Last year in the October general conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited listeners to follow the advice of Brigham Young and stay on "the old ship Zion" — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — and hold on with both hands. "Since then, I am happy to know that some of my family and others were listening and have asked me, 'What's in the old ship that we can hang on to?'" he said.
In his general conference address on Saturday morning, Oct. 3, Elder Ballard spoke of some of the clear and simple eternal truths Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have given that members can hold on to.
Living prophets and apostles have always led Jesus Christ's Church, Elder Ballard said. "Though mortal and subject to human imperfection, the Lord's servants are inspired to help us avoid obstacles that are spiritually life-threatening, and to help us pass safely through mortality to our final, ultimate, heavenly destination," he said.
"We cannot separate Christ from His servants," Elder Ballard declared, as this is how Christ has always done His work.
"It has always been a challenge for the world to accept living prophets and apostles, but it is essential to do so in order to fully understand the Atonement and teachings of Jesus Christ and to receive a fullness of the blessings of the priesthood that follow those He has called," Elder Ballard said.
Focusing on how the Lord inspires His chosen, albeit flawed, leaders instead of looking for flaws "is one way that we hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ and stay safely aboard the old ship Zion," Elder Ballard.
The doctrine of the plan of salvation also provides a strong handhold on the ship, he said. "By understanding who our Heavenly Father is and our relationship to Him and to His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, we will accept Their commandments and make covenants with Them that will lead us back into Their eternal presence," Elder Ballard said.
"Another key truth in the Church is that Heavenly Father created Adam and Eve for a lofty purpose," Elder Ballard said. "It was their charge — and subsequently, the charge of their posterity — to create mortal bodies for God's spirit children so they could experience mortality."
Because God loves His children, prophets and apostles have been sent to warn of dangers to the family, Elder Ballard said. The guidance and warnings contained in "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" still stand and were reaffirmed by Elder Ballard.
Observing the Sabbath Day, another truth to cling to, "helps us remain unspotted from the world, provides us with physical rest, and gives each of us the spiritual refreshment of worshipping the Father and the Son every Sunday," Elder Ballard said. As part of these efforts, the teachings of the Savior and His Atonement should be the focus of the Sabbath Day, especially when partaking of the sacrament, he said.
"Now as we ponder just these few truths that exist within the old ship Zion, let us stay on board ..." Elder Ballard said in closing. "Our ship's destination is the full blessings of the gospel, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Celestial Glory, and the Presence of God!"