Elder M. Russell Ballard: Things that matter most

Elder Ballard speaks to young single adults

Individuals must remain anchored to key fundamentals of the gospel to maintain spiritual power, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve told more than 2,500 young single adults in Davis County on August 21 in the Bountiful Regional Center.

“We see in you a very precious part of the Church,” he said. “In your lives as you move along you’ll have the responsibility of carrying on the tremendous task of leading the Church.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard tells Davis County Young Single Adults in North Salt Lake, Utah, that they are able to find peace, joy and happiness — as well as fun — as they live the gospel.
Elder M. Russell Ballard tells Davis County Young Single Adults in North Salt Lake, Utah, that they are able to find peace, joy and happiness — as well as fun — as they live the gospel. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Reminding the young single adults of the great love Heavenly Father has for them, he spoke of the need to cling to fundamentals of the gospel in an uncertain world.

“There is a lot of turmoil going on … and the devil is lashing out,” he said. “Don’t allow yourself to fall into habits and situations that dull drastically our spiritual sensitivity. We need to stay tuned to heaven. Heavenly Father is just as far away from you as your knees.”

Davis County Young Single Adults listen to Elder M. Russell Ballard speak in North Salt Lake on Aug. 21.
Davis County Young Single Adults listen to Elder M. Russell Ballard speak in North Salt Lake on Aug. 21. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Because of this great potential and the different challenges facing the world today, Elder Ballard shared specific points for young single adults to follow to stay strong in an oftentimes challenging world.

Stay away from pornography

“Pornography is a very difficult challenge for those who allow it to become difficult,” he said. “And so tonight, if there is anyone of you that is having any challenge with pornography of any kind, whether it be in the media, or whether it be on the Internet in the privacy of your own home, on your cell phone, or your -iPad or any other place … I call upon you tonight to make a resolve, make a decision, that you aren’t going to do that anymore.

“The only way I know of to get control of something like pornography is to draw a line in your mind, over which you will not step.”

When individuals put themselves at risk spiritually by allowing pornography into their lives, they are tampering with their capacity to stay connected to heaven, he said.

“You need to be careful on how you spend your time,” Elder Ballard said. “Why put yourself at risk in dulling your connection with heaven?”

Use technology for good

“Technology is a wonderful thing that has also got the capacity, if you are not careful, to absolutely consume you,” he said. “Don’t let technology run away with you on things that don’t matter. … If you are not careful, technology can take you away from being able to communicate with each other — being able to talk to each other, face-to-face, with real language and not texting on your cell phone.”

He spoke of the importance of keeping technology in its proper place — especially in Church meetings.

“Don’t take your cell phone to sacrament meeting; if you do, turn it off,” he said. “Draw the line, shut it off. The Spirit cannot communicate with you if you don’t allow it to, so you have to do your part … in preparing to receive the promptings and power of the Gospel.”

Avoid being swept up in things of the world

“[So] many things are thrown at us saying we have to have this, or we need that,” he said. “Be careful that you don’t get caught up in thinking that you need all of those things. What you really need is to have peace, a sense of confidence, a sense of joy in your own life, a sense of assurance that you are doing well and that you are headed in the direction that will lead you back to the presence of your Heavenly Father.”

Be modest

To the young women, Elder Ballard said, “Be careful how you dress. Don’t try to follow society with dress. Just be modest. Be beautiful as you are. Let your inner beauty be the thing that is so striking that it will catch the attention of he who you would someday like to kneel at an altar with.”

Speaking to the young men, he said, “I say to you tonight, wake up and look all around and see all of this beauty that’s around you. Take one out, and get acquainted — not by texting, but by actually talking to each other.”

Have faith for the future, move forward

“Some of your age group have fear of the future,” he said. “Some are hesitant to move forward with your lives. … Don’t be afraid, move on. You’ll figure it out.”

In speaking about marriage, Elder Ballard said, “Do it!”

Sharing personal stories of when he and Sister Ballard were young, Elder Ballard said that even though they, at the time, couldn’t afford to have their first child, they exercised faith and started a family anyway because they knew it was the right time.

“We started our family — we couldn’t afford Clark, we couldn’t afford any of the seven of them! But we were not afraid to move on in our lives, even with the chaos happening around the world.”

Elder Ballard spoke of the things individuals should do to strengthen the links in their chain of testimony. He spoke of the importance of paying a full tithe, following the Word of Wisdom, being honest, staying morally clean, serving others and personal daily prayer.

Elder M. Russell Ballard waves to attendees with wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, prior to speaking to Davis County Young Single Adults.
Elder M. Russell Ballard waves to attendees with wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, prior to speaking to Davis County Young Single Adults. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

“Never, never are we so tired we cannot kneel by our bedside and check in with our Heavenly Father,” he said.

As individuals do these things, they are able to strengthen their faith and their personal testimony and reach out to others who are not active in Church.

“Our personal chain will be as strong as each link and we can make them strong by a daily review of our lives,” he said. “Repentance is a great gift from God. None of us are perfect and we make mistakes along the way. But nothing we do will make it so we cannot receive forgiveness. The Lord knew we would need a way to escape the bonds of sin.”

Davis County Young Single Adults listen to Elder M. Russell Ballard speak in North Salt Lake City Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011.
Davis County Young Single Adults listen to Elder M. Russell Ballard speak in North Salt Lake City Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Although individuals will face tough times and have periods of uncertainty in their lives, they are able to find peace, joy and happiness — as well as fun — as they live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Stay anchored in the things that matter most,” he said. “Fix things if they are not right and let the Spirit of Heaven be your guide as you make this journey. Prepare in every way to lead in the future wherever you are needed.”

[email protected]