that you have done in the Church and in your lives, and all that you will yet do.

We would like you to not resist this instruction tonight. Find out where your ward is, within the boundaries of where you live, and attend there. Get acquainted there. Have a good time. Go to the stake activities. Enjoy each other. That’s the way you’ll come to know one another, and the hand of the Lord will have the opportunity to help guide you at this very critical and important time in your lives.

As you have heard, we’re anxious that you establish your own family. Let me tell you from the point of view of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, let me emphasize one of the reasons this is so critical. You need to see yourselves 20 years from now. Twenty years from now, you young men will be sitting in stake presidencies, on high councils, in bishoprics, elders quorum presidencies, and high priests group leadership in your wards and in your stakes. You young women who are here tonight will be called to direct the affairs of the Relief Society, the Young Women, and the Primary. We need you to catch the vision of what your roles will be 20 years from now, maybe even shorter than that. Some of you may be called in your late 20s and early 30s to carry on some great responsibility in the kingdom of God.

All of us who are sitting on the stand very likely will be released. We know that ultimately we will all be released to move on to our next journey into immortality and eternal life. When we move off the stage, you will have to be prepared to move on. You need to do that as a couple, a husband and a wife, and hopefully you will be blessed with children.

I want to make it very clear that we understand that not every one of you may find an eternal companion. Some of you may not have the privilege or the opportunity to marry in mortality. But we promise you in the name of the Lord, as prophets have promised both anciently and in the modern day, you remain true and faithful, keep your covenants, serve God, love your Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will not be denied any of the eternal blessings our Heavenly Father has for His faithful children.

You ought to enjoy the Church. The reason we’re anxious for you to reach out and to encourage some of the young single adults that are not active is because one of the great places where there can be peace and joy and fellowship, a sense of belonging, is by being active in the Church. But the Church is established to give us guidance and direction and to make available the ordinances and the covenants that we need to work through in our progress in this life and preparation for all that our Heavenly Father has in store for us in the life to come.

And therefore, I would like to draw your attention to why we have said over and over again, Would you do what you can to try to draw some of those who are less active back into fellowship in the Church? The reason that’s so critical for us to understand is because that’s what the Atonement is all about. The Savior’s experience in Gethsemane, my young brothers and sisters, when we contemplate that moment in His majesty and His giving and His love for you and for me and for every other child of God, when we think through and pause and ponder that and what He has done, then all of a sudden every living soul is precious—very, very precious—to our Father in Heaven because they are His children and to the Lord Jesus Christ because He went to Gethsemane for each one of them.

And so as you look about in your new ward and you look about in your new area and you’re going to school or work or whatever it is, may I give you an assignment to have the courage to think in your own mind and accept the challenge to try to bring one of our Father’s children back into activity between now and the first of the year. I want to promise you in the name of the Lord as you do that and as you trust the Lord and you pray about it and you seek for guidance and for strength to do what you can do, you’re going to have some spiritual experiences. You’ll have some promptings of the Spirit that will be unusual to you. The reason that will happen is because all of God’s children are precious to Him, and all are precious to the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is the Church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth in these, the latter days.

I would encourage you to not be afraid of the future. Don’t let anything that’s going on in the world, that’s happening now, slow you down from your progress in mortality. Don’t be afraid to marry. Don’t think you have to have everything lined up. Don’t think you have to have all of the resources and finances necessary to enter into that kind of a commitment. 

This year in August, Sister Ballard and I will have been married 60 years. I think back when I returned from my mission to England, over 60 years ago, I used every skill that I had developed as a full-time missionary to convince Barbara that I was the only true and living returned missionary that she should give any consideration to. If you could see her, you’d know that she was very beautiful and still is, and a lot of young men had the same idea I did. So we used the old commitment pattern, elders. We asked find-out questions and we resolved concerns and we’d move on, and that’s what you’ve been counseled to do here tonight.

Don’t be afraid of that. I would say to you that I was much more effective and much more able to accomplish things in my life with Barbara at my side than I ever would have been alone. Did we have hard times? Oh, yes. But they were some of the best times because we drew together, we prayed together, we worked together, we saw our way from one point of our lives on until today. We are so blessed that we’ve had seven children, none of which we could afford. You young people are very expensive. But don’t let that worry you. Pay your tithing. The Lord said that He’ll provide, He’ll make the way, and that was the case with us. And those wonderful seven children have given us 43 grandchildren. Three days ago, we had our 41st great-grandchild that was born into our family.

Now, our family, and your family, is an eternal unit. As an eternal unit, families go to the eternities forever—together forever. That’s why we’re drawing you into these young single adult stakes and young single adult wards under the tutelage of bishops and stake presidents who have keys of the power of the holy priesthood of God to answer your questions, to guide you, to give you blessings, and to help you along the way. 

My counsel to you tonight is do not lose your faith. Go forward with faith. Faith is a principle of the gospel. Faith is one of the greatest powers that you and I have in this sojourn of mortality. Fear is one of those principles that the devil uses. He likes to seed in your minds and in mine doubt and questions. He’s the father of all lies; he lies to us, and he can confuse us if we allow ourselves to be caught up in fear. So replace any fear or apprehension you have now with faith: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in your fathers and your mothers. Stay close to them. Elder Snow mentioned that in the beginning. 

You may be living a long ways away from your mom and your dad. My counsel is that you stay constantly in touch with them. Communicate. You can do that easily now, and at no cost. It’s so important for you to keep that tie to your mother and your dad wherever they may be. If you choose to live in your own ward and go to church with your own family, you’ve already been instructed that’s a wonderful thing to do. Then you can participate in the young single adult activities in your area.

So I say to you tonight, we’re on a journey, you and I. This is a great journey we’re on. We knew the consequences of this journey when we left the presence of our Heavenly Father to come here and receive a body, a tabernacle of flesh and bone. We knew that we would make some mistakes as we went along this pathway, and God gave us the wonderful principle of repentance. There’s not any one of you who is here tonight who has done anything that you can’t fix and who can’t have a sense of peace and calm as you continue your sojourn in mortality. If you have something that’s seriously weighing on you, then take care of it. Work it out with your bishop and move on so that faith and trust in the Lord can have its greatest possible power in your lives.

I’d like to ask our Heavenly Father now to bless you. It’s one of the privileges we have as members of the Twelve, to leave a blessing upon you in the name of the Lord and through the holy apostleship. I’d ask Heavenly Father to bless you now that you capture the vision, maybe in a deeper and a more meaningful way than you ever have before, of who you are and what the purpose of your mortal existence is. I’d ask Heavenly Father to bless you with faith to trust in Him and to call down the blessings of heaven into your lives.

Trust the Lord. Believe in Him. Study His words. Worship your Father in Heaven in the holy and sacred name of His Beloved Son. May the Lord bless you with courage to do now the next things that are very most important in your lives. May you have the courage to reach out and bring souls unto Christ on conditions of repentance. May every righteous desire of your hearts be granted through your faithfulness and your trust in your Heavenly Father. May this blessing go with each and every one of you. Enjoy the future; prepare, my beloved brothers and sisters. When the Lord needs you, you’ll be able to say, “Here am I; send me.” May this be the case in your lives. 

I bear you my witness and testimony that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Son of God. Brothers and sisters, this is His Church. Joseph Smith is His prophet. The Father and Son spoke to Joseph. The Book of Mormon is another witness and testament of the life and ministry of the Savior of the world. The holy priesthood has been restored through John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John. That priesthood, those of us who bear it, bear it legally and under the direction of heaven. You young men who are bearers of the holy priesthood, you have a great and glorious gift. May God bless you to magnify it. May you dear sisters be attuned spiritually that you will know in your lives what next steps you need to take. May these blessings and my testimony and the testimony of all these wonderful brothers and sisters who have spoken to you go with you tonight as you return to your homes is my humble prayer in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.