President M. Russell Ballard: ‘Shall We Not Go on in So Great a Cause’

Acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“We should always remember the price Joseph and Hyrum Smith paid, along with so many other faithful men, women and children, to establish the Church so you and I could have and enjoy the many blessings and all these revealed truths we have today.”
“As we listen to the Spirit … consider what offering you will present to the Lord in righteousness in the coming days. Be courageous — share it with someone you trust and most importantly, please take time to do it!”
“I know that the Savior is pleased when we present Him an offering from our hearts in righteousness, just as He was pleased with the faithful offering of those remarkable brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and all other faithful saints.”

Summary points:

  • Joseph Smith emerged from the Sacred Grove to begin his preparation to become a prophet of God; he also began to learn what ancient prophets experienced — rejection, opposition and persecution.
  • Hyrum Smith, Joseph’s elder brother by six years, was a constant supporter throughout the Prophet’s life, and the two became martyrs for Christ’s cause and name.
  • Latter-day Saints should follow Joseph Smith’s 1844 call to action: “Go forward and not backward. … Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

Talk summary: 

Joseph Smith emerged from the Sacred Grove to begin his preparation to become a prophet of God, with the First Vision followed by the visits of heavenly messengers, the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon and the organization of the Church.

With Joseph joined by his elder brother Hyrum, the two experienced rejection, opposition and persecution, ultimately ending with their deaths at Carthage Jail, becoming martyrs for Christ’s cause and name.

“As we celebrate this joyous occasion, the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, we should always remember the price Joseph and Hyrum Smith paid, along with so many other faithful men, women and children, to establish the Church so you and I could have and enjoy the many blessings and all these revealed truths we have today.”

Before his death in 1844, Joseph wrote a spirited letter to the Saints, a call to action which continues in the Church today: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren [and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! … Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

As Latter-day Saints listen to the Spirit during the weekend’s 200th anniversary celebration, “consider what offering you will present to the Lord in righteousness in the coming days. Be courageous — share it with someone you trust and most importantly, please take time to do it! 

“I know that the Savior is pleased when we present Him an offering from our hearts in righteousness, just as He was pleased with the faithful offering of those remarkable brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and all other faithful saints.”

In the news:

About the speaker:

  • 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.
  • President Ballard’s great-great-grandfather is Hyrum Smith, a brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
  • President Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, are the parents of five daughters and two sons. Sister Ballard died on Oct. 1, 2018.
  • President Ballard served as mission president in Toronto, Ontario, from 1974-1977.

Recently on social:

  • During the worldwide fast for relief from COVID-19 on March 29, President Ballard shared a tweet about his participation in the fast.
  • President Ballard testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith at his birthplace in a Facebook video on Oct. 19, 2019.

Today I visited the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Sharon, Vermont. Through my mother’s family line, I have the privilege of being descended from Hyrum Smith, the brother of Joseph Smith. That connection has blessed my life. I testify to you that Jesus Christ restored His Church through the Prophet Joseph Smith in these last days. I also testify that each of us can gain a personal testimony of that truth.

Posted by M. Russell Ballard on Saturday, October 19, 2019
  • Following the rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple, President Ballard shared some thoughts and photos from the event in an Oct. 15, 2019, Instagram post. 
  • President Ballard shared some thoughts about his wife soon after she died, in an Oct. 6, 2019, Instagram post. 
View this post on Instagram

Oh, how I love and miss my dear wife, Barbara. She was, in a word, magnificent—as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, as a neighbor, and as a daughter of God. Although physically she suffered toward the end of her life, her spirit was strong, noble, and pure. She had prepared herself in all things so that when the day comes, she can stand before “the pleasing bar of God” (Jacob 6:13), full of confidence and peaceful assurance. But here I am, in two days 91 years old, and I’m still wondering, “Am I ready? Am I doing everything I need to do to be able to hold her hand once again?” . It seems clear to me that one of the most important things we can learn in this life is how to emphasize our eternal spiritual nature and control our evil desires. Think about who you really are and who you have always been: a son or daughter of God, with spiritual roots in eternity and a future overflowing with infinite possibilities. You are—first, foremost, and always—a spiritual being. And so when we choose to put our carnal nature ahead of our spiritual nature, we are choosing something that is contrary to our real, true, authentic spiritual selves. . Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to slow down and think about where you are now in subjugating your carnal nature and empowering your divine, spiritual nature so when the time comes, you may pass into the spirit world to a joyful reunion with your loved ones.

A post shared by M. Russell Ballard (@mrussellballard) on