President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke during the Sunday morning session of October 2023 general conference. The following is a summary of what he said.
President Ballard’s talk summary
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are “abundantly blessed” because of the Prophet Joseph Smith. “My message this morning is simple. It is deep. And it is full of love for the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
For almost 50 years as a general authority, President Ballard has traveled the world, looking into the faces of Latter-day Saints and testifying of the divinity of Jesus Christ and His Church. He has also testified of the “glorious responsibility” of Joseph Smith, who restored the Savior’s Church to the earth.
Knowing that God the Father and Jesus Christ revealed themselves to Joseph Smith is “one of the most glorious and wonderful things that anyone in this world can know.”
Now, at a time when his “eyes are failing him” and he can no longer read from a teleprompter, President Ballard, almost 95, said he has thought often of the Prophet of the Restoration.
“We thank the Lord for Joseph Smith and for his courage to go into that grove of trees.”
Because of Joseph Smith, Latter-day Saints have the Book of Mormon, know the purpose of life and have many other abundant blessings.
As a result, all should commit to “increase our commitment” to serve Jesus Christ and to keep His commandments. “Wherever you are in this world, may God bless you.”
My message this morning is simple. It is deep. And it is full of love for the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I know that our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ appeared and spoke to Joseph and prepared him … to restore the fullness of the everlasting gospel.
Because we have Joseph Smith, the Prophet of this last dispensation of time, we have the Book of Mormon. What a marvelous, wonderful gift the Book of Mormon is to the membership of the Church.
Who is President Ballard?
- President M. Russell Ballard has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1985 and was set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Jan. 14, 2018. He is the eighth longest-living Apostle in this dispensation and the Church’s longest-tenured general authority — sustained to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976.
- President Ballard is a great-great-great-nephew of Joseph Smith, a great-grandson of the sixth Church President, Joseph F. Smith, and a great-great-grandson of Hyrum Smith.
- Three days after he returned home from his mission in the British Isles, President Ballard met his wife, Sister Barbara Bowen Ballard, at a Hello Day dance at the University of Utah. They were married Aug. 28, 1951, in the Salt Lake Temple and are the parents of five daughters and two sons. Sister Ballard died in 2018.
What has President Ballard done recently?
- During the October 2022 general conference, he spoke about pioneers of the past and present and the ways they have shown faith in Jesus Christ.
- During the April 2023 general conference, he spoke about the things that matter most.
- In March 2023, President Ballard told missionaries at the Provo Missionary Training Center that Apostles are missionaries, too.
- During the 2023 Mission Leadership Seminar, President Ballard spoke about finding the power of the Savior through the sacrifices of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.
- President Ballard sent a letter on May 1 titled “Blessing Young Single Adults” to local Church leaders.
- During a May ministry in Canada, President Ballard testified of “the most remarkable thing in the history of the world.”
I did not read a prepared address today at general conference. My eyes are getting dim as I approach 95 which makes it more difficult to see the teleprompter. However, I didn’t want to allow this obstacle to keep me from sharing my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ.— M. Russell Ballard (@BallardMRussell) October 1, 2023
I declare… pic.twitter.com/1A5GuwbD4u