President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke during the Sunday afternoon session of April 2023 general conference. He outlined the things that matter most. The following is a summary of what he said.
President Ballard’s talk summary
Written on the headstone of his wife, Barbara, is a lesson she wanted their children to remember: “What matters most is what lasts longest.”
First, what matters most includes a relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. “This relationship matters most now and in eternity.”
Second, family relationships are among those things that matter most. These include extended family, friends and ward families, which are essential for emotional and physical health and can also offer love, happiness and a sense of belonging.
“Nurturing these important relationships is a choice. A choice to be part of a family requires commitment, love, patience, communication and forgiveness.”
Another thing that matters most is following the promptings of the Spirit. “I testify that following the promptings of the Spirit is one of the things that matters most in all our relationships.”
Finally, “I testify that being converted to the Lord, bearing testimony of Him and serving Him are also among the things that matter most.”
Bear testimony of Jesus Christ more often. “Bear testimony of what you know and believe and what you feel, not just of what you are thankful for.” Testify of the things that matter most and last the longest.
Today, I will share from my heart a few feelings and thoughts on what matters most.
I invite you to bear your testimony of Jesus Christ more often.
I pray that someday when I pass to the next world, I may do so with my testimony burning brightly.
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.
- On Feb. 28, 2023, he gave a devotional at the Provo (Utah) Missionary Training Center to his “beloved fellow missionaries.”
- Recent Church News videos featured President Ballard speaking about his mission to England and reflecting on the strength of Latter-day Saint women.
- In March 2023, he visited New York City and Washington, D.C., where he asked leaders and missionaries to focus on people.
- He visited Mexico City in December 2022 and ministered to members and missionaries.