In NYC, President Ballard visits UN, oldest Jewish synagogue in US and major media outlets

NEW YORK CITY — President M. Russell Ballard stood at the pulpit of the empty U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York City on Friday, Nov. 16, and reflected on the work that is done there by the 193 member-states.

“What we hope is that everyone can come here and get together and find ways of peace, joy and happiness, and turn people’s hearts to loving one another instead of trying to figure out how to hurt each other. That’s what we need,” President Ballard said. “It’s possible to fix things if everybody that sits in those seats, when they’re together, can think in terms of what is best for the human family and not necessarily what they’re just concerned about for their own constituency.”

In its coverage of the 91-year-old acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Deseret.com detailed how President Ballard cultivated new relationships for the Church and continued old ones during a newsmaking Friday in the City That Never Sleeps.

President Ballard met with a high-ranking U.N. official, gave separate interviews to reporters at the Associated Press and New York Times at their offices and toured a historic Jewish synagogue led by a rabbi friendly to the Church.

President M. Russell Ballard, right, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares a joke with Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik as they tour the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.
President M. Russell Ballard, right, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shares a joke with Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik as they tour the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News

President Ballard provided the AP’s new, expanded global religion team with insight about why the Church will end its century-long relationship with the Boy Scouts of America at the end of the year.

“The reality there is we didn’t really leave them; they kind of left us,” he said, according to a story published by the AP. “The direction they were going was not consistent to what we feel our youth need to have … to survive in the world that lies ahead for them.”

President M. Russell Ballard, right, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, greets Dr. Jerobeam Shaanika, deputy chef de cabinet, office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations 74th Session in New York City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019.
President M. Russell Ballard, right, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, greets Dr. Jerobeam Shaanika, deputy chef de cabinet, office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations 74th Session in New York City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Credit: Ravell Call, Deseret News

During a meeting between President Ballard and His Excellency Dr. Jerobeam Shaanika, deputy chef de cabinet of the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations, the pair discussed several shared priorities, including eradicating hunger and poverty and improving education, according to a report published on Newsroom.

Also on Friday, President Ballard met with Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and toured his Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in the United States.