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Magnify the Spirit

Elder Ballard tells single adults to consistently pray, study

BOSTON, MASS.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve advised more than 600 single adults to consistently feed the spiritual side through simple daily tasks like prayer and scripture study.

He spoke at an LDS Education Conference for single adults in Boston, Mass., over the weekend of Oct. 31.

By magnifying the Spirit within them through consistent prayer, single adults will be able to overcome temptations and move toward salvation, Elder Ballard said.

"As we study and allow ourselves to magnify the Spirit within us, things become clearer, we have greater power to control the temptations, or control the buffeting of the evil one," he said. "He attacks generally our physical side; however, we can prevail and find ourselves safely moving toward our eternal destiny. And, our destiny is through the Savior and His Atonement. We may qualify to dwell in [Heavenly Father's and Jesus Christ's] presence for time, for all eternity."

The LDS Education Conference is a biennial event held in Boston for young single adults and mid-singles. The theme for the 2009 conference was "Spread the Word: Innovative Ideas for Sharing the Gospel." Singles at the conference mostly hailed from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with others coming from as far away as Utah and California. Conference attendees heard David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, and Elder Clayton M. Christensen, a former Area Authority and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, discuss innovative methods and techniques for sharing the gospel.

Elder Ballard told the single adults at the conference that they are the hope of the Church, and that the leaders of the Church have great confidence in the single adults. "We have to," he said. "Who else will replace us?"

Elder Ballard emphasized conference attendees should take time to consider where they are spiritually. He implored them to stay away from pornography. "Avoiding pornography will help remove those things in your lives that dull your spiritual side," he counseled.

"If there is anything in your lives that is bothering you or you know you are not doing or you are neglecting to do, make a resolve to fix them today," Elder Ballard advised. "May Heavenly Father bless you this morning to have the courage and the spiritual power to be able to repent and to keep your life in focus, moving in the right direction."

Elder Ballard included this promise to the single adults: "Take comfort in the fact that you can work and study the gospel and gain a witness and testimony of the gospel, strong enough that your Spirit will be able to withstand any adversity that may come into your life."

He concluded his remarks with some advice on marriage. "I know you probably want me to talk about marriage," he said. "That's pretty simple. Just find somebody and get married. That's not a hard thing — just do it! Just remember one other thing in the pursuit of that — that none of you are perfect. You're not going to find the exact perfect person. Don't just hang out. Visit with each other. Go on dates."

After listening to the speakers, attendees broke into 60 teams to come up with innovative ways to share the gospel.
After listening to the speakers, attendees broke into 60 teams to come up with innovative ways to share the gospel. Photo: Photo by Spencer Kiggins

After Elder Ballard completed his address, Brother Neeleman spoke to the conference about innovative techniques for sharing the gospel using the Internet. He stated that members of the Church can share the gospel more efficiently and effectively, and can use the Internet to do so.

Elder Christensen followed Brother Neeleman's address and presented techniques he has found effective in sharing the gospel. He said that members of the Church do not share the gospel because of lack of motivation but more because they do not know how to share the gospel. Instead of sifting through friends and neighbors trying to find those who are likely to be receptive to missionaries, Brother Christensen advised that members should invite everyone and be mindful of the promptings of the Spirit for guidance on with whom to share the gospel.

He explained that he has found that most people have a deeper need to serve than to receive help, and members should invite friends and neighbors to help serve in the Church — whether it be a move done by the elders quorum, a home teaching visit, or a Church service project. If members teach their friends how to prayerfully study the scriptures, Brother Christensen said, the Holy Ghost will do the heavy lifting. Missionary work brings an unmitigated stream of blessings, concluded Brother Christensen.

After listening to these addresses, conference attendees broke out into 60 teams to come up with innovative ideas for sharing the gospel. The group ideas were then presented at an ideas fair, and the 10 most popular ideas were presented to the entire conference, including Elder Ballard. The ideas ranged from using Twitter to share the gospel linking to Church YouTube videos with the goal of making Church YouTube videos a Twitter trending topic; virtual online temple open houses for temples that have physical open houses; a Facebook application for the Church entitled "Yes I'm a Mormon, Ask me a question"; and finally a Web site titled whyibelieve.org which would include an online testimony database where members could write and store testimonies electronically for easy distribution to friends and neighbors, and easy linking on e-mail signatures, blogs or social networking Web sites.

Elder Ballard concluded the Education Conference by stressing the importance of keeping the gospel message simple when doing missionary work. "The Lord is a master at simplicity," said Elder Ballard.

Emily Lewis of Boston served as chairwoman of the Education Conference. "The focus of the education conference was to empower people to do missionary work more effectively," she said. "Many single adults are already spreading their beliefs, and we wanted to create a platform for them to learn about and share innovative ideas. People walked away from this conference inspired to renew their efforts [for] spreading the gospel."

The proceedings of the conference can be found online at www.ldseducationconference.org.

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