President M. Russell Ballard: ‘Hope in Christ’

Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Notable quotes:

“I have experienced this loneliness since the death of my precious wife, Barbara, over two and a half years ago. … Nevertheless, despite the challenges we face in life, like that first Easter morning, we can awake to a new life in Christ with new and marvelous possibilities and new realities as we turn to the Lord for hope and belonging.”
“I personally feel the pain of those who lack a sense of belonging. As I watch news from around the world, I see many who seem to be experiencing this loneliness. I think that, for many, it is because they may not know that they are loved by Heavenly Father and that we all belong to His eternal family.”
“The gospel of Jesus Christ has the power to unite us. We are ultimately more alike than we are different. As members of God’s family, we are truly brothers and sisters.”

Summary points:

  • More than half of adults in the Church today are widowed, divorced or not yet married. “Some wonder about their opportunities and place in God’s plan and in the Church. We should understand that eternal life is not simply a question of current marital status but of discipleship and being “valiant in the testimony of Jesus.”
  • “The hope of all who are single is the same as for all members of the Lord’s restored Church — access to the grace of Christ through ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel’” (Article of Faith 3).
  • Heavenly Father loves single members of the Church, and the Church needs their voices, talents, skills, goodness and righteousness. Stake and ward leaders should call on single members “to serve, lift and teach. Disregard old notions and ideas that have sometimes unintentionally contributed to their feelings of loneliness and that they do not belong or cannot serve.”

Talk summary:

More than half of adults in the Church today are widowed, divorced or not yet married. “Some wonder about their opportunities and place in God’s plan and in the Church. We should understand that eternal life is not simply a question of current marital status but of discipleship and being ‘valiant in the testimony of Jesus’” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:79).

There are five principles every member should understand.

“First, scriptures and latter-day prophets confirm that everyone who is faithful in keeping covenants will have the opportunity for exaltation.”

Second, the time and manner in which the blessings of exaltation are bestowed is not known but they are assured.

Third, waiting upon the Lord implies continued obedience and spiritual progress.

Fourth, “all those who accept the Savior’s gift of repentance and live His commandments will receive eternal life, even though they do not attain to all its characteristics and perfections in mortality.”

Fifth, confidence in these assurances is rooted in faith in Jesus Christ by whose grace all things pertaining to mortality are set right.

Stake and ward leaders should call on single members “to serve, lift and teach. Disregard old notions and ideas that have sometimes unintentionally contributed to their feelings of loneliness and that they do not belong or cannot serve.”

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 to 1977.

Recently on social:

  • “As we continue to give the Lord our best, even during these difficult times, the Lord will continue to guide our path, step by step,” President Ballard wrote on March 9.
  • In January, President Ballard wrote about one of the most selfless acts he has ever experienced and the responsibility to feed the hungry and the poor.
  • “Seemingly, as our world gets brighter, louder and busier, we have a greater challenge feeling the Spirit in our lives,” President Ballard said in a social media post Nov. 8, 2020. “If your life is void of quiet time, would you begin tonight to seek for some?”