“The trek through life continues for each of us as we prove our own ‘faith in every footstep,’” Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught during the Sunday afternoon session of general conference on Oct. 1.
The rising generations must — as the early Latter-day Saints — have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.
“I have a deep conviction that if we lose our ties to those who have gone before us, including our pioneer forefathers and mothers, we will lose a very precious treasure,” he said.
Just as the pioneers developed a deep faith through hardship, hunger and sickness, individual’s today must continue to build their testimonies of faith in God and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ while on their “trek through life.”
“Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery — leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment,” Elder Ballard said. “Some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish and despair.”
Elder Ballard encouraged listeners to ask themselves, “What is your final destination? Where are your footsteps taking you? And is your journey leading you to that ‘multiplicity of blessings’ the Savior has promised?”
The trek back to Heavenly Father is the most important trek of a person’s life and it continues each day, week, month and year as a person increases his or her faith in Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
“We must be careful where our footsteps in life take us,” he said.
Warning listeners of some of the dangers of today, Elder Ballard encouraged individuals to keep the doctrine of Christ pure and to not be deceived by those who tamper with the doctrine.
“Do not listen to those who have not been ordained or set apart to their Church calling and are acknowledged by common consent of the members of the Church,” he said. “Be aware of organizations, or groups, or individuals claiming secret answers to doctrinal questions that they say today’s apostles and prophets do not have or understand.”
He also encouraged individuals to not listen to those who entice with “get-rich schemes” or “miraculous healings or claims” that are done with special methods for accessing healing power outside of properly ordained priesthood holders.
“In some places, too many of our people are looking beyond the mark and seeking secret knowledge in expensive and questionable practices to provide healing and support. Be wise and aware that such practices may be emotionally appealing but may ultimately prove to be spiritually and physically harmful,” he said.
For the pioneers, independence and self-reliance were vital, but their sense of community was just as important.
“They worked together and helped one another overcome the physical and emotional challenges of their time,” he said. “For the men, there was the priesthood quorum, and the women were served by the Relief Society. These outcomes have not changed in our day.”
Just as in the past, the Relief Society and priesthood quorums still provide for the spiritual and temporal well-being of their members today.
“Stay on the gospel path by having ‘faith in every footstep’ so you can return safely back to the presence of Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Ballard said. “The Lord is our precious Savior. He is the Redeemer of the world. We must honor His sacred name and not mis-use it in any way, always striving to keep His commandments. If we do so, He will bless us and lead us safely home.”
Elder Ballard invited “everyone within the sound of my voice to welcome and embrace anyone who is making his or her own trek today," no matter where they are in their journey.
“Let us use our energy, strength and testimonies in assisting our missionaries to find, teach and baptize God’s children so they may have the power of the gospel doctrine of Christ guiding their daily lives,” he said. “We need to embrace God’s children compassionately and eliminate any prejudice, including racism, sexism or nationalism.
“I testify that ‘the trek continues,’ and I invite you to stay on the gospel path as you continue ‘pressing forward’ by reaching out to all of God’s children in love and compassion that we may unitedly make our hearts pure and our hands clean to receive the ‘multiplicity of blessings’ awaiting all who truly love our Heavenly Father and His beloved Son.”