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President Ballard testifies of ‘the most remarkable thing in the history of the world’ during weekend ministry visit to Canada

‘Our message is the most thrilling and most profound and most exhilarating message that I know of,’ said President Ballard

TORONTO, Ontario — As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talk about and share the message of the Restoration, others will feel the truth of their words, said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“The most remarkable thing in the history of the world happened in the Sacred Grove in 1820,” he said. “The heavens opened.”

Speaking to members and missionaries in Toronto, Ontario, almost 50 years after serving as a mission president in the city, President Ballard bore testimony of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, of his prayer in the Sacred Grove and of the appearance of the Father and the Son.

“It must have been something that penetrated his being — from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet — when he heard our Heavenly Father call his name, ‘Joseph: this is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!’

“That is our message,” he told the missionaries, repeating for emphasis. “That is our message.”

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stands at a podium while speaking during a special stake conference of the Hamilton Ontario Stake on April 23, 2023.
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during a special stake conference of the Hamilton Ontario Stake on April 23, 2023. | Nick Lachance, for the Deseret News

President Ballard returned to Ontario April 21-23 — addressing missionaries in the Canada Toronto Mission, participating in leadership training meetings and presiding at the Hamilton Ontario Stake Conference. He was joined by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder James W. McConkie III, a General Authority Seventy.

During his remarks, President Ballard promised that those who let their knowledge of the First Vision penetrate their hearts and souls will be able to teach it to others. Then, he said, “people will feel what you are telling them is true.”

Any faithful seeker who asks will get an answer, President Ballard emphasized. “This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. The Lord has opened the heavens again. …

“Our message is the most thrilling and most profound and most exhilarating message that I know of.”

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President M. Russell Ballard visits the Canada Toronto Mission home, where he lived from 1974 to 1977 as a mission president. He is with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The message of the Restoration

The first Latter-day Saint meetinghouse in eastern Canada was dedicated in 1939 in Toronto, where the first stake was organized in 1960. Today there are nine stakes, two districts, 53,000 members, and a temple in Ontario. Two of those stakes were created in the mid-1970s, during the time President Ballard served as mission president.

President Ballard, 94, served with his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, in Eastern Canada from 1974 to 1977. During those years he spent hours on the road helping and supporting missionaries, ministering to members in districts divided by vast geography and building relationships in the community. He was never afraid to talk to those he met about the Church of Jesus Christ, members recall.

Those who share the gospel message are entitled to “revelation, inspiration and guidance from your Heavenly Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” said President Ballard.

He asked the missionaries to talk to 10 people each day about the Church.

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks during a special stake conference of the Hamilton Ontario Stake, April 23, 2023. | Nick Lachance, for the Deseret News

Never lose sight of “how precious every soul is,” he said. “Regardless of where they are or who they may be, they are sons and daughters of God. Jesus saved them as He saves all of us.”

Heaven will help those who seek to share the message of the restored gospel.

Seek for guidance to “carry the message of the Restoration of the gospel — the miracle of the story of a boy who had to faith to go to his knees seeking guidance and direction.

Speaking of Joseph Smith, President Ballard said, “I love him.” He asked all to carry on “this great work that he brought to pass.”

What matters most

In addressing the missionaries, Both Elder Andersen and Elder McConkie quoted from President Ballard’s April 2023 general conference address, “Remember What Matters Most.” Elder Andersen told the congregation that President Ballard — “one of the great missionaries of the Church” — has always been “bold about the gospel. He knows it is true, and he speaks to everyone about it.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen shakes hands with Latter-day Saints in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday, April 23, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Quoting President Ballard, Elder Andersen said, “I invite you to share your testimony of Jesus Christ more often. … Bear testimony of what you know and believe and what you feel, not just what you are thankful for. Testify of your own experiences and coming to know about the Savior.”

Elder Andersen asked the congregation to identify the truths they know and find scriptures that support those truths. “Find scriptures that you believe deeply, that you have witness of, that you are willing to testify of,” he said. “You will see that the Holy Ghost will bear witness to you over and over again that it is true.”

Elder McConkie also quoted President Ballard, who after a “lifetime of spiritual learning” testified during April general conference that “being converted to the Lord, bearing testimony of Him and serving Him are among the things that matter most.”

President Ballard also taught that “as our conversion to Jesus Christ grows, we naturally want to testify of His goodness, love and kindness.”

Elder McConkie promised that as those converted to the Savior testify of Him, “the Holy Ghost will confirm the truth to those who earnestly listen to your testimony.”

President M. Russell Ballard, center, visits the Canada Toronto Mission home, where he lived from 1974 to 1977 as a mission president. He is with Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, second from right; Elder James W. McConkie III, a General Authority Seventy, right; and current mission leaders President Rulon F. Stacey and Sister Linda Stacey, left. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

 

 

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